Preparing your home for your new puppy
Before you arrive home with your new puppy, there are several necessary checks and changes that you can make to ensure that your puppy will be safe in their new space.
Puppy-proofing your home
There are several hazards inside your home. By doing some simple ‘puppy-proofing’ in advance you can make sure that you're prepared for your new puppy's arrival.
- Cover electrical sockets - Plug socket covers should be used throughout your home so your puppy can’t access your electrical sockets.
- Remove exposed cords - It's important to check for any exposed cords that your new puppy could chew through and tidy them away with cable ties or covers.
- Secure windows, balconies and stairs - Puppies are inquisitive animals who may easily get stuck or fall from high places in their exploration. Check windows and doors to outside are locked, any balconies are secured where possible and that your puppy can't access any stairs.
- Store away medicinal products and dangerous liquids - Put away any products in the kitchen and bathroom that could cause harm. E-cigarette refills and screen wash are known to be particularly harmful to dogs if ingested.
- Put away any small or sharp objects - Take a look around your home and put away any small objects that your puppy could chew or swallow, such as elastic bands or drawing pins, sharp objects or plastic bags.
Once preparations have been made indoors, checks should be carried out on any outside spaces your puppy will have access to.
- Repair any gaps in the fence - If you have a fence around your backyard, or a gate that will protect your puppy from the road, then you need to check it closely for any holes or gaps where your puppy could escape and make sure that these are securely blocked.
- Remove poisonous plants - Check the plants in your garden to make sure they’re not poisonous if your puppy was to ingest them. Some plants which are dangerous to dogs include Ficus, Cyclamen, Holly, Mistletoe, Dieffenbachia, Philodendron, Aloe, Narcissus, Hyacinth, Iris, Azalea, Rhododendron, Oleander, Poinsettia and Sweet Pea.
- Review your fertilisers - It's important to make sure any chemical fertilisers, herbicides and insecticides are out of reach to prevent your puppy from ingesting any of them.
- Store garden tools away - If you use any garden tools, particularly anything sharp, then it's important to store them away somewhere that your puppy wouldn’t be able to reach.
Essential items for your puppy
Here is a checklist of essential items that you will need before your new puppy arrives.
- Food & water bowls - Durable food and water bowls are important as your teething puppy will chew anything in sight, which can be a problem when using plastic bowls. Stainless steel food and water bowls are recommended as they are more sanitary and easier to clean, they also don't break or chip like ceramic bowls.Find a permanent place for your puppy’s bowls that's quiet and safe, so they have a consistent area to eat. It's best to leave a little bowl for food and a bigger one filled with water.
- Puppy bed - Your puppy needs plenty of time to rest and sleep once they arrive, as it helps them to grow, so providing them with a comfortable bed or a puppy crate is essential. Beds should be positioned in a quiet corner where they have space of their own. This will help your puppy get used to their new home, and give them somewhere to feel safe to fall asleep. Choose easy to clean bedding that is still thick enough to be comfortable, and perhaps add a rag with the mother’s scent to help your puppy settle more easily.
- Puppy grooming brush/comb - Your puppy will need a specialised grooming brush and comb to keep their coats healthy and tidy. You will need nail trimmers. Grooming your puppy regularly familiarises them with being touched and handled by people, which will make the task easier for both of you as they grow bigger and stronger.
- Toys for your puppy - Providing toys for your puppy to play with is a good way to socialise and avoid them chewing on your furniture. It’s important to choose a toy that is appropriate for the size of your puppy. Toys should be twice the size of your puppy's mouth to prevent the risk of choking or strangulation. Rubber dog toys tend to be the most durable but should only be purchased from reputable pet stores or the vet clinic. Soft toys aren't indestructible, but some are sturdier than others. Soft toys should be machine washable. It's important to never leave your puppy unsupervised with rope or material toys as they can become a choking hazard if swallowed or cause an intestinal blockage. Bones should also be avoided as they can splinter and cause internal injuries. Once your puppy’s toys start to show signs of wear and tear you should discard them to avoid any accidents.
- Puppy collar/harness & lead - Although they won’t venture beyond the garden in the early days, a collar and lead are essential, so your puppy gets used to wearing them. Make sure the collar is snug enough so it can’t slip over your puppy’s head and includes a tag carrying your name and telephone number.
- Baby gates & x-pens - to help contain the explorer in a safe space.
Having all the basic items prepared in advance will help your new puppy adjust more easily as you introduce them to their new home.
Choose a toothbrush, toothpaste and shampoo that is specially designed for dogs.
Puppies have very delicate digestive systems and sudden changes in their diet can cause digestive upsets or food aversion. For this reason, it’s best to feed your puppy the same food it has been fed for the first few days while they settle. Then you can slowly introduce your choice of puppy food that should support your puppy's growth. We recommend Purina Pro-Plan Puppy Food and Royal Canin Puppy Food.
Preparing your family & pets for puppy’s arrival:
There’s lots to consider when bringing a puppy into your household to ensure everyone stays safe and your puppy settles in smoothly. Prepare the best way to introduce your puppy to children, older family members, visitors, and existing pets.
Finding a great veterinarian, who you can trust to help your puppy grow into a healthy adult, is an important aspect of being a pet owner. It’s best to find one before you pick up your puppy because they will need a check-up a day or two after they arrive.
What to bring to pick up your puppy
There are a few important things to take with you when you pick up your puppy to help them stay safe and feel more comfortable on the trip home. These include:
A leash and an adjustable collar, or harness
Keep your puppy safe when walking them to and from the car.
A blanket or toy
Give a blanket or toy to your puppy's mother for a while to collect their scent. This should help keep your puppy calm on the way home.
A bottle of water and a bowl
Make sure your puppy is hydrated on the journey home.
It's good to reward your puppy for being well-behaved early on so bring treats and keep them occupied with something to chew on.
Poop bags and cleaning supplies
When you pick up your puppy, they're unlikely to be house broken, so be prepared for potential accidents.
An appropriately sized crate
This is an important item, especially if you're picking them up in a car on your own.
(list originally created by Royal Canin)
Books that we recommend (available on Amazon):
- The Art of Raising a Puppy, by the Monks of New Skete
- The Perfect Puppy, by Gwen Bailey
- Don’t Shoot the Dog, by Karen Pryor