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  • Writer's pictureSaving Animals Matters

Preparing for the arrival of a new puppy

Updated: Sep 25, 2023

Oooooo the excitement that comes with bringing home a new puppy. All that puppy breath, all those kisses and all those cuddles. That said, adopting a new puppy is a big commitment, and one that should not be taken lightly. It is essential that you are adequately prepared for their arrival and have given some thought to the following; puppy-proofing your home, sourcing puppy supplies, agreeing on house rules, finding a reliable vet for future vet visits, introductions to new environments/ other animals/ new people.

Puppy-proof your house

Where will puppy be sleeping?

Deciding where your puppy sleeps is important. Crate training is the preferred option as it provides security and a safe, quiet place for puppy to sleep. If you are unable to crate train, placing a warm bed in an easy to clean ‘wet’ area can also be a great option (laundry or bathroom). If you’re a big-ol-softie and can’t bare the thought of spending a night separated from your new best friend, a warm bed can be placed on the floor nearby. Note* puppies are unable to hold their bladders for long periods and will toilet throughout the night.

Does your home have any hazards?

Inside the home: Puppies get into everything and everything, they explore… with their mouths. So, it is absolutely essential to check your home for any potential puppy hazards. These can include cleaning products/chemicals, cords and cables, poisons, toxic plants, sharp objects your puppy may chew (locking up and securing these hazardous materials is a must). Additionally, puppies have little self awareness- they will knock over any un-secure objects with either their wagging tail or wiggling body.

Outside the home: Prevent access to dangerous areas like pools and or any large drops in height where a puppy could fall. Gaps in and under fencing should also be secured (you’d be surprised what spaces a pup can fit into!). Lawn and gardening items (e.g. pesticides, fertilizers, sharp gardening tools and other chemicals) that are hazardous to animals should also be secured somewhere safe.

What supplies will you need?

  • Safe transportation. You will need to consider how you will safely transport your puppy home. Either a large well vented pet carrier/crate or a car harness if the pup is large enough.

  • Decide on a vet. If your adopted puppy has already had some vet work, you may choose to keep your puppy with that vet (as they are familiar with them). If not, you will need to schedule an appointment for a vaccination, microchip and comprehensive wellness check with a vet local to you. A plan to spay/neuter your puppy should also be discussed.

  • Puppy food. Your vet will be able to guide you on what food will best meet your puppies nutritional needs based on their size and breed/mix. It is also essential you find out what food the puppy is currently on as you will need to transition them gradually onto the food mix you have selected (switching between food types quickly can cause an upset stomach and loose stools).

  • Food bowls. Consider the size and material. How big will your puppy likely grow? What materials are safe and less likely to break? {e.g. ceramic is fragile and can break into sharp fragments}. If your pup is a fast eater, you may want to invest in a slow-release food dispenser or slow feed bowl.

  • Bedding. Consider the size and material/s. How big will your puppy likely grow? What fabrics are soft yet easy to wash? If you intend to crate train, you will need to invest in a good quality crate that will be suitable for your pup's breed and expected size. A heat-pad or hot water bottle can be filled with warm water and wrapped in old linen to keep puppy warm and comfortable at bed time. A ticking clock can also help as it mimics a mother’s heartbeat. ID tag & collar. While collars will need to be upgraded as your puppy develops and grows, a good quality ID tag won’t need to be. Ensure pup’s name and your contact information is added to the tag.

  • Leash. A short leash should be purchased for walking and a longer leash for training. We don’t recommend retractable leashes as they do not offer enough control for the pup’s handler (you).

  • Grooming tools. A gentle dog shampoo (we recommend investing in a hypoallergenic type in-case your pup has sensitive skin), dog brush or comb (type required will be dependent on your pup’s breed) and nail clippers (optional- you may prefer your pup’s nails are trimmed by a vet) should all be considered.

  • Puppy pads. These are an absolute god-send. One of the advantages of puppy pads is convenience- they can be quickly placed in the desired ‘toileting area’. They can be a useful aid in toilet training- particularly when pup is younger and needs to toilet more frequently. Clean-up is relatively easy as used pads containing urine/faeces can be discarded leaving very little (if any) mess behind to clean up.

  • Enzyme surface cleaner. While we are on the toileting subject, another tool to add to your ‘puppy belt’ is a good quality enzyme cleaner. Enzyme cleaners help break down urine and odours left behind when your pup has an accident (and they will have many). It also helps deter pup from reusing the location to toilet.

  • Age appropriate toys. Things to consider when selecting appropriate toys include age, breed and size of your puppy. Toys that are appropriate for an adult dog with greatly differ from that of a puppy (the materials/material thickness and size will be vastly different). Similarly, toys appropriate for some breeds and their size will not be appropriate for others. A puppy ‘Kong’ and other food related toys are a great option for keep your puppy stimulated and busy (which helps prevent them from engaging in undesirable behaviours associated with boredom).

  • Flea, tick and worming treatments. While your puppy may have been treated prior to you collecting them, they will need ongoing prevention treatments. Your vet will be able to help guide you on what preventative treatments will be best for your puppy.

Cover photo courtesy of Danika B Photography.

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