New Puppy Checklist: Everything New Owners Need!

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Small yellow puppy laying down on a green and white pillow

Dr. Erica Irish author of New Puppy Checklist : everything New owners need

Things To Consider Before a Puppy

The first thing to consider before bringing a puppy home is their size. How big will they be when you bring them home, and how big will they get? Larger dogs start as larger puppies which means your household may need to prepare for a big, energetic, clumsy pup. Think of it like bringing home a toddler. Are there sharp corners and breakable objects in reach of them or their tail? Things that you won’t want to be chewed up should be put away.

With larger dogs, it’s also important to remember they will need larger supplies like crates, food bowls, food storage, collars, and beds. Larger dogs cost more money and their things take up more space.

The breed and temperament of your new puppy should also be taken into consideration. You should do thorough research on the puppy you are planning to bring home. What is the breed meant to do? It’s important to know if they will fit into your lifestyle.

It’s also just as important that you fit into theirs. Does the breed you’re interested in require a lot of exercises? As cute as they are, will you be able to keep up with them when they are fully grown?

Does their breed have a high prey drive that could affect the other animals or children in your household? Do you have the time and money to keep up with the grooming needs of your dog? All of these questions should be considered before deciding if a breed is right for you.


Basics

Crate

Crates are available for dogs of all sizes. They even design crates that can be adjusted as your dog grows. Your puppy should be able to stand and lay down comfortably in their crate. While crate training, some puppies do better when their crate is covered so you should also consider buying a crate cover.

They are designed to fit over crates of a specific size so your puppy isn’t able to grab extra material through the bars and pull it into the crate with them.

If you are planning to travel with your dog, you should also get them a travel crate. These are lighter and easier to transport than traditional wire kennels. They can fit into your car so your puppy can ride along with you and not have to be supervised while in your car.

Dog Bed

Start with a less expensive bed for your puppy. When they go through teething, they will likely put a few holes in it, or destroy it altogether. They will also grow a bit so a bigger bed will be needed down the road. This bed won’t be inside of their kennel. Wait until they are done teething to pick out one of those.

Collar

A belt style buckle collar is the safest and most adaptable collar for your puppy. Get one that is an appropriate width for them. It should fit snuggly but have room for them to grow into it. If you can slide it over your puppy’s head, it can be slipped out of on a leash. You may need to get a new collar for your puppy as they get bigger.

You can also consider a harness but should wait until your puppy is bigger to get one. They have less ability to adjust so your puppy will likely outgrow it if they get one too young. Harnesses come in a variety of styles. Some are meant to train dogs not to pull, some are simply meant for comfort. Consult with a trainer or pet store associate to find a good fit for your dog.

Leash

The sizing for your leash is also dependent on the size of your puppy. The width adds weight so small dogs should have thinner leads. Larger dogs will be safer on a more sturdy leash. The length should range from four to six feet.

Retractable leashes are not recommended. These types of leashes encourage puppies to pull while on walks. If you want to take your puppy outside to explore your yard, but don’t have a fence, you can use a retractable leash. However, with larger breed puppies, it allows them to get more momentum and speed when running around and puts you at a higher risk of getting pulled down.

Consider what your lifestyle will require when picking out a leash. If you plan to have a working dog, like a service dog, you may be required to use more secure leashes. There is a large variety of materials to pick from so pick what best suits your puppy’s future needs.

Toys

You will go through more toys with puppies than any other supply. When picking out toys, keep in mind your puppy will be teething usually from about ages three to six months. Their baby teeth are very sharp so plush toys will be picked apart pretty quickly. Try using teething toys that are made from harder materials. Teething toys are usually made from materials that are safe to be ingested. They are also built to be more durable.

Soft, plush toys are better for interactive play. Most dogs will destroy a toy in search of the squeaker. This means puppies risk ingesting stuffing or material when playing with these toys unsupervised. Soft toys also have a closer resemblance to socks, shoes, pillows, rugs, and children’s toys. This means your puppy may be more inclined to chew on things they shouldn’t. If you save these toys for interactive play, it teaches your puppy to only pick up these things if you give it to them.

Rope toys are great for teaching your puppy tug and fetch. They give your hand more room for accidental mouthing when your puppy is learning bite inhibition. These toys are also better when used for interactive play.

Puppies will also enjoy puzzle toys. They are great if you need a break from entertaining a tireless puppy and want to put them in their crate for a little while. These types of toys keep your dog entertained without much effort from you!


Sold out

Microchipping

Microchipping is a service provided by most adoption centers. If you rescue a puppy, they will likely come microchipped. If you purchase your puppy, it is highly recommended that you microchip them as soon as your vet allows.

This service allows lost animals to be connected to their owners if disaster should strike. You should also have tags made for your puppy with your name and phone number so you can be reconnected with your lost puppy without them being taken to the vet


Active Lifestyle Possibilities

All puppies need regular exercise, but if you are a very active person, you should consider a more active breed. For people with more adventurous lifestyles, there is plenty of gear to keep your puppy safe when they come along with you. 

Life jackets, booties, goggles, and special harnesses may all come in handy when adventuring with your dog.

Working dogs, whether hunting or service, also may require special gear. Special collars, identification, and training tools are all things to consider when bringing home a new puppy.

Bringing a new puppy into your life is a joyful time that should not be weighed down by stress over proper supplies. Follow this list and you should have everything you need for when your new puppy comes home!


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Meet The Author 

Dr. Erica Irish author of New Puppy Checklist : everything New owners need

Dr. Erica Irish

Erica has worked in the veterinary field since 2006, starting out as a veterinary technician before graduating from the UF College of Veterinary Medicine in 2013. As a general practitioner in an animal hospital, she has many interests and is especially interested in dermatology, cardiology, internal and integrative medicine.