For dog owners, owning a dog can make your life more exciting. However, take note that such decision carries with it a huge responsibility and commitment. Note you will be taking care of it for several years. That said, you really must prepare for the arrival of the new member of your family, especially if it is your first time to take care of a dog. It is crucial to be committed to all the responsibilities linked to adopting one.
As a Dog Owner Things to Consider Prior to Bringing Home a Dog
Before signing the papers that will legalize bringing a dog home, you must consider a few things, so you can do all the preparations. Here are just a few:
- Specific needs of your chosen breed – Note that each dog breed has specific needs, so you must research them prior to bringing one home. Find out whether the needs of your chosen breed suits you and the lifestyle of your family. For instance, you can find large hunting breeds that require more training and physical exercises.
Small and toy breeds need less exercise, but they get easily injured, making them poor companions, especially if you have small children. If you still have small kids, then you also must think about the fact that 5-month old puppies still have lots of energy and sharp teeth, making them capable of biting or scratching your young kids unintentionally. Think about all those things when deciding on a breed.
- Budget – Another important factor to consider when planning to own a dog is your budget. Note that, aside from the initial amount you will be paying for purchasing the pet, there are also many products you have to invest in. Make sure you have enough budget for all the pet products you need, including crates, collars, leashes, and gates.
You will also be paying for smaller things your dog needs regularly, like shampoo, food, heartworm medications, and flea products. It is also important to factor in how much your veterinary bills will most likely be.
- Size of your home – Another important factor to consider is the size of your home, as it can also help you decide what breed is suitable for you. If you are living in an apartment, then you may want to choose those dog breeds perfect for apartment dwellers, such as smaller ones. However, note that not all small dog breeds are excellent choices for apartments. For instance, Chihuahuas have the habit of barking excessively, causing disruptions in the neighbourhood, so you must choose carefully.
You can still choose larger breeds, even if you have a small living space. The best choice would be those dog breeds with low energy and only need moderate exercises. In this case, you can go for Great Danes as they are known for being quiet and happy, even with their large size. If you want a breed that needs plenty of physical activities, such as the Labrador retriever, ensure you have a large outdoor space or yard where they can play and run around.
Remember that owning a dog is a commitment you have to stick to for the long term. With that, you must have a stable housing situation. You also must clearly understand the pet policies regarding rental property and your neighbourhood and homeowner’s association.
Preparing your Home
Once you have finally decided on the breed you would like to take home, the next thing you have to do is to prepare your household for your dog’s arrival. Consider all the factors mentioned above, so you can effectively prepare everything. You have to check out everything in your house, so you can start dog-proofing your home.
For instance, tape or tuck lose electric cords to the baseboards and store household cleaners and solutions on high shelves. It might also be necessary to take small rugs from your home temporarily. As for breakables, you must pack them up while you are training your dog. Also, ensure the dog crate and gate are set up in their designated areas. Dog foods and water should also be set in their proper locations.
Finding a Veterinarian
Owning a dog also requires you to look for an expert and professional veterinarian whom you can easily consult to figure out your dog’s needs. Choose a vet whose philosophy is similar to yours. You may also ask your neighbors and friends for recommendations. Just make sure the people you ask are those who follow a similar approach to dog care as you.
Visit offices and meet different veterinarians, so you will have a clearer idea about what they’re like. You can also tour their facilities and determine if their standards fit yours. Create a checklist of all the things that matter to you and ensure you consider all these when searching for the best veterinarian.
Once you have all these things prepared, you can finally bring the dog home. Do not forget to introduce him to the entire neighbourhood and familiarize yourself with the best diet for him and how you can properly train him.
Some of the Best Hacks for Dog Owners
Now that you have finally brought your dog home, it is time to learn things about how you can properly take care of him. With the help of these 10 clever hacks, you can surely raise a happy, calm, and obedient dog that you and your family will love to be around:
- Invest in a dog crate – One of the first things you must invest in when you have a dog is a crate. Using it correctly can help improve the sanity of your pet and the people around him. It is helpful in potty training and preventing your dog from chewing electric cords and other harmful things. It is also a safe place for your dog to take a break after doing a lot of activities.
Just teach everyone at home to leave your dog alone when he retreats to his crate. Training your dog to love staying in his crate is also easy. One tip is to feed him while he is inside. Also, ensure that that the crate can make him feel comfortable by putting a soft bedding.
- Use a pair of tweezers to remove dog ticks – If you have no tick remover around, then note you can also use a pair of tweezers to get rid of these unwanted pets from your dog. The best option is fine tips. Just grab the tick using the tweezers via the mouth area, which is closest to the skin of your dog. Then pull it firmly until removed.
Kill the tick by putting it in a jar containing alcohol. Ensure you’re wearing gloves when removing ticks to prevent them from causing diseases to other people and pets.
- Keep dog products and supplies in a shower caddy – Shower caddies are not actually designed for use only in the shower area. You can hang one in your garage or closet and use it as a storage area for extra dog treats and dog care products. You can also hang leashes and harnesses in there. Just be creative during the installation to ensure everything is organized. It is the ideal solution for organizing and storing all the things your dog needs in just one place.
- Remove urine smell with vinegar and baking soda – Do you have problems with your dog’s urine smell? Vinegar and baking soda are ideal solutions. Just use a paper towel to soak the urine. Then create a solution of half baking soda and half vinegar. Spray this solution to the stain. Let it soak for around 10 minutes.
Use another paper towel to absorb any excess moisture. After that, sprinkle the affected spot with baking soda again. Allow the area to dry. When doing this procedure, ensure you keep your dog and other pets away, since baking soda is toxic for them. Wait for the area to dry then vacuum it. Remember that dogs have the tendency of eliminating in the specific area where they can smell their past markings. With that in mind, it is advisable to deodorize and clean the area to prevent the same accident from happening again.
- Use bitter apple if your dog chews a lot – If you notice your dog chews a lot of things in your home, particularly electrical cords, then note that bitter apple is one of the safest solutions. With bitter apple, he will be deterred from taking another bite. It is mainly because most dogs find the taste of bitter apple too potent. The good news is it is safe to ingest, so there is no need for you to worry about it being harmful to your dog.
- Invest in a front clip harness – This product is essential, especially if your dog pulls his leash a lot. In this case, you can use a harness, which can be clipped in front to prevent your dog from pulling on a leash. Avoid harnesses you can clip on the back as they cause more pulling.
Also, when you are training your dog with leash manners, ditch a retractable dog leash and use a standard 6-foot one, instead. Such can make him realize what it feels like to walk with a loose leash.
- Use a clicker – You should consider using a clicker to reward your dog’s good behaviours. It is useful, especially if you find it difficult to be consistent when you are giving him praises. Begin clicker training soon to make it easier for you to mark your dog’s good behaviours.
- Keep your dog secure with the help of a carabiner – A carabiner actually refers to a metal clamp, with a gate loaded with a spring. It is often used by mountain climbers and in safety systems as a means of quickly, yet securely, obtaining a firm hold.
To use it on your dog, just put it around the loop of his leash each time you go outdoors. Such will allow you to secure it to all stationary objects with ease. The carabiner is also useful in connecting multiple leashes, making it easier for you to walk more than one dog simultaneously.
- Create an elevated food bowl – You can actually use a table to create an elevated food bowl for your dog. An elevated food bowl is actually very useful for your dog, especially if he has joint problems and arthritis. This will prevent him from bending down too much.
- Invest in a food dispensing toy – This product is especially helpful for dogs considered to be fast eaters. If you notice your dog eats too fast, then using a food dispensing toy can help. You can also put tennis balls in his bowl as a means of slowing down his eating. Aside from preventing your dog from eating too fast, it also helps in giving him an excellent mental workout.
If you have a large furry companion you will have to feed him special food for large breeds since their dietary needs differ a bit from medium and small breeds.
A dog is one of man’s best companions. Just know exactly how you can take good care of one once you bring home a pet. This can help you build a stronger bond and relationship with your beloved canine friend.
Guest Blog Author Bio:
Ash Babariya is the co-creator of Simply for Dogs and a life-long dog lover. Ash’s many adventures at the local dog park with her Boxers, Janice and Leroy, have turned her into the local “crazy dog lady”. She shares those adventures, as well as her research into the world of dogs, around the web to promote well-informed pet owning. Ash, Janice, and Leroy share a home in the Midwest with a brood of hens, all sorts of wild critters, and the occasional litter of puppies.
The content and links within this post were not authored by Sarah Gleave of Meg Heath Dog Leads, they are the opinions of the post writer.