Here's Everything You Need For Your New Puppy
Time to go shopping 🛍️
Congratulations on adopting your new best friend!
Adding a new puppy to your family can be super exciting, but it’s definitely no walk in the park (even though there will be lots of those).
You’ll want to be as prepared as possible for your new puppy’s arrival to make sure the transition goes smoothly. And part of that means getting the right supplies — like crates, leashes and dog bowls — ready to go.
So, what exactly should you have on hand before bringing your new puppy home?
The Dodo spoke with Irith Bloom, a certified professional dog trainer and owner of The Sophisticated Dog in Los Angeles, to find out what should be on your new-puppy checklist.
An exercise pen or dog gate
Exercise pens and pet gates let you keep a close eye on your new dog at home, especially while he’s still getting used to your place. They make it easy to supervise him while he plays with his new toys, and help contain the potty accidents that are inevitable with new puppies.
Also, since your puppy will go through a teething phase, he’ll probably want to chew on anything he can sink his teeth into. Puppy gates and pens can keep your puppy away from things you want to keep in one piece, like furniture and shoes.
Potty training can take up to a month or so, and puppy teething lasts until the puppy is about 8 months old, so you can count on getting lots of use of out of a pen or a gate.
Bloom recommended step-through gates for both the exercise pen and dog gates because they’re easier to get in and out of. “A step-through gate is key,” Bloom told The Dodo.
For dog pens, Bloom recommends the Richell indoor/outdoor puppy playpen from Amazon for $206.32.
For dog gates, Bloom likes the Carlson Pet Products walk-through dog gate from Amazon for $65.99 or the Cumbor walk-through dog gate for $55.99.
Crates are really great to have once your puppy is ready to start crate training. Crate trained puppies know their crate is their safe space, and they’ll start to retreat to it to feel comfortable. Crates are helpful for dogs at any life stage, so it’s good to get your new puppy used to his as early as possible. And, like the dog pens and gates, it will also help limit any messes and keep your puppy feeling safe.
A dog bed (or several)
“If you can, get more than one bed and choose different types (e.g., plain cushion vs. a bed with a back and sides),” Bloom said. “It’s nice for a puppy to have more than one bed so the puppy can choose which bed to lie on.”
It’s also helpful to have more than one bed so you can always have a bed available, even if you wind up needing to wash another one (if the puppy has a potty accident on the bed, for example), Bloom said.
A collar and ID tags
Bloom recommends a flat or martingale collar for your new puppy.
A flat collar is your standard dog collar: It’s a strip of flat material that connects at a buckle around your dog’s neck.
A martingale is similar to a flat collar, but it has an extra loop of leash material between two buckles that gently tightens around your dog’s neck (without hurting him) when he pulls to make sure he doesn’t slip out.
Both options above are fine, but you should never use collars that are meant to hurt your dog, like choke collars or shock collars.
Dog collars aren’t the best choice for walking your dog, though. They can put stress on your dog’s neck that can cause injuries over time.
Your puppy’s new collar should only be used to carry an identification tag, which is another item to add to your new puppy checklist.
A harness for clipping the leash
Dog harnesses are recommended for walking your dog over a dog leash, because harnesses take the pressure off of your dog’s neck and distribute it around his chest.
“Avoid harnesses that are designed to cause pain, but otherwise, any harness that fits is fine,” Bloom said.
You can tell a harness fits correctly if you can fit two fingers under the harness and there’s a bit of tightness but not too much. If a harness is too tight, you might see subtle hair loss in the area over time. If it’s too loose, your dog might be able to escape easily.
Bloom recommends harnesses from 2 Hounds Design, like this Freedom no-pull harness from Amazon for $39.56.
“Choose a leash that is 6 feet long or shorter — no extendable leashes, please!” Bloom said.
Extendable (aka retractable) leashes in general aren’t great to use because they can be pretty dangerous. They let your dog get too far away from you to where you can’t control what happens to him, and he’s left vulnerable. Plus, retractable leashes have a thin cord that can snap easily, especially if you have a large dog.
So you should ideally avoid retractable leashes for your new puppy.
When it comes to the type of leash you should buy, Bloom recommends a chain leash.
“A useful option for puppies is a lightweight chain leash (not a chain collar, but a chain leash), since a chain leash is less fun to chew on than a fabric or leather leash,” Bloom said.
Puppies are notorious for chewing on everything, and his dog leash will be no exception.
Bloom recommends this OmniPet chain leash with a leather handle from Amazon for $14.99.
A water bowl, a food bowl and a bunch of food toys
Any kind of dog food and water bowls should work for your new puppy, Bloom said.
Elevated feeders are a good choice because they can reduce strain on your puppy’s neck — just make sure they’re low enough for your puppy to reach while he’s still small.
Bloom strongly recommends adding food toys to the list. They encourage slow feeding, which is good for your puppy’s digestion and can help keep your puppy occupied.
Here are some food toys Bloom likes:
- Classic KONG from Amazon for $12.99
- Kruuse Buster Cube for $29.24
- Kong Wobbler from Amazon for $35.98
- Snuffle mat from Amazon for $39.50
“Just be sure to get the correct size for your dog!” Bloom said. “When in doubt, get a food toy that is too big, so your puppy can’t swallow it.”
Puppies are typically high-energy, so you’ll need to channel that somehow (and distract him from your sneakers!). Puppy toys (particularly chew toys) are going to be lifesavers when you realize your puppy is going to need a lot of playtime before he chills out.
Chew toys are great because your puppy is likely in a teething phase and will appreciate some new toys of his own to gnaw on.
If you’re adopting a puppy, you might want to start off feeding him the puppy food he was eating at the shelter or foster home, since changing his food too suddenly can lead to tummy troubles.
But once you know what food to feed your puppy, you can transition him to a new food slowly — ideally over a four-week period. Start by feeding only 25 percent of the new food the first week (and 75 percent of the old food), increasing to 50 percent new food the second week (and 50 percent old food), 75 percent new food the third week (and 25 percent old food), until you’re feeding the new food completely the fourth week.
Make sure the puppy food you choose is nutritionally complete and balanced, and that you’re following the feeding guidelines on the food label.
Here are some puppy foods that veterinarians recommend:
- Purina Pro Plan dry puppy food for $52.48 on Amazon
- Purina ONE Smart Blend puppy food for $13.89+ on Amazon
- Hill’s Science Diet dry puppy food for $15.99+ on Amazon
A housetraining plan and enzymatic cleaner in case of accidents
Potty training starts the moment your puppy walks into the house, so you should be ready with a plan (and a pet-safe cleaning solution).
Here’s a basic housetraining plan to follow with your new puppy:
- Keep the puppy either confined in an exercise pen (or crate for brief periods) to help prevent potty accidents.
- While the puppy is awake, take the puppy outside every 30 minutes on a leash.
- When outside, stand in one spot for five minutes without interacting with your puppy. “Most puppies will get bored and potty,” Bloom said.
- If the puppy potties within five minutes, reward him with a treat and playtime. “This helps the puppy learn that pottying quickly leads to fun,” she said.
- If the puppy does not potty within five minutes, put the puppy back in confinement for about 10 minutes, and then try again.
- Keep a log of when the puppy potties, so you can figure out which times of day the puppy really needs potty breaks, she added.
Potty accidents are inevitable, and you should never punish your puppy for going in the house. Instead, keep rewarding your puppy for using the bathroom outside. And, most importantly, keep an enzymatic cleaner around, since it does the best job at getting rid of that pee smell.
A lot of patience
It will take time for a puppy to learn your routine and follow your commands. The best thing you can do is be patient.
“Puppies are adorable, but they are also babies,” Bloom said. “Laugh off whatever you can, and be as patient as possible, just as you would with a human infant or toddler.”
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