Congratulations on your new puppy! Dogs make wonderful additions to the family, and your furry friend will bring you joy and comfort for many years to come. However, it is important that you take proper care of her as soon as she enters your home, and that means preparation beforehand.
To remain safe, comfortable, and happy in your home, there are certain items that your puppy will need right away. Here is an overview of some of the essentials that you should have on hand before your new family member sets foot in your home.
One mistake first-time dog owners make is allowing puppies to self-feed. To prevent your new puppy from packing on the pounds, you should only feed him three times a day. Be sure that you feed him food formulated for puppies, not for grown dogs, as each has different nutritional needs.
Water is a different matter. Your puppy should have access to fresh water at all times, especially once she has been housetrained. You should choose stainless steel bowls with a non-skid base for both food and water. Separate dishes for each can aid in training.
No matter how careful you are, it is possible that your new puppy could get lost. This is a heartbreaking scenario, but you can improve the chances that he will be returned to you by equipping him with a collar and identification tags engraved with your name and contact information.
You should choose an adjustable collar that your puppy can grow into. Over time, you may wish to purchase collars in additional colors or with different decorative motifs. For now, however, your puppy only needs one.
Leashes are essential puppy gear for purposes of both exercise and training. Six feet maximum should be a sufficient length. Some leashes are adjustable to different lengths, which might be helpful for a growing puppy.
Before you bring your new family member home, you should take steps to puppy-proof the house. Anything that could do her harm should either be disposed of or placed where she cannot reach it. There may be areas of the house where your puppy should not go, and dog gates are a good way to set reasonable boundaries.
As your puppy gets older and learns the rules of the house, he can have more freedom to roam where he pleases, within reason. However, when your puppy is young, it is often necessary to confine him for the sake of his safety and your sanity. Dog pens are a good way to accomplish this. The ones made from wire panels can be arranged in custom configurations.
One of the most important skills that your puppy needs to learn right away is to eliminate outside. Crate training is an effective method of teaching this necessary skill. Your puppy's crate will be sort of her den within your home, so it is important to make it as comfortable as possible. You want to equip it with a soft bed, and be sure to choose a crate appropriate to the size your puppy will eventually attain, not the size she is now.
Of course, crate training is only one of many skills that your puppy will have to learn. Effective training involves lots of positive reinforcement, and nothing is better at motivating a dog than food. Be careful to choose treats that are healthy because you'll be feeding your puppy a lot of them as he learns the skills he needs to survive and thrive in the human world.
Like all babies, puppies need toys with which to stimulate their minds and work off their rambunctious energy. There are three types of toys you should have on hand to amuse your puppy as soon as she comes home:
Chew Toys: Chewing is instinctual for puppies, so it is important to provide him with toys that he can chew. Otherwise, he'll gnaw on whatever he can find.
Chase Toys: All puppies have a lot of energy, but some breeds are more inclined to run than others. Chase toys allow your puppy to indulge that instinct and wear herself out in the process.
Puzzle Toys: Puppies need mental stimulation, just like human babies do. A puzzle toy stocked with healthy treats is a good way to engage your new family member's natural curiosity.
Be careful about how you play with your new puppy. Tug-of-war games may look like fun, but they can teach your furry friend some bad habits.
It is important to your puppy's health that you keep both her and her environment clean. During the housetraining process, it is inevitable that your puppy will have some accidents. You want to invest in an enzyme cleaner for carpets and furniture to take care of them. This eliminates the smell so that your puppy will not be drawn back to the same place to eliminate again.
No matter the age, dogs should get regular baths. Once a month is probably sufficient for a puppy, unless he has dry skin, in which case you should consult a veterinarian. When you give a dog a bath, do not use shampoos and cleansing products made for humans. His skin may become irritated as a result. Only use a specially formulated dog shampoo .
It is important to start a habit of good oral hygiene for your puppy early on. Regular brushing with a dog toothbrush and toothpaste is part of being a responsible pet owner, and introducing your puppy to this routine when she is young can help to make it easier on both of you.
Long-haired breeds of dogs can develop matted fur, which is not only unsightly but is uncomfortable for them as well. For these dogs, brushing should be part of their daily grooming routine to prevent mats and keep their fur looking smooth and shiny.
While it's not gear you can buy, another thing your puppy needs right away is a good veterinarian, perhaps the best friend he will ever have apart from you. One of the best ways to find the right vet is to ask for referrals from dog-owning friends. A good, knowledgeable vet can advise you on many of the purchasing decisions you must make for your puppy's gear.