New Puppy Checklist: Preparing for a New Puppy
Congratulations! You are getting a new puppy!! Whether you are new to a puppy or a seasoned dog owner, preparing for a new puppy in advance will go a long way in making the transition smooth for both you and your new pup. To help with the preparations, we have put together a checklist of the fundamentals to have on hand before your new puppy comes home. Importantly, it is not implied that you have to purchase everything brand new. It is perfectly acceptable and encouraged to make good use of what you may already have. This is a fun and exciting time as you anticipate the new arrival and preparing is almost as much fun as bringing that new puppy home.
#1 Puppy Food
There is a reason this is item numero uno on the checklist. The first 12 months of a puppy’s life are truly formative for proper growth and development. All vital internal organs and systems are developing during this early age: skeletal, muscular, vision, cardiovascular, central nervous systems and gastrointestinal. Nutrition provides the basic building blocks for the healthy development of these crucial systems. Therefore, the right food for your new puppy will make all the difference in his/her overall health. However, there is no one-size-fits-all answer for what food is best for your new puppy. At Goodness for Pets, we have over 30 years combined nutrition experience and would be very happy if you scheduled an appointment to come in for a nutritional consultation before you get that new puppy.
Puppy Treats and Chews
#2 Training Treats, Healthy Chews and High Value Rewards
Treats, treats and more treats! You will need an ample and varied supply of treats for training your new puppy. Particularly important from day one, use treats to reward good behavior such as looking at you when you say the puppy’s name and taking care of business outside. Advancing beyond those basics, treats are resourceful in a variety of ways such as getting your new puppy to come when he/she is called and basic sit/stay commands. We recommend small sized treats since you will be rewarding often in the beginning. We also recommend one ingredient treats that are human grade quality, with no added and unnecessary filler.
High Value Reward
A high value reward is something extra special, different than what you use for routine training and reserved for when your new puppy does something really good like NOT chewing on the furniture when you give a command such as “Leave It”. High value rewards can be an extra savory treat or a tasty chew. They are also very effective as you begin crate training to associate the crate with an extra special something. We like freeze-dried meat treats, bully sticks and lamb chews for rewarding.
Puppies naturally have a need to chew as they progress through the teething process. Therefore try a natural and fully digestible chew rather than something synthetic or with a lot of ingredients (especially if you can’t pronounce them!). We highly recommended that you supervise your puppy while chewing, especially in the beginning. Also, be mindful of how much of the chew your puppy is consuming. Example: For a dog 15-20 pounds, let them eat an inch or two of a bully stick (depending on thickness). This allows you to control how much and how many portions your puppy is consuming from a chew.
Food and Water Bowls
#3 Water bowl, Food Bowl
Feeding and hydration stations should be considered with a critical eye to purpose. Your new puppy will have a lot of energy, so select food and water bowls that won’t tip over easily or ideally, in a raised feeder.
The water bowl for a puppy must be low enough to drink from easily and deep enough to hold plenty of fresh water. It should be placed in an area of your home where your new puppy will have access 24 hours a day. Please note: the water bowl does NOT have to be next to the food bowl.
The food bowl should be proportionate to the amount being fed. Although typically puppies are not concerned too much with the bowl but rather what is in it. We recommend feeding your puppy on a schedule, 4 times a day until he/she is 4 months old, 3 times a day until 9 months old and twice a day thereafter. We do not encourage “free feeding” (leaving the food out all day/night) as it can lead to bowel control issues and potentially weight issues. So, once the meal is completed, or after 10 minutes, pick up the bowl, clean it and have it ready for the next meal. Please refer to our article on “Dog Bowls” The Best Type For You and Your Dog.
Travel Crate and Carriers
Get that new puppy home safely! Puppy “crazies” can occur at any time and the interior of a moving vehicle is not the place for it. Therefore, a travel crate is a must. It should be solid, comfortable and well-ventilated. It will keep your new puppy safe and provide a sense of security for the journey home. Avoid mesh windows in the beginning. Those puppy nails and teeth are capable of shredding them easily. Adding a crate mat to the carrier will make it more comfortable, less slippery and make that puppy feel secure . Once at home, leave the crate out for your puppy to explore and curl up in. Make it a happy place with toys and treats inside. In the future, you can use the same carrier for traveling, trips to the vet or groomer. Your puppy will feel at ease.
#5 Pet Gate and/or Exercise Pen, House Crate
New puppies can and will get into a lot of mischief. They are, after all, puppies. Therefore, you need to create a safe zone for your new puppy to transition into the new home. Start small by using a gate or any other type of appropriate barrier to keep the new puppy confined to a small area where no harm can be done. This is especially important while you are away or sleeping (or attempting to). No electrical cords, nothing breakable to be knocked over, no plants, nothing on wheels, no deep ravines (baskets, trash cans, vases, toilets) for the first few days/weeks. You can keep expanding the safe zone by moving the safety barrier.
Exercise pens are a great way to introduce a new puppy to the new home without overwhelming him/her while keeping the puppy safe. They are also extremely helpful when you are introducing a new puppy into your home where there are other pets. Everyone involved can see and smell each other but no physical contact can be made. Also, exercise pens are perfect to to use in conjunction with your crate for training and exercise. You can configure them to go around the opened crate door to create more space for your new puppy as the training progresses.
#6 Leash, Collar, Identification Tag, Harness
Puppies need lots of exercise so having all the walking gear ready is important. Leashes come in different styles and lengths. The most common size is four or six feet long. Although it may take some time for your puppy to get used to the walking process, let alone being on a leash and being restricted to where they can explore, have patience. Puppies are easily distracted especially while on a walk or discovering new places. Bring your treat pouch and/or a toy with you to use to keep attention focused on you when necessary.
Harnesses allow for a dispersed amount of pressure on the dog’s body, mostly spread out across the chest area. This can help prevent trachea trauma resulting from pulling or lunging. There are many different styles, brands and materials used to make harnesses and collars. All adjust to fit and but with varying degrees of exactness. Some connect with buckles and others with quick releases. Material choices include mesh, nylon, fabric, micro-suede, rubber, rope and leather. Harnesses vary on how they adhere to the dog’s body and where the leash connects to the harness.
Even if your puppy is micro-chipped they should have an identification tag. If your puppy does get loose or slip out of the house, anyone finding them will know their name right away and have your number to contact you.
#7 Treat Pouch, Chew Deterrent Spray, Potty Pads, Clicker, Obey (training tool)
Training tools can be used throughout your pup’s lifetime and will help them learn boundaries and appropriate behavior. Treat pouches are a very pratical way to have rewards on the ready during training exercises and long walks. Look for one that has compartments to hold other items as well such as keys, phone and pick-up bags. Also, chew deterrent sprays are used to prevent puppies and other pets from chewing on things they are not supposed to. It has a bitter taste and will help deter destructive behavior. In addition, the Clicker and Obey products are effective training tools to help distract from unwanted behavior and redirect focus on you. While some puppies respond quickly, others may require repeated efforts. Therefore, be patient, it will pay off greatly with a well-behaved dog in the long run.
#8 Plush, Multi-purpose, Fetch, Interactive, Treat Dispensing
Toys provide a wonderful way to encourage your puppy’s playfulness and also allow time for you to join in the fun! Puppies are naturally inquisitive and curious. Keep a basket of toys on hand to keep them occupied. Select different types of toys to keep things interesting. Playing will keep your puppy busy, expend energy and provide an opportunity for some serious bonding.
Types of Toys: Variety is Good!
Plush toys are pliable, soft to the mouth and typically have a squeaker enclosed. The texture, sound it makes (squeak, crinkle, animal sounds, music), the size, the snuggle factor and even the color are all different. Bring your puppy in to test out various factors and see what he/she responds to the best. Sorry, no test chewing. Plush toys are the top dog toys selling at Goodness for Pets !
What pup does not like a game of fetch? Launch, chase, retrieve. A great way to exercise your new puppy and is the best of bonding experiences between canine and human. These fetch games can be done outside or inside your home. TIP: In rainy or harsh weather conditions, the inside fetch toy is a great solution for maintaining exercise levels. For more information on fetch toys, check out The Whole Dog Journal’s recent review.
Puzzles require a puppy to solve a problem by figuring out how to get to the reward. Find out how smart your pup is! Start with level 1 and progress upwards. We carry a line of puzzles that are dishwasher safe to assist in removing all that slobber! Interactive toys put your puppy to work! Your puppy must move the dispenser around with his/her paws and nose in order to release the reward. These toys are great for puppies of all sizes and breeds and come with varying degrees of ease/difficulty. Interactive toys entertain and stimulate puppies for long periods. All dogs and puppies benefit from such stimulation and can reduce boredom-induced destructive behavior.
#9 Bed, Blanket, Crate Mat
Puppies play hard and sleep hard! Give your new puppy a high quality bed that will be their comfort spot for life. Select a bed made of soft, moisture-wicking material such as microfiber velvet which also discourages fur accumulation. Puppies and dogs love a bolstered bed where they can curl up and rest, especially in a quiet, sunny place. Puppies are extraordinary nappers but be prepared for plenty of mischief during the day. Put the bed in the designated safe-zone or in an exercise pen whenever you are away. When you pick up your new puppy, bring something soft to rub on litter mates and or Mama dog to absorb their scent. This will help your new puppy with the transition because the familiar scent will comfort the little one.
Grooming, Wellness and Clean Up
#10 Toothbrush and gel, Nail Clipper, Brush and/or comb, Shampoo, Wipes, Natural Cleaner, Waste Pick Up Items and Supplements.
You have a wonderful opportunity to accustom your new puppy to good grooming protocol. Have a tooth brush, a brush and/or comb and nail clippers ready to introduce to your new puppy. Start brushing and grooming right away. The goal is to make a positive association with the brush, comb, clippers and toothbrush more so than actually accomplishing the grooming task itself. Therefore there is no need to actually use them at first, just show them to your new puppy and reward with praise and a treat.
Establish a dental routine for your new puppy early. Start slow. Just let your puppy feel the toothbrush in the mouth for just 10 seconds or so. Have a treat on hand! Introducing supplements right away will benefit your new puppy greatly. Consider digestive enzymes, probiotics, fish oil and a multivitamin to boost the immune system.
Enzymatic cleaners, we like Nature’s Miracle, specifically break down proteins and can be helpful to use while house training or to clean up “accidents”. Natural wipes are a quick solution if your new puppy gets messy. Waste pick up items such as: Poop bags, waste bag holders (attach to handle of leash) and a pooper scooper for your yard will be beneficial in making the clean up process easier.
Check Off the Checklist!
Our new puppy checklist will help you prepare your home for that little bundle of joy and energy. There will be challenges but always be patient and give your new puppy adequate time to adjust to the new surroundings. Every puppy has different learning skills and quirks. You will see your new puppy’s personality emerge and grow with time and it is a beauty to behold! Please enjoy it to the utmost! Stop in to see our great selection of puppy products at Goodness For Pets. We have everything you need to check off that list!
New Puppy Checklist:
#1 Puppy Food
#2 Puppy Treats and Chews
#4 Crate and Carrier
#5 Safety Barrier
#6 Walking Gear
#7 Training Items
#10 Clean Up, Grooming and Wellness
Goodness for Pets is an all-natural pet supply store and boutique catering to animals and those who love them. Since 2004, we have been providing unparalleled service to our community in Naples, FL. Our goal is to be a valuable and dependable resource for our customers, offering products and services that are distinguished by quality, safety, excellence, and creativity. We specialize in holistic solutions with an emphasis on nutrition while acknowledging that each pet and pet owner has unique needs and requirements.