There is no question that bringing home a new puppy is an adjustment. Maybe your family has recently nursed a sick senior pet until it died, or you haven’t had a furry family member in a while. Your house may have small children, older children, or no children. Perhaps you are bringing a puppy into a home that already has another pet. No matter your family situation, however, bringing home a new puppy requires more preparation than just buying bowls and a comforting dog bed. Here are some tips to help you adjust to an extra family member.
Decide Who is Doing What.
If you are the only human in the house, then there is no question that you are going to do the lion’s share of the work. Perhaps you will use a pet sitter occasionally or a walking service while you work, but everything else falls to you. Make sure that you understand the level of commitment involved in caring for a puppy. You will need to feed, groom, walk, train, comfort, and clean up after your new dog. In addition, there will be the occasional vet visit. Having a new puppy all to yourself is a lot of work, even with a comforting dog bed to keep him happy.
While having more than one person to care for the dog is less work for each person, it is important to know who is responsible for each task. Before picking up the dog, you need to discuss these responsibilities with each member of the family. Keep in mind, many of the tasks can be divided between more than one person. For instance, one person might give the dog a brisk walk in the morning, while the other adult does it at night. Children can take turns feeding the dog once they know how to do it.
Plan a Happy Ride Home.
For many dogs, the ride home from a shelter or breeder can be traumatic. Especially for dogs that have never been off the property where they were born, everything about that ride will be brand new. This can include the movement of the car, new sounds and smells, and unfamiliar people. If the puppy has a bad experience with that first car or airplane ride, then there is a chance he could fear car rides for life.
Fortunately, it is easy to minimize the fear factor with a little planning. While your puppy won’t experience his new comforting dog bed until he gets home, you can create a comforting environment during the ride. Experts recommend that you have plenty of old towels or blankets to wrap him in. Besides the blankets, use a box or pet carrier, which will give a sense of security. Since the car or plane moves around a lot, it is crucial that the container you choose can rest securely during transport. Ideally, you will also have someone riding with you who can pet or comfort the dog while traveling. Hearing a soft and encouraging voice is soothing for the dog and will show that you care. Consider giving him a chew toy, which can channel puppy anxiety throughout the ride.
Puppy Proof the House
One of the challenges of getting a new puppy is that it will likely chew everything in sight. Targets for chewing can include shoes, furniture, noxious substances, electrical cords, and more. Sometimes the excessive chewing is a way for the puppy to explore its environment. Like small children, puppies are curious about everything and often look for answers by putting things in their mouths. They also chew when teething or feeling anxious. Unfortunately, such chewing can be both destructive and dangerous. Chewed objects can break off and cause stomach upset, intestinal blockages, and other problems. Worse, exposed wires can result in electrical shocks and fires.
Fortunately, there is a relatively easy solution to this problem. First, make sure that any dangerous items are out of the puppy’s reach before bringing it home. Once you have the puppy, be sure to safeguard shoes and other items, so the dog is less tempted to chew them. Second, it is important to have alternatives to chewing household objects. Providing chew toys and a comforting dog bed will help keep anxiety low and provide an outlet for teething. Finally, if your puppy starts chewing an unapproved object, be sure to gently express your displeasure and offer an alternative.
Find a Reputable Vet
Like children, pets require a good veterinarian to provide basic healthcare. Most experts recommend taking your new puppy to the vet within a week of arriving home. During this visit, the vet will ensure that the new puppy is healthy and schedule any necessary vaccinations. Typically, breeders and pet stores will have a time limit during which you can return the puppy if a vet finds it isn’t healthy.
Finding the right vet takes is important. We suggest that you talk to friends, family, and neighbors who own a dog to see who they recommend. Once you have chosen a vet, try to schedule the visit as far in advance as you can.
Purchase Basic Equipment
Puppies require more than just food and love. As a new pet parent, you will need food and water bowls, a collar and leash, crate, toys, grooming tools, and a comforting dog bed. These are items that will need to be purchased in advance, along with treats and a bag of dog food. For the latter, ask the breeder or shelter what they are feeding your pet. Consider purchasing a small supply of it, even if you plan to change food later.
At Best Friends by Sheri, we have a wide variety of supplies. For a new puppy, consider an anti-anxiety dog bed that can fit inside its crate. You can also get a soothing dog bed that has a top on it, which can be put in another room. Consider the Honeycomb Lux Hut Cuddler, which surrounds your pet on all sides. It would be an excellent escape from the chaos of your home.