How to Prepare For a New Puppy

Before you bring your four-footed bundle of joy home, it’s best to take some time to plan how you’ll welcome your new furry family member into your space and what you’ll do to mitigate any risks that might be present for your puppy to get hurt. While it’s easy to get swept away in the excitement of getting a new puppy and forget about all of the practical aspects of preparing for a puppy, your puppy’s first night home will go much more smoothly if you’ve done everything you can to make this process as easy as possible. For many people, settling a new puppy into your home is a process that doesn’t happen overnight. As discouraging as it may be for a new puppy to seem anxious or overwhelmed by your home–or interested in all the wrong things like chewing your shoes and peeing on your favorite rug–an adjustment period is part of the territory of making your puppy feel comfortable in your home in the long-term.

If this is your first time adopting a puppy, you may need to do more research before you feel ready to do the work of settling a new puppy into your home. Of course, all of the reading and video watching in the world can’t prepare you for the adorable ball of chaos and sweetness that your new puppy may be. Depending on where you get the puppy, how you get the puppy, and what the puppy’s former environment was like, there might be specific things you can do to make your puppy’s process for settling into your house a little less stressful for everyone involved.

Is It a Good Time to Get a New Puppy?

The best way to prepare yourself for a new puppy is to ask yourself key questions like whether this is good timing. Although you’ll never be fully prepared to have a puppy until you jump into this experience, there might be some factors in your life that would indicate that you’re better able to care for a puppy at this point than others would. If you’re in the middle of moving to a new location or you’re in between jobs at the moment, you may find that getting a puppy right now wouldn’t be fair to you or the pup since it would require you to further destabilize your life in a season that’s already pretty rocky. Of course, only you know if it’s a good time to get a dog so you should take our advice with a grain of salt.

If you’ve been planning or wanting to get a puppy for a long time, you may find it difficult to commit to getting a dog right now and also feel like you can’t wait another day to get one. Although it can be tough to wait or even tougher to have faith in yourself that you’ll be able to handle it, there’s no right or wrong time to get a puppy. Having a new dog is a responsibility that will take maturity, resources, and time to adjust but many people have gotten dogs before they felt truly capable of handling it and succeeded.

What Type of Puppy Should You Get?

Although breeds are a personal decision, there are a few ways you can determine what type of pup would be best for you. If you like small dogs, you can opt for a Shih Tzu, a Yorkshire terrier, a chihuahua, a pug, or a miniature version of your favorite breed. If you enjoy large dogs, a Great Dane or Great Pyrenees may be more your speed. No matter what type of breed attracts you, you should think about energy levels, potential health complications, grooming needs, and other factors when you’re choosing a dog.

Some dog breeds may have a reputation for behaving in a certain way but you might find a dog that is that breed that behaves outside of the norm. On a related note, you may find that landlords may only allow certain types of breeds or home owners insurance policies may place restrictions on dog breeds, so you should look into those types of restrictions and how they’ll affect you before you commit to a specific pup. As you’re buying a puppy, you’ll also want to research the breeder to ensure that you aren’t purchasing from a “backyard breeder” who may not have the skills or qualifications to breed healthy puppies.

If you’re thinking about adopting a rescue dog, you’ll want to consider how a rescue pup could fit into your lifestyle. Some puppies from rescue organizations may have specific health needs or behavioral needs that aren’t right for every owner to address. Other puppies may have problems that take time to present themselves, so you should go through the rescue process with care and be open to a variety of outcomes and experiences as you get a pup through them.

Prepare Your Yard

If you don’t live in an apartment complex without a yard, you’ll need to prioritize getting your yard ready for your new pup. After all, puppies can run out of your house quickly and into hazards like roads, alleys, and other yards if you don’t schedule a dog fence installation before your new puppy shows up. Some rescues and breeders will require you to have a specific type of fence or height of fence before they allow you to get into settling a new puppy into your home, so you should ask the person or party who is providing you with a puppy about their preferences, requirements, and recommendations before you go with a fence that may not fit their specifications and cost you your opportunity to have this dog.

Set Up Your Trash Situation

As anyone who’s ever dog-sat or owned a puppy before will know, puppies love to get into your garbage if it’s left unattended. They also tend to produce a decent amount of garbage between puppy pads, ruined items, and their food and other containers. Before you’re ready to settle a new puppy into your home, you need to think about how you’ll handle the uptick in trash that a puppy may produce.

Storing your trash safely is an important part of owning a pet. If you don’t have a trash can with a lid or cover, you may find that your puppy will figure out a way to get into the trash and either parade their findings around the house or attempt to consume them. Because of this risk, you’ll want to find a pet-friendly trash can that also helps contain odors from puppy pads, waste bags, and other parts of adopting a puppy that may be offensive to the olfactory senses.

Get Insured

While insurance might not be the first thing on your mind as a new puppy parent, you’ll want to invest in several types of insurance when you have a dog. Firstly, you’ll need to see how your homeowners insurance policy addresses damage from pets and see if having certain breeds of dogs may go against your policy. You should also see if your insurance agency for your car and home insurance offers pet insurance. Although you might not think too much about large vet bills when your puppy is young and healthy, it’s best to get a pet insurance policy before your puppy develops conditions that could be considered pre-existing conditions to keep your rates low.

As you’re settling a new puppy into your home, you may also want to see if other types of insurance can help protect your home and property from damage associated with owning a puppy. Some car insurance policies may need to know if you have a dog that you’ll be transporting regularly. You’ll also want to know if your home insurance can cover issues like liability from dog-related injuries if they were to happen in your home at some point so you aren’t blindsided by unexpected costs if it turns out that the insurance policies don’t cover those types of issues.

Find a Vet

As you’re settling a new puppy into your home, you’ll want to ensure that your pup has all of their veterinary needs met. New puppies may seem perfectly healthy, but it’s always good to confirm that they are well after you get them by scheduling an eye exam and other veterinary exams. Although your pup may appear to be the picture of health, you never know if there might be subtle conditions that affect their ability to develop properly or warrant veterinary care.

On top of getting veterinary services like dental care, you can take care of your puppy’s health by purchasing high-quality nutritious foods, brushing your dog’s teeth, and regularly exercising the dog through walks and play. As your puppy turns into an adult dog, you’ll appreciate the solid foundation that you created by making healthy choices and getting your pup the care they needed as a puppy.

Secure Your Home

During the first few weeks of settling a new puppy into your home, life can be hectic. As a result, unexpected issues can arise. If your dog is prone to trying to escape, it can help to install home security measures like security cameras or alarms so you’ll know if your pup escapes and where they head when they get out. If you have a dog who is a rare and expensive breed, it can also be practical to increase your security to avoid the risk of theft. While no one wants to think about people trying to steal or harm their beloved pet, these types of things happen so it’s better to be prepared than find yourself wondering why you didn’t prepare yourself before it happened.

Load Up On Cleaning Supplies

When you have a new puppy, carpet cleaners will become your new best friend. From vomit to feces to urine, all sorts of fluids may come into contact with your carpeting and other surfaces as you’re settling a new puppy into your home. Although you might feel like your current stock of cleaning supplies is more than enough to cover everything that could happen when you get your new puppy, it doesn’t hurt to have some extra cleaning supplies in case you run out before you’re able to head to the store next.

To provide safe water for you and your pup in the event of an emergency, you should research methods for water sanitizing that are safe for puppies. Sometimes, you can do this with water-sanitizing tablets. In other cases, you may need to use household items for the task.

Prepare a Grooming & Medical Kit

While you’ll probably take your puppy to the groomers, you’ll want to have items for grooming like tick control on hand. Settling a new puppy into your home means having all the tools you need to keep your puppy safe, happy, and healthy. From grooming supplies like nail clippers to medical supplies like tweezers, you’ll want to be ready for anything.

Purchase Items to Make Them More Comfortable

When you adopt a puppy, you should have things in the home that increase their comfort like special heating elements. Settling a new puppy into your home means spending more money than you might like on things that will make them feel right at home. For some puppies, a simple pet bed and some toys may be enough to make them feel cozy. Other puppies might need items like sweaters or clothing to feel truly comfortable in your space if they don’t have long or substantial fur coats.

When you’re settling a new puppy into your home, you should have a budget in place so you don’t overextend yourself financially. Between adoption fees, veterinary fees, and supplies, a new puppy can be expensive. Distinguishing between wants and needs can help keep your budget realistic.

Settling a new puppy into your home takes time. Although it’s nice if a puppy feels comfortable immediately, it’s relatively rare. Most pups take time to establish a relationship with a new owner and settle into a new place just like humans do, so don’t feel like you’re a failure of a pet owner if your puppy doesn’t warm up to you or the new place immediately.