10 Tips for First Time Dog Owners

What You Should Know if You're New to Dogs

Are you a first-time dog owner? Congratulations on finding your new dog. Welcome to the wonderful world of dog ownership! Here's what you need to know about caring for your new canine companion.

  • 01 of 10
    caring for your first dog, dog selfie
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    Whether you got a puppy or an adult dog, there will be some kind of adjustment period after your new dog comes home. Prepare in advance and be patient. Adult dogs usually need more adjustment time, especially if they lived in a shelter for a while. On the other hand, puppies usually need more training (especially house training).

    Have everything set up at home and make a plan for everything before your new dog comes home. This will help you get off to a great start.

  • 02 of 10

    Puppies are amazing, but nobody said they were easy! There's a lot to learn about raising puppies the right way. Socialization, training, and vaccinations are just of few of the thing you will need to read up on and add to your to-do list. Start the research before your puppy comes home so you'll be ready for anything.

  • 03 of 10
    maltese dog breed profile
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    Now that you're a proud dog owner, you must master the basics of dog care. At the very least, every dog needs proper nutrition, adequate shelter, physical care, and social interaction. Once you can cover the basics, you'll be on your way to giving your dog an amazing life.

  • 04 of 10
    veterinarian with dog
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    Every dog needs a great vet! One of the first places you should go with your new dog is to see the vet. Your veterinarian will not only look out for your dog's health, she will also educate about your dog and guide you through the world of dog ownership. Find a veterinarian you love with a great staff and team. Most of all, always keep the lines of communication open. 

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10
    A Chihuahua dog in a wagon with boxes
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    Your dog is going to need stuff, there's no way around it. But how do you decide what your dog needs and what you want? Perhaps you get a bit of both. Carefully navigate your way through the world of dog toys, bowls, beds, leashed, collars, crates, and much more. There are some great pet supply websites out there where you can shop for your pooch.

  • 06 of 10

    Your dog's diet is the foundation of his health. But with so many dog foods to consider, you may find yourself getting overwhelmed. Learn about the basics of canine nutrition, then choose a diet that fits your dog's needs. There's no one tight answer when it comes to dog food. One rule of thumb: if your dog is doing well on a certain dog food, then it's probably the right one (as long as it's complete and balanced). 

  • 07 of 10
    dog trainer or behaviorist with dog
    Dennis Kleiman

    Every dog should be trained. Dog training not only helps you control your dog; it gives your dog a sense of structure. In the long run, proper training can make both you and your dog happier. Plus, it will enhance the special bond you two share. Take a little time each day to train your dog, working through all the essential steps of dog training.

  • 08 of 10
    dog being punished, yelling at dog
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    No dog is perfect. Most dog owners will have to deal with some kind of behavior issue at some point. It may be something as simple as excessive barking or destructive chewing. On the other hand, you may encounter a more serious issue like separation anxiety or aggression. Either way, it's always a good idea to be well-informed about canine behavior problems before they become issues for you and your dog.

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  • 09 of 10
    sick dog
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    At least a few health problems are bound to come up in your dog's lifetime. If you're lucky, you'll only see some of the common health issues that are a bit easier to deal with. Hopefully, your dog will not encounter any serious health problems or, worse, medical emergencies. Take the necessary steps to keep your dog healthy and many health issues may be avoidable.

  • 10 of 10
    dog and owner doing high five
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    This is one of the most important things you need to know as a new dog owner. Being a responsible dog owner is about committing to your dog for life and accepting responsibility for your dog's actions. It means taking proper care of your own dog while respecting your community. If you can do this, then you are surely on the right track.