While owning a dog can be incredibly fun and rewarding, it’s important to be prepared for the responsibilities that go along with it before you decide to bring home a new furry friend. That includes both the emotional responsibilities in addition to the financial ones, as pets can be expensive and you never know when you may have a surprise medical bill. First-time dog owners may not be aware of everything they’ll need for their new pet, but fortunately, there are a number of resources both online and offline that can help you learn all you could ever need to know. If you’re planning to adopt a pup of your own, keep reading to learn more about how you can be the best dog mom ever.

How can you prepare your home for your dog?

Before you bring home your new dog, you’ll want to take some time and get your house ready for the newest member of your family. Puppies can be like toddlers, and you’ll need to puppy-proof your home if you want to keep your pet healthy and your house undamaged. Food and trash particularly should be completely inaccessible. Choking hazards or easily breakable items should also be removed from shelves and tables that are within your dog’s reach.

If you have your heart set on a particular breed, it’s a good idea to do plenty of research on it to make sure your lifestyle and living space are compatible with the dog’s needs. If you live in a tiny apartment in a big city, it’s not a suitable environment for a larger dog that needs plenty of space to run around and play. Many breeds also require a great deal of exercise, which can be difficult if you work long hours.

Anyone who keeps plants in the house will need to switch exclusively to dog safe plants, as many common houseplants are toxic to animals. Succulents can be a good choice for newer gardeners, since they’re easy to care for. Spider plants, maidenhair ferns, and dwarf olive trees are just a handful of the many options available to you for dog-safe greenery.

What kind of care will your dog need?

Your dog’s diet and exercise needs will depend heavily on what breed they are, and your vet can help you find the right nutritional plan for your pup. Your dog will also need regular boosters and annual check-ups, in addition to a regular supply of flea & tick medicine. These expenses can add up, which is why a lot of pet owners choose to purchase pet insurance. There are a number of resources that can help you learn more about pet insurance, like this rundown of the best pet insurance in Canada.

Outside of essentials, your dog is also going to need plenty of love and attention. Dogs are social animals, and they enjoy spending time with you and with other dogs. Find out where your nearest dog park is if your pup doesn’t get the opportunity to play with other dogs often. There are even doggie daycare programs you can sign up for, which have the bonus of helping to socialize your dog in a controlled environment.

While many people love the idea of owning dogs, they’re not always ready to handle the expenses and responsibilities that come along with them. It’s necessary to carefully consider the challenges of pet ownership before adopting, and that includes making a plan for paying for all of their essential care. When it comes to your dog’s medical needs, pet insurance can be a great way to manage the cost and be prepared in case of an emergency. Your ability to give them proper exercise and attention is also of utmost importance. There’s a lot to learn about becoming a dog mom, but as long as you’re prepared both emotionally and financially for the reality of having a pet, you’re likely to have a loving relationship with your new furry friend for years to come.