Top four things to consider before bringing a dog home for the first time29 April 2022
As we approach the end of National Pet Month (1st April – 2nd May 2022), we’re reflecting on what new build homeowners should consider before bringing a dog home for the first time.
Spring and summer are both popular seasons for introducing a new dog into the home (source: Rover) as they offer dry weather, making it easier to housetrain a puppy, and longer days which provide you and your new pooch with plenty of playtime.
Whether you are currently looking at rescue dogs for adoption or researching puppy breeders, introducing a dog into your home is an exciting but huge lifestyle change so check out our top four things to consider before you commit.
1. Do you have time for a dog?
It’s important to remember that a dog requires a lot of your time and attention, particularly during those first few months. The Covid-19 lockdown in 2020 saw 3.2m pets bought by UK households (source: Guardian) because many people were suddenly at home all the time. Many dog owners did not think about the fact they would be returning to work after lockdown restrictions were lifted, resulting in ‘lockdown dogs’ being taken to rescue centres.
In September 2021, the Dogs Trust said it had experienced a 35% increase in calls from pet owners looking to give up their dogs and a 55% rise in emails on the subject (source: Independent).
Don’t add to the overcrowding problem that rescue centres are now facing. Before you bring a dog home, ask yourself the following questions:
- How long will the dog be left on its own each day?
- Will it have plenty of toys and space to keep it occupied whilst on its own?
- Can I afford to pay a local dog walker or sitter for times where the dog will be on its own for long periods?
Each dog will vary but the general rule is to only leave adult dogs alone for four consecutive hours (source: Purina). Remember, dogs love to be with their humans so your schedule will need to revolve around your new four-legged friend. It will mean sometimes having to miss that drink at the pub after work or not going to that Saturday night party but if you are a dedicated dog owner, it’s all worth it.
2. Will a new dog fit in with other pets?
Before you bring a new dog home, make sure you have considered how it will fit in with any other household pets. We’re thinking about cats in particular here.
Cats and dogs can get on incredibly well and many live glorious lives side by side in the same household, but it does all depend on the temperament of your pets. For example, if you own a cat who has a history of being nervous around dogs, it might not be such a good idea to introduce a hound into your home.
Equally, you need to determine whether your new dog would get on well with your cat. Some rescue dogs have had bad experiences with cats so make sure you check with your rescue centre first which canines can be rehomed with cats. Getting a puppy? You can train them to positively interact with cats. Check out these top tips from the Blue Cross on how to bring a dog home to cats and assess whether this is achievable for you.
3. Do you have enough space for a dog?
Whilst you may live comfortably in your home on your own, as a couple or as a family, dogs do require plenty of space. Not only do they need space to explore and stretch out inside the house, it’s nice for them to have sufficient space in the garden too so that they can enjoy a game of fetch or a quick run around. If you don’t have access to a garden, is there a public green space nearby which you can take them to regularly?
Think about how much space dog accessories will occupy too. Does your home provide a nice corner out of the way for a dog bed? Is there a sufficient home for food and water bowls plus toys? Consider how everything will be set up before you bring your new dog home.
4. Pet-proof your home
So, you’ve given it plenty of thought, done your research and you are definitely ready to bring a dog home. Before you do, there’s one last thing you need to consider. Pet-proofing! The last thing you want is for your brand-new cupboards in your new build kitchen to be damaged by sharp puppy teeth or your expensive furniture to get covered in dog hair.
There are some simple things you can do from covering your sofas in throws to protect the upholstery to putting a gate across your kitchen door to stop unwanted noses in your cupboards.
We hope our top four tips to consider when bringing a dog home for the first time have been useful. If you are preparing to welcome a new dog, we wish you the best of luck and hope you enjoy this exciting new adventure. Dogs really are a great addition to a home and can bring so much love and joy.