So, you’ve finally surrendered to those big brown eyes you see everywhere and decided to take the puppy plunge? You’ve scoured all adoption and rescue groups on Facebook, bookmarked all potential profiles, liked all dog pages on Instagram and are researching as thoroughly as a PhD scholar.
Raising a happy, healthy puppy is quite like a full-time job. You may have done your homework and purchased all supplies like dog food, leash and a cute little collar for your new family member. But there are some other, more important things that you need to take care of to welcome them home happily.
- Prep the house for your new furry friend – Set up a designated dog zone, where you can keep your pet’s crate, bed and toys. You may even consider setting up baby gates, depending on how old your pup is. Puppy-proof your home to keep them safe. This means keeping electrical cords covered or secured, stowing away shoes, socks, and other chewable delights, and keeping trash at a place where they can’t go scavenging for them.
- Find a vet, ASAP! – Have the name of a trusted veterinarian before you need one. The last thing you need is to be in panic mode, trying to track down a vet for the first time if your pup falls ill. Ask friends, family or others who have pets. Once you get one, try and remain consistent with the vet so that both the doctor and the dog get to know each other better.
- Give them lots of exercise – The key to raising a happy and healthy dog is – no points for guessing – exercise! The most tough-to-handle dog behaviours arise when they don’t go out as often. You don’t want them biting people or barking unnecessarily.
- Proper nutrition is a must – Don’t let them fall prey to health issues. Provide them with a healthy diet. Dogs can benefit a lot from a good vitamin. Studies have shown that puppies who are fed an antioxidant supplement, exhibit a drastic increase in immune function compared to those on a standard diet. Check for the best dog food and ask your vet for any additional supplements they might need.
- Train them, and train yourself – It’s going to be challenging for both the dog and you to settle into a new routine, especially if the dog is a year or two old (think chewed up slippers and cushions). So what should be your next step? Start with slow and steady training of your dog. From potty training, socializing, greeting people, commands, chewing, biting – it is an endless list, but will do wonders. Most importantly, be patient and loving. Be the person your dog deserves, and you will get so much more love in return.
Did you do the same things with your pup? What other tips would you share with first-time dog parents?