Preparing to Bring Your New Puppy Home

When you bring your new puppy home, be prepared. A few simple steps will help your puppy feel at home immediately and help you attend to all his needs.

Providing a Safe Space

Just like you wouldn't give your toddler the house for the weekend, your puppy doesn't need free reign of the house. You should have a small puppy-proofed area where you can leave your puppy when you aren't supervising him. This should be an area near where the family spends most of their time so he doesn't feel isolated.

Use a baby gate or X-pen to keep your puppy in an area just large enough for a crate or bed, a potty pad and a little room to play. This will prevent potty training accidents and inappropriate chewing when you aren't around to train him.

Add a blanket or shirt that smells like someone in your family for the first few days to provide your puppy with comfort in your absence. You can also add a DAP diffuser, which releases calming pheromones that you can't smell into the air.

Food and Interactive Toys

To prevent diarrhea and other stomach problems, find out what food your puppy is being fed when you acquire him. If this food is high-quality, you may choose to keep feeding it. However, if it contains wheat, corn or meat byproducts, shop around for something better, which will improve your puppy's health as he gets older.

If you decide to change foods, do so gradually. Feed 1/4 new food and 3/4 old food for a week, then half and half for a week and then 1/4 old and 3/4 new for a week before switching completely to the new food. If your puppy has loose stool, add a small spoonful of canned pumpkin.

If you are gone often, feed your puppy through interactive toys so he will have something to occupy him in your absence. Wet the food down, stuff it in a Kong or marrow bone and freeze it. Put it in a ball that spits out kibble when it is rolled or even in an old plastic water bottle with no lid. If your puppy likes to tear up toys, stuff his food in an old stuffed toy and sew it up for him.

Other Necessities

Buy a collar or harness and leash for your puppy. If you wait too long to introduce these things to him, it will be frightening. Even if you just let him drag them around the house, get him used to wearing a collar and leash. Attach a tag with his name and your phone number, in case he gets lost.

Ask other dog people for a veterinary recommendations in your area. Write that number as well as the number and directions to the nearest emergency clinic on a piece of paper and place it on your refrigerator so it's there for you in case you need.

Bringing a new puppy home is exciting, but be prepared. Puppies have many needs, starting from the moment they come home, and the transition will proceed more smoothly if you have prepared for his arrival.