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Things to Know Before Getting a Dog: A Dog Care Guide for Prospective Pet Parents

Are you thinking about getting a dog? You may have many questions like "What to feed your dog?" or “What do you need to take care of a dog?" We can help! Dogs are wonderful companions that can bring joy, love, and fun to your life. But they also require a lot of care, commitment, and responsibility. Before you bring home a furry friend, there are some important things to consider and prepare for. Here are some of the things to know before getting a dog.


A dog is for life

Getting a dog is a serious and long-term commitment. Dogs are not disposable items that you can discard when they become inconvenient or unwanted. They are loyal and loving creatures that rely on their owners for their physical and emotional needs. When you get a dog, you are promising to take care of them for their whole life, which can last 10 to 15 years or more depending on the breed.

You also need to be ready to cope with any challenges or changes that may happen in your life, such as moving, having children, traveling, or working long hours. If you are not sure if you can keep a dog for life, you may want to think about fostering or volunteering at a shelter instead.

Having a dog can be costly

Owning a dog can be a rewarding but costly experience. The initial cost of getting a dog varies depending on the breed and whether you buy from a breeder or adopt from a shelter or rescue group. But that's just the beginning. You also need to factor in the ongoing expenses of caring for your dog, such as:

  • Food and treats - Larger dogs will require more food than smaller dogs.
  • Veterinary bills and pet insurance - Dogs need regular veterinary care, including vaccinations, check-ups, dog dental care and health issues. Be prepared to budget for these expenses. Some breeds are more prone to certain health problems than others. Do your research to learn about the potential health risks of any breed you are considering. Dog health insurance can vary in cost and will depend on breed, age and pre-existing medical conditions.
  • Vaccinations and preventive treatments 
  • Spaying or neutering -Most vets will recommend spaying and neutering to prevent testicular cancer or accidental litters and to keep the level of unwanted puppies lower.
  • Grooming - Some breeds require more grooming than others. Be prepared for these ongoing costs and maintain grooming at home by brushing your dog's coat and cleaning their ears on a regular basis.
  • Toys and accessories - You may find that your dog or puppy will get bored of their toys and may need something new to keep them engaged and entertained.
  • Training and socialization classes - Lots of dogs benefit from socialization classes and it is highly recommended as a new dog owner to get your puppy socialized and experience new situations.
  • Boarding or pet-sitting costs - As it is only recommended that you leave your dog for a maximum of four hours (less for puppies) you may find that you need a dog walker or daycare services from time to time.


According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the average annual cost of owning a dog ranges from $1,001 for small dogs to $1,448 for large dogs. You need to make sure you have enough money in your budget to cover these costs and any unexpected emergencies that may arise.

A dog needs time and attention

  • Exercise and stimulation - Dogs are social animals that crave human interaction and stimulation. They need regular exercise, playtime, training, and affection to stay healthy and happy. Depending on the breed, age, and personality of your dog, they may need anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours of physical activity per day. Some dog breeds are high-energy, while others are more laid-back. Choose a breed that is a good match for your lifestyle. They also need mental stimulation through games, puzzles, toys, and learning new skills. Dogs need regular exercise, training, and attention. Be prepared to commit at least 2 hours per day to your dog's care.
  • Companionship - You need to have enough time in your schedule to spend quality time with your dog every day. You also need to make sure your dog is not left alone for too long, as this can cause boredom, anxiety, and behavioral problems. Adult dogs can manage up to four hours by themselves, but puppies need more regular care and toilet breaks.

If you have a busy lifestyle or travel frequently, you need to find someone who can take care of your dog when you are away. This could be a family member, friend, neighbor, or professional pet sitter or boarding facility. You also need to make sure your dog is well-socialized and comfortable with other people and animals.


A dog needs training and socialization

Training and socialization are essential for your dog's safety, happiness, and well-being. Training teaches your dog basic training, basic recall training, commands, and rules that will help them live harmoniously with you and others. Socialization exposes your dog to different people, animals, places, sounds, and situations that will help them become confident and friendly.

It’s a good idea to start training and socializing your dog as early as possible, preferably when they are still puppies. You can enroll your dog in a puppy class or work with a professional trainer or behaviorist if needed. You can also use positive reinforcement methods such as praise, treats, and toys to reward your dog for good behavior.

You also need to be consistent and patient with your dog's training and socialization. Don't expect your dog to learn everything overnight or behave perfectly all the time. Remember that every dog is different and has their own personality, strengths, and weaknesses. Be flexible and adaptable to your dog's needs and preferences.


A dog needs a suitable home and environment

Before you get a dog, you need to make sure your home and environment are suitable for them. Consider the size, energy level, temperament, and needs of your dog and match them with your living space, lifestyle, and family. Some dogs need a lot of space, while others are content with a smaller home. Consider your living situation when choosing a breed. For example, if you live in a small apartment, you may want to choose a small or low-energy dog that doesn't need a lot of space or exercise. If you have children or other pets, you may want to choose a dog that is friendly and tolerant of them.

Make your home safe and comfortable for your dog. You need to provide your dog with a cozy bed, a crate or den, food and water bowls, toys, and other essentials. Dog-proofing your home is a good idea, by removing or securing any potential hazards such as wires, cords, plants, medications, chemicals, or small objects that your dog could chew on or swallow. Some dogs are good with children, and others are not. You may need to consider your family's needs when choosing a breed.

Your dog will also need a good veterinarian to schedule regular check-ups and vaccinations. Microchipping your dog for identification purposes is also an option and register them with your local authorities if required. You also need to follow the laws and regulations regarding dog ownership in your area, such as leash laws, licensing fees, and waste disposal.


How can you make it easier for your dog when you bring it home for the first time?

Here are some additional tips for bringing a new dog home:

  • Introduce your dog to its new home slowly. Let your dog explore its surroundings at its own pace and give it plenty of time to adjust.
  • Create a safe and comfortable space for your dog. This could be a crate, a bed, or a corner of the room.
  • Provide your dog with plenty of food, water, and toys. Make sure your dog has access to fresh food and water at all times, and provide it with plenty of toys to keep it entertained.
  • Start training your dog right away. Basic commands like sit, stay, and come will help your dog become a well-behaved member of your family and it will help build a bond with you and your dog.
  • Be patient and consistent with your training. It takes time and patience to train a dog, but it is worth it in the end.
  • Socialize your dog with other people and animals. This will help your dog become comfortable in different situations and make it less likely to be aggressive.
  • Take your dog for regular walks. Exercise is important for both your dog's physical and mental health.
  • Love your dog unconditionally. Dogs are loyal and loving companions, and they deserve to be treated with love and respect.


Make a friend for life

There are many things to know before getting a dog. Getting a dog is a lifetime commitment and should not be taken lightly. Dogs are wonderful companions that can enrich your life in many ways, but they also require a lot of care, commitment, and responsibility. You are also responsible for their quality of life which means regular exercise, feeding good quality food and seeking vet care when they need it. Before you get a dog, you need to know:

  • A dog is for life
  • A dog can be costly
  • A dog needs time and attention
  • A dog needs training and socialization
  • A dog needs a suitable home and environment

If you are ready for all these things, then congratulations! You are ready to welcome a new furry friend into your life. If you are still unsure or have any questions, you can do more research online or consult with a veterinarian or a dog expert. You can also visit a local shelter or rescue group and meet some of the dogs that are looking for a loving home.

Dogs are amazing companions, but they are also a big responsibility. Before you bring a dog into your home, it is important to do your research and make sure that you are ready for the commitment.

Getting a dog is a big decision, but it can also be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. By doing your research and being prepared for the commitment, you can ensure that you and your new dog have a long and happy life together.

At Know Better Pet Food, we are passionate about dog health, and believe that high-quality food, dental care and ongoing veterinary treatment are an essential part of a dog's overall health. We highly recommend that all pet owners know the basics of canine care before getting a dog, as it will help keep your friend healthy and happy for many years to come.