Bringing a Dog Home for the First Time? Here’s How to Prepare

Adding a new member to the family is always exciting! But it’s that much more exciting when you’re bringing in a furry friend for you and your family. That said, taking care of a pet is a totally different set of responsibilities than taking care of your children or yourself. Though both require food and water, your canine companion will have its own set of needs to stay healthy. 

So get ready for the ride! Bookmark and, add your vet to your cell phone, and get ready to meet your new best friend. 

How to Prepare Your Home 

It’s a good idea to hold off on purchasing supplies until you’ve chosen your new pet. Some items, such as food and water bowls, as well as collars and harnesses, are dependent on the size of the pet you intend to adopt.

Also, find out what kind of food your pet ate in the shelter or foster home so you may feed it the same thing at first to aid the adjustment. Talk to your veterinarian about transitioning to the diet of your choosing after the pet has settled in.

  • Bowls for food and water
  • Food (both canned and dry)
  • Collar
  • ID tag with your mobile number 
  • A four to six-foot leash
  • Foldable metal carton or hard plastic container
  • Bed for your dog
  • Shampoo and conditioner for dogs
  • A pair of nail clippers
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste for dogs
  • Brush or comb (depending on the length and type of your pet’s coat)
  • Paper towels with a high absorption capacity
  • Scrub brush and sponge
  • Cleanser that is non-toxic
  • Odor neutralizer with enzymes
  • Poop baggies (preferably biodegradable) or a pooper scooper
  • Washable Puppy Pads for housetraining that are absorbent
  • Toys of various types
  • Various delicacies 
  • Supplies for first-aid
  • Baby gates to control their introduction into the home 

Bringing Your New Dog Home 

Start slowly. Some dogs require a long time to acclimatize to new environments, which can be taxing for them. If you rescued your dog from a shelter, keep in mind that he likely came from a busy and stressful environment, and your quiet and warm house will be the first place he’s enjoyed a good night’s sleep in a long time. 

During the first few days, don’t overstimulate your dog. Allow your dog to investigate things on their own if he or she is wary. If they approach you for attention, be as friendly as they appear to be comfortable with. Provide him his own soft bed or secure space where he can retire when he’s tired or overwhelmed. Some dogs require a little additional time to relax every now and again, especially given the pressure of being in an unfamiliar place.

A Few Notes on Behavior 

In freshly adopted dogs, the stress of adjusting to a new surroundings can produce diarrhea. Take things carefully the first week to reduce their tension and give them time to adjust. Consult your veterinarian if your dog’s diarrhea lasts more than a few days. Dogs’ appetites might be affected by the stress of being in a new environment. 

If you’ve acquired a timid dog, it may take a few days for them to feel comfortable eating a typical meal. A dog’s refusal to eat can also be caused by a new diet or a change in food. A dog will not starve to death; as long as he is healthy, he will adjust to his new food. If you’re worried, contact your vet and schedule an appointment. 

Prepare for the Best, But Don’t Get Discouraged

Don’t be disheartened if your new puppy doesn’t warm up to you the first night he’s with you. Dogs, like humans, have distinct personalities, with some being far more cautious and guarded than others.

Each dog is unique, with their own set of experiences and personalities. It could take your dog an hour or months to acclimatize to his new home. Give your new canine some time, a regular schedule, and his own place, and he’ll feel more at ease in his new surroundings. Before you know it, your new dog will be your best buddy.


What’s your best advice for bringing home a dog for the first time? Share your life hacks and experience in the comments. 

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