For first-time dog owners, the prospect of bringing your pet home is incredibly exciting, but it may seem a little overwhelming when it’s all brand new. A dog is a significant addition to your life, and if you’ve made the decision to own one, you’ve likely considered and have at least a general understanding of the responsibilities that come with it. However, it’s totally normal to be unsure of all the steps you need to take to prepare yourself and your home for the arrival of this furry new member of the family.
Make no mistake, if you’re bringing your first dog home soon, the time to get organized is now. There’s nothing wrong with over-preparing, but if you’re worried you might not be ready yet, we’ve put together 5 steps to get prepared and make the transition as easy as possible for both you and your dog. The more prepared you are, the better you’ll feel and the more excited you’ll be to bring them home. Here’s what you can do to make the big day go smoothly:
The very first step is to acquire everything that is absolutely essential in taking care of your dog. We’re talking food, bowls, collar, leash, bed , grooming supplies - the basics you cannot do without. You’ll want to have all the fundamentals ready before your dog arrives, and find the proper spaces in your home for these new items. Starting with this step is not only vital but a great way to ease any soon-to-be-first-time owner’s anxiety. These items will vary depending on breed, so it’s important to research beforehand to get an understanding of your dog’s specific needs. Start by learning how to take care of their breed, and make a list of everything you will need to have on Day One. For ideas, check out this list .
While this step technically falls under Research and Supplies, we think it’s too important not to elaborate on. Much more goes into this decision than simply picking out a generic bag of dog food. Your dog needs a balanced diet the same way you do, and like other supplies, the type of food they’ll need depends on their breed as well as their age. There are plenty of free resources available online that can assist you in understanding the exact nutrition your dog needs, throughout each stage of their life. You can start with articles like these to learn the fundamentals, then advance your searches to include your dog’s breed. You can use your findings to search for a reputable brand that meets your requirements or ask a worker at your local pet store for their assistance. Last but not least, make sure the brand you choose is easily accessible to you. A certain brand may be perfect for your dog, but if you can only find it at one store within 50 miles, it’s the most convenient scenario to put yourself in.
It’s important for your dog to have a special space of their own; it greatly assists in training to build a good routine. Pick an area in your home to designate just for them, where you can set up their bed and toys. To really show your dog how special and treasured they are we recommend getting them a den , which provides your dog an added sense of comfort and security. A den not only helps establish your dog’s special spot, but it also looks amazing in your home compared to cage-like wire crates and unsightly kennels. Dens typically are equipped with latch-able doors allowing you to contain your dog when necessary, such as running the vacuum or hosting a party. Having this area prepared prior to your dog’s arrival will allow you to teach them from day one to become familiar with their space and build good habits.
Now that you have your supplies and established a special space for your dog, you need to prepare the rest of your home. Any sentimental pieces you’d like to keep safe need to be put out of your dog’s reach, and removed from any precarious spots where they could be knocked down. Anything you wouldn’t like chewed on should be off the floor. Items that could be a choking hazard, and those containing dangerous chemicals, such as cleaning products and laundry supplies, need to be stored up high. We highly recommend you research which foods, plants, and regular household items are dangerous for dogs, as well as learning the signs of poisoning . If you have open wastebaskets, either move them to a safe area or invest in ones with a lid. If there are any areas in your home you would like to keep off-limits, you may want to consider getting an indoor dog gate, which has multiple benefits .
Now that you have your basic supplies and your living space is ready, it’s time to prepare for the big ride home. With all the work that goes into your home, your car may seem like an afterthought, but it’s just as important. As with your living space, you’ll need certain supplies. Depending on the size of your dog, you’ll either want a pet car seat or allow them to sit directly on the seat. If you choose the latter, you’ll want a harness that you can either loop the seatbelt through or attach a dog seat belt to keep your dog safe and secure while you’re driving. If you want to preserve the quality of your seats, we recommend you invest in a pet seat cover . Just like your home, you’ll want your car to be clear of any hazardous items, and anything you don’t want chewed up. Ideally, you’ll want to bring at least one person with you who can either drive or keep an eye on your dog and attend to them if need be.
If you have made it through these steps, congratulations! You are officially ready to become a pet parent. All the hard work you have put in is about to pay off, and we guarantee your dog will be feeling the love!
Comments will be approved before showing up.