Adopting a new furry friend is exciting, but as the day ends, it will make you wonder how to prepare for the puppy’s first night. You can also feel worried about what to do, especially when it is your first time owning a pet in your house. While handling this matter can be nerve-racking for first-time fur parents, here is an extensive guide on preparing for a first night home with the puppy to help you.
What to Prepare on a Puppy's First Night?
Going home with a new puppy is a long journey of preparation and adjustment. According to Vitulova et al.‘s research, dogs from animal shelters or adoption have different behaviors, requiring integration and strong relationship bonds. You can see signs of behavioral problems in the first days with a puppy because they can get uncomfortable in an unfamiliar place after being separated from where they grew up.
In this case, you will need to be ready days to weeks before you bring your new friend home. You can read ahead to know what to prepare for your puppy’s first night and weeks with you.
Buy Necessary Things For Your Puppy
Like parents buying baby clothes for their newborns, pet owners should also purchase necessary things for their puppies before these friends get home. The puppy supplies they need are the following:
- Food and water bowls
- High-quality and safe puppy food
- Adjustable leash and collar
- Collar tags with your contact information
- Dog beds and blankets
- Poop bags and holders
- Playpen or gates
- Toys and treats
Ensure to purchase these supplies before your puppy’s arrival, or you will have difficulties handling it otherwise. You will not want to let it sleep everywhere, have its meals in a plastic container, or get lost without your trace.
Prepare the Car For a Safe Travel
The road from the breeder’s address to your home can be lengthy, so you must prepare your car with essential travel gear for dogs to ensure a safe and stress-free travel experience. For instance, you can choose between a metal or a plastic crate. The former can be sturdy and well-ventilated, while the latter is lightweight and easier to clean.
Crates can protect your puppy if such unfortunate accidents happen while traveling. It also gives your fur friend a spacious place to look around. You can consider putting blankets, pads, water bowls, or travel mats in the crate to make it more comfortable.
Blanket or Towel With Their Mom's Scent
Dogs belong to animals with the best sense of smell. Research by P. G. Hepper stated that puppies’ olfactory sense enables them to recognize their mom by smelling their scent, so you can use this trait to help your puppy get through the first days of its adjustment phase.
Get a shirt or blanket with your puppy’s mom’s scent and place it on its crate or bed. You can get these things by bringing them to the breeder’s address and wiping them on the mama dog before leaving so that the scent will cling to the cloth. You can also ask the breeder if you can take their mama’s bedding home.
Create a Quiet and Safe Zone
Going on a road trip from the breeder’s address can be stressful for your puppy, so you must provide it with a peaceful night to rest. Place a playpen to enclose a safe, quiet puppy zone. You can also opt for a gate, whichever you prefer to put for protection.
The safe zone must be spacious enough to hold your puppy’s belongings and for it to play or walk around. You can add toys, pee pads, food, and water. Since puppies spend 18 to 20 hours sleeping, providing them with the best puppy place can make them feel at home.
Puppy-Proof Your Home
Puppies can go around putting random things inside their mouth. In this case, they can eat harmful or poisonous substances as they explore their new home. Unfortunate instances also include going through electrical wirings, house appliances, mouse traps, and dust bins, which are dangerous for small dogs.
Since puppies like to chew things, you must remove any hazards around your house to prevent unwanted consequences. Ensure the floor is always clean and free from chemicals and toxic substances. You can also consider placing other house appliances and human medicine in higher places.
Prepare Some Puppy Food and Water
In research by Lord et al., 1,361 of 2,624 dogs and cats suffer from health problems after a week of adoption. Since they can get an upset stomach due to adjustment, it is crucial to give them clean food and water. It is also better to place these things in an area they can freely go into any time.
On the first night with a new puppy, you must contact the breeder to ask for the diet your puppy has been eating recently. Suddenly introducing other foods is not advisable because they can react negatively to them, so sticking to the same diet in the meantime is better.
Give a Snuggle Toy to Your Puppy
Puppies’ first night home can mean stress and anxiety to your furry friend since they need to sleep in a new environment. They can also feel lonely because they suddenly become away from their mother and littermates. In this case, you can give it a snuggle toy to spend the night with to reduce this heavy feeling.
You can place the snuggle toy under your puppy’s bedding. It will remind them of their mama’s heartbeat, while the toy can also give physical warmth, making your dog feel more comfortable. You can also provide heartbeat toys if you fail to find a snuggle toy.
Start With Potty Training
Potty training is necessary when adopting a new puppy to prevent accidents. Puppies go potty every 2 to 3 hours, depending on their food intake and diet. You will need to take them to their potty spot on a specific schedule, such as after meals, nap time, or even in the middle of the night.
Compliment or praise your puppy whenever it goes to the correct place to go potty. Ensure it relieves itself before returning to its crate or bed inside the house. Since puppies need adjustments, remain calm and patiently wait if they take the time to go potty.
Provide Some Rules
It is best to teach your puppy what is correct and unacceptable inside the household to train its behaviors. You can have a small meeting with the family about the puppy’s eating, sleeping, and potty spots. Creating a schedule for each activity is also advisable.
Puppies in their 5 to 12 weeks of age develop faster, so you must consistently teach your furry friend good behaviors. Learn how to use a deep, loud voice when saying sharp rejections and lessons when your pup does something wrong. Through that, they will realize that they committed a mistake and should never repeat it.
Ask Someone's Help If Needed
Asking for someone’s help is okay if it is your first time being a fur parent. For instance, you can have a co-pilot when traveling from the breeder’s address to your house to have someone who will handle the puppy while you are driving.
The first night with a puppy can also be challenging because it needs consistent company, interactions, and activity to feel at home. They can also cry and create accidents, which can be too much for a fur parent to handle in a day. In this case, you can hire an in-home daycare provider or pet sitter to help you.
How to Deal With a New Puppy At Home
The first days with a puppy are crucial because teaching them the basics of interacting with people, meeting other pets, sleeping, and going to the bathroom will affect their overall discipline. You can read the following ways below on how you can deal with a new furry friend at home.
Bring your puppy to their assigned areas for potty, eating, and sleeping upon arrival. You can set it down and let it take time to figure out what is happening. You can also let it go around the house and sniff their new environment to be familiar with the place.
As soon as you get home, you can also make your puppy rest first in its safe zone because it can feel stressed after traveling. Keep a close eye on it every time because it can cry while resting or eat harmful substances as it goes around the place.
Meeting the Family
Who would not feel excited about having a new, cute family member at home? Everyone can feel thrilled about adopting, but instructing the children in your house about handling a new puppy is also necessary. You have to supervise them on how to play with it safely to prevent unwanted accidents.
While puppies like to bite, chew, and nip when playing, your family must also learn what to do if your furry friend gets over-excited or scared. They need to leave the puppy alone if things get dangerous for them. Here is one more tip: do not let small children carry your pup.
Giving your puppy a small meal upon arrival is advisable because letting it eat a lot can lead to unpleasant reactions to food. Since it can also feel anxious about moving to a new home, it can have a more sensitive tummy, susceptible to tummy aches.
Your puppy can eat 4 to 6 meals a day at first, or it can be 3 to 4, depending on its condition. Ensure to contact its breeder to ask for a dietary recommendation. Since your furry friend is still young, you can opt for small kibbles or treats for easy chewing and high digestibility.
Meeting the Visitors
It can also be thrilling to show off your new furry friend to your friends and relatives, but it is not advisable to invite visitors to play with it in its first days. Aside from not getting vaccinations yet, puppies can also be fragile to different conflicts affecting their immune system once exposed to public places and strangers.
Moreover, puppies can show behavioral changes due to their adjustment phase. They can get aggressive to unknown people, leading them to bite or attack your visitors. You can consider training and getting vaccinations first before bringing your dog to the park or your friends.
Meeting Other Pets
If this is not your first time being a fur parent, you can have other pets in the house that can feel strange and unhappy about having a new family member. It is better to introduce them to each other properly to avoid territorial behaviors, such as snarling, growling, or ignoring the new puppy.
If you think your pets will take time to accept each other, you can separate them in the first days and weeks. Ensure to provide separate food and water bowls, crates, and beds. You also have to watch them play because they can hurt each other through it.
Regular Bathroom Breaks
Puppies will pee every hour or every 15 to 30 minutes due to their underdeveloped bladders. Since they pee frequently, you can set alarms once you get used to their bathroom breaks. Their potty breaks can include the following:
- After waking up in the morning
- After a quick nap
- After eating
- After playing
- Before sleeping at night
- In the middle of the night
You can also train them when to go potty and where to go for it. If your puppy pees or poops in the correct place, consider giving them treats as a reward for doing the right thing.
Undisturbed Nap Time
Knowing where should a puppy sleep the first night is already a given, but how can you handle its nap time? Being a puppy is tiring because they engage in different activities every day. For instance, 8 to 12-week-old puppies will take short naps during the day. They will also need to sleep longer at night.
Despite having nap times, puppies wake up during their sleep to go potty. They can also cry on the first night, but that is normal. Since they can get disturbed while sleeping due to these factors, it is best to provide your pup with a comfortable sleeping zone. Avoid waking it up for no reason because they can get aggressive.
One more thing that can help you train your dog is setting daily routines. You can create schedules of your pup’s activities throughout the day, including meal time, playtime, potty breaks, and sleeping. Once they get used to these timeframes, they will do them independently.
Aside from independence, creating a routine will also help your puppy feel less worried and anxious about the changes in their everyday lives. They will know what time of the day they will need to expect such activity to happen and when not to. In this case, reducing your puppy’s anxiety will also prevent behavior changes.
Puppy's First Night At Home: FAQ
Yes. You can let your puppy sleep on its bed the first night, but remember not to let it spend the night on your bed. Since it is their first time sleeping in your house, the first bed they sleep into will be what they will remember. You will not want to have problems placing it on new bedding the other day.
Yes. Letting your puppy sleep in a crate on the first night will make it get used to sleeping in it. If you place it somewhere else to spend the night, it can have difficulties adjusting to a different bed on day 2. So, you have to prepare a crate before adopting a puppy for its first night home.
No. Puppies can feel lonely, leading them to cry 2 to 4 times at night and settle for 5 to 10 minutes. You can’t let it do its thing even if it whines for no immediate reason. You must also wake up and bring it to its potty spot if it needs to relieve itself.
No. Your puppy will have anxiety and stress after going on road travel and separation from its mother. It is better to place its crate inside your room, near your bed, to let it see you through the night. You will have to accompany your dog to ease the heavy feeling it has on its first day.
Puppies will cry for 5 to 10 minutes inside their crate before you sleep, but they will also settle down and go to bed. After 8 hours, they will wake up 2 to 4 times for potty breaks. After the potty break, they will cry for 5 to 10 minutes and go back to sleep.
The following are the things you need to do on the first night at home with a puppy.
-Purchase necessary puppy supplies to support your furry friend’s needs
-Go for a potty, eat, and crate training
-Prepare clean, safe food and water accessible for your puppy
-Give a snuggle toy to your puppy
First-time fur parents must learn how to prepare for the puppy’s first night because adopting a puppy bears responsibility. Purchasing puppy supplies, arranging the house, and doing different behavior training are necessary to build your relationship with your furry friend. Once you have done these things, you can enjoy a happier life with a new family member!