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Caring For Your Adopted Pet: A Guide For New Dog Families

Tikka, a gorgeous Border Collie/Pomeranian living in Vancouver, BC

You've just adopted a new dog into your family fold: now what?

Approximately 1.6 million dogs are adopted from pet shelters in North America each year. A successful dog adoption hinges on a smooth transition to life with a pet. Learn how to make consistent, well-informed choices as a dog family, from teaching basic obedience skills to pet-proofing your home to choosing the right pet supplies.

Basic Training Makes For Well-Mannered Dogs

If you've fallen in love with your furry friend from the get-go, he might not be capable of doing wrong in your eyes. However, if you've ever seen an unruly pet at a friend's house, you understand how an ill-mannered pet can embarrass his owners.

Don't be the owner whose dog jumps up on the kitchen table or snatches shoes from the entryway. Make sure to start some form of obedience training right away. If your dog is not house-broken, puppy potty training is also immediately essential.

What Is Good Obedience Training?

Training a dog looks easier than it actually is. If you plan on training your dog independently, teach yourself the basic essential dog commands and how to pattern your dog to recognize them.

For more advanced training, consider investing in an obedience program with a professional dog trainer. Plenty of obedience schools advertise worthwhile programs that yield promising results, but it's tricky to find a reputable professional in this as-yet unregulated industry. Learn how to choose a qualified, certified dog trainer whose methods are science-based and humane.

Watch out for the following red flags:

  • A trainer who is not transparent about his methods.

  • A trainer whose philosophy includes alpha and dominance training.

  • A trainer who offers board and training services.

Petproofing Your Home

You've heard of babyproofing a home where small children live, but did you know that a home where dogs reside should be puppyproofed?

Dogs cannot determine what is safe for them to ingest and what is there's to explore. This is especially true for newly adopted dogs regardless of their age. When dogs undergo transitions into new homes with unfamiliar families, they often exhibit anxiety in the form of chewing, eating and otherwise destroying their new owners' belongings.

You can petproof your home by making certain parts of it freely accessible to your new dog and by eliminating foods and cleaning products that might poison him.

Pet-Friendly Cleaning Products

Switch to pet-friendly cleaning products, especially when dealing with any of the dog's messes. Mainstream cleaning chemicals contain poisonous elements that could kill your dog if ingested. A dog has no sense of what he should stay away from and what he can explore, so it's up to you to make that choice for him.

Invest in pet-friendly stain removers, floor cleaners and air fresheners. Seek out products that are light on chemicals, gentle on the sense of smell and reliant on natural components.

Keep Away Poisonous Foods

Certain foods that are enjoyed by humans are capable of killing a dog if ingested. Make every effort to keep your new furry friend away from:

  • Chocolate

  • Grapes

  • Onions

  • Garlic

As a general rule, refrain from feeding your dog table scraps. Stick to healthy, lean, protein-rich natural dog food instead. This provides greater longevity and health for your dog, and allows for his stool to be consistent.

Natural Grooming Makes For Healthy Dogs

Tikka with her favourite dog shampoo: BEAU Canine Essentials

Have you given your new pup a bath yet? If not, wait until you complete your grooming kit with some natural pet products.

When bathing your new pet, choose a natural shampoo for dogs instead of a synthetic one. Products containing natural ingredients promote healthier skin, finer fur and fewer allergies.

Furthermore, shampoos containing synthetic ingredients such as artificial fragrances and colors can actually pose a risk to a dog's overall health. Many store-bought "designer" shampoos contain harsh chemicals such as Formaldehyde and isopropyl alcohol which can burn or dry out your dog's skin.

Opt for a natural dog shampoo that contains some of the following components:

  • Oatmeal: Soothes and moisturizes the dog's dry, flaky skin.

  • Aloe: Helps to heal any skin cracks and sores the dog may have.

  • Botanical extracts: Offer pure, gentle scents that leave the dog smelling naturally clean.

  • Vitamins: Nourish the dog's skin and promote a shiny coat.

If you adopted from a pet shelter, chances are your dog previously resided in less-than-stellar conditions. any number of issues may be plaguing his skin, from bug bites to a matted coat to dandruff. A bath using natural pet products every six to eight weeks should take care of any lingering issues.

Owning a pet is as rewarding as it is sometimes hard. Now that you've adopted your canine friend, it's up to you to treat him like a member of your family, a feat which includes providing him with the best in health, training and everyday care. Opt for natural pet products, establish a bond with your dog through proper training, and look out for his needs by limiting his access to harmful chemicals and food.

Find out where to shop for the best in natural pet essentials, and then give your new buddy a great big hug. You are well on your way to a wonderful, adventurous life with your newly adopted dog.

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