Are you about to bring home a new puppy? Then it's time to start preparing for your furry family member! Many new pet owners get blindsided because they don't have everything they need before their puppy arrives. So to get you started on the best possible paw, here are 8 things you'll want to put on your new puppy checklist.
1) Dog Crate
Did you know that dogs are actually denning animals? Dog are naturally drawn to enclosed spaces (like under your bed) because it provides them with a sense of safety and security. Same thing with a dog crate! When used correctly, a crate is like a bedroom for your dog.
Crate training is also a great way to aid with potty training and minimizing accidents in the house.
The crate you choose should be large enough for him to stand up, turn around, and lay down in comfortably. We'd recommend choosing a crate that comes with a divider, so it can grow with your puppy over time.
Another consideration when buying a crate is the material used. For example, wire crates are sturdy and easy to clean. Plastic crates offer more insulation for sound and heat. They also tend to be more lightweight and easy to move around. There are also more premium, fashion-forward crate brands popping up if you are looking for a more upscale look.
Do yourself (and your pup) a favor and start crate training from the start to set them up for success!
2) Baby Gates or Playpen
A wandering puppy is sure to find something exciting to chew on (like your furniture, shoes, or potentially harmful objects like cleaning supplies or electrical wires) or an unwanted place to go to the bathroom when you aren't looking. To prevent your puppy from getting into mischief, a baby gate or playpen is a great way of puppy proofing your home and providing a safe place to play and explore.
It's also great for potty training because you can keep your puppy in one area of the house, making it so much easier to act quickly and learn the signs for when your pup needs to go to the bathroom.
Here's a great tip! Before brining your puppy home, set-up your playpen or baby gate in an area with tile (like your kitchen), along with pee pads. That way, if your puppy has an accident, it's quick and easy to clean.
3) The Walking Essentials - Name Tag, Adjustable Collar, Leashes, and Poop Bags
There are lots of options for name tags these days - you can have a personalized tag created at your local pet store, custom designs on Etsy, and even some that come with location tracking connected to your smartphone.
When getting a personalized name tag, you'll want to include your dog's name, your address, and your contact information in case of an emergency. Not only do tags help reunite lost pets with their owners, but it's also a great way to show off your new furry friend, along with their new collar!
Within the first year of a puppy's life he is growing crazy fast! An adjustable collar will allow you to reduce the size of the collar for the perfect fit, and increase the size as they grow. The goal is to make a collar as comfortable as possible, without it being too loose. Plus, buying an adjustable collar will save you money in the long run.
Remember, a collar and leash will be totally foreign to your new puppy, so be sure to introduce it slowly until they get the hang of things.
It's a great idea to get a few leashes for you puppy! A classic 6 ft. leash is great for walks, but if you would like to work towards off-leash training as your puppy gets older, a long-lead leash is a great addition.
Long-lead leashes allow your puppy to have a little bit more freedom, while also giving you all the confidence and control if they start making a run for it. Long-lead leashes come in all different sizes (anywhere from 15 ft. to 100 ft.), so you can choose the best fit for you and your puppy's training stage.
Oh, and don't forget the poop bags! It's always good to have poop bags handy and to pick-up after your puppy. Your neighbors will thank you ;)
4) Puppy Food
If you are getting your puppy from a breeder or shelter, they may send your puppy home with some food to get you started. It's recommended to continue feeding your puppy that same puppy food formula, if possible. If you are looking to find a new dog food, be sure to consult your vet, so they can help identify any potential allergies or sensitivities.
When considering the right food for your puppy, be on the look out for the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) label on the packaging. This is the organization that sets the nutritional standards for pet food and will offer you some assurance that your puppy is getting the nutrients he needs.
A great puppy food will include a variety of protein sources, like whole meat and fresh vegetables, and the essential fatty acid DHA. DHA is a vital nutrient for the development of your pup's brain and eyesight, and a healthy dose each day can make a big impact. The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association published a study that found feeding puppies high DHA food between eight weeks and one year old resulted in better cognitive, memory, psychomotor skills.
After lots of research, we decided to go with Fromm Puppy Gold Food for Archie's kibble of choice. Not only does he love the taste, but it's also full of wholesome ingredients and proteins to keep him strong and healthy during his puppy development. And they have so many flavors to choose from as he graduates to his adult food!
5) Food and Water Bowls
Dog bowls are a simple way to start introducing a daily routine for your puppy. They will quickly learn when it's time to eat and where meal time happens. It also makes it easier for you to keep track of how much food and water your puppy is consuming and stay organized on who is eating what if you have multiple dogs.
One thing to consider when looking at dog bowls is your puppy's current size and how big they will get! You'll want bowls that are durable and can last the test of time, but also make it easy for your dog to eat and drink out of at any age. For example, a puppy may not be able to reach a bowl that is on a high stand.
Bowls that are easy to clean and won't shrink in the dishwasher are perfect for dogs who tend to slobber or if you are using wet food.
If your puppy is anything like Archie, they will probably think their bowls are toys, resulting with food and water everywhere! With that in mind, try looking for more heavyweight dog bowls or those with non-slip bottoms.
BONUS: Using a mat under your dog bowls is another great way to keep their feeding area clean, and adds a little personal-touch and style!
6) Puppy Treats
From the moment you get home, your puppy is learning all about their new environment and the house rules. Training treats are a great way to reward your pup for good behavior and letting them know when they are on the right track.
When going to the store it can be pretty overwhelming looking at all the options available, so start with treats that are specifically formulated for puppies. They should be small in size, healthy, and ideally, low-calorie so to fit in with a balanced diet. Keep an eye out for treats that in include omega-3 fatty acids and DHA to help with your puppy's growth and development!
You can also make your own treats at home by boiling meat and shredding it into tiny pieces. Boiled chicken is Archie's favorite and I don't have to question what's in it or how it's made.
When in doubt, you can always use kibble as a treat too, and save the really yummy treats for a high reward!
7) Puppy Toys
One of your puppy's favorite activities will definitely be playtime (it will probably become one of your favorite parts of the day too!). Having plenty of toys around to engage with your pup is super important in getting then active and providing positive objects to chew on. These can also keep your puppy entertained when you're not around and teach them the valuable skill of self-entertainment!
You will want to buy at least one of each of following toys, which can be found at your local pet store:
- Squeaky toys - The high-pitched noise of a squeaky toy will get your puppy's attention and them love to chase them.
- Plush toys - Puppies of all sizes can enjoy playing with soft, fuzzy stuffed animals and some may even find them comforting during nap time.
- Chew toys – These are great for puppies especially while they are teething. You'll want to look for toys that aren't too hard and recommended for delicate (yet sharp) puppy teeth. If it hurts to tap the toy against your knee it's too hard for your puppy.
- Puzzle toys - These brain teasers can keep pets busy for hours! Treat dispensing toys reward them with a delicious tidbit when they solve the puzzle.
- And of course, a ball!
8) A Waterproof Blanket
Every puppy needs a favorite blanket! Not only is a waterproof blanket great for making their crate super cozy, but having one on your furniture also gives your pup the perfect snuggle-spot without having to worry about accidents ruining your couch or bed.
Fellow Living's Organic Cotton Waterproof Dog Blanket is a great option that will protect your furniture from accidents, hair, and muddy paws. Plus - it's 100% machine-washable and dry-able for fast, easy clean-up!
Congratulations again on your new puppy! Hopefully, this puppy checklist has made it easier for you to plan for for the arrival of your new family member and help your puppy adjust to their new home with ease.