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4 Prerequisites for First-Time Dog Ownership

Family with their dog
If you are about to become a dog owner for the first time, you need to carefully review your readiness for your new pet. To become a responsible dog owner, you'll need more than funds to care for your new pet. Give it some forethought prepare the following essentials for your canine commitment. Here are a few things to think about before you adopt your new friend.

1. Suitable Lifestyle

Think about your lifestyle and how your new four-legged furry friend will fit in. Are you considering a large breed? If so, you'd do best with a house and roomy yard for play and exercise.

In addition, you will need time and energy to exercise your dog properly. For smaller breeds, apartment living may be suitable, although any dog requires some degree of exercise and activity. If you live a sedentary lifestyle, a Labrador retriever or collie might not be a smart choice. Consider your family's interests and favorite activities when deciding to adopt a dog.

2. Pet-Proof Home

Most new parents recognize the importance of baby-proofing their home. On that same train of thought, your home needs to be pet-proof before you bring home a dog. Electrical cords and outlets may be a safety hazard for a curious canine, so keep them inaccessible to the dog.

Lock up your household cleaners and chemicals, and be mindful about dropping buttons, pins, and similar small objects that could become a choking hazard.

3. Basic Knowledge of Canine Care

If you've never owned or cared for a dog before, are you aware of how to properly care for one? A responsible dog owner will know more than the feeding requirements. You will need to know when to visit the veterinarian for vaccinations and wellness exams.

In addition, you will want to have your dog spayed or neutered if you do not intend on breeding your pet. Not only does spaying or neutering your dog help control the unwanted pet population, but this procedure is also beneficial for the health of your pet.

Health and wellness checkups may include yearly tests for heartworm and parasites and evaluations to determine any health issues. A yearly examination is a must for most dogs. By the age of nine, your dog should see the vet at least twice a year.

Being a dedicated dog devotee and owner, you will also want to recognize the signs of illness in your pet. Know what to look for before serious complications set in. Equally important, be prepared for an emergency. Knowing how to react in an emergency is crucial in averting a serious consequence.

Also, choose a dog groomer before you bring your pet home. You'll need to keep your dog or puppy well-groomed, including keeping nails trimmed to avoid injury. 

4. Proper Identification 

Having your dog microchipped is a smart thing to do. A microchip is a tiny chip embedded into the dog's skin with the use of a needle. A microchip will provide important contact information in the event your pet gets lost. If your dog ends up at a shelter, the chip will be scanned so ownership information can be obtained.

The procedure of microchipping takes a mere few seconds. Have a veterinarian perform the procedure to ensure it is done correctly.

Last but not least, do your research before choosing your first dog or puppy. Be sure the breed will suit your way of life and your household. If you are uncertain of traits of particular breeds, ask your breeder or pet adoption agency.

Don't bring a dog home on a whim. Take the time to plan everything carefully so you and your dog are both comfortable together.

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