Few things in life are more exciting than getting a new puppy. Imagine that little bundle of love and fur running around the house and yard! It’s going to be a blast! But don’t forget about the practical side of preparing for a new puppy… like puppy-proofing your home and buying the necessary supplies.
Welcoming a new puppy to the family is a huge change. Along with all the good times, you should also expect to lose some sleep and do a lot of extra cleaning up for a while. If you’re a little nervous about the whole thing, don’t worry!
Here’s what you need to know about preparing for a new puppy, including what to buy before the puppy comes home and what to expect the first few weeks.
1. Assemble your supplies ahead of time
Make a list of new puppy essentials and purchase everything you need before you bring your puppy home. Here’s what should be on your list.
- Two bowls
- Vet recommended puppy food
- A leash and collar
- An ID tag with current contact information
- A brush, comb, and some puppy shampoo
- A cozy crate and washable bed
- A Kong toy and treats to stuff it with
- Pet stain remover for accidents on carpet/upholstery
- A puppy toothbrush and doggy toothpaste
- Baby gates or a playpen to keep the puppy confined to a safe area
2. Puppies have to learn how to sleep through the night.
Just like human babies, your new puppy probably won’t sleep through the night, and that means you won’t either. Puppies have small bladders and they will need to go outside often, even at night. And mom or dad will need to take them.
The good news is, since you’re potty training your puppy, this will give you more opportunities to reward him for going potty outside. Although it might be hard to see the bright side at 3 AM, the more you reward him for going potty where he’s supposed to, the faster he’ll learn, and the sooner he’ll be potty trained.
Before you bring your new puppy home, set up a crate near your bed so that you can reassure your puppy during the night, and be close at hand when he needs to go out. Plan ahead and expect to lose a little sleep. It will be worth it, and it won’t last forever!
3. Plan ahead for care during the day, too.
Have a plan for when you leave the house for the day. A young puppy will still need to be fed, go for walks, and get attention while you’re not home. Remember, this is a crucial developmental stage, and the choices you make now can impact your puppy’s behavior for the rest of his life.
If you have to be at work all day, you’ll need to make arrangements for someone to come by every few hours to take your puppy out to go potty and get some exercise. If you can’t leave work, consider hiring a neighbor or pet sitter to do it for you. If that’s not an option, check to see if there’s a doggy daycare that accepts puppies in your area.
You should also designate a safe place for your puppy to hang out when you’re not home. Crate training is an excellent choice for puppies, and most learn to love their crate and think of it as their own personal space. Dogs are den animals and generally prefer a comfy, cozy space over a big, wide-open area.
4. Puppies need socialization.
Puppies need socialization with people and other animals to grow into healthy, well-adjusted adult dogs. Once your puppy has his basic shots, take him on walks through the neighborhood and let him say hello to friendly neighbors and pets. Take him with you to work now and then, if your boss allows it. Dog parks can also be a lot of fun, or you can set up play dates with other dog owners in your area.
5. Puppy proof your house before you bring your new puppy home.
Puppies have a knack for finding trouble and puppy-proofing ahead of time will save you a lot of frustration. Remember, they’re still learning what’s expected of them. They’re a lot like toddlers when it comes to chewing and eating things… from food and shoes to your important papers for work. Don’t leave anything lying around that you don’t want to be destroyed.
Be sure to look around for things that might injure your pup, too. Move electrical cords out of reach and make sure there aren’t any heavy objects he can knock over on himself. He will chew up plants if he can get ahold of them, and many houseplants are toxic to dogs, so don’t take any chances.
And, even when you feel like your home is puppy proof, you should still supervise your puppy anytime he’s not in his crate until he learns his boundaries.
6. Be prepared for veterinary expenses.
You should start looking for a good vet before you even bring your puppy home. Get referrals from other pet owners and check reviews online before you make a final decision. Visit the clinic in person before you make your first appointment to ensure you’re comfortable with the facility and staff.
Once you’ve chosen a vet, schedule your puppy’s first visit for the day you’re bringing him home, or as close to it as possible. He should have a check-up and his first vaccines right away. While you’re there, you’ll want to make an appointment to have him neutered and microchipped.
7. Parasites are a risk no matter where you live.
Nobody likes to think about fleas, ticks, and other parasites, but they are everywhere, and they can be a real danger to your new puppy’s health. Get into the habit of checking your puppy over for fleas and ticks each day when you brush him. And, during your first vet visit, consult with your puppy’s doctor about when he should be dewormed and started on monthly heartworm, flea, and tick prevention.
There’s no question that new puppies are a lot of work, especially during the first few weeks, but the effort you put into his care and training now will pay off as he gets older. Dogs enrich our lives in so many ways for their entire lives, so they’re worth the effort. Most importantly, enjoy this time with your new puppy because it will go by fast and you’re forging a bond that will last a lifetime.