Preparing for a puppy or dog
If you’re about to become a dog owner, there’s lots to do and think about. Read our guide on preparing for a puppy or dog.
Plan your time
If you work, you will need to take some time off to help your puppy or rescue dog settle in. Even if you work from home, your new arrival will be in need of your constant attention. Puppies are just like babies and need someone around all the time when they are little. If you have adopted an adult dog, they will still need time to settle in before they are happy to be left alone.
Organise day care
Think about what support you may need as you are preparing for a puppy or dog.
If you are getting a puppy you won’t be able to leave them alone at home until they are about nine months old. Therefore, if you work or think you will need to leave your puppy alone in these early months, plan ahead and arrange for someone to ‘babysit’ while you are away from the house. This could be a relative, a friend or a professional pet sitter. Alternatively, once your puppy has been fully vaccinated, you could consider doggy day care.
Longer-term, once your dog is older and has learned, with your help, to spend time alone at home, you could hire a dog walker to take your dog out during the day.
Find and register with a local vet
Most vets offer health care packages for dogs to help you spread the cost of vaccinations, flea and worm treatments and regular health checks across the year. It’s also a good idea to get pet insurance so that you are covered if your dog becomes seriously ill or has an accident.
Research local dog trainers
Your puppy will be ready to go puppy school when they are about three months old – after they had their second vaccinations. If you have adopted a dog, which has already been trained, it may help you and your dog to bond if you attend some dog training classes and learn together.
Stock up at the shops
As well as buying food, toys, beds and equipment for your new dog, make sure that you stock up for yourself. Once your new puppy or dog arrives, it not might be that easy to pop to the shops. Plan ahead, do a big shop or arrange to have your groceries delivered.
Prepare your puppy or dog
A few days before you pick up your puppy or dog, take a soft toy or blanket along to your puppy’s breeder or the rescue centre or previous owner of your dog. This will be enough time to soak up the familiar smell of your puppy or dog’s previous home and help them feel more settled in their new home.
The reality of having a dog can come as a bit of a shock to first-time pup parents. Puppies don’t sleep through the night and need to be trained to sleep, just like babies. You can expect to have some sleepless nights. Toilet training is hard – and there will be lots of accidents to begin with so you will feel like you are constantly cleaning up pee and poo. Do you enjoy your weekend lie-ins? They are likely to become a thing of the past.
There are of course many great things about having a dog, but in the early months you may struggle and experience something called the post puppy blues. Things will get easier as you settle into a routine and adjust to life with a dog.