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A PETCO Companion Animal Care Sheet developed with and approved by a Qualified Veterinarian

Bringing home a puppy can be a fun, exciting, and overwhelming experience, for both you and your puppy. Preparing for the homecoming in advance, plus understanding what your puppy really needs will go a long way towards helping your new puppy to become a happy, well-behaved member of your family.

Is a Puppy the Right Companion Animal for You?

Answer "Yes" or "No" to the following statements:

  1. I have an appropriate location and space for the breed I am considering.
  2. I will spay or neuter my puppy.
  3. I have the time, patience and energy necessary to commit to training this puppy.
  4. I have researched and can commit to providing proper care, veterinary attention, and nutrition for this puppy.
  5. A mature person will provide responsible and primary care for this puppy.

If you answered "Yes" to all of these statements, a puppy may be the right choice for you! Continue reading about how to care for a puppy and consult with a PETCO associate at your local store to learn more. PETCO is committed to responsible companion animal care.

Finding Your Puppy

Local humane societies and animal shelters are a great place to start your search for the perfect puppy. The staff will have great information and advice as to breed, temperament, and adult sizes.

If your heart is set on a purebred, try contacting local breed clubs to find reputable breeders. Good breeders will not only answer your questions, but will also ask many of their own, since their main goal is to find responsible, permanent homes for their puppies. If possible observe the mother and father. Their personality will tell you a lot about what the puppies will be like. Puppies should stay with their mom at least 7 to 8 weeks to learn important socialization skills.

Before You Bring Puppy Home

Make certain your house has been puppy-proofed. Pick up anything small enough to be swallowed, and remove anything you would prefer the puppy not chew. Puppies chew, It is a natural and necessary part of puppyhood. Prevention is the best way to protect both your puppy and your possessions.

Decide where to put the puppy's crate, food and water dishes, and toys. You'll want to focus on your new puppy once you bring it home, not on where you want things to go.

Have a supply of good quality puppy food on hand, as well as the name and phone number of a local vet. If possible, have an appointment already made for a new puppy checkup, and to ensure all vaccinations are up to date.

Recommended Supplies

  • Kennel or crate
  • Premium puppy food
  • Pet gate(s)
  • Food and water bowls
  • Toys
  • Chew toys
  • Training treats
  • Enzymatic cleaner
  • Books on dog breeds, training, puppy raising

The Trip Home

The safest way to bring your puppy home is in a travel crate or kennel, not in your lap, tempting though that may be. Line the floor of the crate with an absorbent towel, since many puppies may experience motion sickness. Secure the kennel with a seatbelt, so that movement is kept to a minimum. Although everyone else in the car will be excited, your puppy may be scared and confused. Constantly reassuring him may lead the puppy to believe that there really is something to be afraid of. Instead, talk to him in a gentle, upbeat voice, as if this were an everyday occurrence.

Download a PDF of this PETCO Care Sheet