The Ultimate “Preparing for a New Puppy” Checklist

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Nervousness. Excitement. Apprehension. At Puppies Today, we know all about the feelings that come with getting a new puppy! Although puppies are small, buying a puppy is a big decision. While some things are inevitable (at least one item in your house is guaranteed to get a lil’ chewed on), the transition into puppy ownership can be made easy with the right preparation and setup.

One thing to keep in mind: although you knew that you were going to get a new puppy, your puppy sure didn’t! They are leaving the world that they know and going somewhere unfamiliar. Having grace and patience with your new puppy is one of the best things you can do. You are the one who is responsible for making sure that your puppy acclimates to their new home.

Your Puppies Today Puppy Prep Checklist

  • Prepare the House
    • Puppy-Proof
    • Make a Designated Dog Den with Your Puppies Today Kennel
  • Prepare Your Family Members
    • Establish Ground Rules
    • Create a Routine For Your Puppy
  • Buy the Essentials
    • Food and Water Bowls
    • Canned Pumpkin
    • Collar
    • Harness
    • Leash
    • ID Tag
    • Puppy Pen
    • Pee Pads or Newspapers
    • Paper Towels or Paper Towel Alternatives
    • Enzymatic Commercial Cleaner
    • Poop Bags
    • Soft Toys
    • Tennis Balls
    • Hard Rubber Toys
    • Synthetic Rubber Bone
  • Choose Your Veterinarian
    • Set Up a Vaccine Schedule
    • Get Dog Food Recommendations
    • Keep All Documentation
  • Use your Puppies Today Happy Puppy Package Resources
    • Learning Center and Articles
    • Free 24/7 Health and Training Hotlines
    • AKC and AKC Partners Registration
    • 15-Day Viral Health Guarantee
    • DOGStar Sit and Stay Training
    • Microchip Registration

How to Prepare for a New Puppy

Prep Your House for a Curious Puppy

  • Dog Proof Your House. This is one of the best things you can do to set your puppy up for success. How do you dog-proof a house? Start looking around with a dog’s-eye view. When puppy-proofing, pick up and put away anything that could be knocked over or picked up by a dog. Place all medications, cleaners, and chemicals on top shelves where little paws can’t reach them. Check for any nooks and crannies (you would be shocked at where a determined chihuahua can fit themselves!)
  • Make a Safe Space. Dogs are pack animals. While your puppy will adjust to being taken away from its pack, you can make the transition easier by providing a safe space for them. Dogs need their own space, and having a dog confined to one room when you leave will help them with separation anxiety. A great dog den can be made with a kennel, a crate- even a box lined with comfy blankets might be just what your pup needs. The travel kennel that your Puppies Today puppy came in is a great option for a dog den. Just make sure that there is somewhere safe and quiet that they retreat to— but not somewhere like under the bed, where you will be unable to reach them if they are hiding.
  • Play Those Tunes! According to Preventative Vet, certain kinds of music have been shown to reduce stress for dogs, including classical, reggae, and soft rock! Consider leaving on the TV to a calming channel when you leave the house. We have a customer whose dachshunds favorite channel is— you guessed it— Animal Planet. 

Prepare Your Family Members

  • Decide House Rules. Puppies are eager to please and hate letting their humans down. Puppies won’t understand if the rules change from day to day, so make sure that every family member is in consensus on whether Ladybug is allowed on the couch or not. If you aren’t sure of the best rules to set, your complimentary Happy Puppy Package DOGstar Training or one of our 24/7 Puppies Today hotline experts will help you decide the way to go. 
  • Assign Family Members Tasks. After introducing family members one at a time (and educating children on how fragile puppies are), start working on bonding! A great way to bond with your puppy, in addition to setting up a safe space and consistent routines, is having them know who to go to for what. One family member can be in charge of feeding, one in charge of walking, one in charge of playtime, and so on. Setting up all the members of your family with a different task is a great way to make sure that puppy is taken care of while strengthening familial bonds with all family members. 

Buy the Essentials

A note of advice: we know you are going to be excited to show your puppy off, but buy these things before you get them— pet supply stores are daunting for new puppies! In addition, scrambling to get things after you have gotten your puppy will create some chaos, and studies from Healthline show that dogs can sense stress. Having everything ready to go before your puppy arrives will just reinforce that sense of stability that will help create lifelong bonds. 

Dog Food

Your Puppies Today pup will come with healthy dog food and a syringe of some tasty, high-calorie vitamins. Your veterinarian is a great person to ask for recommendations for the food you will start feeding them on your own, and the food will have a feeding chart on it. When you first get your puppy, help their tummy acclimate by serving them the food they came with first, and slowly start mixing in their new food for a few days. Pro tip? Canned pumpkin is a tasty and safe addition to use as a remedy for a puppy’s upset stomach— just be sure that it is 100% pure canned pumpkin, not pumpkin pie mix. 

Collar, Harness, and Leash

Your Puppies Today puppy will come with an activated microchip, but get a good harness and leash to make sure you never need to use it! A collar and ID tag with your name and phone number can be bought at your local pet store. When it comes to the harness vs. collar choice, harnesses are hands down the best choice. Yanks on a collar can cause thyroid damage, ear damage, eye damage, and neck injury. Finding a snug harness is a much more humane way to keep your puppy by your side. 

Cleanup Supplies

A puppy is a puppy, and even the sweetest puppy will still make mistakes. Be ready in advance by having a stock of pee pads, paper towels or paper towel alternatives, commercial cleaners that are specifically made to break down the uric acid enzyme, and poop bags. And just remember— your puppy should have control of its bladder within 4-6 months, so these are temporary necessities. 

Fun Toys!

We saved the best for last. Get fun toys and stimulation tools for your puppy, but make sure that they are puppy-proof. For supervised play, opt for soft toys and tennis balls that don’t have any parts that they could swallow. For unsupervised play, hard rubber toys and flavored synthetic bones will help keep them occupied— and ease some teething pain! In general, bones are bad for dogs. The FDA Consumer Update of 2017 informs dog owners to skip bones for their dogs as they can splinter and cause damage to the digestional tract, and are related to cases of foodborne illness in dogs. 

Choose Your Veterinarian

Although your Puppies Today puppy will have undergone rigorous health screening with the Happy Puppy Package, they must see a veterinarian within the first three days of coming home. The longer you wait, the more they are at risk for common puppy ailments to become life-threatening. You’ll also want to set your pup on a vaccine schedule to continue the vaccine treatments that they received from Puppies Today. Your vet is also a great person to talk to regarding the risks that your breed might be prone to. Prevention is key, and seeing a vet early is one of the best things you can do for your new best friend. 

Enjoy The Journey!

Puppydom is filled with lots of joy, laughter, and learning. At Puppies Today, we are with you every step of the way with our comprehensive health guarantees, lifetime access to training and medical professionals, 24/7 hotlines, and ever-expanding resource library. We can’t wait to watch your puppy grow! 

Article Resources:
  1. https://www.petmd.com/dog/wellness/evr_dg_remedies-for-upset-stomach-in-dogs
  2. https://be.chewy.com/what-to-expect-at-puppys-first-vet-visit/
  3. https://www.healthline.com/health-news/dogs-mirror-owners-stress
  4. https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/no-bones-or-bone-treats-about-it-reasons-not-give-your-dog-bones
  5.  https://www.clickertraining.com/how-to-survive-puppy-teething-and-nipping

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