Bring a puppy home is a lifechanging experience.

Puppies undeniably bring plenty of joy, but they also require the investment of lots of time and effort.

Whether you are looking to bring your first puppy home, or you just need a quick refresher on puppy care, today’s guide highlights everything you need to know.

Simplify Taking Care of a New Puppy by Choosing the Right Breed

Like most things in life, preparation is essential if you want the best life as a pet parent.

While a puppy may come into your life purely by chance, it is much more likely you will seek one out. Do you plan to visit an animal shelter to adopt a puppy? If so, research the best rescue shelters near you and call them to schedule a visit. If you intend to buy a newborn puppy, look for a responsible breeder in your area. Friends and family may be able to help with recommendations here. You can also find plenty of information about local breeders online.

Think about what you want in a puppy:

  • Do you want a purebred dog?
  • Would you consider a mixed breed dog?
  • Are you interested in a toy breed, small breed, medium breed, or large breed?
  • Would you like a dog with high or low energy levels?
  • How much time and effort are you prepared to invest into training?
  • Are you prepared to spend lots of time and money on grooming a dog?
  • What temperament are you looking for in a new puppy?
  • Do you understand the health complications associated with the breeds on your shortlist?

Get this part right and you'll have a friend for life who is nowhere near as much trouble to care for as you might have imagined.

Puppy-Proofing Before Bringing Rover Home

You still have a few things to take care of before bringing your new furball home. The most important of these is making sure that your home is puppy-proof. The process of safeguarding your puppy in his new home is similar to toddler-proofing.

Look at your home from a puppy’s eye view. Ensure that the following are out of reach:

  • Breakable items
  • Electrical cords
  • Potential toxins

One key difference between puppy-proofing and toddler-proofing is that latches designed to be child safe are not always good enough to keep a determined and inquisitive puppy out. If you have drawers and cabinets near ground level, secure these with a physical lock or some metal hardware. The units also need to be chew-proof.

Install some pet gates or baby gates if you need to keep a puppy away from certain areas of your home. It's always a smart move to keep a new puppy away from the kitchen, the trash can, and the stair.

Keep your new hound safe and give yourself peace of mind by puppy-proofing your home.

Invest in the Best Puppy Supplies


You’ll need to pick up some gear before you bring a new puppy home. Consider the following list:

  • Collar
  • Leash
  • ID tags
  • Food
  • Bowls
  • Sleeping crate
  • Toys

Now is a good time to calculate the ongoing expenses associated with puppy ownership. Create and stick to a pet budget. Aim to allocate extra money in your budget for unexpected puppy-related costs.

Assuming you have everything in place, and you bring your furball home, you’ll need to think about giving him the food he needs to thrive rather than simply survive.

Feeding Your Puppy

To make certain that your dog is healthy in body and mind, you need to pay attention to what they eat. Remember that a healthy puppy may burn up to twice as many calories as an adult dog. Their diet needs to be designed with these high energy needs in mind.

There are various approaches to providing a puppy with a healthy and balanced diet, so don’t be afraid to seek advice from the breeder or your dog’s new vet – more on this below.

Puppy food should be rich in protein, high in calories, and loaded with the essential nutrients all growing dogs need. The food should also be easy for the new puppy to chew and swallow.

Additionally, puppy food should be age-appropriate and formulated for the needs of growing dogs.

Look for a statement from AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) on puppy food packaging to be sure that the food will meet your puppy’s unique nutritional requirements.

Small breeds and medium breeds can transition to adult dog food at 9 months. Large breeds dogs should continue eating puppy kibbles until they are 2 years old.

All puppies require a continuous source of fresh water. You might consider investing in a dog water fountain.

Puppies require feeding several times a day as follows:

  • 6 to 12 weeks: Four meals daily
  • 3 to 6 months: Three meals daily
  • 6 to 12 months: Two meals daily

Beyond these factors, any puppy food you choose should be one that your new furball is happy to eat.

What is the Right Amount of Exercise for a Puppy?

Puppies should have the freedom to run and explore outdoors in a secure area at least once each day.

As a general guideline, a puppy will need 5 minutes of exercise each day for each month of age. A 6-month old puppy will need 30 minutes of daily exercise.

Decide on Sleeping Arrangements for Your New Furball


To help you decide where your new puppy will sleep, we advise:

  • Ensuring that there is a designated space for your puppy to sleep, including a crate or dog bed or crate. You can also find dedicated dog crates for puppies.
  • Position the puppy’s bed in an area where people are close by.
  • Do not allow a new puppy to sleep in your bed as this can create a sleeping arrangement that becomes less desirable long-term. The habit will be hard to break if your puppy is used to snuggling up in your bed from the get-go.
  • Aim to be consistent when enforcing your sleeping policy, so that you and your growing puppy get the best night’s sleep.

Keep Your Puppy Healthy Now He Is Settled into Your Home

You should ideally find a reputable veterinarian before you bring a puppy home.

Within days of bringing a new puppy home, go to a vet for a general examination. The more positive you can make this initial visit for your furball, the less likely he will fear future vet's visits.

Most puppies require neutering or spaying at about 6 months of age.

Your vet can help pinpoint potential health complications and offer advice on long-term dog care.

Investing in pet insurance may seem like one extra expense, but the right plan could cover 80% of your costs associated with dog care.

Supervising your puppy at all times will help you in the following areas:

  • Monitoring his health
  • Training him consistently
  • Keeping him out of harm’s way
  • Prevent him from messing with your things

House Training a Puppy

House training a new puppy can be challenging, so pack plenty of patience. Most puppies will be unable to control their bowels and bladders until they are 12 weeks old.

Start the right way by taking your puppy to the designated potty spot as soon as they finish eating or drinking.

Be patient and caring in the event of accidents that happen while potty training a new puppy.

Puppy Training and Socialization 101

Once you are finished housebreaking your new puppy, begin working on socialization.

When you begin leash training your puppy, you can start by teaching basic commands, such as:

  • Come
  • Sit
  • Stay

A mastery of basic commands can help you control some behavioral problems.

As your new puppy is teething and curious, give them plenty of chews and dog-safe toys to discourage inappropriate chewing. Incorporate positive reinforcement into all aspects of dog training for best results and the happiest dog. Remember, too, that well-trained dogs tend to be happier dogs.

Stay on Top of Puppy Vaccinations


Puppies need immunizations to take over from fading maternal antibodies. The series of puppy vaccinations is central to your dog's early life.

Pet vaccinations can safeguard your puppy against illnesses and can also stop those illnesses from being transmitted to humans.

Consult a trusted vet about the most appropriate immunization plan for your puppy.

Continue Bonding with Your New Puppy and Forge a Lifelong Relationship with Your Furry Friend

There are many ways in which you can nurture the bond you develop with a new puppy. These include:

  • Training
  • Playtime
  • Affection
  • Grooming
  • Exercise
  • Obedience classes
  • Agility classes
  • Dog shows


You should now have a comprehensive overview of how to take care of a puppy the right way, even if you arrived here today at Rabies Challenge Fund with no idea where to get started.

To reiterate, you will make your life so much easier by choosing the right dog for your family and your lifestyle. Avoid buying breeds based on looks alone and take plenty of time to get the right match or you could end up a frustrated pet parent with an equally frustrated hound.

Take a moment to bookmark our blog before you leave today, and head back soon for more informative guides on all aspects of dog ownership.

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