Since the start of the Pandemic in early 2020, many of us are now spending more time at home than ever before. As a result of this, we have seen more and more people getting new puppies. I'm sure that among these dog owners are many first-time pet owners. I've been in the grooming profession for many decades and have seen thousands and thousands of dogs in my lifetime. As a pet groomer, I'd like to offer some advice to first-time dog owners. Here are 4 things you need to know before you decide to get a puppy of your own!
1) Dogs Need Training
Depending on how old your puppy is, it will take approximately eight months for a puppy to grow into an adult dog (small breeds). These months are precious and will go by in a flash! It's possible to train a dog after they're 12 months old, but basic training should be done while they're in their puppy stages. Basic training includes housebreaking, learning basic commands, and socializing with other pets and people. It will take about 4-6 months to train a puppy, but it can take more time if they're older. You can find a lot of information available on these topics from youtube, blogs, and books. Some puppy training classes are even ongoing virtually!
2) Dogs Need To Be Walked Often
Dogs need to be taken on walks at least twice a day--and I'm not just talking about taking them out for a pee or poo. I'm talking about a nice 10-15 minute (or longer) walk around the block. If you don't give your dog a chance to get some exercise, they will lose muscle mass and their bones will become weak, just as humans do. Some breeds need to be exercised more vigorously than others, so make sure to read up on what's required for the breed. Dogs without exercise can become stressed from being cooped up, and can exhibit signs of anxiety or aggression.
3) Dog's Need To Brush Their Teeth Too
You don't often hear about owners brushing their dog's teeth, but any veterinarian will tell you this is necessary for the health of the animal. Can you imagine your child not brushing their teeth for an entire year? We need to brush our teeth for our oral health and dogs are no different. Many pet-specialty stores and veterinarians offer tasty enzymatic pet toothpaste in flavors like beef or chicken. Start by letting them lick the pet-safe toothpaste off your fingers and gradually start tracing the inside of their mouth with your finger. You can move on using a small toothbrush once they feel comfortable. Start with what you can do, and make teeth brushing a habit! For more information, please refer to our article on how to brush your dog's teeth.
4) Managing Their Diet
Many of the dog breeds we know today are descendants of wolves. Much of their wolf life was spent hunting for prey and they would eat as much as they could when they had a catch but would have to starve if they didn't. That's the way they lived for thousands of years. That's why dogs usually want to eat all the time and can't control the amount of food they eat on their own. There is an unbelievable number of overweight dogs all over the world. We even see them on our grooming table! There are so many health risks for obese dogs including diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. To prevent this from happening you need to manage their diet along with their exercise. Treats should be given minimally, and only at certain times of the day. You should also avoid giving human food because it contains too much sodium, sugar, and calories for a dog's body to process.
Having a puppy in the family is a life-changing
Having a dog as a new member of the family means having a loyal companion. There is not a day that goes by where your dog is not a topic of conversation in the family. Dogs are nothing but fun and mischief but they brighten up the home in such a life-changing way. Their lives are so short and precious compared to humans. This is why it's so important to put their health first to maintain a long, healthy, and happy relationship with them. By teaching them manners, walking them every day, brushing their teeth regularly, and managing their diet, you're going to give them the best life they deserve!
The most important part of living with a new family member may be to change your lifestyle and to make it a priority to suit the needs of your companion dog.