Experts advise to wait eight weeks before you separate a puppy from its mother (I know – too long). But this waiting period could be a good time to prepare your home for the arrival of its newest inhabitant. This means thinking about safety first, hygiene second and your comfort last. You don’t have to redecorate the entire home for a puppy, but a few changes would be welcome.
Clean up station
Dogs can be messy in general, but especially when you’re taking them to walk and the rain is pouring. Therefore, the best place to set up a cleaning station is right next to the door, so you can clean the dog before you let it back in the house. For convenience sake, put all the walking equipment there too, so you know where everything is and you’re ready to go out relatively quickly. Dog towel, collars, leashes and a rain coat should all be near the door, although not in the way (you don’t want to jump over everything when you’re leaving the house yourself).
Having a puppy is similar to having a baby in many ways – so puppy proof your house like you would for a baby. Put child locks on the lowest level of kitchen cabinets, especially if there is something a dog can drink. Keep the doors closed on your washing machine, oven, fridge and microwave. Small puppies love to crawl into warm places. Just in case, put stickers on all of these, reminding everyone to check inside before they use them. It’s also not a good idea to light candles for a while.
It’s important not to have dog food lying around everywhere. Train your dog from day one. You should have everything prepared for when the puppy arrives. You can buy dog food online (always have a bit more than you need just in case). Always put just one container of food in front of your dog and train it to eat on a regular basis (no snacks except for training purposes). The amount and type of food are obviously different depending on the breed and age of your puppy. Consult the vet about these things if you’re in any doubt.
You will have to start vacuuming the house 3 or more times a week, depending on the dog, size of the house and number of rooms the dog have access to. This is necessary both for the safety of your pet and in order to keep the house clean. Pet dander can settle in your carpets and cause allergies or irritation. If you have a lot of wood or stone floors, you should think about getting a steam mop. Brushing your pet regularly can also reduce the amount of hairs your dog leaves around the house.
First of all, make sure your fence is tall enough to keep the dog inside. The size of the fence will obviously vary depending on the age of your dog. Middle sized breeds need six feet fences. Also, be on the lookout for gaps through which the puppy can squeeze out. Some breeds (like terriers) can’t resist digging around the garden, so inspect the yard every now and then and close all the holes that you find. Remove the plants that could be poisonous for dogs (like lilies, daffodils and tomatoes). Building a small fence around the plants you want to protect is also a good idea.
No home is complete without a dog in it. Just remember that having a pet is a big responsibility and prepare both your house and yourself for this change.