Getting a new puppy is always exciting, but it can be challenging and daunting at times, especially during the initial week. It’s the most important time to start bonding with your new four-legged friend and help them get used to their new surroundings. Craft beer company BrewDog clearly understand the importance of this first week, as they’ve recently hit the headlines for offering their staff a week’s paid ‘pawternity’ leave when they get a new pet dog.
Whether you’re lucky enough to get a week’s paid leave or not, here at Asda Money we understand that there’s a lot to think about when it comes to getting a new puppy. From crying on the first night to essentials such as jabs and pet insurance, we’ve put together some top tips to help make sure that the first week goes as smoothly as possible.
Before the Big Day
Firstly, you’ll need to ensure that your house is fully pet-proofed before you bring your new dog home. Decide which room is going to be their new bedroom, preferably one with easy-to-clean floors, such as a utility room or kitchen. Remember, puppies are likely to chew things, so it’s best to select a room where they can’t damage anything.
Make sure to have a good inspection of your house and put anything that could harm your new pooch out of reach, such as medicines, electricals, and certain plants. Many people have different rules when it comes to pets in the house, so decide which rooms are off-limits from the start. This way, they won’t be confused when you suddenly start telling them off for going upstairs, for example.
It’s also a good idea to go on a shopping trip beforehand to make sure you’re stocked up on doggie essentials. Your puppy will need a bed where they can get used to sleeping every night, and it’s often recommended to get a crate or cage for them too. If they’re going to be sleeping in a large room, often a crate or fenced off area can make them feel safer due it being a more enclosed space, however, this is completely up to you. Fill the bed with bedding and blankets so that it’s comfortable and warm for them.
You’ll also need to buy dog bowls, food, a collar complete with an identification tag, and a lead. Find out which type of food your puppy has already been eating and feed them this to start with, before slowly weaning them onto a different one if you wish by mixing the new food with the old. This way, they’re less likely to get an upset stomach.
Toys are also an essential item to add to your shopping list. There’s a great selection of dog toys out there which are designed specially to make playtime and training sessions more fun, and they’re the perfect way to keep your pup entertained. Don’t forget to include plenty of chewable toys, as a teething puppy will chew anything it can get its paws on, and it's best to move their attention away from your shoes or furniture!
If you’re able to book some time off work when you first get a new puppy, this is ideal as it means you can spend time getting to know each other in those important first few days. If you can’t book the full week off, then try to arrange to collect your puppy on a Friday or Saturday, so you at least have the full weekend to spend with them.
Although it’s good to spend lots of time with your puppy in the first week, it’s also recommended that you start to leave them for short periods on their own. This way, you can avoid separation anxiety and over-attachment, especially if you’ll soon be going back to work. However, if you do have to leave them for longer than a couple of hours, then it would be a good idea to get a dog walker to let them out or arrange for a trusted friend or relative to pop in.
When the big day comes around, remember that it’s likely to be the first time that your puppy has been away from its mother and siblings. They’ll probably be quite overwhelmed and slightly frightened, so give them lots of time to investigate at their own pace and get used to their new surroundings. Slowly introduce them to the whole family, and if they’re nervous, a toy or treat will usually help them build their confidence.
If there are other pets in your home, your new dog will need to be introduced cautiously, as older animals may be slightly resentful at first, and confused as to why there’s another animal on their territory. Give them lots of extra attention to avoid jealousy, and make sure all socialising is supervised for first few days.
When it comes to toilet training, you should take your new pooch to the garden as soon as you get home, and repeat this every one to two hours so that they begin to get used to going outside. If your garden can be accessed by strange dogs and your puppy hasn’t yet had its vaccinations, it’s also a good idea to use puppy training pads or sheets of newspaper at a “clean” spot by the door. Remember to give them lots of praise when they go to the toilet in the right place, and try to avoid punishment, as this will only teach them to be worried about you.
Your puppy is extremely likely to cry the first few nights, and opinions differ as to whether you should leave them or attend to them during the night when this occurs. It’s often agreed that it’s best to leave them in their own room downstairs, so they get used to staying there. If they have a cage or a crate, some people put it in their own bedroom so that they still feel close by, and gradually move it further away over several days.
It’s often recommended to give your puppy a cuddly toy at night, or a blanket or jumper that smells like you so that it’s comforting for them. So long as you have a strict bedtime routine, they should soon start sleeping all the way through.
Vets and Pet Insurance
You’ll need to register your new puppy with your local vet so that, besides general check-ups, you can seek advice about vaccinations, worming, microchipping, and neutering. Vaccinations take place when they are around seven to eight weeks of age, and the second stage is given two weeks later. After this, you’ll usually need to wait an additional seven days until you can go for walks outside safely.
Just like people, dogs can easily have accidents or become poorly, so it's recommended to get pet insurance so that you’re covered for potentially expensive vet bills. Here at Asda Money, we offer four different levels of cover depending on your needs, starting at just £11.88 per month. The vet fees are paid for you directly, so you don’t have to worry about being out-of-pocket when your pooch is unwell.
Whether you decide to get a dog or a cat, we recommend having a good look at the different types of insurance cover available, and remember that the cheapest one could end up costing you more in the long run. With Asda Money’s policies, you can choose from our basic Accident Only cover, 12-month illness and accident cover to our more comprehensive Lifetime cover. Lifetime cover is the most superior policy, covering up to £7,500 of vet fees per year.
If you have any questions about Asda Money Pet Insurance, call us on 0800 181 4904 and we’ll be happy to help.