three puppies

The First 48 Hours With a New Puppy – Step By Step Guide

Bringing a new puppy into your home is an exciting experience but it can also be challenging, and a little bit nerve racking, especially if it is your first time.


Consistency and patience are going to be essential on this journey but to help you along the way we’ve put together some tips and tricks to get you through that initial 48 hours with your new furry friend. So, if you are wondering how to survive the first few days with a puppy- read on!

Key Summary

  • Patience and consistency are required with a new puppy, as they get used to new surroundings and a routine.
  • You’ll want to puppy proof your home before their arrival, and ensure you have all the items you need.
  • Create a calm, safe space for your puppy on the car journey home, as well as in your home.
  • Reward your dog with praise and treats for good behaviour.

Preparation Before Bringing Your Puppy Home

Puppy-Proofing Your Home

Before your puppy's arrival, it's essential to create a safe and puppy-proof environment as they are naturally curious animals that can get into mischief at every opportunity! Here are some steps you can take to ensure a safe living space for your new fluffy companion:

Secure Hazardous Areas

Block off areas that may contain dangerous objects or hazards such as small choking items, chemicals, or sharp table corners.

Remove Poisonous Plants

Some plants are toxic to dogs, so make sure to remove any poisonous plants from your home or place them out of reach.

Store Medications Properly

Keep all medications securely stored, as they can be harmful if ingested by your puppy.

Tuck Away Cables

Secure loose cables and cords to prevent your puppy from chewing on them, which can lead to electrical hazards or injuries.

Gathering Essential Supplies

Of course, you are going to need to be properly equipped with important supplies for the arrival of your new puppy. Some items you will want to have on hand include:

Comfortable Bedding

Provide your puppy with a cosy and comfortable bed or crate to help them feel secure during their first nights.

Appropriate Food

Consult with your breeder or vet to determine the best food for your puppy's age, breed, and nutritional needs.

Food and Water Bowls

Invest in sturdy, non-tip bowls that are suitable for your puppy's size to avoid any issues with not eating.

Leash and Collar

Purchase a lightweight leash and an adjustable collar suitable for puppies.

Identification Tags

Ensure your puppy wears an identification tag on their collar with your contact information for when they are allowed on walks, in case they wander off. It is also a legal requirement in the UK to get your dog microchipped by the age of 8 weeks, so always keep your contact details up to date on this system.

Toys and Chews

Provide a variety of safe and appropriate toys to keep your puppy entertained and promote healthy chewing habits.

Puppy Training Pads

These can be useful during the initial stages of house training if your puppy is not toilet trained.

Grooming Supplies

Buy a soft brush, dog-friendly shampoo, and other grooming essentials to keep your puppy clean and healthy. Print off our handy checklist:

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The Car Ride Home

As the first step to getting to their new home, you will want to ensure that your puppy’s car ride home is safe and comfortable for a smooth transition. Your puppy is likely to be apprehensive as they are in new surroundings and won’t have been in a car very often, if at all, previously.


Safety needs to be at the forefront of the journey home, use a secure crate or carrier, or alternatively use a dog seat belt or harness that can keep your pup secure throughout the journey.

𝐢 Creating a calm and comforting environment is equally important so try introducing your puppy to the car gradually so they are able to become familiar with the space. Providing familiar bedding, toys, or a blanket with their scent on can help to reduce stress and anxiety and maintain a sense of calm. To further promote a calm, safe space, keep loud noise and disruptions to a minimum.

If you have a long drive, you must remember to take frequent breaks, allowing your puppy to have a bathroom break and to stretch their legs. Offer small amounts of water to keep your puppy hydrated, especially during longer rides. It is also important to ensure you never leave your puppy unattended in the car, as well as keeping the car well ventilated at all times.


For more tips on what to pack for the car ride home, watch this video.

The First 24 Hours With a Puppy

The first 24 hours with your new puppy are crucial for establishing a strong bond and setting a positive tone for the days ahead. Here's what you should focus on when looking after a puppy during this initial period:

Creating a Safe Space

Upon arriving home, your puppy may feel overwhelmed by their new surroundings but to help them feel more secure, set up a designated “puppy zone”, using a crate or puppy playpen that will serve as their safe space. Pop comfortable bedding, water, and a few toys in there too!

Introducing Family Members

If you have family members or other pets at home, introduce them to your new puppy gradually and in a controlled manner to ensure the interaction is positive.

Establishing a Routine

Puppies thrive on routine, as it provides them with a sense of security and stability. Start establishing a basic schedule for feeding, bathroom breaks, playtime, and naptime as soon as possible to allow your puppy to adjust more quickly.

Toilet Training

Creating good toilet habits and a routine for your pooch requires patience and consistency. Take them to a designated toilet area frequently, for example, after meals, playtime, and naps rewarding them with praise and treats when they go to the toilet in the correct spot.

The First Night

The first night after bringing a puppy home can be challenging as your puppy may experience separation anxiety from their brothers and sisters. Here are some tips to help your puppy get a restful first night:

Bedtime Routine

Establish a calming bedtime routine that signals to your puppy that it's time to sleep, such as a short walk (if they have been vaccinated), quiet playtime, and gentle cuddling. Avoid overstimulation before bedtime, as it may make it harder for your puppy to settle down.

Comfort and Security

Place your puppy's bed or crate in a warm, quiet area of your home. Provide them with a soft blanket or a familiar-smelling item, such as a toy, from their breeder, to create a sense of comfort and security.

Soothing Sounds

Soft background sounds, like gentle music or a white noise machine, can help drown out unfamiliar noises and create a calming environment on the first night with your puppy.

Night Time Bathroom Breaks

During the first few nights, you can expect to need to take your puppy outside for bathroom breaks during the night. Puppies have small bladders and may not be able to hold it in for extended periods but, as they grow older, they will develop better bladder control.

Avoiding Reinforcement of Unwanted Behaviours

While it may be tempting to comfort a crying puppy, it's important not to reinforce behaviours that you don't want to continue in the future. If your puppy cries or whines during the night, wait for a brief pause before going to them as this teaches them that quiet behaviour is rewarded.

Worried about your puppy’s behaviour? Fear not. If you’re a Waggel Pet Insurance policyholder, you’ll get access to 24/7 online vet care and unlimited consultations with a canine behaviourist and nutritionist to help you when you need it most. Best of all it’s completely free of charge.

The First Day

The first full day with your new puppy is an opportunity to continue building a strong foundation for a healthy and happy life together. Here are some key aspects to focus on during the first day with a new puppy:


Expose your puppy to various sights, sounds, and experiences in a controlled and positive manner. Introduce them to different people, places, and other animals gradually, ensuring each encounter is enjoyable and stress-free.

Positive Reinforcement Training

Start incorporating positive reinforcement training from day one, rewarding your puppy's desired behaviours with praise, treats or playtime. Focus on basic commands like "sit," "stay," and "come." Short, frequent training sessions are more effective than long, intense ones.

Regular Exercise

Provide your puppy with appropriate exercise opportunities to burn off excess energy and stimulate their mind. Short walks, play sessions, and interactive toys are all great ways to keep your puppy active and engaged.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are the First 24 Hours the Worst?

The first 24 hours with a puppy can be challenging, but they are not necessarily the worst. It's common for puppies to experience some anxiety and adjustment issues during this period, however, with proper preparation and care, you can make the first 24 hours more manageable and set a positive foundation for the days to come.

When Should I Schedule a Veterinary Appointment for My New Puppy?

Once your puppy is home, get in touch with your local vet who can best advise when to book an appointment and schedule in any outstanding vaccinations. During the appointment your vet will conduct a thorough examination, and provide guidance on parasite prevention, nutrition, and general care.


Congratulations- you are now ready to embark on a wonderful journey with your new puppy! The first 48 hours are a crucial time for setting the foundations to create a strong bong and establish routines. Remember to remain patient and consistent throughout, always showering your new addition with love and praise!

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