Start your new friendship off on the right paw

First-time dog owner? Here are some expert tips and resources that can help give you and your new best friend the smoothest transition possible.

What to expect with your new dog

Adding a furry new member to your family can be exciting, but it can also be stressful if you’re not prepared. Not sure what you’ll need the first week? The first month? Choose an option below for a sense of what’s ahead.

Dog Parent FAQs

One new dog is worth a million questions, but here are some common ones you no longer have to search for:

  • What things do I need before I adopt a dog?

    Make room in your budget for a few necessities, such as:

    • Vet bills
    • Crates
    • Gates
    • Collar
    • Grooming brush
    • Leash
    • ID tag
    • Food & water bowls
    • Bedding
    • Nail clippers

    There will also be smaller things that you’ll need to buy regularly. For example:

    • Shampoo
    • Heartworm medication
    • Toys
    • Dog food
    • Flea and tick control products
    • Treats
  • How should I prepare my home for my new friend?

    Before your dog enters the home, you’ll want to make sure everyone you live with understands how they will welcome their new friend, as well as what their new responsibilities entail.

    Remember that puppies have LOTS of energy, and may want to chew on, jump on, and “mark” different things and places around the house.

    On the other end, senior dogs often have less energy compared to younger dogs, so set expectations with children and other family members so you don’t overwhelm your new friend.

    Consider crate training to establish a regular bathroom routine, as well as a way to find peace of mind while you’re not home.

    Download our home checklist

  • After the first year, how often should my dog see the vet?

    At a minimum, a healthy dog needs one thorough veterinary checkup a year. Dogs can hide symptoms of injuries and illnesses, so it’s up to you to establish what is “normal” behavior for your dog and keep an eye out for anything that seems unusual.

    Download the vet checkup checklist

  • What should I feed my new dog?

    Depending on their lifestage, you will want to adjust your dog’s food accordingly.

    Puppies (Under Age 1)

    It's crucial to get puppies on the right puppy food to encourage proper development and growth. Make sure to speak to your veterinarian about a puppy food that provides adequate nutrients for their age based on their potential adult size.

    Shop puppy foods

    Adult Dogs (1-7 Years)

    Healthy dogs in their prime years need an adult dog food with a balance of high-quality ingredients, plus antioxidants and omega-6 fatty acids to help support their everyday needs.

    Shop adult dog foods

    Older Dogs (Age 7+)

    Older dogs don’t require the same levels of protein and phosphorus, so your senior friend will likely need to support more specific needs for mobility and brain function, such as phytonutrients and L-carnitine. Look for a senior dog food that will support your older friend’s needs throughout the golden years.

    Shop senior dog foods

  • Can I feed my dog people food?

    Contrary to popular belief, regularly feeding your new dog human food can lead to obesity, dental issues, GI upset and finicky eating habits. It’s important to know which types of foods to avoid giving dogs to reduce any potential health risks.

    Rather than feeding people food as treats, ask your veterinarian about a healthier alternative designed for dogs.

    See what dogs can and can’t eat 

  • How much will it cost to care for my dog?

    No matter what age your dog is, there is definitely a cost to giving them a happy and healthy life. The ASPCA estimates that annual dog care costs range from $420-$780, and that doesn’t include unexpected trips to the vet or moments of weakness when you see a dog toy that your furry friend just “has to have.” Make sure you’re ready to care for your dog physically, emotionally AND financially before you commit to making a forever friend.

    Save on your dog food purchase

  • What if my dog chews on everything?

    Dogs experience their whole world through their mouths. It’s no wonder that they find chewing on different objects a way to relieve stress or show anxiety. Another possibility is that your dog is just bored! There are a number of ways to correct this behavior over time, so be patient and remember to explore all your options.

    Help your dog stop chewing

  • Why does my dog keep having accidents or throwing up?

    People tend to assume that a dog is being spiteful or intentional with marking, but there are less malicious reasons behind these types of behaviors. Peeing on objects around the house is often a sign of anxiety, or even a potential medical condition that is affecting your dog.

    Dogs can also manifest anxiety in the form of digestive problems, so while it is easy to blame the food your feeding your dog, one of the worst things you can do to try and improve the problem is switch their food right away.

    The important thing to remember is not to lose hope. As your dog starts to get more comfortable at home, and your vet has eliminated any potential health problems, you can work on reinforcing the good habit of doing their business outside with lots of praise.

    Why dogs mark

  • Where can I find Hill's dog food products?

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Finding the right food for your new dog

It helps to know what your dog needs, and what they don’t. Check out the science behind our dog nutrition here.

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Dog Care Articles

Keep your new best friend happy and healthy for years to come with these useful tools, resources and articles.