Adding a new puppy to your household will bring you joy, love, and a lot of laughter. Puppies are just like any other baby and will entertain you and fill your heart as they learn about their new home and about the world in general.
Just as you would not bring a human baby into your home without some preparation, however, you wouldn’t want to bring in a puppy without knowing how to take care of him and what you might need to have on hand. Read on for some tips on making sure that you and your family are ready for your new little ball of fluff before you bring him home.
Why You Need to Prepare for Your New Puppy
Remember that puppies require a lot of attention, especially while they’re young. In addition to making sure you have all of the items you need for your new dog, you will also need to puppy-proof the house, ensure that your pup is trained properly, and spend lots of time getting to know him. We’ve created a downloadable New Puppy Checklist to provide a comprehensive list of the things you need to purchase and do before your pup comes home and once he gets there.
What can happen if you aren’t prepared? Your pup could find himself in danger. For example, if you don’t have a way to contain your puppy, such as with baby gates or a crate, he could easily snatch chocolate candies off of a table, chew on an electrical cord, or even slip right out the door while you’re carrying in groceries. Not knowing how to train your new pet can make it hard to treat him like a family member – it isn’t endearing when a dog doesn’t come when called, jumps on guests, or chews up a library book or a new pair of shoes.
Think About Your Puppy’s Physical Needs
Your puppy has the same physical needs you do: He will need healthy food to eat, clean water to drink, a place to sleep, a way to stay clean, and regular veterinary care. He also has some additional needs. For example, you have to keep him safe while outdoors by keeping him on a leash and collar or harness. Dogs also like cozy dens, so a crate is a good idea. Fluff it up with blankets and a favorite toy or two and your puppy will consider this his own private haven!
You will want to talk to your veterinarian about the right type of food to feed your puppy. Large breeds often do better on a puppy food formulated particularly for them because it will help prevent joint and bone problems later. If your pup has allergies, he might need a special type of food, such as a grain-free puppy food. You should not use a specialized diet without the advice of your veterinarian.
Other products you will need include a water bowl, a dog bed, and grooming tools. There is much more information on each of these items and many more on our handy puppy checklist, which you should download before your puppy arrives home or as soon as possible if you already have your new furry friend.
Think About Your Puppy’s Emotional Needs
In addition to keeping your dog physically healthy, you’ll also want to be sure to meet his emotional and social needs. Joining a “puppy kindergarten” training class as soon as he’s had all of his puppy vaccines is a great way to help him learn a few basic commands and also understand how to behave around other dogs. This type of socialization is an important way to keep him safe (for example, you want your pup to know to run to you and not away from you when you call him) and to keep others safe (because he will feel comfortable enough around strangers not to bite). You can also check out our list of 101 puppy training tips for additional help.
Toys will help your puppy combat boredom when you are not there to entertain him. Your dog should learn how to entertain himself with a variety of puzzle toys, chew toys, and, if he does not destroy them, stuffed toys. You will need to use a bit of trial and error to see what he likes best.
There is a lot more to know about preparing for a puppy, so we encourage you to download the New Puppy Checklist and to consider all of the tips on it. The more prepared you are before you bring your puppy home, the better chance you will have of turning your puppy into a considerate family member who is just as healthy as he is happy!