Welcoming a puppy: everything you need
Choosing to welcome a puppy in your home is a commitment that must not be taken lightly. Once your pup is home, be it from a rescue or a reputable breeder, things are going to be quite hectic! A young pup will need time and patience to adjust to his new home and routine, so it can turn into a confident and well-rounded adult. As well as your support, here is a checklist of the essentials you need to make sure your home is ready for the new family member.
Leads and collars
You may not be able to walk your pup until vaccinations are complete, but it may be a good idea to get them used to the lead, collar and/or harness while still at home or in your own garden.
A lead is essential for walkies: they ensure you can keep your dog safely under control so as not to cause harm to themselves or others. Collars come in all sorts of colours and designs, and they also allow you to hang your dog's name tag safely and securely. Speaking of which…
The name tag is a requirement in the UK. Most people believe it needs to have the owner’s phone number displayed, but what the law actually requires is the name and address (including postcode) of the owner - no mention of a phone number, as the law was written back when mobile phones were not as commonplace as today. However, having your number engraved alongside this information is advisable. Some advise not to include your dog’s name, as many do, as knowing the name may allow pet thieves to win their trust more easily and lure them away.
Crates often get a bad rep as a result of people keeping their dogs locked in for hours on end during the day, but used correctly they are the perfect safe den for your pup to retreat to for the night - or whenever they want some time on their own! Plus, a small travel crate will be useful to transport your dog in your car.
Your dog will need somewhere warm and comfortable to snooze away the days. A nice cosy bed will definitely be appreciated! There are many bed types to choose from, from donut beds to the ones that can fit in a crate - you’ll be spoiled for choice!
Dogs, especially puppies, love to play. If you want to keep your dog occupied and avoid potential issues such as chewing furniture, provide your pooch with lots of toys and they’ll never be bored! Having their own toys also helps puppies learn what they are allowed to chew and what they should keep out of their mouths. A game of tug with your puppy is more fun if the object being tugged at is a dog toy and not your favourite socks!
Food and water bowls
While food needs to be regulated to avoid weight issues, fresh water must always be available for your pup in a nice clean bowl! (They may also try to bathe in the bowl, but they’re pups, so be patient. They will learn better. Hopefully.)
Dog food and treats
You have the bowls, and now you have to choose what to put in it among the many, many dog food brands available! All dogs need good quality food, and puppies need good quality puppy-specific food. Vets can usually recommend a good brand for your dog based on the breed and age. Be wary of suddenly changing your dog's food or diet as this can cause issues! Treats are a great way to help train and reward your dog, but be careful not to overfeed. A good rule is to take the treats out of your pup’s daily good allowance.
Hopefully, if you have chosen your pup right, the parents will have been health-screened and this will reduce the likelihood of genetic disorders - but rescue pups often come with no such information and accidents can still happen, so it’s important to keep in mind vet visits can be unexpected as they can be costly. Is that something you can afford to pay out of pocket, or will pet insurance be needed to make sure your dog can receive treatment whenever needed, from its first day home to the last?