Dogs 101: Things Every First Time Dog Owners Must Know

Are you planning to get your first dog?

You might be surprised to know that there are actually people who have never owned a dog in the past, and there’s nothing wrong with it.

If you happen to be one of those first time dog owners out there, there several important things that you have to know before you bring home the new member of your family.

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Best Dog Breeds to Own For First Time Dog Owner

First time dog owners can always be successful with any breed of dog provided that they are fully committed. But, to give you a good idea, here are some of the best dog breeds to own for first time dog owners.

Bichon Frise - NiftyWoof
Bichon Frise Photo Credit: Jonathan Day on Flickr

Bichon Frise
The Bichon Frise is one of the extremely popular hypoallergenic dog breeds for novice and experienced owners alike, and it doesn’t come as a surprise. Bichons are great family companions and they have wonderful temperaments. These are also low maintenance as they require only a daily walk and regular grooming. But, they still need lots of love and cuddles, of course!

These companion dogs are another great addition to any family. Even though they are snappy and toddlers often injure them, they love older kids. Maltese dogs love brief runs around the house and short walks outdoors.

Dog Golden Retriever Puppy
Dog Golden Retriever Puppy

Golden Retriever
This breed is famous simply because they are great. These are great family companions requiring low maintenance and are also friendly around adults and kids alike. They have excellent temperaments and can be trained easily, which make them ideal for first time down owners.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
If you want a smaller breed, a Cavalier is perfect for you. These adorable tiny couch potatoes love to curl up and relax. They are perfect for first time dog owners since these dogs are lazy though they need regular grooming because of their long coats.

This large breed will rob you of your couch space. These dogs are very docile and sleeping is their common hobby. They need to exercise regularly and are also great companions for your daily run. Greyhounds are among the most low maintenance breeds you can find.


These adorable tiny pooches are perfect for people searching for an easy going and low maintenance companion. They have wonderful temperaments and they love to be around people. Don’t be fooled by their size as these dogs are very active and playful. These cute guys have such a big personality and are just great for novice owners.

Labrador Retriever
Like their cousins, the Golden Retrievers, Labs are admirable family companions. They can be trained easily but they need more exercise compared to Goldens. However, these dogs are very social and they love to be with people. You can take Labs anywhere, whether at the coffee shop, baseball games, or when you go for your 5k training.

Whatever the size is, poodles are ideal for first time dog owners. Their temperaments are incredible and are among the easiest dog breeds you can train. These dogs love to be with their owners and are wonderful exercise partners and snuggle buddies. While these guys need regular grooming, poodles are among those breeds with minimal shedding.

Shetland Sheepdog
Don’t be intimidated by their coats because it is very easy to care for Shelties. They need regular grooming yet they are great companions for anyone. Shelties are tiny dogs with tons of personality, excelling in dog sports such as obedience, flyball, and agility.


Who can resist a pug’ squishy face, really? Pugs are wonderful dogs for first time dog owners since these are extremely low maintenance but remain to be active enough for keeping you on your toes. This breed is known for their wonderful personalities and you will be surprised how hilarious these small guys are, instantly turning into the life of any party.

Understanding Dog Health

After you have decided on the breed of the dog you will get, the next most important thing you have to know is the common health issues they can experience. Below are some of the common dog illnesses that first time dog owners should know:

Ticks and fleas
As you already know, dogs tend to get fleas during the course of their lives. You can easily get rid of them with proper medication. However, ticks are much more serious. Ticks can cause some serious health issues such as blood poisoning or even death. Read this article from PetMD on Natural Home Remedies for Flea and Tick Control

Not many people actually know that obesity is a common dog health issue that must be addressed properly. An obese dog is susceptible to various conditions such as arthritis, kidney disease, heart disease, and so much more.

Arthritis is common in older dogs. You will notice your pet getting on their feet slower, particularly during cold weather and in the morning. It is usually difficult to tell if your pet suffers from arthritis because even if it is painful, dogs don’t show signs of complaint. Weight control, exercise, and anti-arthritic medications can help your dog overcome arthritic pain.

It is a big issue, particularly with older dogs. Just like in humans, cataracts can affect the way they see. Aside from age, cataracts can also develop when the eyes went through trauma or it can also be the result of a disease. In dogs, cataracts could be present when a puppy is first born or it could also develop during the first several weeks of the life of a puppy. Read this article from Pet Health Network on Cataracts in Dogs

Ear infections
It is a condition common in dogs, specifically those that love spending lots of time outdoors. Most of the time, dust, dirt, and other alien objects such as grass seed could get lodged in your pet’s ear, leading to irritation, and eventually, infection. You will know if your pet suffers from an ear infection when they excessively paw at their ears.

Diarrhea is extremely common since it can be due to numerous reasons. There are times when it can be due to an allergic reaction or bad food but there are times when it could be more serious. Diarrhea is also a common symptom of more serious conditions.

Kennel cough
First time dog owners should know that kennel cough is common among those that spent time at animal shelters, pet accommodation, or vet. Sadly, it is not easy to avoid this condition. While it sounds bad, it is actually just the same with common cold among humans. The best way to take care of your pet suffering from kennel cough is to give them lots of water and food and enough rest.

It is a common parasite which affects dogs but there are now modern vaccines that can prevent it from happening. When left untreated, worms can cause death. Read this article by WebMD on Heartworms in Dogs: Facts and Myths

Broken bones
There are several reasons behind broken bones. Your pet could have fallen from a considerable height or got hit by a vehicle. Your pet will try to stay brave and avoid showing the pain they feel so make sure you watch out for things such as lumps, limping, or bones that protrude from the ski, and whining or whimpering when touched.

Sadly, just like humans, dogs can also suffer from cancers when they age as their bodies get old. Dogs can suffer from any type of cancer like humans, such as melanoma, prostate cancer, breast cancer, or lymphoma, among others. Cancer treatment options can include radiation or chemotherapy treatment or surgeries. Just like any cancer, catching the condition early on is the most crucial thing so keep an eye out for unusual spots or lumps on the eyes, ears, and skin of your dog. Read this article on Early Warning Signs of Cancer in Dog by

What is the Cost of Owning a Dog

If you try to save the money you spend for looking after a dog, you can already buy a brand new car or even travel the world. So, before buying a dog, it is important to consider the costs involved in owning a dog.

Most of the time, the first year of owning a dog costs more than the following years due to some one-time expenses. Such expenses include the puppy’s price, initial vaccinations, and buying supplies such as leash, collar, and crate.

Purchase price of puppies – $50 to $1,000
Future champion show dogs can cost you over $1,000 or you could also adopt one from animal shelters for only $50 to $75. The price of purebred puppies might seem steep yet it will be worth it if you will get a healthy one with no genetic defects as guaranteed by the breeder. You will have lesser expenses on vet care over the lifetime of your dog compared to getting a free puppy from a poor breeding with possibilities of temperament concerns.

Medical or veterinary costs – $160 to $670
It will cost you $50 to $200 to neuter or spay a dog, depending on its size and if there are health issues which can make the surgery more complicated. A routine vet exam runs from $45 to $150. The overall cost of puppy boosters and vaccinations is basically $20 to $150. Fecal and worming exams cost $20 to $40. If you are living in a place that puts your dog at risks for basic testing, heartworms, and preventative treatments may run from $25 to $130.

Dog food – $150 to $500
The cost of dog food may depend on what you feed him and his size. The larger the dog, the more he would eat and premium quality dog foods are costlier than the off-brand kibble. You may save money with generic foods, yet it might be at the expense of the health of your dog.

Supplies – $150 to $1700
The supplies you will need to care for dogs include a leash and collar, water bowls and food, odor neutralizer, stain cleaner, crate, treats, and chew toys. The optional items are a car restraint, dog bed, and fencing if you have your own yard. The cost of the dog supplies will differ based on the product’s quality.

Training – $30 to $500
Every dog requires obedience training, which enables you to communicate with your dog as well as keeps him healthy both mentally and physically. If you are a person who loves DIY, you may train your dog for the cost of DVD or book. However, there is no substitute for a professional dog trainer’s assistance.

Grooming – $20 to $400
Dogs with short hair require fewer grooming expenses and less maintenance than the ones with long coats. You may tackle grooming by yourself with a brush and some shampoo. If the dog has some special needs, you will have to pay for professional groomers.

Miscellaneous – $100 to $500
It covers some minor charges that are associated with the cost to own a dog. These include licensing fees with $10 to $20 each year, special treats that basically find their way to your cart at a pet supply store, and having pet sitters come by or boarding dogs at the kennel.

For your first year of owning your dog, the cost can be anywhere from $660-$5279. It is also crucial to consider some factors aside from money, especially the emotional cost to own a dog. The dog’s cost is an investment, both of your love and your money. Therefore, before adopting a puppy or dog, ensure you are willing to spend what it takes in keeping a pet happy and healthy for his lifetime.

What Are The Best Dogs for Family

A good way to have a dog that’s family-friendly is by ensuring that dogs consider each member of your family as its leader. With that said, the most popular breeds are as follows:


Due to its natural love of kids, this breed of dog has been dubbed as the Nature’s Nannies. Sweet and big, it is difficult not to fall in love with these and they’ll return the favor. While these could shed and drool a lot, and suited for a family with big open spaces, they’ll also tend to wind up where the family is. Generally, they are loveable and gigantic furballs who want nothing more than to keep watch on the pack members.

If you do not mind high maintenance in terms of bathing and brushing, the best friend of Charlie Brown is a perfect dog for families with kids. Friendly and energetic, the beagles are mostly childproof, making them among the dogs that love children. They are also sturdy and your kids would wear out before they could. These make good nannies that might help you raise the young ones during bed time and have humorous habits like howling that could be extremely amusing in small dosage.

You have to take note that the standard poodle is a family dog. The miniature poodles tend to be high strung and aren’t suitable for family with kids. The standard poodles are gentle and smart and great for kids who have allergies as they don’t shed as much as some breeds. Or else, they make exceptional playmates for kids and good-natured.

Bull Terrier
These are energetic, friendly, and intelligent dogs that could take lots of roughhousing while staying calm. Suited for big families, they do not complain a lot when manhandled by kids and could help teach children on how to relate to dogs properly. In addition to that, they are very adorable and cute. While these are energetic and need more play time, they’ll help wear your children out and would return the favor through being protective.

Irish Setter
A good choice for those who have yards due to their energy. These dogs are great with kids since they’re energetic and playful. Their life span is among the short ones for big breeds, so you must pick only Irish Setter, especially if you like to teach the inevitable life lessons while your kids are in the middle school.

Labrador Retriever
These dogs are the only breed that is accepted for training as the arson dogs and these are also famous for being service dogs. Labradors also enjoy to pleaset heir owners by being protective, reliable, loving, and playful. There is nothing that Labrador loves more than showing off through learning new tricks though they manage to learn that new tricks before you have taught it. They are like the canine Einsteins.

Golden Retriever
These almost the same with Labradors, but what make these dogs different is that they have shorter lifespan compared to Irish Setter. Their primary asset is useful around kids, extreme patience, and their high level of energy. Used frequently as serviced dogs, they’re bred originally as gun dogs as well as avid swimmers.

Essential Dog Supplies

If you are a dog owner and you want to ensure that your dog is happy and healthy, you should always have some essential dog supplies, including dog leashes. You might think that you already have enough supplies for your dogs, but better think twice as there are some dog supplies that you should have in your home, car or bag.

So, make sure that you have these following dog supplies as they are the keys to a healthier, safer, and happier dog:

If you are a dog owner and you want to ensure that your dog is happy and healthy, you should always have some essential dog supplies, including dog leashes. You might think that you already have enough supplies for your dogs, but better think twice as there are some dog supplies that you should have in your home, car or bag. So, make sure that you have these following dog supplies as they are the keys to a healthier, safer, and happier dog:

Pet First Aid Kit

Photo Credit: Amazon

It has lots of extra rooms to customize its own contents for pets. Know the different things you should have in your first aid checklist so your pet first aid kit is complete.

Exercise Pens and Baby Gates
The exercise pens and baby gates are gold. These are a must have for dog owners to keep their dogs away from the doors, help designate safe dog zone when they are home alone, and to give them the best safe space to stretch their long or tiny legs in your backyard.

Coat Wipes or Paw Wipes
When there isn’t time for full bath, babies are very amazing. These help get rid of the dirt, allergens, and stinky smell that your dog could have rolled in. Apply these to your dog’s paws or wipe on your dog’s coat.

Flea Treatment
The fleas may sneak into your house any time of the year. Get lowdown on OTC flea treatments along with the natural alternatives for flea treatments.

This helps give more comfort and security for a lot of dogs and it is particularly great for the ones who tend on pulling the leash. For more types of these harnesses for dogs, make sure to shop around and find the best one suited for your pet.

Odor and Stain Remover
The cleaners that are enzyme-based are definitely a miracle invention. These help get rid of the smells of stubborn urine from about anywhere, they are natural, smell good, and very affordable.

Dog Diapers

Photo Credit: Amazon

Most of the pet sitters have a pack of dog diapers in case they work with the clients who have incontinence problems. Once you need them, they are a lifesaver. To save money, shop around for dog diapers.


Photo Credit: Frontgate

Although you are not performing crate training, crates may give a spot that is comfortable even in small area. Check the ways on how dog people make some crates awesome.

Dog Bowls
The best bowl can make a huge difference. A sturdy base will help minimize mess.

Pet Hair Brush
Ideal for couches, car upholstery, rugs, and so on. Some like rubber brush since it is gentle.

Healthy, Tasty Dog Treats
There are many dog treats that are available that the stars in the sky. Experts on dog care suggest searching for responsibly sourced and grain-free options. You may learn more about the training treats by searching online or asking around other dog owners.

Being a first time dog owner can be challenging, but once you have kept those things in mind, you can be assured that you’re on the right track.

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