You’ve finally made the decision. You’re going to do it! Bringing a new dog home is a big commitment for anybody. Not only will your dog be a constant companion for the next ten to fifteen years, puppyhood is the busiest time of all. At the same time as adapting to the lifestyle changes that a dog brings, your new puppy will need extra care and attention during this early stage.
To reduce the rush when you bring your puppy home, you can do a few things to prepare.
Especially if you’re a new dog owner, this is one area you’ll want to read up on. The more you know, the better equipped you will be to deal with the unexpected. Even experienced dog owners recognise that dog care is a changing field, and many recommendations will have changed between one puppy and the next. Once you bring home your dog you can turn to your veterinarian for specific health and care questions, but in the meantime, there are many dog and puppy health care books available.
Even healthy pups need to visit the veterinarian early on to complete their vaccination course. Locating a veterinarian in your area may be as simple as consulting the telephone directory, but you might like to get recommendations from friends or neighbouring dog owners. Calling the veterinary surgery and making a note of clinic opening hours and provisions for emergency treatment is good preparation.
Safe and secure
Keeping your dog safely on your property will keep him safe from straying, traffic and council pounds. Since most dogs will spend at least a little time outside, it’s important to check your boundary fences. Make sure they’re secure and tall enough to prevent even an adult dog bent on escape, and if any repairs are needed, make them now. If you can’t adequately secure your property, an alternative to fencing is a large dog run or a dog enclosure.
Look around your house and garden. Is there anywhere you’d rather your puppy didn’t go, either for his own safety, or to protect carpets or delicate plants? Decide now how to manage this – fences or partitions in the garden can save special plants, and toddler gates are ideal for preventing access to every room without living with the doors closed all the time.
Warm and cosy
Your new puppy will need a shelter from wind and bad weather outside, and a kennel does the trick for most dogs. Inside, a dog crate and/or bedding is needed. Make sure you consider how large your dog will grow when choosing a size or you’ll find yourself replacing them often as he grows.
Just for fun
A few toys are useful to have on hand, just to redirect those chewing impulses that young puppies frequently indulge in! Toys can be designed for your puppy to use alone, such as chew toys or squeakers, or to be used as part of a game with you, like balls and retrieving items.
Neat and tidy
It’s never too early to start training your puppy to enjoy regular grooming, especially if he will have a long coat. Basic needs that you should stock up on now are a grooming brush and comb, nail clippers and some mild puppy shampoo.
Food and drink
At least two water bowls – one for inside and one for outside - as well as a food bowl or two are needed. You can decide where you plan to regularly feed your dog and place the bowls there so he will quickly learn where to find them.
Once you’ve worked through this list, you’re ready for anything, and certainly for your new puppy to come home!