So you’re about to welcome a new bundle of joy into your life! Before your new puppy arrives, it’s best to make all the necessary preparations to ensure he’ll be happy and comfortable in his new home. Here are some tips.
Somewhere to Sleep
There’s a chance your puppy came home in a travelling crate. Don’t get rid of it—so long as it’s big enough for him to turn around in comfortably, it’s suitable for use indoors. Dogs hate going to the toilet where they sleep, so the crate can function as a toilet-training aid in the first few weeks when your pup is still trying to get the hang of things around the house. The crate can also be used to transport your dog on car rides and in the great outdoors. At night, put your pooch to sleep in the crate. So long as you remember to take him outside regularly, this prevents him from doing his business on the floor.
Somewhere to Eat
Just as humans eat off plates, your dog needs a heavy-bottomed ceramic or stainless steel food and water bowl. Plastic bowls are usually not a good idea as they can end up becoming chew toys, and teeth marks might harbour bacteria which then damages teeth and gums. Heavy bowls also provide more stability and are more resistant to being knocked over.
Check out this meal plan for dogs. Recommended!
Your dog’s first meal
Your dog is going to be going through some huge changes in the first few weeks, and one of the kindest things you can do is to give him a bowl of dog food he’s used to. It’ll help to quell his anxiety and make him feel welcome and secure.
After the initial transition period is over and he feels more at home, you can then choose other foods to feed him with. If you decide to make a change to your dog’s diet, do it gradually over five to seven days by mixing in the new food with the old. Make sure you choose a complete and balanced dog food that’s appropriate for your pet’s age and lifestyle.
Something to chew
Chewing is a real treat for dogs, and a teething puppy will chew on anything he can get his jaws around. If you want your socks, shoes and sofa to live to see another day, purchase a selection of chew toys for your pet to test his teeth on instead. Ensure any toys you offer your pet are non-toxic, durable and not overly tough for a young pup’s teeth and gums. Never, ever leave your pet alone with anything that could constitute a choking hazard, a splinter in his mouth or electrocute him.
Something to play with
There’s an incredible selection of doggy toys to choose from. Hit up your local pet shop or go online, and you’ll find more safe rings, balls, slings, tugs and fabric frisbees than you’ll know what do with. Good doggy toys are designed to make play and training sessions more fun for both you and your pet.
Out of bounds!
Areas such as stairs, balconies and ponds should be out of bounds for an inquisitive dog or puppy, and a strategically placed baby stair gate will keep him out of harm’s way when you’re not around to supervise him. A gate can also keep your furniture and possessions from being destroyed by your dog and his insatiable need to chew on everything in sight.
Getting ready for the road
Your new pet will be homebound until he’s received all the necessary jabs. In the meantime, get him accustomed to wearing a collar and lead so that when it comes time to explore the outside world he’ll be well-adjusted and raring to go.
Collars and leads come in a variety of materials, but nylon or soft leather adjustable collars tend to be the best options for growing dogs. Ensure you can comfortably slip a couple of fingers between the collar and your dog’s neck after adjusting the buckle. Regularly inspect the fit of the collar, as puppies grow very quickly indeed.
If you have a tiny dog such as a little terrier or toy breed, a harness might be a better idea, since these tend to be kinder to delicate necks. No matter what size your dog is, make sure he has an ID tag on him at all times.
The scary first visit the vet
If this is your first pet, you may not already be familiar with a vet. Ask dog owners in the neighbourhood to recommend one. Once your dog is accustomed to his new home, take him for a visit to the vet. Besides having a general check-up done, discuss worming, vaccination, microchipping and neutering with your vet.
Your dog might be a little apprehensive, so bring along some treats and reassure him constantly. With the right clinic and a positive attitude, a trip to the vet can be enjoyable rather than scary.
Have a chat with your vet about treatment costs and pet insurance so you’re prepared for the future, come what may. Consider the level of insurance cover you’ll need, compare quotes and ask insurers about their claims process before deciding on a plan.
Taking home a new puppy is exciting for both you and your dog, and doesn’t have to be scary if you make sure you do all of the above before the big day.
Cain Richards is an amateur blogger and Marketing Coordinator for Petplan Insurance. He loves to write about anything dog related.