How to prepare for your new dog:

5 things you must do

 Adopting a dog is exciting, but it can often mean a big life change for you and them. To make things easier and give your new dog the best chance of settling in, it’s really important to prepare for their arrival.   

 As well as having a moral duty to look after your new dog properly, you have a legal responsibility. Under the Animal Welfare Act, you must give your dog: 

  • A suitable place to live
  • A healthy diet and access to clean water
  • The ability to behave normally
  • Appropriate company
  • Protection from pain, injury, suffering and disease 

So, to help you get ready for the big day and understand your legal responsibilities as a dog owner, we’ve created this ‘to do’ list.

1. Invest in a good bed

Your dog needs a comfortable, clean place to sleep and relax. Some dogs like to curl up and others like to stretch out. Ask the person you’re adopting from how the dog sleeps, or buy a bed that accommodates both sleeping styles.

Choose a bed that’s comfortable, the right size, easy to clean and made from dog-friendly materials. It should be big enough for them to do their ‘turning’ ritual.

Put the bed in a clean, dry and draught-free spot. Over time, you’ll learn whether your dog likes to be at the centre of everything or if they prefer somewhere quieter.

If your dog is used to being crated, these same rules apply. Do not crate your dog if they’re not used it. Speak to your vet or behavioural specialist first.

2. Stock up on the right food

Dogs must have healthy, balanced diets and access to fresh water at all times.

The person you’re adopting from will tell you what they’re feeding the dog. But still, ask your vet or a nutritionist for advice as their current diet might not be appropriate.

Even if you do end up switching your dog’s food, you’ll have to do this gradually. So stock up on whatever food they’re used to until you’ve spoken to your vet.

3. Buy toys and games

Dogs must be allowed to behave like dogs and do things that come naturally to them, like walking, playing and chasing (within reason!)

Getting some toys and games for when they arrive will help to keep them happy, active and mentally stimulated. It’s also a great way for you to bond and get to know each other. They’ll still need their regular walks, though!

4. Think about companionship

You’re responsible for providing your dog with suitable company – whether that’s human, canine, or both. Some dogs are more sociable than others, but no dog likes being left on their own regularly for long periods of time.

Before your dog arrives, plan for those times they’ll be home alone. Depending on your dog’s needs and preferences, you might want to look into professional doggy day care, a reputable dog walker or sitter.

If you know from their previous owner that your new dog has separation anxiety, speak to your vet or a behavioural specialist.

And remember: if your dog will be alone a lot, you shouldn’t adopt them.

4. Register with a vet

Registering with a vet is the first and most important step to protecting your dog from pain, injury, suffering and disease.

Our vet, Harriet, has created this video to explain why it’s so important and what you can expect.

Further information providing details of how to care for your dog may be found here:

Dog Welfare Code of Practice