Few things in life are as exciting as bringing home your new puppy or dog.
It can be a little scary, especially if you’ve never had a dog before. They clearly bring tremendous joy and love to a household. However, a puppy can also damage your furniture, upset the balance with your other pets, and add unexpected expenses to your budget. Not to mention, they require a significant time commitment!
To help you out, we’re sharing our top ten things on how to prepare for a puppy or dog coming home with you so that the transition is as smooth as possible.
- Puppy-proof your home
- Create a space for your puppy
- Stock up on food and treats
- Come up with your training plan
- Gather puppy supplies
- Decide on a vet
- Prepare your children & family members
- Account for any special needs
- Prepare your current dog for a new puppy
- Plan out the first 24 hours
How to Prepare for a New Puppy Coming Home
So, what are the most important things to prepare for when a puppy is first coming home with you?
Check out our ten steps, so you’ll have everything you need when you bring your puppy home from the rescue, shelter, or breeder.
1. Puppy-proof your home
One of the most important things a new pet parent should do is puppy-proof their home. These furry babies can quickly get into trouble by chewing through furniture, eating toxic plants or flowers, gnawing electrical cords, and consuming medications, trash, or cleaning supplies.
Here are ways to puppy proof your home:
- Lock cleaning supplies, medications, and other chemicals up in high cabinets or cabinets with childproof latches.
- Put away sharp objects, such as scissors, razors, tools, and knives.
- Secure your trash cans to prevent your puppy from digging through the trash.
- Move and unplug electrical cords by placing them out of reach or running the cords through cord concealers to prevent your puppy from burning themselves.
- Put away small items that appear harmless but could be a choking hazard, such as rubber bands, jewelry, coins, paper clips, pens, etc.
- Keep poisonous houseplants out of your puppy’s reach, and consider opting for plants that are not toxic to dogs.
If you live in an apartment, you may also want to consider additional steps for how to prepare for a puppy in an apartment, like checking with your landlord about any pet restrictions and taking preventative measures to secure your balcony if you don’t live on the ground level.
2. Create a space for your puppy
When you first bring your puppy home, they’ll experience lots of sights and smells that can be overstimulating. Set them up for success by creating a cozy space that’s all their own.
So, what should you get to prepare for a puppy? One of the best ways to create a space for your puppy is by creating a secure, cozy crate and playpen area. Dogs are natural den animals that enjoy having a quiet, safe place to retreat. Make this space an area associated with good things, like treats and “good boys!” and not an area your dog is sent to when being punished.
Place your puppy’s crate or bed in a quieter area, away from bustling places like the living room or your children’s bedrooms. Allow your puppy to retreat to their crate whenever they want, so they can learn how to decompress on their own.
3. Stock up on food and treats
Puppies eat a lot! Before bringing your new puppy home, make sure you’re stocked up on healthy puppy food and treats. Training treats are especially great for helping your puppy learn the ropes around your house.
Research the ideal puppy diet—you can always consult with your veterinarian for recommendations. According to the Veterinary Centers of America, it’s crucial that you look for dog foods that specifically meet the needs of growing puppies because many adult formulas lack the necessary nutrients to help your puppy grow strong and healthy.
PetPlate is an excellent choice for puppies because every meal is catered to their needs based on age, breed, and more. Our food is prepared in a USDA-approved kitchen with human-grade ingredients that provide your pup with plenty of high-quality vitamins and minerals. We offer four signature entrees: Barkin’ Beef, Chompin’ Chicken, Tail Waggin’ Turkey, and Lip Lickin’ Lamb. And our Chicken Apple Sausage Bites are made with six nutrient-dense ingredients. They’re also easy to break apart, which makes them perfect for training.
4. Come up with your training plan
Before your new puppy steps foot in your home, you should already establish “house rules” and determine what your puppy’s training plan will look like.
They won’t know the difference between right and wrong, so it’s important to immediately make your house rules clear so they can adjust more easily.
Sit down with your family and go over the house rules to consistently enforce them. Remind them that consistency is key. Otherwise, your new puppy will be confused over what they can and can’t do.
Think about establishing a morning and night routine, where they can go in your house, what family members are responsible for what, and how to respond when your puppy begs for food or jumps on others.
5. Gather other puppy supplies
Before bringing your puppy home, go over a mental “new puppy checklist” with all the items you’ll need immediately after picking your puppy up and taking them home, like a leash, water bowl, or collar.
What to buy to prepare for a puppy:
- Water & food bowl
- Dog first aid kit
- Poop bags and holder
- Healthy dog food and treats
- Leash and collar
- Dog tags
- Travel items, like a dog car seat or seat belt harness
- Cleaning supplies, such as carpet cleaner
6. Decide on a vet
Like human babies, puppies will need to have more frequent vet checkups to ensure they’re healthy and growing well. Within a week of bringing your puppy home, make an appointment with their vet to have them checked out.
If you don’t already have a vet, research vets in your area, read reviews, and ask friends and family for recommendations. Look into vets that align with your beliefs on medical treatments, such as holistic or integrative medicine practitioners.
Also, consider if your vet offers 24/7 emergency care. If they don’t, you’ll need to find a separate vet for emergencies.
7. Prepare your children & family members
Having a puppy around the home can be incredibly exciting for kids and other family members. However, you’ll need to set boundaries to keep everyone safe and happy.
Before bringing your new four-legged friend home, take your children to see and get acquainted with the puppy.
Talk to your children and other family members about your puppy’s house rules and boundaries. Teach them to respect your puppy if they want alone time, and how to approach your new pup. These rules will help prevent injury and allow your kids and puppy to have fun, less stressful interactions.
8. Account for any special needs
If your puppy has special needs, such as a known medical condition, anxiety, or a history of abuse, you’ll want to consider this when preparing your home.
For example, a dog with a known medical condition may need certain supplies like medications, treat pill pockets to make pill time easier, a specific type of dog bed to support their joints, and more.
Suppose your dog is a rescue with a history of abuse. In that case, you may need to establish additional guidelines with your family members to help your pup ease into their new home. They may also benefit from calming supplements to reduce their stress.
Consult with your veterinarian when accounting for any special needs your puppy may have for personalized recommendations.
9. Learn how to prepare your current dog for a new puppy
Before you bring your puppy home, you’ll need to prepare your dog and other household pets to meet your new puppy.
Always have your dog or pet meet your new puppy outside in a neutral environment, with no distracting dog items around. Dogs can become possessive of their food bowls, water bowls, beds, etc. with a new dog around, which won’t help your new puppy feel welcomed into the household.
Monitor your puppy and adult dog’s playtime. It’s not uncommon for adult dogs to feel overwhelmed by a puppy’s energy, so don’t be shocked if they snap back. A quick snap or snarl is appropriate, but anything else warrants moving your puppy to another area for a break.
10. Plan out the first 24 hours
Your puppy’s first day home will be loads of fun, but it can also be stressful, especially without a plan.
Plan out their potty break schedule, meal times, bedtime, and how you’ll introduce your new puppy to the household to make the transition easier.
What to Get to Prepare for a Puppy? Lots of Treats!
Bringing a new puppy home is exciting but stressful. However, having a plan in place with your family and all the necessary food and dog items available will reduce this stress, and allow your puppy to happily ease into their new home.
Treats are an excellent way to start early training with your puppy through positive reinforcement. Treats provide a quick way to reward your new puppy or dog when they go outside and do their business, go to their crate calmly, or sit or come on command.
Our Chicken Apple Sausage Bites just may be a new pet parent’s best tool when training their puppy!
Got more puppy-related questions?
For a puppy feeding chart and advice on how to feed a puppy, check out our guide!