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How to prepare for a puppy

Latest News Tags: dog care, puppy care

how to prepare for puppy

So you have decided to get a puppy and you are understandably really excited to have a small ball of fluff join your family. However, there are a lot of things to think about before you get to bring them home and this can be overwhelming. A lot of puppy owners may not realise how much their lives can potentially change, especially if they have never owned a puppy or dog before. Here we explain how to prepare for a puppy.

Puppy sleeping patterns

Just like human babies, a puppy’s sleeping pattern can be quite erratic and unpredictable. To begin with, they will probably not sleep through the night, and therefore neither will you! You need to be prepared for some restless nights in the beginning stage until a routine is established. Puppies have extremely small bladders and therefore will need to go to the toilet frequently. As they will not be toilet trained at this stage, you will need to supervise.

Top tip: Use these as opportunities to train them and encourage good behaviour. Although you will not like being woken up at “early o clock”, you can praise them once they have gone to the toilet in the right place. Over time they will associate this good behaviour with fuss and praise, and this can help them become toilet trained faster.

Choose a place for them to sleep which is near you. Not only will this mean you are on hand when they need you, but it can also help form a strong bond which is vital at the beginning.

Get ready for the walks

You need to ensure you are prepared to walk with your dog, no matter the weather. Preparing to get a puppy is not just about ensuring they have all the right stuff before you bring them home. You also need to check you have everything you need. You have to be ready to walk with your dog when it’s sunny, raining, or even snowing. Therefore, you will have to invest in some waterproof clothing and some sturdy walking shoes.

If you know that in reality, you will not be able to provide the number of walks your dog needs, ensure you have another option available. For example, can you employ a dog walker or ask a friend or family member to help out when you are busy?

Organise dog care

As we just mentioned, people’s lifestyles can become hectic and you may not be at home enough to take care of your dog on your own. If you go out in the evenings, work long hours or go away on holiday, you need to have someone responsible in place to look after your dog. Ensure you introduce them in advance whilst you are still there to ensure the dog is not stressed and is relaxed with the dog carer. You need reassurance that they can trust them and that they will look after them and provide them daily walks, food, and lots of attention.

You may decide to opt for a friend or family member which makes sense as they will already know your dog. If this is not feasible you may have to look into doggy daycare.

Puppy proof your home

Just like a baby, there are potential dangers throughout your home that you may not think about. Puppies can be extremely mischievous and cause damage. You will want to put all the safety measures in place before they arrive to protect both your home and your new dog. Your puppy will inevitably chew a lot of things, ranging from their toys to your shoes and potentially wires. Try and ensure that anything that they could reach that you don’t want them to chew is out of their way. Also, be careful with food. Dogs love trying human food and whilst some foods are completely harmless to them, others, such as onions and chocolate, can be toxic.

Don’t just consider puppy-proofing your home, you will have to do the same for your garden. Certain flowers like lilies, daffodils, and foxgloves can be extremely toxic to dogs and therefore should not be in your garden if possible, to avoid any accidents.

Register at your vet

It is important to get your new puppy registered at a vet as soon as possible. Try and choose your local vet if they have a good reputation as it will make it a lot more convenient for you. Some practices can get booked up quickly so ensure you register them as soon as you can. You need a vet that you can trust so try asking your friends and family for recommendations. When you go for your first vet visit, they will be able to discuss vaccinations, neutering, microchipping and should be able to recommend puppy socialisation classes in the area.

Start socialising

You can choose to go to a socialisation class, which many pet owners find vital for their puppies’ development. Whilst they are still young, they must be exposed to a range of different environments. They need to get used to different sounds, smells, people, and other dogs. Whilst your daily walks are great for this, going to dedicated socialisation classes can be invaluable whilst also being a lot of fun.

Puppy training

You may also be interested in going to puppy training classes that can significantly help the development of your puppy and help them develop new skills. The classes are also a great way for you to have fun and bond even more with your pup. From learning basic commands such as “sit” and “stay” to doing more fun tricks, there is much to learn on a puppy training course. Try and organise one as soon as you know when your dog is coming home. The courses usually only contain a small number of dogs per group and you don’t want to miss out.

Stock up on the essentials

Of course, you cannot forget to go and buy the essentials before your new family member arrives. Although it can be tempting to buy them loads of toys, beds, and blankets, try and keep it to a minimum. A lot of new pet owners tend to go overboard and end up buying toys that the dog doesn’t use. The best thing is to buy the essentials and then see what else you need once your puppy is home and you get to learn what he likes. Start by purchasing the following:

• A food bowl and a water bowl
• Lead and collar
• A small selection of stimulating toys. Try and buy a range so your dog will find one they love.
• A dog bed
• Food – check with the rescue centre or breeder what food they are currently on for continuity. You can change their food but try and do this gradually
• A dog blanket
• An indoor crate
• Grooming equipment

Getting a new puppy is an exciting time and one to enjoy, however thinking about the topics we have discussed in this article can help you to be completely prepared. So on the day you go and collect your new puppy you can simply enjoy the journey and having a new furry companion.

Dr Shahad Mohammed
Veterinary Physiotherapist
National Association of Veterinary Physiotherapists
Dr Shahad Mohammed