Deciding to add a furry, four-legged member to the family is an exciting time – just make sure you are prepared?
Whether you’re welcoming a puppy or an adult dog, there are a few things that need to be ticked off your to-do list before those muddy paws come bounding into your home.
Before your dog comes home
Make sure that everyone in the house agrees on some basic but very important house rules – decide whether or not he will be allowed on the sofa, on the bed, and which rooms will be off-limits.
Be sure everyone uses the same words for commands so your dog isn’t confused. For example, what does “down” mean – lay down or get off the bed? Puppy training classes can help in this area, too.
Have a shortlist of two to three vet clinics you’d like to visit. Once your dog is home arrange a meet and greet with your dog. Be sure to share the same philosophy as your vet and if you find them pushy or intimidating, go elsewhere. You should find it comfortable to ask the vet questions (even the “silly” ones). The clinic may also run puppy and obedience classes or will be able to recommend good ones in the area.
Your dog should be microchipped when you pick him up, make sure you have the number and get the contact details changed to yours. If he isn’t microchipped, be sure to get this done as a priority and register his details with the local council.
Dog proof your house. Have a look at everything that is on dog-level – TV cords, shoes, kids toys – and put them away. Install baby gates as needed to block off rooms and stairs.
Get everything you need before your dog comes home (see our Essentials list) so you’re prepared.
Set up the crate in a location near the family, rather than in an isolated area.
When it comes what to feed your dog, everyone has an opinion. The things you need to consider are: your dog’s age, breed, activity level, reproduction status. Don’t be fooled by advertising or buzz words and expensive doesn’t always equal best. Speak to your vet, breeder or rescue center for advice and read up on common ingredients which can be harmful. If opting for a raw diet, follow expert advice and introduce any new brands or foods gradually.
A dog crate is a must – it is your dog’s own quiet space to rest. It should be large enough for your dog to stand up, turn around and lie down. For puppies, choose a dog crate that will fit his adult size
A dog bed should be able to withstand chewing and ideally fit into the crate
At least two heavy-duty, stainless steel bowls
Identification tags with your contact details number
A leash, preferably made from leather or rope. Avoid retractable leashes.
Dog toys made of solid rubber or nylon and interactive toys that occupy and mentally stimulate your dog
Puppy pads if you are using them
A mix of white wine vinegar spray which is also good for removing pet odors, so that your dog doesn’t go back to the same place to pee or poop
Flea/tick/heartworm prevention options are best discussed with your vet.