The arrival of a new puppy is a very exciting time. You will be able to help your new pet settle in quickly by following our top tips on how to prepare for a new puppy.
Finding the right puppy is the beginning of a wonderful experience in pet ownership that will hopefully last for many happy years. Once you’ve found the right puppy to join your household, you will want to start preparing for the day when you bring your new puppy home.
Looking after the health and happiness of your new family member is an important responsibility, and lots of fun, too. If you follow our new puppy checklist below, you should have ticked off most of the important things before the big day.
How to prepare for a new puppy – your eight-point checklist
Here are eight important things you should do before you collect your new puppy:
1. Register with your local vet practice. This is an important part of responsible pet ownership. Register your puppy with your chosen vet and ask them about preventative healthcare and whether they run any puppy clinics.
2. Book vaccination appointments. Vaccinations will protect your puppy from a range of common diseases. Check with the breeder or rescue centre which vaccinations your puppy has already had and when they'll be due next. Ask your local veterinary practice for advice if you have any questions.
3. Update your puppy's microchip details. All puppies will be microchipped before sale and the breeder or rescue centre will arrange this. You'll need to update your puppy's chip with your name and address online or by post. This also increases the chance of your dog being returned to you if they ever go missing. You may need to wait until after you’ve collected your puppy before you can complete these details, but then be sure to do it straight away.
4. Consider pet insurance. Although it’s not nice to think about, the reality is that puppies can be boisterous and may accidentally injure themselves. Dog insurance can provide peace of mind that you could afford your pet’s veterinary treatment at any age, should they need it. When choosing pet insurance, be aware that cover can vary greatly between policies. Cheap pet insurance can cost you more in the long run, so look for a policy that will give you comprehensive cover and support the health of your animal in the long term rather than a short-term deal.
5. Consider booking puppy classes. A well-socialised puppy has the best chance of enjoying a full and happy life. Socialisation is about more than just meeting other dogs, however. Your puppy needs to get comfortable with the world they are in, from woodland walks to cars and people. You’ll need to wait until your pup has had their vaccinations before you attend any classes, but it’s a good idea to book early.
6. Puppy-proof your home and garden. Close off small gaps and fireplaces, remove or cover electrical wires, and move out of reach anything you don't want to be chewed. When puppy-proofing, check for garden and outdoor dangers so your puppy can explore safely when they venture outside.
7. Go shopping for essentials. There's no shortage of pet products available. While it may be tempting to spoil your new companion, start with the basics. Think about what your puppy will eat, where they will sleep, which toys they need and any grooming requirements they may have. Before you hit the shops, put together a new puppy shopping list so that you only buy exactly what you need. Also, speak to your breeder or rescue centre to find out what food your puppy is currently eating so that you can buy more of the same brand. If you do plan to change your pet’s diet, do so slowly and gradually to avoid any stomach upsets.
8. Prepare your family. The arrival of your new puppy will inevitably be an exciting time, so talk to your children in advance about settling in a new puppy and any house rules you want to put in place to ensure the puppy can rest and have quiet time when needed. It's also important to plan how you will introduce your pup to other pets in your household and create a harmonious living environment for all your family.
If you found this new puppy checklist useful, please share it with any of your friends and family members who may also be getting a new pet. Finally, don’t forget to enjoy the process of getting prepared for your new puppy. It’s an incredibly special time.