Bringing home a new puppy can be an exciting experience for both you and your family. But, let’s face it, with all the excitement and joy, it's important to remember that puppies require a lot of attention, care, and preparation as they can settle into their new home. From puppy-proofing your living space to creating a routine for feeding and training, there are several steps you can take to ensure that your new furry friend feels safe, comfortable, and loved in their new environment.
Puppy-proof your home
Just like you would with a new baby, it's important to puppy-proof your home to prevent accidents and injuries. Here are 4 steps to puppy-proof your home:
1. Remove any hazards
Puppies are curious creatures, and they like to explore with their nose and mouths. To prevent them from ingesting anything harmful, make sure to keep hazardous items such as cleaning supplies, chemicals, and medications out of their reach. You should also remove any small objects, sharp edges, or cords that your puppy could inadvertently chew on or swallow. Shoes and clothing are also especially attractive to puppies, keep these items off the floor and away from the sharp, destructive teeth of your beloved pup. Should your puppy ingest anything that you consider harmful or internally obstructive, please take it to your vet for examination.
2. Secure cabinets and doors
Puppies are clever and can figure out how to open cabinets and doors early on. You can use baby locks or other pet-proofing devices to prevent them from accessing hazardous items or rooms where they shouldn't be.
3. Protect your furniture
Puppies love to chew on anything they can get their teeth on, including your favourite couch or that rustic table your mum gifted you. What's more? Your puppy is going to want to mark its territory doggy-style, and trust us when we say, you will find those puppy eyes not working as much. So, as a precaution, cover your furniture with slipcovers or blankets until your puppy is fully trained, and consider investing in a crate or playpen to keep them in when you're not around to supervise.
4. Check your plants
Can't decide between being a plant-mum or a dog-mum in 2023? You can do both, but we recommend researching your plants for being dog-friendly and non-toxic. There are many websites and apps that will help you ascertain which plants are safe for your dog, not only in your home but in your local parks and streetscapes. Investing in hanging pots or similar will ensure your plants are away from reach in case your pup craves some leafy veggies.
Set up a designated area for your puppy
We all enjoy our space, especially after all those lockdowns, and we reckon your furry friend would too. They'll need a place to sleep, eat, and play - something to call their own. This can be a crate or a small, enclosed area such as a laundry room or bathroom. Make sure this space has comfortable bedding, water, ventilation, pee pads and dog-safe toys to cure boredom. Here’s how setting up a designated area can help your new pup settle in:
1. Helps with potty training
Space allocation will help your pup understand that there's a place for everything, including going potty. Toilet training will be a breeze and those lovely cream carpets will not have poo stains. Ever wonder how dogs always wake up at the same time? Or know when you're coming back from work? Or head to their bowls when it is dinner time? It is because they know there's a time and place for everything.
2. Reduces anxiety
Imagine leaving an environment where you get to play with your siblings all day to move moving into a new house one day with strangers that love you - sounds weird, right? Do you reckon puppies feel the same? Puppies can often feel overwhelmed in new environments, and a designated area can provide them with a sense of security and comfort. By giving them a space that's theirs alone, they can retreat to it when they feel anxious or stressed.
3. Prevents destructive behaviour
Puppies stay true to the Taylor Swift song. ‘Anti-Hero’ when she sings ’I should not be left to my own devices, they come with prices and vices. I end up in crisis.’ Puppies are excited to ‘explore’ their new home, which comes with a special taste test of everything they see. By providing them with a designated area, you can prevent destructive behaviour and keep them safe from household hazards.
4. Promotes independence
As your puppy grows and becomes more independent, a designated area can give them the freedom they need to explore and play on their own. It can also give you peace of mind knowing that they have a safe and secure space to play in when you're not around.
Stock up on supplies
When preparing for a new puppy, you will need a wide range of supplies to support their care and health. From food to flea and worm treatments, we have outlined exactly what you will need:
One of the first things you'll need to purchase is food and water bowls. Look for dishes that are sturdy and easy to clean, and consider buying a set of each so that you can always have a clean one available.
Choosing the right puppy food is also crucial for your puppy's health and development. Look for high-quality puppy food that meets their nutritional needs and is appropriate for their age and breed. Consult with your veterinarian and breeder to determine the best food for your puppy's specific needs.
Comfortable bedding is also a must-have for your puppy's designated area. Look for bedding that's soft, durable, and easy to clean. Some good options include a washable dog bed or a blanket that can be easily cleaned and replaced. Don’t spend too much money on bedding as you can expect a chaotic teething puppy to go through in the first few months of life!
Toys are another essential item for your new puppy. Puppies love to play and chew, and having plenty of toys on hand can keep them entertained and help prevent destructive behaviour. Look for toys that are safe for puppies and can withstand their sharp teeth and claws. Investing in some mentally-stimulating toys will exercise their body as well as their brain. Licky mats that can be attached to the side of a crate or Kongs that can be filled with appropriate treats are amazing, reusable options here.
Grooming supplies are also important for your puppy's health and hygiene. You'll need to purchase a brush or comb to keep their coat looking shiny, matt-free and healthy, as well as nail clippers, ear cleaner, and shampoo. Consider your puppy's breed and coat type when selecting grooming supplies, and consult with your veterinarian or a professional groomer for guidance.
Puppy pads are a must for the first 3 months of getting your pup home or until they’re fully toilet-trained. This is crucial for folks with carpeted flooring who would not want the smell of pee to linger in the home. The pads also help with the training itself by creating a designated space for the pup to relieve themselves, which will help in the long term as we mentioned earlier. Sprays such as Urine Off or Backyard Fresh will help to neutralise any of these types of odours in your home or backyard.
Other important supplies include a collar, leash, poop bags & holder, and identification tags with their name and your phone number engraved on them. These items can help keep your puppy safe and secure when you're out and about, and can also help ensure that they're returned to you if they get lost.
Gather medical supplies
In addition to stocking up on supplies, it's also important to gather medical supplies for your new puppy. Just like humans, puppies can get sick or injured, so it's important to be prepared in case of an emergency.
One of the first things you should do is schedule a visit with your veterinarian. Your vet can perform a full physical exam and provide you with important information about your puppy's health and any vaccinations or treatments they may need.
It's also important to have basic medical supplies on hand in case of an emergency. These supplies may include items such as a rectal thermometer, gauze, sterile saline solution, hydrogen peroxide, and styptic powder to stop bleeding from minor cuts or nail trims. It's also a good idea to have a first aid kit specifically for your puppy. This kit may include items such as antiseptic wipes, bandages, scissors, and tweezers to remove ticks or other debris from your puppy's skin.
In addition to medical supplies, you'll also need to purchase any medications or treatments that your veterinarian recommends or your breeder has recommended. This may include flea and tick prevention, heartworm medication, or other medications to treat specific health conditions.
Establish a routine
Puppies require frequent feedings, so you'll need to schedule several meals throughout the day. Consult with your breeder and veterinarian to determine the appropriate feeding schedule for your puppy's age and breed. Sometimes a puppy may exhibit signs of being intolerant to the food you provide, in these cases, reaching out to your vet or the breeder for advice is advised.
Potty training is another important aspect of establishing a routine. You'll need to take your puppy outside frequently throughout the day to help them learn where and when it's appropriate to go potty. Be consistent with your potty training routine and be patient with your puppy as they learn. Take high-value treats such as roast chicken or liver treats with you to reinforce they're going outside. Using a trigger word with these treats such as “GO POTTY!” or “PEE PEE!” will help your puppy understand where the right place to go is.
In addition to feeding and potty training, you'll also need to establish a routine for playtime, exercise, and rest. Puppies have a lot of energy and need plenty of opportunities to play and exercise. Schedule playtime and exercise into your routine, and provide your puppy with plenty of toys and activities to keep them entertained.
Establish a routine early on for training and socialisation, one that works with your schedule. Training your puppy and exposing them to new experiences and social situations is essential for well-rounded development and well-being. Organise regular training sessions and make time to socialise your puppy with other dogs and people. Look into booking a series of sessions with a puppy preschool, these are often held at your local vet or pet store and are run by professionals who will give you many tips and tricks for raising your puppy well.
It's pivotal to remember that raising a puppy requires patience, consistency, and commitment. Your puppy will rely on you for everything, from food and water to training and socialisation. By being prepared and providing your puppy with a structured and loving environment, you can help them grow into a happy and well-adjusted adult dog.