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Updated: May 20, 2021

It’s hard to turn down a cuddly puppy! It seems like dogs are designed to hit all of our needs: affection, trainability, companionship, and cuteness in spades.

But before you invest in the long-term with a canine companion, it’s important that you take a break and think about what it means. It’s more than just bringing home a puppy — it’s adopting a family member for anywhere from 10-18 years, give or take a few!

Your dog will be your furbaby, so it’s important to know what you’re getting into before you make the final commitment.

Think Long Term

The lifespan of a dog varies widely. Some big dogs, like the French Mastiff, have a life expectancy of 5-8 years. Some smaller dogs may live up to 18 or even 20 years, like the Chihuahua or Dachshund.

Of course, the lifespan of any given dog depends on a number of factors, including:

  • Breed

  • Size

  • General health

  • Parentage

  • Food

  • Care

  • Living conditions

  • Inherited health issues

  • Acquired health issues

  • Chance

With all those factors in mind, it’s important to remember that, no matter what, adopting a dog is a lifetime commitment for that animal. You need to be ready to make a promise to care for them as well as you can, for as long as they live.

It’s definitely a good idea to think ahead to where you might be in 10 or 15 years, and make sure that your new best friend is a big part of your future.

Dogs Can Be Spendy!

Dogs are kind of like children — they end up costing more than you might think!

Some estimates say that you should budget anywhere between $500 and $1000 per year for your dog. The amount you actually spend will depend on their individual health needs, the food you give them, the boarding and care they require, and so on. But it’s good to keep in mind that animals are not cheap, when properly cared for.

Our furbabies are important to us, and they give us a lot of love and enjoyment. So they deserve a prime spot in our budget.

Find A Vet Before You Get Your Pet

From the very beginning, you will want to establish your new pup with a vet who will oversee his health and care. It’s always recommended to have a veterinarian in mind before you adopt your dog. There are a few reasons for this:

Some shelters require that you provide the name of your chosen vet on the adoption paperwork. They may even follow-up to ensure that you are giving your new dog the required care.

From day one after you bring your pet home, emergencies may happen. It’s better for the dog, and for your peace of mind, to know who you will take your new pup to if necessary.

You may know who you want to bring your dog to, but getting them in for an initial consult or age-appropriate shots may not happen as quickly as you want. Establishing communication with the vet before you bring the dog home will help you to get your appointment on time.

Dog-Proofing Your Home

The more you research what it takes to get your house ready for a dog, the more you may find that it resembles bringing home a baby! The amount of dog-proofing your home requires may depend on the type of dog you choose, as well as the age and level of training.

However, it’s always better to over-proof than under-proof. Make sure that anything your new pup could chew on is safely put away. Provide toys for them to chew on, and be ready to distract them if they head for power cords, furniture, or rugs.

Bring Home The Toys And Accessories Beforehand

When we brought our dog home, they were ready to play from the first moment! Okay, they may spend a few minutes walking around sniffing everything. But if you can give them something to chew on (here's a list of some of the best toys) and play with from the very beginning, it will make their transition period that much easier.

Furnishing your house with toys and accessories like beds, grooming tools, and dishes before you bring the dog home will help both you and the dog to get used to the new circumstances and environment. Train your dog from the beginning to realize what belongs to her, and what belongs to you.

Speaking of training…

Training From The Beginning

The earlier you start training your new pup, the better. There are a plethora of dog training articles and videos available on the internet. Some of these are even breed-specific, allowing you to compensate for the strengths and potential weaknesses of the breed.

Don’t forget that socializing your dog is extremely important! Be ready to take your dog into different environments and introduce them to different people and animals in order to cultivate friendliness and responsiveness.

It’s always a good idea to be ready to jump in with training from the very first day. Two things are required for this, and we’ll get into those next!

Educate Yourself

The first thing is that you should really educate yourself on what dogs need and how you can provide the best environment for a new dog. This could be everything from what you need to be prepared to do — grooming, for instance — and what individual breeds need as far as specific veterinary care.

It’s also important to make sure that you know about the health tests that different breeds should have, as well as knowing why to avoid backyard breeders, pet stores, and puppy mills.

Research The Breed

Along with that generalized knowledge, we definitely recommend researching the individual breed for expected life span, health issues, things to look for in confirmation, how easy they are to train, and so on.

Train Yourself

A final thing that you need to know before you get a dog is the importance of training — for yourself!

Puppies, like we mentioned earlier, are like babies or small children in a lot of ways. They require patience, nurturing, training, and lots of love and care.

If you tend to be short-tempered, impatient, and easily distracted, you may not be quite ready to bring home a dog.

To ensure that your new dog has the best chance at a happy, healthy life, you should know what kind of dog parent you will be.

Updated: May 20, 2021

The way things are going these days, a lot of us are spending more time at home. But even if we’re home more than usual, we may still have time away from home for work, travel, and other needs.

Our dogs love us — and they may not be too understanding of the time we spend away from them.

Dogs can quickly get bored with the status quo, and if they don’t have a human around to distract them, they may resort to chewing, ripping, howling, barking, and other destructive behaviors.

How can you keep your dog happy during the day even if you can’t be home with them 24/7?

Advance Training

Training provides a lot of the answers for any maladjusted behaviors for dogs — and other animals, too. But dogs in particular can be very responsive to advance training.

You can train your dog to use a crate for certain periods of time, gradually extending that time and then extending the space that you leave your dog in. It may take some time, but it will help your dog to get used to you being gone — and reassure them that you will return.

Care For Their Needs

Apart from boredom, dogs may howl, bark, chew, or engage in other destructive behaviors for other reasons — because they’re hungry or thirsty, for instance.

Make sure that you care for the needs of your pup before you leave for the day. This means plenty of fresh water, some food, and maybe even some snacks. Friends of ours would hide small treats throughout the house for their beagle to find gradually over the time that they were gone, and that worked wonderfully for keeping the pup occupied!

Provide Space

Not all of us live in a large house with a fenced yard, but if you happen to be the dog parent who has enclosed space adjacent to a room that your dog is used to, consider leaving the door open to let them come in and out at will.

The more space a dog has, the less likely that they will be bored and unhappy while you’re gone. However, remember that it’s important to make sure that they are enclosed and can’t just roam at will while you’re away.

Don’t tie them up if you can help it — dogs can easily get tangled! A fenced-in enclosed space with a partial roof for shade or protection from rain is ideal for a dog.

Toys — Lots Of Toys!

Another aspect of keeping your dog occupied and happy while you’re gone is stimulation and engagement. In other words: toys!

This might mean simply toys to chew on and cuddle with while you’re gone. But some breeds really benefit from puzzle toys, especially the type that dispense treats if they can figure the puzzle out.

These types of toys are especially beneficial for a dog that gets anxious right as you’re leaving. If you can distract them before you head out the door, it should help to train them that something positive is coming when they see you getting ready to leave. Over time, this should cut down on negative behaviors.

Exercise When You’re Home

Of course, any dog that doesn’t get enough exercise is going to act up no matter what precautions you take when leaving the house.

So, while you are at home, make sure that you exercise your pup in accord to the recommended daily exercise needs for that breed or mix — or just for their age or personality!

Making sure that you can adequately exercise your dog is one of the most important considerations to take into account before you make the commitment to a pet.

Love And Attention

Finally, in order to keep your dog happy throughout the day — not just when you’re gone, but after you get home, too! — make sure you give them plenty of love, pets, and attention once you get home.

Your dog wants nothing more than to be with you and have you engage with them. Making sure that you provide for that need when you return will reassure them that, when you leave, it isn’t forever, and it isn’t because you don’t love tem!

Dogs forget quickly about things that are in their past, even if it was earlier in the day. So if your pup was upset that you left her this morning, give her lots of attention when you return in the afternoon, and she’ll swiftly move on to being a happy puppy once more.

Updated: May 19, 2021

We've compiled the best gifts for dog lovers that will paws-itively make them howl with delight. And their pups will be wagging their tails too! Wow your favourite pet person with one of these creative and unique gifts. Or you might not be able to resist keeping it for yourself!

We only recommend our most favorite products that we would use ourselves and with our precious pooches and that have the highest reviews from other pup-parents. We sometimes earn a small commission (at no cost to you) when you click through the Amazon Affiliate links on our website.

Dog Mom shirt

Comfy, sweet and practical. She’ll be wearing this Dog Mom shirt even without puppy around with her.

Whistle Go Health & Location Tracker

The Whistle Go Health & Location Tracker will offer peace of mind to any dog lover. Using GPS, it offers real-time location updates any time your dog is out of range of your home WiFi, along with insights into behaviors like licking, itching, drinking, and even your pup's sleep schedule. It also keeps tabs on the pup's activity, so he can stay in tip-top shape!

Wooden Dog Leash Hook

This rustic-feel Wooden Dog Leash Hook has all the looks to display right at your front door. It’s a farmhouse style gift to hang your pup's leash for quick and easy access.

I’ll Be Watching You” Dish Towel

Ever get that feeling that somebody is watching you? Every dog owner knows. This quality, cotton dish towel will be a conversation starter and is just the right gift for your dog loving friend (or yourself).

“The Dog Is On My Lap” Novelty Socks

A gift that’s hilarious, cute and practical will be a perfect choice for the dog lovers in your life. These novelty socks are made out of quality cotton and they come pre-packed in a fun gift box too.

Customized Dog Socks

Let's keep the novelty sock gift going. This is such a fun idea that won’t break the bank. You can choose any picture of your pup (if you can pick just one) and create a pair of Customized Dog Socks that will knock their old, boring socks right off.

Matching Dog Collar & Owner Friendship Bracelet

This coordinating dog collar and friendship bracelet set (for humans) is a sweet, stylish gift. Not only will your friend's pooch look glamorous in this cute collar, but your friend will too! There’s a variety of patterns, colors and designs to choose from. Surprise him or her with a truly one-of-a-kind gift they can share with their favorite pooch.

Pizza Pie/Pizza Slice Matching Dog Shirt & Owner T-Shirt

Since we’re in the matchy-matchy zone, let’s keep it going. This is the perfect compliment for all dog lovers! They’ll be starting up conversations wherever they go with this adorable Pizza Pie/Pizza Slice t-shirt combination.

Burrito and Taquito Matching Dog and Owner shirts

We can’t get enough of these matching shirts! First off, who doesn’t love burritos? This adorable Burrito and Taquito Matching Shirts are so perfect. They’ll be the “taco” of the town!

Dog Carrier Pouch Sweatshirt

This super-comfy Dog Carrier Sweatshirt has a giant pocket for devoted dog folks who want to carry their pup wherever they go. Best for your friends with smaller dogs.

Wipe Your Paws Welcome Mat

What a cute way to welcome guests! The Wipe Your Paws Welcome Mat comes in neutral colors that will go well with any decor and you can put them inside or outside. It’s a very durable, easy to clean and most importantly, fun mat that any dog lover will love.

Aromatherapy Deodorizing Soy Candle for Pets

We love that each Aromatherapy Soy Candle is made specifically for people with pets. Each candle is crafted with 100% natural, dye-free soy wax and contain absolutely no paraffin/petroleum by-products, phthalates or parabens so it’s a safe way to eliminate pet odor. Made in the USA.

Furbo Dog Camera

The ultimate gift, the Furbo allows will allow your friend to check up on their dog via video, speak to them with two-way audio, and even give them a treat—all from their phone. Who doesn’t want to find out the secret life of their dog?

Dog Mom Criss Cross Baseball Hat

Finally, a hat you can wear a high pony or messy bun. The Dog Mom Criss Cross baseball cap has elastic bands at the back that allow you to wear your hair up or down.

Pet Peek Fence Window

Dogs are naturally curious; they want to know what's happening out there. The Pet Peek Fence Window is a unique gift that makes it look like your dog is peering out of a ship’s porthole plus it actually serves a practical purpose. It allows your pups to see more of the world around them which can reduce stress and anxiety and can also prevent them from barking at the fence. Talk about a practical gift!

All You All You Need is Love and A Dog Coasters

This is a sturdy set of All You Need Is Love and a Dog coasters comes in a pack of four that are made of durable stoneware that will show off their one true love: dogs.

Pooch Selfie Stick

The perfect gift for your selfie-loving and doggie-loving friends. The Pooch Selfie Stick will help you get the perfect pic without the struggle. A spring loaded clip holds a favourite toy or treat to get your pup engaged to look directly at the camera lens. Comes with a squeaky tennis ball.

That concludes our list of awesome gifts for dog lovers and their furry pals. Do you have any great dog gift ideas you want to recommend? Share them in the comments!

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