Helping cats and dogs live their healthiest lives.
Sacred Birman kitten and Yorkshire Terrier adult standing in black and white on a white background
Labrador puppy black and white playing with red ball

Preparing for your puppy’s arrival

Welcoming a new puppy is an exciting, challenging and hugely rewarding time. If you’re well prepared, you can help your puppy settle faster and it’ll be more enjoyable for you too.

Getting ready for your puppy

There’s lots of things to do before you pick up your puppy to make sure that you’re ready for their arrival. As well as buying important equipment for them, it’s vital to make appropriate preparations at home too. Key things to consider are:

  • Puppy-proofing your home and backyard
  • Buying the right puppy supplies, such as a bed, collar and toys.
  • Choosing appropriate puppy food.
  • Preparing your family, pets and visitors for your new addition.
  • Finding a veterinarian.
Pomeranian puppies black and white in red basket

How to puppy-proof your home

Puppies are curious and love to explore, so it’s important you make sure that your home is safe and secure before picking up your new pet. Here’s our checklist to help you prepare your home for your puppy.

1. Toxic house plants

Many common house plants are very dangerous for dogs and puppies, including, lilies, aloe vera, ivy, dieffenbachia, caladium, pothos, zamioculcas and cyclamen. It’s best to either keep all house plants away from your puppy, or double check to make sure yours don’t pose a threat for them.

2. Dangerous substances

Store chemicals, cleaning products, medicines and other toxic substances out of reach, or use child locks on your cupboards if needed. E-cigarette refills and windshield washer fluid are known to be particularly harmful for dogs.

3. Hazards

Puppies can easily fall or get stuck while they’re exploring. To keep them safe, use stair gates, keep windows and external doors closed, and secure any balconies. Also make sure that there are no spaces they can squeeze into and get stuck in.

4. Electrical cables and sockets

Electrical cables are very tempting for puppies to chew on and they can also get tangled in them. Hide yours away by using cable ties or covers, and also shield plug sockets with covers.

5. Small objects

Puppies like to explore things with their mouths, so put away any small items they could chew or swallow. This includes children’s toys, thumbtacks, plastic bags and rubber bands. Also hide anything else you don’t want your puppy to chew, such as your shoes.

6. Poisonous foods

Some of the foods we enjoy can be very harmful or even fatal for your puppy. The most known toxic foods include chocolate, coffee, avocados, grapes and raisins (consult your veterinarian for a full list). To be safe, keep all food out of your puppy’s reach and make sure your family and friends understand that they should only feed them their puppy food.

How to puppy-proof your backyard

Your puppy will enjoy spending time outdoors, so you’ll need to make sure your backyard's safe for them to explore too. Here are some important things to consider.

1. Fencing and gates

Before your puppy arrives, make sure that there are no gaps in your backyard fencing or gates. Also check that there are no areas where your puppy could dig under or climb over to escape.

2. Toxic garden plants

As with house plants, there’s a long list of outdoor plants that are poisonous to dogs. They include ficus, holly, mistletoe, philodendron, narcissus, hyacinth, iris, azalea, rhododendron, oleander, poinsettia and sweet pea. If you have poisonous plants in your garden, you’ll need to watch your puppy to make sure they stay away from them.

3. Hazards

Have a close look around your backyard to spot and address anything your puppy could injure themselves on, including holes in the lawn and sharp thorns.

4. Ponds and water features

Until your puppy’s older, it’s safest to keep any ponds with steep sides or water features covered to prevent them falling in and drowning.

5. Tools and small objects

As with indoor puppy-proofing, remove small objects from your backyard that puppies could swallow or choke on. And lock away your garden tools, especially those that are sharp.

6. Dangerous substances

Store all garden chemicals, such as fertilizers, insecticides, paints and solvents, away from your puppy’s reach in a locked area.

Things you'll need for your puppy

Before your puppy arrives, make sure you have everything you need to care for them and help them settle into their new home. Here are the essentials.

Choose one that’s easy to clean and will suit your puppy as they grow.

As an adult, your dog must have enough room to stand up, turn around, lie down and stretch out in their crate.

Stainless steel bowls work well as they can’t be chewed, are easy to clean and don’t rust, chip or break. Noise sensitive puppies may prefer plastic bowls.

Initially, this should be the same food your puppy's being fed before you pick them up.

Buy toys, balls or treat-dispensing chew toys that are the right size for your puppy. Rubber dog toys are often more durable.

Choose a collar that will adjust as your puppy grows. Confirm that it’s snug enough not to slip over their head.

Buy non-hazardous cleaning materials that don't have a strong scent to avoid your puppy associating the smell with accidents.

Depending on your puppy's coat type, you may need a brush, comb or grooming mitt. You’ll also need nail clippers designed for dogs.

Choose a toothbrush, toothpaste and shampoo that is specially designed for dogs.

Choose the right puppy food

Puppies have very delicate digestive systems and sudden changes in their diet can cause digestive upsets or food aversion. For this reason, it’s best to feed your puppy the same food as their previous owner for the first few days while they settle. Then you can slowly introduce your choice of puppy food that should support your puppy's growth.

Having the right diet is crucial for a puppy’s health, growth and development. At each stage, they need specific nutrients in precise quantities according to their breed size. So we recommend selecting a high-quality puppy food based on your puppy’s age and expected adult size.

English Cocker Spaniel standing on at tile floor sniffing a stainless steel bowl

How to switch to new puppy food

When you’re ready to move to a new puppy food, make the transition slowly over a week-long period.

Read more
how to transition onto new food illustration

The importance of puppy nutrition

Learn how crucial your puppy’s diet is in helping them grow into healthy adults.

Feeding your puppy
Labrador puppy black and white eating from red bowl

How to find a veterinarian

Find a veterinarian

It's important to have identified a local veterinarian before picking up your puppy. Find a veterinarian near you.

Find a veterinarian

Jack Russell Terrier Adult standing in black and white on a white background

Bringing home and welcoming your puppy

The first days together with your pet are a chance to create a healthy foundation for their future.

Collecting your puppy
Dachshund puppies in black and white