Pre-Puppy Preparations: Getting Ready for Your New Arrival
Adding a new puppy to your family isn't just as simple as heading to the shelter on the spur of the moment. It's much better for all concerned to be fully prepared.
Think about your home and lifestyle, as this will have an impact on what size and type of puppy you will want to get – and remember, they grow! Make realistic budgets for food, insurance, and vets' bills, and think about a rota for sharing feeding and walking responsibilities amongst the family. It's also a good idea to check out a veterinarian in advance and arrange an appointment for any jabs your puppy will need, and maybe book some training classes.
Once you've earmarked your new friend, the next step is to puppy-proof your house. If you have small children, this will be a familiar task - it's similar to child-proofing. Make sure any chemicals, cleaning products, and medicines are stored out of reach or behind a lockable door, and that any electrical cables are hidden or covered. Small or fragile items should be safely out of harm's way, as these may be swallowed or broken. Remember your garden too – check for gaps in fences where they may get stuck or escape, and for any poisonous plants.
You will need a shopping trip or two to buy the things your new puppy is going to need. Make a list in advance and try to stick to it; it can be easy to get carried away in the excitement. A bed, food, collar, leash, and ID tag are the most important things, but you will also want to get grooming supplies and a few toys for him to play with. You can always buy more once you know more what his favorite thing to play with is. If you're unsure about what to buy – for example, the type of food or grooming product – consult your veterinarian, who will be able to advise.
On the Day
Bringing your puppy home is really exciting – but try and keep calm and relaxed, especially if you have children, so your new friend doesn't become too overwhelmed. Make sure you're prepared with everything to make the transition as easy as possible. It can be a good idea to take a towel with you and rub it on your puppy's mum so you can bring a familiar scent home. Let your puppy explore at his own pace so he feels comfortable – and before long, you won't be able to imagine life without him.