Bringing a new puppy home is a fun experience, but not having everything in place beforehand can turn the experience from happy to harrowing. Chris and I have assembled a checklist of items you may already have on hand, and a few to purchase ahead of time.
- An appropriate-sized crate – A must for any puppy owner, crates and containment devices keep your new puppy in a confined area where you can monitor and house train them. You will need a dog crate or carrier, and an exercise pen, playpen, or gate when you bring your pup home.
Hard-sided crates and travel carriers are made from a variety of materials, including stainless steel, plastic, and fiberglass. Though the stainless steel crates will last a lifetime, the lightweight plastic and fiberglass varieties provide a measure of safety and security for your puppy while driving or flying. They also replicate a cozy, warm den — especially when you outfit it with a soft bed or blanket. Chris and I will provide a small blanket from their current pen or a blanket from their mother’s pen. This should help with some of the stress and give the puppy something familiar. We would suggest avoiding any bedding with “stuffing” as the stuffing can become a choking hazard.
When choosing a crate or carrier, size is important – make sure that your pup can stand up, lie down, turn around, and stretch inside. Though dogs prefer to have a close-in den-like space, they also need room — but not too much — to feel comfortable. Remember, your puppy will grow fast – avoid the temptation of buying a large crate at first as having the extra room may invite “accidents”.
- Wire playpen. We recommend some sort of containment panels such as wire or plastic, which can be configured to any size or shape you might need. This will come in handy in confining the puppy to certain areas, rooms etc.
- Wee-Wee/Piddle Pads. These are essential for puppies not fully immunized and not yet allowed outside. They may also be a permanent solution for apartment dwellers or others who find outdoor house training impractical. Although handy, remember, you ultimate goal is to house train the puppy.In addition, we highly suggest also have baby wipes available to wipe their paws off before and after feed. A new puppy does not know to NOT step in their own poop or pee, therefore, cross contamination can occurs. This is how “worms” are passed from puppy to puppy or how re-infestation occurs.
- Chew Toys. A new puppy will chew anything in his path, therefore, make sure you have plenty of toys to keep them occupied, and always offer a toy when you catch him chewing a nontoy. Whether a stuffed bear, a squeaky ball, or a treat-dispensing toy, puppies adore their playthings. Toys can be categorized into chew toys that satisfy the need to gnaw, like hard-rubber toys; plush toys, like stuffed animals, that provide comfort to dogs; fetching toys, like balls and flying discs; rope and tug toys, which help to floss teeth while the pup plays; and critical thinking toys, like treat-dispensing devices, that release goodies when the pup performs a certain task.Despite all the toy choices at your local pet store, you should only offer your puppy strong, durable, well-made toys that are sized appropriately for him. If your puppy does destroy a toy (and he probably will!), remove the damaged toy immediately. Exposed squeakers can be dangerous, as are stuffing, frayed rope toy strands, and small torn-off pieces that can be ingested.
- Treats: First and foremost, NO RAWHIDE! NO EXCEPTION. Stay with a very simply and “neutral” treat. Chris and I use Milk Bones as a treat. We would suggest staying with those or something similar. Remember, any major changing may cause some intestinal issues.
- Bitter Apple Spray. After puppy-proofing your home, there may still be a few items you can’t just place out of puppy’s reach, like the corners of your furniture, window seals, etc. Bitter Apple Spray can be applied to most household items. It’s scentless for humans, but tastes nasty to dogs, and keeps their curious mouths away.
- Leash and collar. Even if your puppy is not fully immunized and therefore not ready to go outside, you can introduce him to his leash and collar, and get him accustomed to wearing it. Although we work on socialization skills with the puppies, we very seldom ever get put them on a leash and or lead. We suggest using some sort of “break away” clasp just in case he get his head caught. These can be found a most pet stores.
- Puppy food and bowls. This is obvious, as puppies need to eat about three times a day and require a bowl of fresh water nearby most of the time. We will provide you with a week or so worth of the food that we are using. Currently we are using Diamond Natural; however if Diamond Natural is not available or your prefer another brand, make the transition slower. Like treat, any sudden change can cause intestinal issues. We suggest stainless bowls – steel collects less bacteria that glass or plastic.
- Some sort of enzyme cleaner. Even the best-trained puppy will have an indoor accident at some point, and it should be cleaned up within seconds, when possible. The difference between enzyme cleansers and your regular household spray is that the enzymes will eliminate odors that only your dog can smell, reducing any reminder that he’s gone potty in any particular part of your house. Also, avoid any cleaning agent that contains ammonia — the chemical smells just like pee to a dog, and dogs love “going” where they’ve “gone” before.
- Grooming supplies – Although they will not be needed immediately, your puppy will need to be groomed and learn how to be have during the process. Their coat will need regular washing, combing and brushing. They will also need their claws trimmed, ears cleaned, and teeth brushed. To be prepared for the grooming routine as soon as they comes home, outside of the obvious, towels, etc you may also want to have these grooming supplies ready and (most importantly) understand how to properly use them:
- Bristle brush
- Conditioning spray
- Cotton balls
- Ear cleaning solution
- Grooming table or grooming area
- Nail clippers
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Slicker brush
- Styptic powder
- Baby wipes