As a pawrent to be, you need to create a space where your dog can settle right in. Your space needs to feel:

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  • Safe
  • Comfortable
  • Healthy
  • Mentally stimulating
  • Filled with love

Sure, your small dog won’t immediately start jumping around while wagging its tail and filling your hearts with joy from day one. They need time to adjust to the new environment. Helping them get settled in from the onset increases the pace at which they feel at home. It also prevents them from developing unwanted behaviors since most negative actions stem from frustration. What better way is there to get your pet settled in than checking off everything they’ll need from a list? Here are a few things to consider to improve your pooch’s comfort when settling into your home:

1. Stock up on Pet Supplies

Imagine you want to put your new fur baby to sleep but notice you don’t have a blanket for them. You might have to rush to the store to buy one or let them sleep without it the first night. Creating an extensive shopping list stops you from making such mistakes. You don’t have to buy everything your dog needs from the get-go—just stock up on the essentials. With time, you’ll get to learn your pup’s behaviors and pick supplies that make it more comfortable. For your dog zone, potty training, and grooming, be sure to stock up on supplies like:

Dog Zone Supplies Potty Training Grooming
  • Flat mat
  • A comfy bed
  • Blankets and linen
  • Dog crate
  • Water bowl
  • Pee pads
  • Pet stain remover
  • Disposable potty
  • Poop bags
  • Cleaning products
  • Dog toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Grooming shears
  • Brushes and combs
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Bathing station

Check out this video on my YouTube channel for inspiration on what to buy your pooch:

2. Dog-Proof Your Home

dog sitting on someone’s lap

Dogs discover their world through their mouths and noses. They love sniffing and tasting everything. For them, your electrical cords, socks, and even detergents are another mystery they can uncover. As cute as their curiosity is, this means there are multiple dog hazards around your house. There are three things to consider to make your home safe enough for your canine. First, factor in their line of sight. Your dog will try to explore anything they can see, from vases lying on a table to bars of soap in the bathroom. Second, consider how high they can jump. Depending on their jumping skills, your dog can easily reach your table, rocky chairs, and even countertops, causing injuries and trips to the vet. Third, think about the areas you’d like them to spend most of their time in. This part of your home needs to be comfortable enough for your new family friend to relax and move around. Free the space of anything that can lead to injury. Here are some area-specific ways you can dog-proof your home:

Dog-Proofing Your Kitchen

  • Place medication on firmly locked cabinets or out-of-reach shelves.
  • Place food items away from your countertops and in tight containers.
  • Install child-proof latches on low cabinets.
  • Reduce the chances of them snooping in your trash by using pet-safe trash cans that lock through a pedal mechanism.
  • Prevent access to your kitchen by installing baby gates and pet gates that your pooch won’t jump over.

Dog-Proofing Your Bathroom

  • Ensure your toilet lid is always closed—install a seat lock if possible.
  • Either use pet-safe trash cans or lock trash cans away in a cabinet.
  • Store away bath toys and sponges when not in use.
  • Unplug and store away your electrical appliances when not in use.
  • Store your toilet paper rolls in containers or use a roll protector.

Dog Proofing Your Living Room

  • Unplug your electrical cords and place them away from reach. Alternatively, use cord management kits to keep them out of sight.
  • Keep your pooch away from the fireplace with a fireplace screen or baby gate.
  • Keep your windows closed whenever you’re not home.
  • Ensure your house plants are safe for your pooch and keep them out of reach.
  • Place breakable items and decor out of your dog’s reach.

Dog-Proofing Your Yard

  • Ensure all your yard plants are pet-safe.
  • Store away all gardening tools and lawn equipment when not in use.
  • Block access to high steps and balconies to prevent serious injuries.
  • Block access to your swimming pool.
  • Ensure your fence is in good condition and at an appropriate height.

3. Create a Comfortable Dog Zone

dog relaxing at its dog zone Your dog deserves a space in your home it can call its own. This is supposed to be an area where they can sleep, play, and relax while you’re away. A dog zone also prevents your dog from being destructive around your home. It’ll help potty and crate train your pooch too. An ideal dog zone needs to provide:

  • A play area
  • An appropriate potty area
  • Access to water
  • A rest area (usually your puppy’s crate)

Your dog zone doesn’t need to be an entire room. For those with limited space, you can easily turn other rooms into your puppy area. Why not convert your closet or laundry room into a dog zone? You can also buy enclosures to fold and store away when not in use. Look for ways to keep your pooch comfortable within their designated zone. Buy toys and puzzles for your dog and consider playing soothing sounds through a speaker whenever your pup is in its zone. Lastly, buy a diffuser to fill their space with soothing and healthy essential oils.

4. Start Planning Your Dog’s Health

dog at a veterinarian appointment While your dog’s health might seem like an afterthought on day one, it’s something that can give your pooch a smooth transition to its new environment when accounted for. Covering all your bases healthwise improves how fast and efficiently you respond to emergencies. You need to understand your dog’s allergies from the start to prevent feeding them harmful products. Also, check which vaccinations your pooch has had so far. Here are three important ways to secure your pooch’s health on day one:

Find a Reliable Veterinarian

Your fur baby will need constant health checkups to both cure them and prevent certain diseases from happening. Choosing a veterinarian you can rely on from the onset will give you peace of mind. Ask your friends for recommendations if they have pets. Alternatively, look up veterinary reviews online to find one near you. It’s also beneficial to visit the veterinarian of your choice before bringing your pooch home. This way, you’ll learn about the procedures their practice handles, opening hours, and how friendly they are. If you’ve already chosen your pooch and have their medical records, have your veterinarian check them out to give their recommendations. Ask about your dog’s immunization schedules to keep your fur baby in tip-top shape. While your doctor will enlighten you on what to expect vaccination-wise, here’s a list of diseases you’ll need to protect your pooch from:

  • Rabies
  • Canine parvovirus (“parvo”)
  • Leptospirosis
  • Canine distemper
  • Canine enteric coronavirus
  • Canine Adenovirus-2
  • Canine parainfluenza
  • Heartworm disease
  • Canine influenza
  • Lyme disease
  • Bordetella (“kennel cough”)
  • Intestinal worms

Invest in Pet Insurance

No one likes financial surprises. That’s why it’s important to protect your dog from them by purchasing pet insurance. Accidents happen all the time. Your pup can also become ill out of the blue. Pet insurance gives you peace of mind, especially considering how expensive medical procedures can get. Even better, some pet insurance agencies can offer you insights into how to improve your dog’s overall health and wellbeing.

Invest in a DNA Test Kit

You can learn a lot from your dog’s bloodline, and a DNA kit provides you with this information—which can potentially save your dog’s life. Some breeds tend to be more susceptible to certain diseases than others. For instance, dachshunds are susceptible to neurological disorders. Learning about such diseases early helps you stay ahead and prepare for the future. Scheduling veterinary visits can identify these disorders early or prevent them from affecting your pooch. Get a DNA test kit for your dog to learn about any health conditions you need to be aware of.

“I think that any results you get you need to talk to your veterinarian about… and the impact it (any discovered condition) may or may not have on your dog,” – Dr. Jerold Bell, a clinical genetics professor at Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine.

Small Dog Rescue Groups

Small dog rescue groups play a critical role in sheltering and rehoming small dogs. They provide care, foster, and work to get small dogs adopted, reducing the number of dogs that end up in kill shelters. These groups also form a community of individuals and professionals dedicated to improving the quality of life for small dogs and championing the humane treatment of animals. Examples of groups that specialize in small dog rescue include:

  • Arizona Small Dog Rescue: This is a nonprofit, no-kill dog rescue shelter based in Phoenix. It comprises a team of dedicated staff and volunteers, all of whom are passionate about saving the lives of small dogs.
  • Tobie’s Small Dog Rescue: Tobie’s is a rescue dedicated to providing shelter for abandoned, relinquished, and stray dogs and placing them into caring homes. Tobie’s Small Dog Rescue also works to create awareness about the humane treatment of animals.
  • Fawn’s Family Small Dog Rescue: Based in Florida, Fawn’s Family small dog rescue is a nonprofit rescue established in the memory of a miniature pinscher named Fawn. The rescue is committed to saving dogs from kill shelters and improving the quality of life for stray, abused, and forgotten dogs in Florida.

Here’s a complete list of types of shelters you should consider for small dog rescue

Make Your Pet Feel at Home

Your pet needs to feel safe and protected in its new home. More importantly, create a space where your pet can have fun and grow healthily. It can then let its guard down and reciprocate the love you’re giving it.

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