Lhasa Apso puppy in bed with toy dog

First Day with your New Puppy – What You Need to Know

Bringing home a new puppy is one of life’s most special and exciting moments. However, with so much preparation required, it can also be incredibly stressful on the first day and beyond. So, get out your new puppy checklist and a pen! Here’s what you need to know about how to settle your new puppy.

Preparing the home

Making your home suitable for a puppy is very similar to baby-proofing! It helps to get down on your knees so that you can see what might be a hazard for your new pup. Stray electrical cables, cleaning products, and items with sharp or pointy edges should all be moved out of reach. You should also secure tall furniture to prevent it from falling. It’s also worth considering moving any expensive items with or items with sentimental value since, in the early days, they could be damaged by tiny teeth or bodily fluids!

Your new addition will need a comfy bed to sleep in, as well as food and water bowls and good quality puppy food. It’s worth asking the breeder what food they were offering and keeping the food the same for a few days before transitioning to your chosen dog food. It’s also a good idea to get a few toys and a lead and collar ready for when you can take your pup out for walks.

The first day collecting your new puppy

When you collect your puppy, you’ll need to ask the breeder for:

  • Any vaccination paperwork or passports
  • Recent flea and worm treatments – what was given, and when
  • Any registration paperwork if the litter has been registered

When you pick up your cute canine companion, you’ll need to have a small crate or cat basket so that they can travel safely and securely. Although it’s tempting to have extra cuddles in the car, it’s not safe for them to ride on your lap, and of course, you want them home in one piece so the fun can begin!

To help your pup feel safe during the journey home, you can use a calming spray like Pet Remedy or Adaptil on a blanket or cushion. If the journey home is long, make sure you regularly stop to check on the new arrival and offer food and water if needed.

The first night with your new puppy

It’s important not to have too high expectations about the first night with your new puppy. Routines and training are essential, but initially, it’s more important that your puppy feels safe and settled. Using calming sprays or diffusers in the room where they will spend most of their time may help them to relax.

“A blanket that smells of mum may also be useful.”

Dr. Hannah Godfrey BVetMed MRCVS

You should ensure that their bed is a safe, quiet space to retreat to if they are overwhelmed. It is also sensible to try to keep their routine similar to when they were with the breeder. Remember that if they are crying, their world is suddenly very different – you don’t need to go to them every time, but they may need some comfort. However, be aware that puppies don’t know the meaning of ‘just one night’ and you’ll find it very difficult to move them back downstairs or off the bed at a later stage.

Introducing a new puppy to your dog

Just like any change in your puppy’s routine, introducing your puppy to other pets should be done very gradually. It can be helpful at first to provide a blanket or item of clothing that smells of your other dog to your puppy and vice versa. You can then gradually progress to them seeing each other from a distance, touching noses through a barrier (e.g., a stairgate) before finally allowing them full contact under supervision.


The first day with a new puppy is full of stress. But as long as you are well prepared, you will soon be enjoying life with your new bundle of joy!

Dr Hannah Godfrey

Hannah graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 2011 and began work straight away at a busy mixed practice, focussing on small animals from 2014. She has a passion for soft tissue surgery as well as canine and feline dentistry, having completed additional training in both areas. She also writes comedy fiction and hopes to soon be a published author.

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