Responsible dog ownership involves more than food, water and walks for "Fido." It includes providing him with an enriched environment, love, respect, patience and taking care of him as a unique individual. It means understanding that great nutrition is the basis of great health—getting him started with proper natural nutrition and holistic care will allow him to thrive and achieve his best health. Your dog will thank you for it!
So, what needs to be done before you bring your new dog home?
- Before the new dog arrives, the entire family must be committed to its care. It must be decided who will feed, walk, groom and pick up after the dog in advance. Although dogs are often chosen "for the kids," the full responsibility of caring for a dog is often too much for children. While certain "dog chores" should be given to the children, an adult must also supervise the daily routine.
- Prior to bringing your new dog home it will be necessary to make a shopping trip! You must purchase all necessary food, treats, food bowls, bedding, crates, grooming tools, toys, leash, collar, and ID tags in order to welcome your new dog into the family.
- Take this opportunity to start your dog off with excellent nutrition in the form of natural pet food. All ingredients in natural pet food come from plant, animal or mineral sources and these foods cannot be highly processed or contain synthetic chemicals (including artificial flavors, preservatives or colorings). Read the ingredients before you select a food—the first 5 ingredients listed are the major products in the food—avoid foods that list by-products, meals, fillers or chemicals here.
- Dog-proof your home! Move breakables or "chewables" to higher ground (including your favorite shoes!), move electrical cords, plants or any other hazards out of reach. Any area of the house that is "off-limits" should be identified before the dog comes home.
- Ready the yard! Make sure there are no holes in the fence or areas where a dog could escape. Make sure the pooper-scooper is out of the package and ready to go!
- Find a veterinarian who agrees with your natural approach to caring for your new dog. Inform them you are interested in natural solutions and products to remedy conditions whenever possible. It is important to have a new dog examined shortly after bringing them home to establish this veterinary relationship and update them on any necessary medical care. If you have a new puppy they often require vaccinations, deworming and other routine "puppy care."
You are now fully prepared and he arrives! Remember some important things to make your new dog’s transition as easy as possible:
- Introduce the new dog slowly to his new home. Show him his crate, bed and toys first. Let him sniff around and spread his scent. He is bound to be a little nervous and frightened…especially if he is a puppy and missing his mom and littermates.
- Introduce new family members slowly. Although everyone is thrilled at having a new dog, take turns petting! Several pairs of hands all at once can be overwhelming. If there are children involved, never leave them together unattended. Children can unintentionally hurt young puppies in their eagerness to play and sometimes a rambunctious puppy will overwhelm a young child. Introductions to the neighbors (including neighborhood dogs) should be done only after he is comfortable with his immediate family.
- If there are other pets in the household, introduce them slowly. Don’t expect them to become best friends immediately (although sometimes they will!)…they need time to adjust to one another. Show love and patience with both the old and the new pets.
- Start training immediately…this includes teaching your dog what is acceptable behavior, where to eliminate, what toys are his, etc. Everyone in the house must abide by the rules!
Welcome your dog with love, patience and mutual respect and he will feel like part of the family in no time!