Life Out Here Magazine
02 / Tips & Tricks
5 MUST-READ TIPS
For First-time Dog Ownership
Derek Walter
Derek Walter
Award-winning breeder of German Shorthaired Pointers & owner of 7 hunting dogs

Pittsburg, KS

So, you’re about to welcome home a new member of the family (a new dog, that is).
No surprise — you’ll need the right supplies to make it easier on you and them. With so many new products out there, having a new pet checklist is the best place to start to make learning how to care for a pet easy. Here you’ll find everything from dog food storage to how to bathe your pet in this handy pet guide, ideal for any new pet owner.
Home sweet home – cozying up to a crate.
Crate training is a necessary part of pet care. Their crate will soon become your dog’s “safe place” while they are getting used to their new surroundings. Crating your dog means getting them used to staying inside the crate when you’re away from home or outside doing chores. Keeping them confined will also keep your new dog from getting into stuff around your house while you’re not watching. After all, they’ll be curious because your home is a new territory.
Dog in crate
When choosing a crate, consider the size of your dog:

Length: Measure your dog from nose to tail. Add approximately 2-4 inches to the overall length of the tail, depending on your dog’s size.

Height: Measure your dog from the top of the head to the ground. If your dog has ears that naturally stand straight up, measure from the tip of the ears.

Width: Lastly, measure how wide your dog is and add approximately 2 inches for smaller breeds and 4 inches for larger breeds.

Be sure the crate you choose is also easy to clean in case of pet “accidents.” You’ll want one that’s lightweight enough to take outside and hose down. Cleaning the crate every few weeks will keep it fresh. Happy den means having a happy friend!

Retriever 32 in. x 24 in. Cuddler Pet Bed
$19.99

Retriever 32 in. x 24 in. Cuddler Pet Bed
$19.99

Running right – your pet food matters.
They are going to need the proper energy to run, jump, hunt and work with you outside. Whether you choose wet or dry, or mix them both together to enhance the flavor of the dry food, choose products that provide essential pet nutrition such as protein and dietary fat.

A high-protein dog food helps to build strong bones and muscles, healing tissue, growing hair and maintaining your dog’s skin and coat.

Dog Running
Dietary fats in dog food are highly digestible and are the first nutrients to be used by the body as energy. Fats are made up of building blocks called fatty acids. The most common ones are Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.
Retriever 32 in. x 24 in. Cuddler Pet Bed
$19.99

Retriever 32 in. x 24 in. Cuddler Pet Bed
$19.99

Dishing it out – day after day.
As a new pet owner, you’ll need to know how often to feed them. It’s recommended to give them two smaller meals per day rather than one large meal. This will help keep your dog supplied with the nutrients they need to keep going strong day in and day out.

Regarding where to feed your dog, it’s good to designate a specific area for feeding and be consistent about it. This will create a healthy routine for your dog.

Hugging a Dog
If you choose to feed your dog outdoors, make sure to choose a spot in a safe, out of the way area. Food outdoors can also attract other animals, including raccoons, opossums or squirrels.

When choosing the right water and food bowls, you pretty much have two choices including stainless steel or plastic. You also have some smart choices like water bowls that fill up automatically – perfect for hot summer days.

Retriever 32 in. x 24 in. Cuddler Pet Bed
$19.99

Retriever 32 in. x 24 in. Cuddler Pet Bed
$19.99

Pet food storage – fresh thinking.
Just as important as the pet food you choose is how you choose to store it. Improperly stored food can go bad and can make your dog sick. If you’re keeping it outside, you may also have insects, rodents and other animals getting into their food.

The solution is making sure their food is stored off of the floor or ground and kept in a cool, dry location. A large plastic bin with an airtight lid will do the trick.

Dog food storage
These kinds of bins come in various shapes and sizes. Some are stackable which is great if you have several dogs that require different foods.

If your dog prefers soft food, proper storage is also important. For open cans, cover them with a plastic can lid and keep them refrigerated. This will preserve their freshness until your dog’s next feeding.

Retriever 32 in. x 24 in. Cuddler Pet Bed
$19.99

Retriever 32 in. x 24 in. Cuddler Pet Bed
$19.99

Dog bathing – time to come clean.
Most dogs only need to be bathed once a month, or every time they really seem dirty. For dogs that have a “double coat” or a layer of dog hair and a layer of fur, be careful not to bathe them too often. Too much washing can leave them with less hair and less natural oils, which can mean less protection against the outdoor elements.
Dog bathing
When choosing a good pet shampoo, there are many options including all-in-one shampoo and conditioners if you want your dog to have an extra soft coat. To give them a good clean scrub, simply start lathering your dog’s head and work your way down to the tail, then rinse and pat dry.

Another thing you will want to consider as a new dog owner is bathing them indoors or out. When bathing them indoors in a tub, always test the temperature of the water. It should be warm, but not hot, and you only need a few inches in the tub to give your dog a warm place to stand.

If you want them to shake themselves dry outdoors, you will need a leash and possibly a harness to tether your dog and keep them in place as you bathe them. Be sure to turn on your hose with very low water pressure to keep them safe.

Bringing a new dog into your home and family is a great addition. Making sure you’re prepared before you bring them home means you can spend less time worrying about the details, and more time enjoying the happiness that comes with getting to know your new pup.

Retriever 32 in. x 24 in. Cuddler Pet Bed
$19.99

Retriever 32 in. x 24 in. Cuddler Pet Bed
$19.99

Tractor Supply Co.
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