Ah, to be a new puppy parent. Aren’t those some of the best and cutest memories of all time? Unequivocally, yes. That’s not to say that getting a new puppy is always rainbows and butterflies. Being new at anything comes with some self-doubt and unease while you learn how to figure it all out.
One main question dog parents always have is “What do I need?” so we made a checklist and sandwiched it with our best advice and tips on bringing a new hungry, clumsy, adorable, four-legged family member home.
What to Pick-Up Before the Puppy’s Arrival
opt for the XL version because they simply cover more surface area, but if your pup is extra tiny then Regular ones will probably be fine
Harness and leash
Keep in mind, they grow like weeds in the beginning so plan to stop at the pet store for a new harness about every 3-5 weeks
Kibble and treats
To avoid tummy upset, stick to whatever brand they are currently on and you can transition them to a different brand over the first few weeks
Avoid picking out the biggest and most expensive bed as they might tear it up or have accidents in the early months
A crate if desired
Might as well put these on auto-ship or use this as an excuse to take your pup to the pet store every month because you’ll never need to stop accumulating these. Luckily, they’ve been around for so long there are now XL sizes, and ones that come in scents like lavender to mask the stink.
This one is pretty self-explanatory
A folder for their vet records
Anywhere they are boarded while you’re on vacation, get groomed, or trained will require all their records so it’s nice to have them in one place from the start.
How could you resist all the cute stuffed ones? Remember to throw the plush ones in the washing machine approximately every 2-3 weeks to clean away bacterial build up on the surface.
Teething toys and/or treats
As your puppy grows it will get its adult teeth and this is one reason you might see some shoes or table legs bite the dust at the pleasure of your teething pup. A cheap, dog-friendly teething treat can also be frozen veggies like carrots.
It’s important to include their name, your cell phone number, and your address or town. Puppy tags are tiny so there’s not a ton of room to write their microchip number or your full details but that will be enough if they happen to take a stroll around their new neighborhood unsupervised.
Free Optional Items:
A T-shirt or blanket of yours and a blanket or toy from their first home
This helps them smell their mom and litter mates which helps them stay calm and adjust to their new surroundings. Soon, they’ll be laying on your piles of laundry, getting the same sense of calm from you as they once got from them!
Splurge Optional Item:
It can be an expensive item, but early on it may help ease your mind when you have to step away from home for a bit
A Few Pieces of Advice
When people say it’s kind of like having a newborn, they weren’t kidding – you will be sleep deprived but it will pass.
Lower your potty-training expectations. Stick to a schedule and do your best but know that it takes time! Particularly for smaller dogs, a big jump in bladder control happens after they’re fixed as well.
How someone else lets their dog behave does not dictate what you need to do. Puppies learn at different speeds and a cuddle bug has a different set of skills than a working breed. Comparison will get you nowhere so just enjoy the pup you have and make sure their needs are met!
Getting a puppy comes with a hefty helping of stress from time to time but it can be one of the best and most fulfilling experiences ever, too. An endless supply of love, kisses, snuggles, and laughs in exchange for some walks, and chicken? Worth it.
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