Puppies

How To Prepare For A New Puppy [The Essentials]

How to prepare for a new puppy.

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[Updated On July 3, 2019]

Congratulations!  You are getting a puppy.  Whether this is your first puppy ever, or your second or third, you will want to read this guide on how to prepare for a new puppy.

Bringing a new puppy home is very exciting, and for the first time dog owner, it can be somewhat overwhelming.  Everything is new and exciting and there are many first experiences.  You really don’t know what to expect or what supplies you will need.

If you have owned a puppy before, you’ll still want to check out this guide because every puppy is different and requires different things.

The last thing you want to do is bring home your new puppy and discover that you forgot to buy poop bags or a training leash.  

With this guide, you’ll be prepared ahead of time, and when the big day comes when you bring your puppy home, you can enjoy every minute of it.

Shopping For The Basics

2 Fluffy white puppies in a basket.

Before you bring home your new puppy, you will want to make sure that you have the following essential items at home:

Puppy Food

If you are picking your puppy up from a breeder, they will usually send the puppy home with a small amount of food that the puppy is currently eating.

It is a good idea to keep the puppy on the same food for a while to avoid any digestive upset.  You may wish to switch your puppy to different food, which is fine.  

Be sure to introduce any new food gradually.  Add a small amount of new food mixed with the old food over a 7 day period.  

When selecting food for your new puppy, there are many options.  It is best to consult with your vet or breeder to discuss what is best for your puppy based on breed and size.

Food & Water Bowl

Your puppy will need his/her own food and water bowl.  There are many options to choose from.

I highly recommend stainless steel bowls over plastic, because plastic can get small scratches over time which will hold bacteria.

Stainless steel bowls are non-porous, durable, and easy to clean. Look for bowls that have a rubberized non-skid bottom.

Crate & Bedding

Many people feel that using a crate for their puppy is cruel.   When used properly, a crate will make your puppy feel safe and secure. It will be his/her den.

Find out the 9 benefits of crate training a puppy, and how crate training helps speed the process of house training.

Choose a dog crate that will be big enough to allow your puppy to lie down, sit, stand and turn around comfortably.  

Click here to read my review on the top-rated dog crates.

Look for a crate that has a divider so that you can use the divider for the puppy stage and then when your dog grows you can remove the divider. You do not want the crate to be so big that the puppy uses it as a washroom.

I would recommend an old blanket or towels to use as bedding inside the crate, as your puppy might have accidents, that way it can be easily washed and cleaned.

As your puppy gets older, you can invest in better bedding.  Crate liners are ideal for crates, and getting your puppy a comfortable bed is ideal.

Click here to find the best chew proof dog bed for your puppy.

Collar

There are many options out there. It is best to buy a collar that will fit your puppy now, and expect to buy a few more collars as your puppy grows.

A good rule of thumb is that you should be able to slip two fingers under the collar at any time. Avoid having the collar too loose as your puppy might slip out of it, and if it is too tight your puppy could gasp for air and choke.

Leash

Puppy sitting in grass.

Again, there are many options to choose from, you could match the leash to the collar.

Keep in mind that you will be buying more leashes in the long run, so it is best to go with an inexpensive one for now.

Your first leash will not be your last leash, as your new puppy will love nothing more than to get their sharp teeth chewing on it.

ID Tag

You will need an id tag attached to your puppy’s collar. It should have the puppy’s name on the front, and your address and phone number on the back.

ID tags are essential because puppies love nothing more than exploring.  When your puppy decides to run out of the front door down the street, you’ll be thankful that your puppy was wearing proper id.

Many people go one step further and have their puppy microchipped.  This is a great way to ensure your puppy is returned to you if your puppy should ever get lost.

Toys

Pug running in grass with ball.

Your puppy should have a few toys to start with, and you can always add toys later on once you see how your puppy likes to play and what toys he/she likes best.

It is good to have a variety of toys.  Soft plush toys are great for comforting your puppy, chew toys, balls, and rope toys are great.  Make sure that the toys are strong, durable, well-made, and sized appropriately.

Click here to find out what the best teething toys for puppies are.

Grooming Supplies

These include brushes, and combs, nail trimmers, shampoo, ear cleaners, and teeth cleaners.

Keep in mind that your dog’s physical maintenance, such as the coat and nails is one of your dog’s basic needs. It is always best to start the grooming process at a young age, in order to get your dog used to it.

The above list of essential items should get you started on the right foot. You will find that you will be going into pet stores all the time wanting to purchase things to spoil your puppy.

Puppy Proof Your Home

Just like baby proofing your home, you will want to puppy proof your home before your puppy arrives.

Make sure there are no hazards in your house and yard that your puppy can get into. Keep power cords, garbage, chemicals, medicine, plants, and any other toxic and dangerous items out of sight or reach from your puppy.

Your new puppy will be curious and will want to get into anything and everything, so it is best to take the time beforehand to make things as safe as possible.

The Big Day

Boston Terrier puppy looking out the car window.

The day has finally arrived, when you are able to bring your puppy home.

It is best to have someone go with you to pick up your puppy so that you can keep him/her calm while the other person drives.

I would suggest bringing a small crate, or laundry basket with a blanket or towel, to place your puppy in for the car ride. You may also want to hold the puppy on your lap for comfort.

Arrive early at the breeder or shelter, or where you are getting your puppy so that you can ask questions and spend time with the puppy before the car ride.

Ask about the puppy’s feeding schedule, and vet records.  Your breeder or shelter will be able to give you your puppy’s health records.

Keep the car ride quiet and relaxed, and stop for bathroom breaks if it is a longer trip.  Your puppy will be nervous and anxious, and the fresh air and bathroom breaks will help.

Once you arrive home, introduce your puppy to his/her new surroundings. Let the puppy explore and sniff around.

Establish A Routine

It is important to start training right away and get into a routine with your new puppy.  You will want to feed, walk, play, train, and have your puppy go to bed at the same time each day.  By doing so your puppy will feel more at ease and comfortable. Your puppy will also know what to expect and when.  

Teach good manners and appropriate household behaviours.   Make sure that the rest of the members in your household are on the same page, and will stick to the same rules.  If you scold your puppy for jumping up on the couch, but your husband allows it, your puppy will be confused and won’t know who to listen to.

A routine will help make your puppy feel secure. It will take some time for you to establish a routine, that is best for you and your puppy.  In the beginning, it could be a little stressful, but once a routine is in place everyone will be much happier.

Always praise your puppy for good behaviour, and never yell or get angry with your puppy.

Enjoy The Puppy Stage

White Shepherd puppy laying on floor.

While puppies can be overwhelming at times, remember to enjoy every moment of the puppy stage, because before you know it your puppy will be all grown up.

If you are consistent with your puppy from the beginning and practice good behaviour and training methods, you will be rewarded with an amazing best friend.

 

Final Thoughts On How To Prepare For A New Puppy

I hope this guide has helped you become more prepared for your new puppy. By having all the essentials ready at home you’ll be well on your way to enjoying every moment with your new furry best friend.

What About You?

Is there an essential item that is missing from this list? How have you prepared for your new puppy? Please share your thoughts and comments below, I would love to hear from you.

About Jenny

I am the proud owner of a Golden Retriever named Ellie. She keeps me busy, and when she is resting, you can find me working on my blog. She is always close by though. I live in Peterborough, ON Canada with my husband, and we both enjoy the never a dull moment life with our Ellie.
View all posts by Jenny →

2 thoughts on “How To Prepare For A New Puppy [The Essentials]

  1. Hi Jenny. My boyfriend and I are seriously looking at adopting a female golden retriever puppy. Could I please ask how you determined and selected the breeder you chose to go through?

    1. Hi Emma,
      Thank you for your comment. I am happy to hear that you are wanting to choose a female Golden Retriever puppy, an excellent breed and a female is a great choice. That is exactly what I chose as well, so I know firsthand how great female Golden Retrievers are.

      It is important to do your research when it comes to finding a reputable breeder, as there are many “backyard breeders” out there who just want to make money. A good idea is to research the internet for local breeders in your area, talk to friends and neighbours who own a Golden Retriever and find out where they got their dog.
      When looking for a breeder, you should check out kennel clubs like the Canadian Kennel Club, or the American Kennel Club, depending on where you live. Go on their website, which lists all of the breeders that are members of their organization. This is very important for purebred puppies, breeders who are members of these clubs will have to follow a Code of Ethics.
      A good breeder will require you to visit, and will ask you questions. They will allow you to see their dogs, and the mother will be on site. The location where the dogs and puppies are housed should be clean and well kept. The breeder should be very knowledgeable about the breed, and you should be able to ask them any questions. They should inform you of their dogs health clearances, for example if their dogs have been cleared for hip and elbow dysplasia, and other health issues.

      Ultimately you should feel comfortable with the breeder, and you should be provided with a written guarantee, health certificates and vet records of the puppy.
      There are many questions to ask a breeder, and I could go into great detail.

      For further reading, you can check out some of my other articles that will be helpful to you.
      Checklist For A New Puppy This article goes into greater detail of what you need for a new puppy, and what services are required for a puppy.
      How To Choose A Puppy From A Litter This article lists the important questions to ask a breeder, and how to choose a puppy from a litter.
      Male vs Female Golden Retriever This article lists the differences between a male and female Golden Retriever, and why I chose a female.

      Thank you for visiting my website, and I wish you all the best in your search for a breeder and a female Golden Retriever puppy. Please feel free to ask me any other questions you may have, and I will be more than happy to help you out.

      Jenny.

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