Bringing home your puppy

The day you bring your puppy home is exciting for you, but it can be unsettling for them as they leave their mother and littermates. Here are some things you can do to manage this transition.

Dachshund puppies in black and white
Labrador Retriever puppy lying down on a white bed

What’s the right age to bring your puppy home?

The best age to bring a puppy home is between 8 and 10 weeks old. By then, they should be weaned and have learned early canine social skills by being with their mother and littermates.

If you bring them home too soon, they'll miss this important learning period, which could impact their future physical and emotional well-being. But if you separate them from their mother and litter mates much later than 10 weeks, you will have missed out on a large portion of their socialization phase.

When is the best time to bring a puppy home?

It's important to bring your puppy home when you have a few days free to be at home and take care of them. It's also best if the house is quiet with very few visitors during the early days so your puppy can settle in without too much going on. If you can, bring them home in the morning so they can get used to their new surroundings before bedtime.

Dachshund puppy being held by owner
Labrador Retriever puppy in black and white with a red ball

Are you ready to bring your puppy home?

Make sure you’re well prepared, and you'll help your puppy settle happily and safely into their new home and family. Not quite ready? Find out more about how to prepare for your puppy's arrival.

Getting prepared

Questions to ask your puppy’s breeder

Your puppy’s breeder or shelter will hold a lot of information you can use to help your puppy settle more quickly in your home and stay healthy. Remember to ask the following questions and any others relevant to your individual puppy.

  • Is the puppy fully weaned?
  • What food are they being fed and what's their feeding schedule?
  • Have they begun potty training, and to what level?
  • What are their current daytime and night time routines?
  • Have they been checked by a vet?
  • Have they had any health issues?
  • Have they had any vaccinations and, if so, when is the next injection due?
  • When have they been given deworming treatments?
  • Do they have a micro chip?
  • What social experiences have they had so far?
  • What are their parents' temperaments and personalities like and are health certificates available for them?

Golden Retriever puppies lying together on a white blanket next to a window

What to take when picking up your puppy

There are a few important things to take with you when you get your puppy to help them stay safe and feel more comfortable on the journey home. These include:

Keep your puppy safe when walking them to and from the car.

Give a blanket or toy to your puppy's mother for a while to collect her scent which should help keep your puppy calm on the way home.

Make sure your puppy is hydrated for the journey home.

It's good to reward your puppy for being well-behaved early on so bring treats and keep them occupied with something to chew on.

When you bring home your puppy home they're unlikely to be potty trained, so be prepared for potential accidents. 

This is an important item, especially if you're picking them up in a car on your own.

Bringing a puppy home – how to handle the journey

The journey home may be your puppy’s first time in a car. It’s important they feel comfortable so they’re not nervous about future car rides. If possible, it’s best to take someone to comfort them while you’re driving.

How to handle the early days with your puppy

Your puppy's first few days and weeks with you have a huge influence on how well they settle into their new home and their future development and happiness.

First days and weeks
English Cocker Spaniel puppy black and white
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