5 top tips for new dog owners
Loyal, loveable, cuddly and often clumsy, dogs make excellent companions. It’s really no wonder they’re Britain’s most loved pet, with 26% of our nation owning one.
If you’ve just bought a new puppy, or are planning to do so soon, believe us when we say that you’ll have your work cut out in the first few weeks!
It will be a crazy yet rewarding experience, as you settle your pooch into their ‘furever’ home with you and your family.
Before we talk about how important it is to compare dog insurance to make sure your canine is covered, we thought it would be useful to share five top tips to ensure your first few weeks with your pup are a success. Here they are:
Create a doggy shopping list
Prepare to part with a good chunk of cash in preparation for the arrival of your pooch! There’s a sizeable shopping list of doggy essentials that you’ll need to buy before your furry friend steps paws inside your home. Here’s what The Kennel Club recommends:
An anti-pulling aid(mainly harnesses and head collars) to prevent your pup from pulling on the lead.
A comfortable bedbig enough for your pup to grow into and stretch out in. Many puppies enjoy snuggling into a piece of ‘vetbed,’ which is synthetic simulated sheepskin.
Food and water bowlswhich should be non-slip and raised from the ground.
A car harness or travel cratefor bringing your pup home in and for transporting them when they’ve had their full vaccination course.
A collar, suited to your puppy’s breed, size and age. Your pup will grow fast, so the collar should be checked every day and adjusted accordingly if it feels too tight.
An ID tagwhich is a legal requirement. The tag needs to have your name and address inscribed on it. You could be fined up to £5,000 if you don’t do this, even if your pup is microchipped.
Leadssuited to your pup’s size and breed – not too long, too short or too heavy.
Poo bagswill be essential when you start taking your pup out for walks. You’ll be fined if you’re caught not picking up your dog’s mess.
A puppy crate(also consider a play pen or child gate) big enough for your pup to lie in stretched out and stand up in when it’s fully grown.
Toysin all shapes and sizes! Make your collection a mix of chew toys (which will prevent pup gnawing on your new sofa) as well as interactive toys, like frisbees and balls on ropes.
Get the admin sorted
As the RSPA notes, there are a number of important admin jobs you’ll need to do before you bring your pooch home. They are:
Find and register with a vet
All pets need to be registered with a vet, where you’ll be able to take your dog for routine health care and support, and seek emergency treatment if necessary. All surgeons need to be registered by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) – find an accredited practice near you here.
Organise your puppy’s vaccinations and microchipping
Getting your pup vaccinated is an absolute must during your first few weeks together. Regular vaccinations will help to keep your dog safe from infectious diseases, some of which can have fatal consequences.
Puppies are usually vaccinated at eight and ten weeks, with the second round of injections offered between two and four weeks after. Your vet will be able to give you the best advice for you and your pup, and they’ll carry out all the necessary vaccinations.
Your vet will also be responsible for microchipping your pup. This must be done before the dog is eight weeks old, explains Gov.UK, or you risk a fine of up to £500 (the rules are different in Wales and Scotland).
Vets charge around £10 to £15 for microchipping, writes Blue Cross, though some dog groomers, dog walkers and pet sitters also offer the service. However, if you choose not to go through a vet, you must make sure the person microchipping your pet is qualified to do so.
Get pet insurance
Insuring your pet is really important, as it offers financial protection should they become ill or if they injure themselves while exploring their new home. If you visit Go Get It, you can compare dog insurance quotes from top providers to help you find the right level of cover for the best price.
Commit to socialising
From 12 weeks onwards, you should be making good headway into house training and socialising your pup. As the RSPCA writes, you can start socialising your dog outdoors when they’ve had their full course of vaccinations. PDSA shares the golden rules of socialisation:
- Build up new experiences gradually – i.e. start with a walk to the local shops before taking your pup to the town centre.
- If your pup seems nervous of a new experience, calmly end what they’re doing but remain positive. Don’t attempt to reassure or comfort them, or they’ll think there was a good reason to be nervous.
- Don’t introduce a lot of new experiences in one day, as it’ll be overwhelming for your pup. Three is a good number for one day – repeat each experience as often as you need until they become comfortable with them.
- Don’t let your puppy get too boisterous or over-excited playing with other dogs.
Master dog grooming
You’ll be responsible for making sure your pup’s health is in tip-top condition. Here’s some advice on grooming duties from The Kennel Club:
- If your dog has a short coat, it’ll need to be groomed regularly using a rubber toothed brush or short bristle brush.
- Dogs with medium to long coats require gentle detangling every day to keep knots at bay. You might want to consider trimming back hair around the eyes using round-ended scissors.
- An experienced groomer will make light work of looking after your excitable pup – many owners agree it’s worth the money! They can carry out other grooming tasks at the same time, like washing your dog and trimming its nails.
- Always brush your pup slowly and gently, introducing grooming by carrying out short sessions.
- If your dog tries to gnaw on the brush, consider applying taste deterrent on it.
- Dogs only need bathing every few months, unless they’ve been swimming or rolled in something unpleasant.
- Make sure you wash your pooch with a doggy shampoo and use a non-slip mat if you’re washing them in the bath.
- Towel dry your pup afterwards to help them get used to being dried after wet walks.
- Gum disease is common among middle-aged dogs and can cause lots of health problems, so you should get into the habit of brushing their teeth regularly.
- Use a special doggy toothpaste which comes in tasty flavours (for dogs!), and apply to a rubber thimble designed especially for dogs’ teeth.
Choose the right food
As Pedigree explains, when you first come home with pup, it can help to give them a bowl of the food they’re used to. This will help to settle them in and make them feel secure. After this, you can switch up the food if you want to. If you decide to change their diet, wean them gradually over the course of a week by mixing the new food into the old.
What you feed your pup should be balanced and contain all the right nutrients to support healthy growth. It’s impossible to suggest a certain food or amount, because each dog is different – the suggested diet of a Yorkshire Terrier will be much different from that of a Doberman, for instance! Do your research and ask your vet for some advice.
Here at Go Get It, we compare dog insurance quotes so you don’t have to! We can help you find policies for pups aged eight weeks and over, from as little as £4.62* per month. Get a quote today!
*10% of customers achieved this price for Accident Only insurance based on www.gogetit.insure between August - October 2018