Looking forward to welcoming a dog into your family? Find out how to keep your new friend happy and healthy with these 9 top tips for looking after your dog.
Here’s a list of supplies you will need to pick up before you bring your dog home:
A healthy diet is important to keep your dog in shape, so you will need to add wet and dry food to your weekly shop. If you're in doubt about how often you should feed your dog, it's important to ask your vet and read pet food instructions for advice.
It’s also a good idea to regularly stock up on treats that are great for rewarding good behaviour and edible chew toys that will keep your dog entertained and satisfied.
Exercise is very important for dogs. It keeps them fit, healthy and happy so regular walks are an absolute must. How far and how often you walk your dog will depend on their age and what breed they are.
For example, smaller dogs like Chihuahuas may tire out after shorter walks, while hunting and working dogs like retrievers and huskies have more energy to burn. Ideally, your dog should get between 30 minutes and two hours of exercise a day.
For an idea of how much exercise is appropriate for your dog, have a look at our pet breeds guide.
While getting out of the house is important, there are also some fun ways to exercise your dog at home. Buy some treats and hide them around the house, sending your dog on a treasure hunt. Balls are perfect for games of fetch or keep away, while puzzle toys can keep your dog entertained while you’re busy.
Dogs love making new friends so be sure to schedule plenty of time for them to socialise outside - with other dogs and people too. Playtime is also very important. You should set aside at least an hour or two a day just for playing and spending time together.
Any time you bring a new dog home you’ll want to head to the vet for a check-up. If you’re buying a puppy, you’ll have to book vaccinations against canine parvovirus, canine distemper virus, leptospirosis and infectious canine hepatitis.
Puppies are usually vaccinated at eight and ten weeks with a booster a year after their first vaccination. Vaccinations don’t last forever and older dogs will need a yearly top up against a variety of different diseases.
While regular vaccinations aren’t normally covered by insurance, there are some injections and treatments that may be covered under your policy. Check your policy documents to see exactly what is included.
There’s a very good chance your dog will have worms at some point in their life and as a responsible dog owner, it’s up to you to have your dog wormed regularly. There are other parasites to watch out for including fleas, ticks, lice and ear mites.
Health problems caused by these parasites can range from mild irritation to serious illness so book a vet appointment every three months for adult dogs, and more frequently for puppies for check-ups.
Laying some ground rules is incredibly important for helping your new dog settle in and feel at home. Training helps your dog understand what you want from them and makes it easier for you to quash bad habits early, like jumping up or biting.
It’s a great idea to get your dog used to grooming while they’re still young. Not only it is an important part of their care but it also gives you a chance to bond with your pup.
If your dog’s coat needs a regular trim or your dog is anxious about maintenance, a professional groomer may be able to help. You should:
Bringing a new dog into the family can be extremely rewarding. With the help of this guide, we hope you’ll be well prepared and ready to welcome your furry friend.