How to prepare for a puppy your home: A guide for new owners

11 December 2023 - 5 min read
Puppy sitting down

Puppies are adventurous, playful, and mischievous in equal measure, so you’ll want to let them explore and enjoy themselves as much as possible when they arrive - without getting into danger or damaging things. 

If you’re wondering how to get your home ready for a puppy, following these simple steps should help you get ready for anything your new furry friend throws at you.

Step one: Think about what you and your puppy will need

Most people understand that they’ll need a few puppy essentials before their furry friend arrives, including a dog bed, food, dog bowls, and a lead and collar. In addition to those essentials, you should also think about some optional extras that might make your puppy’s arrival easier, including toys, treats, a travel carrier, and gates to cordon off or restrict your puppy’s movements to certain parts of the house. 

Think about the unique challenges your puppy will present. If they need to be toilet trained, for example, it might be worth getting puppy pads, or if you want to start grooming them, you’ll need to get dog shampoo and an appropriate brush. If you’re going to be driving your puppy around, you’ll likely need to get a car restraint or harness. 

Step two: Talk to your family

It might not just be you sharing your home with your puppy. If you have a family, and especially if you have young children, it’s likely that they’re also quite excited about the new arrival - and it’s important to set some time aside for a family meeting to make sure everyone understands how to behave around your puppy. 

During the meeting you should lay down ground rules for children about how and when to feed the puppy, how to handle it, and how to react if it’s naughty or behaves incorrectly. Routine and discipline are very important for new puppies, and the more you can get your family onboard with its feeding, training, and sleep schedules, the easier it will be for everyone to get used to each other! 

How to prepare a dog for a new puppy

If you already have a dog in the family, don’t forget about them as you prepare to welcome your new puppy. 

Some dogs love having new best friends but others, especially older dogs, may be a little unsure of the newcomer pets. If that’s the case, you should introduce your puppy to your dog slowly and carefully. Consider letting your dog meet your puppy in the garden first to overcome its territorial instinct and match energy levels, and then take them into the home separately. Keep an eye on both dogs during their first interactions, and separate them if either shows signs of aggression. 

Your older dog and puppy might be best friends from the start, in which case you don’t have anything to worry about! For more information on introducing an existing dog to a new dog, check out our guide to socialising your puppy

Step three: Puppy-proof your home

Once everyone is on the same page about how to behave around the new puppy, it’s time to work out how to puppy-proof the home. 

Try to look at your home through a puppy’s eyes: if you can identify things that might look new and interesting, it’s likely your puppy will want to chew it or eat it, just like a toddler! Unfortunately, one of the most common reasons for taking a puppy to see the vet is because they’ve been poisoned, or have eaten something they shouldn’t. With that in mind, you’ll need to try to remove dangerous things from their view and reach. Go systematically, room by room, putting away things like toxic cleaning products, small toys, sharp items, and other potentially unsafe objects. 

We also recommend buying only non-toxic cleaning products after your puppy arrives to reduce the risk going forward. 

Don’t forget to check your plants. Some plants, including a selection of garden flowers, can be poisonous to puppies, causing upset tummies or worse.

If you’re uncertain about a particular object, it’s best to be safe. Even innocuous things, like a pack of chewing gum in a bag on the floor, could pose a serious danger to your puppy - so keep the floors clear in the areas your puppy will be moving around.

Step four: Create a dedicated space for puppy

Having a crate, puppy pen, or gated area for your puppy will let you restrict them to a safe space that you can control. 

A dedicated puppy space will allow your puppy to stretch its legs and explore their world on their own terms, while keeping your shoes, furniture, and other possessions safe. You’ll know where they are all the time, and you’ll be able to keep doing what you'd normally do around the house without worrying about puppy-proofing every room (at least, right away). You’ll also be able to introduce training exercises in a safe and controlled way. 

Adam S, super pet parent to a two-year old Cocker Spaniel, attests to the value of using gates: “Make a safe space you can puppy proof. You could separate-off a room with a child gate, or use a pen. Your puppy won’t be able to do anything wrong in this space, while you’ll be able to focus on having positive interactions with them, rather than telling them off all the time.”

Next steps

The most important part about bringing a puppy home for the first time is creating a safe space that will help them settle. Your puppy will quickly grow into their surroundings and, as they do, they’ll develop a good foundational sense of what’s right and wrong, and what’s safe and dangerous - which you can build on with house training and further socialisation. 

Making your home safe for your puppy will also ensure that those first few days are easier on you – and let you focus on the fun part of being a puppy parent: getting to know your new furry friend. 

Oliver Smith
Marketing executive

Oliver is our multi-media wizard. He has worked in pet insurance since 2020 and since joining ManyPets, has built up a relationship with our veterinary relationship team, trainers, behaviourists and a whole host of pet experts to create articles, video and social media posts for pet parents and veterinary experts alike.