Preparing Your Home for a Puppy
You are considering adding a new puppy to your family, and we know you are excited!
Before going out and randomly choosing the first puppy that catches your eye, it is vital that you prepare your home and your family for this exciting addition.
Let’s take a quick look at three areas that you should think about before you purchase a puppy. Feel free to print out the attached checklist at the bottom.
Doing Your Research
Puppies of any breed are cute and charming and will quickly win the hearts of prospective puppy owners.
However, all puppies are also very different in their needs and instincts peculiar to their breed. It is essential for folks interested in adding a puppy to their home to give due diligence to learning as much as possible before becoming taking this big step.
Since everyone’s lifestyle and schedule is different, it is important for you to find the breed that best fits you and your family’s lifestyle. You must understand that there is no breed of puppy ideal for every family and there is no family ideal for every breed of puppy.
So what are some questions that will help you find the breed that is right for you?
- What breed requirements will work best for your family?
- How much space and exercise do they require?
- What costs are regularly associated with the breed?
- What are some breed-specific strengths? Weaknesses?
Being familiar with common weaknesses found in the breed will allow you to pick up on any issues more quickly and properly address them before they develop into much bigger problems.
Finding the best puppy professionals in your area is another key part of your “pre-puppy” research. A good veterinarian will be one of the most important people you will choose.
Why is a veterinarian so important?
A veterinarian plays a vital role in the routine healthcare of your dog as well as treating any specific health issues that may come up. Choose a veterinarian who has you and your puppy’s best interest in mind. If you do not already have a veterinarian that you know and trust, get references from friends and other dog owners.
Find a local emergency veterinary hospital. While we hope you never need it, you should know where an emergency veterinary hospital is, if your puppy needs off-hours emergency veterinary care. Puppy professionals may also include a dog groomer, dog walker and a doggie daycare center.
Your family’s initial interactions with your puppy are also crucial.
Discuss and establish rules and routine for your new puppy. A puppy should have a regular schedule for feeding, exercise, and training. It is important that everyone who will play an active role in training and caring for the puppy agrees on what is – and what is not - acceptable puppy behavior.
The more consistent you are in training your puppy, the more quickly and easily puppy training will go. You must decide on what acceptable corrective measures to take for unacceptable puppy behavior. Always use positive correction methods.
NEVER, EVER respond or discipline your puppy out of frustration or anger!
Puppy-Proofing Your Home
Just like children, puppies are driven by curiosity and will explore and get into anything that they have access to.
What does this mean for your home?
Close or eliminate small gaps behind appliances and furniture where a puppy may explore and get stuck. Electrical cords are tempting for little puppies to chew on. But they can be hazardous to your puppy by shocking them and causing painful burns in their mouth. Cover or put electrical cords away from a puppy’s reach.
Household cleaning supplies as well as medications are toxic to pets and should be stored high out of reach or securely placed in a cabinet behind childproof locks.
And speaking of toxic things inside your house – let’s not forget house plants!
Many houseplants are poisonous to dogs and can cause your puppy health issues ranging from mild irritation to organ failure and death. If you have any of these toxic plants inside your home, they should be disposed of or kept well away from your puppy’s environment.
Since puppies like to chew on things they find, it is imperative to keep your puppy’s area free
of small objects like coins, rubber bands, paper clips, and jewelry. Batteries are not only small, but they can also cause severe burns to a growing puppy if swallowed. Small objects containing batteries such as remote controls and key fobs are also dangerous for the same reasons.
Establish boundaries for your puppy in your house by closing doors or using baby gates. Also, be sure to keep windows and doors closed so the puppy cannot escape the safe environment of your home.
What about the outdoors?
In warmer weather, the backyard will be your puppy’s playground, so it is important that your yard is puppy-friendly as well. In most cases, it is best to have a physical barrier such as a fence to define the puppy’s boundaries and keep them contained. Be sure that your fence does not have gaps or holes where a puppy can squeeze through.
Pools, especially inground pools should be surrounded by a fence to prevent your puppy from
accidentally falling into them.
Keeping your lawn mowed and maintained regularly will not only make waste removal easier, but it will also lower the likelihood of your puppy getting ticks. Tall, unkept grass is a likely place for ticks to hide waiting to latch onto unsuspecting victims, like your puppy.
And lastly, if you have any toxic plants in your landscape, remove them.
If you have made it this far, congratulations, you are ready for the fun part!
You are almost ready to get your puppy. A shopping spree to your favorite pet supply store will outfit you with the few things remaining on your to-do list.
While a crate can prove to be a huge help in house-training, it will also prevent misbehavior while you are away or the puppy is left unsupervised.
With a puppy crate, you can have peace of mind that your house is not being torn apart and that your puppy is not getting into things that will be harmful to him while you are away.
A crate also allows a puppy to have their own personal space and feel secure - especially in a new, unfamiliar environment.
- Food & Water Bowls
This is an obvious, yet essential purchase.
There are many different styles and options to choose from, so which is best for you?
Think about the design and construction materials used when choosing food and water bowls. Bowls made of ceramic, glass or stainless steel are great hygienic options as they are dishwasher safe.
Bowls should be sturdy and easy to clean. Choose a size appropriate to your breed of puppy.
- Collar or Harness and Leash
Before purchasing an expensive collar or harness, you will want to know the exact measurement of your puppy for proper fitment.
In time, collars and harnesses will need to be adjusted or replaced to keep up with the puppy’s growing body.
Every puppy should have basic leash training. The size and weight of your leash are dependent on the size and weight of the puppy you are getting. Larger breeds may need to graduate to heavier leashes as they get older.
Food is one of the most basic needs – yet it can be complicated.
How do you get started when there is a wide array of puppy foods available to choose from?
It is a good idea to begin with feeding your puppy the same brand/recipe of food that the puppy was eating prior to you getting him. Over several days, you can gradually switch the puppy over to another quality food of your choice.
Often, your veterinarian can direct you to a quality, healthy puppy food choice.
Because puppies love rewards, treats are an excellent tool for training your puppy.
Providing your puppy with a few safe toys to chew on and snuggle with will help them to
feel at home. Chew toys will also alleviate boredom and provide an alternative to harmful household goods.
Getting a puppy can be an overwhelming responsibility and is not a decision to be made lightly.
Once you have done your research, puppy-proofed your home and bought a few necessities (and a few extra goodies) for your new furbaby, you are ready for the next step: CHOOSING YOUR PUPPY!