How to prepare your home for a new dog or puppy

Last updated: 01/07/2022

You’re about to share your home with a new family member - one of the furry, canine variety. 

Bringing home a new dog or puppy is exciting. It’s the start of a new phase of your lives, full of new experiences and bundles of fun. But it can also be quite nerve-wracking, for both you and your new dog, as you learn to live with each other. 

Before your new dog sets a single paw in your home, it is important to plan ahead to make sure you have created a safe, welcoming and happy place for them to live.

This starts with a shopping list.

What to buy a puppy or new dog

You may have already started buying some of the basics you’ll need for your new dog at home. But here’s a list of essentials just so you don’t forget anything.

  • Food and water bowls
  • A cosy bed
  • A crate 
  • A lead and collar with your name and address on it or a tag. This is a legal requirement for UK dogs.
  • A harness
  • Lots of toys, for keeping calm or amused, for play and for teething (if it’s a puppy)
  • A brush or comb for grooming
  • Food
Space for your dog

Think about creating a safe, comfortable and practical space at home for your dog. This includes:

  • Regular meals and constant access to clean water.
  • A comfortable, clean and quiet place to rest. This could be a crate, their bed or another quiet corner of your home. 
  • Access to an appropriate area where they can go to the toilet.
  • Access to a safe hiding place where they can escape to if they feel afraid.
  • Shelter from the elements: dogs can quickly overheat in warmer weather, and can also get very cold in winter, when they may need extra blankets (or the heating on).
  • Entertainment: make sure they have lots of dog toys. You can also entertain your dog with games like hide and seek and playing fetch.
  • Space to exercise: along with regular walks, your dog will need playtime, ideally in a secure area outdoors.
  • A home that is safe, secure and free from hazards - more on that next.
Hazards to avoid

If sharing your home with a dog is an entirely new experience to you, then you may not be aware of all of the hazards that the average house may pose to them. Here’s what to look out for:

  • Poisons and hazards: lock away cleaning products and remove any poisons and hazards, including any poisonous plants you may have in your garden. The Dogs Trust has a helpful list of these.
  • The wrong food: however well you feed them, your new dog may constantly be on the hunt for more goodies. So keep your food out of their reach - you might even need child safety locks to stop them getting into the fridge or cupboards. It’s particularly important to keep them away from any food and drink that can be dangerous for them. Battersea has a list of toxic food for dogs.
  • Set boundaries: if you have parts of your house that aren’t safe for your dog, or that you want kept strictly for people, then set boundaries. Baby gates between rooms work well as your dog can still see you in the rooms they’re not allowed to access.
  • If you don’t want it nibbled, put it away: you’ll know that many dogs enjoy a nibble and a chew, with things like shoes and slippers a common favourite. Get used to putting such items out of reach of your pup, for example up on a shelf or locked away in a cupboard. Some things can be genuinely hazardous, such as wires, so keep them up high if you can, or use cable covers.

A lot of these are common sense, but you may be surprised as a new dog owner just how, ahem, doggedly your new pup seeks out extra food or a favourite shoe to chew on. 

Taking on a new dog is going to involve lots of hard work. But lots of fun too. Exciting times ahead.

Click on the sections below to explore what you need to know at each stage of your home buying journey:

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Finding >

Couple looking outside

Buying >

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Moving >

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