Congratulations on your new puppy.
You've taken the first step towards unfathomable cuteness!
I know you can't wait to bring your puppy home, but make sure you have everything you need first.
I've created a checklist just for you, which covers all the basic essentials (and a few extras) for your puppy’s cozy, new home.
ID Tags and Microchip
Your puppy needs to have identification. ID Tags are a must, as well as the microchip. When a dog breaks off their collar or leash, microchip will be their best chance of making it home. It’s become a basic practice for shelters and animal control to scan for microchips when picking up an animal from the street to help identify if they have an owner or not.
Collar and Leash
It’s silly, but it can be easy to overlook the basics when you’re planning for such a big change. I recommend a soft, adjustable, and durable collar and leash. There’s so many options, so you can choose based on your preference. Retractable leashes are great for puppies, as it allows you to control length, but still give them room to romp around as they’ll be sure to do.
I always recommend two bowls, one for water and one for food. Some puppies like to sip a little, eat a little. Water should always be on standby as well. You can even keep one bowl at home and one bowl in the car, just in case. A bowl in the car will definitely come in handy, especially after those hot days at the dog park.
The mat will be placed under the puppy bowls to help control the inevitable eating mess inside the house. Puppies are just learning basic motor skills like walking, so expect some clumsy eating to go along with it. If you want to do some proactive damage control, I definitely recommend getting a rubber mat for easy cleaning.
Crate or Indoor Fence
Depending on how you’ll choose to contain your puppy, a crate or an indoor fence should definitely be on your list. I always recommend having a crate, whether or not it’ll be used on a daily basis. In the case of traveling or being away from home for a little bit, a crate can really be a lifesaver. Dogs actually prefer crates to bigger spaces, as it helps them to feel safe and secure.
Bed or Fluffy Blanket
I say bed or fluffy blanket because some puppies will use their beds as chew toys, leaving a huge pile of destroyed fluff. In my own experiences with a chewer, he seemed less inclined to chew on the blanket than the stuffed bed. When it came to that fluff, he couldn’t get enough! You can buy both just in case, but either one will do the trick.
Puppies need to play. The play factor is going to be turned way up on the first few days, as they learn about their new environment and family. When they get bored with sniffing around, it’s great to have a few toys on hand to keep them occupied and engaged. A tired puppy is a happy puppy! Soft toys, squeaky toys, and ropes to tug on are all great toys to keep your puppy having fun.
Treats are a great training tool when you’re first getting to know your puppy. Some puppies are highly treat motivated, which will help focus their attention on you and the command. Treats can help aid in building trust and bonding with your puppy. Be sure not to overdo it and give them too many, as their little tummies can only hold so much.
Puppy Food and Measuring Cup
A puppy’s gotta eat! Make sure you’ve done your research and chosen a puppy food that is healthy and nutritious. There’s so many options on the market, but most brands do have a puppy formula. Be mindful of your puppy’s eating needs based on their breed and activity level. Do your research and be sure you’re not giving your puppy too much food. The measuring cup will go a long way in helping to keep your puppy at a healthy weight as they grow.
If you’re a pet parent that works full-time or a frequent traveler, have a few options for doggy daycare or overnight boarding. Now that you have a puppy, you have to be mindful of your schedule and how that may affect your puppy. If you’re going to be away from home, it’s best to place them in the care of someone who will be able to supervise them. There’s other alternatives, like pet sitting and personal pet boarding services that work just as well.
I cannot express how important pet insurance can be in an emergency. If your pet suddenly falls ill or suffers some unexpected accident, you want to be prepared for those inevitable, costly vet bills. Medical costs can run high, not just for the visit, but also for subsequent prescriptions and aftercare. Pet insurance is great, as it covers almost all of the costs associated with these emergency visits. Some programs even cover aging conditions like hip dysplasia with lifetime coverage payouts.
Even if your puppy has had all their shots, it’s always recommended that you take them to their vet for a check-in. Taking your puppy to the same vet as they age allows them to build a relationship with your puppy, minimizing vet anxieties. As your puppy ages, it’s just easier to go to a vet with your history and progressive analysis. In case of an emergency, it’s always best to choose the vet closest to your location.
Your puppy is going to need training if you want a polite, well-behaved dog. Etiquette and leash training truly start to become apparent as your puppy ages. Training also helps to keep your puppy learning and engaged with you as their owner. This can include house training to leash training. Check out your local pet store to see what training programs they recommend for new puppy owners. There’s many options, such as group classes or in-home training if you prefer.
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