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Tips for Bringing a New Dog Home
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Leash and collar. Your new dog will need an appropriate leash and collar. You’ll need a regular buckle collar with your dog’s identification tags on it, and a sturdy leash. One that is about 6 feet long is ideal as it gives you control when walking your dog. Extendable leashes are not recommended. Depending on the dog, you may want to use a harness rather than walking the dog with its collar. Some dogs can manage to slip out of a collar. As you get to know your dog you can decide on the best way to walk him or her. For dogs that slip out of collars, a Martingale® collar, which tightens up, is a possible choice. Some dogs pull too much, and for them an “Easy Walk” ® harness, which fastens in the front and makes it more difficult for a dog to pull, may be the answer.
Food. Before bringing home your new dog, be sure to find out what food he has been getting at the shelter or foster home. Changing a dog’s food suddenly can cause digestive upsets. Either continue feeding the same food the dog is used to, or, if you want to switch to another brand, mix in the old food gradually until the change is complete. Check the dog food bag or the brand’s website for information on how much to feed. If you are mixing wet and dry food, adjust amounts accordingly.
Food and water dishes. Stainless steel is a good choice for your dog’s bowls as they are easy to sanitize and don’t develop cracks that bacteria can hide in. No-tip bowls are ideal if your dog will be home alone during the day, to ensure he doesn’t accidentally spill his water. Ceramic bowls are second best, as they too are easy to clean. However, more care must be taken since they are breakable. Inspect them often for small cracks that you might not notice. Plastic should be avoided. Place the dog’s bowls in the same place at all times.
Crate. Many dog owners prefer to crate-train their dogs so they will be used to a crate if needed under various circumstances. Dogs often love having a “lair” to escape to and really like their crates. The crate should be large enough for the dog to stand up, turn around, and lie down in, but not too large or he could have an accident in the crate.
Bed. If your dog is being crate-trained, you’ll want a comfortable flat bed or pad that fits in the crate for him to lie on. If not being crate-trained, the dog may prefer a round bed with sides, or a bed he can stretch out on. Either way, make sure it is made of sturdy materials that are not easy for the dog to tear.
Toys. Having toys available will help your dog adjust to his new home and provide an opportunity for bonding with you when you play with them together. Always supervise your dog when he is playing with toys to avoid him swallowing or choking on small pieces that he might tear off. A heavy-duty toy like a Kong is usually safe, but inspect them frequently.
“Puppy Proof” Your House Remove hazardous items. No matter what age your new dog may be, make sure to remove any items that might pose a hazard, as dogs, just like cats, are very curious! Keep electrical cords, house plants, and any small items that could be swallowed out of his reach. This includes foods like chocolate or onions, which are hazardous to dogs when consumed.
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