New puppy checklist

Getting a puppy can be exciting for every family, but there’s lots to think about and prepare for even before you decide on getting your puppy.

Our puppy checklist can help you prepare for a new puppy. We’ve put together the core of what you’ll need to think about when deciding to get a puppy, before your puppy comes home and when your puppy comes home.

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What to think about before getting a puppy

There are a few things you need to consider carefully before you decide to get a puppy:

  • Cost. Have you budgeted to make sure you can afford all the costs associated with getting a puppy? You can read about lifetime costs for dogs online. You’ll need to consider insurance, vet bills, food and ongoing costs (like buying leads, toys and poo bags).
  • Lifestyle. Do you have enough time for a puppy? Especially while they are young, they will need plenty of company and ongoing training during the day. If you work fulltime, you may need to consider day care options. You’ll need to look after your new puppy for as long as they live, so if you’re planning any big lifestyle changes then make sure you’ll be able to accommodate a dog too.
  • Your home. Is your home dog appropriate? Do you have a secure garden for them to run and play in and enough space for them to have separate eating and sleeping areas? What will you need to adapt to make it puppy proof?
  • Vets. Do you know of any vets nearby where you can register your new puppy? You can find a vet online or ask around. It’s worth visiting the vet before getting a puppy as they can give you advice on how best to get one and help you with research.
  • Research. Always make sure you research any pet thoroughly before getting them. With dogs, make sure your thoroughly research the breed as well to make sure they’re the right dog for your family and home. As well as researching the type of dog you’d like, it’s important to research where you’re going to get them from as well.

Remember, you’ll also need to make sure you can meet all of a dog’s welfare needs before you consider getting one.

If you’re not sure what pet is right for you, you can take our Get PetWise Quiz.


How to prepare for a puppy

Once you have decided to get a puppy and found a good place to get them from, there are things you can do to start to prepare before they arrive:

  • Buy all the supplies they will need. This could include:
  • Make any adjustments you need to your house:
    • Sort your puppy’s sleeping area – a crate can be great to give them a secure base to explore from. Make sure it is in a quiet place where they won’t be disturbed or in the way, with lots of blankets and bedding to keep them warm and comfy.
    • Sort out where your puppy will eat. This should be in a different place to their sleeping area. Make sure you’ve got somewhere to store their food that they can’t get into as well.
    • Consider putting in baby gates if there are areas of your home you don’t want your dog to go. Set clear boundaries for your puppy from day one as it’s very confusing if they’re allowed to go somewhere sometimes but get told off or prevented at other times.
    • Secure your garden to make sure your puppy can play safely outside. Make sure there is nowhere they could squeeze through or dig under a fence and check for poisonous plants and other garden hazards.
    • “Puppy proof” your house. Make sure anything that could be harmful to your puppy is kept securely out of their reach (such as cleaning products, cables and anything else they can chew that they shouldn’t!)
  • Speak to your local vet so you know what treatments they will need as well as how much these cost.
  • Find a puppy training class you can register your pup with.
  • Find puppy socialisation groups you can take your pup along to.
Collie puppy running in a garden

What to do when your new puppy arrives

When you get your puppy, there are a few more things you need to do to make sure they stay happy and healthy:

  • Take them to the vet for a check-up and to book any remaining vaccinations and other treatments they are due. Remember to pop a reminder in your diary for any future vaccinations and worming/flea treatments and keep their microchip details up-to-date.
  • Get your new puppy insured as soon as possible. This will help you a lot in future if they fall ill or become injured. Get a quote for PDSA Pet Insurance here.
  • Start to toilet train your puppy.
  • Go along to training classes and start to socialise your puppy as soon as you get them by letting them have positive experiences with vaccinated dogs and people in a safe environment. While you shouldn’t let them walk on the ground or meet strange dogs who might not have had their jabs until they’ve been fully vaccinated, it’s usually safe to carry them around to start socialising them to the sights, sounds and smells of the outdoors – check with your vet to find out what’s best for your pup.
  • Make sure all training is consistent and that your family all stick to the same rules. If you don’t, your puppy might get confused and frustrated, as well as finding it more difficult to learn. Read our advice on positive, reward-based training.
  • Make boundaries clear from the beginning and stick to them. For example, if you don’t want your dog to go on the sofa, you need to make sure you and your family keep to this from day one.
  • Always make sure your puppy has space when they need it and aren’t overwhelmed. If they need to sleep and rest, let them.
  • Sort out any day care or dog sitters you may need if you are out at all during the day.

The cost of owning a dog

Read up on the expected lifetime costs of a dog before you get your new pooch to make sure you can afford them.

Find out more

Socialising your new puppy

Read our vets' advice on socialising your new puppy with other dogs, people and everyday sounds and smells.

Read more

Could you spot a puppy farm?

Take extra care over where you get your puppy from. Read our advice on spotting a puppy farm and how to avoid them.

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