A young puppy is a lot like a newborn baby. They need constant supervision, regular feeding, and regular toileting! It’s understandable that bringing a new puppy home can be both an exciting and often slightly nerve-racking process.
To ease the nerves, we’ve put together a new puppy checklist which includes some essential items you need, as well as some important things to consider in order to be as prepared as possible for the new addition to your family! Many of these items also apply if you have adopted an older dog as well, so don’t worry!
Remember that your puppy will look to you for reassurance and confidence during the initial stages of your relationship. With a little bit of preparation and thought, this time will be a wonderful stage where you build an amazing friendship with your new fur baby.
Before you bring your puppy home:
- Consider whether one or two puppies is better for your family.
- Consider pet insurance* or how you will fund unexpected veterinary expenses for your new pup.
- Set clear rules and expectations with children in terms of their behaviour around the puppy, and responsibilities (if any). A puppy is not a toy and needs rest, reassurance, and quiet time.
- Check your backyard for hazards or things you want to protect from your puppy. Fence off garden beds, holes in fences, under gates, on verandas and pool fencing if a small head can fit through, you need to block it off. If you have a precious vegetable garden, fence it off before your puppy realises it’s their favourite digging spot!
- Install doggy doors or any other devices needed for your pup to access your home.
- Check your home and yard for toxic plants to dogs and removing them or move them out of reach.
- Find a reputable local Veterinarian and puppy pre-school.
Dr Claire Jenkins has more on how to puppy proof your home.
Your New Puppy Checklist
Puppy pen or crate
- To help build independence, rest and sleeping, eating, environmental management, like chewing inappropriate items and prevention for unwanted behaviours like rushing out the front door.
- There is a plethora of styles on the market these days. We recommend something durable and easy to chuck in the washing machine. Ideally, provide your pup with a couple of different bedding options around the house for him/her to choose from. Consider your climate and breed of dog, some little dogs might like an igloo type or covered bed whereas large dogs might like a bed they can stretch out on.
A collar, harness, and lead1
- Ensure you check on the collar weekly as your pup grows
- See if you can borrow one from a friend or family member with a small dog or who previously had a pup to save you buying one your pup will quickly grow out of.
- A standard non-retractable lead to use in the yard and begin lead walking training with.
- Car seat belt attachment or harness or travel crate (learn about travelling in cars).
- Play is super important for dogs of all ages. In time, you’ll learn what play styles your dog have.
- Invest in long lasting, age and size appropriate enriching toys like the Kong range of products. Many of these can be used to feed your pup their meals which stimulates their brain at the same time.
- Keep toys exciting for your pup by only allowing access to a couple at a time, rotating them every few weeks.
- Long, light fleece ropes are great to help pup learn not to jump and bite skin as you can animate them on the ground, without encouraging jumping to reach up.
Food and water bowls
- A heavy ceramic water bowl is a good choice as it helps to keep water cool and is difficult for a rambunctious puppy to tip over. Having more than one water bowl throughout your home will also help ensure your pup doesn’t run out.
- Stainless steel food bowls are hygienic and easy to clean, again choose one that your puppy can’t tip over and that has a non-slip base.
- Treat balls, Kongs, and Snuffle matts are an interactive and enriching way to feed your pup, especially if they are inclined to eat very quickly.
- Make sure you ask the shelter or breeder what food your puppy was eating with them and have some of that food on hand initially. Gradually mix in new food if you are changing your pup’s diet.
- Find a reputable, local veterinarian prior to bringing home your pup to register your information and ask any questions you may have regarding feeding prior to bringing your pup home.
Grooming and cleaning
- Grooming tools including body brushes (coat appropriate), shampoo/conditioner, baby/pet wipes and ear cleaner, nail trimmers (learn about calm nail trimming).
- Preventative medication such as flea, worming and tick control (discuss these with your veterinarian).
Things to consider and begin planning for:
- Puppy school and dog training
Finding a reputable and qualified puppy school is important. Things to look for are a qualified dog or puppy trainer or behaviourist, building a bond and engagement between pup and owner (not a puppy play date), educating owners on dog (body) language and correct socialisation through exposure to new sights, sounds, surfaces and situations. Learn more about pet training tips here Now that you’ve been through the new Puppy Checklist, hopefully you are feeling well prepared and ready to welcome your new family member(s)! Enjoy this special time bonding with your fur baby.
1* Any advice provided is general only, and does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. Please consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to decide if the product is right for you.