Puppy Shopping List
Before you bring your new puppy home, you need to be prepared with supplies essential for a healthy and happy new family member. Here is a basic shopping list:
Food and Water Bowls
You need two separate bowls: one for your puppy’s food and one for your puppy’s water. You should look for bowls that are easy to clean (it is even better if bowls are dishwasher safe), sturdy and that won’t tip over easily. Metal or ceramic bowls are generally smarter choices than plastic bowls because plastic bowls can cause a condition in some dogs known as plastic dish dermatitis. Depending on how much bigger your puppy is going to grow, you might want to buy smaller bowls at first and then switch to larger bowls as your puppy gets bigger.
Collar and Identification
Your puppy needs a soft, lightweight and adjustable collar. The best everyday collars for your puppy are generally those that are flat and have either a buckle or snap closure. To determine your puppy’s collar size, measure your puppy’s neck and add about two inches. To adjust the collar to the appropriate size for your puppy, put the collar around his neck and see if you can slide two fingers smoothly between his neck and the collar. If you cannot slide your two fingers smoothly between the collar and your puppy’s neck then his collar is too tight. If you can wiggle your two fingers up and down, then the collar is too loose.
Every collar needs to have some form of identification on it with your puppy’s name and your contact information. This information can be engraved on tags or even embroidered on collars. Although some pet stores offer tags that are made while you wait, the letters on these tags tend to rub off somewhat quickly so they are best used as a temporary measure while you are waiting for the permanent tags that you have ordered. For more tips on identification and loss prevention methods such as microchipping click here.
There is an endless variety of leash styles and materials available. While the choice is up to you, it is often best to choose a sturdy, fray-proof nylon leash as nylon leashes are soft, durable and won’t spoil in the rain. A 6 foot long leash is usually recommended for training purposes, and either a 4 foot leash or a 6 foot leash – whichever you are more comfortable with for your individual puppy – is great for going on walks with your new canine companion.
You need the proper brush and a gentle, puppy shampoo for when your little one gets dirty. Which brush you use depends on your puppy’s coat type. The following are some common types of brushes: pin brushes (brushes with small, metal, covered pins) are usually best for puppies with long, curly, wavy or wiry coats. Bristle brushes can be used with short-haired puppies. Slicker brushes are used for long-haired puppies. Rubber brushes and grooming gloves are best for short-haired puppies. Remember, however, to choose a gentle brush for your puppy to make his grooming process as pleasant as possible. For more about proper hygiene, click here.
First Aid Kit
Many pet supply stores have their own pre-packaged first aid kits for you to buy or you can make your own. Click here to see what you should have in your kit.
Toys are not simply a frivolous buy. All dogs need to have safe objects to help satisfy their innate need to chew and as a fun outlet. Chew toys are even more important for puppies, especially during the period when they lose their baby teeth. You should only choose toys designed especially for dogs that won’t break, splinter, or be swallowed. In addition, pay attention to the size of the toy. If your puppy can fit the entire toy easily in his mouth, then the toy is too small for him. Remember to check toys periodically to make sure that they are not falling into pieces that can be swallowed. Also, never let your dog play with your slippers or other personal items, nor should you buy him toys designed to look like shoes or any of your other belongings unless you want to train your dog that it all right to chew on your things. Finally, you need to be aware of the risks associated with rawhide toys — from diarrhea and vomiting to throat irritation — available at so many pet supply stores. Click here to learn more about rawhide toys.
You should consult with your vet ahead of time as to what
type of food will provide the best nutrition for your puppy. However, for
your puppy’s first days at home, you should continue to feed him the diet
that he has been used to. Changing food can be a bit stressful for your
dog’s system and cause him to have an upset stomach. When you add a change
of homes to the change in diet, it is almost a surefire recipe for minor
stomach upset. After about a week in your home, you can start to switch
over your dog’s food. You should do this slowly. On day one of the food
switch, feed your puppy a meal composed of 15% of her new food and 85% of
old food. Over the next week, slowly increase the amount of the new
food in your puppy’s meal and decrease the amount of the old food until
you are feeding your puppy only the new food. If your puppy is changing
from wet or moist food to dry food, you can mix a bit of warm water in her
food as you gradually change over to dry food. To learn more about nutrition, click here.
Crate and/or Bed
Most trainers recommend that you have a crate ready for your new puppy. The crate should not be used as a punishment place for your puppy, nor should you keep him in the crate for extended periods of time. Rather, the crate should be treated like a den for your puppy: a safe, quiet place where he will be comfortable resting and staying for short periods of time when you cannot watch him. Your puppy’s crate must be big enough for your puppy to stand up, lie down and turn around in. You should make his crate soft and comfortable by putting in old towels or blankets. Your puppy’s crate should also have adequate ventilation on all sides, but no areas in which he can get his paws, head or other body parts stuck in., It is often recommended to remove your dog’s collar before he goes in his crate so that his collar does not snag on anything and choke him.
In addition to a crate, you might want to purchase a dog bed. This bed will be an additional cozy place for your puppy to find comfort and security. It is best to buy a bed with a removable cover for ease of washing.
Stain Removers and Odor Removers
All puppies have accidents so it is best to be prepared. Many pet supply stores sell both cleaning products and odor-removing products. These odor-removing products are especially important because, even if you cannot smell anything, your puppy’s finely tuned nose usually can and the smell can encourage him to re-visit the area for another bathroom break. Remember to read the labels on all stain removers and odor removers. Look for all-natural and pet-safe ingredients so you don’t expose your puppy – and his curious mouth – to any poisonous substances.