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Having a dog brings absolute joy to my life. I think that is why my family and I always had pets in our household throughout my childhood – now currently with two of my own. When I adopted Andrea, he was my very first real experience at being a dog-mom.
I knew what to expect overall in terms of raising and training a puppy (from both previous family-pet experience and working at an animal hospital at the time), but never anticipated the extent of my role as a dog-parent, the responsibilities and how much undeniable love I would have for him. I get so emotional just writing about this simply because he is my world – my first love. Don’t worry, dearest husband – I love you, too!
Nonetheless, adopting Andrea drastically changed my life – just as much as it can for any new dog owner. There are things I knew already, and things I wished I had in the process of bringing home and caring for a puppy. Seven years later, I have learned more than I can carry. But I have 7 crucial tips for new dog owners that are guaranteed to make the life transition a little easier when bringing your puppy home.
7 Crucial Tips
For New Dog Owners
When Bringing A Puppy Home
Schedule their first vet visit
Take the step to knowing your new furry family member is in optimum health. By taking your puppy to your vet for a visit (regardless of previous records), your veterinarian can do all the necessary workup in making sure your they are both happy and healthy in their new home. Your vet will be the one to guide you through possible treatments, protocols, vaccines, health-related issues and answer any questions or concerns you may have in achieving proper care for your pet.
Plus, you want your puppy to get acquainted with the vet experience and socialize with those that are likely to be under its care during those visits.
Refrain from switching up their diet
Your puppy’s tummy is extremely sensitive, but it’s important to ensure they stay on a strict regimen without making abrupt changes to their food (unless otherwise instructed by your vet). The food transition period is a slow, delicate process – for every pet at any stage of life (not just puppies).
Sudden changes in diet (by brand, age or flavor options) can cause Gastrointestinal (GI) issues, which can lead to further complications if left untreated. If you are needing to change your puppy’s diet, talk to your veterinarian first for strict protocol instructions.
Quality over quantity – in buying the right toys
Am I saying not to spoil your new fur-baby? Of course not – even I did. But buying the right toys can certainly be a life savor when it comes to a shoe chewer, food fanatic, anxious or highly active dog. It can take time getting to know your new dog’s personality as they grow, but if your puppy is likely teething and sociable from the get-go then it wouldn’t hurt to have chews and mentally stimulating toys to keep them busy and self-entertained.
Be flexible with your routine
Just as your puppy will bend and learn to form a routine, you also have to be willing. This includes frequent, consistent potty breaks, eating hours and bedtime. The key is consistency if you want your pet to become acclimated and on a set schedule.
Hold back from the inevitable guilt
Those begging eyes looking up at you while you eat, or the cries to be picked up and placed on the bed in the middle of the night. Andrea now sleeps in my bed (because I allow it), but he didn’t always. The point is, moments of guilt will overcome you and it’s important to stand your firm ground if you want to avoid certain habits – like being on the couch, begging for food at the dinner table and sleeping on the bed to name a few.
Choose a safe, consistent space
For sleeping, feeding and down time. Not for you – your pet, of course. Choose this space for them to call “home“. Whether that be a crate or a sectioned off area of your home (“psst” – invest in a baby gate). It’s the space your puppy will be able to associate as their own, and use for security. It’s also a great way to refrain your new companion from having easy access to the entire house. Because if you didn’t already know, a puppy’s motive at a young age is to explore new territory – while also marking it.
Always be ready for the unexpected
Literally – from accidents and slobber, to food spills and muddy paws. The unexpected will come in all forms and sizes (no pun intended), so you need something that will tackle every tough mess and easy clean-up. With Brawny® Tear-A-Square™, accidents are no match for these absorbent and durable 2-ply, premium paper towels.
Brawny® Paper Towels were my lifeline then, and 44 years later (in dog years) I still need them! Just the other day I had to give Andrea a wipe down after I caught him rolling on a fresh dead frog – his way of appreciating the bath I gave him hours prior.
With Brawny Tear-A-Square you have the option to choose your towel size – down to a quarter sheet – to suit your size mess, so you never have to feel guilty using a whole sheet. And I’ll be honest – I was not about to bathe him all over again. So having the option for a half or quarter sheet during the unexpected makes it that much more convenient for easy clean-up. Plus, less is more!
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to shop must-have necessities for new dog owners.
Before bringing your puppy into its new home, be sure to pick up a package of Brawny Tear-A-Square at your participating Target – located in the household toiletries aisle. Whether you are cleaning up muddy paw prints, picking up smelly accidents or wiping the slobber off your face – there’s a square for that! Trust me, you’re going to need them.