Getting a new pet is such an exciting time! However, as excited as you are, your new puppy is likely to be nervous or apprehensive. They are leaving an environment they’re used to and most likely leaving behind their siblings or mother. If you have a new puppy joining your family, thoughtful preparations before the big day will make things easier for you and your pup.
Your puppy will be stressed because they are in a new place that’s strange and unfamiliar, meeting new people they don’t know. Your new puppy will need lots of love, affection, and a calm environment. It’s best if you pick up your pet earlier in the day. This gives them time to explore your home and take a good, long sniffing tour before settling in for the night. This will make his first night in a new place less frightening.
It’s tempting to try and play a lot with your new puppy. You’ll want to fuss over them, cuddle them, and shower them with attention. Do this in moderation and watch for your puppy’s cues. If they want to retreat to a corner for a bit, don’t follow and coax them or (worse!) drag them out. The puppy needs to be able to decompress and process what’s going on.
Keeping noise and overstimulation to a minimum is also important. If you have kids, make sure they know not to shriek, yell, or overwhelm the puppy with too much racket. Let your puppy explore at their own pace and avoid trying to engage him with too many toys or treats. Stay in the background, watching your puppy but letting him explore at his own pace.
What Your Puppy Needs in His New Home
You don’t have to invest in a lot of unnecessary stuff for your new puppy, but there are essentials you can’t skip. A crate or lined box is vital so that your puppy has their own space. Proper training will teach the puppy to be comfortable in his crate, so they’ll be content when he does need to be crated.
Other items you need before your new puppy comes home include:
- An age and breed-appropriate dog food. Talk to the breeder, ask at the shelter, or consult with a veterinarian for tips on the best brand and type of food for your puppy.
- Bowls for food and water that will be used exclusively by your puppy. If you already have other dogs, train them not to eat or drink out of your puppy’s bowls to prevent food guarding.
- A waterproof leash and collar so you can take your puppy for walks in all weather conditions.
- Tags on the dog collar that have your contact information in case your puppy wanders off and gets lost.
- Small treats to reward your puppy when they potty outside or learn a new command.
- A stuffed animal and a soft blanket to comfort your puppy, especially during the first few nights, when they will be lonely and scared. Something soft and warm will give them comfort.
- Have a puppy first aid kit on hand with all the supplies you might need if your puppy is injured or sick. Knowing what to do in an emergency is also a good idea, so invest in pet CPR training and first aid if you can before you bring your puppy home.
- A brush or comb suitable for your puppy’s coat is a great way to bond with your puppy. Gentle brushing or combing is soothing and will keep your puppy’s coat fresh and tangle-free.
Is Your Home Safe for Your New Puppy?
Puppies are curious and will explore every corner of your home. Prepare your house or apartment properly before your new family member comes home. Make sure there are no poisonous plants on the floor or within the puppy’s reach, keep breakable and dangerous objects off the floor, and cover outlets.
Puppy-proofing your house is similar to baby-proofing a home!
Make sure there are no open windows or doors where your puppy could sneak out without you knowing about it. If you have a fenced yard, check for holes in the fence, places where they could dig out, and loose gates. It only takes a second for a pup to slip underneath the fence and run into the road.
See a Veterinarian
Whether your puppy came from a breeder or was adopted from a shelter, you must schedule a trip to the veterinarian in his first few days at home. At this appointment, the vet will do a wellness check and blood work to ensure the puppy is healthy. Ask any questions you have and accept the vet’s guidance in areas like choosing good food and when your puppy needs to be vaccinated. If there are health concerns, your vet will help you establish appropriate care.
It will take a few days for your puppy to feel safe and comfortable in their new home. Follow your puppy’s lead, focus on comfort and gentle potty training, and never punish your puppy for mistakes. If you are gentle and patient, your puppy will soon be a faithful member of the family.