Congratulation on deciding to get yourself a dog. Dogs are great companion and with proper guidance, they will become a part of your family soon.

Before getting all the necessary things for your dog, here are a few things you should consider which will help you in planning and shopping the right things for your dog/ puppy as a first-time dog owner.

Things that will help the first-time dog parent plan and bring a dog home

Breed: The first step in selecting the right breed based on breed size, their energy level, grooming and maintenance. Think about your lifestyle, requirement, and the time you will be giving to your dog and your ability to care for them.

Finances: Most of the first-time dog owners never consider the cost while looking to buy or adopt a dog. You are aware of the initial prices that are involved while you go for a shopping, but think about the future and ongoing costs like, medicines, food, grooming, treat, insurance, veterinary care etc.

Shelter: A secure area, especially who prefer keeping their dogs in their doghouse rather than with them in their house. Every dog needs their own house irrespective they stay with you in your house a whole day. They want to keep themselves dry during rainy and warm during chilly days when they are out enjoying themselves.

Time: This is the most important of all. Dogs are social animal, they need your time, their alphas time. If you don’t have a time, you might want to look for a dog walker, day care service provider(s) or someone who can look after your dog.

Pet Insurance: You might think it as useless, but just like we do need insurance, they too require it. It will save you thousands $$ in the times like unexpected illness, requirement for any surgery, accidents. This will give you a complete peace of mind in such hard times. There are many dog breeds which are prone to disease and illness as they grow.  Some insurance can even help you save the money you are putting during your vet visits.

Vet: Make sure to search for the vet near you.  Puppies need several visits to vet at the early stage, as they need vaccines and booster shots like rabies. Not only this, you will have to take them for their regular health and wellness checkup at early stage.

Spay and neuter: A lot of vet or adoption center offers you this in your package with your regular shots, especially for the first-time dog parents. So, there is a benefit of adopting an older dog, they are already fixed, so you don’t have to worry about it. A lot of them are already house trained and it easy for them to settle with the new family in no time.

Things to get for your dog or a puppy before you get them home

  • Water and food bowl
  • A Comfortable Bed
  • A dog cage / crate
  • Dog Collar
  • A Lead & Harness
  • Dog Tag and Dog Collar With your Details on it
  • A Microchip (You can ask your vet for this)
  • Toys as per their age and breed
  • Toys of teething especially for a puppy, so they won’t damage anything in your house
  • Dog food (Consult your vet or local pet store to and get the food as per their age)
  • Flea & Tick Collar, especially if you are bringing them in summers

Once you bring the dog home, here are few things that will help you get started as a dog parent. Whether you bring a puppy or an adult dog, patience is the most important thing which you will need in abundance to treat and train your dog.

List of things you will need to do once you bring your dog home

  • Safety inside and outside the house: Make sure to secure your important and expensive belongings in your house. As a pup/ dog tends to play with anything they see around them.
    • Make sure all the tangled and trailing electrical wires are away from their reach or are kept in the chew protector
    • Lock the cupboard which contains the house cleaning essentials that can harm your dog and are in their reach
    • Keep all the kitchen appliance close, especially dryer, front load washing machines, ovens too sometime, as a puppy can easily get in
    • Use non-skid mats or carpets, this will avoid accidents and causing them injury
    • Outside your house, make sure your garden is secure with proper fencing, so they don’t run away
    • Make sure you don’t have plants or shrubs that are poisonous and can harm your dog. You can consult your vet and they will help you with this
    • Make sure you don’t have any sharp gardening equipment’s lying around
    • Keep your swimming pool covered

  • Enroll Your Dog for Training Class. Enrolling your dog/ pup for a training class is a great way to start and build your relationship. A lot of people train their dogs at home, but if you take your dog to the special training classes, the trainer might give you special tips and trick to get along with your dog and help them control better in all the environment.

  • Routines: Make sure to set a schedule for everything. Timely feeding, potty training, going out for walk and so does the regular bedtimes just like we have for our kids. Make sure you tuck them in their bed and give them their blanket every time they go off to bed.

  • Potty Training: Either it’s a pup or a dog, they need a proper potty training. Take them to the same place to do their business. Don’t allow them to poop at different places every time. If you take them on the same place, they will remember their scent and do their business there only. For a pup in an initial stage, you might have to look for a sign that they need to do their business, like scratching near the door, standing near the door, barking, laying on the floor etc. If they are well potty trained, you will be happy. NP: Make sure to carry your pooper scooper or waste collection bags with you as you might have to clean when you are out in the neighbor, else you might face the trouble.

  • Obedience Training: is important foundation for all the dogs from pups to adult. Training them well and having a dog listen to you will not only make the world easy for them but, beautiful and safer as well.

  • Advance Training: After the obedience training, if you are confident enough of the training, you can give them advance training for more fun and tricks and skills.

  • Fun: Not only training is important but spend some time with your dog. You both will get to know each other, and this will build a trust and love between you. The more your dog spends time with you, more they will desire to show the love and please you.

  • Traveling: If you are a frequent traveler or love going out, you must consider buying harness and a seat belt for their safety. Make sure your dog has a microchip and a dog tag with your details on it. Carry a dog car crate / mat which will provide your dog a comfortable seat and they can lay down. Don’t forget to carry a dog waste removal carry bag or pooper scooper as you might have to help them or clean after they are done with their business.

  • Water bowl and food. You can search for portable pet travel water bottle, which is easy to carry and feed your dog instead of traditional dog bowls.

Dogs and Children

Make sure you never leave your children alone with your dog when you are a first-time pet parent, especially with the high energy level dogs or pups. Other things you will have to keep in mind:

  • Teach your kids or any outsider, not to scream and run towards your dog
  • Don’t harass them
  • Don’t play rough with them and never force them for something

Food and Diet

If you want your pup or dog to be healthy, a good and balanced diet is important. Puppy grows faster and so they need different diet compared to the adult dogs. It is advisable to give them a formulated food at earlier stages or you can consult your vet for the same, they will help you with the diet chart and food recommendations. Tips for better and healthy lifestyle:

  • Feed your puppy four times a day and gradually reduce to three when they are four to six months old and after that period, two meals are good enough to suffice their day
  • Dot change their meal what they eat frequently, this will disturb their digestion
  • Give them a food they can digest easily, this is good for their development
  • Changes in the diet should be made gradually over the span of weeks
  • If your dog or puppy produces light color stools or have diarrhea consult your vet
  • Ensure clean water source
  • Avoid feeding your dog scrap food source
  • Make sure to pull the food bowl at regular intervals

Food your dog can eat

Food your dog can’t eat

Plain yogurt – Sourcing of protein and calcium

Hard chews (This will damage their teeth)

Apple slice – Source of Vitamin A, C & fiber

Avocado

Cooked chicken

Grapes and Resins

Cooked Salmon

Chocolate – it’s a poison for a dog

Oatmeal

Raw meat and Fish

Vegetables – Beans and Carrot

Chicken Bones

Common disease

If your dog is not vaccinated, here are a few signs of the disease you can spot at an early stage.

Infection

Symptoms

Kennel cough

Strong cough, often with honking sound, Runny nose, Sneezing, Lethargy, Loss of appetite

Canine parvovirus

Fever, Vomiting, Weakness, Depression, Anorexia, Lethargy, Severe Blood Diarrhea

Infectious canine hepatitis

Fever, Vomiting, Diarrhea, An enlarged liver, Abdominal pain, Lethargy

Leptospirosis

Fever, Shivering, increased thirst, muscle tenderness, painful inflammation within the eye, dehydration, vomiting, changes in frequency or the amount of urination

Canine distemper

Clear nasal discharge, Anorexia, Coughing, Vomiting, Diarrhea, Lethargy, Purulent eye discharge

Advice: This infection and symptoms are based on the reviews and detailed research. Make sure to consult your vet instead of treating it yourself at home. This content is for the education purpose.

Best of luck with your new puppy or dog. Remember, it’s you who will make the difference by acting as the alfa, which a dog will need while settling in the new environment. Hope this detailed guide with tips and list for the first-time dog parent helps you makes your life easy.