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Bringing a new puppy home: the complete checklist

Give your pup the welcome party they deserve

Written by Dr. Steph Wenban

May 8, 2019

It’s the day you’ve been dreaming of for as long as you can remember. The day you get your puppy and bring them home!

Exciting times? Indeed.

But among all that excitement, it can be easy to overlook some of the practicalities of introducing a four-legged friend into your home. Becoming a pet parent has its responsibilities. And to ensure you nail each and every one, you’re going to need to be prepared.

Here to help you get everything in tip-top shape before your pup’s impending arrival is my Paws puppy-proofing checklist.

Puppy-proof your home in advance

Before your puppy’s homecoming debut, do a thorough sweep of the house to make sure all the following safety boxes have been ticked.

  • Store away all medication and chemical products

  • Move toxic plants to an area where they’ll be out of reach

  • Pack away electronic cords and cables

  • Block off all potential escape routes on your property and make sure all fences and gates are secure

Load up on the essentials

Help your pup slip into their new environment by loading up on all the bare necessities ahead of time.

  • Water and food bowls

  • Puppy food

    Check to see what your puppy’s breeder or shelter is currently feeding them so you can decide if you want to continue feeding them the same type. If you do decide to switch, make sure you follow these instructions.

  • Dog bed

  • Dog crate (that’s if you choose to use one)

  • Stair or baby gate

  • Soft collar or harness

  • Lead

  • Identity tag with your name, address, and phone number inscribed

  • Poo bags

  • Toys (try opt for a combo of chewable and soft)

Questions to ask when you pick up your puppy

Collecting a new puppy is an exhilarating experience. So exhilarating that you might forget to ask some important questions. Before you and your new pawed pal rush out the door, take a minute to go over the following with your puppy’s breeder or shelter.

  • Flea and worm treatments

    Ask your breeder or shelter when your puppy’s last treatments were given and which products were used.

  • Vaccination records

    Make sure you get a vet certificate detailing all of your puppy’s vaccinations. This will help you know if or when your puppy needs any further booster shots.

  • Insurance

    Ask your breeder or shelter if they offer free, temporary pet insurance and if so, how you can qualify.

  • Microchip details

    Don’t forget to ask for your puppy’s microchip details and which database they’re registered on. Once you’ve got this, you’ll be able to log on and update your puppy’s profile to include your information.

Considerations for the journey home

Your puppy’s ride home could well be their first experience in a car or on public transport. So try to make the journey as positive and comfortable as possible by bringing along the following:

  • A secure crate or carrier

  • Blankets

  • Newspaper or puppy pads in case your little friend has any mishaps

  • Water and food if you have a long journey ahead

If you’re driving, arrange for someone to come with you so they can sit next to your pup and be a source of comfort.

While it may be tempting to pick them up and cuddle them, try to leave your puppy in their carrier for the entire journey. The only exception? If you need to stop for puppy toilet breaks, which you should be doing at least every hour.

Next steps checklist

You did it! You got your puppy home safe and sound!

Chances are, things are feeling a little overwhelming right now. So take a few hours to relax and get your new best friend settled in.

After that, it’ll be time to start looking to the days and weeks ahead.

In the first few days:

  • Introduce your puppy to their crate (again, if you choose to use one)

  • Brief everyone at home on ‘The Rules’

Make sure everyone in your family understands where your new furry addition will be eating, sleeping and allowed to roam in the house. To prevent confusion, it’s also a good idea to agree upon which training commands you want to use from the beginning.

In the first weeks:

  • Register with a local vet

  • Gradually introduce your puppy to other pets in the house

  • Start getting your puppy familiar with the world around them. For more information on this, check out my lesson on how to socialise your puppy.

There’s more…