New Puppy Checklist
Man’s best friend, can there be a better pet? Not in the eyes of dog lovers everywhere. If you gave or received a puppy or are thinking about adopting a fur baby, this checklist can help ensure that you are prepared for adding a puppy to your household. Even if you are beyond the selection process and already have your puppy, this checklist can still help you to make sure you have left nothing undone.
Getting a new pet is exciting, but you want to make sure you are ready and equipped to care for a dog. Be kind to your wallet and resist purchasing everything you see. Just like having a baby and wanting to stock up on toys and clothes, you will probably be tempted to stock up. But this is not necessary and in the beginning, you will need to stock up on the essentials, so save the goodies until later.
One of the most important things to have when adopting a new pet is a vet. Just like human babies, your fur baby needs to be vaccinated, etc. In addition, a dog needs to be dewormed and the like. So set aside money for medical care; it’s more important than toys! If you do not already have a relationship with a vet, ask around for recommendations from friends and family who have pets to see not only who they recommend but also who they avoid.
A crate is an essential item for many reasons. First of all, a crate is a wise purchase. When buying a crate, be mindful of how fast your baby will grow and how large he will be as an adult. The crate will be invaluable for his care. It can be used to contain him in the beginning before he is house trained and finished teething. A crate keeps teeth from places teeth shouldn’t be and helps with potty training.
There are two main types of pads. One consists of an absorbent white pad atop a plastic layer that keeps the urine from getting on the floor and is disposable. The other is made of either real or artificial grass and helps prepare your pup for going potty in the great outdoors. Most consist of a plastic tray with the “grass” inside with a range of prices and styles.
No matter how vigilant you are, accidents prior to house training (and some after) will happen. Despite the fact that canine urine lacks the pungency of cat urine, you will need a system for clean up. There are many commercial products to clean and deodorize as well as some homemade remedies.
The Right Food
What you feed your fur baby is extremely important, especially in his early years to ensure he is getting all he should in the way of vitamins and minerals. Good nutrition is important overall so make sure your pup is getting all he needs for all of his life. Do some research and/or check with your vet to ensure your baby is being fed properly.
Collar and Tags
God forbid your baby should get lost, but if he does a collar with your contact information is very important. If you adopt from the SPCA, most of the time you will also receive a tag with an identifying number along with the SPCA’s phone number. Anyone finding your pooch can contact them and then receive your contact info. Of course, it is best to have a direct link to you. Start your pup out with a collar with tags so he will get used to it from the beginning.
Food and Water Bowls
Stainless steel bowls are an excellent choice. They are easy to clean and cannot be chewed. Start with small inexpensive bowls, as he will easily outgrow bowls until he has reached maturity. You can purchase bowls with a weighted and/or non-slip base to help keep spills to a minimum.
Chewing is inevitable in growing puppies, so he will need some toys to chew on so he doesn’t chew up the house. Depending on Fido’s breed, try to pair the toys to the breed. For example, dogs like Rottweilers, Pitbulls and German Shepherds, and other breeds with strong jaws need tougher toys to stand up to the challenge. Go for bigger toys, and those that are durable like rope, canvas, bones and antlers; these all make quality long-lasting toys.
Even though he is still a baby, training should start immediately. Good and bad habits begin to form right away, so don’t lose the opportunity to start right. There are many ways to go about positive reinforcement training. Praise and treats are both good rewards, but the treats are a great way to train.
Methods include clicker training, training with hand signals and other basic obedience commands. Training your pup to halt or return to you on command can actually save his life if he is headed for danger such as a busy street. Another must is socialization. Dogs that do not have this training can be excessively fearful and even aggressive.
Getting your pup used to a grooming routine when he is young helps to avoid problems later when you are seeking to perform basic grooming such as brushing, clipping nails and bathing. Begin with a simple brush, some doggy shampoo, and nail clippers.
Adding a new member to the household can be a bit hectic in the beginning, but soon both of you will be in the swing of things and enjoy a lifelong friendship with your new best friend.