Adopting a new puppy is extremely exciting, but many factors should be considered before you bring them home. Welcoming your new puppy appropriately will help ensure they get settled as soon as possible, and get them started on the right foot to becoming a well-adjusted and well-behaved adult dog. Our team at Tamberly Animal Hospital wants to provide tips to help you welcome your new puppy properly.
#1: Prepare your family for your new puppy
Adopting a puppy is a huge responsibility, and requires time and effort to ensure their needs are met. You should have a family meeting to discuss the puppy’s care so that everyone understands their responsibilities and what rules need to be enforced. Topics to discuss include:
- When will the puppy’s feeding and walking be scheduled? — Puppies need consistency, and they will need to be walked several times a day, especially after they eat, drink, play, or nap.
- Who will be responsible for feeding and walking the puppy? — Deciding who is responsible for feeding and walking the puppy ahead of time will ensure the tasks don’t get forgotten.
- How much money will be budgeted for the puppy’s care? — Determine how much money the puppy’s food, toys, treats, training, and veterinary bills will require, and decide if pet insurance is beneficial.
- What are the house rules for the puppy? — Every family member should enforce the same rules for the puppy so they don’t become confused when one family member allows them to jump on the couch, and another scolds them for this behavior.
#2: Shop for your puppy
Having your puppy’s essential requirements will help them settle in more quickly. Recommended items include:
- Food — If possible, provide your puppy the same food they were eating previously. You can gradually change their diet over a two-week period if you feel their current diet is inappropriate.
- Bowl — Ensure your puppy has their own food and water bowl. If they tend to bolt their food, consider getting a slow feeder or a puzzle bowl to prevent this habit.
- Collar and leash — Purchase an appropriately sized collar and a sturdy leash to help train your puppy to leash-walk properly. Extendable leashes are not recommended for puppies, since they can be a safety hazard and teach your puppy bad behavior.
- Crate — Crates provide a safe haven for puppies, and help them learn to be alone. They also help when house training your puppy, since dogs don’t like to relieve themselves close to where they sleep. Purchase a crate that is large enough for your puppy’s adult size. They should be able to stand and turn around comfortably, but the crate should be small enough that they can’t use one end to sleep and the other as a bathroom. You can use dividers to section off the crate, and then gradually increase the size as your puppy grows.
- Treats — Puppies respond best to positive reinforcement training, so you should have plenty of treats on hand to create a positive environment for them.
#3: Puppy proof your home
Puppies are curious, and they will want to explore every nook and cranny of their new home. To protect your puppy and establish necessary boundaries, you should take certain precautions to puppy proof your home.
- Cover — Cover any electrical outlets and sharp edges at your puppy’s level.
- Gate — Use baby gates to keep your puppy from entering prohibited areas.
- Secure — Ensure all hazardous products, such as medications, rodenticides, and fertilizers, are secured in a cabinet or closet that your puppy can’t access.
- Remove — Puppies explore their world by chewing, so remove any object you don’t want your puppy putting in their mouth.
- Block — Ensure your yard is secure by blocking all possible escape routes your puppy could find.
#4: Provide familiar objects for your puppy
Leaving their mother and littermates can be distressing for your new puppy, and the new sights, sounds, and smells in your home may overwhelm them. If possible, bring a piece of bedding from your puppy’s previous home to help them feel more comfortable in their new environment.
#5: Schedule time to spend with your puppy
When adopting a new puppy, ensure you will be able to spend time helping them acclimate to their new surroundings, and to establish a routine. Try to take some vacation days or work from home so you help them learn about their new world. During this time, you should also leave them alone for gradually increasing periods of time, to ensure they don’t develop separation anxiety.
#6: Handle your puppy
Spend time daily handling your puppy from their mouth to their tail and every body part in between. This will help them get used to being handled, which will help them accept situations such as veterinary visits, grooming sessions, dental care, ear cleanings, and nail trimmings.
#7: Make a veterinary appointment for your puppy
Your puppy should be seen by one of our veterinarians to assess their overall health, evaluate them for any potential congenital abnormalities, and get them on an appropriate vaccination and parasite prevention program. In addition, your puppy should be spayed or neutered if they are still intact.
Taking steps to welcome your puppy appropriately will help ensure they make themselves at home as soon as possible. If you have adopted a new puppy, contact our team at Tamberly Animal Hospital—let us meet your new addition, and ensure they are started on an appropriate wellness plan.