Are you planning to welcome a new furry member into your family? There are so many things to consider when adopting a dog: What are you going to name it? What color should her collar be? What tricks are you going to teach him? And since these things are so fun and exciting, it’s easy to overlook some of the most important things that will ensure a safe and comfortable transition for your new family member. To help, we asked vets about the top mistakes first-time dog owners make with their new friends and what you can do to avoid them.
Top Mistake #1: Not Dog-Protecting Your Home
Before bringing your new dog home, remember that he’s never been there before. She does not know what is safe, what is dangerous and which areas are prohibited. So you need to protect your home from dogs in advance, says Dr. Sarah Wooten, DVM, Pumpkin’s veterinary expert. “Protect your dog by watching your house from his level – what can he get into? Keep cleaning supplies, chocolate, toxins (like rat poison), prescription and recreational drugs, and anything your dog can get into out of reach or in closed cabinets they can’t get to,” she recommends.
Biggest mistake #2: Not sourcing ahead
You may think you have time to run for dog supplies after bringing home your furry friend, but that’s probably not true. Spot doesn’t come quietly and politely into your life; she is on track and she will have immediate needs. First-time dog owners should be ready to ride before she comes home to ensure a comfortable transition for her, recommends Dr. Heather Berst, DVM, Pet Health Professional and Zoetis Veterinarian. In addition to a collar, leash, crate, and pee pads, you’ll also need some food, but not just any food. “Ask where you get the dog what food it eats and have that on hand. You can always change, but make sure you give them the same food for the first few weeks to avoid stomach upset,” says Dr. Berst. She also recommends providing a dedicated space for your dog to sleep in while he adjusts to his new home, such as a certain room or an enclosed area.
Top mistake #3: not going enough to the vet
The vet’s office isn’t just a place you take your new dog to if he gets sick. It’s also important to take your puppy to the vet as soon as possible after adoption, so your vet can administer vaccines and parasite preventative medications, as well as tests to make sure your dog is in good health. health, according to Dr. Berst. She suggests making your pup’s first visit to the vet a positive one too, so he doesn’t get nervous about routine care. “Give them treats and praise when you walk in. Let everyone at the vet hospital know this is your new dog’s first vet visit and they’ll help make it positive,” she says. .
And don’t stop going after that first visit! Annual visits are important because “a year in a dog’s life can be like 5 to 7 years in a human’s life, so a lot can change,” notes Dr. Berst. During your dog’s annual visit, the vet will check his weight, lungs, heart, teeth, and vital signs, and then perform any additional tests that may be helpful for your dog’s health.
Top Mistake #4: Not Purchasing Pet Insurance
No matter how careful you are as an owner, accidents can happen and your dog can get sick and hurt. Keep a pet emergency first aid kit handy at home and in your car, says Dr. Wooten; this kit should contain items such as non-stick bandages, tape, gauze, cotton balls, antibiotic ointment, hydrogen peroxide, tweezers, etc. She also notes the importance of pet insurance, to ease the financial pain of your dogs’ mishaps. “If your puppy is injured or sick, a pet insurance plan could reimburse you for some of the eligible veterinary expenses for the unforeseen accident or illness, making it easier for him to get the care he needs. needed to recover,” she explains.
Top Mistake #5: Not Socializing Your Dog
We get it, first-time dog owners: it can be tempting to curl up on the couch with your new pooch and not leave your house for the foreseeable future. But exposing Spot to different places, dogs, people and things will make her more confident, reducing the chance that she’ll be nervous or aggressive in unfamiliar situations, says Dr. Wooten. She recommends using the rule of seven: “Experience seven new things every day and make the experiences positive with praise and treats.” Just make sure your dog is fully vaccinated before venturing out into the world.
There’s also a lot of socializing to do at home, says Dr. Berst. Properly introducing your new dog to other family members and pets is vital for everyone’s well-being. Hasty and uncontrolled introduction can cause lasting damage. “Poor introductions, especially with other pets, can really challenge relationships for a long time,” says Dr. Berst. “You better go slow and talk to your vet or trainer before you bring your new dog home to make sure you’re doing it right.”
Adopting a dog is an important step. Remember to keep her safe and healthy – and take lots of pictures! They are growing too fast!