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So you’re finally ready to get that puppy you’ve been dreaming of. Great! Before you bring that new fluffy bundle of four-legged joy home, you need to prepare. A big part of prepping for puppyhood is purchasing all of the necessary equipment. Trust me, you want to have this stuff set up and ready for Fido before you ever get him home—this way, your pup will have everything he needs from the get-go.
Chew Toys Galore
Chewing is the main characteristic all puppies have in common. While those teeth are coming in, you’ll want him to have all of the chew toys he could possibly want. This gives Fido relief and keeps him from chewing on the furniture or your shoes. You definitely need to have a few toys before you go pick up your puppy, but don’t buy a ton just yet. Have some to occupy him for the first day when he’s still overwhelmed and trying to figure everything out, like this set from Nylabone.
A few days after you’ve brought him home, you can take him to the pet store to pick some toys out himself. By then, his personality will have started to come out and he’ll probably show a preference to a type of toy. Plus, it’ll be a fun activity for you both.
Leash, Collar, Harness
Even though puppies are small, you want to get yours used to the leash and collar quickly. Have a collar ready the day you pick him up so he can wear it home, and put the leash on every time you take him outside to go to the bathroom. Puppies aren’t easy to walk the first few weeks, but you still want Fido to become accustomed to being a lead.
Because puppies are so small, I think it’s best to also put them on a harness when you do walk them around on the lead. This keeps the pressure off of their small, weak necks and honestly just makes it easier on everyone. If you plan to walk your puppy on a harness when he’s older, this will make that process much easier.
Car Seat Cover
Even though you love Fido with all of your heart, you still don’t want him to accidentally scratch the seats in your car or get all of that fur embedded in the fabric. The best way to prevent this is to purchase a seat cover. They come in a few different types, but I personally think the one that takes over the entire back seat and creates a sort of hammock is the best. This keeps the puppy from crawling around and from falling into the floor boards.
Your puppy will be hungry when you bring him home, so you really can’t wait to buy food. From the moment you bring that fur ball into your house, he’ll be trying to figure out where everything is and get his bearings—so you want to have his bowls set up with food and water. This way he knows immediately where to find them. While you’re shopping, make sure to pick a high quality kibble for your new pup
Food and Water Bowls
Even though your puppy is small and can eat out of a plastic bowl, it’s really best to go ahead and buy the food and water bowls you want him to eat and drink out of as he grows. This helps the puppy know exactly where he can expect to get food and water when he needs it. They can be as fancy or as simple as you like — just make sure you always have them in the same spot. Don’t worry about the bowls being too big for the puppy. Get the size he’ll need as an adult, both to save yourself some money and so he gets used to them.
A Baby Gate or Two
Most people overlook baby gates when they bring home a puppy, but they are so useful those first few weeks. The number you need will depend on the layout of your house and how many places you want to keep your puppy out of. One or two is a good place to start though — they’re not expensive. Trust a pro, though, you should invest in the type with a swinging door if you want to still be able to walk through your house.
Baby gates will keep your puppy in a limited area while he figures out his new home and helps prevent him from getting into things he shouldn’t. They are also huge helps while you house train. If you keep the puppy confined to a room with hard floors, you won’t have to clean any accidents off of carpet. Trust me you will be so glad about that.
Treats for Training
Even if you want to wait a few weeks before formally training your puppy, you need to have some treats on-hand to reward good behavior— for going to the bathroom outside, sitting quietly while you give him food, and even to teach simple commands like “sit” and “lay.” It’s never too early to start teaching your puppy how to behave. Mini treats are good for frequent rewards, while larger treats are good for higher-stakes training (like potty training).
Waste Disposal Bags and/or a Pooper Scooper
This isn’t the most glamorous part of having a puppy, but it is necessary. You need to have bags to pick up poop while you walk your puppy (just go ahead and buy them in bulk — you’ll use them) and probably a pooper scooper to clean up your yard. This is important because it keeps your yard nice and safe for everyone to walk in, and it helps prevent the spread of diseases in your yard. If you leave poop in your yard or around the neighborhood, you put all dogs at risk of contracting some kind of disease.
You definitely want to have a crate for your puppy when your bring him home. It’s best to not buy a puppy a dog bed while they’re in the teething stage (they’ll eat it), but they still need to know they have a designated space they can go to sleep and relax. The crate provides that for them. It also gives you somewhere to put your puppy if you need to step out of the house for a bit. Your puppy might not like the crate at first, but he’ll come around as he gets older and realizes it’s his safe place. Start with a smaller crate (or a large crate with a divider) for potty training, and if your dog is an escape artist, invest in a solid crate early.
Dog Shampoo and Conditioner
Your Herbal Essences won’t work for your puppy. Purchase puppy shampoo before your puppy comes home so you can bathe him soon after to remove any dirt or fleas. You also want to make sure his sensitive skin isn’t irritated by the shampoo and conditioner you use.