4 Things a First Time Dog Owner Should Know

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Boston Terrier Puppy on Leash

Dogs are known as man’s best friend for a reason: they are loyal, affectionate and social. But they require a great deal of discipline and interaction–much more so than cats. If you’ve never owned a dog, it’s best to research breeds and decide which you prefer. But be prepared for the responsibilities that come with dog ownership.

Preparation for dog ownership

The responsibilities of owning a dog are often greater than anticipated. Getting a new puppy or an adult rescue dog generally requires a lot of social interaction and lifestyle changes. Consider the following before getting a dog:

  1. Schedule: Check your schedule and confirm that you have time for house training, playing, exercise and training sessions.
  2. Breeds: Make sure you research breeds that meet your expectations and know which breeds are restricted from your neighborhood or apartment.
  3. Commitment: Dogs can live up to 17 years, depending on the breed. Make sure your lifestyle can accommodate vet visits, food, toys, and training expenses.
  4. Caretaking: Research nutrition, hygiene, and dental for your dog.

Unless you live alone, speak with your family about getting a dog. This way, everyone is aware of their new responsibilities and ownership details. It’s also common to create a routine schedule to follow.

Where’s the best place to get a dog?

Getting a new dog is exciting, but beware of selecting the first dog to lick your face at the pet store. Ideally, you want to have insight into the dog’s temperament and pedigree, so that you can spot potential behavioral problems. Knowing details about the facilities that board dogs will help you understand the types of animals they source: do they come from puppy mills or reputable breeders? Such breeders can be found via referrals (especially from vets and training schools) and online searches, and they typically have shot records and proof of vaccinations. If they can’t provide documents, you cannot be sure of the dog’s overall medical health.

Adopting a pet from a shelter means you’re most likely saving a dog’s life and opening up space for more rescue animals at the facility. Shelters are passionate about their mission to help lost or abandoned dogs and are trained to help you pick the pet that best fits your lifestyle.

Rescue groups are another resource for adopting dogs that are already accustomed to living with people. They also allow animal lovers to foster dogs temporarily, for those who can’t commit to a pet full time. Foster dog parents are useful because they’re familiar with the dog’s records, personality, and care, so utilize them as another resource.

Owning a dog is a lifestyle change accompanied by a lengthy to-do list. Educating yourself on everything from healthcare, vaccinations, nutrition and health hazards can be overwhelming. With more than 40 years of experience, we have a trusted facility in Greenwood, Indiana where we provide the best possible care for your dog and education for pet owners. We’re here to help, so schedule an appointment with Academy Animal Hospital today!

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