Did you know that a newborn puppy needs to sleep about 90% of the time?
At least until it’s a few weeks old, that is. As it begins to explore the wide world around it, the little pup will decrease its sleep to between 18 and 20 hours per day. But if you’ve ever had a puppy before, you know they make the most of those active hours!
Taking care of a brand new doggo is a huge undertaking. It requires a lot of time, a fair amount of money, and loads of patience. You will be richly rewarded, however; petsprovide us with unconditional love, laughter, and companionship.
Before you add any pet into your household, but especially a puppy, there are some essentials you’ll need to have on hand. Read on for the most important puppy checklist items to acquire.
1. Crate and Bed
Your puppy is going to need a special place to do all that sleeping, and it’s a good idea to introduce the idea of a crate early on. While some folks feel that crates aren’thumane, pet experts generally agree that done properly, crate training can actually promote a dog’s sense of safety and security.
In addition, crate training can help your puppy learn bladder and bowel control, as dogs dislike using their den for toileting.
Think of the crate as your puppy’s private space, where he can go when he needs a little downtime (away from all those pesky humans who want to pet and play with him!). Furnish it with a comfortable bed and some cuddly toys.
2. Comfort Items
Very young puppies, in particular, might be nervous or anxious, especially as they learn the ropes in your home. Give your new pup plenty of soft, cuddly toys and a special blanket to help comfort him.
Once your dog has selected a favorite comfort item, do yourself a favor and invest in a few extras. Just as with children, having one’s special blankie or favorite stuffed pig go missing or get destroyed can be devastating for a dog.
The line between comfort toys, play toys and chew toys can often be blurry. And chances are you’ll want to spoil your pup with plenty of squeaky pork chops, Kongs, sturdy rope knots, plush bones, and the like. Just make sure that a good percentage of the presents you bring home from the pet store are chew toys.
Quite simply, puppies need to chew. It relieves anxiety, provides stimulation, and is just plain fun for them. Offering a variety of toys to meet these needs will go a long way toward preventing your pupper from chewing on your things — shoes, furniture, homework, pillows, and your ankles.
4. Food and Water
What kind of food will you feed your dog? That’s a question that will deserve its own research. It also depends on the breed and temperament of your pup, as well as his activity level.
There are a couple of general guidelines, though. One is to make sure you are feeding your dog nutritious food. Of course, you will also need to find a kind your dog likes — or else the nutrition value goes right out the window.
Don’t be tempted to scrimp in this area; you wouldn’t feed your child a steady diet of junk food, so buy the best dog food you can afford.
When it comes to food and water dishes, all but the smallest dogs will benefit from raised dishes. This is especially important for big dogs, to prevent discomfort from crouching or bending over when he eats.
5. Collar, Leash, and Tags
Other important items on your puppy checklistare a collarwith identification tags and a leash. These, too, must be chosen carefully to make sure they will fit your dog and be effective. At this stage, an adjustable collar is best.
Be sure to get ID tags for your dog, no matter how much of an “indoor” or lap dog he is. Even the most pampered pooches need to go out in public occasionally. Tags with the dog’s name and your contact information are essential in the event that your dog makes a run for it or becomes separated from his humans.
There are a variety of leash materials and styles to select from, and the choice isn’t just an aesthetic matter. Every type of leash offers different properties and advantages. Do your homework to ensure you get the best kind for your puppy.
6. Grooming Tools
For some breeds of dogs, grooming is an imperative aspect of everyday life. For others, it’s less important or can be done less frequently.But remember that grooming your dog can help the two of you bond, can help you monitor your dog’s health, and will go a long way toward keeping your home clean, too.
Ask your vet or other breed owners what types of grooming tools they recommend. At the bare minimum, you’ll need a brush and/or comb, a tool to trim your pup’s nails, and shampoo for regular scrub-downs.
Depending on your breed, you might also require clippers, shedding rakes, ear cleaning supplies, flea dip, and other items.
7. A First Aid Kit and Emergency Vet Info
Before you bring your new furry friend home, line up a veterinarian and program their contact info into your phone. If your vet’s office doesn’t offer emergency care, they will likely recommend an emergency service that they collaborate with. Keep this information handy as well.
Put together a first aid kit — or even two, one for home and one to keep in your car.
Canine first aid kits are a little different than those for humans. In an emergency, you might be too frazzled to hunt down individual items like styptic powder or gauze, or you might not even own them. Putting together a kit and keeping it in an easily accessible location will give you peace of mind.
Now That You Have YourPuppy Checklist
The last item on our puppy checklist of essentials? Plenty of patience. Puppies are adorable, but they have a way of testing our limits.
Consult a trainer or behavioral specialist if you are having issues that you can’t overcome on your own. But remember that some deep breaths will go a long way toward helping you keep your calm.
Now that you have made your puppy checklist and checked it twice, it’s time for the fun part — bringing your new canine companion home and enjoying each other’s company.
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