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So about three weeks ago I adopted my first dog (Tchaikovsky). I've never had any sort of pet in my life so I am completely new to this. I am sure that there is stuff I'm not thinking of that are important to helping my new dog have a wonderful happy life in my home.
Tchai is a 1.5 year old male border collie mix that I adopted from a rescue shelter. He has heartworms (diagnosed 12/8/18).
Please let me know stuff that I'm probably not realizing I need to do with my new dog, all advice (even stuff I'm already doing) is greatly appreciated. I just want to make sure that I'm not missing anything.

Thank you in advance :)
 

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First, congrats on getting a dog! Since you asked for advice I think you already have a lot going in the right direction. You're concerned about doing the best for him. Dogs are amazing companions. They are a lot of work sometimes and a big responsibility, but they also always make a bad day better.

My advice:

-Treat your dog like family. He relies on you for his very life. Do what you need to do to keep him safe, healthy, and happy.

-Stay on top of his health with current vaccines, microchip, yearly vet visits, yearly dental visit. If you're able to, look into getting pet health insurance. I have it and it's complete peace of mind knowing that if something happens your pet is covered and you don't have to worry about what treatment you can get. I have Healthy Paws. They have very good reviews. Unfortunately my dog that is still a puppy had to have surgery in Nov that cost almost $8,000. Basically I paid 10% of that, the insurance covered the rest.

-Border collies are the smartest breed, they are high energy and need their mind challenged. Play with him daily, look into training classes, etc. He's likely to surprise you with how smart he is.
Watch videos of Border Collies so you see what I mean about how smart they are (if you're not already aware)

-Feed him good quality food that has meat products listed first as ingredients. Watch his weight so he stays fit and healthy

-Work on teaching him basic manners if he doesn't already know. Sit, stay, no jumping. Not dashing out the door when you open it, etc

-Brush his teeth daily, or at least as often as you can. The health of a dog's teeth reflects what their overall health is and yearly dental visits will extend your dog's life by a year for large breeds and up to 5 years for small breeds. There is also dental additives to add to their water to help the health of their teeth. Wet/canned food is the worst thing for having healthy teeth.

-Look at videos for "teach your dog recall". A good recall can save your dog's life.

-"Do It Yourself at Home Physical Exam for Your Dog"
https://pethelpful.com/dogs/What-is-Involved-in-a-Physical-Exam-for-Your-Dog

Good luck with everything.
 

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Well, first thing is treating the heartworms, and that's going to involve limited exercise for weeks. I am shocked that a shelter would adopt out a dog with heartworms - it's expensive to treat, and they should really have done that before you adopted him. But your vet should explain to you how that works.



Once heartworms are clear, your dog is probably going to need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation. Look for dog play classes in your area, take him for walks, training classes probably won't hurt if you're new at this.



Health insurance is a hit and miss, personally I've saved probably over $10,000 NOT having health insurance for my pets. The most I've had to pay in one go was $800 for x-rays. And unfortunately, it won't cover the heartworm treatment.


But yes - yearly vet visits, good food (I buy foods with meat in the first ingredients and no peas/lentils/potatoes in the first 5, and no corn/wheat).



Really, the main advice is that you have to expect your life to be completely different from now on. No more sleeping in, no more impromptu day trips etc... You'll always have to plan for your dog. it's totally worth it though!
 

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As others have said - microchip, training/socialization, and perhaps health insurance. I will second the recommendation for Healthy Paws. (I think pet insurance is something that used to be sort of scammy but is now more legitimate, just do your research if you choose to look into it. We had a health issue with our 1yo dog last month and paid 20% of about $2300.)

I heartily agree with a dog play class or occasional daycare to give your dog an opportunity to meet other dogs and people and to expend some energy. Ask to meet the staff and tour the facility before taking your pup.

We also greatly benefitted from hiring a trainer to learn some basic commands, and, more important, how to teach him and how he learns. Yes these are all investments and not always feasible to do everything at once, but I personally believe that dog training helps the owner just as much as, if not more than, the dog. :)

If you travel a lot for work or fun, or are out of the house most of the day for work, find a good and reliable pet sitter/dog walker or boarding place you like and trust. From experience, I can tell you that it is much better to have these resources in place IF you need them, rather than trying to find them at the last minute. More peace of mind for you and your dog!

And finally - I joined all the rewards programs at the pet stores we frequent. I don't necessarily shop at all of them all of the time, but we get a lot of coupons in the mail/online and it has saved a good bit of money knowing when his food is on sale and things like that.

Enjoy your new companion!
 

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Good point about finding a reliable pet sitter etc. Consider giving your friends a key to your house too in case for some reason you have to be away too long.
 
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