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Complete guide for the first time puppy dog owners

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We are pleased to provide our free guide to owning a new puppy dog. This document outlines every aspect of dog ownership, covering issues such as training, nutrition, insurance, socialization, healthcare and more besides. Please enjoy.........

12 Signs You Need A Dog In Your Life

Sometimes, we want a dog but for some reason or another, we haven’t got one yet. You could be in denial, thinking you aren't really dog obsessed when you are. Deep down you know that you would be much better off with a dog. You definitely shouldn’t get a dog if you aren’t in a position to care for one properly. However, if you have the time, money and space, what’s stopping you?

Here are 12 signs you definitely need to own a dog instead of borrowing everyone else's.

1. Your house feels a bit empty

When you come home your house feels a little bit cold and empty. Every time you walk through the front door you imagine how lovely it would be to be greeted by a dog that adores you.

2. You have too much time on your hands

You have to think of things to do in your spare time but you mostly sit there twiddling your thumbs thinking about what type of dog you would get.

3. You daydream about getting a dog every day

Most likely more than three or four times a day.

4. You spend a lot of time looking at adorable dog pictures and videos

You are addicted to #dogsofinstagram and you can’t stop watching cute YouTube videos of dogs.

5. You get excited when you see dogs in public

You are the crazy dog person that constantly goes up to strangers and asks them if you can stroke their dog.

6. Every person you speak to you explain how much you want a dog

You think that by telling everyone how much you want a dog it might actually happen some day.

7. It feels like something is missing in your life (obviously a dog)

There is a gaping hole in your life and it can only be filled with a canine companion.

8. You visit dog rescue centres just for fun (wishing you could take a dog home

It’s torture because you see all the dogs in need and want to take every one of them home, but you can’t.

9. You have thought about becoming a dog walker, you would even walk dogs for free

It’s the perfect job for you. Who wouldn’t want to walk dogs for a living? You don’t own one but when you walk other people’s dogs you can pretend you do.

10. You take pictures of every dog you see

You take sneaky snaps of dogs when their owners aren’t looking.

11. You already have a list of potential names for your dog

You have saved a list of names you like on your phone in case one day you get a dog.

12. When you meet a dog owner you pretend you have a dog



You want to feel part of the club so you talk about an imaginary dog with fellow dog owners.

Congratulations on deciding to own your very first puppy or older dog! With the correct level of training, planning, love, and attention, your canine will be the perfect companion for many years to come. Dogs can bring such love and joy into our world. Research from the American Psychological Association has even indicated that those who own a pet will be much healthier and happier throughout their life (*1).

Things That Stop People From Getting A Dog

Many people have a strong desire to get a dog, but unfortunately it isn’t always possible. You have to think about a dog’s needs before your own, and get a dog when you know you will be able to look after them properly. There is no point ignoring something that will be a big issue if you get a dog. Some people get dogs without fully thinking things through and considering their lifestyle properly. You should only get a dog when you are ready and can give them the care and attention they need. Here are five common reasons why some people can’t get a dog:

Space

Dogs need a fair amount of space to run around in. You shouldn’t get a dog if you don’t have a garden for them to enjoy. Some people just don’t have enough space to accommodate a dog and have to wait until they move somewhere bigger with an outside space.

Time

Training a dog properly takes up a lot of time. Dogs also like to spend time with their owners, so if you can’t give your dog enough time they may become very unhappy. It also takes time to feed them, walk them, take the to the vets and continue their ongoing training.

Money

Unfortunately owning a dog isn’t cheap. There are quite a few things you have to pay for. Some people don’t realise just how much a dog costs until they get one. You have to pay for their insurance, food, vet bills, vaccinations, toys and accessories such as leads, collars and beds. Many people don’t get a dog because they know they probably can’t afford one.

Commitment

Another main reason why some people don’t get a dog is because it is such a huge commitment. Some dogs can live over 20 years, which is a significant amount of time to be responsible for an animal. Dogs have to be cared for every day and can’t be left on their own too much. Some people who want a flexible lifestyle opt not to get a dog so that they can be free to travel and do what they want.

Situation

Some life events and situations prevent many people from getting a dog. For example, couples with very young children won’t be able to get a dog until they are older. People who have to move house a lot are often hesitant to get a dog because it’s not fair to uproot them all the time. You need to consider your situation carefully if you want to get a dog.

Why Owning A Dog Will Make You Happier

Emotional Support Dogs Provide

There’s just something about snuggling up to a dog. When you are feeling down, cuddling up to your dog, stroking their fur, and feeling their affection can really help. You can cry your eyes out in front of your dog, and they won’t bat an eyelid, they might just feel a little upset on your behalf. Dogs truly are amazing animals, and it’s often during the hardest times that we realise just how much they mean to us, and how important their presence is. If you are going through a tough time, you might not realise it at first, but your dog can really help you to overcome things and make life a little more bearable.

There’s a reason why canines are the chosen ones when it comes to helping us humans. Therapy dogs are proof that they can really make a difference. They can help people with depression and post traumatic stress disorder. It’s been shown that there are to owning a dog.

Here’s some was which Fido can help you get through hard times and life’s many struggles.

They don’t judge

Dogs don’t answer back to you, they don’t have anything to say that might upset you, and they don’t judge you. They are just there, as a shoulder to cry on or simply company when you don’t want any humans around. Sometimes, we just need time by ourselves with our dogs, to get our head straight, and to let out some emotions. Of course many dogs don’t like it when we are upset, because they are so in tune with our emotions, but they just want to help make everything better.

You can share your deepest, darkest secrets with your dog in complete confidence. Sometimes it helps to have Fido to help get things off your chest. It’s nice knowing some things are just between you are your dog, and no one else. Dogs can lend an ear, even if they can’t verbally respond to you or tell you to do, they somehow still manage to make things seem better.

They can be therapeutic

It has actually been proven that having a dog can help those with depression and anxiety. Simply stroking your pooch releases endorphins and helps to lower your blood pressure, making you feel more relaxed.

A poll of 1,000 of the UK's seven million dog owners, conducted for dog food makers Winalot, showed 55% felt more relaxed after time with their dog, 44% were more optimistic and another 44% were less worried about life's everyday problems like job security and financial troubles.

So if you are feeling down, or you have had a tough day at work, don’t go on social media or watch TV, spend some time with your dog. Play with them, do some training with them or simply cuddle up on the sofa together.

They find ways to comfort you

Have you ever been crying or feeling really low, and your dog comes up to your to show that they get it? Dogs often go up to their sad owners and lend a paw. They will paw you, nuzzle up to you and maybe lick you as if they are saying ‘hey, I’m here, everything will be OK.’ When this happens, now matter how bad you feel, you can’t help but feel gratitude towards them and cheer up a little, even if only temporarily.

It’s the cutest thing. Plus it shows how loyal, caring and wonderful dogs really are. They don’t want to see their pack members sad or upset, so they do the only thing they can do to help, which is give you a bit of much needed affection.

They help you to keep going

When you own a dog, you take on a huge commitment. So, even if you are having personal issues or going through a difficult time, you still need to look after your pooch! It may seem hard to continue your routine, but having a dog helps you to carry on.

You still have to walk your dog every day, and this helps you to get out the house, get some fresh air and get some perspective. Maintaining a routine during difficult times can help you to continue to function and being around your dog certainly helps. Caring for your dog also gives you a sense of purpose, you feel like you are responsible for something and it makes you feel good.

They teach you to live in the moment

Dogs don’t dwell on things, as their memory isn’t the best. It’s well-known that pooches tend to live in the moment. They appear to live every moment to the full. Whether it’s a cuddle with their owner, a walk down the park, or fun with their doggy friends. How does this help us during tough times? It shows us that we overthink things and we worry about stuff that doesn’t matter. We should take a page from our dog’s book and embrace life more, just as they do. Doggies often show us that despite what we might think, life is certainly worth living. It’s the little moments that count, and spending lots of time with your canine companion can help you to realise this.

They make you laugh

Sometimes, if you are having the worst day in the world, your dog can help turn things around. Dogs can do all sorts of silly and entertaining things, often when you least expect it. Watching Fido make a fool of himself can be just the medicine you need to feel better. Your dog might pull a funny face, do a hilarious trick or maybe even do something naughty that’s actually quite funny. When you live with a dog you just don’t know what they might do next to make you chuckle.

Dogs offer us unconditional love, they will do anything for their owners. The reason dogs are called ‘Man’s Best Friend’ is because we have such a special connection with them. Dogs give us a lot and in return we care for them and give them a wonderful life. There are so many benefits to owning a dog, one of the main ones is that they make their owners very happy. Having a dog can give you a sense of purpose and get you into a good routine.

A Wonderful Companion

Dogs are a huge commitment, and they do take up a lot of time and effort. However, it’s definitely worth all the work when you get rewarded with such a special companion. Dogs are great company and will stick by your side through thick and thin.

Boost Your Mood

Research has shown that stroking and playing with a dog can boost your mood. Just having your dog around will cheer you up. As soon as you look at their adorable face you will start to feel better. Owning a dog can really help people with depression.

Stress Relief

Dogs can actually help to relieve stress. The simple act of stroking your dog is calming, it can instantly make you feel better. Having a dog can even lower your blood pressure and people who own dogs are more likely to recover from heart attacks.

More Exercise

If you own a dog then you have to take them out for a walk every day. This means that you get guaranteed exercise each and every day, even if it is just a gentle stroll. This will help to keep you happy and healthy.

Social Interaction

Dog owners tend to talk to strangers more regularly, often stopping on walks to talk to other dog owners. How many times have you stopped and chatted to a complete stranger about your dogs? You definitely get more social interaction if you own a dog. Talking to lots of different people and making new friends will make you a happier person.

Dog Walks Are Relaxing

Stroking and petting your dog is relaxing, but dog walks can also be relaxing to. They get you out of the house and into the fresh air. Walking around a park with your dog can be very therapeutic.

They Make You Laugh

How many times has your dog made you chuckle? Dogs can be so entertaining sometimes and do very random things. Having a dog can add some comedy into your life and you will end up smiling when they do something unpredictable and funny.

What’s The Best Time Of Year To Get A Puppy?

Whether you’re out enjoying the weekend, or just having some much-needed down time, everything seems more fun with a dog by your side; but when is the best time to introduce a canine ball of happiness into your family? Here are a few pointers on how to figure out the best time to get an adorable new puppy.

Time of Year

When it comes to deciding on whether to bring a puppy into your family there are two major factors: the time of year, and your schedule. You may think that the time of year is a secondary issue, however choosing well can prove integral to the development of your puppy. For example, you may have heard the expression ‘A dog is for life, not just for Christmas’ this saying should definitely be considered. Even if you don’t decide to buy your fur-ball specifically at Christmas time the end of the year, and the winter months in general, can produce many problems for new pet owners.

December/January are both hectic months filled with visits from friends and family; and the mess that presumably follows family celebrations. Although these people are your loved ones, your new puppy has never met them before and therefore could become overwhelmed or frightened by the sudden influx of strangers. On the other hand, through no fault of your own, you may not be able to show your puppy the attention they need during such a busy time; leading them to feeling neglected. If your puppy is left unsupervised they could then act out or, because there is often a lot of mess at Christmas, they could eat something that they aren’t supposed to. That little accessory that your daughter got with her new doll on Christmas day might look quite appetising to a curious new puppy.

During the winter months, there are also a few occasions when fireworks are set off. For a young puppy the loud bangs in a new environment could cause them some distress, so it’s important that you are there to comfort them during this time.

Compared to Winter, Summer’s warmer temperatures and less bustling schedule can provide a more positive environment for a new puppy. More pleasant weather will not only make you more inclined to spend more time outside bonding with your puppy, but can also make them more responsive to toilet training – to be fair, who would want to go out in the pouring rain to use the bathroom?

Your Schedule

Equally as important as the time of year, is your personal schedule. Have you got any holidays booked? It’s important to give both you and your puppy quality time to bond, so before committing to bring a puppy into your home, ensure you have at least six weeks before your next trip away so that you can spend time together.

Just like holidays, work schedules are important to consider when it comes to owning a dog. Will your new pet be left at home for long periods of time? If so, can you provide a reliable dog sitter? Remember: dogs are social animals, and your puppy's’ entire life will revolve around you, so it’s vital that you know you can give them the attention they both need and deserve.

As well as work commitments, you need to ask yourself if you’re planning any other big changes in your life that could affect how you would look after a dog. Within the next two years do you plan to have children? Or are you planning a big move? These things can greatly change your dog’s way of life and only you can decide if your new pooch will fit into these plans.

If given the right environment, a dog will be a friend for life. But as with anything you get out what you put in and so it’s important that, before you rush to bring an adorable fur-ball into your life, you know that you are going to be able to provide them with the right environment to allow them to grow and be happy.

How Not to Choose a Puppy

I had always wanted a dog. Having waited more than 50 years to be in a position to own one, I was determined to choose the perfect pooch. I read every piece of advice that I could find to ensure that I made an informed choice. There appeared to be several serious mistakes that I could make:

  1. Never take on two puppies at the same time, especially when the dogs concerned are siblings. Two puppies mean double trouble when it comes to all that wee, poo and destructive behaviour. To make matters worse, the puppies may end up bonding with each other rather than with you.
  1. Always familiarise yourself with your chosen breed. Spend time with a dog of that breed, if at all possible, to satisfy yourself that you can cope with it and that you are able to meet its needs.
  1. Don’t introduce a dog to your home during a period of disruption. Choose a quiet time when you are not moving house, decorating your home, having an extension built or playing host to visitors. It is best to welcome your furry friend into a peaceful environment and at a time when you can devote your days to settling them in.
  1. If you are new to dog ownership, it is a good idea to choose a pet from your local rescue centre. There are always plenty of fabulous dogs looking for forever homes and an adult dog should already be house trained. An adult dog is certainly a better choice if there are many demands on your time.
  1. Prepare properly for new arrival by investing in the Toys, Beds, Crates, feeding bowls and training mats that you need before you collect your new friend.
  1. Don’t choose a dog simply because it looks adorable. The dog’s character traits are far more important than its appearance and many cute fur balls will require extensive grooming.
  1. White and light-coloured dogs are more difficult to keep clean and presentable. If you lead a busy life, avoid white dogs.

Having taken on board all of this advice, I realised that what I really needed was one adult, house-trained rescue dog with a good nature and a short, dark coat. All I had to do was avoid the temptation to choose any cuties which didn’t fit the criteria and I was on the road to successful dog ownership. It wasn’t long before I had made my choice: Yes, I know! There are two of them, they are siblings, they are puppies and they are white! Oops! I should also mention that I am about to move house. In my defence, I had been told that the move had fallen through. My solicitor chose to tell me that it was going ahead after all, the day after I collected the dogs.

Unfortunately, all the advice in the world couldn’t stop me from falling in love or bringing the dogs home before I had bought everything I needed from ! Happily, Dougal and Bodie are bonding with my partner and I just fine and I have managed to cope with taking care of the little darlings. Double trouble has proved to be double the fun, double the cuddles and double the love – at least thus far. Perhaps two goldendoodles were a good idea after all. I will keep you posted.

How To Choose A Puppy With A Good Temperament?

As you already know a puppy is for life and not just for Christmas - so it’s essential you know how to choose the right one for you and your family. When you are choosing puppies from a litter, you’ll come across all sorts of personalities.

And whilst it’s oh so tempting just to scoop up the cutest ball of fluff there is or go with your heart - these are things you should avoid. Why? Because the cutest looking puppy won’t necessarily have the best temperament. Whilst like dating, looks can be very appealing, you really need to carefully consider your chosen pup’s personality too.

Common Behaviour Problems in Dogs

At Time for Paws, we understand that nobody’s perfect, and the same goes for our beloved canine companions. Whether you’ve already got a dog, or you are considering getting one, it’s important that you have a good understanding of the most common dog behaviour problems and the steps you can take in order to solve and prevent them in the future. On top of having a sound understanding of basic obedience training, knowledge of common behaviour issues will give you the upper hand when it comes to controlling them. In this post we are taking a look at the most common behaviours and how you can fix them.

Barking

It’s not uncommon for dogs to bark, whine and even howl at times, however, excessive barking is considered a behaviour problem. Before you even think about correcting your dogs barking, you need to understand why they are barking so much in the first place. The most common types of barking are:

  • Warning or alert
  • Attention-seeking
  • Boredom
  • In response to other dogs
  • Playfulness and excitement
  • Anxiety

In order to control excessive barking, it is important that you are both patient and consistent as you consider teaching your four-pawed pal bark and quiet commands. It can be a long process but if you persist it can go a long way.

Chewing

Again, chewing is a natural action for all dogs; it’s just part of their behaviour each and every day. However, if you don’t nip it in the bud chewing can progress into a serious behaviour problem if your dog causes destruction within your household. Typically, dogs will chew for the following reasons:

  • Puppy teething
  • Anxiety
  • Curiosity; particularly common for puppies
  • Boredom
  • Excess energy

When you catch your pup chewing something they shouldn’t be, quickly correct them with a sharp noise. Then, you need to replace the item with a chew toy. You can also provide your dog with a lot of from the offset to avoid the risk of them chewing your shoes or household items. If you find your dog chews things up when you’re not home, be sure to take them for a long walk before going out to burn off excess energy and keep them in a confined area in order to limit the amount of damage they can cause.

Begging

Begging is a bad habit, one of which is often caused by dog owners or other humans in the household encourage it. Begging can not only be destructive to meal times but also very bad for your dogs' health, sometimes leading to issues with digestion and obesity. We understand that sometimes it might be hard to say no to those puppy eyes, but you need to be mindful that you are often doing more harm than good when you feed your beloved Dog Food from your plate. The “just this once” approach to treating your canine companion can lead to serious begging problems down the line. To manage the problem, you should tell your dog to go to its bed or a confined area, ideally where they cannot see you. If they stop begging, reward with a and lots of love and attention once the entire household has stopped eating. There you have it, 3 of the most common behaviour problems in dogs and the simple steps you can take to prevent them for a calmer household for both dogs and humans alike

Finding the perfect match: the family tree

We are told when we’re considering getting married to look at the mother of the bride or groom to be. This isn’t some old wives’ tale; it is with good reason. You want clues as to how your loved one will age, what their temperament will be like, how sociable and good they are around other people.

...It is exactly the same when you go to choose your puppy. Your cute little bundle of joy won’t stay like that forever; all playful and lapping up all that puppy love. It will be an adult for longer than it will be a baby and you need to see what good and bad qualities it might get from mum.  What size your pup is likely to grow to, how healthy mum is etc...

So, you’ve given mum the once over now it’s time to dive into that huge litter of furballs.  The size of the litter indicates how healthy the puppies will be, the bigger the better! This doesn’t apply to puppy size though, best to avoid going for the largest or smallest puppy.

Desirable qualities in your new puppy

You want to be able to pick up a puppy that after a small amount of squirming will settle in your lap, this will let you know it’s used to being handled and isn’t going to become a problem. A puppy who is shy, or not used to being handled, can get easily distressed and snap at, and possibly, bite you. It might not feel like much when they’re a puppy but imagine that from a fully-grown dog. A shy pup will always be a shy pup, it’s in the genes, and could lead to disappointment if you have children in your family.

What you will be looking for isn’t necessarily an eager beaver (puppy, even) who jumps all over you and chases its tail around and around in circles, this one could go on to be far too needy. You will be spending many, many, joyous years with your dog...approach it in the same way you would when choosing a life partner. You don’t want one that is too needy, or overconfident or too submissive; you also don’t want a bossy boots either. You want the pup to be confident enough to approach you and to be curious, sniffing around your shoes and playing with your laces. But who will then snuggle in for some loving.

It is essential to visit your chosen puppy on a few occasions before heading home with it. You want a pup with a consistent temperament, you will be able to judge that by visiting on more than one occasion. If your puppy is pleased to see you, gets excited and then is happy to be picked up and played with you know it's happy and healthy. If the pup is different on each visit, then you should be cautious about its temperament.

It might seem obvious, but if the puppy growls or bites this would not be a favourable temperament, this is not something it will grow out of. You want a balance of the pup being interested in you, but also easily distracted by fun with its littermates.

A pup’s behaviour with their canine siblings

The best way to get a really good overview of how your puppy will behave is to watch them with their littermates. Look at how they interact. Like your children they should all play nicely, not be dominant, not be the outsider, and not steal each other’s toys.

Things to check before buying your pup

One of the most important things is to do your homework before you even get to the ‘choosing your puppy’ stage. Always buy from a reputable breeder. Here are a few basic tips to keep in mind and things to watch out for:

  • Find out how old mum is and how many litters she’s already had. You want to avoid the first litter, mum should be over one year of age and be on her third, then you have some medical history to go on.
  • Have long chats with the breeder, it should be just as important, if not more important, that they are as interested in you as you are in them.
  • If the breeder won’t or says they can’t show you mum alarm bells should be ringing, make your excuses and get out of there. A reputable breeder would not do this, they know the drill, mum is key when it comes to making your decision.
  • You should be viewing your puppy in its breeding environment, which should be a nice, warm, cosy, friendly, inviting household. You shouldn’t be seeing them in cages, or individually. They won’t be living in isolation, in a cage in your home will they. BEWARE of puppy farms.
  • Remember, puppies should be at least 8 weeks old before they leave their mum, some breeders will even leave it until they are 12 weeks old.
  • They should be fully weaned, if not they could be younger than you have been told they are.
  • They should have clean eyes - with a bit of sparkly mischief in them - ears and bottom. And they should certainly not be sensitive to the touch in those areas.

Your puppy will grow into a full-sized dog. You get to choose the kind of personality you and your family want to share your lives with. So, choose wisely and you will all have a happy life together. Your dog is your family, and family is for life.

Puppys: Looking After your Pup in Those First Few Months

It’s a well known fact that keeping a pet such as a dog can help improve our lives, our health and can even sustain the health of our minds during old age; Plus, keeping a dog has even been prov

en to prolong the need of care homes. That’s why it is imperative that we look after our faithful pets throughout their long and happy lives. Whether your hound is in the spring of his youth or finds himself within the sunny years of old age, it is important to get just the right dog food for him or her.

Three to four weeks of age

If for example, your young pup is around three to four weeks of age, it is time to start feeding solid dog food to your pet, though it is best at first to mix it with water or puppy replacement milk so that it is easier for your pup to digest. Not only this but the food should also cater for his age group that provides all the required nutrients, vitamins and protein.

As puppies are naturally carnivorous, it is important that they are given meats to supplement this need.  Foods with well sourced, natural chicken are vitally important to your young dog as the protein levels within the food provide strong tissue, organ and muscle development which is imperative for any growing animal. Of course, every owner wants a spritely, intelligent and responsive dog; that is why the addition of vitamin E is vitally important for your dog to develop his brain and develop his natural mental ability. If you want your dog to help around the house or on the farm during his adult years, a strong supply of vitamin E throughout his youth is imperative for mental growth.

Six to eight weeks

Whilst your dog is between the ages of six to eight weeks it is important to make sure that your friend is fed around three to four times a day until around the ninth week when you can start feeding him to the average twice a day feed. If you start your dog off with dry food and he does not take to it straight away, instead of changing brands it might be an idea to continue mixing his food with water. Once that he is happy with this, start adding a little less liquid into the food until he is perfectly happy with 100% dry food; of course, if you wish to treat your hound occasionally, you’ll be glad to know that you can add specially formulated gravy mix to his food.

At around three to six months your dog may also start teething. Much like humans, this can be a painful and frustrating time period. Whilst this is happening you may find that your dog has lost his appetite; it is important however, to keep offering him nutritious food that will help speed the process along.

If your dog is going through his teething period you may find your favourite slippers in tatters or your new furniture a little worse for wear. Although most people excuse this as naughty or unruly behaviour, it is simply the affects of painful gums and your dog trying to help push the teeth through. Due to this, you can also find specially designed toys and snacks made for puppies with teething difficulties; they could just save the life of your Christmas slippers.

Sixth Months old

Once your puppy is past his painful teething stage and is now around six months to a year old, it is still important to remember that although your dog looks fully grown, like the teens of our own human years, he is still a young puppy. High quality food packed with the same nutrition that he has been receiving throughout his first few months is vitally important to make sure that he makes the transition from pup to adult with the slightest of ease. A lot of food brands within our range now contain chicken meat that is graded for human consumption; this is a perfect food source for your puppy.

Over 12 months

After around a year or so, it may be time to start feeding him food that is specially formulated for adult consumption; many of these dishes can now be found within  and all of which are of the highest quality available on the market.

Bringing your new puppy home for the first time

The task of caring for your puppy starts as soon as you get him home. The experience of moving to a new environment and different surroundings can confuse and startle your new puppy. So you have to make sure he feels as welcome as possible. As is expected, the rest of the family will probably want to meet the new arrival; however it is a good idea to make sure he doesn't feel uncomfortable or threatened, so it is best not to crowd around him, as he may feel intimidated. Furthermore it is prudent to remember that he will probably be tired and very nervous; therefore it is a good idea to be extra vigilant around a new puppy. Always make sure children are gentle and don't frighten the new puppy. During the first few weeks he may have a few accidents and slip ups. It is important not to reprimand him if he has been naughty as he will be adapting to his new environment. The early years of a puppy's life are vitally important in terms of development.

During the first few days of bringing the puppy home, it is usually suggested that you don't let him meet other animals or pets. This again may startle or frighten him. When your new puppy does finally meet other pets, supervision is always suggested.

For anyone em-barking (get it?) on the joys of make sure you’re aware of the need for your pup to have injections and vaccinations.

Introducing A New Dog Into The Home

The first few weeks of a dog’s time in a new home are crucial. It’s an unnerving period for your new dog, who has to get used to a completely new environment. They have to get used to living with new people and sometimes other pets.

It’s important to try and make the transition as smooth as possible, by helping your dog to feel comfortable in their new home. Whether you have a young puppy or an older rescue dog, you need to carefully prepare for their arrival and set some ground rules. Here is the essential guide to introducing a new dog into your home.

Equipment and accessories needed

When your new dog arrives it’s important that they have everything they need. You will need to stock up on dog supplies before they are due to arrive so that everything is ready. You will need things such as a bed, lead, collar and name tag, Food and water bowl, Toys, grooming products and Treats.

Preparing your home

You will need to dog proof your home and get it ready for your new pooch. First, make sure your house is safe for a dog and remove any potential hazards. Walk around your house consider things your dog might be able to get to. For example, chocolate should be stored well out of reach of dogs and you should make sure you don’t have any houseplants that are poisonous to dogs. Keep an eye out for sharp objects that your dog could run into and injure themselves and things that are small enough for them to swallow.

Next, check your garden is secure. Your dog should not be able to escape or jump over your garden fence (fences of at least 6 foot are often necessary). For more information on how to make your home dog-friendly. Create a den, crate or bedded area where they will feel safe. Then if things in the house get a little too much, they can always go to their quiet spot and take some time out. A nice comfy Bed will make them feel right at home.

You will also need to get some pet travel products and prepare your car so that your new dog can be transported safely. There are a few options when it comes to securing your dog in the car, you can use a seat belt or car Harnesses. You might also want to get some car seat protectors to prevent your car from getting really muddy and full of dog hair.

Preparing family members

Before getting a new dog, you should make sure all family members are on board. There is no point getting a dog is one family member isn’t keen, it’s unfair and probably won’t work out. Get everyone who lives in your house to meet your dog before they come home so that they can establish some kind of a bond. This will also make it easier for your new dog because they won’t be walking into a house with total strangers. Once you have decided on a dog then it’s time to set some ground rules. Your training won’t be successful if everyone is doing different things. Decide what commands you are all going to use and stick to them so your dog doesn’t get confused.

Agree on what your new dog can and cannot do in the home so that everybody is on the same page. You might also want to decide what sort of role everyone will play in looking after your new job. Who will be walking them on a daily basis? Who will be doing most of the training? It’s useful to get all these things sorted before your new dog arrives.

If you have another dog

If you already have another dog then you will need to gradually introduce your new arrival. Before you bring your new dog home, make sure they have met any existing dogs in the home. Try and get them to meet on neutral grounds and check that they get along. It may take a few visits to establish whether they can live together. Consider your existing dog’s needs before you make your final decision, it’s unfair to get another dog if it will put them under stress.

If you have other pets

>Other pets in the home also need to be considered. If you have cats you will need to make sure your new dog is cat tested before bringing them home. If you are getting a puppy then you should be able to get them used to have a cat around, although some dogs can still take a disliking to cats. If you have small furries then keep them well away from your new dog, ensure their cage is secure and out of reach.

Giving your dog time to settle

It’s important to note that a dog might not settle in right away, they need time to get used to a new environment. Don’t expect miracles and for them to behave perfectly right away. They may be a little anxious for the first few weeks to try and allow for this and make them feel as comfortable as possible.

Don’t get a new dog if you are planning a holiday

It’s not a sensible idea to get a new dog if you are planning on going away when you get your new dog. They will start to settle into a new place, and then have to deal with being uprooted and separated from you. Wait until you have been on holiday and then you can think about bringing a new dog home.

Registering With a Vet

It’s important to register your puppy with a local veterinary practice as soon as possible. Your vet is as fundamental to your dog’s health as your doctor is to your own. Go for an initial check-up first and your vet will be able to advise you of any required subsequent visits thereafter.

It’s also a good idea to make a list of any questions you need to ask your vet. Even if you think you already know about the potential diseases and threats to your dog, they will be able to provide you with further insights. This could cause you to take appropriate action and prevent your pet from harm.

Injections and Vaccinations

Just like humans, your dog can experience pain and discomfort through illness and disease.

To provide the relevant protection, your dog should be vaccinated at the earliest stage possible.

If you’ve bought your dog from a registered breeder, there’s a possibility that they would have already been given the required vaccinations. It’s best to check with them first and if not, speak to your vet straight away.

Getting your dog vaccinated will give you peace of mind and prevent your dog from becoming seriously unwell. In addition, while also keeping them immune, you will be protecting the spread of infection to other animals too.

Injections should be issued at the earliest stage possible and booster vaccinations should be issued when needed.

Vaccines can protect your dog against the following:

  • Canine distemper
  • Canine parvovirus
  • Infectious canine hepatitis
  • Kennel cough
  • Leptospirosis
(Reference *2)

Remember that diseases can cause pain and distress to your pet and in some cases, they can be fatal. Ensure that you prevent the threat of disease at the earliest stage by getting the required vaccinations.

Infections and Symptoms

In the event where your dog has not been vaccinated, it’s important to spot any potential signs of disease straight away. Here are the early warning signs to be aware of from the abovementioned list.

Infection Symptoms
  • Canine distemper
Discharge or inflammation of the eye and nose, diarrhea, fever, cough and labored breathing, vomiting
  • Canine parvovirus
Lethargy, vomiting, fever, severe and bloody diarrhea, loss of appetite, dehydration
  • Infectious canine hepatitis
Nausea, sore throat, coughing, cloudiness of the eye, excessive drinking and urinating, loss of appetite, weight loss, pale tongue, gums, and nose
  • Kennel cough
Harsh and dry cough, retching, vomiting after excitement or exercise, sneezing and gagging
  • Leptospirosis
Fever and depression, appearing cold and shivery, drooling, inflammation of the eye
(References *3 and *4)

In some cases, it’s possible that your dog can pass infection over to humans. As a result, always observe strict hygiene rules, such as washing your hands after interacting with your dog.

If you notice that your pet has any of the above symptoms for these illnesses, speak to your vet without delay.

Common Dog Diseases

As well as the above infections, all dogs can suffer from the following common diseases:
  • Lyme disease – caused by ticks
  • Rabies – caused by a bite from rabid animals
  • Giardia – caused by water-borne parasites
(Reference *5)

What Are Vaccines?

You may not know it, but vaccines actually contain a small form of a virus which may cause a particular illness. This helps the body to deal with a particular disease and develop the right antibodies and protection to deal with the vaccine. As your dog’s immune system will know how to react and deal with the vaccine, it will protect your pet and help it fight the disease should it occur in its system. In the long-term this will be hugely beneficial for your four-legged friend.

Why Puppies Need To Get Vaccinated

Whilst young puppies do develop some form of immunity against illness – through antibody-rich milk from their mothers – these maternal antibodies only last for 16 to 20 weeks, dependent on the pup. As such, their immune systems are not developed to the extent of fighting diseases. Therefore, as a dog owner, it’s essential to get yours vaccinated to prevent infection from diseases.

How Does The Vaccination Process Work?

Get signed up with a vet. This isn’t just needed for vaccinations, but to safeguard you should your dog fall ill and to also receive regular treatments for flees and worms. Register with a local practice and check your dog in for its first visit. Here, your vet will be able to devise a care plan and explain what is needed in terms of vaccinations.

Vaccines tend to be administered in stages, whilst others can be combined; don’t worry about any pain your canine-friend may feel – at worse the vaccine will cause a little pinch or sting – which is nothing compared to the painful effects of an illness.

What Vaccines Does My Puppy Need?

Puppies will need a variety of injections, as outlined in the vaccination plan below:

Vaccination Plan

Age

CORE

NON-CORE*

6-8 weeks

Distemper
Parvovirus
Hepatitis

Adenovirus
Coronavirus
Leptospirosis
Parainfluenza

9-11 weeks

Distemper
Parvovirus
Hepatitis

Adenovirus
Coronavirus
Leptospirosis
Parainfluenza
Bordetella

12-14 weeks

Rabies
Distemper
Parvovirus
Hepatitis

Adenovirus
Coronavirus
Leptospirosis
Parainfluenza
Lyme

Adult boosters

Depending on your dog and the vet, these will be administered every one to three years.

This is a standard plan, applicable to most common dogs. Please make sure you speak to you vet for your own puppy’s vaccination plan, as this may differ.

At What Age Do I Need To Vaccinate My Puppy?

At about six to eight weeks of age is when vaccines are typically administered. Until your puppy reaches about four months of age, core vaccines should be repeated every three to four weeks. These are known as ‘primary’ and ‘booster’ vaccinations. It’s worth noting that once a vaccine has been administered it will take five to ten days to become effective, and even then it’s not entirely known if your dog will be truly immune. Therefore, to be absolutely certain of full immunity, wait until your puppy has received all booster injections or until around 4 months of age.

Puppy Socialisation: Top Tips

Young puppies need to experience lots of different things during the early stages of their lives. When you get a new puppy you need to try give them the best start possible. They need to get used to lots of different things so that they don’t become fearful of things and can build up confidence. They need to be well socialised with people and other dogs as early as possible. Having lots of positive experiences will help them to be more comfortable around humans and dogs. Here are some of the things you should expose your new puppy to.

Sounds

Some sounds can be quite frightening to a little puppy. Getting them used to lots of different sounds is important when they are young. This includes common sounds around the home such as the washing machine, vacuum cleaner and television and also sounds outside of the home such as police sirens and cars. Try and expose them to all the normal sounds they might hear on a daily basis and give them lots of rewards when they don’t react.

Sights & everyday experiences

Your puppy is beginning to explore a very strange and alien world with lots of confusing things in it. Take your pup out and about as much as possible so that they have lots of different experiences. Don’t just take them to your local park everyday, walk around town and visit lots of different places.

Other dogs

Spending time socialising with lots of other dogs when puppies are young is crucial. They need to get used to spending time with dogs of all shapes and sizes. Take them for regular walks where there are other dogs and meet up with friends who have well behaved, calm dogs that will have a positive influence. It can also be highly beneficial to take your new puppy to training classes where they can learn some basic training and meet other dogs in a controlled environment.

People

Meeting a wide range of different people is also important for young pups. They need to meet people other than your family members who live at home and get used to having visitors. Gradually build up to taking them out and about where there are more people. Get people they don’t know to give them treats and they will soon realise humans really aren’t that bad!

Animals

People often forget to socialise their dogs with different animals. This needs to be done safely and under strict supervision. Your dog doesn’t necessarily need to interact with other animals unless you have other pets. When out in public they should be able to walk passed them without becoming stressed or over excited. This may not always be possible, it depends on each individual dog. However, the more animals they see and get used to as a puppy the less likely they are to react badly when they grow up.

Dog Socialisation: Ways To Ensure Your Dog Get's Along With Other Dogs

Dog owners have a responsibility to make sure their dogs are well socialised. As puppies grow up, they need to have positive experiences with other dogs and learn how to behave around their canine companions. If you want a dog that is well balanced and friendly with other dogs then you need to socialise them from an early age, and throughout their life.

There are plenty of different ways to get your dog to meet other dogs. Saying there aren’t any dogs near where you live isn’t an excuse. Sometimes you have to make an effort to find ways to enable your dog to spend time with other dogs.

Get out and about

Try and get out and about as much as you can. Just walking along the road where there might be other people walking their dogs can help. This will get your dog used to walking past other dogs.

Go on walks with other dogs

Arrange dog walks with your friends who have dogs, or get to know some other local dog owners and arrange a regular dog walk. Going on dog walks with other dogs is an excellent way of getting your dog used to spending time with their canine friends.

Have other dogs to stay

This is not appropriate for dogs who are protective of their home, some dogs are not happy to let other dogs into their territory. However, if your dog is happy for other dogs to visit then invite friends over with their dogs.

Visit friends who have dogs

You can also visit friends who have dogs that you know your dog gets on well with.

Take part in a dog sport

If you take part in a dog sport then your dog will come across lots of other dogs that are in their class. Not only will they have to socialise with other dogs, but they will have to learn to focus on the task at hand even with other dogs present. For example, doing an agility course while other dogs are in the agility area. This is a good skill for them to learn.

Take them to your local dog park

You could always take your dog to your local dog park. Here your dog will get the chance to meet lots of different types of dogs. However, be careful to only let your dog socialise with friendly, well mannered dogs. If they have a negative experience it could make them fearful of other dogs.

Supervised play with other dogs

If you can find a dog that your dog plays really well with then try and meet up for regular play sessions. Play is a really healthy activity for dogs, it helps provide them with mental stimulation and physical exercise.

Go to a dog show

If your dog isn’t very well socialised and doesn’t get on with other dogs particularly well then a dog show will be far too overwhelming. However, if your dog is friendly and sociable then this is the ideal place to let them meet and be amongst lots of other dogs.

Risks to Consider

First and foremost, the benefits far outweigh the risks when it comes to injections. However, it is important to be aware that there are some risks involved, even though they are uncommon. The majority of side-effects are mild, including swelling and pain of the injection, as well as lethargy and fever. Even less uncommon are allergic reactions, which can cause hives, swelling, and breathing difficulties. If these occur, please contact your vet immediately. Also, be warned that if your puppy is suffering from an illness whilst being administered a vaccine, this can actually act as a catalyst and cause more harm than good. So be sure your dog has clean bill of health during any vaccination. If you are concerned in any way, always speak to your vet first, and make sure you arrange a vaccination plan. Your puppy’s health is the biggest priority at such an early age and you want to make sure it’s ready to fight the common diseases so it can enjoy a happy and fulfilling life.

Vaccinations

It is recommended that as soon as you bring your puppy home, you should register him with a vet. A vet will then proceed to give your puppy a comprehensive full body check-up. They will also recommend a set of vaccinations unless your puppy has already had them. It is always prudent to double check this with the breeder whom you purchased the puppy from. It is vitally important that your puppy has been fully vaccinated, as common disease can be very serious for puppies, as their immune systems haven't fully developed. Furthermore kennels will only accept dog which have valid vaccination certificates.

Neutering

You will need to discuss this with your vet, who will be able to give you some expert advice. Neutering is usually carried out before a puppy matures.

Microchipping

There are companies out there who offer this service. Microchipping basically involves a permanent microchip being inserted under the skin of your dog. This means that if your dog is lost or stolen then it is possible to return him to his rightful owner. It is estimated that half of dogs who are lost or stolen never get returned to their owners. Every week in the UK, there are around 7,500 pets which get microchipped. Again this is a decision each and every pet owner has to make.

Sufficient Training

The success to a healthy and happy relationship between you and your new four-legged friend is to make sure they are trained properly from the outset. Additionally, you need to learn to understand your dog’s needs too.

A dog is a pack animal that will look for guidance from a leader. Therefore, your responsibility is to take charge, act as the leader, and teach the dog exactly how they should behave.

As you now own your very first dog, understanding what to feed it, how much exercise it needs, what equipment you should buy and ensuring that it has the correct vaccinations are just some of the areas you may be unsure of.

As a result, this guide will provide you with advice, tips and the information that you need to know.

The Care Your Dog Deserves

Owning a dog is a big commitment. As a result, you will need to take on a number of new responsibilities. Daily care, medical visits, as well as vaccinations and training are potentially some of the financial costs you will incur.

However, this is simply the very nature of owning a pet and as thousands of other dog owners will agree, it’s worth it for the difference they make to your own life.

Your dog deserves to be loved, so therefore it’s down to you to make sure they are cared for in the best conditions possible.

Progress may be slow initially, as all dogs have to get used to their new surroundings, but it’s important to stay focused and not to lose your temper.

Essential Equipment and Supplies

It’s advised to purchase all of the essential equipment you need to successfully look after your dog before you bring them back to your home.

When owning a dog for the first time, there are a number of supplies you will need straight away and others which should be viewed as optional. The optional supplies can be purchased at a later date as and when needed.

The main and essential supplies include:

The optional supplies include:

As your dog begins to settle into their new surroundings, this will give you a clearer indication as to what optional supplies you need to purchase.

A Comfortable Living Space

It’s only natural that your dog will arrive home and explore its new home. Before your puppy or dog is brought back, you need to make some small amendments to your living space first.

The home and the garden can be dangerous for inquisitive dogs. So, to avoid injury, ensure your items remain intact, and to stop the dog entering or exiting areas of the home that it shouldn’t, make sure the following is carried out:

Safety inside the house

  • Move treasured and valued items out of their reach (high places are usually the best location)
  • Ensure that trailing electrical wires and cords are either safely hidden or are kept in cable protectors to make them chew-proof
  • Fit locks on lower kitchen cupboards, especially if they contain products which could cause the dog harm, such as home cleaning products
  • Use a pet or baby gate at the bottom of your stairwell to prevent access to  restricted areas and to help avoid any falls or serious injury
  • Keep kitchen appliance doors shut at all times. A small puppy can easily find their way into a tumble dryer, washing machine or an oven if it’s been left open.
  • If your dog can access second story windows or those above this height, make sure screens and bars are used to prevent jumping and accidental falls
  • Use non-skid mats or carpet to stop your dog slipping and causing an injury

Safety Outside the house

  • Place secure fencing around the perimeter of your garden to ensure that your dog can’t escape
  • Check that existing fence panels are stable and there is no way for your dog to get underneath them
  • If you have a garden gate with slats, make sure there isn’t room for your dog to squeeze through the panels. Adding mesh wire is a great solution to prevent this.
  • Keep drive and side gates shut and locked at all times and ask all family members to do the same
  • Cover swimming pools, hot tubs, and ponds
  • Keep your dog away from the driveway when reversing or moving your vehicle
  • Some plants and shrubs are poisonous to dogs. Your vet can advise you on which types are dangerous – common plants for your dog to avoid include:Lily, Hydrangea, Tomato, Daffodil, Aloe Vera, Chrysanthemum, Holly (berries), Ivy (entire plant) and tulips

Basic House training Steps

After making the above alterations in the home, your dog will now be ready to familiarise themselves with their new surroundings. At this stage, it’s important to provide leadership so that the dog can comfortably adjust.

On the first arrival, walk your dog around the garden on a leash. This will allow them to take in the smells associated with their new home. Pick a spot for your dog to relieve themselves so that they also associate this area with this action.

It might take a while for this to happen, so be patient. Always praise your dog for completing the desired action through positive praise and treats. Remember that they have a lot to learn, so rewarding them early on will make them learn good traits for the future.

Exploring the home

Once the garden has been explored, take your dog into the house. Be sure to keep them on the leash. It’s normal for your dog to feel anxious and excited about their surroundings so behavior such as panting, pacing, chewing and accidents are common initially.

If at any point your dog lifts up their leg to urinate, pull and release the lead and say “no” to reinforce that this action is incorrect. Take them outside to the same spot as before to relieve themselves and then enter the house again. Continue to repeat this action until the dog starts to learn that they should urinate outside.

Once they have explored the home, take them to their crate or bed. If they enter the crate, then once again reward them with positive praise and a treat.

 Remember:

  •  Any dog, especially a male who has not been neutered, may mark their territory if other animals have been living in the home
  •  Be responsive to your dog’s signals and needs - if you are vigilant and aware now, they will become much more reliable within the home later on
  •  Once you educate them and act as the dominant leader, they will start to relax and behave accordingly
  •  Never leave the leash attached when your dog is out of sight as they could get this caught and cause themselves injury

Meeting Other People

Always give your dog time to settle in before you invite people over to say hello. The initial learning stage is hugely important and the dog needs time to learn without multiple distractions.

When you are introducing friends and family, keep the dog on a leash for extra control. Have a handful of treats ready to reward them for good behavior too.

Remember that your dog can detect if your guests are nervous, so they also need to feel relaxed in this situation. Your dog is also likely to smell and sniff any visitors that enter your property.

Growling, barking, and jumping are common behaviors, but you should always teach your dog not to jump on guests when they arrive. Using the command “off” from an early age will steer them away from bad habits.

With control and training, most dogs will learn to feel comfortable around others and enjoy meeting new people.

Meeting Other Dogs

First and foremost, your puppy or dog should be vaccinated before meeting other animals. Mixing with other dogs from a young age is great for their natural development.

When introducing your dog to other dogs, for example, either in the home or out in a park, carry out the following:

  • Make sure the dogs who are meeting are both on a secure leash with choke collars if needed to provide more control
  • Introduce them gradually when they are both calm and reward relaxed behavior
  • If there is a negative reaction, take a step back to the neutral ground where neither dog reacted
  • Provide a positive vocal tone so that the dog is aware that you are confident as their leader that the situation is not alarming
  • Keep control and with any sign or form of aggression, correct this by pulling firmly on the leash and stating the “no” command
  • Stay focused, calm and relaxed as dogs can sense tension and gauge an owner's reactions
  • If the dogs continue to react negatively towards one another, take them back to the neutral ground and try introducing them at a later point
  • Over time, each dog should acclimatize to the situation by sniffing and getting closer to the other dog without any signs of aggression or distress

Dogs and Children

First and foremost, never leave children alone with your dog. Teach your children, as well as those entering your home that they should never:

  • Scream or run towards your dog
  • Harass or mistreat them
  • Be forceful, aggressive, or play rough with them
  • Encourage play biting

A dog’s natural defense when threatened will be to growl, nip and bite to show that they are afraid. Therefore, be extremely cautious when dogs and children are on the same premises.

If the above guidelines are carried out your dog should be able to acclimatize to having younger children around them.

Keep Your Children Safe Around Dogs

There have been a few sad stories in the news lately about children being harmed by dogs. You can help to protect your children by teaching them how to behave around dogs. Here are some tips for keeping your children safe when they come into contact with dogs.

Teach them never to approach a dog they don’t know

Explain very clearly to your children that they should never, under any circumstances approach a dog they don’t know.

Ensure they are supervised at all times around dogs

Never leave children alone with dogs, ever. Even if it is for just a few seconds.

Explain to them that dogs are animals

A lot of people make the mistake of humanising their dogs. Explain to your children that dogs are not like humans and they will behave like animals do.

Teach them to always ask owners first

If you know a dog and you are happy for your child to stroke them it’s still important to ask the owner first. Teach your child that they should always ask the owner before they stroke a dog, even if it is one they are familiar with.

Show them how to correctly approach a dog

Demonstrate how to safely approach a friendly This could be explaining thing such as offering them a closed fist to sniff and then gently stroking them under the chin. Tell your child to always avoid direct eye contact with a dog.

Teach the basics of dog body posture

Ask a dog trainer or behaviourist to explain the basics of canine body posture. For example, they might explain that a dog that is wagging its tail and has a relaxed body posture is more likely to be safe to approach.

Explain things that dogs don’t like

Explaining things that dogs don’t like is crucial as children don’t always understand this. For example, not all dogs enjoy being cuddled as this invades their space. Children should never approach a sleeping dog, a dog with puppies, a dog that is hiding or try and take a toy or food away from a dog.

Explain what to do if a strange dog runs up to them

Give your children some advice on what to do if a strange dog runs up to them. For example they should look away from the dog, make no noise, turn their back on the dog. They should not run away from the dog but move away slowly.

Please not assumes no liability for the content of this page. Please consult with a dog trainer if your dog develops any issues. This content is simply advice to try and teach your children to behave appropriately around dogs.

Registering With a Vet

It’s important to register your puppy with a local veterinary practice as soon as possible. Your vet is as fundamental to your dog’s health as your doctor is to your own. Go for an initial check-up first and your vet will be able to advise you of any required subsequent visits thereafter.

It’s also a good idea to make a list of any questions you need to ask your vet. Even if you think you already know about the potential diseases and threats to your dog, they will be able to provide you with further insights. This could cause you to take appropriate action and prevent your pet from harm.

Worming

All dogs are at risk from worms; however, puppies are at an increased risk, due to the fact that worms are often passed directly from the mother to the puppy during pregnancy, then through the mother’s milk after birth. Puppies with worm infestations can experience stomach problems, sickness, weight loss, and other more serious problems.

Therefore, it is advised that puppies are wormed from two to three weeks of age, at fortnightly intervals, until they are three months of age. After this time, it’s recommended that puppies are wormed every month until the age of six months, then every four months thereafter.

There are various worming treatments on the market, from brands such as ‘Drontal’ and ‘Panacur’, which can be purchased from your vet or from a pet supplies store, providing their staff are suitably qualified to dispense such medication.

Again, if you have any further questions, then it is always a good idea to seek advice from your vet.

Fleas

Another common health complaint which affects dogs and puppies comes in the form of fleas.

Fleas live by feeding on the blood of pets and animals. This experience can be very painful and can cause health problems for young puppies, so it is important that your new pet is protected.

One of the main problems with fleas is the fact they are notoriously difficult to detect. However, the easiest way to check for them is to look for dark specks on your dog’s coat and then if these spots turn red or brown, it is very likely your dog has fleas. These specs are basically the dried blood which the fleas have been feeding on.

If you need further information, then as always, seek advice from your vet. If your dog or puppy does have fleas, there are some very effective products on the market, such as ‘Frontline for dogs’, which kills fleas within 24 hours and protects against fleas for up to eight weeks.

Furthermore, this product is safe to use on puppies from eight weeks of age who weigh over 2kgs. Finally, as with many things in life, prevention is always better than cure, so providing a regular dose can help keep your pet and home flea and tick free.

Spayed and Neutered

  • Female dogs should be spayed between three and nine months old to reduce the risk of breast cancer and incontinence problems
  • Male dogs should be neutered between six and nine months to reduce the risk of testicular cancer and to calm aggression

It’s not essential to get your dog spayed or neutered, although it’s advised to do so in order to avoid problems at later date.

Pet Insurance

Taking out Pet Insurance is a decision every dog owner has to make. There are many companies on the market which offer pet insurance and the costs involved vary greatly. If this is a route which you are going to take, then it is a good idea to do some comprehensive research, as some policies offer a much greater amount of cover than others. It is important to note that sometimes routine vaccinations are not covered by pet insurance policies, and some policies require an excess to be paid. However it has been said that people are more likely to claim on pet insurance than their car insurance.

It’s advised to make sure you have sufficient pet insurance in place for your dog. This will assist you with costs for healthcare and the general well being of your animals, such as X-rays and surgical procedures.

Insurance costs will vary, depending on the type of dog you have and whether it’s a pedigree breed. As a general rule of thumb, the bigger the dog, the higher the insurance premiums. Pedigree breeds are also likely to cost more to insure.

Although insurance can be costly, bills can soon add up if your dog suffers from an ongoing or serious health issue. Always speak to your insurance provider first to ask about the details of your policy and consider the following:

  • How much are your vet bills and how much could you pay for standard care?
  • What’s the required excess you will need to pay?
  • Is your dog exposed to more dangers and risks because of where you live?
  • Does your breed of dog have specific health needs?
  • Will you be getting the correct level of cover for your dog?

Food and Diet

In order for your pet to live a healthy life, a decent doggy diet is essential.

Puppy diet

As puppies grow quickly, they need a separate diet compared to adult dogs. It’s advised to use formulated growth food initially. This can be given to your puppy at regular intervals during the day to aid their development. Start by feeding your puppy four meals a day and reduce this to three meals when they are four to six months old. After this period, two meals a day will suffice.

Other top tips for feeding your puppy include:

  • Try not to give them too much variety in their diet as this can affect their digestion
  • Food that can easily be digested is best at this stage in their development
  • Consult your vet if your puppy produces light stools or has diarrhea as they could have digestive problems
  • Any changes in diet should be made gradually over the space of a week
  • Choose a product specially designed for puppies – premium dry puppy food is a good starting point
  • Find a product that works (such as tinned or moist puppy food) and stick to it
  • If any physical problems reoccur from a specific diet, speak to your vet
  • Always ensure clean drinking water is available
  • Avoid refilling half empty bowls
  • Avoid feeding your dog scraps of food
  • Remember that puppies have small stomachs so they require smaller but more frequent meals than mature dogs
(Reference *6)

A mature dog’s diet

It’s advised to choose established dog food brands, as bargain food can cost you more in the long run. An established and renowned brand that uses high-quality ingredients and fewer preservatives are the best option. This will help to avoid any allergies and offer the nutrients your dog needs. Always check the packaging to see what ingredients are contained.

Dry foods can help to keep a dog’s teeth clean and incorporating fresh vegetables into their diet will provide extra nutrients.

Just like puppies, always make sure that your dog has access to fresh drinking water and stick to scheduled feeding times. Always wash food and water bowls before each meal too, as this will prevent the spread of germs.

Food your dog can eat

Food your dog must not eat

Vegetables – such as green beans and carrots

Chocolate – as it’s poisonous to dogs

Plain yogurt – high in protein and calcium

Hard chews – can crack teeth

Apple slices – a good source of fiber, vitamin A and C

Chicken bones – can splinter and cause injury

Cooked chicken – for extra protein

Avocado – large amounts can be toxic

Cooked salmon – a good source of omega 3

Grapes and raisins – can cause kidney failure

Oatmeal – a good source of fiber (don’t add any sugar)

Raw meat and fish – can cause food poisoning

Exercise and Walking

It’s common for puppies to be full of life and energy. When it comes to exercise and taking them on walks, you should pay attention to their individual needs.

Never push your puppy beyond their limit if they display signs of being tired and worn out.

Also, always ensure that you have enough water to provide them and try to walk and run in cooler areas on extremely hot days. Chances are that if you feel hot and drained from the heat, your puppy will too.

The main point about exercise and walking is to keep it consistent. Your puppy may find it difficult to run around the park if you’ve kept them inside the house for a prolonged period of time. Therefore, a regular pattern from an early age will help with their natural development into a full grown dog.

In any scenario where you notice that your puppy is struggling beyond what you think they are capable of, consult your vet to see if there are any underlying health issues.

All dogs regardless of their breed should have at least one walk per day. This will strengthen their muscles and bones and also help to reduce blood pressure and avoid gaining weight too.

Responsibilities

Remember to take poo bags with you to clean up any mess and keep the landscape clean for other people. Failing to clean your dog’s mess in public places will result in a fine.

When walking your dog in the countryside, by law and in order to adhere to the Countryside Code, you should ensure that they are wearing a collar and ID tag which states your address (Control of Dogs Order 1992 - *7).

Introducing A Second Dog To Your Home

Bringing a new dog home is a wonderful experience, but it often isn’t easy. There’s obviously a settling in period, and they also have another dog to get used to. Many people say having a second dog doesn’t make that much difference, but getting two dogs to bond and accept each other can certainly be a challenge. If they absolutely adore each other from the start, then you are very lucky and have found the right match. However, most dogs take a while to feel comfortable around a new dog in an environment that’s unfamiliar to them. To help those who are bringing another dog home, we have put together a handy guide. There’s some things you need to know before you bring your new pooch home, and some helpful tips that will be useful along the way.

Before you bring them home

Before you make the decision to get another dog, you need to consider whether you are really in a position to care for two dogs adequately, and also if it’s the best thing for your existing dog.

Does your current dog get along well with other dogs and enjoy canine companionship, or would they clearly rather be on their own with their human pals? Try not to be selfish and just get another dog because you want one. Speak to every household member and double check everyone is on board with getting a second dog.

Once you have decided that you are ready for a second dog, you need to prepare your home. As you would for any new arrival, make sure your home is dog proofed. Stock up on everything your new dog will need before their arrival, such as a collar, lead and dog bed. Scan your house for anything that might cause arguments between your dogs, such as highly valued toys, food or bones and put them out of reach.

Make sure you have a space where you can separate your dogs initially, and somewhere you can leave them separately when you go out. Create some space in your home where your existing dog can go if they need some space, such as a bed or spare room. They might be a bit overwhelmed by the new arrival at first, so it’s important they can take themselves off somewhere quiet if they wish.

Finding the right match

It’s crucial that you find the right match for your existing dog. You can obviously get a puppy, and hope that as they grow up both dogs continue to get along. Or you can get a rescue dog and introduce them to see whether they are a good match.

If you plan on getting a rescue dog, do your research and try and find a dog that will suit your existing dog well. Consider their size, age, breed, gender and activity levels. You might want to speak to a few rescue centres about what sort of dog might be the right match, and they can keep you in mind when new dogs come in. Once you have decided on a dog you like and think may be suitable, it’s time to arrange a meet and greet. Arrange for both dogs to meet on neutral ground, and if they initially seem OK with each other, take them for a walk together. This will help you to see whether they are interacting nicely, and decide whether your dog is comfortable around the new dog.

The next step would be to let them spend more time together off lead or in a play area under supervision. Some dogs might need a few meet and greets to gradually get used to each other, others will get on wonderfully from the start. Once you have decided that both dogs appear to get on, it’s time to take your new rescue dog home. Remember that things can be very different in the home, when your existing dog is on their territory. They may become a bit protective or not appreciate a new dog on their turf, at least initially. Never bring a new dog straight into the house with a meet and greet on neutral ground first. When you do bring the new dog home, try to avoid changing your existing dog’s routine too much, or they will feel more unsettled and frustrated by the presence of another dog.

Reassure your existing dog

Don’t change the way you behave with your existing dog when the new dog arrives. It’s tempting to shower the new pooch with loads of attention, but make sure you give your attention fairly. Also, avoid the temptation to give your existing dog more attention than usual. However, you can still reassure them and let them know that having a new dog isn’t going to change your relationship with them.

Create lots of positive experiences

One of the best things you can do when introducing a second dog to your home is create plenty of positive experiences. You want both dogs to associate being around each other as a positive thing. For example, take them on lots of fun walks, let them go off lead together (if possible), reward them for good behaviour and let them play together if they are playing nicely. It’s very important to spend one on one time with each dog individually. This will help you to bond with them, strengthen their training, and give them the attention they crave.

Don’t leave them alone together unattended

When you bring a new dog home and initially your dogs get along really well, there’s the temptation to leave them on their own together. In the first few weeks and months especially, you just don’t know what they will do if left alone. The last thing you want to happen is for them to have a nasty scrap when you aren’t around to protect either dog. This creates a negative experience and could really harm the potential for them to form a bond. Even leaving your house for a few minutes isn’t wise. When you go out, keep them separate until you know you can 100% trust them together. Some dogs may be fine together after a few months, others may take years, you have to decide when you feel they are ready.

…And Finally

All that’s left to say now is best of luck with training and looking after your dog. Remember that you are the one to make a difference by acting as the leader, which a dog will need when settling into their new surroundings.Hopefully, this guide has offered you the advice, tips, and guidance you need to be able to spend many happy years together with the new addition to your family. So, here’s to great times ahead with your very first pet dog!  We hope you've enjoyed reading our guide to owning your first dog!

  1. The Daily Mail, Creature Comforts: Why owning a pet makes you ‘happier and more likely to live longer’: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2013854/Why-owning-pet-makes-happier-likely-live-longer.html
  2. PDSA, Care Advise: http://www.pdsa.org.uk/pet-health-advice/puppies-and-dogs/health#registering-your-dog-with-a-vet
  3. Viking Vets: Canine Distemper: http://www.vikingvets.com/factsheets/distemper.htm
  4. The Merck Veterinary Manual, Overview of Canine Distemper: http://www.merckmanuals.com
  5. Yahoo Voices, 10 Dog Diseases Common to All Dog Breeds: http://voices.yahoo.com/10-dog-diseases-common-all-dog-breeds-5787772.html
  6. The Kennel Club, Feeding your puppy: http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/item/456
  7. The Kennel Club, The Countryside Code: http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/item/248
  8. Partnership for Animal Welfare, Bringing Your New Dog Home: http://www.paw-rescue.org/dog_guide.php
  9. Purina, Making your home dog-friendly: http://www.purina.co.uk/content/your-dog/your-new-dog/welcoming-your-dog-home/making-your-home-dog-friendly
  10. 10. PDSA, Puppies and dogs – Health: http://www.pdsa.org.uk/pet-health-advice/puppies-and-dogs/health
  11. 11. DogsTrust, Worms: http://www.dogstrust.org.uk/az/w/worms/#.Ue-2mY3qmnl
  12. 12. Vets4Pets, No fleas on little me! - http://www.vets4pets.com/pet-advice/dog-advice/puppy-advice/fleas-and-your-puppy/

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