Preparing for a New Puppy

Before you bring your furry bundle of joy home from the breeder or shelter, it’s always helpful to set your home up for success. While puppies won’t have a preference for the color scheme or decor, they will want a safe, comfortable environment to call home.

Preparing for a puppy might require some careful planning; fortunately, we’ve done the hard part for you. 

From safety and comfort to day one necessities, we’ve identified the most important aspects of puppy prep so you can start life with your new pooch on the right foot—and paw.

Puppy Prep Made Easy

Preparing your puppy’s home isn’t just about crafting something cute and cozy for your newest family member. Creating the proper environment for your new puppy will:

  • Protect against property damage, as young pups love to make trouble
  • Minimize your puppy’s anxiety when entering a new space
  • Lay the groundwork for healthy future habits and routines

Putting together a safe, comfortable environment is easy with help from the experts at Ask.Vet.

Our team of virtual veterinarians is standing by to assist with all your questions and concerns related to your new four-legged friend.

Puppy Prepping: Setting Up Your Dog’s Kingdom

Bringing a new puppy home is like preparing for a visit from royalty—they deserve to live like the king or queen they are. So bring out the best of the best for your pampered pup. 

Make sure you set up their empire this new puppy checklist:

A doggy bed
Puppies are pretty much always snoozing. Asleep for 18-20 hours of their day, they deserve a comfortable bed. You want to find something firm and supportive with an extra layer of plush pillow—not too soft, not too hard, but just right for your little Goldilocks Retriever.

Practical necessities
Bowls, food, a leash and collar, cleaning products, and a crate are the bare minimum as you’re getting set up. It’s helpful to purchase these items before you bring your new pup home, as you’ll have to use most of them immediately.

Toys, treats, and training accessories
While your dog may be more interested in sleeping, early puppyhood is the best time to begin building good habits. You can start training your dog when they’re as young as 7 weeks old, so why wait?

Purchasing the staples will save you from stress, but you don’t need to buy everything at once. In fact, you’ll want to see how your pooch reacts to different toys and types of food before you stock up with a year’s supply.

If you’re uncertain about what’s best for your particular dog breed, you can trust the experts at Ask.Vet to provide you with breed-specific recommendations.

To Crate or Not To Crate

Concerned about keeping your dog cooped up in a crate? You shouldn’t be. Most puppies find comfort in enclosed spaces and are likely to relax more when they remain in their crate while you’re gone.

If you’re on the fence about crate training your new puppy, consider the following benefits:

Preparation for travel

Once they’re comfortable in their crate, they’ll be less likely to act out when traveling to the vet, groomer’s, doggy daycare, or on road trips or vacations.

Easier house training

Early crate training can go paw-in-paw with housebreaking.

Fewer messes

It’s all but impossible for your pup to destroy anything around the house from the comfort of their crate.

Less accidents

Dogs don’t like to poop where they sleep, so you can avoid little “presents,” as long as you’re not leaving your pup crated for too long.

Puppy-Proofing: Changes to Your Home to Prep

Full-on puppy-proofing might seem a little overboard to new dog owners, but if you haven’t seen the sheer foolishness of the average puppy, you might not be aware of all the different ways they can get themselves in trouble.

To properly puppy-proof your home, enact the following changes:

Keep your trash stashed away, and put a child-proof lock on the cabinet door, if necessary

Ensure medicines and food—especially those toxic to dogs—are out of your puppy’s reach

Remove any toxic plants from your home

Keep your puppy off any tall furniture

Hide or remove electrical cords

Gate off unsecured areas

No matter how much you prepare, your dog will likely still find something to chew, slobber on, or tear apart. That said, as a pet parent, you can avoid potentially life-threatening dangers through diligent preparation.

Puppy Poisons

There are plenty of potential puppy poisons around your home. Keep the poison control number in your cellphone in case of emergencies and lock up items like:

Insecticides and pesticides

Household cleaners



There are also a number of foods that are perfectly safe for humans but very dangerous to dogs. You’re more likely to accidentally leave one of these out after meal prep or snack time, so print out a list and display it nearby on a bulletin board or the refrigerator:

Alliums, like onion, garlic, and chives

Corn cobs


Grapes and raisins


Xylitol, an artificial sweetener found in gum, candy, and toothpaste

Alcohol and caffeine

Cooked bones and fat trimmings

Macadamia nuts

Seeds and pits of apples, peaches, plums, and more

You’re fine to keep all of these in your house, so long as they’re safely put away and out of your puppy’s reach.

Puppy-Pampering: Create a Safe Space for Your Pet

A good home isn’t just free from toxins and hazards—it’s secure, loving, and comfortable. To make your pet’s first days extra special, consider a few final touches:

Let them choose their spot – While you may think you’ve found the perfect location for your snazzy new doggy bed, your pup might have something else in mind. If you find your puppy has taken to a particular spot, humor them by bringing their bed and toys to their chosen home.

Give them somewhere to escape to – New puppies can feel anxious and overwhelmed in a new home, especially if their movement options are limited. Consider creating a secure, stimulus-free area where your dog can flee to when feeling overwhelmed.

Stay positive – Your new pooch has a lot to get used to, so cut them some slack if they act out, make messes, or act like, well, a complete animal during their first few days. Maintaining a positive, stress–free demeanor will help create a calm atmosphere for your furry friend and avoid further catastrophes and promote good behavior.

Perhaps most importantly, your growing puppy needs time and space to adjust—to their new surroundings and new companions. While it may feel like love at first sight when you bring your puppy home, recognize that your canine companion needs to take things slow.

Let them warm up to you, and it’ll be all bedtime cuddles and slobbery kisses before you know it.

With the AskVet mobile app you can:

Chat with a licensed vet 24/7 to get real time answers to your questions. You can even upload pics or videos to help illustrate your concerns.

Work with your Certified Pet Lifestyle Expert to address your pet’s environment and develop strategies that work specifically for you and your four legged friend.

Enjoy a personalized, guided experience as we anticipate your daily needs.

Shop recommended treats, toys and items that alleviate anxiety to add into your healthy routines.

Connect with the professionals at AskVet and discover the best way to build a puppy-friendly environment for your new pooch.


Purina. Dog Exercise And Staying Healthy.

American Kennel Club. Keep Your Puppy Active and Out of Trouble With Stimulation and Exercise.

American Kennel Club. Preparing for a New Puppy.

Pet Poison Helpline. Top 10 most frequently reported poison dangers for dogs in 2011.

American Kennel Club. Crate Training Benefits: Why A Crate Is Great for You and Your Dog.

PetCo. Puppy Checklist: Everything You Need for A New Puppy.

Battersea. Toxic Food for Dogs.

Fetch by WebMD. Slideshow: Foods Your Dog Should Never Eat.

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