Getting a new puppy can be a full-time commitment and one that needs careful consideration and research. It’s important to understand what kind of dog will fit into your lifestyle and if you can dedicate enough time to looking after your new pet.
Dogs are for life, with the average lifespan of a dog being 13 years. So, you need to be sure that you are ready for that much commitment, from puppy love to the retirement years. Bringing your new puppy home is an exciting time, but from their first day in your life you’ll need to sacrifice time and energy into helping them settle into their new home.
Different dogs will have different needs, but it’s important to ensure your new pup has everything they need to start their new life with you. We share some essential things you’ll need to consider for life with your new pet…
To help your puppy become used to their new home, create designated eating and sleeping areas for them. Choose an appropriate sleeping area, which is safe and has suitable bedding and still in view of the family, so that they feel safe. Make sure your puppy has a warm comfy bed, crates can be used to give your pet a secure base to explore from, as well as help with toilet training. If you chose to let your new puppy sleep in the same room as you, make sure they have their own designated area in that room. Make sure your garden is secure and safe for them to play outside. Always make sure that your puppy has a fresh supply of water.
Your new puppy will probably eat three to four times a day, but you could reduce this to two to fit with your daily routine. If unsure, you should consult your vet to find out what is best for your particular breed of dog. Puppy food is higher in protein and enriched with vitamins, minerals and fats, which are essential for the growth of your new puppy. You can usually switch to adult food at around six months, but your vet will be able to advise on this as certain breeds mature quicker than others.
If you are unsure about the best food for your puppy, speak to your vet who can offer advice based on your new pet’s breed.
Pet proof your home
You’ll need to pet-proof your home in order to keep your puppy and your furniture safe. Make sure any toxic foods are kept out of reach from your dog and things such as hanging cords or wires are tidied away to prevent accidents. If you have expensive furniture, a cover or throw is a good idea to protect your sofa, while you train your dog not to jump up on the furniture.
Stair gates can be a great addition to prevent your puppy from climbing the stairs and injuring themselves, as well as keeping them away from ‘out of bounds’ areas around the home.
Your new puppy will need lots of training to get them used to their new life with you and prevent any bad habits from developing. It’s important to start your puppy training as soon as you bring your new pet home, whether it’s toilet or behavioural training. Building up a routine with your puppy will help them to get used to associating the garden with going to the toilet. Be sure to take your puppy outside frequently during the day as soon as they wake-up and after meals. Always go outside with your puppy and don’t leave them on their own in the garden in case they escape or eat something that might make them ill.
Socialising can be an important part of puppy training. This can include, introducing your new puppy to other people, as well as other dogs. Taking your new dog to puppy classes can help get them used to other dogs to reduce unruly behaviour whilst out walking.
Your new dog will need some essential items. Most of these you’ll need to get before you bring your puppy home, but as your dog grows, they may need replacing as their needs change.
- Food bowl
- Water bowl
- Dog bed (a crate/cage may help with training)
- Puppy food
- Toys for training & exercise
- Poo bags
- Grooming equipment, shampoo etc
It is recommended that you wait one to two weeks before starting to walk your puppy. This ensures that they have had their last vaccination booster. In the early stages, long walks or runs should be avoided. Mild exercise routines together with a balanced healthy diet are part of a sensible and responsible way to care for your dog as they begin their lives with you.
As your puppy grows they will need regular exercise. As a general rule it is recommended to exercise your puppy for 5 minutes per month of age, twice a day. So, for example if your puppy is three months old, exercise them for 15 minutes twice a day. If they are six months old, they’ll need 30 minutes of exercise, twice a day.
Over exercising your puppy could impact their joints. Avoid intense exercise and don’t take your puppy running with you and try to limit how far you throw a toy for ‘fetch’ until they are fully grown.
Consider using natural supplements
These can be given alongside your pet’s healthy diet to support their health as they grow. Giving your puppy supplements, can support areas of their health such as joints and mobility, skin and coat health and oral health. These can be continued throughout their life to support your pet as they age.