Congratulations! You’re a puppy parent.
Bringing up a puppy is full of joy and mayhem in equal measure, but the responsibility of taking care of their health and welfare can be quite overwhelming.
Use our checklist to make sure you’ve planned for all your puppy’s needs, from their first day with you, until they grow up into a fully-fledged adult dog.
1. Choose a vet
Don’t wait until your puppy actually needs to see a vet - registering with a practice is something you should do on day one, or even before your pup actually arrives. Puppies are more susceptible than adult dogs to a number of illnesses, as well as being quite accident-prone. In fact, of all the claims we handled from 1 November 2020-31 October 2021 over a quarter of them were for puppies under a year old.
You really don’t want to end up calling round vets to register if your dog gets sick or hurts itself unexpectedly.
Use the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeon’s 'find a vet' tool to look up some practices near you and don’t just choose the first one you see. Think about things like travelling distance and opening hours - it’s no use registering with one a half hour drive away if your puppy gets car sick, or one that’s only open when you’re at work.
2. Sort out flea and worm treatment
Your pup should have had its first worming treatment at three weeks old with the breeder, then every two weeks until they’re 16 weeks old. Make sure you know what they’ve been wormed with and when and ask your vet for a schedule of ongoing treatment.
It’s a good idea to use a preventative flea treatment once a month and most owners find a spot-on formula the easiest to use, especially with wriggly puppies.
Although you should talk to your vet initially about a suitable flea and worm treatment, there are subscription services to make sure you get the correct dosage delivered to your door when you need it. It’s a handy way for busy puppy parents to stay on top of parasite protection.
The ManyPets Flea, tick and worm plan offers treatment that can protect your pet against these parasites. You’ll get a discount on the plan and you don’t need to have an insurance policy to buy it.
3. Book vaccinations
It’s so important to get your puppy vaccinated. They’ll need a course of two jabs with the first one given at around eight-10 weeks, so it may have been taken care of by the breeder. The second one is at 10-14 weeks.
Once you’ve decided on a vet, make those vaccination appointments when you register so that you you don’t forget. The cost of vaccinations can vary quite a bit depending on your vet and where you are in the country.
You shouldn’t let your pup have any contact with unvaccinated dogs until their jabs have them covered, but it’s still important to socialise them.
4. Consider neutering or spaying
Ask your vet about the pros and cons of neutering your puppy. If you’ve decided it’s the right choice for your dog, the right time to get it done will depend on their breed, size and gender.
The cost of having your dog neutered will vary depending on their size and weight and some vets charge more than others for the procedure.
5. Start the training
There’s a lot to think about with training, including whether you’ll work it out for yourself, use online resources and training videos, or attend some classes in person. It's a good idea to get started with training on the very first day with your puppy, especially the puppy toilet training. You might also consider crate training.
Vicky Carne, the Dog Coach has prepared the PUP Plan to help you home-school your puppy. It stands for 'Preparation, Understanding, Practice' and can give you a structured way to start training your dog from the first day you bring them home.
6. Find a sitter
Right now, you probably want to spend all your time with your puppy and the feeling’s probably mutual! But sooner or later you’ll probably have to leave the house without them and whether that’s just for your day at work or for a holiday abroad, it’s a good idea to plan their care in advance.
Ask for recommendation for local pet sitters or dog walkers and make sure you check they’ve got the right insurance.
If you’re going on holiday you’ll have the choice of boarding kennels or home boarding for your pet, but did you know you could also have someone look after them in your own home?
7. Shop for your puppy
So now you know what you need to do for your puppy and when. Now it’s time for the fun part - get shopping for your furry new arrival using our new puppy shopping list.