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If you’re thinking about bringing a puppy or a fully-grown up four-legged friend into your life, you might just be asking yourself 'How do I prepare for a dog?'. There’s an awful lot involved in caring for any pet, from what to feed them to how much exercise they need. 

Keeping an animal with boundless energy entertained, healthy and emotionally balanced takes a lot of work, but as a labour of love, it’s something that you’re likely to enjoy immensely. Here we look at 5 tips to make your new arrival feel loved and cared for.

Tip #1 - Are You Ready?
Perhaps one of the most important things to know before getting your first puppy or indeed, your first dog, is whether you’re ready to give the time and effort needed to properly care for them. If you’ve never had a dog before, you might not fully grasp what’s involved. For example, a puppy needs to be fed three times a day, as well as being properly house trained. As they say, a dog is for life, so don’t commit until you know you’re ready.

Tip #2 - Dog-Proof Your Home
When asking yourself 'How do I prepare for a dog?', a major aspect of it is preparing your home so that your little furry friend can’t get into anything that might hurt them. For instance, any cupboards containing toxic chemicals or medications need to be properly secured, in addition to putting any swallowable items out of reach. It’s a good idea to get down to their level and have a look around from their perspective, as it may help you spot any additional dangers for pup.

Tip #3 - Learn What It’s Safe For Pup to Eat
Another of the important things to know before getting your first puppy is what they can safely eat. Anyone who’s ever owned a dog will tell you that most dogs will eat pretty much anything you give them, so it’s vital you understand what they can and can’t eat. For example, did you know that macadamia nuts, garlic and chocolate are toxic to dogs?

Of course, providing them with a balanced diet is another, hugely important matter, but understanding what foods can cause them real harm is also vital to their care.

Tip #4 - Caring For My Dog With Regular Exercise
A cornerstone of your dog or puppy’s care is understanding how much exercise they need each day, as dogs of different ages and breeds will require different amounts. A good rule of thumb is to exercise your puppy for 5 minutes a day for every month of their age i.e. a 3 month old puppy would need 3 x 5 minutes of exercise, twice per day.

Once your dog is fully grown, they’ll typically need a minimum of between 30 and 60 minutes of exercise each day. However, if your dog’s breed is an active one, you could need more. Our advice is to read up on the breed in question and adjust exercise levels accordingly.

Tip #5 - Find a Good Vet in Good Time
After your puppy or fully-grown dog has arrived in your home, it’s a good idea to get them looked at by a good veterinarian within a few days. This is because a thorough examination will highlight any lapsed vaccines or underlying health problems. Finding a good vet before they arrive is also a wise move, as it will spare you having to rush out and find one that’s either not suitable or overly costly at a later date.

So, there you have it. Five tips on preparing for a new dog in your life. This is far from being an exhaustive guide to caring for your dog, however it does provide some pointers on what to look out for before you’re blessed with a new canine friend.

Ever Thought of A Career in Animal Care?
Looking after a dog is an emotionally rewarding experience and if you’re someone who really loves the company of animals, you could be suited to a career in animal care. 

At Online Courses Australia we provide affordable, flexible online learning in a variety of subjects that includes animal welfare. Our courses can be taken completely at your own speed and paid for using our flexible payment options, making them accessible to even those with modest budgets. If you’d like to find out more about the available courses, visit

Have you considered a career in vet nursing? Try one of our vet nurse courses online.

Study Entry-Level Vet Course With OCA!


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