So you’ve made the big decision to get a puppy. Congrats! The next few months are going to be a whirlwind of excitement and heart-warming experiences as you and your little furball get to know each other better.
You probably know that puppies can also be a lot of work. Between training, supervising playtime and catering to the demands of their teeny-tiny bladders, you’re no doubt going to have your hands full for a while. To help make those first few months a little easier, we’ve rounded up a few items that every puppy parent should have on hand. Some, like cute dog leashes and collars, may seem like a no-brainer. But others — puppy first aid kits, toothbrushes — are often overlooked in the excitement of bringing home a canine companion.
Whether you’re a first-time puppy owner or adding another furry family member to the pack, here are a few items you need to get your furry family member started off on the right paw.
1. A Pet Identification Tag And Collar To Identify Your Pet In Case They Get Lost
Losing track of a furry family member can be devastating, so don’t forget to pick up a collar and ID tag for your pup.
If your dog decides to pull a Houdini and escape from your home, his collar and ID tag will let other people know that your pup is loved and spoken for. On your dog’s ID tag, be sure to include your name, phone number and your city.
Tip: If you don’t like traditional ID tags that dangle, try a slide-on dog ID tag instead.
2. A Dependable Dog Leash That Offers Comfortable Control
If you’re like most puppy parents, you can’t wait to take your furry friend for a walk and show her off to the entire neighborhood. Keep your pup safely tethered on your strolls with a cute dog leash made from durable materials, such as neoprene or nylon.
Ideally, your leash should be no more than five feet (this will give your pup room to explore without compromising safety or control). Don’t forget to attach a dog poop bag holder to your pup’s leash for easy waste retrieval!
3. A Premium Dog Harness That Helps Them Strut Their Stuff In Style
Word to the wise: Don’t wait too long to pick out a cute dog harness for your new puppy. Sure, they will probably grow out of it eventually — but the earlier you introduce a harness to your dog, the faster they will come to accept it. Besides, dog harnesses offer a ton of benefits. For starters, many dog harnesses now come in an array of cute designs — from dinosaur and cupcake prints to stripes and checkers — that are sure to earn nods of approval from your fellow pup parents.
Aesthetics aside, dog harnesses also help protect your dog’s eyes and trachea from damage caused by excessive tugging on the leash. Plus, they’re a smart choice for dogs with respiratory problems and excited pups that are more likely to wriggle out of their collars.
4. A Crate With A Divider For Times When You Can’t Supervise Your Puppy Carefully
As much as you’d probably like to spend every waking moment with your brand-new puppy, that’s just not realistic. We mean, you have to take a shower and run to the grocery store eventually, right?
For times when you can’t watch your mischievous puppy like a hawk, you’ll be glad to have a high-quality crate to keep them safe, secure and out of trouble.
Note: If you’re bringing home a large breed puppy — say, a Malamute or a Great Dane — you may want to consider investing in a large or extra-large size crate and use a divider to make the crate smaller.
That way, your puppy can simply grow into the larger crate as they get older (as opposed to buying multiple sizes of crates to accommodate your fast-growing puppy).
5. A High-Quality Set Of Easy-To-Clean Dog Bowls
Given that your new canine companion will be with you for the next decade or so, it makes sense to invest in a set of high-quality food and water bowls that help keep bacteria at bay.
Plastic bowls, while inexpensive, generally aren’t a good choice for young dogs for obvious reasons — puppies tend to be tenacious chewers (their sharp little teeth can leave dents in the bowl, making it easier for bacteria to build up).
Instead, consider splurging on a durable set of stainless steel bowls that are easy to clean. Not only is stainless steel extremely durable and more impervious to razor-sharp puppy teeth, but they’re also dishwasher safe.
6. A Cozy Dog Bed To Call Their Own
Given that puppies get a total of about 18 to 20 hours of sleep over a 24-hour day, providing your pup with a comfy place to rest his adorable head is a must. And while it may be tempting to let your furry friend snooze by your side, they’re probably better off sleeping in a cozy bed inside their crate.
Not only are you and your puppy more likely to get a better night’s sleep with this arrangement, but it will also make house training easier since puppies are less likely to soil where they sleep.
7. Chew Toys To Save Your Favorite Furniture
Puppies (and dogs in general) love to chew, so make sure you provide them with plenty of age-appropriate chew toys to promote proper chewing behavior. For teething puppies, consider offering chew toys in a variety of different textures (think: rubber, rope and plastic) to help soothe their sore gums. You can never go wrong with a treat-filled Kong toy!
8. Grooming Tools To Help Your Dog Look And Feel Their Best
Grooming your dog is about more than just looks. It’s vital to their health and well-being. Take teeth brushing, for example. According to WebMD, most dogs start showing signs of periodontal disease by the age of three. (Periodontal disease is a painful condition that can increase your pup’s risk of serious health problems, including gum infections, bone loss and, eventually, the loss of teeth.)
By introducing your puppy to a toothbrush and other grooming tools from an early age, you can teach your pup to love their daily grooming routine and keep them in great health for years to come. Here are a few more dog grooming tools to add to your repertoire:
- Nail clippers
- Dog shampoo
9. A Pet First-Aid Kit In Case Of Emergencies
Nobody enjoys the thought of their dog becoming hurt or ill, but accidents can and do happen. Having a fully-stocked first-aid kit with dog-specific supplies — such as hydrogen peroxide, non-toxic ointment and syringes — is key to staying prepared and can lead to much better outcomes for your pet. Check out the American Kennel Club for a complete list of items to include in your dog’s first-aid kit.
Once your puppy finally comes, you won’t want to leave their side anytime soon. And by stocking up on these essential items, you won’t have to!
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