Life with a new puppy is an adventure! I remember when I first brought my dog Lucy home. The constant whining to be around you 24/7 was hard, and required a lot of attention in the beginning. Even though I loved the puppy cuddles, I just didn’t have the time to do it so much. It certainly wasn’t what I expected!
After my experience with my puppy – before the memory fades into new and exciting experiences with my dog Lucy – I wanted to share a list of essential products that I discovered any new puppy parent will need to help get their home puppy-ready.
Protective puppy training pads
Potty training is an adventure. They nickname these “pee pads” for good reason! Lucy was very difficult for us to potty train but I do feel that part of it was our own mistakes too. We used training pads in the beginning for a short time but then transitioned her to outdoors as quickly as we could. It took her a while to figure things out though.
House training your pup takes patience. Let them outside when they wake up, after meals and playtime – regularly and frequently. Keep a package of puppy training pads close at hand to line your puppy’s crate and to lay down where it’s acceptable for your pup to pee in a pinch, like near the door. These pads are also great for visiting a friend or family member to help keep you prepared while out of the house.
A comforting dog carrier and crate
Your new dog can appreciate a cozy den of their own at every stage of their life. Crate training is important because it helps with potty training, provides your puppy with a safe place to feel comfortable. It’s also great for future car travel and helps establish a routine.
Even if your grown dog’s crate can be tucked away because they choose a different safe-space, their early crate training will make visits to the groomer or overnight veterinary care so much less stressful. Look for a sturdy crate that – for larger breeds – has a divider so it can grow with your puppy. To make the den fun and comfy, I suggest adding a blanket or pillow in there for more comfort. Perhaps a few of their favorite toys too.
Engrossing chew toys
Puppies love to chew! My Lucy’s favorite is her benebone chew toys as well as her squeak toys. She rarely walks around the house without something in her mouth at all times. Besides the boatloads of positive mental stimulation, chew toys are helpful because they keep teeth and gums healthy, give your pup entertained and help relieve anxiety. To keep your pup busy, try a puppy-safe rugged toy that can be filled with their favorite wet and/or dry dog food or other yummy treats like peanut butter or cheese.
A collar and identification to bring them home
No one expects to lose their dog, especially a small puppy, but curious puppies do chase exciting things, sneak out an open door, or bolt in sudden fright. Searching for a lost pet can be very stressful and cause anxiety or panic. I remember when I was away on holidays and had my mother watching my dog for me and I was 10 hours away and got a text message from the microchip company about my dog being lost. The panic that happened when that message showed up on my phone, while so far away, was an experience I never want to face again. I was so grateful that our dog was microchipped so she could be located, when we got our puppy that was the first thing I asked them to do. It helps in situations that are unpredicted like these.
If someone finds your wandering pup, you absolutely want them to know there’s a loving pet parent looking for them! A collar and ID tag is super important. There are a lot of additional options to the standard metal engraved tag, like smart tags that reveal your pet’s personal profile when scanned by a smartphone, GPS tracking tags, and microchips. At the least, I suggest a standard tag and a microchip to help get your pup home. If your puppy loses their collar, if they are stolen and the collar is removed. The microchip will help with these situations.
A comfy dog bed
My dogs have had many different beds over their life. As a puppy, they had the cozy plush beds and now they really love snuggling into the large super cozy beds.
Every puppy needs a spot where they can comfortably relax, and giving your pup that space is a great way to enrich their lives.
Choose a dog bed that’s an appropriate size for your pup, and look for one with a removable, machine washable cover! My dog’s bed usually needs to be replaced every 2 years and I like to add blankets into their beds for some extra comfort and to keep the bed cleaner longer.
Enjoy preparing your life for a puppy
The first year with Lucy was entertaining and fun. Her favorite thing from puppyhood was her daily belly rubs (which she still loves) and she has always enjoyed all her toys. Even if the essentials on my list here turn out not to be your puppy’s favorite, they’ll make your first days and weeks together so much easier and set you up for a lifetime of love and fun.
Did I miss any essentials you think a new puppy parent needs for the first year? Let me know!