Your Puppy’s Coming Home: A Readiness Guide

Puppy Buddy

Congratulations! You are now the proud caregiver of a new puppy! Over the next several weeks, months, and years, you’ll experience the joy and wonders of caring for a puppy. While this new task may come with its own batch of challenges, one of the keys to success is preparation.

We’ve put together the following checklist to help you prepare for your puppy’s homecoming.

Supplies

1. Kennel/Crate

 

 

Kennel and crates relax your pup. Although some may view it in a negative light, the kennel or crate actually provides puppies with a sense of security and relaxationif properly trained, of course. Puppies are considered to be den animals, so, naturally, they prefer to sleep in enclosed spaces. When properly introduced to the crate or kennel, a puppy will come to treat it as both a bedroom and safe retreat.

Crates help train your puppy. Using a crate is great for house training, preventing destructive behavior, and teaching your puppy to view its bed as a clean place. This means less cleanups after “accidents.”

Choosing the right kennel for your puppy has numerous factors. Choosing the right crate or kennel for your puppy is, admittedly, a difficult task. Crates and kennels come in various forms and sizeseach with their own pros and cons. The most well-known crate types are wire crates, plastic crates, and fabric crates.

What we recommend: MidWest Homes’ LifeStages Dog Crate is definitely a crate to consider. Not only is it easy to assemble, but it is also designed around the safety, security, and comfort of your puppy. It is easy to clean, portable, and able to withstand wear and damage. Remove all the hassles that come from a traditional crate and purchase one that is created based on your puppy’s wants and needs.

 

2. Crate/Kennel Cover

 

 

Picture this common scenario. Imagine your puppy trying to relax or sleep in its kennel when something in their surrounding environment distracts them, causing them to feel anxious and vulnerable. A crate/kennel cover can help remedy this common problem.

Kennel/crate covers provide privacy and training to puppies. By blocking their view, the crate/kennel cover gives puppies their desired privacy, security, and comfort since it creates a den-like environment. It also sends off the message that it’s time for bed (or time to wake up when the covers come off).

The right kennel/crate cover needs air flow. The color of a crate/kennel cover doesn’t matter much, but it’s essential that it’s made of a material that allows for enough air flow inside the crate to allow your puppy to breathe and stop potential overheating.

What we recommend. MidWest has a great crate/kennel cover to go along with the LifeStages crate. Due to its extra-durable Teflon fabric, the QuietTime Defender Crate Covers provides your fur-baby with a safe and quiet sanctuary and keeps your home odor-free!

 

3Bowls

 

 

Dog bowls come in different forms and sizes. Contrary to popular belief, not all dog bowls are created equal. With the variety of dog bowls available online and in-store at different costs, one question comes to mind for most owners: which bowl is the best one for my puppy?

The right kind of dog bowl. Out of all the dog bowls in existence, stainless steel bowls have a number of benefits for you and your puppy. Apart from being super durable and easy to clean (dishwasher-safe too!), the rubber on the bottom effectively reduces skidding and prevents spilling when your puppy is eating or drinking.

Bonus. Stainless steel bowls also help reduce noise while your puppy eats or drinks. They are also scratch-resistant and crack-proof.

Check bowl for rust or stains. Still, it is very important to check for any type of cracks or even rust stains, as it can cause future health problems for your puppy. Teething puppies may also chew on the bowlyes, even stainless steel bowlsand hurt their teeth in the process.

What we recommend. We recommend using the OurPet`s Durapet Bowls for maximum durability and usage in time. Their stainless steel element with a permanent bonded rubber ring base, prevents sliding and that undesirable screeching noise.

 

4. Food

 

 

Growth is dependent on food. The “puppy” stage is one of the most important developmental stages in a dog’s life. Puppies experience socialization, weaning, and growth during this period–all of which are crucial to a dog’s identity and stability. Growth is especially important in puppies and heavily dependent on food specially formulated for their developmental stage.

One tip for feeding your pup. A puppy’s diet must be carefully monitored to make sure they are getting a balanced nutrition and gaining weight at the proper rate. One tip would be to plan out when to feed your puppy throughout the day to avoid overfeeding and other bad habits.

Feeding your fur-ball comes with do’s and don’ts. A puppy should never be overfed nor fed foods that can be detrimental to its health. You should also always make sure to read the packaging for the health benefits provided by certain brands.

Our recommendations. We recommend using Nutra-Nugget’s pet foods as it provides premium nutrition for the overall health of your puppy. Each formula contains high-quality, highly digestible proteins and precise levels of vitamins and minerals for ideal nutrition at all stages of life.

 

5. Bowl Mat

 

 

Spillings are common happenings. Let’s face it: puppies are prone to spills. Whether it’s food or water, your floor is bound to get messy by your fur-baby at some point. Bowl matts are perfect to protect your floor from these spills.

Bowl mats are easy to clean and afford. These mats make clean up fast and easy. How? With just a simple rinse under the sink or wipe down with a wet cloth, any puppy spills will be gone and done with in a matter of minutes. They are also stylish, available in different colors, and affordable, making it the perfect addition to meal time for your puppy.

Bowl mats we recommend. The Hoki Found Pet Food Mat  is the best mat for pups that are hyperactive eaters. With its anti-slip and spill-proof qualities, these mats will help prevent any puppy spills and keep your floors clean. Reduce slips and spills with this premium FDA-approved silicone mat.

 

6. Wee-Wee Pads

 

 

House training can be a stressful time for you and your puppy. Training your pup to learn the rules of your house takes time, commitment, and requires a lot of patience. Accidents are a common part of the process, but it helps to establish a set routine to follow for you and your pup…and remain consistent with it.

One method to use is positive reinforcement and constant training. If there’s one thing that dogs love, it’s praise and rewards. The more praise you give, the better the behavior. One tip would be to reward your puppy immediately after they relieve themselves (in the right spot!). This enforces the kind of behavior you expect from them, and puppies will likely repeat the behavior if they are continuously rewarded.

Another useful method is using puppy training pads. Puppy training pads, along with being leak proof and soft, help puppies learn exactly where to go when they need to relieve themselves. This makes the process easier for training your pup.

What we recommend. With its high absorbance and comfort, we recommend using Wee-Wee Pads by Four Paws. It even contains a plastic border to contain any liquids or fluids within the pad. These training pads will not only keep your house clean, but will also keep your puppy happy.

 

7. Bedding

 

 

Puppy beds are important. Puppies should always have a cozy, comfortable, and clean spot to sleep. Because puppies are den animals, beds provide a private and secure space just for them, especially in their new environment.  A comfy bed will also give cushioning for joints and bones that give extra support to your growing pup.

There are many things to consider for the right puppy bed. Depending on your dog’s size, breed, and personality, finding the right bed can be a time-consuming task. Smaller beds may give puppies that extra comfort and privacy but as they grow, bed size must also grow with them. Some breeds have long, shaggy coats that leave them vulnerable to overheating. Other dogs may be chewers or diggers.

What we recommend. One bed to look at is the K&H Ortho Bolster Sleeper. Your puppy will feel like it’s receiving a comforting hug from every angle due to its medical grade orthopedic foam and the overfilled bolsters. The cover is also removable and washable, which gets rid of any fur and dander.

 

8. Playpen or Gate

 

 

Playpens or Dog gates are a must-have for puppy owners. Sometimes, there are rooms and locations in your home that you’d rather keep off limits to your pup. Maybe you want to keep them away from any small children or visitors to your home. Whatever the case may be, dog gates are an excellent way to block pathways to these rooms. Some may even be configured as a personal playpen.

Playpens or dog gates give puppy parents a break. We get it. Caring for a puppy can be mentally and physically draining at times. Although playpen and gates are primarily used as a place where your new puppy can play and learn self-control, it also provides new puppy owners with an often needed break.

Not all playpens or dog gates are the same. Dog gates or playpens, like many items on this list, come in all shapes and sizes. While some playpens may look stylish or safe, other types are a much better fit for your fur-baby. When shopping, always take note of the size, strength, and materials used for the gates, making sure that they’re durable.

A product to consider. Another MidWest puppy supply we recommend is the Foldable Metal Exercise Pen. While your pup is free to roam around and play, its 16 square feet spacing will keep you at ease, knowing your pupper is safe and sound. It is also easy to set up and take down–no complicated process necessary!

 

9. Harness

 

 

Harnesses give owners control of their pup. When going on walks, harnesses give you better control of the direction and speed you want to go with your puppy, more so than with a regular collar and leash. It’s an ideal item for puppies as their playful nature makes them more likely to get tangled or possibly hurt themselves.

Harnesses provide puppies with extra body safety. Puppies who aren’t used to being handled with a leash may pull against the tension. If you are using a collar, the puppy could possibly choke themselves. The body harness takes the direct stress off their necks, decreasing any possible neck and trachea injuries that might occur if a puppy is constantly being yanked or pulled by the leash.

A product you can use. The EcoBark’s Harness is your go-to when you want to keep you puppy comfortable while ensuring the highest level of strength. The adjustable belt and emergency release clasps also make it easier for you to manage and keep control.

 

10. Heartbeat Pillow

 

 

Heartbeat pillow helps your puppy sleep. A heartbeat pillow is the perfect item to help your puppy relax and sleep naturally while housebreaking. It is designed to reduce negative behaviors resulting from anxiety, including whining and barking. The “real-feel” pulsing heartbeat and heat source mimics being part of a pack, calming by appealing to natural instincts.

What we recommend. Smartpetlove’s Snuggle Puppy is perfect for making your puppy feel at ease and comforted. It’s disposable heat source will provide your dog with warmth and comfort easing loneliness, fear, and separation anxiety.

 

Training

1. No Chew Spray

 

 

Chewing and puppies go hand-in-hand. Chewing on objects is normal behavior for puppers as they explore and learn about the environment around them. Of course, this may be problematic for many puppy parents who’d rather not have their house items chewed up.

No Chew Spray offers a quick solution to chewing. The No Chew spray helps puppies stay away from valuable objects around the house and just stick to chewing on their own toys. It also discourages fur biting and eliminates hot spots that prevent pups from licking and gnawing.

What we recommend. A great No Chew Spray is Grannicks Bitter Apple Spray. This will make your fur-ball go “yuck” and does not contain any harmful chemicals. You can also use it when house training your pup. Spray freely around the household and eliminate chewing.

 

2. Pee Here Spray

 

 

Pee Here Spray can help with puppy training. As part of the house training process, puppies may have accidents as they adjust to their new environment and learn what behavior is expected. Pee Here Spray encourages your puppy to relieve themselves in specific areas. Once these areas are established, accidents may no longer become a common occurrence.

A product to consider. We recommend looking into NaturVet Potty Here Spray. Lure your puppy to urinate where you want him to (outdoors, puppy pads, etc.) with this spray’s unique attractant scent.

 

3. Treats

 

Dog treats are the highlight of a puppy’s day. Puppies, like most animals, love treats…and praises, but mostly treats. It can ease dog training with its use and improve the human-puppy bond through a positive reinforcement program. Just make sure to use treats as a reward for positive or good behaviors. Pups will get the hint.

Dog treats we recommend. What’s better than a regular dog treat is a delicious dog treat? Your puppy will surely appreciate a good treat that not only tastes good, but contains a number of beneficial health qualities. Some delicious treats we recommend are:

  1. Blue Wilderness Trail Treats Wild Bits. These chicken-flavored bits are the perfect reward for your sweet puppy. They also promote healthy skin and coat so this treat helps them look and feel healthy.
  2. Lickety Stik. This lickable dog treat is super easy to transport and its roller-ball design creates no mess. Just shake, remove the lid and tilt down to offer your puppy a delicious snack.

 

Toys

1. Rope Chew Toys

 

 

Puppy chew toys can be fun and healthy. Puppy rope chew toys are perfect for playtime with your fur-baby and helps with teething and dental cleaning, if soaked in cool water. Rope toys can also act as a reward toy during training time.

What we recommend. Paws & Pals Dog Chew Toy Rope comes in various sizes and shapes that will be perfect for puppy play time. It will also help your pup during the teething stage of their growth and development.

 

2. Kong Toys

 

 

Kong toys keep your puppy active and entertained. Sometimes, puppers can grow bored, which can lead to negative behaviors, like anxiety and barking. With Kong’s toys, they will always be distracted and happy. Plus, if your puppy has mild separation anxiety, giving them a kong toy before you leave the house is a great way to help them feel more at ease.

How it works. Stuff one of your puppy’s favorite treats inside the Kong toy and watch your puppy work to retrieve the treat. This helps puppies express natural behaviors, such as chewing, scavenging, and working for food.

3. Bones

 

 

Bone toys help your puppy’s chewing urges. Apart from taking the appearance of a bone, bone toys satisfy your puppy’s natural urge to chew. It also provides a long-lasting entertainment for your pup, preventing boredom and anxiety.

Bone toys have dental health benefits. Chewing bones help scrape away plaque, which causes bad breath and potentially leads to serious dental problems. The action of the bone against the teeth is what scrapes the plaque away and controls the build-up of tartar.

What we recommend. The Nylabone Puppy Starter Packs is great for going through the many stages of your puppies growth they can start off with the first bone and from there move up to the other two bones.

 

Grooming

1. Shampoo

 

 

Bathing is important for every pup. Bathing your pup can be both an exciting and exhausting experience. It can stimulate circulation, removes dirt, oil, and dead skin cells. Thus, it is very important to keep up a healthy grooming routine for your pup.

Note what shampoo you are using for your pup. Each puppy parent should take extra care in choosing a shampoo formulated for puppies. When trying a new shampoo, keep an eye out for any irritation in your puppy’s skin.

What we recommend. Earthbath All Natural Pet Shampoo has a long range of formulas and smells that you can pick from when deciding what type of shampoo to use. All of the different formulas are safe, gentle, and effective in the grooming care of your pupper.

 

2. Brushes

 

 

Brushing your puppy prevents hair problems. Like humans, dog’s hair is susceptible to knots, tangles, and the like without proper grooming. Along with eliminating tangles and knots, brushing your dog’s hair gets rid of dander, trapped dirt, and reduces shedding.

A brush to consider using. K9 Konnection Dog Brushes removes dematting, detangling, and unwanted undercoat danger. This brush makes it easy to maintain your puppy’s coat healthy and bright!

 

3. Toothbrushes and toothpaste

 

 

Teeth care is essential for pups. Dental care is super important for young puppies. Your fur-baby has a set of 28 teeth in total and as they grow, their adult set of 42 teeth will move in. Brushing your puppy’s teeth with the right toothpaste made especially for their developmental stage is very important as it prevents tooth decay and disease.

What we recommend. Nylabone has created an oral care dental kit that will keep your furry pal’s pearly white healthy, clean, and shiny.

 

Health

1. Flea and Tick

 

 

Fleas and ticks can be prevented with the right product. Fleas and ticks are a constant threat to puppies, regardless if they live indoors or outdoors. Fortunately, there are a variety of products that offer a safe and convenient method of flea and tick control, including shampoos and collars. These methods can generally last for up to a month after treatment. Your veterinarian can advise you on which product or combination of products is best for your puppy!

 

2. Vitamins

 

 

Essential vitamins and minerals has benefits. Essential vitamins and minerals promote physical and mental well being for your puppy. They help your puppy’s growth and can, overall, improve their energy and metabolism. Consult your veterinarian to see which puppy vitamin is best for your puppy!

 

Having the necessary tools at hand is the first step to a successful first day with your new fur-baby! Having everything you need prevents any surprises or hasty trips to the pet store. Remember to be patient with your puppy and make sure they are comfortable with each product you introduce them to.

And of course, don’t forget to give your puppy lots of kisses and praise as they get ready to start their new life with you!