What to buy for your new pet.
So you’ve got a new puppy or you’re thinking about getting one…
You can now look forward to hours of happiness with your new furry friend.
Of course, you need to make sure you have everything to hand to ensure your puppy remains healthy and happy at all times.
As well as providing an appropriate place to sleep and eat, you will have to consider those essential items to help you correctly train and stimulate your pup.
Don’t worry if you have no clue or are a complete novice when it comes to puppy care because we have you covered in this quick and easy guide to Puppy Essentials.
By the time you’ve read through this, you will know all you need to know to properly equip your home and your pet with those must-have puppy products.
1. Dog Bed
When you first bring your puppy home, you will need to provide him or her with a comfy bed where he can stretch out or snuggle up.
Until your pup is housetrained, this will be in his crate or kennel and some beds you can buy are specifically designed for this purpose.
These include those smaller beds or bumper beds covered in washable fleece or sheepskin that can easily be placed in a crate or kennel.
Both fleece and sheepskin will keep your puppy cosy but you also need to make sure that your crate or kennel is placed in a draught-free position that is also out of direct sunlight.
Once your pup is housetrained, he or she is ready to move on to a real dog bed and there is a vast array to choose from, including beds and baskets made from safe, sustainable materials and even those you can match to your home décor.
What is most important is to select a size that will grow with your pup while enabling him to feel safe and secure. Most beds now come with removable, washable covers and you can choose from a variety of stuffings including cotton and recycled materials.
If your pup starts to chew this, you need to replace it with a folded towel or blanket until he is over this chewing phase.
It’s not a good idea to encourage your pup to sleep on your own or your kids’ beds because even the cleanest, healthiest pup can transmit germs and pests such a fleas and ticks it has picked up.
2. Food & Water Bowls
Your puppy needs its own food and water bowls which it can easily reach and which, again, are placed in a draught-free spot out of direct sunlight.
Food and water bowls come in a vast array of sizes, shapes and materials with plastic the most widely available and usually the cheapest option.
If you do buy plastic bowls, try to choose those made from a thicker, dishwasher-safe material so that they will last in the dishwasher. Plastic does tend to score and scratch over time which can lead to old food sticking in those grooves and harboring bacteria.
Ceramic bowls are a decent choice although they are, of course, breakable and again need careful sanitizing.
The best choice of all are stainless steel bowls which, while initially more expensive, will stand the test of time and prove the most hygienic for you and your pet.
They have the added advantage that they are usually too bulky for your pup to attempt to pick up and carry around with their teeth.
3. Food & Treats
It is essential that you give your puppy the right amount and balance of nutrients in their diet.
Puppies grow fast and they need enough good calories to help them build and form healthy bones, teeth, organs, skin and coat.
This is why food specially formulated for puppies contains the right blend of carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals to meet your pup’s nutritional needs.
Every puppy loves treats and they can be a great training aid or simply a way of bonding with your pet but try to keep them to a sensible amount. Treats should make up no more than 10% of your pet’s daily diet.
Opt for healthy treats which are good for your puppy’s teeth rather than those that are high in fat, sugar and preservatives. Never give your puppy real chocolate or anything containing caffeine as both can prove toxic.
4. Collar & Leash
You need a collar and leash with the appropriate license and ID tag attached to bring your puppy home.
Of course, it is also an excellent idea, if not mandatory depending on where you live, to have your puppy microchipped.
Your puppy’s first collar should be of the soft, adjustable nylon type and you can expect to get through several collars as your puppy grows.
A collar should be neither too tight nor too loose. If you can fit two fingers between it and your puppy’s neck then it is correctly adjusted. Both collar and leash should have strong, well-made attachments so that neither can break nor slip loose.
You will need a longer leash for obedience classes and training but at first get one of the shorter leashes to take your puppy out on walks.
Many people now prefer a harness to a collar, especially when teaching a puppy not to pull on a leash. Never use a choke collar or prong collar on your puppy as both carry a high risk of injury to your pet although even a normal flat collar can prove harmful if you jerk on the leash too hard.
5. Crates & Containment
You will need both a crate and some kind of containment device such as a playpen or gate for your new puppy.
You should set these up before you bring him or her home.
You will also need a travel carrier in order to transport the new addition to your household.
A crate helps housetrain and safely contain your pup while a playpen and/or gates will perform the same function while protecting your home (and especially your shoes!) from such antics as chewing.
You can get both hard and soft-sided crates and carriers that come in a variety of materials including plastic, aluminum, stainless steel and fiberglass. Plastic and fiberglass are both lighter and cozier for your pup although steel and aluminum are popular for larger, stronger dogs.
Always make sure your crate or carrier is large enough for your pet to stand up, turn around, lie and sit down in it.
When choosing gates or pens, it helps to make sure they are both simple to set up and have quick release, one-hand mechanisms so that you can get through them easily.
The grooming equipment you choose for your pup will depend on its breed and whether it is short or long-haired.
Short-coated dogs need to be groomed regularly with a bristle or rubber toothed brush, especially when they are moulting.
Long-haired dogs and those with medium coats need daily de-tangling, especially in areas where knots tend to form such as the backs of the legs and behind their ears.
Introduce your puppy to the brush slowly and gently, keeping those initial grooming sessions short until he is accustomed to the feel of it. If your puppy tries to bite the brush, you can get some deterrent drops or spray to use.
You will also need to trim your pup’s nails if necessary and keep an eye on his dew claws. For this you will need to purchase the appropriate clippers.
You may wish to use a professional groomer to do this as well as to trim your dog’s coat and/or beard.
If your puppy has a white or particularly thin coat you will need to use an appropriate sunscreen when required.
Like any human child, puppies need playthings.
In your pup’s case, these can help them use or develop skills such as fetching and thinking through certain tasks.
Other toys will help them to satisfy their need to gnaw or chew while at the same time caring for, or even flossing, their teeth.
Then there are soft, plush toys that will provide comfort to your pet and which they will love to carry around or snuggle up to when they feel the need.
Always purchase strong, well-made toys and, if any do get broken or split, remove and replace them immediately.
Make sure you have provided some toys for when you first bring your puppy home as it will help you bond and help your pup settle into its new environment.
KONG Puppy Kong Toy, Small, Assorted Pink/Blue
KONG Beaver Dog Toy, Small
Of course, there are so many other items that you can purchase for your new puppy.
There is a plethora of them to choose from but those listed here form the basic essentials.
Try to go for the best quality items that you can afford as these will not only last longer, they will also be safer and more satisfying for your new pet.
If you need further advice, talk to your veterinarian, breeder or animal shelter, depending on where you purchased or adopted your pet.
Above all, enjoy your new puppy and the fun and happiness he or she is bound to bring to your life!