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Bringing Home A New Dog: What You Need to Know


So you’ve decided to get a new dog?! Bringing home a new dog can be very exciting, but it also requires a lot of preparation, commitment and responsibility. Dogs have provided love and companionship to humans throughout history. It’s no secret that having a canine companion can provide joy, love and entertainment to their pet parents. In fact, according to the CDC, studies have shown that there are health benefits linked to the bond between people and their pets, such as decreased blood pressure, feelings of lonliness and axiety. Pets can ven help manage loneliness and depression through their companionship. Whether you’re bringing home a puppy or adopting a dog of any age, you’ll want to know what to expect in those first few days and weeks with your new family member. Spoiler alert: there will be lots of snuggles and getting to know each other. 


Making The Decision


Deciding to get a new pet shouldn’t be taken lightly. Dogs require more than just a bag of dog food and a tennis ball to play fetch with. Before you bring home a new dog, you should take some time to think it over and assess whether it’s a good idea to make this kind of commitment. A few questions you should ask yourself are:


  • Do I have enough time to properly care for a dog?
  • Do I have the financial means to support a dog?
  • What breed works best for my and my family’s life?
  • Do I want a puppy or an adult dog?


There are many things to consider when deciding whether to bring home a new dog. For example, puppies generally require more training and exercise than adult dogs. If you’re thinking of bringing home a puppy, you should be sure that you have enough time to properly train them and give them the exercise they need. Also, the type of dog you get is important. Are you an active person who enjoys exercising? Have a big backyard for your pup to run around in? A larger, more active dog like a retriever, setter or pointer might be your best bet. Looking for more of a lap dog? Consider a smaller dog like a maltese or pomeranian. One of the most important considerations is the long-term cost of the dog. Puppies require more wellness vet care initially that can add up quickly. 


Puppies Vs. Adult or Senior Dogs


First things first. If you’ve chosen to bring home a new puppy, expect a learning curve. Puppies are adorable and cuddly, but they also have a lot of learning to do. From potty training to deciphering what exactly is a chew toy and what isn’t, your cuddly canine companion will likely require a fair amount of training. Be patient and keep in mind that your puppy has never done this before. They’re eager to please you and crave your love and attention. Remember to give them the space they need to learn, and also remember that a little grace goes a long way, especially in the first few weeks. 


On the other hand, if you have chosen an older dog, there will still most likely be some nuances that need to be ironed out. After all, this dog has lived a whole other part of their life that wasn’t under your roof, so there’s a chance they’ve learned behaviours that aren’t necessarily in line with your expectations. Again, give them grace for the first few weeks. Feel each other out, and temper your expectations in order to give them a caring, loving, patient environment to learn in. A senior dog may not be as eager to learn as a younger dog, so extra patience may be required.


Preparing Their Space


No matter how old your new dog is, you’ll want to be sure to have a special space set up before you bring them home. The stress of a new environment can cause them to feel a little anxious, so giving them a safe space to retreat to will help them feel calmer. If you plan on crate training your four-legged friend, make sure you have it ready to go before you bring them home. Even if your dog has already been potty trained, sometimes the stress of so many changes can cause them to have an accident, so putting their crate in a space that is easy for clean-up, like a kitchen, is usually best.


It’s also a good idea to dog-proof the space they will be in most of the time. Taking safety precautions such as removing potentially harmful substances from reach, securing wires and cords, and even putting up dog gates will help keep your doggie out of harm’s way. You should also remove any valuables that your pup could view as a chew toy. Especially if you’re bringing home a young dog, everything within reach can be confused for a toy.


Speaking of toys, making sure your dog has appropriate things to play with is also important. Invest in a few different types of toys and then observe your dog to see which one they interact with the most. Playtime is a great time for bonding and for them to burn off some of that energy, so being prepared with an arsenal of fun toys for them to play with is important.


Stock Up On Dog Supplies


Your new dog likely won’t come home with everything they need to thrive, so you’ll need to stock up on dog supplies before they arrive. One of the first things you should buy for your dog is a dog collar and leash, and be sure to have some food for your pup already on hand. Puppies and dogs alike can be very curious, so to make sure they don’t run off, you’ll need to find a collar that is the right size and fit for your pup, and a leash so you can keep them safe. Putting a nametag on their collar is also important in case they get separated from you. Personalize their ID tag with their name and your phone number to help get them returned safely back to you. 


You can also invest in a harness for your dog which can reduce pulling and decrease stress on your pup’s joints when you’re walking them on a leash. 


Aside from a dog collar and leash, you’ll also need other supplies to help make your dog comfortable in its new home, such as a food and water bowl, dog food, treats, a variety of fun toys, and a dog bed. You’ll find all this and more at PetSmart. Shop online or stop in today!


Information in this article is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure your pet and is not a substitute for veterinary care provided by a licensed veterinarian. For any medical or health-related advice concerning the care and treatment of your pet, contact your veterinarian.