Getting a puppy is a huge responsibility, and prospective pet owners need to ensure they are properly prepared before their new friend comes home. From puppy food to dog beds, there’s definitely a lot to think about, which is why James Wellbeloved have put together this useful puppy guide for new owners, with everything you’ll need to welcome your new canine companion to the family.
Getting a puppy checklist
There are so many different puppy products on the market that it can be overwhelming for new pet owners. In this handy checklist, you’ll find the most essential items for your new puppy:
Food and water bowls should be shallow enough for small mouths to eat and drink out of. You can get bowls with rubber on the bottom to stop them slipping – or place them on a mat to make tidying up any food spills or mess easier.
Small adjustable collars are best for puppies, though it’s important to build up their time wearing these and not leave them on while your pet is unattended to begin with. Legally dog tags must have the owner’s name and address (including postcode) on them, and adding your phone number is a good idea, too, as this will help others contact you if your pup gets lost.
There are many types of dog lead available, but a simple thin lead will be fine for puppies. You’ll only be taking them for short walks to start with, but once they are older you can think about getting a different type of lead.
Although you won’t be able to take your puppy outside until they have been fully vaccinated, it’s still a good idea to buy dog poo bags beforehand. You’ll need plenty of these, so stock up – and try to go for eco-friendly options where possible.
Puppies love to play, so making sure they have lots of puppy toys is advisable for all that playtime you’ll be doing with your new friend. Check that any toys you give your puppy are age-appropriate, chew-friendly and don’t have small parts, which can break off and pose a choking hazard or foreign body obstruction. Rope toys are ideal for puppies to chew on, but you should take care to ensure they don’t ingest bits and not let them play tug of war until their teeth are stronger. Puppies love chewing, and by providing them with chew-safe toys it can help to keep your clothes, shoes and possessions safe from little teeth.
Dogs are den animals, so they feel most at home with something to sleep in. A crate will ensure your puppy has its own safe area to sleep in and feel secure.
A playful and curious puppy often manages to make a mess, so a grooming brush or comb will be essential, especially for breeds with longer or thicker fur. You may also wish to purchase some special dog shampoo for when you give your puppy their first bath.
It’s a good idea to start brushing your puppy’s teeth from a young age, so they have time to get used to it. You can start by gently using your finger to touch your puppy’s mouth, getting them used to the process. Once they are comfortable with this, you can put a small dot of dog toothpaste on your finger, before progressing to a dog toothbrush. Never use human toothpaste or toothbrushes as these can be harmful.
It’s likely that there will be a few accidents in the first few months of getting your puppy, so a carpet cleaner or pet-safe household spray will come in handy if these do occur around the home before your puppy is toilet trained. If and when accidents happen, don’t scold or shout at your puppy. Instead, praise them when they get it right.
What to feed your puppy
Your new friend will be eating a lot! Puppies require a specially formulated puppy food to grow big and strong, so this item is a must for any new pet owner. Puppy food should be nutritionally balanced and contain all the ingredients for healthy development. If you are unsure which type to buy, ask a vet for advice. Special puppy treats can also be purchased to reward good behaviour – just remember to portion of 10% of your puppy’s daily food allowance to prevent overfeeding.
New puppy tips
It’s a good idea to prepare your house before you bring your new puppy home. Set aside a sleeping area separate to your puppy’s feeding spot, away from household noise. You could also ask the person you get your puppy from to give you a blanket or item of old clothing that has their mother’s smell on it, so they don’t feel homesick during the first few nights away from mum.
Next, make sure there are no hazards around the house that might pose a risk for a small puppy. This includes poisonous houseplants, stairs, cleaning products and cables. All puppies are naturally curious and love to chew, so removing potential dangers is key to prevent an accident.
Finally, check which vaccinations your puppy will need and book a vet appointment for a check-up. You may also wish to pencil in microchipping and neutering appointments further down the line. An effective worming and flea treatment routine will need to be established as well.
You could even do some research into pet insurance if that’s something you wish to explore. Puppy Socialisation classes are another thing to bear in mind, as these will help your new furry friend get used to other dogs and improve their behavioural skills.
Puppies can be a lot of work, but the loyal and loving friend you’ll have as a result is totally worth it. By preparing everything you need in advance, you can rest assured you’ll be giving your new puppy pal all they need to grow into a happy and healthy adult dog.