Before we were born, our parents prepared for the day they would bring us home. From bibs to blankets to bottles to booties, they either bought or were showered with things they thought would give us a great start in life. Well, all babies deserve to begin life in the best way possible. So, now that you’ve opened your home and your heart to a new puppy, we’re going to share our list of essentials you’ll need to lay the foundation for your furbaby’s fabulous future.
There’s nothing like watching a puppy as they romp and play joyously, without a care in the world. Through play and exploration they learn how to navigate their surroundings, and use their highly developed senses of hearing and smell. But the world can be a dangerous place, so you’ll need a leash and collar to keep your little one out of trouble and help them focus during training.
You should choose a collar with an ID tag, or you can purchase one separately. Be sure to print or engrave your pup’s name and your phone number on it. As for the leash, your best buy would be basic nylon or leather. Leashes made of these materials are ideal for teaching loose leash walking.
If a collar is uncomfortable for your puppy or they aggressively pull away from you while leashed, try a harness. A harness will keep them from choking if they pull away suddenly and it might also make your little buddy feel more secure and “hugged.”
Without a doubt, the most basic and important thing you can do for your little bundle of joy is to make sure they have quality dog food. Puppies have a lot of growing to do in their first year, so they need food that is rich in nutrients that will support rapid growth. Different breeds have different dietary requirements, so find out what foods contain the best ingredients for your pup’s breed.
Make it your business to read the ingredient labels on the packaging. Leave brands that use by-products or fillers like wheat, corn, and soy on the shelf.
Ok, so you’ve got your puppy’s food, now you need something to put it in. Choose ceramic or stainless steel food and water bowls. Unlike plastic, these types of bowls are easier to clean, don’t hold bacteria, and retain a cool, even temperature.
All babies are messy eaters, and puppies are no different. To make clean up easier, look for bowls with rubber or suction cup bottoms that won’t slide if your pooch gets a little excited while eating, or purchase a non-slip mat to help hold the bowl in place if things get a little rowdy.
If you have a larger puppy, you may want to place the bowl on a stand to reduce neck strain and aid digestion.
Like human babies, puppies need lots of shut eye to grow properly so they need a nice, comfy place to sleep. When shopping for a bed, go Goldilocks and test several types for firmness. Consider your puppy’s coat when weighing your options. If their coat is long or thick, they’ll probably sleep better on a firm, cool bed, whereas a shorthaired or hairless breed might prefer a soft, warm spot to snooze.
Next stop: training products. Perhaps the most essential tool you can get for your pup is a crate. Since dogs descend from wolves, they are naturally suited to den dwelling. Wild dogs use their dens as a bedroom to sleep in, a family room to raise their pups in, and a safe room where they can hide from danger.
Your puppy’s crate will serve as their den, a place where they can feel secure and comfortable when you’re not around. A crate is great way for your sidekick to safely travel in your car and it will also let you relax a bit while they’re learning the house rules. You’ll know that your untrained buddy won’t have free range of the house—and everything in it—while you’re not there.
The crate should never be used for punishment, nor should your pup be left in the crate for more than three to four consecutive hours. Only crate your pup until they can be trusted in the house. After they’ve learned not to be destructive, they should be allowed to come and go as they please.
To keep your pup looking as good as they did when you brought them home, you’ll need two things: a great groomer and grooming tools for touch ups between appointments.
Choose a brush that is designed for your puppy’s size and coat. Long hair will require a brush made for detangling, whereas a slicker brush tends to work better on short-haired breeds and a bristle brush is more suitable for dogs with tough, wiry coats. And speaking of brushes, you’ll need a toothbrush to keep your canine’s well…canines healthy. Regular brushing is crucial in helping prevent tooth discoloration and early gum disease.
Bath time will require a gentle shampoo and conditioner that is made especially for dogs. Never use human products on your pup. They may contain harsh chemicals that can irritate their skin. Bathing a new pup too often can also cause skin irritation and dryness, so it’s a good idea to stock up on cleansing wipes and sprays to keep them fresh between baths and after accidents.
To clean up said accidents, you’ll need plenty of poop bags, paper towels, pet-safe disinfectant, and stain and odor removal spray…and let’s not forget the pee pad. Like human babies need diapers, canine babies need pee pads. They’re great for potty training and for times when it’s not possible to go for a walk. They can also be used as a door mat for wet paws.
And finally, it’s time to talk about what youngsters of every species love and live for—toys! Little ones treat playtime like it’s a full-time job and in way, it is. Our job as parents is to make sure they have toys that will help foster their physical and mental development.
When buying toys, you should take your dog’s breed and personality into account, but it may take a little while to get to know your new friend. Unless you’ve already honed in on your new pup’s personality, pick up several different types of toys. Pick up a few soft toys, puzzles, interactive games and of course, chew toys. Puppies start to teethe at about 4 months old, so if you want your furniture and shoes to survive the teething phase, be sure to stock up on chew toys. Teething toys will reduce discomfort, and will also be an effective way to teach them what they can and can’t chew on.
Always check to make sure the toy is age appropriate. For example toys that are made small puppies may present a choking hazard for older pups.
After everything has been bought, every youngster needs an education. In the case of your puppy, that education comes in the form of training. Training can mean the difference between a good dog and a great dog. Here’s a great dog training course for you.
Now that you’ve got your shopping list together, you can put it aside and get ready to give your new puppy the one essential that can’t be bought…love.
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