Pooch Prep: 5 Things you Need to Consider Before you Bring Home your New Dog
#1. Buy Dog Food
This may seem obvious, but you’ll want to make sure that you have the right food for your dog. Deciding on what food is best for your new dog can be a painstaking process, but ultimately you cannot overstate the importance of deciding what you’ll be feeding your dog every day. The amount of choices for dog food are wide ranging, so make sure to do your research beforehand and pick out food that you’re comfortable with. To start your research, head over to our post on how to choose the right food for your new dog by clicking here.
#2. Have a Plan for Dog Sitting and Exercise
Imagine you adopt a new dog, and everything is going great, but then you unexpectedly get a call that you need to fly out of the state that weekend. What happens to your dog? If you don’t have a plan in place for dog sitting you’re going to be scrambling around town trying to figure out who you can trust with your new best friend.
Your dog also needs daily exercise to stay healthy and happy. If you work all day long and don’t have time for a walk when you get home, you owe it to your dog to hire someone who can give your dog a workout while also providing a fun experience outside of the house.
There are many companies that offer dog walking and sitting services, but the best we’ve found is Rover. Rover is incredibly user friendly and gets great reviews. Rover has a simple process to find a sitter that you can trust, and that your dog will have fun with. It’s also important to note that every Rover sitter has been verified with a background check.
One factor that sets Rover apart is their badge and rating system. Each dog sitter’s profile has badges that highlighting different aspects of the sitter, such as experience, and number of repeat clients. On the profile you’ll also find detailed reviews and pictures to help you decide if that sitter is the right fit for you and your dog. Rover offers dog walking, doggy day care, drop-in visits and the option of either boarding your dog, or having a sitter come to your house.
#3. Buy Insurance
You may be thinking, huh, dog insurance? But the truth is, dog insurance could be a lifesaver.
As hard as we work to protect our dogs by buying the right toys, feeding them the right food, and keeping them out of harm’s way, some things in life just can’t be predicted. Imagine your dog gets unexpectedly sick, and requires expensive, life saving urgent care.
For a lot of families, this is simply an expense that can’t be afforded. However, if you have insurance these costs may instead end up being affordable and deciding whether to go forward with something like surgery becomes no choice at all. Just as you have home insurance and car insurance in the case of an emergency, it also makes sense to have pet insurance for an animal that has become such an important part of your life.
A company we trust for dogs is Trupanion. Recommended by over 20,000 veterinarians, a Trupanion policy provides 90-percent reimbursement on medical bills for unexpected injuries or illnesses, with no payout limits.* Head over to to read more about why Trupanion is so highly reviewed and recommended. Plus, their insurance quotes are free!
*See the Trupanion website for more on this
Every dog needs something fun to play with, so be prepared to have toys, toys, toys and more toys on hand so your dog doesn’t come home to a toy-less house. You’ll want to make sure to find toys as indestructible as possible when you first bring home a new dog. Every dog has a different level of chewing ability and desire. Some may have the ability to tear apart a toy, but they don’t have the desire to. Others that do have the ability to cause havoc in your house might do so gleefully.
If your dog has no toys to chew, where will they turn next? Possibly to your furniture or any unsuspecting pillows hanging around. Or worse, to that new expensive pair of shoes you bought. So be prepared beforehand with a nice toy selection, and then watch your dog to see what they prefer and what they can destroy.
#5. Should You Crate or Gate Your Dog?
Before you bring your new dog home, you’ll need to decide whether you plan to buy a crate, or to just put gates up around the house. This can be a tough decision and there are many strong opinions on both sides.
You may be asking yourself, what is this crate or gate business? One of your dog’s most primal needs is to have a safe place that they can call home. Beyond providing your dog with a home, crates and gates are also helpful for house training. House training is more than just teaching your dog to go to the bathroom outside. It’s about training your dog how to treat the new environment it finds inside your house.
Crate training your dog can be either an ongoing aspect of your dog’s life, or it can be slowly weaned away and used less frequently. Crates can be helpful as a safe place for your dog at night, or when you leave the house. They also ensure that the most adventurous of dogs don’t go exploring and find that batch of brownies you just made but left four inches too close to the edge of the counter.
However, do not to leave your dog in a crate all day long. Most trainers will say not to exceed 6 hours at a time, but even that is a long time during the day. If you must crate for that long, your dog would be extremely grateful if you hired a dog walker who could let them out to stretch their legs and go to the bathroom during the day. You should also exercise your dog immediately before and after having them in a crate.
When picking out a crate you’ll want to remember the following:
- Ensure you have the right size. The crate should be just roomy enough to let your dog turn their body around and lay comfortably.
- To keep your dog comfortable, you’ll want soft bedding on the bottom of the crate.
- Do not use the crate as a “time out” area. The crate is your dog’s safe place, you do not want to negatively reinforce it as a punishment.
- Put a blanket over the top of the crate, draping down the sides. This will help your dog to relax and feel safer knowing that all access to the crate is blocked off other than what they can see.
Buying gates to put around the house is another way to give your dog their own space, but it doesn’t work as well for providing your dog with a den-like atmosphere that they can truly relax in. Some dogs may crave the safe space that a crate delivers, other dogs may prefer being able to move around a bit. It’ll be up to you to decide what’s best for your dog.
Gates can also be useful for introducing your new dog into a home that already has a resident dog or cat, or a home with a new baby. A gate can be used to prevent your dog access to a baby’s room, or it can be used to separate the new animals who are just getting used to each other.
Be sure to put your cell phone as well as your home phone on your dog’s i.d. tag. In the event that your dog gets lost, and found, you want to be reachable, no matter where you are.