Ultimate New Puppy Checklist
Being prepared means you and your puppy will have more time to get to know each other. Here are some of the things you’ll need to make your house feel more like a home for your new friend:
Your puppy has lots of energy, so only pick bowls that won’t easily tip over. Also, you’ll need to wash them daily, so make sure they’re easy to clean. Since some dogs are allergic to plastic, twin stainless steel bowls in a holder are ideal. You may want to buy smaller bowls at first and upgrade to larger ones as your puppy grows. This will keep him from falling into his water when he tries to take a drink.
Your puppy’s first year is critical to his development. During this time, your puppy needs special nutrition to promote strong bones and teeth, proper development of body systems and a thick, lustrous coat.
At certain times during this important period of growth and development, your puppy may require up to twice the daily amount of nutrition consumed by adult dogs. For example, at between six and eight weeks of age, the average puppy requires as much as three times the caloric requirement per pound of body weight as the average adult dog.
Start your puppy on the right track with a 100% complete and balanced puppy food.
Your puppy’s collar is important as it gives you a place to hang his ID tag and attach his leash. There are a wide variety of styles available. For comfort’s sake, if you’re buying a collar with a buckle or snap closure, make sure it’s made of lightweight nylon or leather. It may take a while for your puppy to get used to wearing it, though, so don’t be discouraged if he’s uncomfortable or scratches at it when you first put it on.
Make sure your puppy wears his collar and an ID tag at all times. Also, he’s growing quickly, so make sure you adjust the collar’s size regularly to make sure it’s fitting correctly.
A valuable training tool, your puppy’s leash is just the thing he needs for going on walks. There are a number of styles, materials and lengths to choose from, but a six-foot one should be just right for a dog his age (until he gets bigger, of course).
To make sure your puppy always looks as cute as he did the day you brought him home, make sure you buy grooming supplies that are well-suited to his particular coat.
For shorthaired breeds, use a brush with natural bristles, a rubber currycomb or a hand mitt.
For longhaired breeds, you’ll want a sturdy wide-toothed metal comb, and perhaps a mat splitter.
No matter what your dog’s hair type, though, be sure to buy him a flea comb and establish a regular grooming routine as early as possible.
Your puppy is just a baby, so he’ll definitely need a few playthings. Puppy-safe toy chew toys are great for teething and working off excess energy.
Nylon chews and hard rubber balls also make for fun and safe dog toys. As a general rule, though, if a toy can fit inside a dog’s mouth in its entirely, it’s probably too small – instead choose one that won’t pose a choking hazard. And remember, a toy that’s the right size now may become a problem as your puppy gets bigger.
Some toys can be dangerous. Avoid giving your dog any of the following to keep his playtime as safe as possible:
- Toys made of soft rubber, fur, wool, sponge or plastic that he could choke on or swallow.
- Anything with hard, sharp points or attachments (eg. squeakers that can break off and be swallowed).
- Old shoes, socks or other personal clothing – they might give him the impression it’s okay to chew on your other personal items as well.
- Balls of string, yarn, plastic wrap, twist ties, plastic baggies or any other household item that could become lodged in his throat.
Crate and Sleeping Bed
Your puppy will need a warm, comfortable place to sleep. Crates are perfect in that they provide a “den” for your puppy to hang out in when you’re not home.
There are two different styles available:
- Portable plastic crates with handles
- Wire crates
Regardless of which type you choose, the crate should be large enough that your puppy is able to stand up, turn around and lie down comfortably. It should also have adequate ventilation. If it’s an adult-sized crate, be sure to also purchase partitions or place a cardboard box in the back to make the space nice and cozy for your growing puppy.
Even if you do decide to crate your puppy, he should also have a separate sleeping bed for times when you’re home. Make sure you buy a small, puppy-sized one that makes him feel safe and snug.
Give your puppy a safe chew toy while he’s crated. No food or water should be left inside, because they might make make him need to relieve himself and he’ll have no other choice but to do so in his crate. Also, be sure to remove your puppy’s collar while he’s crated so that it doesn’t pose a choking hazard.
The crate’s location in your home should be easy to clean and draft free. Be sure to place it in or near a regular hub of family activity, such as the family room or kitchen – you want your puppy to feel like part of the family, after all. Your home’s your puppy’s home, too; always try to make him feel as comfortable as possible.
Once you’ve chosen a spot for the crate, make that its permanent place of residence. To introduce your puppy to his new space, place a bit of kibble or puppy food in the crate and then gently push your puppy inside as you give him the command “kennel.” Then close the crate’s door, wait for your puppy be calm if he isn’t already, praise him, and let him out. Repeat this process for a long period of time, being sure to always praise your puppy every time he goes inside his crate.
Starting from the day you bring him into your home, your puppy should nap in his crate and sleep there overnight.
The key to successful crating is to always use it in a positive manner – never as punishment. When you are too busy to supervise your puppy, or when you have to be away, place him in the crate with the proper chew toy. Always make sure to give him an opportunity to eliminate before you crate him.
If you are unable to crate your puppy, the use of an exercise pen is recommended.
Stain and Scent Remover
Specially formulated stain and scent remover keeps bad odours away from your puppy’s nose – and your own. It’s important to note that many of the conventional scent removers that are not found in the pet aisle or at a pet supply store only mask odours to humans, not dogs. Don’t be surprised if, after using one to clean up after your puppy, he keeps relieving himself at the same spot. He’s merely trying to mark his territory.
ID and Tags
The thought of a missing puppy will cause a wave of worry in any dog lover. Don’t take chances with your puppy’s safety – make sure he has has an ID tag secured to his collar. It should list both his name and your own, as well as your address and phone number.
Modern alternatives to the ID tag, such as microchips and tattoos, have also become increasingly popular. Microchips, inserted by veterinarians without surgery, are tiny capsules that contain unique registration numbers. These numbers are entered into a database that can be scanned at pet shelters, veterinarian clinics, and humane societies around the world. The chip will link your puppy to you no matter where he is.
Why use a microchip? Well, many pet owners today are using them in addition to ID tags in case their puppy’s collar goes missing. If you travel with your pet or have recently moved, the microchip can be a smart and essential precaution in case your puppy strays.
Regardless of whichever method you use, make sure the contact information associated with your puppy is always up-to-date.