Welcoming a dog into your home is a big decision, especially if you have a family. Caring for a pet involves a lot of commitment, and that’s especially true for dogs. They generally need more space and attention than cats, and most will need to go outside to relieve themselves a couple times per day. If you’ve decided to adopt a dog, prepare your home and vehicle before picking up the pooch. Use this checklist to ensure that your pet has a safe and smooth transition to its new home.
- Crate or cage – While it’s not a good idea to cage your animal for extended periods of time, having a place where it’s safe and secure while you’re cleaning the house or bringing in loads of groceries can be helpful. Make the crate a safe and comfortable place with bedding, and keep the door open whenever possible so your new pet can come and go as it pleases.
- Bed – If your dog won’t be sleeping in its crate, make sure it has a place to lie down. Designating a comfortable sleeping area will make it easier to keep your pet off the furniture and out of your bed.
- Grooming supplies – While you may prefer to have most grooming done professionally, it’s still a good idea to have dog shampoo, a brush and nail clippers on-hand just in case.
- Lint rollers – If you get a breed of dog that is prone to shedding, a lint roller can help keep your clothes fur-free.
- Vet – Before adopting a dog, it’s a good idea to find a vet in the area, especially if you need advice choosing a breed or finding a place to get your pup.
- Food – Ask your vet what kind and how much food your dog should get daily, and stick to his or her recommendation. Many dogs will eat well past the point of being full, so you have to help enforce portion control. It’s also a good idea to find out what kind of food your dog has been eating, and if you transition to a new one, do so slowly to avoid an upset stomach.
- Dishes – Get food and water dishes for your pup, plus a couple spares to keep in the car for when you travel or go to the park.
- Toys – Get a couple toys before you bring your dog home, then buy more based on what your pup likes. Having toys to play with will reduce the chance that your dog will start playing with your shoes or the furniture. A few good chew toys are essential when adopting a dog.
- Vaccines – Ask the shelter or breeder whether your dog has been vaccinated, and be sure to get documentation. If your pet needs additional shots, arrange a vaccination schedule with your vet.
- Spay and neuter – Unless you have a show dog, or plan to stud or breed your new pet, you should consider spaying or neutering. According the Animal Protective League, companion animal overpopulation is a problem, and reducing the risk of unexpected puppies is the responsible thing to do.
- I.D. tags and microchip – After picking up your new companion, make sure it gets an I.D. tag, or even better, a microchip implant.
When taking your new pet home for the first time, keep in mind that animals can cause a distraction in the car, especially if they’re in a new environment. Make sure you’re covered by affordable auto insurance, and if you’re looking for a provider, compare auto insurance ratings between companies before choosing a policy.
Dale Cooper has been blogging about financial services, insurance and education for more than three years. He holds a B.A. in English and lives in Cleveland. In his spare time, Dale enjoys cooking and traveling.
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