Adopting a dog is a joyful experience, full of snuggles, those sweet little head tilts, and long walks together. The process is not without its stresses, especially for first-time dog parents navigating the world of training, shots, and chew toys. A few ounces of prevention when it comes to caring for your new furry friend can ensure those happily-ever-after stories are about fetch and cuddles, not worrying.
Here are four smart tips to keep in mind as you prepare your pup’s new forever home:
1. Proper ID Is Key
Even if they’re microchipped, make sure your dog has a collar with your name and number displayed prominently. If the clanging of metal tags bothers you, look into monogramming options (which have the added bonus of looking extremely distinguished). An adjustable collar will help you get the perfect fit; two fingers should slide easily between your dog’s neck and the collar. Many areas mandate a dog license, which comes with an ID tag that can also help trace your dog back to you if they make a great escape.
Most importantly: Make sure your dog never leaves home without it! Even if they’re just lounging in your backyard, accidents do happen, and that collar will give your dog the best chance of getting home.
2. Keep Vaccines Up-To-Date
It may surprise you how many vaccines dogs need to be fully protected against viruses and other potential illnesses. In addition to the rabies vaccine, your furry friend can benefit from preventive shots like the leptospirosis vaccine, which prevents infection against a bacterial passed from wildlife. Many groomers and kennels require additional vaccines like Bordetella to avoid kennel cough.
Your dog’s medical records will let you know when it’s time for a vaccine update, and many veterinary offices now sync with online portals or apps that send automatic reminders.
3. Invest in Pet Insurance
Whether it’s for routine checkups or the unfortunate event of an illness or emergency, vet bills can add up quickly. To ensure you can afford to give your dog the best care, invest in reliable pet insurance like Nationwide. Just choose the plan that’s right for you and submit eligible claims for reimbursement.
As with other types of insurance, it’s best to have it in place before you need it — and enrolling your dog at an early age can actually save you money by avoiding big bills up front.
4. Always Have Treats and Water
Never leave home without high-value (dog trainer speak for delicious!) treats and plenty of water. Treats are the best way to reinforce good behaviors, and in the case of a dangerous situation where you need to recall or distract your pet quickly, can provide much-needed enticement.
Dogs should also always have access to fresh water, especially when it’s hot out. If you’re going on a long walk or hike with your dog, don’t assume there will be a natural water source available. Pack plenty of water for them, along with a lightweight bowl for easy re-hydration on the go.
To learn more and see these tips in adorable action, watch above.
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