25 Things I Wish I Knew Before Getting a Dog
First time dog owners often face several unexpected challenges when welcoming this adorable creature into their home, and it can be difficult to know what to expect beforehand. If you’re thinking about getting a dog, but don’t want to make any mistakes with your first pooch, check out these 25 things I wish I knew before getting my first dog.
Have you become or are you about to become a first-time dog owner? Congratulations on unlocking a new level of unconditional love and companionship in your life!
Being a dog parent is one of the most wonderful and thrilling joys of life. From having someone give you a warm welcome when you reach home to having a walk and cuddle buddy who loves spending time with you – dogs are most certainly one of the best companions one could wish for.
However, the idea of adopting and caring for a dog can be pretty intimidating, especially if you’ve never owned one before.
Well, not to worry! Here are 25 things every first-time dog owner needs to know – to give them the confidence boost to reciprocate the love and care they receive from their furry little friend.
1. Dogs Need Time to Adjust
Whether you adopt a puppy or an adult dog, expect to experience an adjustment period when you bring your furry buddy home. There’s nothing to worry about when bringing a dog home; just be patient and prepare well in advance to ease the dog’s transition.
Dogs can often feel scared or overwhelmed when they enter a new home for the first time, displaying evident signs of fear. However, not all dogs react that way; some are aloof and relaxed and become even more hyperactive as they get comfortable and gain confidence. So, while some dogs may easily settle in within a day or two, others may take several months to adjust.
Adult dogs often have a longer adjustment period, especially when they’ve been adopted from a shelter. Puppies, on the other hand, need more training but adjust quicker. You can help your newly-adopted companion adjust more smoothly by having everything planned and set up at home before they come. That way, you’ll be able to get off to a great start.
2. Your Dog Has Basic Needs that Have to be Met
Once you become the proud owner of a wonderful dog, you need to master dog care basics. Just like humans and other animals, every dog has some basic needs that have to be met. At the very least, every canine requires proper nutrition, adequate shelter, water, physical care and grooming, and, of course, social interaction. Dogs aren’t very high maintenance pets, so once you meet their basic requirements, you’ll be well on your way to giving them an amazing life.
3. You’ll Need to Find a Great Veterinarian
Just as you have your personal general physician, every dog needs a great veterinarian! Even before bringing your dog home, the first place you take them is to see the vet. Not only will a vet look out for your dog’s health, but they’ll also educate and guide you about your new companion. Start looking for a trusting and supportive vet the moment you decide to adopt a dog.
4. It’s Good to Stock Up on Dog Supplies
A dog is going to need a lot of stuff in his new home. So, how can you decide what your dog needs and what you want for them? Consider getting a bit of both. Navigate steadily and carefully through your shopping spree for your new pet. Get them all the necessary supplies and maybe a few additional ones. Some of the most important dog supplies include toys, beds, bowls, collars, leashes, and crates.
5. You’ll Have to Carefully Choose Dog Food
Your dog’s health depends largely on its diet. With so many dog foods available in the market, you may often find yourself overwhelmed with choices. It’s crucial to determine your dog’s daily nutritional requirements by consulting your vet and then choosing a diet that meets your dog’s needs sufficiently. When it comes to diet and nutrition for dogs, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. However, you can follow a rule of thumb: if your pup is doing well on a specific kind of dog food, then it’s probably fine for them, as long as it is balanced.
6. Dog Training is Never Ending
Every dog needs training, not only to be well-behaved but also to lead a safe life. Generally, dog training helps owners control their dogs by giving them a sense of structure. Also, in the long-term, effective training can make both you and your dog happier and more content while enhancing the bond you share.
Since training is a significant part of dog ownership, you must start training your furry friend as soon as you bring them home. Dogs are incredibly intelligent creatures that can easily pick up commands and learn various tricks that will leave you stunned. If you find training your dog challenging, it may be a good idea to hire an experienced dog trainer or take your dog to a training course.
7. Prepare for Behavior Problems
As loving and loyal as dogs are, they aren’t always perfect. Almost every dog owner has to deal with some kind of dog behavioral issue at some point. Whether it’s excessive barking, destructive chewing, or furniture scratching, your dog may engage in uncooperative activities that will leave you bothered.
Additionally, you may also encounter more serious and deep-rooted issues, such as aggression or separation anxiety, resulting in more negative outcomes. In fact, your dog’s inappropriate urinating might not actually be a health or physiological issue but a behavioral one. Either way, it’s a good idea to prepare to deal with behavioral issues before they grow into much larger problems for you and your dog.
8. Prepare for Health Problems
Dogs are prone to many illnesses, so health problems are bound to come up sooner or later during your dog’s lifetime. Arthritis, dental diseases, allergies, parasites, ear infections, and tumors are just a few common health conditions that occur in does. While many of these health problems are easy to deal with, it’s best to prepare yourself for other more serious ones and medical emergencies.
9. Expect Dog Hair Everywhere
When you get a dog, there’s obviously going to be dog hair everywhere in your house. Generally, dogs have a natural shedding pattern that causes them to shed in the spring and fall season to make way for their new coats. This peak shedding period is marked by a lot, and we mean – A LOT – of hair around the house. Although dogs shed throughout the year, but that isn’t nearly as bad as those two periods. However, with a range of vacuum cleaners targeted mainly to clean up pet fur, it is more than easy to prevent your home from being covered completely in dog hair.
10. Dogs are a Huge Financial Responsibility
Your dog will soon be like a member of your family, and just like having children, it will cost you money. Even though dogs aren’t high maintenance pets, they do have certain needs and basic requirements that need to be fulfilled. Typically, the basic financial responsibility of adopting a dog can range from $300 to $1,000, but these are just the initial, one-time costs.
One-off expenses of adopting a dog include the adoption fee, spaying and neutering, initial vet exam, training, leash, and other basic supplies. The annual expenses of raising a dog include food, immunizations and medical checkups, license, toys, and other miscellaneous expenses. Lastly, you may also have to incur other option expenses, including pet health and life insurance.
11. Dogs Have Different Personality Types
Every dog has a unique personality, just like us. Some breeds may be introverts who like keeping to themselves, while others may be quite extroverted and talkative. For instance, Huskies are incredibly energetic and upbeat because they’ve been bred to be sled dogs for generations. It is critical to understand and research the differences between the personalities of dog breeds to find one that best suits you. So, adopting a breed with these rambunctious tendencies might not be the best idea if you live in a city apartment.
12. You’ll Need to Devote A Lot of Time
Dogs are the most loving creatures that crave and long for your love and attention. You’ll probably learn that once you adopt a dog and witness the excitement with which it’ll jump when you get home from work. The point is that these creatures require a lot of attention. However, if you view taking care of them as a chore, a dog might not be the right fit for you. Sure, a few of the things, such as cleaning and feeding, might be like a chore, but it is much like caring for a family member you love.
13. Accidents are Inevitable
No matter how many precautions you take or how much care you exercise, accidents are bound to happen. You can’t always protect your pup. Dogs can get sick, have upset stomachs, or hurt themselves while playing. In such cases, all you can do is prepare yourself to clean up the mess and care for your fluffy canine.
14. Dogs Have a Limited Life Span
Dogs inevitably become important members of the family, so it’s obvious that you form a close attachment to them. However, the sad reality is that the typical lifespan of a dog ranges from 10 to 14 years, depending on the breed. So, it’s important to enjoy and cherish every day with your bud! After all, they won’t be around forever.
15. You’ll Need to Practice Patience
Dogs can test your patience, too. You might get home for a party only to find your favorite boots all chewed up or your sofa all scratched up, or feces on the kitchen floor. Training your dog can help in solving these problems significantly, but there’s no assurance that this won’t happen once in a while. Either way, when an event like this occurs, yelling and screaming won’t help; deal with your pet patiently.
16. Your Dog Requires Grooming
Although it may vary according to the size and breed of a dog, all dogs need grooming. For instance, Labradors need regular baths to keep their coat from stinking, but short-haired Chihuahuas require an occasional bath. Moreover, dogs that don’t shed much, such as poodles and blue terriers, require regular haircuts from dog trimmers, but dogs with thick or long coats require regular baths and brushing.
17. Trimming Their Nails Can be a Pain
A dog’s nails can grow out really fast. In fact, they grow back to their normal size within just 2 to 3 weeks, depending on their breed. You’ll need to maintain your dog’s nails and prevent them from getting too long as they can cause major issues. While some dogs will sit peacefully and let you trim their nails, most of them can be a nuisance. So, if you’re struggling with trimming your dog’s nails by yourself, consider going to the vet.
18. They Need Baths Too
Dogs can get dirty and stinky quite quickly, especially when they play outside. Now, you probably don’t want your dog jumping on your couch or climbing in bed with you with its dirty paws. Needless to say, your dog will need a bath at least once every 3 months or as often as twice a month.
19. Dogs Can Get Cold
A popular mistaken belief is that dogs don’t get cold, or at least don’t get as cold as humans do. Well, the truth is that just because they belong to the wolf family and have fur doesn’t mean they don’t get cold. So, if you like in an area with freezing temperatures, make sure to provide your pup with an insulated or heated area.
20. Dogs Don’t Sweat Like Humans
Dogs only have sweat glands on their paws. So, to cool down, dogs pant to circulate air and lower their body temperature. Their fur acts like a coat, so even warm temperatures can be very hot for them. Therefore, it’s important to provide your pup with a constant supply of water and ample shade to cool them down on a hot summer day.
21. It’s Better to Get Pet Insurance
Getting pet insurance helps you prepare for expensive vet costs incurred as a result of illnesses or accidents. Some insurance plans also include general care expenses, such as doctor visits, prescriptions, and vaccinations.
22. Prepared for Unexpected Expenses
Dogs can get quite destructively at times, breaking or destroying your precious possessions. At some point in their life, your dog will do something that will cost you money. So, it’s best to prepare yourself for their unforeseen occurrence so that you’re less upset when it actually happens.
23. Dogs Love Walks and Exercise
A huge chunk of the time you plan to devote daily to your dog should comprise walking. Dogs are energetic creatures that need lots of physical stimulation, which they get through exercise. Dogs generally require at least an hour a day of walking, but it can also be over an hour, depending on the breed. If you don’t have that much time to walk your dog, then it’s best to reconsider the adoption.
24. Be a Responsible Dog Owner
One of the most crucial things about being a first-time dog owner is to learn how to become a responsible one. To do this, you need to commit to your pup for life and accept responsibility for its actions. It is imperative that you offer your dog proper care while respecting your neighbors and community.
25. Dog Ownership Is Rewarding
As a first-time owner, you should know that dog ownership is one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll ever have. It may seem tough and challenging at first, but the joy of spending time with your beloved furry baby will make everything seem worthwhile.
We hope that these 25 things every first-time dog owner needs to know taught you things you desperately needed to know before bringing your pup home. That said, we hope you and your pup are the right fit for each other and make one another joyful and content!
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