- in Dog Grooming
When we imagine adopting a puppy, we often picture the little guy napping on the sofa, cuddling with us on the carpet, or romping with the kids in the backyard. The excitement of bringing a puppy home fills a family with delighted expectation, but before your puppy's homecoming, you will need to invest in a few basic supplies and puppy-proof your home.
Here's a checklist of what to buy and how to prepare for your new furry family member.
The biggest item on the checklist is a crate. The Humane Society of the United States recommends getting a crate that is just big enough for your puppy to get up and turn around in. Of course, your puppy is growing, and his crate will need to grow with him.
You can either purchase a wire crate with a movable wire panel or rent successively larger crates from a local shelter. You can buy crates from pet supply stores and will find them in several styles: collapsible metal wire crates, fabric-covered collapsible metal-framed crates, and hard plastic travel crates. Travel crates have the added benefit of keeping your dog secure when traveling.
Read more: How To Crate Train A Dog The Right Way
Of course, you will want to add bedding material to your puppy's crate. You may want to start with a small bumper bed and then graduate to a larger dog bed, or just lay down some old blankets for your pup to nestle into. If your puppy chews his foam mattress, remove it and replace it with old towels or blankets until he outgrows his chewing stage.
Collar And Identification
Your puppy will need a collar that is easily adjustable to allow for her rapid growth. Make sure it has a metal D-ring where you can attach an identification tag with your name and phone number on it for her safe return should she get lost. Check the fit of your puppy's collar frequently, making sure that you can comfortably fit two fingers between the collar and your puppy's neck. And avoid using choke-chain or pronged collars on your puppy.
A simple, webbed leash with a sturdy clip and a handle will serve you well. Choose one that fits the breed of dog you have selected. Larger, more muscular dog breeds will require a heavier-duty leash. Your dog's leash will keep him safely by your side whenever you take him outdoors for bathroom stops, and will be an important training tool as he grows up. Later, you may also want to purchase a retractable leash to allow your dog to rove more widely while on walks.
You may need to invest in a few baby gates to keep your new puppy corralled in an area of your home where you can supervise her. Keep your puppy away from electric cords (which she might want to chew on), houseplants (some of which are toxic to dogs), cleaning supplies, trash cans, and any medications. Consider purchasing a collapsible exercise pen for her playtime outdoors if you don't already have a fenced yard.
When she is outdoors, supervise her play time and make sure that she doesn't have access to toxic plants like onions and grapes, or to hazards like swimming pools, where she could drown.
You will want to purchase specially formulated puppy food to fuel your pup's rapid growth and development. Ask your veterinarian for recommendations. High-quality food provides higher nutritional density.
The smart dog owner begins reinforcing good bathroom behavior with their puppy from early on. Ask your veterinarian for a recommendation on the best type of dog treats to give your puppy.
Food And Water Bowls
Your puppy will be eating a lot of meals out of these bowls. You can find dishes made of wood, ceramic material, plastic, and stainless steel. The best choice is an unbreakable dish that can be cleaned in the dishwasher. Hard plastic bowls provide a surface that may invite bacteria growth, while stainless steel is durable and can be easily sanitized.
Of course, you will want soft toys and safe chew toys for your new puppy. Make sure to remove any plush toys that your dog chews up. Ingesting the stuffing could harm your dog's digestive system.
New puppies get excited and have accidents. Don't forget to have old rags or paper towels, and your favorite carpet cleaner ready.
Keep your puppy's coat, nails, and teeth clean and well groomed with basic grooming supplies, including a brush, a pair of nail clippers, and a toothbrush and toothpaste.
Before adopting a puppy, find a vet near you and research their hours, services provided, fees, and suggested vaccination and care schedule for a puppy. Ask a friend or neighbor, or contact a groomer or kennel owner, for a recommendation. A vet is a critical part of the support network for your new dog, and having their contact information ready will make you feel more secure.
Contact your local animal control authority or police department to find out if your municipality requires a dog license, and when and how to apply for one. Your vet may be able to provide information on purchasing a dog license.
This may seem like a long list, but remember that you're bringing a baby home. Set up all of these support systems in your home, and have them in working order when you bring your new puppy home. That way, you can relax and enjoy the sweeter moments of puppyhood.