Bringing Home A New Puppy? Read This Complete Guide For New Fur-Parents
So you’re finally ready to bring home your new fur baby! Getting a new pet shouldn’t be a fast process, and it’s likely you’ve been on a waiting list for a while. After you’ve been approved by your breeder, there’s plenty to do before the big day comes!
Leaving the litter can be scary for your fluffy nipper. Don’t stress out your bundle of joy by making a last minute dash to the pet store. The first few weeks that you spend with your new dog are very important. Your puppy will need to adjust to their new environment, and you’ll both need to spend lots of time together to bond. So make sure everything is in place before bringing home your pet!
This is the complete guide to kitting out your pet kit before your new puppy comes home!
Leash, Collar, And Identification Tag
Before all else, make sure you have these three things! If you have a long drive to pick up your pooch, you’ll need to stop and make sure they have ample potty breaks. If you don’t have a leash, collar, and identification tag, this could be a disaster.
Consider investing in a smart collar. A smart collar may be pricey, with prices ranging from $70 to $160, but it’s absolutely worth it. Firstly, a smart collar will monitor your dog’s location 24/7 with built-in GPS. Puppies are primed to run after an exciting smell or curious squirrel. If your pet makes a break for it, you can easily track them on your smartphone. Spending a hundred bucks on a trackable collar will be worth every penny if your pooch goes missing.
Some smart collars, like Wuf, have integrated training resources. You can use a speaker to communicate with your dog from a distance, or use vibrations to deter barking. With added features, such as canine fitness trackers, it’s worth the investment. Remember, a GPS enabled collar isn’t a replacement for microchipping — just in case your pup finds a way to squirm away from their collar!
Also, whether you have a smart collar or not, have an identification tag on your pet with your contact details on it.
Although you might want to splash out on a designer doggy collar, always put practicality in front of aesthetics. If you don’t want to buy a smart collar, consider buying a reflective dog collar instead, just in case your pooch makes a dash across the road one evening. You can also buy reflective and glow-in-the-dark leashes.
A Crate And Bed
How long will the trip be between the breeder and your home? Will you pick up the puppy alone, or with a friend or family member? If you’re picking up your pooch with a family member and the ride will be short, it’s fine to have the pup resting on the lap of your passenger. But if you’re travelling a long distance, or alone, make sure you have a crate for easy transportation.
Regardless of how you intend to pick up your pet, it’s useful to have a crate ready in your home — especially if you have other pets or kids. Your puppy will need their own space, and a crate is a secure way to introduce your puppy to the rest of your household.
Ask your breeder if you can keep a blanket or towel with the litter prior to pick up. The blanket will smell like mom and the pack, which will make the transition to sleeping alone a bit easier for your pup. Choose a clean towel that’s been in your house for a while, so you can also introduce your puppy to your scent before you bring him or her home.
The best place to keep the crate is in your bedroom, so you can soothe any crying that might come with your newly separated puppy. It’s very common for a puppy to cry in the first week away from mom. Be prepared to get up in the middle of the night for some consolation cuddles.
It’s also advisable to buy your pet a dog bed for naps and lazy days. There are literally hundreds of options for finding a plush dog bed. Is your chosen breed short haired or long haired? Do you live in a warm or cold climate?
If you have a short haired pup in a cold climate, consider getting a heated dog bed for maximum snuggle points. Long haired dogs in a tropical climate can easily overheat, so opt to buy a mesh bed instead.
Do you have clean fabric towels, a snuggly blanket, and a crate pad? You’re going to need them! Make sure you line the crate with absorbable liners in case you run into any accidents along the way!
Remember, crate training is an important way to train your puppy and help them along with both confidence and housetraining. For the first few weeks, you should crate train your pup — even if you both know eventually you’ll be sharing the bed! Remember, puppies under six weeks can’t control their bowels or bladders for longer than three hours, and sitting in their own muck will be traumatic. Set an alarm so you can periodically check on your pooch. Never leave your dog in a crate for long periods unattended.
Food, Treats, And Bowls!
Naturally, your pooch is going to need feeding! Since you’ll need to start rewarding good behavior immediately, make sure you have some special snacks stashed away for housetraining and crate training. Do some research on the best food for your breed, and make sure you’ve researched puppy-centric meals. Puppy tums will be especially sensitive, so make sure you have a few options of dog food in case your pup decides to puke up everything you’ve got on the menu!
Create a puppy feeding schedule before your pet comes home. This will help with housetraining. Ideally, puppies should be fed four small meals a day, with the last meal around 5pm or 6pm (depending on your bedtime) so there’s enough time for your pup to have a final poop before settling down for the night.
You will also need dishwasher-safe bowls. Since you have some time before your pal comes home, why not check out some fun and adorable designs on websites like Etsy? Heck, you could even Pinterest some crafty ways to transform regular dog bowls into something unique for your fur baby!
House Training Resources
Training your pup to poop outside will be your main priority when it comes to training! Make sure you have all the resources you need, including:
- Poop bags
- Pooper scooper
- Carpet cleaner or stain/odor remover
Don’t freak out if your puppy has an accident indoors. It can be hard for them to control it, especially when they’re young. Focus on making sure your pup can eliminate their waste outdoors after eating, and reward them for doing their business outside with a treat and praise. If you’re getting a small apartment-dwelling dog, get a pet patch or puppy training pad. This is a small patch of fake grass, or absorbent pad, where your pet can relieve themselves indoors or on a balcony.
Puppy First Aid Kit
Do your research on puppy health. Do you know what plants are poisonous to pets? House plants like aloe vera and poinsettias are toxic to dogs. Make sure you get rid of them before your new puppy arrives.
Do you know what food is poisonous for pets? Considering that puppies will chew anything and everything within nipping distance, make sure any toxic items are stored away. Consider changing cleaning supplies a few weeks before your dog arrives, and make sure any lickable surfaces have been cleaned with safe materials.
Every pet owner should have a special pet first aid kit on hand in case of emergencies. You can buy a complete one from Amazon or a large pet store, or simply put one together yourself.
- A pet first-aid book
- Phone numbers of the vet, emergency vet clinics, and a poison control hotline
- Gauze pads
- Adhesive tape
- Ice packs (or just keep one in the freezer)
- Disposable gloves
- Antiseptic wipes
- Hydrogen Peroxide (to induce vomiting but ONLY use if instructed by a vet or poison control agent)
- Benadryl in case your furry companion decides to eat a wasp
- Calming tonic which can be orally ingested. I recommend Rescue Remedy For Pets, which is great for soothing nervous or fearful animals.
- Flea, heartworm, and tick preventative care,especially if you’ll be socializing your puppy early.
Speaking of the V-E-T, make sure you have one ready. Has your puppy been dewormed? Is your pup up-to-date with shots? If not, you’ll need to take care of that immediately. Book the appointment now! You can ask your vet ahead of time if you should be giving your puppy any supplements or vitamins.
Toys And Chews
Puppies LOVE to chew, which isn’t surprising considering they’re going through the painful process of teething! Your pup is likely to take a shine to your slippers unless you provide a more enticing chewy alternative! It might be tempting to go on a shopping spree beforehand, but too many toys might confuse your new pup. With too many options, they might decide that everything chewable is fair-game!
Instead, get a couple of toys. Nylabone offers a variety of high-quality puppy chew toys. Make sure you use puppy-specific bones and toys, as the wrong bone could result in an upset tummy!
Don’t use human shampoo on sensitive doggy skin. Puppies have especially sensitive skin and ultra sensitive eyes, so choose a tearless shampoo. Excitable little mutts are pretty likely to dive head first into anything that smells interesting (which might be pretty stinky to human noses), so definitely have puppy shampoo in your supply cabinet!
Depending on your breed and the coat length, get the right brush and decide how often you need to groom your pet. If you’re getting a high maintenance breed, consider investing in a non-slip bath mat. Sliding across the bottom of a wet bath can be pretty scary for a young tail-wagger, and putting a secure mat down might make bathtime a little more enjoyable for them! Don’t forget to get nail clippers and teeth cleaning accessories.
Puppy classes will teach you how to trim your hound’s claws — only do it after taking a lesson. Bad clipping can be harmful to your pet’s claws.
Clear Your Schedule
Try to get your puppy during a period where you don’t have any other commitments. The strongest time to bond with your dog is within the first few weeks of owning them.
Try and get your puppy on a day where you don’t have to work the next day, and when you don’t have any upcoming travel plans.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably been counting down to the day you bring your puppy home way before you even found your breeder! There’s nothing better than getting acquainted with the newest member of your family. Make sure you have everything ready, so when your pup comes home you have everything you need!