One of my favourite things about August is the bombardment from Facebook memories of adorable puppy photos, reminding me that it was the month 8 years ago now that we went to collect Maddie as a tiny bundle of fluff. It still feels like yesterday and I can still remember how *slightly* chaotic it was because make no mistake, puppies can be a handful!
If you are thinking of bringing a puppy into your home, here’s a quick checklist of things you may want to consider to make the arrival as smooth and enjoyable as possible.
Puppy-proof your home
Before your puppy arrives, it’s best to make sure you have done all that you can to make the transition as smooth as possible. Puppies are joyous but they’re also boisterous and inquisitive and will chew on things that you expect them to and things you don’t. We all love a house or garden plant, but most of them are toxic for dogs, especially when they’re young so make sure anything is far out of reach. Aloe Vera, Daffodil bulbs and Lilies are just a few of the common plants that you may have around your home and garden that could make your dog poorly, ranging from an upset stomach to death in the most extreme cases.
Make sure to also be extra vigilant with food and leftovers. Most dogs are food-motivated and will waste no opportunity to enjoy whatever you’re having but quite a few items including chocolate, grapes and Xylitol which is a common sweetener found in a range of foods are very dangerous for dogs.
Collar and tag
A collar and tag with the owners name and address is actually a legal requirement for dogs in the UK. There are a range of collars you can get, from stylish leather collars to harnesses if you prefer. Bare in mind that the collar they use a puppy is unlikely to be the one they have when they get bigger so you’ll need to get a range. Be sure to get an engraved tag too, or face the risk of a £2000 fine.
Food and water
As with all animals, access to food and clean water is essential and there should be a dedicated area where they understand their food and water will be. When it comes to food, be sure to give them puppy food rather than adult food to ensure they are getting all the right nutrients that they need to grow up healthy. As they get older and transition away from puppy food, it’s best to mix the two together for a week or two so they can get used to it without upsetting their tummies (trust me, no-one wants to deal with a dog’s upset tummy).
Puppies need a safe space to sleep and to relax when they are feeling anxious or overstimulated and there are a range of beds and crates that you can get depending on your puppies size. Crate training your puppy is a great idea as it gives them a quiet space, away from the rest of the family, which will help them to settle faster. It can also help with toilet training and can make travelling with your dog much easier. We used a crate for a few weeks with Maddie and she loved it, feeling very safe and secure.
Puppies need plenty of activity, stimulation and attention to stop them from getting bored and causing damage to your home. Playing with toys is a great way to achieve this and not only will they help to exercise your puppy whilst they’re too young to go out for walks (before vaccinations), it will help to improve the bond between you both. Puppies are destructive go so avoid anything plastic that they can chew apart and ingest – we learned the hard way just how many toys Maddie would get through! We do however have one that’s still from her puppy days, a kind of plaited rope “giraffe” that is literally indestructible.
I’m always so jealous when someone shares their new puppy photos, bringing Maddie into our family is one of the best things we’ve ever done and hopefully in a couple of years as she gets older, we may have room for another little four-legged friend too!
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