A dog’s love is unconditional. If you are thinking of getting a dog, it’s important that you show him the same type of love by making an informed decision on the best breed for your home, how to keep your home clean, health care, the right toys, and how to train him properly. As a dog owner, it is your obligation to give your dog all your love and attention as well as a healthy environment to just be himself. Here are some helpful information that will help you on deciding if you are ready to get a dog, including training your new pup, keeping him healthy, and choosing a good name.
Selecting a Dog Breed
If you are thinking bringing home a dog to add to your family, remember that choosing the right type of dog breed should take some thought. Each dog has an individual personality even though different breeds typically have certain unique traits. It’s important to keep this in mind when you choose a dog breed to help ensure that the dog you do end up choosing will fit easily into your family and lifestyle.
What Type of Home Do You Have?
One of the first things to consider when choosing the best dog breed for you and your family is what type of home do you have. Anyone living in a small apartment will find that larger breeds like a Great Dane won’t be suitable. Smaller breeds typically do better in a smaller area, but even a terrier can be pretty noisy, so they may not be a good choice with all that barking. Look for a smaller breed that is quiet and doesn’t need a lot of room or time outside.
If you live in a rural area, you will want to choose a dog that is easy to keep clean. Rural areas have a lot of dirt and bugs, so dogs with long hair can be hard to maintain in that type of environment.
How Large is Your Family?
Anyone that lives on their own and knows that their home won’t be expanding anytime in the future can choose from all kinds of dog breeds. But, if you have a growing or large family, you should take that into consideration when choosing a puppy.
There are some breeds that are better with children than others like Golden Retrievers and Labradors, which are great pets for a family. Just remember that they do have lots of energy.
Depending on your lifestyle, you may want to find a dog that doesn’t need a lot of daily exercise, since you will probably be busy with your family as well. If your whole family will be helping out to take care of your new dog, then you may want to look at breeds that have more energy and requires daily walks and lots of outside playtimes. For some, hiring a dog walker solves this issue.
How Active is Your Lifestyle?
If you have an active lifestyle, you will want to choose a dog with endless energy that can keep up with you. Huskies, Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, and Spaniels are good choices for outdoor adventures. Even if you are pretty active, you will also need a large yard and home for a breed with high energy since they will need space to burn off energy throughout their day.
If you aren’t super active, but you have the space for a larger breed, then you will want to choose a large breed that has a low amount of energy. Irish Wolfhounds, Mastiffs, and Greyhounds are very happy with a ten-minute run and then will sleep for the remainder of the day.
Do You Travel a Lot?
Anyone that travels a lot will also need to choose a breed that will be happy hanging out at a boarding facility. But certain breeds are more likely to have separation anxiety like the Bichon Frise, so you will want to avoid these breeds if you are away a lot.
Do You Have Time To Groom Your Dog?
While those fluffy, long-haired dogs are super adorable, they do need a lot of grooming. Dogs like Cocker Spaniels, Poodles, and a Bichon Frise need grooming daily to maintain their coat. It’s important to keep up their grooming habits to avoid dealing with mattes. Regular grooming can take up a lot of your time unless you are willing to pay for your dog to go to a groomer. Otherwise, you should pick a dog that has a coat that requires low maintenance.
Are You Willing To Spend Money On Your Dog?
Health issues for any breed can add up, but certain breeds have more health problems than other breeds. Some breeds have skin issues or even ear and breathing problems like English Bulldogs . If you have the money to deal with veterinary care for these issues, this may not be a concern. But, if you have a limited budget, you may want to get a dog that’s from the healthier breeds.
Performing a Dog DNA Test
If you are adopting a mixed breed dog, you may want to find out what the dog’s ancestors are to prepare yourself for any health issues. It can be fun to reveal your dog’s breed composition, and a DNA test can help to give you clues to your dog’s behavioral quirks and traits. But genetic testing isn’t an exact science, so what is the best dog DNA test to use for your mixed breed?
A dog breed DNA test isn’t able to confirm if a dog is a pure breed, but these tests can have come a long way in the past few years. There are several tests on the market that range from requiring a blood sample to a swab from a dog’s cheek for the test.
When choosing a DNA test, you should consider the type of test, the cost, and how many breeds it is able to identify. The types of breeds a DNA test can identify is probably the biggest consideration. Accuracy is also important and there is the thought that the test requiring a blood test is more precise than the cheek swab.
Dog DNA testing is still progressing, but it is getting better every day with its technology and its sample database size. Someday, these tests will be able to pinpoint the exact breeds that make up the mixed-breed dog that you have.
Deciding on a Dog Name
So, now that you have chosen a dog, you have a few more decisions to make. Your first decision should be what you should name your dog. Here are a few tips to help you find the best name for your pup.
Choose a Name That Ends With a Vowel
A name that ends with a vowel will change your tone as you call for a dog. Why does this matter? Since a dog is able to distinguish frequency ranges at a higher level than a human can. It is easier to get a dog’s attention if his name ends in a vowel.
Stick With A Name That Has Two Syllables
You need to avoid long names since most owners typically end up shortening it in the long run anyway. A two-syllable name is a perfect length. If you want a good way to test it out, just say it over and over several times to see how comfortable it is to say.
Avoid Creative Names That Have Negative Connotations
While it can seem funny to give your pup a cute puppy a name like “Cujo”, it’s not the best idea in the long run.
Don’t Choose a Clever Name That Gets Confused With Commands
Think about the commands that you will regularly give your dog and think about the name you are considering. Does it sound too similar? If it does, you may want to save yourself problems in the future and choose a different name. Joe can be mistaken for the command ‘No’, and you don’t want your dog to think you’re yelling at him when you just want him to come to you.
Don’t Choose A Name That’s Is Similar To Those Of Your Other Pets
If you have several pets, it’s important to make sure that your new dog’s name is not similar to your other dogs or pets. If you do, this can make all your pets confused when you call them.
Consider Your Dog’s Personality
You may want to wait a little bit until you can determine your dog’s personality. If you have an energetic dog that races around consistently, you could call him Mario. A dog that barely moves around, like an English Bulldog, could be called Butterball. When you consider your dog’s personality, you will definitely find a name that fits him perfectly.
Dog Insurance – Should You Get It?
No one can know what’s going to happen in the future. You have no idea if you or your pet will get sick and how much it might cost. In this regard, many dog owners have invested in today’s best dog insurance to help cover the cost of unexpected vet bills. Typically, a pet owner will just pay out-of-pocket for a pet’s medical expenses, but some people can struggle with several hundred-dollar emergency vet bills, which makes having pet insurance very helpful.
Anything in life is uncertain no matter how responsible you may be. Dogs can end up eating things you could not even dream of, and pet insurance is a great way to help shoulder that financial burden. Before you choose your dog, it’s important that you understand the expenses that can come up.
It is estimated that a pet parent can spend up to 650 dollars on average on dog treats, food, and toys along with other various expenses that depend on the breed, location, and size of the dog. On top of that, there are infrequent purchases like cages, crates, and carrier bags that can cost an added $600 to your annual total. While vaccines are affordable, you will probably spend around $100 for a dog’s vaccines.
When your pet becomes ill, or if your doctor finds something wrong at a checkup, your vet bill will go up a lot. Remember that the largest expenses from your vet tend to come from unexpected surgeries and emergencies, which makes pet insurance a literal lifesaver.
An unforeseen, but very expensive emergency visit to the vet is pretty much impossible to predict, but they are just too common. On average, one out of three pets needs an emergency visit each year. Accidents like fractures, dog bites, and ingesting an object can end up costing a pet owner thousands of dollars in treatment. Even a ligament repair in a dog can cost you between $3,000 and $7,000, which doesn’t include anesthesia, X-rays, anesthesia, or follow-up care.
Just remember that what illnesses and injuries are considered an emergency may vary depending on the insurance provider. While there are certain standards, a blunt trauma, like your dog getting hit by a car, isn’t going to change. But there are some conditions like toxin exposure that do end up in a gray area. It’s important that you understand what is actually covered by your dog insurance policy.
Health Risk for Specific Breeds
As you are shopping for the best pet insurance for your new dog, you should also keep your dog’s breed in mind as you consider the cost. Certain breeds have specific health risks that may increase the cost of your pet insurance significantly throughout their life. For example, a pug has a seven times higher possibility of getting hip dysplasia than a poodle does, which can cost up to $5,000 to treat.
A French bulldog is more likely to develop hemivertebrae, which is a spinal deformity where the vertebrae can become wedge-shaped and cause an angle in your dog’s spine . If you identify this deformity, it can require imaging and treatment that may be preceded with surgery. And both of these treatments may cost you thousands of dollars.
A large dog breed is also more likely to have a health issue than a smaller dog. Certain heart issues and arthritis both of which can require ongoing treatment that may cost thousands of dollars each year. If you have a pet with a breed-specific risk of developing a certain illness or a chronic condition, remember that is an important factor you must consider when you budget for the costs for your new pet.
Finding the Right Pet Insurance Plan
If you have decided that pet insurance is worth the cost, then you need to find the best provider for your pet’s unique needs. There are several websites that will help you find breed-specific coverage as well as transparency about the lifetime pricing of the insurance across the top providers.
As a pet parent, it can be challenging to find insurance for urgent health issues for your dog. However, pet insurance policies tend to have an easy enrollment process, and there are also free services that will compare the top insurance brands along with your dog’s breed-specific health risks in order to find a policy that can save you a lot of money as well as headaches.
Tips on Training Your Dog
Getting a dog means you are ready to teach the basics of obedience so that he will be able to respond to commands and keep out of danger. When you have a well-behaved dog, it will keep him safe. Any dog that runs away from home or a dog that you walk off-leash needs to be able to come back when he is called. Keeping him away from an aggressive animal or speeding car can help to save his life.
A dog that has good manners also makes a good neighbor. If your dog is hard to control, your neighbor’s kids might be afraid of him, or he might knock over your elderly neighbor who is unsteady on her feet. So, when should you start your dog’s training? Puppies that are less than three months should only get very light training. Start with house ground rules and potty training. Focus on mealtimes, where he should sleep, what rooms he can go in, and whether or not he’s allowed on the couch. Some dog parents hire a dog trainer if their pets have some behavioral issues that needs correcting. You must also learn techniques such as the positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement dog training.
After your dog is at least three months, then he will have the attention span to learn some basic commands. Remember that it is hard to break a habit than teach a new command. When you are training your puppy, you are telling him that you are the leader of the pack. Here are a few of the basic commands that all dogs should learn:
Heel – When your dog is on your left at knee level, take his leash in hand and start walking with him leading with your left foot as you give the “Heel” command and using your dog’s name. Utilize positive reinforcement dog training by giving him treats along with praises as he walks along with you correctly. Tug at his leash if he isn’t getting the hang of it to bring him back into place next to you and then start again.
Sit – Hold a treat along the back of your dog’s head and say, “Sit” as well as your dog’s name. Usually, most dogs will sit automatically, but if he doesn’t, just touch his backside lightly while you say “sit” again before giving his praise and a treat.
Stay – When your dog is in the sit position, stand in front of him with an open-palm hand and say the command, “Stay,” along with his name. After making eye contact, keep him in the stay position for about 30 seconds before releasing him by saying, “Okay!” As you practice, keep him for longer periods of time while you stand farther away each time.
Come – Using a non-retractable leash that is at least six feet long, make sure your dog is in the “Sit” position. Gently pull on the leash and say, “Come” before calling your dog’s name in a happy and excited tone. After your dog comes and sits before you, make sure you give him a treat and lots of praise.
Here are a few more tips from dog trainers:
- You will want to avoid confusing your dog, so it’s important to say a short word along with your dog’s name every time you say the command.
- Keep your training sessions with your pup short since a dog has a short attention span.
- When teaching the basic commands, train three to five times a day, and each session should only last between 10 and 15 minutes.
- It’s important to remember that dogs just want to please you. He will respond to your praise, but he will shrink from you when punished. With lots of patience and practice, along with lots of love, you should have no problem turning your untrained puppy into a responsive and loyal dog.
Keeping Your Home Clean with a Dog
It can be a challenge to keep your home clean when you have a dog. Not only do you have to deal with fur everywhere, but you may also find puppy footprints on your floor and food and treats hidden all over the house. Here are a few techniques that can help you clean up the debris and dirt that your pet will leave behind, and also effectively clean your home at the same time.
Use an automatic vacuum
Even if you have a pet that is “non-shedding”, you will find that you are vacuuming constantly. Along with dog hair, there are always leaves, dirt, and other types of debris that find their way into your home and on your dog’s feet and fur. You will find that by the time you are done vacuuming your home, it is just time to do it all over again. One great pet tip is investing in a robotic vacuum. This is not only a great time-saver, but it will help keep your home clean all day long, especially if you can program it to run on a specific schedule.
Use a lint roller
It’s common for pet owners to have a collection of lint rollers. It can make it easier if you just add one to your cleaning supplies since they are perfect for using on a throw pillow, lampshades, and overstuffed furniture along with anywhere your dog may have been. It’s also important to find the best air purifier for pets to help contain your dog’s hair and dander so it doesn’t get out of control in your home.
Give your dog pedicures
If you keep your dog’s nails trimmed, you can prevent damage to your floors and furniture. You’re your dog is running around with nails that are too long, it can scratch the leather furniture, mar hardwood floors, and puncture upholstery.
Keep stain remover on hand
Any dog can have an accident now and then. Even a housebroken dog may have an issue if they are left alone too long or have a stomach bug. Make sure you have the best pet stain remover on hand to take on any pet stains and odors. It’s important to use the best carpet cleaner for pets and stains as soon as you notice it, so follow the directions on the package to help increase your chance of removing the stain effectively.
Wipe his paws
A doormat is a great way to help keep your dog’s paws clean even if you aren’t able to teach him to wipe his feet. A good quality doormat placed outside your door along with a washable throw rug inside can help to catch a lot of debris and dirt just from your dog walking over them.
Be prepared to wash your dog’s paws on days that have inclement weather as a way to cut down on the debris and dirt that is tracked into your home. You can also place a hook by your door to hang a towel to wipe your dog’s paws, and a rimmed baking sheet that can hold about a half-inch of water just outside your door. Just put your pup’s feet in the water and then wipe them off.
You can also purchase a dog paw washer. This device allows you to add water and move your dog’s paws up and down in the paw washer that is equipped with soft brushes that can get in between your dog’s paw pads.
Use a cover
Dogs that have regular nap areas will require a cover over the area to help keep them clean. Have a few spare sheets available that allow you to swap them out to help keep your home clean. This will help to keep your furniture protected against stains and dog hair. Plus, it will help to reduce any doggie odors, especially since you can throw the sheets easily in the washer when you need to.
Contain his mess
Another area that you need to maintain is the area around your dog’s food bowl. It can often get dirty with dribbled water and dropped bits of food. If you put a rimmed tray under his food and water dishes, you can easily catch this mess and make clean up easy.
Choose durable materials
If you want to prevent your couch and carpet from getting dirty and clawed up, you will want to pick home décors out of sturdy and durable materials. Outdoor and indoor rugs that have a low pile are not as easy to tear and are easier to clean. If possible, find fabrics that are stain-resistant in your high traffic areas so that they are easy to maintain and will keep your house looking clean and fresh.
Gifts for dog lovers
If you would like to give someone that just got a new dog a gift, there are a ton of gadgets and techno-toys that their new pup will love. You can choose from fun chew toys, luxury beds, and treat toys that will keep the puppy busy for hours. Here are a few suggestions to help you find the best gift for dog lovers.
Treat toys – A great way to keep a dog busy while you are away all day is with a puzzle toy. These toys are designed to be hard to get into, which is the point of keeping a dog busy. When they do break inside, they are rewarded with treats, which is also a good way to keep your pup’s tummy full in the middle of the day.
Durable toys – If you have a high-energy dog, you will want to find toys that have a durable exterior that also makes them easy to pick up and throw. It doesn’t hurt if this toy makes a fun squeaky noise or bounces. Dogs love chasing toys and something that will last more than a few playtimes is always a great gift.
Lick Mat – If your dog has a hard time with baths, a lick mat can be a great distraction. The mat suctions to the wall so your dog can easily access it as you bathe him. Just fill the grooves with his favorite snack, peanut butter, or cream cheese. It’s important to choose something that your dog won’t be able to eat quickly, that way you can wash your dog thoroughly.
Leash with bag dispenser – Another helpful gift idea is giving the new dog owner a leash that includes a waste bag dispenser attached to the handle. With this leash, you’ll never forget to take along a poop bag. The lightweight dispenser holds a standard roll of poop bags as well as a few treats for the walk.
Pet cam – Any new pet owner will appreciate a pet cam, which will let them keep an eye on the new puppy while they are away. And it doesn’t have to be fancy. Most people appreciate a wireless indoor type of security camera that includes two-way audio. These cameras are quick to set up and provides a sharp image, even in the dark. You can even livestream the puppy’s footage from your smartphone or get alerts when sound or motion is detected. Some cameras even let you add viewers so your friends and family can watch as well.