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First Time to Own a Dog? What Should You Prioritize

Owning a dog can be an enriching experience. Dogs provide companionship, love, and security and can help reduce stress levels. They are also great for getting exercise, which is essential for mental and physical health. Owning a dog can improve the overall quality of life and is something to consider if you’re looking for a new addition to your family.

However, being a dog owner means you are responsible for keeping it alive and healthy. The duties include feeding, exercising, and taking it to the vet for regular checkups. It is also essential to dog-proof your home to ensure they are safe and not chewing up your furniture or getting into the trash.

Here are some things you should prioritize if you’re a first-time dog owner.

Choose the Right Breed for You

There are over 340 recognized breeds of dogs, and each has its own unique set of characteristics. Consider what you want in a dog and research different breeds that fit those criteria. For example, if you live in a small apartment, you might want a smaller breed that doesn’t need as much exercise as a larger one.

If you’re a first-time pet owner, choosing the right dog breed is essential. Not all species are suited for every person, so it’s necessary to do your research. Some of the best dog breeds for first-time owners are:

  • Labradors – Labs are friendly, easy-to-train dogs that love to play. They are also great with kids and make good family pets.
  • Pugs – Pugs are another popular small and easy breed to manage. They don’t require much exercise but need regular brushing to keep their coat healthy.
  • Bulldogs – Bulldogs are sturdy dogs that don’t need much exercise. They make good watchdogs and are known for being gentle with children.
  • Golden Retrievers – Goldens are one of the most popular breeds because they are versatile and friendly. They require a lot of exercise but make great companions and family pets.
  • Beagles – Beagles are small hound dogs initially bred for hunting. They have a lot of energy and require regular exercise but are loyal and make great family pets.

However, it might not matter what breed you choose. As long as you are compassionate about the furry pet, you might do whatever it takes to ensure it remains healthy and fit.

Create a Schedule

It’s essential to create a schedule for your new dog, so you can ensure they are getting the proper amount of food, water, and exercise. Dogs need, on average, 30 minutes to two hours of physical activity per day, depending on their breed and size. They must also be fed at least once daily, with two meals ideal. It’s essential to have a set feeding schedule to digest their food correctly and avoid bloat, which is life-threatening. Finally, all dogs need access to fresh water at all times.

Puppies need even more care and attention than adult dogs. They must be fed three to four times per day and have access to water. Puppies also need a lot of exercise, with short walks or play sessions several times a day. It’s essential to create a schedule and stick to it as much as possible to ensure your puppy gets everything they need.

Veterinary Visits

A dog receiving a checkup from vet

You must take your new dog to the vet for a checkup soon after bringing them home. The vet will give them a physical examination and ensure they are up-to-date on their vaccinations. They can also help you create a care plan for your new pet, including tips on nutrition and exercise.

Finding a good veterinarian you trust and feel comfortable with is essential. Ask family and friends for recommendations or look for online reviews. Once you find a vet, ensure you take your dog in for regular checkups and vaccinations to keep them healthy and prevent disease.

Dog Training

Many dog owners don’t train their dogs to learn basic commands, which can lead to behavioral issues. Without proper training, your dog might not know how to behave when they’re inside or outside of the home. It can result in them jumping on people, barking excessively, or chewing on furniture.

To avoid these issues, pet owners must train their dogs to learn basic commands. You can do this through books, videos, or online tutorials. However, dog training classes might be essential for first-timers. These classes provide a structured environment where your dog can learn the basics in a safe and controlled setting.

Dog obedience classes are an excellent way to socialize your dog and teach them basic commands. It’s a great way to bond with your new pet and build a foundation for a lifetime of companionship.

Final Thoughts

Getting a new dog is an exciting time for any pet owner. However, before bringing your furry friend home, staying prepared for the responsibility is essential. Dogs need exercise, proper nutrition, and regular veterinary care to stay healthy and happy. They also need the training to learn basic commands and good manners. Your new dog will quickly become a cherished family member with proper care.

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