Congrats on the newest addition to your family! Much like bringing home a puppy, there are some tried-and-true steps you can take to be prepared for all excitement and fun of a new dog, minus the inevitable chaos. Follow our New Pup Checklist and you’ll be as prepared as you possibly can be:
- A Pup by Any Other Name: Petfinder says that most dogs will learn their new name within a few days, so feel free to change your dog’s shelter name. While the most popular pet names include Bella and Cooper, you can always stand out with names like Anna Guacamole or Ziggy the Zag!
- “Puppy Proof” Your Home: Whether she’s a puppy or a senior, getting your home ready for your new dog is imperative. From removing toxic foods, plants, and cleaning supplies from paw’s reach, to picking up your oh-so-chewable pair of boots, puppy-proofing before you bring your new dog home is a great way to keep your sanity…as well as keeping your new pup safe.
- Do Your Research: Read up on dogs! We like John Bradshaw’s book Dog Sense for behavior, Patricia B. McConnell’s The Puppy Primer for training, and anything from the Monks of New Skete, a monastery that specializes in the raising of German Shepherds.
- Go Shopping: You’re going to need new stuff! Dogs need food and water bowls, bedding, toys, food that may be part of a special diet, a collar, a leash, poop bags, treats, identification (i.e. tags), a crate or kennel, and grooming supplies (brush, nail clippers, toothbrush). Make your life easier and bring our new pet shopping list with you to the pet store.
- Make a Vet Appointment: As soon as your dog gets home, make an appointment with your vet for their annual checkup. If this is your first pet, check out the Humane Society’s guidelines on choosing a vet, if you’re not sure how to do so. While you’re at the appointment, make sure you microchip (and don’t forget to register) your pet as well.
- Enroll in Pet Insurance: Puppies can be enrolled as early as eight weeks and dogs can be enrolled up to age 14. The earlier you get dog insurance the better: getting coverage before your pup gets sick means you won’t have to worry about pre-existing conditions, which aren’t covered by any insurance provider. Plus, you’ll be protecting your savings from clumsy accidents, chronic conditions, and serious illnesses.
- It Takes a Village: If you work full-time or are otherwise away from the dog for extended periods of time, you might need to schedule a dog walker/sitter. We love Rover – it’s a simple, geo-based app for your phone that handles meeting walkers and sitters, booking appointments, and payment.
- Back to School: All pups at all stages of life will need training and positive reinforcement, with potty training your puppy being the top priority for pet parents. There’s no shortage of online resources to help you with additional training, but consider obedience classes if you’re feeling overwhelmed or can’t get behavior issues under control on your own.
- Find A Groomer: Depending on your dog’s coat, frequent trips to the groomer might be your new reality. Start asking fellow pet parents in your city, researching on Yelp, and dropping into neighborhood grooming businesses to find the right groomer for you.
- All the Bells and Whistles: Sign up for a puppy subscription box like BarkBox, get a Whistle GPS in case your pup gets lost, and license your pet (it’s the law!).
And finally – enjoy it! You just scored unconditional love in the form of a (sometimes very) furry best friend. Congrats!
Don’t forget to sign up for pet insurance! Enrolling early means all the mishaps, accidental ingestions, dandelion sneezes and more will be covered up to 90%. Start by getting your free quote.