How to Introduce a New Dog to Your Household

The first few days you spend with your new dog are critical for forming a solid bond. Both of you are entering unfamiliar territory, so it’s important to be prepared as well as patient.

Before you pick up your new dog:

  • Collect the essential supplies. You’ll need a collar, leash, food and water bowls, food and some toys. It’s important to also pick up a pet cleaning agent and some extra paper towels.
  • Decide where your dog will be spending the majority of his time. Even if your dog is already housebroken, a change of scenery can make a dog forget his potty training. A floor with a hard surface, usually in the kitchen, works best for easy cleanup.
  • Dog-proof the area where your new dog will be spending the most time. Cover any exposed electrical cords, clear out anything breakable, remove anything you wouldn’t want chewed on and consider relocating any houseplants.

The first day with your new best friend:

  • Make sure to get an identification tag to put on your new dog’s collar. The tag should have the dog’s name, your name and your phone number.
  • Upon picking up your dog, ask about feeding habits, such as frequency, amount and brand of dog food. It’s important to provide the food the dog is used to for a few days because your dog’s digestive system might be sensitive to a sudden dietary change. If you want to change foods, follow the NUTRO® Brand guide to switching foods.
  • Your first stop once you’re home should be your dog’s new bathroom area. Spend a good amount of time outside with your dog to help him get acclimated. Even if your dog does go, be prepared for accidents inside.
  • To keep your new dog’s stress levels as low as possible, refrain from introductions to strangers and small children, and save the dog park for another day. Avoiding stress will help your dog settle easier and will help you get to know one another better and begin to build trust.

The first couple months:

  • Create a feeding, potty and exercise schedule and stick to it. This will give your dog some structure in the new environment, and it will ultimately help your dog become more comfortable in your home.
  • Be sure to visit the veterinarian within the first few days you have your new dog. It’s important to get a clear picture of your dog’s overall health, especially if you adopted from a shelter.
  • Work with the veterinarian to determine your new dog’s dietary needs and what food best suits those needs. Read about the benefits of choosing NUTRO® Puppy Formulas.
  • Once your dog has all the necessary vaccines, you can enroll in dog training classes and visit the dog parks in your area. Be sure to keep a close eye on your dog’s body language; you want to make sure he’s having a good time and not being picked on, and that he’s not becoming the park bully.
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