New Dog Parent Guide | Animal Wellness Magazine

Becoming a new dog parent, whether to a puppy or an adult dog, is an exciting feat; it can also be a tad scary if you are a first-time dog parent. What can they eat or not eat? How do I potty train? How do I keep them out of dangerous items? These are all questions you may be asking yourself. Here are some tips to help you get started.

1. Stock Up on Supplies

Before picking up your new dog, we suggest having all needed supplies on hand at home to prevent needing to run to the store or being left empty-handed in case of an emergency.

  • Leash, poop bags, collar and/or harness with ID tag
  • Food and treats
  • Toys and enrichment games
  • Grooming supplies including a good brush, grooming wipes, and dental wipes
  • Crate (if crate training)
  • Bowls
  • Dog-specific cleaning supplies

2. Prepare Your Home

When bringing a new dog into your home and becoming a new dog parent, it is important to pet-proof it by using locking trash cans, keeping chewable items out of reach, removing access to cords and wires, house plants, and chemicals, and utilizing child-proofing locks for cabinets and drawers. For older dogs, consider adding steps to high furniture and more rugs on hardwood floors if they have any mobility issues. Additionally, to make your new pup more comfortable, provide a safe space away from everyone.

3. Introducing a New Dog Into Your Home

Introducing a new dog into your home requires careful consideration. The adjustment period varies, but it’s important to start with a neutral territory like a park. Keep the dogs on leash initially and gradually allow them to interact while closely monitoring their body language. Once positive interactions are observed, gradual off-leash interaction under supervision can follow. When bringing a puppy into the home with an older dog, ensure your older dog can get away from the puppy.

In homes with resident cats, it’s essential to create a safe space for them to retreat to during initial introductions with the new dog. Keeping the dog on a leash allows for controlled interactions while rewarding positive behavior with treats and praise encourages a peaceful coexistence. Patience is key as the dog and cat acclimate to each other’s presence, prioritizing their safety and comfort throughout the process.

4. Set Up a Training Regimen and a Routine

As a new dog parent, setting up a structured training regimen and consistent routine is essential. Beginning with basic obedience training such as sit and stay, and potty training (if needed) should come first. Setting up regular times for feeding, potty breaks, walks, exercise, and rest/crate time is important. Socializing your dog with both people and animals is also vital, and implementing enrichment activities provides mental and physical stimulation to prevent behavioral issues.


Becoming a new dog parent is a big responsibility, but with proper preparation, patience, and care, it can be a very rewarding experience. Stock up on supplies, prepare your home, set up a training regimen and routine, prioritize your dog’s healthcare and well-being, and seek guidance when needed. With love and dedication, you and your new canine companion can build a lifelong bond that brings joy for years to come.

Cierra Voelkl is a seasoned pet professional with a decade of experience working with dogs and cats. Her expertise in the field is backed by seven years of writing about these beloved animals. Currently, she is utilizing her vast knowledge and skills in her role as the lead copywriter at HICC Pet®.

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