Whether you are in the process of adopting a new puppy, you have a bad case of puppy fever, or you just want to learn some new tips about pet care, I got you. And to the second girl, I know how you feel, because after my first dog passed away, I had that feeling for years!!
1. First off, I just have to start off by saying that the "having a dog is a big responsibility, etc., etc." comments are 100% accurate. Although I digress, having a beloved dog child is not all rainbows and sunshine. Yes, a LARGE portion of it is, but they are serious work. Dogs rely on YOU to take care of them and love them. They literally are like having a baby and need lots of attention and care. Sleeping in? You can kiss that goodbye for a while. Not to mention, there will be nights when you are peacefully sound asleep in your warm bed only to be awakened by your dog that needs to go out. So, please don't just give in to that adorable face without fully thinking this decision through.
One reason that dogs are my favorite animal is that they are such loyal creatures. Even when poorly treated, they still welcome you with a joyous, happy dance and a wagging tail. Please don't ever take that for granted..
2. Now that, that's out of the way we can move on to puppy proofing your home! Keep in mind that puppies will go after ANYTHING in sight. Those fluffy, cozy, extra warm, slippers that are laying on your bedroom floor... move them right now. Puppies absolutely love shoes and really anything that they can get their paws on. Also, if you have something breakable on a low surface, I recommend finding a new home for it. And if it's Christmas and you have presents on the floor, you can forget about that nice wrapping job you just did.
If your home has a staircase, you may want to invest in a baby gate to keep them from getting out of sight. Trust me, a silent puppy for more than 10 seconds usually means that they have found something to get into.
3. Next, is to designate a place for their crate. Make sure you have a puppy hazard-free zone so that they can have their own corner in the house. Although some people think that crate training is cruel, dogs actually LIKE to have their own little nook. Another thing is to find a home for their food and water dishes. Groot, my great dane puppy, currently has his bowls located in the laundry room. It is nice to have the dishes out where he can have his own space while not having to worry if he makes a mess.
4. Make sure that you have truly allocated the probable expenses. Whether you are going to a breeder or adopting, there is usually some kind of fee. Also, you have to take into account the cost of food, vet appointments, medications, nail clipping/hygiene visits, etc. Another thing to consider is if your future pet hasn't been chipped. You might want to look into this as an extra precaution in case they ever get lost.
5. This is a difficult, but important one. It really makes a difference if you train your dog and teach them right from wrong at an early age. It may be hard to be stern at times, but it will pay off in the long run. Trust me, you don't want your dog to form bad habits that carry through to his/her adult life. Sticking to a routine really helps to keep the puppy on track and will also help with the adjustment period. With that being said, it is also imperative that you make time each day to play and bond with your new roommate. Also, getting them out and about will get them accustomed to being in new places and around other people/animals.
6. Patience is underrated when having a puppy. Those movies where puppies cause some kind of a chaotic mess are not far-fetched. (Ha, see what I did there?) Not to mention, PUPPY TEETHING. Aghh, this one is hard for me sometimes because my "not so little puppy" has a nice set of razors in his mouth. To minimize having teething pain inflicted on you, you can invest in quality chew toys, cause a distraction when they get into a craze, and try buying anti-teething spray which tastes horrible to them. At least for a while, I recommend staying away from toys with fiberfill.
7. So you've picked up your new fur baby. Now is the fun part!! Enjoy this day because it will be one that you will always remember. Take your new pet for a trip to Petco! Do some research to figure out what dog food brands are best for your breed. Pro tip: Petco lets you have a trial when purchasing dog food in a sense. If your dog doesn't like it or if it doesn't sit well in his/her stomach, you can actually swap out the food for another brand! I think that's a super neat trick for new pet owners because dogs react differently to different types. But, the really fun part is shopping for toys! We let Groot mosey around the store with us to pick out various toys. He even put a stuffed zebra in his mouth that we ended up taking home with us.
Here is a little check list of things to purchase for your puppy:
- ID tag - get a custom tag made with your dog's name and contact information on the back
- Appropriate Sized Crate - (remember, your puppy will continue to grow)
- Food & Water Dishes
- Leash & Collar
- Quality Dog Food
- Dog Shampoo, Brush, Etc.
- Dog Bed
- Poop Bags - super enticing I know, but necessary
**I am linking a few of Groot's favorites through his teething phase!
1. Dragon- He loves stuffed toys and so far this one has held up perfectly (knock on wood). He carries it all around the house. This brand is known for selling more durable toys.
2. Rope - Ropes are great for chewing and playing with!
3. Rubber Chew Stick- This toy is perfect for teething because it is rubber and we also put peanut butter inside of it for him when we have to leave for work. It keeps him entertained for a long time trying to get all of it!
I hope that this guide has provided some insight to the life of owning a puppy and has helped prepare you for the road ahead! Congrats to you for getting a new best friend! I wish you nothing but lots of puppy licks and cuddles.
Love from my pup to yours!