Are you preparing to welcome a new puppy into the family? Putting together a list for your new pup can be a bit overwhelming, so we’ve done the hard work for you! Here’s your essential new puppy checklist to help you prepare for their arrival.
What should I think about before getting a puppy?
Whether it’s your first dog or you’re growing the family pack, taking on a new four-legged family member is a big deal.
So if you’re still at the decision stage of committing to a puppy, here’s some things to ask yourself.
> Can you afford the cost of a puppy?
Before anything else, check if you’re able to commit financially to being a dog parent. It’s not just about the initial costs of buying your puppy. You’ll also have years of ongoing pet care to pay for and some breeds can live for an average of 14 years.
It might be worthwhile putting together a budget to work out all of your pet care costs. Things to include are food, grooming, vet care, preventative treatments (like flea and worming), and pet insurance.
> Is the whole family ready for a new puppy?
Check everyone in the family is on board with the responsibility of a new puppy. At some point, each family member will likely need to pitch in with feeding, walks, playtime, and training.
Also, think about whether any existing pets in the house will be happy to welcome a puppy into the mix. A senior cat or dog with health problems may struggle to have an energetic puppy around.
> Does having a puppy fit your lifestyle?
The option of hybrid and remote working has given more people the chance to become pet parents. But circumstances can change and your puppy will still need lots of time and attention throughout their life. Will you be there to keep them company, play with them, train them?
Your puppy will need your full attention during their first few weeks. You’ll be helping them settle into their new home and teaching them essentials like puppy toilet training. If you can’t be at home to support them while they’re still young, you might need to look into daycare.
> Have you found the right dog breed for your family?
Lots of people fall in love with a breed for their looks or because of how they’re portrayed in film and TV. But it’s important to fully research the breed when choosing the right dog for you.
If you’re someone who likes to chill at home, a high-energy dog may not be an ideal fit. A mismatch of dog breed and lifestyle could lead to boredom, frustration, and behavioural issues.
What do I need to buy before picking up my puppy?
Let’s face it, shopping for your puppy can be such a fun part of preparing for their arrival.
Here’s some things you might want to add to your list before you pick them up:
- Food and water bowls
- A bed and crate (if you’re planning on crate training or want to give them their own retreat space)
- Lots of blankets for them to snuggle up
- Toys to give your pup plenty of stimulation and enrichment
- Grooming tools like a comb or brush
- Puppy toilet training pads
- A dog toothbrush and toothpaste
- A collar and ID tag – an ID tag is a legal requirement for dogs in the UK
- A lead and harness
- Complete puppy food – your breeder will tell you what they’ve been eating but speak to your vet if you’re thinking of changing brand
- Poo bags
- Enzyme spray and floor cleaner for toilet accidents
- A playpen and/or child gate
- A travel crate, dog guard, dog car seat or travel harness
And don’t forget to look into a couple of extra bits to help keep your new puppy healthy:
- Pet insurance
- Registering with a local vet
What do I need to know about bringing my puppy home?
Now you’ve cleared out the pet shop, it’s time to prepare for bringing your puppy home.
> How to puppy-proof your home
Puppies love to explore and they usually do this with their mouths. So managing your puppy’s environment is a way to help them safely discover the world around them.
- Keep toxic or dangerous foods locked away and in high cupboards. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of human foods that are safe for your pup to eat.
- Use ties, guards, and protectors to keep cords and cables out of reach.
- Watch where you put your gadgets – your puppy doesn’t know the difference between an expensive device and a cheap rubber toy!
- Use safety gates to keep your puppy in the room – this stops them from wandering off to where you can’t watch them.
- Check if there’s any missing fence panels or gaps a puppy can wriggle underneath.
- Swap out toxic plants for pet-safe alternatives.
- Check you’ve put away any sharp gardening tools and gadgets, along with other harmful items like compost and weed killer.
> What to do when picking your puppy up from the breeder
Bringing home your new pet pal is exciting for you but can be overwhelming for your puppy. The good news is there’s plenty of ways to make them feel more relaxed and comfortable.
- Bring something safe and comfy to bring them home in, like a crate or carrier
- If it’s a long journey, check you have water to keep your puppy hydrated on the way
- Stay calm when you arrive, taking time to sit down and let your puppy get familiar with you
- Talk through your puppy’s routine with the breeder so you can replicate it at home
- Ask the breeder for a blanket from the litter so they have familiar smells
- Make sure you’re not leaving too soon after your puppy has eaten as they may get car sick
And before you head home, don’t forget to:
- Get your puppy’s microchip details as you’ll need to swap these over to your information
- Ask for their vaccination card and vet check-up record
> What to do when bringing your puppy home in the car
- Plan for toilet breaks if you’ll have a long car journey – being mindful not to let your unvaccinated puppy go in dog-heavy places
- Keep the car at a comfortable temperature
- Place the litter blanket near or around your puppy so they have familiar smells close by
- Put on calming music and talk in a low, gentle voice for a soothing effect
> How to settle your puppy on their first day home
- Think about keeping your puppy limited to one or two rooms to stop them from feeling overwhelmed
- Look into using dog pheromone diffusers to help create a calming environment
- Give them space to settle and nap – being around them constantly could lead to separation anxiety later on
- Ask friends and family to give your puppy a couple of days to settle in before they come and visit
- If your puppy is nervous, warn other members of the family not to crowd them or handle them too much
- Be ready to swap out their bedding as there could be some toilet accidents
Protect your canine through years of adventures with pet insurance for puppies.