By Katya Lidsky

So, you’re adding a new dog to your pack. Congratulations! There is nothing like the energy and love of a pet to make you feel at home. To ensure that you and your new pup have a smooth transition, we have a few helpful tips. Because in the end, we’re here to help pet families stay happy, healthy, and together.

Slow and steady wins the day.

When bringing a new dog into your home, it’s natural to want to include your new family member in ALL the things – intros to your friends and extended family, trips in the car to run errands, attending the kid’s sports events. All of those can be tons of fun for you and your dog – just keep in mind that it can also be a lot of “new” all at once.

So, in your first couple of weeks, stick to the basics – walks, outside potty breaks, healthy meals, your first trip to the veterinarian, and lots of pets when your dog is calm or doing something you want them to do (like sitting for a treat or chilling out on his dog bed). Keep it simple and let things unfold – there will be some behaviors you will want to reinforce and some you might want to interrupt. Allow the learning to be gradual, seek out the help of a well-qualified trainer, and you’ll be on your way to winning an agility contest in no time!

Routine is king.

Sure, your new dog needs love and care, tenderness, and affection. Of course you want to give that to her! One part of love and care that’ll make your pet’s transition go as smoothly as possible is a routine.

Try to be consistent about when your pup goes outside for bathroom breaks, when and how you feed her, and where she sleeps. To start off on the right foot, ask the previous owner or shelter what their current feeding and bathroom schedule is. Just like with young kids (or heck, old kids too!), routine can be a source of comfort and create a way to mark time and clarify expectations.

Same when it comes to vet care too. To make visiting the vet as harmonious as possible, establish a routine that’s safe and positive so your pup will know all is well each time she goes to the doctor.

Track to stay in tune.

Set reminders on your phone! This is a great way to keep you on track with flea and tick preventative meds, annual check-ups, and regular vaccinations (puppies need vaccines and boosters!) Calendar alerts will ensure that your dog is getting all the health and wellness tune ups he requires. And if you need further support, our veterinarians can provide you with a schedule that’s right for your pet’s age and health needs.

While you’re at it, use the notes app on your phone (or a good ol’ notebook) and take notes! Sometimes just tracking what your pup’s usual behavior and energy level is like can help you notice if your pet needs to see a doctor or doesn’t feel well down the line. The more in tune and aware you are, the better you will communicate with your dog and understand what she needs.

Expect setbacks.

Dogs have personalities. They are individuals with needs, wants, and opinions. Expect dips from time to time, whether that means having accidents in the house or not liking every person or animal who comes through your home.

Setting your dog up to succeed by giving her a safe space of her own and making sure she is both mentally engaged and physically exercised regularly will go a long way in achieving her overall wellbeing and sense of balance.

Plus, remember, you can always seek the help of a certified, positive-based dog trainer so don’t give up! Reach out to us at Emancipet if you need help finding resources. When you work through the tough stuff, that’s precisely when the bond is built.

First vet visit.

Make sure you have all your info in place before your new pet comes home. Get copies of any paperwork, vaccination certifications, microchip information (and where it’s registered), and any other records. No microchip? We can provide one so if your pup gets lost without their collar, they can still be returned to you.

Pick a veterinarian or a clinic and save their location so you know quickly where to go for routine care or emergencies. Make sure they get a copy of your pup’s records too. Emancipet is here for all your day-to-day vet care and honored to be among that veterinary list. However, there are some advanced services we don’t provide, so please check out our available offerings near you.

Things you do (and don’t) need right away.

It’s helpful to have all your dog’s essentials ready for him when he gets home. Here are a few things you will need on day one and a few more to hold off on until he’s settled in.

You will need: a place for him to sleep – either a crate, dog bed, or both depending on what he’s used to. New puppies or shy dogs often do well in a crate. Older or already potty-trained dogs may prefer a bed in a quiet place. Don’t forget healthy food and bowls for food and water. On day one, you’ll need a leash and collar with tag that has your phone number and/or address. A first toy or ball may be a good idea but many dogs will need a few days before they’re ready to play.

Hold off on: Don’t be surprised if your new pup doesn’t like toys, clothing, or rich treats right away. They may take several weeks to (or may never) enjoy them. When your dog is settling in, it’s best to hold off on anything that adds stress or an upset tummy. It’s tough moving to a new home! And don’t forget, your dog may not have had a bed or been inside a home before, so be patient and introduce new things calmly and slowly.


We believe that as you and your dog grow together, you will offer each other a special relationship unlike any other. We hope you enjoy each other, learn from one another, and most of all, that you become a family. Good luck! We are here whenever you need us – all of our Healthy Pet Services like wellness exams and vaccines are available on a walk-in basis, no appointment needed. Find your nearest clinic location here, and we hope to see you soon!

Before you go – If you enjoyed this post, you probably love pets as much as we do! Did you know that you can sponsor a pet in need each month with a Nose to Tail Team donation and receive a limited-edition tote bag? Join our Nose to Tail Team and help a pet family get the care they need each month for just $0.54 a day.

Image of tote bags you can receive for donating monthly to Emancipet