Dog laying down with a pillow under its chin

13 Things You Must Do Before Bringing Home a New Dog

Due to COVID-19, many shelters have limited resources and could use help from foster families during this time.

Whether you are looking to foster or adopt, this guide will sum up everything you need to do to prepare your home for a dog in just 13 steps!

Find a Vet

It’s SO important that you have access to a vet because they will answer any questions you have about your dog’s needs, ones that can’t be answered over the internet.

Vet checking a dog's eye while veteran holds him still
Veterinarian” by Army Medicine is licensed under CC BY 2.0

And of course you’ll need to schedule checkups with your vet and have your pup neutered or spayed at some point, so it’s best to have these talks with your vet early on.

Put Away Dangerous Objects

Store things like electrical cables, nails or pins, any kind of chemical product (this means don’t leave your laundry detergent where your pet can get into it), and any ribbon or pieces of string.

One thing that can be dangerous to pets that most owners don’t think about is plants.

Not all plants are poisonous, but you’ll want to do your research before bringing a plant into your home where your dog may come into contact with it.

Just a few plants to watch out for are the aloe vera plant, the golden pothos (a popular plant but one you’ll want to keep away from your pet), and jade plants.

If you’re not sure about your plant, you should place it somewhere high like a shelf just to be safe.

Decide What Kind of Water to Give Your Dog

Tap water is okay, but a lot of dog owners opt for bottled or filtered water.

There are actually a lot of companies that market bottled water for dogs which is another great option.

Buy Water and Food Bowls

Choose bowls that are big or small enough for your dog.

Stainless steel bowls are a good choice.

Look for bowls that have rubber pieces on the bottom to keep them from sliding around on your floor.

Consider investing in a mat to place under the bowls for easy cleanup.

Buy Dog Food

Ask your vet if your dog has any dietary needs and look for dog food that caters to your dog’s specific age and size.

You’ll also need to decide between canned and dry dog food.

Dry meals can be less costly and more convenient at times, however may not be the best option for older dogs with more sensitive teeth.

Dog food in a ceramic bowl
Trockenfutter / Hundefutter (Dog Food)” by Marco Verch is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Canned food is usually healthier than its dry counterpart, but cannot be left out for over an hour or it will go bad and will have to be thrown out.

However, you can mix the two together for a combination your dog will love.

When it really comes down to it, there are pros and cons to each but finding what your dog likes takes trial and error, so you may want to have a few different options on hand when you’re bringing a new pet home.

Dog Treats

Treats are helpful when training your new pup and letting him know when he’s doing something good.

You also need dog treats to help with your dog’s oral health. These are called dental treats.

Purchase or Make Some Toys

Get your dog a few toys to keep him mentally stimulated and to give him a proper outlet for chewing and other physical needs. If you don’t have a lot of money to spend on toys, you can make DIY toys that your pup will love.

Dog pulling on a colorful rope that the owner is holding

Buy Grooming Products

Unlike cats, dogs need frequent grooming.

Though it depends on your dog, you should be bathing your pet around every couple of months.

For this you’ll need a shampoo formulated specifically for dogs.

Grooming regularly also means trimming nails once a week with a special nail trimmer.

Dogs also need their teeth brushed twice a week so you’ll need to purchase a special toothbrush and toothpaste.

Ask your vet if your pet has any other grooming needs.

Get a Dog Bed

Keep in mind your dog’s size when buying a dog bed.

Do your research to make sure you get the right size because this could be the reason your pup does or doesn’t sleep in his bed.

Dog lays on a dog bed under an orange blanket
Schwarzer Labrador liegt auf Hundekissen, zugedeckt von oranger Decke” by Marco Verch is licensed under CC BY 2.0

 Also remember that every pet has its preferences and if your dog doesn’t like his bed you may want to explore some different options.

Purchase a Crate

For training purposes, you will need a dog crate.

You will also use it when bringing your dog home for the first time. Make sure you buy the correct size!

Buy a Collar and Leash

Be sure to buy one that is the right size for your pet.

You can purchase a personalized collar and ID tag from the pet store.

Make sure you get the right size by carefully measuring your dog’s neck with a measuring tape.

There are collars with different materials so keep that in mind before purchasing one.

You’ll also need a leash to walk your pup.

Blue retractable leash
Blue retractable leash for dog top on white background (Flip 2020) by Marco Verch is licensed under CC BY 2.0

When thinking about leash lengths, consider where you will be walking your dog.

Crowded streets? Go for a shorter leash. Do you want to encourage your dog to explore the area? Get a longer leash. Can’t decide? Get a retractable leash.

There are different materials you can choose from, so keep in mind your dog walking needs when buying a leash.

Is your dog a larger breed that pulls and makes it feel like he’s walking you instead of the other way around? A leather leash may be right for you.

If you want a more basic leash, nylon may be the way to go.

Get Doggy Waste Bags

This doesn’t require much explanation unless you’re one of those people who leaves dog poop on other people’s lawns. Please don’t be that person.

So there you have it! Everything you need to do to prepare for your new pup.

If you’re still not sure about getting a dog and need a little encouragement, just know that fostering or adopting a pet will greatly help your local shelters and can help you cope during a time like this.

Whether or not you’re ready to bring home a new pet, by reading this guide, you’re one step closer to bringing home your new best friend!

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