Dog ownership is a fulfilling and enjoyable experience, but it is also a big commitment and responsibility. With so much to think about and prepare for in the lead up to bringing a new dog home, it can be easy to get carried away in the excitement and forget things.
So, whether you’re bringing home a new puppy or a rescue dog, here are some important things to think about:
- Vaccinations – rescue dogs will come with their vaccines up to date, but puppies need their first combination vaccinations from 6-7 weeks old. This means they should have received their first shots before you bring them home. As puppies have high worm burdens at birth, they should also have been wormed accordingly. Use TermaWorm to treat all common roundworm and tapeworm found in the UK.
- Insurance – before bringing a new dog home, it is worth looking into insurance and finding the best policy for you. This is especially important for puppies as they have their whole lives ahead of them in which to get ill or injured, and many providers won’t offer insurance past a certain age, so do it early.
- Registering with a vet – getting your new dog registered with a vet should be one of your first priorities when bringing them home.
- Feeding – speak to your rescue centre or breeder about the food your dog is currently being fed and continue with it for a while, or at least until your dog is properly settled in at home. Changing the food at the same time as changing your dog’s environment can be too much all at once, so do it gradually, if you have to do it at all. If you need advice on choosing a suitable food for your dog’s breed, life stage, or dietary needs, don’t hesitate to contact us.
- Comfort – choose a comfy bed, some toys, food bowls and even a soft blanket to create a comfortable, familiar space for your dog to retreat to. Make sure this is in a quiet and private place, away from the hustle and bustle of the household, and away from other pet beds. Rescue dogs will be stressed at first, so take things slowly and make sure your dog has somewhere to go when things get too much.
- Toilet training – in puppies, this takes time, but most will learn the basics from their mothers. Puppies have poor bladder control so will need to go outside frequently. If you reward them every time they toilet outside, they will come to learn that doing this is favourable, rather than toileting inside.
- Socialisation – arrange play dates with other vaccinated dogs and cats to get your dog used to being around other animals. Socialisation with people and children will also encourage more relaxed and less fearful behaviours. Take initial interactions slowly when it comes to a rescue dog, as meetings that are too full-on can be stressful and overwhelming.
- Training – take your pup along to puppy training classes as soon as they are old enough as, not only will they teach them how to behave and obey your commands, they will provide more opportunities for socialisation.
- Handling – your dog will need to be handled during its life, so get them accustomed to it early. Open their mouths to check their teeth, and regularly check the ears. OraFresh is our own brand oral hygiene paste that can be used to maintain and support the overall health of the mouth. RestAural is a gentle everyday ear cleaner that helps remove wax and discharge, eliminate moisture, and balance the ear's natural pH. Both products are handy cupboard essentials that not only care for your pet, but help teach calm behaviour when being handled.
If you have any advice of your own on bringing home a new dog, please feel free to share it below!
Written by: Hannah Dyball