If you’ve never owned a dog before, be prepared for something of a learning curve.
Caring for your new pooch takes a lot more than you might think, particularly something like dog haircuts if it’s a high-maintenance breed.
Luckily, there’s some general information that applies to all dog breeds. Below is all you need to know as a new dog owner to help your pet live a long and happy life.
Choosing a Breed
Choosing the right breed as a new owner is more difficult than you might think. Rather than going for the breed you like the most, consider choosing one that’s known to be low maintenance and easy to care for.
Generally speaking, this includes:
- Jack Russell
- Golden Retriever
- Border Terrier
- Most Spaniels
Breeds like French Bulldogs and Pugs are incredibly popular but don’t make the best choice for new dog owners. They have numerous health issues, which can be expensive and difficult to manage if you don’t have much experience.
Whatever breed you choose, be sure to do plenty of research first so you’re as prepared as possible. And remember, longhaired dogs might look nice, but you’ll have to do regular dog grooming in your home to keep them looking nice.
Breeder or Rescue Shelter?
This is the age-old question when getting a new dog. For first-time owners, adopting from a shelter is actually a much better idea.
While puppies might be appealing, adopting a full-grown dog will work out much easier in the long run. Importantly, you’ll have a much better idea of their personality and maintenance needs, which you don’t have with a puppy.
But if you know of an ethical breeder in your area, by all means go with them. Just check shelters first because you might find your dream dog.
Prepare your Home
Is your home ready for a dog? Probably not. Think of it like prepping your home for a new baby because it’s mostly the same thing.
- Food and water bowls
- Dog bed
- Collar and leash
- Dog food
Regardless of the breed, you’ll likely need to do dog grooming in your home. If it’s a longhaired breed, be prepared to do dog haircuts, which can get messy.
For this you’ll need:
- Dog shampoo
- Doggy hairbrush
- Nail clippers
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
If all this sounds a bit much (which it can be), consider searching the internet for “dog grooming near me” or contacting a mobile pet grooming service.
Commit to Training and Exercise
Training is vital for ensuring your new dog behaves properly. Basic training isn’t too difficult and you’ll be able to do it yourself at home.
But enrolling in obedience classes can be a good way to socialize your dog too so is worth the money.
In terms of exercise, each breed is different. Working breeds, such as Sheepdogs, Huskies, Spaniels, and so on, need much more exercise than a Pug or French Bulldog.
You should be prepared for at least one walk a day that lasts up to an hour. Energetic breeds might need 2 or 3 walks a day. Again, this is why research is important before choosing the right breed.
Find a Vet and Get Microchipped
It’s best to find a veterinarian before your dog gets sick. What’s more, if you’re getting a puppy, it’ll need shots. Ask around in your area to find a good veterinarian and develop a good relationship with them early on.
A vet will also microchip your dog. While it’s not law, it’s certainly a good idea. A microchip contains your information and makes it easier to find your dog if it gets lost.
A microchip also helps with dog theft because the information can’t be changed. It’s about the size of a grain of rice and gets injected into the dog’s loose skin around its neck.
Don’t Underestimate Grooming
Dog grooming is vital regardless of breed. Much how you wouldn’t go your whole life without a shower or brushing your teeth, the same should be true for your dog.
It helps to understand the breed’s specific needs before you draw up a grooming schedule. A low-maintenance breed can make do with dog grooming in the home.
But a longhaired breed would benefit from a mobile pet grooming service because they’re harder to deal with.
Every dog should be brushed regularly, but again, this depends on the breed. Shorthaired breeds need brushing about once a month, more during molting season.
Some longhaired breeds (such as a Shih Tzu) might need brushing daily to keep their fur knot free.
Here are some of the most important tips for dog grooming in your home.
Should you cut their hair?
Longhaired breeds or double-coated breeds (such as Huskies) benefit from a trim in the warmer months. Is this something you should do at home?
No. Doing dog haircuts requires training, much like people haircuts. It’s best to just search “dog grooming near me” online to find a reputable local service to do it for you.
If you need to trim the occasional knot from their fur, go ahead. Make sure you use sharp scissors and never cut away more than is needed.
Brushing their teeth
New owners often overlook their dog’s dental hygiene. While a dog’s diet isn’t as high in sugar as ours, they still need their teeth brushing.
This is something you can do as part of your dog grooming in your home. Be sure to use proper dog toothpaste because it doesn’t contain fluoride.
But it’s also helpful to take your dog to the vet every few months for a deep clean.
Caring for a new dog isn’t that difficult if you’re prepared. A bit of practice goes a long way when it comes to training, exercising, and feeding.
One thing you might struggle with is dog grooming in the home. If so, consider finding a mobile pet grooming service to help you with the harder tasks. Remember, don’t try to tackle dog haircuts yourself!