Bringing a new puppy home is always an exciting event. Dogs are such joyful companions that they bring so much love and joy to their human’s lives. To top it up, dogs tend to be extremely loving and loyal too.
Adding a new puppy to your family also means that you will have to undergo a period of adjustment. Getting a new puppy is akin to bringing a new baby home. Dogs have their needs and have to learn acceptable behavior so they can fit in as new members of the family.
As such, it is best that you familiarize yourself with the following new puppy checklist first, before you get your new furry friend.
Choosing a New Puppy
Although you could always get an older pup, getting a puppy has many advantages. Because they are young, puppies have not developed bad habits yet. You do, however, have to be ready to have a dog. When you are, you need to make a decision about the type of puppy that you want – one that not only fits your personality but also the environment you can provide.
Dogs come in different sizes, so you need a puppy that will not only fit your home but also your lifestyle. You should also ensure that it can get along with the other family members. There are certain types of puppy breeds that are best suited for families with no other pets. These are the breeds that absolutely hate having other pets around.
Other breeds, of course, are pack animals. This means that they thrive well in homes with multiple dogs. Size is also a concern, particularly when we are talking about breeds that grow large quite fast. These include Great Danes and Labradors. When they play, they often do not realize how strong they could be. This could be an issue if you have small children at home.
You will also have to consider whether you want a mixed breed or a purebred puppy. Keep in mind that one is not better than the other. Both breed types have plenty to offer to your family and can be excellent pets with the right training and care.
Finding Your New Puppy
You have plenty of options when it comes to finding your new puppy. You could, for example, get a puppy from a person who has a dog that just had a litter or adopt one from your local shelter.
Getting a puppy from a dog that recently had a litter makes it possible to determine the breeding history of the puppy. You could even meet the puppy’s parents. This is helpful if you want to know if your new puppy is at risk of developing certain types of health issues. Getting a dog from a person you are acquainted with will also assure you that the pup has had its wellness check, including initial vaccinations.
Whatever you do, never acquire a new dog from a puppy mill. Puppy mills breed dogs mainly to make money, even if that meant forcing dogs to have litters too close to one another. Puppy mill operators do not care about the health and safety of the dogs they breed. They only care that they sell and earn from the puppies that are produced. This is unethical business practice and cruel to the animals being used.
Furthermore, puppies bred from puppy mills are also neglected and are likely to have health issues. Plus, they have not been socialized appropriately because they are kept in tight spaces which are usually unsanitary and often inhumane conditions. Buying a new puppy from a puppy mill will only generate income for a business that should not even exist. A puppy mill likely does not even have a license to operate and often does not sell out in the open to avoid being caught.
A better alternative is to adopt a new puppy from a no-kill shelter. Doing so will help you give a deserving puppy a happy home and help the shelter which may likely be overburdened. Many no-kill shelters even train the dogs so you are sure to get a pet that can easily fit your home.
Now that you have some ideas where you can get your new puppy, the next thing you should know is what to prepare before bringing the pup home. I’ve prepared a new puppy checklist that will help you get things ready in the home first.
Most veterinarians, dog trainers, and pet specialists agree that there are 11 essential supplies that you need for a new puppy. Let’s break them down and explain each one.
Top 11 Puppy Supplies You Must Have
First item on this new puppy checklist is puppy food of course! Puppies need puppy food and the type of food he consumes should be based on his age and size or weight. Heavier or bigger puppies, for example, need more food in terms of amount. Check out the labels on the dog food you purchase. Manufacturers often include feeding recommendations based on the puppy’s age and size on the back of the product package.
Buy only brands that offer quality food and nutrition for your puppy. You could probably ask your vet for his recommendations as well. Your puppy is young and he is going to need a high amount of calories compared to an older dog. This means that as he grows, you will have to change the type and amount of food he consumes based on changes in his caloric and nutritional needs.
Keep a regular feeding schedule for your new puppy. Do not leave food out so he can feed on his own. He’s a puppy and he will feed when there is something to eat.
2. Food & Water Bowls
This is a no-brainer, right? You’ll need two separate bowls or plates for each, and although you can go crazy with how cute they look, it’s best to stick to the basics. New dogs and especially puppies will likely scratch up the bowl, so you don’t need anything fancy here. However, we recommend that you avoid plastic as it’s tempting to chew on; stainless steel or ceramic are much better options.
Whether you’re bringing home your first pet or getting a new puppy to join your other pets, you want your home to be a welcoming environment for the little one. This is important because your new puppy will likely bite and gnaw at everything. As young dogs, pups will go through their teething stage and will chew on furniture, walls, and shoes. This is a bad habit to develop in your new puppy. Plus, he could potentially become sick because of the materials that he ingests.
To prevent this from happening, buy your new puppy some toys to chew on. Look for toys that are appropriate for dogs his age and make sure they are of good quality. Good chew toys are not cheap but they last longer. If you buy the cheaper ones, the materials often degrade faster, making them easier for your dog to swallow.
Instead, be prepared with more than a few options for chew toys as different puppies will have different preferences on what they enjoy chewing. Never let them chew on anything that’s not a chew toy as it’ll reinforce bad behaviour that you don’t want them carrying over into adult life.
4. Dog bed
Your next concern is a place to sleep. First, consider that you have a very young dog. Getting him a bed may not be a practical option for him. Puppies sleep in all positions and he could fall off his bed and hurt himself. He could even pee in his bed.
Puppies do need their own space and keeping him in an enclosure is a good idea. Enclosures help make the puppy feel safe and prevent him from going into places in the house where he could get hurt. A good suggestion is to use a dog crate. This ensures that your puppy will not roam around the house, especially in the night as he might hurt himself.
Get your new puppy appropriately-sized bedding that is thick and soft enough to keep him comfortable while he is sleeping. A crate-sized dog bed may be a good option.
Placing the dog’s bed inside his crate is an excellent way to potty-train your doggo. Dogs usually do not like to do their business in the area where they sleep, so placing his bed in a prohibited spot will help train him.
There are various styles, sizes, and materials that you can find when searching for dog beds. I’ve reviewed some of the most affordable dog beds here. In general, both the PetFusion Ultimate Orthopedic Memory Foam Dog Bed and the Cozy Cuddler from Best Friends by Sheri are popular options for most breeds and sizes of dogs.
5. Dog Gates
Regardless of what kind of house or apartment you live in, it’s very, very likely that you’ll need to install at least one dog gate. Baby gates work for bigger dogs but not for small puppies, so keep this in mind when looking for gates on marketplaces like Amazon! This will ensure that your pup does not wander into any area that may not be safe for him.
As soon as your dog gets home, you might want to give them a bit of space before putting a collar on them, as they will likely be shy, nervous, and going through a period of adjustment. However, pretty soon after they’ve adjusted, you’ll need to ensure that they have a collar with the correct ID tags.
The safest collar for everyday use is a flat collar made of durable yet soft material such as leather or nylon. Be sure to get one with a quick release so that it’s easy to get on and off. Let them sniff it first, and then adjust slowly to wearing it (puppies will likely take some time getting used to this).
The best leash for your puppy is four to six feet long, depending on how much lead you want to give your dog while you’re out on walks. The idea is that the leash is light and strong, preferably made of the same material that the collar is made of (in fact, you’ll probably be able to purchase the two in a pack so that they’re the same style).
A retractable leash is a great idea and works well for training, which you’ll likely engage in with any new dog.
During walks, it’s important that most puppies wear a harness instead of just a collar. Neck collars can put a great deal of painful strain on your pet’s muscles and throat, and that’s just not healthy.
For puppies, you’ll be able to check out different harness options, such as body harness, chest harness, or face harness. Body or chest harnesses are suggested for small to medium breeds, and face harnesses are only suggested for larger dogs when they’re full-grown.
Really, you’re just looking for something that will help you distribute the weight of the collar across your dog’s back so that it doesn’t hurt their neck.
9. Poop Bags
Yep, you’ve gotta think about this too. No matter where you live in the world, it’s expected that you, as the owner, will pick up after your dog if it goes potty in public. Most leashes and collars come with poop bag carriers that you can snap or tie to the leash, ensuring that you’ll never forget to bring it with you out on walks. Just be sure to stock up on bag refills, so you always have some at home.
10. Dog House
Whether you decide to build a DIY dog house or purchase a pre-made one, it’s a good idea to have one in your home waiting for your dog. If they aren’t spending any time outside, you can opt for a crate instead. I’ve detailed how to choose the right size crate here so that you’re able to correctly measure your dog and get the right crate to make them feel cozy and comfortable. You can also check out what you should put in the crate here.
11. Cleaning & Grooming Supplies
Not sure what kind of grooming supplies you’ll need for a new puppy? Check out our guide on What You Need in a Dog Grooming Kit to get more ideas.
Basically, you’ll need the traditional household cleaning supplies to clean up the many messes your new puppy will make.
On top of that, however, you’ll need a basic grooming kit, which should include:
● Brush or comb
● Hair clippers
● Nail clippers
● Shampoo & conditioner
● Toothbrush & toothpaste
You’ll find that having these grooming supplies will come in handy as you’re not likely to be sending your pet to the groomer every other day! That’ll burn a big hole in your pocket! Sometimes you may just need to trim a lock of fur that’s in the way or nails that are getting a little long. These are things that you can manage on your own and having these grooming supplies at home will help.
Register with a Veterinarian
Aside from purchasing objects for your puppy, you’ll also want to be sure to contact a local veterinarian and quickly take the puppy in for its first checkup. Find a vet with whom you feel comfortable with.
Make sure the vet is close to your home and can offer comprehensive medical assistance and emergency care. Ask for their care hotline or emergency numbers as you’ll likely have more than a few questions as a first-time puppy owner every time your pup has a problem.
How to Puppy-Proof Your Home
Puppies are very curious creatures. When they see or smell things, they have to check these out. Unfortunately, there are some things that puppies and older dogs should never touch, smell, or bite. To keep your dogs safe and healthy, consider puppy-proofing your home. This is similar to preparing your home for the arrival of a new baby.
First, do not leave things on tables and other furniture that your puppy could reach. These include medications, plants, batteries, hair bands, hair clips, makeup, chemicals, and anything that can be toxic to pets.
You also need to keep your pup away from your bathroom. Puppies are top-heavy and if they happen to fall headfirst into an open toilet bowl, they will find it difficult to get out. If this is a problem with your new puppy, you might want to use a toilet seat latch to keep it secure.
It is also very important that you keep drugs, medicines, and sharp objects away from your puppy. In the kitchen, keep cleaning chemicals inside the cabinets and keep cabinet doors closed or secure. Your puppy can be a smart cookie and could learn how to open cabinet doors to get into the interesting stuff inside. To prevent this, install cabinet latches.
Keep in mind that puppies will find any object that sticks out as fascinating and worth a bite. This is why you should keep them away from appliance cords, cables, gaming devices, and the like. This is especially important if the cords are connected to an electrical outlet.
Another thing that puppies find irresistible is a sock. A tiny puppy can decimate a sock in minutes. The problem is that he can also swallow the material. The long fibers in a sock can block the dog’s intestines and result in a medical emergency. Be careful with materials such as yarn, thread, string, and dental floss. Keep small objects away from your dog as well since he could easily swallow them.
If you have a second storey or a multi-level home, invest in a baby gate. You can install this at the bottom and/or top of your stairs. This will help prevent falls.
In the case that you’ll be leaving your puppy alone at home in the day while you’re at work, you may want to consider putting your pup in a crate. This will ensure that it will not roam the house and risk getting injured. You may want to add toys and blankets into the crate for the puppy.
Try to keep your puppy away from the kitchen, especially when you are preparing food. You can use a gate to block off his entry. Your pup could easily be burned by a hot oven or stove or eat things that he is not supposed to eat. Make sure to feed him only dog food during his feeding schedule. Young dogs are not mature enough to digest human food and some foods can be toxic for them.
Potty Training Time
Potty training should start right away – as soon as you bring your new puppy home. In general, your puppy will have to urinate or move his bowels within 30 to 45 minutes after he had a drink of water or a meal.
When you are potty training your puppy, make sure to keep a regular, consistent schedule for his bathroom break. As he gets older, the period between bathroom breaks will gradually increase. In the beginning, however, make sure you are consistent. Immediately after waking up, take your pup outside even before you get coffee or have a shower. That way, your puppy will associate waking up with going outside the house.
When taking your dog outside during potty training, always use the same door. After he has built a habit, he will stand by that door if he wants to go out. Make sure to build this habit initially by taking your dog outside every 30 minutes or so throughout the day.
If you cannot be home during potty training, make sure to leave your dog with someone who can be trusted to train him. You cannot expect your dog to do it on his own. It does not matter how long it has been since your dog was outside for a bathroom break as long as you take him outside after a meal.
This is how your dog builds an association between going outside and doing his business. When your dog is young, there will be more bathroom breaks because a puppy’s digestive tract is shorter. After he eats, food passes through his digestive system very quickly.
You also need to designate an area for bathroom breaks. He will be able to associate that area with the need to release himself.
Reward your dog for good behavior. Each time he releases successfully, give him a reward in recognition for a good job. You can use dog biscuits and treats.
So, what if your puppy exhibits undesirable behavior, such as urinating or moving his bowels in spots where he is not allowed? Try to startle your dog by calling out his name or shaking a can of pennies and telling him “no”. This will stop his action. Immediately take him outside to do his business.
Puppies are very eager to learn and can be taught good and unacceptable behaviour. If you leave your doggo on his own, he will learn to ignore you. Dogs can follow your lead. If you don’t, they will lead you and maybe develop destructive habits. These habits may not only be annoying but also dangerous for your dog or for you. Early on, your puppy has to understand that you are the leader and that he should listen to you.
You could train your puppy yourself or sign him up for obedience training lessons. If you choose to train him yourself, use positive reinforcement so your doggie will learn to associate desirable behaviour with a reward, which is something good.
Dogs respond best when reinforcement is positive and consistent. When you are consistent, your puppy will learn consistently as well. This is true regardless of the commands you teach him, whether it’s “come”, “stay”, “down”, “no”, “quiet”, “in”, or “out”.
Over time, add words that your puppy will associate with a certain action. Dogs are quite intelligent but they cannot understand long phrases or sentences. Keep the words or phrases short and simple. Say, “Come!” or “Come here, boy/girl!” instead of saying, “Come over here next to me”. Most pups will come running to their humans when called.
When the pup does come at command, give him a treat and praise him. Let him know he did a great job. If you want to teach him the command for “Stay”, gently press on his hindquarters while repeating the word, then slowly walk backward while repeating the word.
Your pup being a pup, he will stand up and run after you. Simply repeat the lesson when necessary. Once you have backed away and your pup stayed where he is supposed to stay, give him a reward.
When your pup is young, they love to stand on their hind legs and jump up on you or other people. They do this to show affection. Unfortunately, they can cause a scratch with their nails or knock off a young child.
The first time your puppy does this, teach him the command for “Down”. Each time you go outside the home to allow your pup to release, say, “Out”. When you return, open the door and say, “In”. Your pup will associate these words with going outside and inside.
When your dog barks, that is not necessarily a bad thing. Barking is a dog’s way to communicate. In some cases, barking is a means for your dog to warn you or inform you about something. For example, someone is at the door. When your dog barks, he’s letting you know that there is someone on the other side of the door.
You do not want to teach your dog to stop barking by teaching him, “Quiet” when someone is at the door. This is letting him know that barking when someone is at the door is not a good thing. That also stops him from protecting you. Barking is also a way for your dog to let you know that he is afraid, tired, bored, lonely, hungry, wants to play, or go outside.
Before teaching your doggo the command “Quiet”, make sure to check everything out to ensure that he is not actually trying to sound an important alert. That way, it is clear to him what he can and cannot warn you about.
It will take a lot of time and patience to train a puppy but an obedient pet will give you less problems in the long run. However, this can be difficult especially if you are a new dog owner. If you find yourself struggling, it may be a good idea to engage the help of a trainer.
Prepare for the Cost of a New Dog
This is definitely an important thing to include in the new puppy checklist. Before you run out to welcome a dog into your house, you need to carefully plan your finances to see if it fits your budget. You do not want to add unnecessary strain to your finances. According to Spots.com, the pet industry is one of the largest globally, and most of its $95 billion value comes from pet food alone.
The same study showed that the average American family spends at least USD 1,126 each year on their dogs, with 405 of that budget going to food and treats and 35% going towards vet care. As part of being a new dog owner, you’ll want to consider these costs and plan ahead for all of them. You definitely do not want to come to the day when you have to give up your pet because you could no longer afford the additional expenses.
Amid all of the craziness in adopting a new puppy and purchasing all of the supplies you need for them, don’t forget to enjoy your new pet. Take time to let them adjust to their new home and to you, too. If you are looking for activities to do with your new pet, you can check out this guide on how to make your dog happy for ideas.
Try not to worry too much about having the right supplies. You can always refer to this new puppy checklist for your reference and figure it out over time as you get to know their personality. In general, pets need basically the same things as we do to have a good quality of life, plus lots of love and patience.
Getting a new puppy can be a rewarding experience. When you know your responsibilities and are willing to do the work, you will enjoy many years of blessed companionship with a well-trained dog.