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A new puppy brings a lot of love, fun, tail wagging and slobbery kisses, but...
.... that adorable little bundle of fur is going to need a lot from you if he is to grow up to be a happy, healthy dog.
Preparation is the key, and if you buy the essentials and understand puppy-care basics, those first few weeks will be much easier for everyone!
When you're adding a new pup to your family it's very tempting to run out and buy up half your local Pet Emporium...
.... I know this is true, because it's something I tend to do every single time!
BUT pet supplies can be expensive and puppies grow surprisingly fast.
Do make sure you don't waste money on things that aren't necessary, or that your baby will outgrow in a matter of weeks.
At the beginning it's a good idea to stick to the basics, with a couple of extra 'goodies' thrown in for fun.
After all, you can add to your collection of stuff whenever you feel like it - and/or your wallet can handle it :)
Here are the checklists you need...
Here are the things that you need to have before you bring your puppy home:
Crates are very versatile and are essential for housebreaking as well as containment during the early weeks.
Plastic crates are affordable and easy to clean. Wire crates allow your pup to see what's around him and some have optional 'divider panels' which allow you to increase your pups' available space as he grows.
It's important to choose the right size and type of crate, and to use it properly. These pages can help with that...
If you don't have access to a safe, fenced outdoor area for your puppy to eliminate, you may need to set up an indoor potty spot until he's fully vaccinated and safe to take onto the sidewalk or to the park to pee/poop.
Puppy pee pee pads are fairly inexpensive and the most popular choice, but they definitely have their drawbacks too.
Portable dog potties (with either real or artificial grass) are a good alternative and have the added of advantage of preparing your pup to use the grass outdoors later on.
See some of the best options here....
No matter how careful you are about potty-training, the occasional accidents are a fact of life with puppies.
To remove stains and odors completely I thoroughly recommend enzymatic cleaners such as the Natures' Miracle range.
What you feed your puppy when he's young has a huge impact on his health, so it's important to choose a premium food with the right balance of nutrients.
Some of the brands I would recommend include Wellness, AvoDerm, Orijen, Precise and Nutro.
These pages have all the info. you need to make the right choice for your new puppy...
One of the first things you need to do is to put a soft collar on your puppy and firmly attach his ID tags to it.
It's surprisingly easy for a tiny newcomer to slip out of your yard/arms/front door - and a puppy or dog with no identification will end up in the local pound. If he's lucky. If he's not lucky it could be much worse.
These don't need to be fancy at first because your little one will outgrow the small sizes quickly.
Puppies love to play, and they really love to chew... so good, sturdy chew toys are a must!
When choosing puppy toys you need to take into account your puppys' size, breed and chewing style.
Dogs like Retrievers, Labradors, Rottweilers, Ptibulls and German Shepherds have very strong jaws and chew vigorously, so extra-tough toys are needed for them.
Decades of experience have taught me which types of toys can go the distance (and which ones can't) and I highly recommend Kong, Nylabone, West Paw and Orbee-Tuff toys. Also rope toys, canvas toys, natural bones and natural antlers.
Choose bigger rather than smaller whenever possible and don't skimp here. Well-made durable toys are more expensive than cheaply made ones, but they last much longer and are, more importantly, much safer.
These pages will help you find the right playthings for your pup....
Training your puppy starts as soon as you bring him home.
Puppies learn quickly, and mastering basic manners and obedience commands is both easy and fun for him if you use positive, rewards-based methods.
Praise is always welcome to a puppy, but a tasty, healthy dog treat is the ultimate reward for a job well done!
These pages will get you both started off on the right foot, and paw...
Puppies are curious, love to play, and not very skilled at keeping themselves clean and tidy.
You'll need some basic dog grooming and bathing products if you want to keep little Fido presentable.
At first, a simple brush, some nail-clippers and a puppy shampoo are enough. As your pup grows you can add more goodies to your grooming arsenal.
Find the supplies and advice you need right here...
Here are a handful of 'extras' that you might want to buy for your new 'baby'.
They're not essential but they can be nice to have... and fun to buy.
Personally I wouldn't advise putting a soft crate pad/bed, or any other type of soft bedding in your puppy's crate at first.
The reason for this is two-fold.... firstly, your pup will most likely chew it up, and secondly he'll also be very likely to pee on it!
But if you want to get a bed to put in the living room or bedroom for naps and such, just don't put it in his crate, and choose a chew-proof design if at all possible.
Most puppies don't need anything other than their fur to keep them warm (unless the weather is extremely cold/wet)... and outfits are for their owner's enjoyment, not theirs!
BUT there's nothing wrong with getting your little pup a nice coat, sweater, dress or whatever takes your fancy.
Shoes can protect small paws when the weather's bad, collars can be way more than just practical, and hair accessories or collar 'bling' are adorable.
In this area you can buy whatever your taste and/or budget allows :)
Puppies are often very stressed and anxious during the first few days in a new home.
They've been through a big change and can be homesick, sad and scared.
Pheromone products use natural scents emitted by momma dogs that calm and relax anxious puppies. You can buy collars, room diffusers and sprays.
We use these a lot in our home for new puppies, anxious older dogs, during house-moves, for car trips and so on. They're usually very effective and totally safe.
Get a closer look at these products here... Dog Pheromone Products
Having a clear idea of what your new pup needs from you, and knowing how to make sure he stays happy and healthy, makes those first few weeks a lot less worrying.
A well-cared for puppy, bred from healthy parents, and who has had his first vaccinations and deworming treatments is off to a flying start.
After that it's your responsibility to make sure that he gets all the remaining vaccines and parasite treatments he needs.
Plus ensuring he eats a nutritious diet and gets the right training and socialization.
Here's a handy checklist of the things you NEED to do for your precious new bundle of joy:
Puppy care is mostly a blend of common sense, compassion and patience.
But life is easier for everyone when you know what your puppy needs, how to recognize problems, and the best way to keep your pup healthy and happy.
I hope that the checklist details on this page have helped you set up for your new arrival and pointed you in the right direction.
My website has all the tips and advice you need to raise your puppy properly, so please enjoy browsing and come back often. Good luck!
Bringing Home A New Puppy
New Puppy Checklist