The big day is almost here! Soon you’ll hear the pitter-patter of four fluffy feet as you welcome your new puppy into your home. As exciting and fun as it is for you, it can sometimes be a little stressful and overwhelming for your pup, so here are some tips for making their first few days a paw-sitive experience as they transition into their new family.
1. Get organised, together
As the saying goes, ‘A dog is for life, not just for Christmas,’ so it’s important for you and your family to be on the same page and understand what a big commitment your new fluffy family member will be. To share out the responsibilities, why not create a timetable to clearly show who is responsible for walking and feeding the dog each day? Being organised is key for sticking to a routine, which will be important for your pooch’s development and happiness.
2. Puppy-proof your home
Like with babies and young children, your home needs to be made safe for your new pup to explore. Create a space where they will be free to wander, away from anything that could harm them or make them sick, and preferably with wipeable floors - many choose their kitchen and add baby gates as their puppy settles in.
This designated-doggy space also protects your carpets from any toilet training accidents and your belongings from becoming a chew toy. Be sure to keep any small objects your pup could choke on, and anything potentially toxic like medicine and cleaning products, out of reach - puppies are incredibly curious and will put everything in their mouth they can find!
3. Stock up on supplies
As we’ve mentioned, dogs are a big responsibility! Here is a tick list of things to buy so that you’re ready for when they arrive, meaning you can spend time playing and bonding with them rather than stressing about things you need:
- Food and water bowls
- Collar and lead (harness is optional, but can offer more security and support on walks)
- Both cuddly and chew toys (be sure they don’t have any small parts that your pup could choke on)
- Baby gates for creating your designated-doggy zone
- Dog-safe cleaning products
- Puppy-safe shampoo and a soft bristle hair brush
4. Choose a vet
Be sure to choose a reputable vet, ask your friends for recommendations to find one you’re happy with. You’ll need to take your puppy for a check-up and their vaccinations soon after you bring them home, and it’s a legal requirement to get your dog microchipped which your vet will do for you. It’s important to try and make sure their first trip to the vet is a positive one, so they don’t develop a fear of going - be encouraging and reassuring if they’re nervous.
5. Create a home care plan
Ideally you’ll be able to get a few weeks off work to help settle your pup into their new environment, start on toilet training and get into a good routine that works for you and your family. If you can’t get any time off, or when you do return to work, you may need outside help. Look into local dog-walkers, doggy daycare or dog sitters to help out, so your dog is well looked after whilst you’re out, especially when they’re young and if you can’t get them out for a toilet break or walk during the day.
6. Pick a puppy training class
Classes are great for developing obedience and good behaviour, and are a great way for you to bond with your pup. They also help build their social skills around other dogs and people too, making them feel more comfortable and confident, which is key in them developing into safe and friendly adult dogs. There are usually plenty of local dog training classes to choose from, make sure you find one with an experienced and qualified trainer and are patient with your pooch as they learn the ropes!
7. Buy pet insurance
Life is unpredictable, so for those times when your pooch may need medical attention it’s important you have a good insurance policy in place to cover the cost. From mild illnesses and general health check ups, to accidents and emergency treatments, insurance is a safety net to protect you from unexpected costs and get your pooch the help they need. Shop around to find the best policy that works for your budget and dog’s needs, if you don’t you could be hit with a pretty hefty bill should they need medical treatment!
8. Plan their pick up
When you go to get your puppy, you’ll need to have a few things ready to go so they’re safe, comfortable and happy on the drive home. They may have never been in a car before, especially away from their mum or brothers and sisters, so they’re likely to be a bit nervous. Be sure to take some treats, a blanket, a collar and lead, some poo bags and cleaning supplies in case they have an accident. Try to avoid putting them in the car if they’ve just eaten, to avoid sickness, and make sure to give them a little walk so they can go to the toilet before setting off.
Ideally you’ll take someone with you so they can keep the pup company whilst you drive and comfort them if they’re scared, but if that’s not possible you can put them in their crate for the ride - just be sure it’s well padded with bedding and blankets, and that it’s secure so it won’t move about during travel. Before you leave the breeder, ensure you have all the paperwork you need as well as some of their food so you can continue feeding them at home or you can use it to transition them onto another food of your choice.
9. Do your homework
Getting a new puppy is exciting and fun for all the family, but may also bring with it a lot of unknowns for first time owners. Do some research of your own so you know what to expect, what to watch out for and how to establish a good routine with your new fluffy family member. Why not join our Pet Club? You’ll be able to earn points, get advice from our range of experts, access exclusive rewards and enjoy discounts on your favourite products! Take a look at some of our latest blogs for top tips on dog-walking, socialising your puppy and toilet training, and more!
10. Pick a dog food
Your pooch might seem small now, but they’ve got lots of growing and developing to do, so it’s important they get the right nutrients to grow strong and healthy. Their tummy is highly sensitive, and can be easily upset by changing food too quickly, so it’s important to do it slowly. When deciding on what dog food to feed you pup, try Harringtons Puppy Complete - a complete pet food that can be fed to puppies from 3 weeks onwards. It’s been carefully formulated to provide wholesome nutrition for growing puppies and contains no artificial colours or flavours, no dairy, no soya and no added wheat. As well as being super tasty, and providing your pup with all the nutrients they need to grow up strong and healthy. To learn more on what (and what not) to feed your puppy, as well as how often they should eat and proper portion sizes, read our latest blog!
Once they’re home...
It’s easy to get over excited about your new, fluffy arrival - especially when young children are involved - but it’s important not to overwhelm your pup with loud noises, excessive cuddles or too many toys. Keep their first few days in your home low key and calm, letting them explore in one room initially as they get used to the sights, smells and sounds of their new surroundings. As they settle in, and get used to a routine, you’ll forget what life was like without them!
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