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The New Pet Owner's Essential Survival Guide

Dog and cat in a grass field

Welcome to the ultimate pet care checklist contained in our new pet owners guide! Bringing a new pet into your home is an exciting adventure, filled with love and joy. To help you get started on the right paw, we’ve compiled an essential survival guide that covers all the basics you need to know. (By no means is this an end-all-be-all guide, these are our tips we've learned from bringing numerous pets home over the years).

New Pet Owner's Essential Survival Guide

1. Preparing for Your New Pet

Infographic showing how to prepare for a new pet

Before your new furry friend arrives, it’s important to make your home safe and welcoming.

  • Pet-Proofing Your Home: Secure any hazardous items, and ensure that small objects (which could be swallowed) are out of reach.

  • Buying Necessary Supplies: Stock up on essentials like food bowls, bedding, toys, and a crate or carrier.

  • Setting Up a Comfortable Space: Create a cozy area where your pet can feel safe and relaxed.

Learn more about prep here.

2. Initial Health Check

Cartoon of man and dog at the vet

Your pet’s health is a top priority right from the start.

  • Vet Visit: Schedule a visit to the vet for a full health check-up.

  • Vaccinations: Ensure your pet receives all necessary vaccinations.

  • Microchipping: Get your pet microchipped for safety and peace of mind.

3. Feeding and Nutrition

Proper nutrition is key to your pet’s wellbeing.

  • Dietary Needs: Choose the right food based on your pet’s age, size, and breed.

  • Portion Sizes: Follow feeding guidelines to prevent overfeeding or underfeeding.

  • Importance of Water: Always provide fresh water to keep your pet hydrated.

4. Grooming Basics

Cartoon of a woman getting ready to groom her dog

Regular grooming keeps your pet looking and feeling their best.

  • Brushing: Brush your pet regularly to remove loose fur and prevent matting.

  • Bathing: Bathe your pet as needed, using pet-friendly shampoo.

  • Nail Trimming: Keep your pet’s nails trimmed to a comfortable length.

Learn more about washing your dog here

5. Training and Socialization

Man training his dog to jump

Early training and socialization are crucial for a well-behaved pet.

  • Basic Commands: Teach commands like sit, stay, and come.

  • Positive Reinforcement: Use treats and praise to encourage good behavior.

  • Socialization: Introduce your pet to different people, animals, and environments.

Learn more about dog training here

6. Exercise and Play

Woman on the beach with her dog

Physical activity is essential for your pet’s health and happiness.

  • Daily Exercise: Ensure your pet gets regular exercise suited to their breed and energy levels.

  • Safe Play: Provide safe toys and play areas to keep your pet entertained.

  • Mental Stimulation: Engage your pet with puzzles and games to stimulate their mind.

Check out our online, free outdoor adventure guide

7. Health and Wellness

Vet looking at a dog

Maintaining your pet’s health is an ongoing commitment.

  • Regular Vet Visits: Schedule routine check-ups to monitor your pet’s health.

  • Parasite Prevention: Protect your pet from fleas, ticks, and worms.

  • Signs of a Healthy Pet: Learn to recognize signs of a healthy (or unhealthy) pet, such as shiny fur, clear eyes, and a good appetite.

8. Emergency Preparedness

Cartoon dog with first aid kit

Be ready for any unexpected situations.

  • Pet First Aid Kit: Assemble a first aid kit including bandages, antiseptic wipes, and medications.

  • Emergency Numbers: Keep contact information for your vet and emergency clinics handy.

  • Plan for Emergencies: Have a plan in place for natural disasters or other emergencies, ensuring your pet’s safety.

Happy Tails to You!

You’ve now got a comprehensive checklist to help you navigate the exciting journey of pet ownership. Remember, this guide is just the beginning—your commitment to your pet’s welfare will create a bond that lasts a lifetime. Embrace each moment, learn as you go, and enjoy every tail wag and purr along the way!


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