NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

March 16, 2012

Paw Prints: 10 ways to welcome your new dog

If you have a dog, you probably remember your first day together. But if you plan to adopt Fido soon, you're likely waiting with eager anticipation. It's an exciting time for both of you.

The process of welcoming your new companion into your home can seem daunting. You don't know each other yet, but you're ready to accept him as a new family member.

Your new best friend needs the Welcome Waggin', too. Here are some helpful hints:

Nothing replaces TLC. There will be many times in the years ahead that Fido will be patient with you. Now is your time to be patient with him. Fido doesn't know what is expected of him. If he's a puppy, the whole world was new just a few months ago. If you show him that you are gentle, loving and caring, it will help develop a lifetime bond.

Food for thought. A sudden diet change can cause tummy upset. You certainly don't want this to happen in the first days Fido is home. If possible, ask the previous owners what they were feeding him and try to have the same. If no one knows Fido's former food, ask your veterinarian to recommend a gentle diet that is formulated to help avoid gastrointestinal upsets. You can easily transition to something else in a few weeks, if you prefer.

Healthy and happy. Have your dog examined by your veterinarian within a few days of adoption.

The veterinarian can identify health issues and discuss them with you. The medical team will make sure Fido is up-to-date on routine preventive care such as vaccines and heartworm testing. Be sure to bring a stool sample to that first visit. Fido should be checked for parasites inside and out. If any are found, they are usually much easier to control if your home hasn't already been infested for a long period of time.

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