Becoming a puppy pawrent is a very exciting time, but it also means a lot of hard work! We have pulled together a few things to think about and what to expect and think about when welcoming a puppy into your home.
This list is not exhaustive, and we always recommend consulting your trusted vet if you have any questions or concerns about your puppy or becoming a pawrent. If you are not quite there yet, and just thinking about welcoming a puppy into your home, you may be interested in our other blog on How to avoid Puppy Farms.
The Essential List for a Puppy
- A dog bed: suitable to your puppy breed’s size, situated somewhere warm and quiet
- Two bowls: one for fresh water and one for food (psst, we do a puppy food!)
- Grooming equipment
- The amount of grooming required will be dependent on your puppy's breed. If you are unsure of what they need, ask your vet or dog groomer.
- All dogs will need to have their coats brushed, teeth cared for, ears and eyes cleaned, and nails looked after as a minimum.
- Puppies and dogs really only need to be bathed every few months (unless they have done something to make them super stinky!). Bathing your dog too often can strip out any natural oils. Use a dog shampoo and a non-slip mat when bathing your dog at home. Wash off their shampoo thoroughly and make sure you use a towel to ensure they are dry and cosy!
- Flea and tick treatment should be applied regularly
- Safe, fun, and stimulating toys: by giving them their own puppy toys, you will discourage them from eating, playing, or chewing your things! Stick toys, tennis balls, or toys that can splinter easily are discouraged, as these can break, get stuck in throats and potentially be fatal. Choose toys that are the appropriate size for your puppy, and that are safe to play with.
- Puppies can like the security of a crate; so consider getting one and covering it with a blanket slightly so they can hide here for peace and quiet when needed. Be sure not to use the crate as somewhere to go as a form of punishment, and treat it as their own space. Remove their collar before getting into the crate, in case it gets caught.
- Puppy toilet pads: this is self-explanatory!
Taking your Puppy to the Vet
Register your new puppy with your local, trusted vet. It is a legal requirement for your dog to be microchipped, so your vet can help you with this. Your vet will also assist with all the necessary vaccinations, neutering, discuss insurance, and can give you some tips on puppy socialisation.
There are four main vaccinations your puppy will need (Source: Kennel Club, 2021):
- Canine distemper – a highly infectious disease that is often fatal
- Hepatitis – a liver disease that can cause sudden death in puppies
- Parvovirus – a viral disease causing vomiting and bloody diarrhoea
- Eptospirosis – two strains; both cause acute illness and attack the liver and/or kidneys
Keep your vaccination records safe, and save your vet’s contact number and out of hours number for emergencies.
Puppy Proofing your Home
Make sure your home is safe for a puppy who can be prone to getting into a bit of mischief! Puppies are known to nibble from about 6 months (exploring with their teeth), so make sure that your favourite shoes are stored away, cables are out of reach for them to gnaw through and expect your furniture to take the brunt too.
Keep dangerous foods, and chemical cleaners out of reach. Be mindful that your puppy may be able to get into your cupboards, so thinking about childproof locks may be a good idea.
In the bathroom keep razors, soap, cotton pads, shampoos, toilet roll out of reach! It is usually easier to try and keep your bathroom door closed to prevent badness in the bathroom.
Games and Training for your Puppy
Playing games with your puppy is a great way to bond with them, but also keep them psychically active and mentally stimulated.
It is important to start training your puppy as early as possible. Training your dog helps to keep them safe, helps you understand their needs better, and encourages better behaviour.
Training can be fun too, teaching your dog some tricks. We did a blog on that too, which you can read here.
Welcoming a puppy into your home is very exciting, but it can also be challenging. It is a huge responsibility to have a four-legged family member, so make sure you are able to commit to their needs. A reliable source for more information is the Kennel Club, they have more information at www.thekennelclub.org.uk.