How to Avoid the Most Common New Dog Parent Mistakes

How to Avoid the Most Common New Dog Parent Mistakes

Becoming a new dog parent is a joyous event. But if this is your first foray into parenting a furry, four-legged bundle of joy, all that excitement may come with some worries, too. After all, what if you make some classic new dog parent mistakes?

That’s okay. It’s normal to worry, just as it’s normal for first-time pet parents to make mistakes. Often, they’re an important part of the learning experience. The trick is to avoid the mistakes that could end up really harming your dog.

Our Best Advice for New Dog Parents

Better get used to it: You will make mistakes. We all do! However, knowing the risks and being prepared can help you minimize the severity of new dog parent mistakes.

To help set you up for success, here’s some of our best advice to help you avoid the most common mistakes new pet parents make.   

1. Find a vet you trust

To promote your dog’s long-term health and avoid last-minute stress, prioritize finding a veterinarian before bringing your new pet home. You’re going to have your hands full once your dog becomes part of the family. So give yourself one less thing to worry about!

Find Your Vet

2. Ask your vet (not Dr. Google)

New pet parents have plenty of questions. And there’s no shortage of answers (and all-knowing sources) to choose from. But when it comes to your dog’s health or behavior, always check with your veterinarian first. That way, you’ll get advice tailored to your dog’s unique needs, not one-size-fits-most answers.

3. Don’t skimp on training

Training is a must, whether you’re welcoming a boisterous new puppy or an older rescue dog. Not only is it a great opportunity to bond with your new pet, but effective training can also help keep your dog safe and prevent unwanted behavior. Keep in mind: You’ll need plenty of patience…and, if that runs out, maybe some help in the form of a certified dog trainer.

4. Feed a diet that fits your dog

Testing a variety of dog foods out on your new pup can be overwhelming, expensive, and even mess with your dog’s digestion. Instead, consult with your veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist for personalized diet recommendations tailored to your dog’s health and caloric needs. Pro Tip: Set up automatic shipments so you never run out of dog food!

5. Add appropriate exercise

Staying active plays an important role in your dog’s health. But exercise needs (and preferences) vary from dog to dog. Ask your veterinarian about your breed’s physical requirements and what type of exercises they would recommend. Walking may be plenty for some dogs, while others may need something a bit more challenging, like swimming or an agility course. 

6. Ensure your dog is spayed or neutered

If your dog isn’t already spayed or neutered, talk to your vet about the best time to schedule this simple, life-saving procedure. Not only does spaying or neutering benefit your dog’s health, but it also helps fight the cycle of abuse unwanted pets often suffer.

7. Know your breed (and what you’re getting into)

It’s so easy to fall in love with a dog at first sight! But before you make any big decisions, be sure to research your prospective pup’s breed traits. While all dogs are unique, breed characteristics can give you a better sense of whether a dog is likely to fit your lifestyle and living space. Plus, you can learn what health issues to watch out for, grooming requirements, and more.

8. Get pet insurance to help offset health expenses

Get pet health insurance as soon as possible to help cover the cost of unexpected illnesses or injuries. But be sure to shop around to find the right plan for your pup. Some plans offer basic coverage, while others may cover preventative care and even things like alternative therapies, surgery, and diagnostic tests.

9. Sign up for a free GreatPetCare account

Life with a new dog can get pretty busy. But with a GreatPetCare account, you can make managing your pet’s health super simple. Sign up for free and keep all your dog’s details at your fingertips, from health records to medication reminders and helpful advice from veterinarians. There’s even a GreatHealthCare app with a bonus Health Journal, where you can log symptoms, photos, or questions you want to share with your vet.

Staying organized and prepared is a great way to avoid the most common new dog parent mistakes. So create your free account today to tap into these benefits:

  • Build a profile for your new dog 
  • Add your local vet and emergency vet clinic
  • Upload and manage health records
  • Set reminders
  • Track weight
  • Add recall alerts
  • Get article and product recommendations specific to your pet and health concerns

Sign up now

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