Bringing a new pup home is a big choice and a special moment for you and those you live with. Becoming a dog owner comes with a long list of perks, and the bond you’ll develop with your pup is unlike any other.
Those first few weeks of pet ownership can require a good bit of adjusting and change. Before you adopt a puppy or dog, be sure to get your apartment ready, and prepare the people in your life for their new arrival. You’ll want to do simple things like stock up on dog bowls, bedding and toys, and bigger things like talking to your family members and neighbors about the impending arrival.
Bringing a puppy home is somewhat different than bringing an adult dog home, so be sure to consult your veterinarian to discuss any specific steps they recommend you take related to your breed, work schedule, etc. Puppies will need a sanitized and disinfected space to keep them protected from germs that they likely won’t have been fully vaccinated against. Older dogs may simply need more patience and time to settle into a new space and new routine.
Here are 4 ways to help prepare your apartment for your new dog.
Set Up a Cozy Dog Den
Whether you choose to crate-train or not, we recommend creating a cozy, contained space where your new pup can have a space of his own to adjust comfortably during his transition. If you choose to do this with a crate, set it up in advance with plush blankets, soft toys and other cozy items, and leave the crate door open for him to enter and explore on his own terms upon his arrival. If you don’t choose to crate train, you can create a similar situation with baby gates, bedding and a smaller, enclosed environment.
Prep With Pee Pads
Whether you’re bringing home a puppy or adult dog, it’s likely that accidents will happen during the transition. Keep a stack of pee pads on hand to spread out, especially around nice furniture and carpet. If you’re bringing home a puppy, you may want to stock up, as house training can take a few weeks, depending on a variety of factors.
Cover Your Furniture
Your expensive sofa and antique, upholstered chairs may not be quite as happy to see your new pup as you are, so cover them up with old sheets or blankets. Puppies can wreak havoc during teething and even adult dogs can enjoy a bit of chewing and scratching from time to time. Covering your good furniture will also keep dog hair, dander and dirt from making its way onto your special furnishings.
Disinfect for Pups
Depending on what age you adopt and bring your new puppy home, it’s unlikely they’ll have received all of their shots, leaving them susceptible to a variety of dangerous illnesses. Before you bring your pup home, be sure to sanitize and clean your apartment, including your laundry, and be careful to prevent tracking outside germs into your home. Once your pup has grown and received his vaccinations, you’ll be able to relax about disinfecting the areas he can come into contact with, but until then, stay vigilant.
Dog Bowls & Play Toys
When your new pup enters your apartment for the first time, it’s a good idea to have his bowls filled up and ready to go with water and age-appropriate dog food. It’s likely he’ll want to eat right away, and depending on his age, his eating might make quite a big mess. Consider placing his bowls on protective mats or padding that can catch spills from long, droopy ears or slobbery, puppy mouths.
Talk to Your Family & Neighbors
Before welcoming your new fur-baby, be sure to share the news with your neighbors and live-in loved ones. New dogs require adjusting from all of the humans in their lives, including those who live near or around you. Children, especially, will need a primer on how best to behave and help care for their new pup, and neighbors will want a heads up about unvaccinated puppies or to the potential for barking as your pup adjusts.