So, you’ve gone from parenthood to puppyhood. Congratulations! It’s an exciting time. What’s even better is the relationship your kids will have with their puppy. For some, it’ll be their first friend. And one of the longest relationships in their early years.
But as we all know, puppies can be hard work. It’s like raising a second child. Along those lines, you’ll need to gear up for this newest addition. Before bringing puppy home, take a look around your house. That eye as a watchful parent will serve you well. Then see what you need. Like when you brought your baby home, you’ll need to puppy proof the house. Those cords and outlets, you guessed it, they have a new adversary.
But there’s more to safety. There’s also puppy’s health and all the fun things that go into making your house a perfect canine home. “
Select a Veterinarian
I know, you aren’t going to buy a veterinarian. But you need to select one, because puppy will be spending many visits there in his first year.
Get recommendations from friends and family, your breeder, or local kennel club. Since puppy’s first year of life is full of immunizations, spaying or neutering, and routine visits, it’s important to find a trusted veterinarian. Just like your pediatrician, your vet will be a part of your life for years to come. As such, you owe it to your puppy to select the best vet possible.
In addition to selecting a vet, consider buying health insurance. Yes, it’s available. Considering the costs of vet visits, it’s worth looking in to. Believe it or not, many policies are very affordable. Routine care may be covered, but also covered are those emergency visits. Since it doesn’t take much to rack up a huge vet bill, consider this option.
Bedding and Crates
Every dog needs its own space. After all, they need a break from the action too. Busy toddlers and kids can wear a puppy down. So, look into crates that give your puppy that security. It also serves other purposes.
First, a good crate will keep puppy contained at night or when you’re not home. Beyond keeping puppy safe, it also helps control accidents.
Second, that crate is puppy’s safe space. Teach your kids that when he goes into his crate he can’t be bothered. Always keep the door open. This way, puppy knows where to go when he needs a timeout.
As for beds, pick a bed sized to your puppy. While he is growing fast, don’t go and buy an adult sized bed. Instead, pick one that will last his first two months. There’s a sense of security that comes with a snug bed. It’s one of the little comforts that will help puppy (and you!) sleep through the night.
Puppy Pads and Cleaning Supplies
Sure, you can spread newspaper all over the floors. Or, instead, invest in some puppy pads. Because they’re absorbent, those accidents won’t soak through to the flooring. Moreover they make clean up after an accident easy. Keep them by the door and near his crate. When accidents happen (and they will) try and be ready in the most likely places. Since the pads are a safeguard, reward puppy when he uses them. It’s the first step to housebreaking him.
Remember, puppies are messy. Like your kids. Food everywhere, dirty diapers, spilled drinks. Puppies are a little neater, but not much. Instead of worrying, be prepared. Invest in carpet spot treatment that’s safe around pets and kids. Likewise, look into a vacuum or handheld vacuum with a wet cleaning option. This will help keep carpets looking new.
Look for a quality scoop for the poop. You’ll be wondering who’s actually in charge, but it’s necessary to keep the yard clear for aesthetic and sanitary reasons. Additionally, buy some doo-doo bags for your walks. And always pick up after your pup.
And by the way, the cleaning supplies will suffice for any messes the kids leave behind!
This is also a good time to assess safety issues. Remember to cover all outlets. If puppy is a chewer, keep electrical cords in areas that aren’t accessible. Like a toddler, puppy needs to learn safety. But not the hard way.
Collar, Leash and Identification Tags
Here’s where the fun starts. Get a comfortable collar that fits around puppy’s neck. Make sure two to three fingers can slip beneath it. Take your kids along and have them pick out the color they like best. Avoid heavy collars that will pull his neck down. Instead, invest in a quality nylon or cloth collar. Never use choker collars.
Coupled with the collar is the leash. Look for one that’s in the four to six foot range. Extendable leashes are not recommend because puppy could range into trouble. Keep him close. It’s for his safety.
Then, invest in an ID tag. Puppies wander. Even though you’ll try and keep them safe, the world is calling to them. So, get a tag with your name and phone number on it.
Eat, sleep, play – it’s what puppies do! Toys (and walks) are good because they exercise puppy. But they’re also great for other reasons. As puppy’s teeth come in, they massage the gums. In the same way teething rings work, so do puppy toys. Further, they’ll keep your kids’ toys and shoes safe – with a little encouragement from you of course.
Durable rubber toys and balls are best. Invest in quality. You’ll get more life out of the toys instead of replacing them on a weekly basis.
Food, of course! It’s one of puppy’s favorite times of the day. Always read labels. It can be surprising what fillers end up in pet foods.
Choose a food formulated for puppies. Some brands even offer breed specific formulas. If you’re unsure, check with your vet.
Also be sure to keep plenty of treats on hand. Why? Because puppy loves them! They also go a long way to reinforcing good behavior. (Training is a whole other topic!) Treats aren’t a substitute for food. But they should be as nutritious as puppy’s food.
There you have it, a list of what you’ll need before bringing puppy home. All inclusive? No, but it’s pretty close. You and your family will be set for starting off puppy’s life happy and healthy.