In the excitement of bringing home a gorgeous new puppy, it can be tricky to think of all the ways you need to prepare for their arrival. This is especially the case if you have never owned a dog before. However, having everything ready will make it all just that much easier. That’s why we have come up with this handy new puppy owner checklist of tasks to complete, including a new puppy shopping list, before welcoming the newest member of your family into your home and your life.
Set Up An Appointment With A Veterinarian
Naturally, the health and wellbeing of your pup will be your top priority. While a responsible breeder will have kept on top of early check-ups, vaccinations, and deworming, get things off on the right foot by organizing your own vet visit. Let them know that you have a new pet and would like to book a wellness exam.
It’s really best to schedule an appointment within the first three days of bringing your puppy home. In fact, this is often a condition of the purchasing agreement to uphold the validity of any health guarantee provided.
If you are adopting from a shelter, this first vet visit is even more essential. Your pup’s breeding background is unknown, and they may have been exposed to a variety of contagious conditions while in the shelter. A health check can identify such issues. It can also ensure that your puppy is developing normally and has received any necessary pills and shots for their age and stage of development.
Another reason this early health check is so essential is that it helps establish the oh-so-important Veterinary-Client-Patient relationship (VCPR). When your vet understands your pet and what is normal for them, diagnosing any conditions they may go on to develop is that much quicker and easier.
Look Into Puppy School
What you should be doing at this time is a little research to ensure you are prepared, and a little shopping so that you have the right tools on hand. After all, it’s far easier to teach rules and boundaries straight off than it is to retrain a dog with established behaviors.
We recommend checking out Baxter and Bella, The Online Puppy School. Their excellent remote program includes more than 65 step-by-step lessons, over 100 how-to video demonstrations, printable charts, checklists, and so much more.
Their first two units: Puppy Prep Intro and Prep Unit, will teach you…
- How to set up the house for optimal training outcomes
- The basics of positive reinforcement training
- Training tips, tricks, tools, and techniques that will lead to success
These are all things you are definitely going to want to know before fetching your new pal – trust us! And even if you have plenty of dog experience, it’s always good to have a little refresher.
Puppy-Proof Your Home
Just like a small child, your new puppy will be getting into anything and everything they can. To help keep them safe and your belongings intact (puppies may look cute but they come equipped with needle-sharp teeth!) puppy proof your home before they get there.
Eliminate all potential hazards by:
- Keeping breakable (and chewable) objects well out of reach and covering up any low-lying electrical cords.
- Safely storing away any household chemicals such as cleaning products as well as medicines, plant food, or anything else that might cause harm if ingested.
- Checking yard fences and carefully enclosing pools and hot tubs which your pet could fall into, as well as garden areas that you don’t want them digging up.
- Putting your trash cans in a place where your puppy can’t get into them – especially ones that may contain discarded food items.
- Looking over your house and removing any items that may become choking hazards such as coins, rubber bands, jewelry, and socks.
- Placing plants out of the way, as some of them are potentially poisonous for dogs.
Create Puppy Safe Rooms and Spaces
While it’s going to be tough to tear yourself away, you can’t realistically spend 24 hours a day with your new fur baby. At some point, you are going to have to leave them unsupervised. For that reason, it’s a good idea to have designated areas of your home and garden where you can happily leave them alone.
You might dedicate a whole room to this or make use of a doggy playpen (see below) to fence off an area. Whichever you opt for, pick a place where your pup can’t get into too much trouble and where they are going to feel safe and secure while you are gone. You will need to remove anything they might chew or get tangled up in, replacing them with a comfy bed and some age-appropriate chew toys.
If you have a large garden, it might be better to set aside a section for your pet. Especially if you have small children running around and you don’t want them tracking through do-do. Doing this can also spare your plants and flowers if your hound turns out to be a digger. Again, this can be very easily done with a dog fence, gate, or playpen.
Prepare a Crate in Advance
Additionally, prepare a crate before bringing home your new puppy. Make sure that the crate is comfortable by placing some soft blankets there, where your pup can lay down.
It may be best to set up the crate beside your bed or in your bedroom, at least for the first few nights. Your puppy will feel much safer and more secure knowing that you’re close by, and you’ll all be able to get through those first few nights a little easier.
Go Shopping With This New Puppy Shopping List
Finally, you are going to need to purchase a number of items and accessories for your pooch (more than you are likely to be able to think of off the top of your head). So, here is a new puppy shopping list of all the things you will need when they finally arrive.
A fairly obvious one (that’s why we’ve put it at the top of the list). First decide whether you are going to opt for dry or wet food. Then you will need to find a version that is best suited for young dogs. Experts usually recommend continuing to feed puppy the same brand of food as the breeder if that’s working out and to make any changes very gradually.
Food Storage is also an essential item if you’ve chosen to feed your pup kibble, plastic storage containers keep the food dry, fresh and help to avoid attracting vermin.
There’s more to selecting the right food and water bowls than meets the eye. You need to consider how much kibble you should be feeding your little darling to ensure it’s big enough. You also want something sturdy that isn’t likely to spill. Stainless steel bowls like these that can’t tip are always a great option.
Great for rewarding good behavior and for training, not all treats are created equal. Avoid giving bones or rawhides as they can choke puppies. Look for biscuit options that are low in calories but high in taste. These are the ones we recommend.
You will likely be doing a fair amount of training on the go. A durable, wearable bag like this stops you from needing to stuff your pockets and then have them smelling of bacon for weeks after.
Crate training is a pretty hot topic among pet parents. For some, a crate is a must-have item for keeping their pal safe, while others don’t like the thought of locking their best friend away. To us the crate represents a safe space for your pup, one of their very own where they can go and chill and get away from the hubbub of family life. Picking the right one, though, is vital. There there are also plenty of alternatives for dogs that just don’t get along well with the traditional kind.
These are a little less confining than a crate but still give you control over where your dog can roam inside the house. They are usually light, highly portable, and relatively easy to attach to any door. Here are some recommendations for pet gates.
Alternatively, play pens are great if you’re looking to designate an area of a room rather than an entire room to your dog, then a playpen is the way to go. Again, these are easy to set up and to store. The added bonus is they can be used outdoors as well as in. Here are some recommendations for play pens.
Not meant to replace a full-size crate, a travel carrier is an excellent choice for those wanting to keep their puppy safe in the car while headed out on walks, adventures, or trips to the vet. Here are some soft-sided travel carrier recommendations.
Old blankets are great for making a crate more comfortable. However, if you are not looking to go down the crate path, a bed helps your dog feel at home by giving them their own special place. These days, there are so many options, so choose wisely based on your pal’s size, temperament, and specific needs.
Be careful when picking out new toys for your puppy. If the toys are cheap and easily destroyed, a puppy can ingest parts of the toys which can be dangerous. Balls are always wonderful to have on hand. Something that squeaks is a must-have. And anything that moves that they can chase is sure to be a hit! Here are some safe toys for puppies that we recommend.
Alongside items your puppy can have fun with, they will need a selection of chew toys that will help with teething and keeping their jaw healthy and teeth clean. Again, you are going to want to get something that they won’t destroy in two seconds flat. Here are some tried and tested favorites that we just love.
Collar, Harness, and Leash
Necessary for leash training but also good for holding tags with owner information if your pet escapes; you want a good and sturdy yet comfortable collar. Note that your puppy will probably chew at their collar and leash – it’s probably a good idea to skip the fancy collars and leashes in the first year or two until they outgrow the chewing habit! Here are some recommended collars.
Harnesses are an increasingly popular collar alternative, harnesses are great for overly excitable pups who don’t quite understand how to walk comfortably with a regular collar yet. Here are some recommended harnesses.
A leash seems like such a simple item to buy, but skimp here, and you could end up with a lost pet. A simple yet high-quality nylon option such as this one will do the trick.
Never leave the house without them! Poop bags like these are an essential part of responsible pet ownership, and you could find yourself in hot water if you don’t have them.
Potty Training Pads
Great for the early days of potty training, for overnight use, and perfect for people in apartments, potty training pads give your pal a place to relieve themselves as needed. They can be used anywhere. Here are some potty training pads we recommend.
Even with the best will in the world, accidents happen. Be prepared for those early ‘uh ohs’ with cleaning supplies like these that will both disinfect and eliminate odor. Make sure they are safe to use around a puppy that may decide they want a taste!
For us, nothing quite beats the feeling of bringing home a new pet. However, you need to ensure that you are fully prepared; otherwise, you will find yourself running to the shops on a daily basis. Hopefully, these bringing home a new puppy tips prove useful in getting you ready for what’s to come so that you can really enjoy the truly memorable experience of adopting a new dog.
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