Are you ready to bring a new puppy into your home? If you want to help your new fur baby live their best life, you need to prepare your home before they arrive. Taking time to get ready for your pet will help you create a safe, healthy and comfortable environment for them to grow in. Time to start shopping! Here’s what you’ll need.
Not all dog food is equal. Some food comes formulated specifically for puppies rather than adult dogs. Check with your vet — they can tell you whether you have picked a good food for your pup. Pro tip: It helps to line up a vet before you bring Fido home.
Get food and water bowls so you can keep your pup nourished and hydrated. Remember that shallow bowls are best for puppies, though you might need to upgrade to a deeper dish as your puppy grows. “I also recommend puzzle feeders for dogs, which help keep them mentally stimulated, preventing boredom," says Amanda Dykstra, DVM, DABVP, clinical assistant professor at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine.
You'll want your puppy to have a name tag attached to a collar in case your pooch gets loose. The collar should fit snugly so your pup can't slip out of it. But make sure it’s not too tight — there should be room to slip two fingers between the collar and your dog's neck to ensure there's enough room for your pup to breathe comfortably. On the name tag, list your puppy's full name plus any nicknames, your phone number, your address, and maybe even your email address. Provide as much information as you can so when someone finds Fido they know who to contact.
Your puppy will need to go out regularly to use the bathroom, and for exercise. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), you should consider investing in two different types of leashes for your dog:
A 4- to 6-foot leash to keep your puppy close by and under control while outside
An even longer leash for things like potty training and learning to walk on a leash
When you take your dog for a walk, don’t leave the house without poop bags. One of the less-desirable parts about dog ownership is that you need to pick up your dog's poop and dispose of it properly. If left behind, dog poop can harm grass and even disrupt the ecosystem by introducing bacteria that aren't native to the area. It could also potentially contaminate the water supply. Consider buying biodegradable poop bags, which are better for the environment than plastic bags.
You need to take care of your dog's fur, skin, and nails regularly. To do this, you'll need a puppy brush, puppy shampoo, and a puppy nail trimmer. Get these supplies in advance and start using them on your pup right away. The sooner you practice maintenance grooming with your pup, the sooner they'll get used to it, and the less likely they will be to resist it (and maybe even enjoy it — did someone say spa day?).
You also need to take care of your dog’s oral health. Not only does brushing your dog’s teeth regularly and giving dental bones help prevent bad dog breath, but it can help prevent more serious health issues, too.
Puppies are chewers! You don't want your pup to destroy your clothes, shoes, or furniture, so make sure you provide them with tons of chew toys. Options like Kongs or Nylabones have a special design that suits puppy chewing, which means they won't break apart and endanger their health. Don't just choose any toy for your puppy, though. First talk to your vet about the best toys for your furry friend. "There are multiple types of toys available, and what type is best is based on your puppy's breed and individual personality,” adds Dr. Dykstra.
Creating a den-like environment in your pup’s crate can make them feel comfortable in their new home. And crate training is a great way to prevent accidents and keep a teething pup from destroying your stuff. Size matters: Your dog should be able to move around comfortably in the crate — but make sure it’s not so big that they can find an open corner to soil.
Your dog will need somewhere cozy to sleep and rest. Get them a soft bed so they can curl up on a surface that is more comfortable than the hard floor. Unless you dream of sharing your own bed with your dog!
Having a puppy around can provide you with tons of happiness, fulfillment, and excitement. If you set up your home up before your fur baby arrives, when that big day comes around, you can simply devote all your energy into raising a perfect pup who will be your loyal companion for years to come.