It's finally time to bring your puppy home! But which items do you need to make their welcome a great one? Here's an essential checklist from our Charlotte vets - plus advice on how often your new pup should come in for a checkup.
Your Checklist of Essentials for Puppy
Welcoming a new puppy into your home is an exciting, thrilling — and if you’ve never been a pet parent before, overwhelming — experience. After all, you now get to enjoy this cute little ball of fur that’s counting on you for safety, sustenance, entertainment, and love. Not to worry; we’ve got you covered with a checklist of items you’ll need to make your new puppy’s homecoming a great one.
In addition, we offer some insight on how to choose the best vet, and often your pup should come in for a checkup.
1. An Appropriately Sized Crate
With puppies, comfort and security are key. Dogs of all ages need a snug space of their own to curl up in. With that in mind, look for a crate that has three walls and a front gate that your dog will be able to see its humans and surroundings through.
The crate should be just the right size for your pup. Purchase one too large and you may find he or she has more accidents inside of it, but your four-legged friend needs just enough space to stand up, turn around and lie down comfortably.
Lay down comfortable bedding (beware that soft plush will likely not stand up to your new pup’s razor-sharp teeth!). Towels or blankets should work fine. Whichever bedding you choose, ensure it’s easily washable as your pup is bound to have a few accidents after arriving home.
2. Playpen Made of Wire
A pen with wire panels can be used similar to a baby gate, to block doorways to rooms you’d like to keep curious paws out of. They can also be used to fit any shape or size you may require.
3. Safe, Durable Chew Toys
You’ll soon find that anything in your puppy’s path — the legs of that chair you love, your favorite sandals, paper and items left around the home — is at risk of becoming a chew toy.
With that in mind, you may be able to curb the path of destruction by stocking up on safe chew toys for your pup, and offering them whenever you catch him chewing on something he shouldn’t (eventually, you’ll be able to anticipate what items are more likely to attract your puppy’s attention and take pre-emptive action to hide or guard them).
Treats and training go hand-in-hand, and you’ll need a lot of them in these early days! With yummy treats in your toolbox, you can offer positive reinforcement and keep your puppy’s attention and interest for the duration of a training session. Treats should be easily chewable, healthy and given in moderation.
5. High-Quality Puppy Food & Bowls
Growing puppies should eat about three times daily. She’ll also need a bowl of fresh water nearby.
6. Enzyme Cleaner
Even the most diligent owner will be unable to keep eyes on their new ball of energy 24/7; eventually, you’ll need to clean up an accident. Ideally, you’ll be able to reach them in seconds.
An enzyme cleaner will help to eliminate odors that only your pup can smell, reducing the scent reminder he’ll use to remember where he’s marked his territory. Get rid of cleaning agents that contain ammonia, as these smell like urine to a dog, and dogs love returning to spots they’ve gone before.
7. Leash, Collar & ID Tags
Help your puppy get used to having a leash, collar and no-choke harness on early. He can wear it in the house to get used to it before you take him on walks, allowing him to move at his own pace. Attach an ID tag with your pup’s name and your phone number to the collar.
8. Puppy-Proof Fencing In the Yard
Once your puppy gets outside, she’ll be exploring a whole new world. Make sure her nose doesn’t lead her beyond the confines of your yard — or into trouble — by ensuring any gates or fencing surrounding your yard are not so wide that your puppy can fit her body through them and escape undetected.
Bonus: Your Vet's Phone Number on Speed Dial
Especially in your puppy’s early days, your veterinarian will be one of your most critical resources when it comes to learning about your pet’s development, needs, health and safety issues and more.
As for choosing a vet, look for a certified veterinarian in your area whose hours line up with your availability. You may also consider the range of services they offer. At Providence Animal Hospital in Charlotte, we specialize in everything from routine exams to dental care, surgery and more.
Bringing your puppy in for a routine exam once or twice a year can help prevent health problems from developing. We may also be able to detect any issues in their earliest — and most treatable — stages. Puppies should also receive routine vaccinations to protect them from serious but preventable diseases and disorders.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.