Surviving The First 48 Hours With A New Puppy Like A Pro

Pet parenting for the first time comes with a mix of feelings. No doubt you feel excited, but possibly also nervous and even a bit overwhelmed.

The first 48 hours with a new puppy will help you set the pace for handling the responsibility of taking care of a little pooch you’ll soon grow to love. As the popular cliche reminds us, you can’t go on a thousand miles journey without taking the first step.

The first step in pet parenting involves the hours after bringing the puppy home. New changes can be both fun and challenging. That includes adding a puppy to your home.

This doesn’t apply only to first-time pet parents. Even if you’ve owned a dog before, getting a new puppy will still be a different experience, much like marrying a new spouse or getting a second job.

What To Expect When Bringing Home a New Puppy  

Like any other endeavor in life, you should start pet parenting prepared.

This preparation should ideally begin before you get the puppy, but even if you’ve already brought your new friend home, it still is a good time to take note of all you should expect for the journey.

Let’s begin with the financial aspect. Shopping/adopting is just the beginning.

There are other costs you’ll make, especially in the first few months. Owning a puppy can be costly, but ultimately worth it because of the many benefits pets bring.[1]

To keep things in perspective, have a new puppy checklist. This checklist should contain:

  • The starter kit (Collar, bed, toys, vaccines…)
  • Never-ending expenses (Food, treats, chew toys…)
  • Pet insurance
  • Veterinary checkups

The next thing to expect is training. Training should begin at an early age, possibly a few weeks after you bring them home.

Training involves setting boundaries, obedience, potty, socialization, etc.

Teach the pup the basic commands like Sit, Stay, Down, Heel, and Leave It.

You could also register your pup in an obedience training class or hire a professional trainer if you have the means to.

Training makes the difference between a well-behaved dog and a menace.

You should also factor in the health and wellness of your pup. We mentioned vaccination above, but that’s only one part of the whole equation.

Spaying/neutering, dental care, and generalized check-ups are important.

Pro Tip: With a dog training checklist, training your pup becomes easier, and you can get to your goal of a well-trained dog faster than you envision.

What Do You Need For a New Puppy?

Cute Puppy in Dog Bed

A puppy is often ready to get back home between 8 and 10 weeks, and when it comes home, it needs some basic items and services.

We’ve categorized these basic necessities in the above sections, so here we’ll list out a couple of dog accessories that can get into your checklist.

  • Blankets and towels
  • A dog carrier (ensure it is safe for travel)
  • Poop bags
  • Collars and leashes
  • A water bowl or bottle
  • A dog bed
  • Treats and food
  • Grooming tools (shampoo, clippers, toothpaste…)
  • ID Tag
  • Seat belt tether
  • Toys
  • Pet Insurance
  • Vaccination 

You should hold the list when shopping for these items at a pet store or to keep track of the services your puppy needs.

For health-related necessities, look for veterinarians who offer puppy plans that will reduce costs.

What to Expect for the First Car Ride

Pet parenting begins the moment you hold your little pup in your arms, and the car ride is the first experience you’ll have with the pooch.

You should aim to make the ride stress free for both you and the puppy.

Most people would be tempted to hold the puppy in their arms, laps, or blankets. As sweet as these options may seem, they aren’t safe. The safe choice is to use a crate.

The crate should be as comfortable as possible, so the pup won’t feel the anxiety of being in a rolling vehicle.

Lay a lot of blankets and towels in the crate till you’re sure it is cozy enough. Next, secure the crate with a seatbelt tether so your puppy won’t fall off.

If possible, do not pick a puppy alone. Go with a friend, family member, or anyone close that you can trust.

The company would make the process less strenuous as you’d have someone to help you.

Another thing to do on the first car ride is to take some breaks, rather than ride home directly.

Stopping will give your puppy the chance to relieve itself, and can also reduce motion sickness.

Still have a poop bag and paper towels. You would never know when a potty ‘accident’ can occur.

Avoid feeding it in the car. It can drink water but in a moderate quantity. You should also take it straight home without making stops on the way.

Leaving its initial environment can be stressful for the puppy. Too many diversions may stress the pup further. 

Introducing the Puppy to a New Home

Owner Holding New Puppy's Paw

After the car ride, your puppy would need to get accustomed to the new environment.

This is achieved by making your home a safe space for the puppy. What are the specifics ways to make the home a safe space?

First, limit the number of rooms or places the puppy can go.

While adapting to the new environment, your pup shouldn’t be exposed to many areas of your house as that can get it overwhelmed.

This is especially true if your house is big. It could feel lost in the ‘vast expanse’, causing anxiety. The same applies to people and smells. 

Let the puppy stay in a particular area, and you should be there too. It could be your living room.

From there, it can begin exploring other parts of the house step by step. 

Other first steps to know are:

  • Get a spot for potty business. You should prevent your dog from soiling the environment by providing an area where it will do so. You can then take steps to encourage your puppy to go there. When it succeeds, reward it with a treat.[2]
  • Introduce your pup to other members of the family. For you to not overwhelm the pup, this introduction should be done one person at a time. Supervise the interaction the person has with the pup, and do not let them rough handle it.
  • If you have other family pets, introduce them to the puppy. This is the best age for your pooch to meet his fellow animal family members. Supervise this interaction too.
  • Don’t invite friends and other people who are not part of the family to see the puppy on the first day. They can do so in the future, but not on the first day.
  • Make a veterinarian appointment. 

Tips to Survive The First 48 Hours With A New Puppy

1. Survive the first night

There will be the first night before 48 hours elapse, and the first night with a puppy can be either uneventful or challenging depending on the individual you got.

Some puppies sleep through, others exhibit a range of behaviors from crying to frequent trips. 

Fortunately, there are ways you can alleviate the challenges these puppies face both on the first night and subsequent ones.

One of these is ensuring it potties before bed. You can also keep its crate in its bedroom so it knows it’s not alone. Keep blankets and toys in the crate as well.

One thing you shouldn’t do is place your pup on your bed unless you want it to sleep there constantly.

Sleeping habits your dog might develop begin on the first night. 

2. Crate Training

Puppy in Crate

Before keeping your puppy in the crate, you should give some crate training.

The crate isn’t just a place to sleep in, it is also a good spot if your pup becomes overwhelmed by the environment.

You can put your bedsheets and towels on so the pup will get accustomed to your scent.

Start training your dog to remain in the crate by placing it in there for short periods.

You may not successfully crate train the dog the first day, but 48 hours is a good time to start. 

3. Create Outlets for Chewing and Licking

Puppies go through a teething phase that can last for quite some time, and during that period they need to chew something.

You can help out by providing chewable items for the pup like a tree branch, old shoes, plastic bottles, and chew toys.

Licking is another habit puppies do, and this is often out of boredom, loneliness, or even anxiety.

A good item that can help the dog is a lickimat on which you can rub peanut butter or paste. 

4. No crowding, please

One of the easy ways to overwhelm your new puppy is to crowd around it, and we advise you not to do that.

Besides keeping friends and visitors away for the first 48 hours, even family members shouldn’t crowd the pet.

That’s why you should introduce the pup to your family members one at a time.

Puppies are cute, so, normally, you’d want everyone to meet them immediately. However, that should happen after some time, not during the first few days. 

5. Track Potty Times 

To make potty training easier for the puppy, keep track of the times it will need to relieve itself.

Generally, puppies will need to do so first thing in the morning. It might also get the urge to do so after a meal, playtime, after drinking water, and after naps. 

Puppies also show signs when they need to relieve themselves, like circling and sniffing. When you see this, get them to the designated spot. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I sleep on the same bed with my new puppy?

Given how adorable your new puppy is, you may feel tempted to hold it while sleeping. However, you should keep it in its crate instead.

This would serve well in the future when you need your pet to become more independent.

Also, it will have more time to get accustomed to the crate, associating the environment with good feelings. 

What should I do if my puppy cries at night?

Parenting of all kinds comes with sacrifices, including sleepless nights. Be prepared to have your sleep interrupted for the first few days (except you’re lucky to have a pup that sleeps all through).

The crying could be because it needs to relieve itself, loneliness, change in routine, or just missing its mom.

When this happens, you can comfort it by hugging it for some time. However, do not make this a habit. 

How long does it take for a puppy to get used to a new home?

There’s no fixed time for this. It would depend on many factors, including the breed type and even the pet parents. Generally, 2 to 3 weeks is enough.


The first 48 hours with a puppy can be challenging, but how you handle the challenges lays the foundation for the future well-being of your pet.

Preparations should start from the moment you decide to get a dog. The puppy’s first car ride and night at your house are vital as well.

Being a pet parent is a positive experience, and with your commitment, it will work. 

Authored By

Emma Harris

Emma Harris has been a veterinary care assistant and a dog writer for over six years. She is a passionate dog lover who believes in treating all animals with kindness. Emma puts her experience with animals (especially dogs) into writing by discussing topics that act as go-to guides to dog nutrition, health, and care. ...