TEN TOP ITEMS YOU NEED BEFORE YOU BRING HOME YOUR NEW PUPPY
There are necessary items that you must have at home before you bring home a puppy or a new adult dog for that matter. Life would have been difficult when I brought Simba home if I had not been prepared. Simba, like my children when they were babies, was a very active puppy. I was glad that a friend gave me ideas of what I would need ahead of time because it was one less thing on my mind.
Food and Water Bowl: Simba’s vet recommended stainless steel bowls because they don’t hold germs and bacteria like plastic bowls do after cleaning. I personally also like the bowls in a stand that keeps the bowls off the floor. This seems to keep away those nasty ants that like to make their way in early spring.
Crate: I must admit that I have had dogs my whole life and had never used a crate. However, I also had a large yard and a doggie door. When I got Simba I did not have either. We would be taking walks and runs to the park. This was the first time I crated a puppy and it did make my life and her happier. If mommy is happy then puppy is happy. It also gave me a sense of relief to know that she was safe and staying out of trouble while I was at work. It is important to crate train your puppy.
Food: I have had dogs previously with sensitive stomachs. The vet always recommended dog food without corn. I chose to start Simba off on the same which is Lamb and Rice. It turns out that it was the best thing for her because of all dogs she has the worst stomach which includes IBS. Some dogs tend to be food guarders, watch for this. This is not a good habit and should be broken.
Treats: Small treats are great for training but make sure they’re small. It is not healthy for you puppy to get too many unless you make them yourself and know what is in them. A healthy favorite treat and also recommended by the vet are baby carrots or cut up apples (no seeds, they’re poisonous). Another good treat for dogs is plain sweet potato fries baked in the oven until crispy. I do not recommend rawhide. Rawhide can be dangerous to dogs. It can lump up in their stomachs and cause many issues. Before knowing this I tried them with Simba and she would end up bleeding with her poo. Chicken jerky is a great treats.
Chew Toys: I will repeat myself, no rawhide. In addition to raw-hide I would skip real bones. If your dog is a professional chewer like mine, she will bite off pieces and chips. These can be hazardous to their stomachs, intestines and they can also get wedged in their gums. One of my favorite and Simba’s too was the Nylabone for heavy chewers and they come chicken or peanut butter flavored. Another good one is a bully stick. I have been told these are not like rawhide, which cannot be digested, making them safer. Many people love the Kong and put little treats or ice cubes inside them to keep their pups busy. There was not a Kong that Simba did not pride herself in tearing into little tiny pieces. After 5 years, I finally found a rubber type of toy that she can chew on and has not torn apart yet. It’s a Goughnut ball.
- Collar and Leash: For a collar, a flat cloth collar is best. You need a collar with some growing room but not too much. When fitting the collar, you should be able to fit two fingers between the collar and the dog’s neck. Be careful with dangling tags or buckles. They run the risk of getting caught in the crate. Simba wears a collar but I prefer a harness when taking her with a leash. First of all, she is a puller. Yes, you should train you puppy to walk on a loose leash without pulling. A couple of times when she was a puppy and got spooked she back right out of her collar (she’s built like a weight lifter with a neck the size of her head.) There are harnesses that prevent the dog from pulling. This works well with Simba. The leash I like is the retractable leashes. However, be careful to buy the one that has a flat cloth leash and not the cord kind which can cut right through you skin if the dog wraps around you or itself. A travel harness is also a good idea to keep your new pup safe in the car. Simba is great in the car and stays seated while the car is in motion however she has had her scares during sudden stops.
- Grooming Items: A couple of grooming items are a must. Unless you plan on taking your puppy to the groomer on a weekly basis you will need nail trimmers. Simba’s nails grow very fast and require trimming weekly or at least every two weeks. Make sure to pick up a clotting agent with the trimmer. If you accidently cut the nail too short it will bleed and it is very difficult to stop. The more the dogs runs around the more the blood pumps out. I was out of clotting agent once and a friend suggested baking soda which seemed to work but I had to keep her still for a while to allow it to clot. When shopping for shampoo and conditioner make sure to find a puppy tearless shampoo so that you don’t have to worry about it getting in her eyes. I bought a shampoo and conditioner combination to save one step.
- Bedding: Bedding for the crate should be washable. You will want more than one so that you can replace it while the other is being washed. I personally used soft throw blankets and towels for the crate. I also got Simba a doggie bed and her own blanket. She knows that this is her spot. When I take her to visit anyone I bring her blanket and she knows that this is where she lays and chews on her bones or toys. She finds comfort in having her own blanket in a strange house. I also trained her to stay off the couches but when I watch a movie and sit in the recliner I bring her blanket up and she knows that she can come up and lay with me. We went through a couple of doggie beds because she likes to fluff them up so much that she tears them. So I found that the beds that have a thin liner underneath did not last long. Get one that has the chenille material both on top and bottom. This one has lasted years.
- Clean Ups: You will need to stock up on poo bags. Stock up on cleaners that will remove stains and odor of accidents on carpet or furniture. I like to clip the poo bags on the leash to be ready when we are out for our walks.
- Toys: I found that Simba works very hard to get the surprise out of the plush animal package. Once she finds the fluff is covers my living room as if a blizzard blew through. Stuffless toys work well for her. She also love the stuffed toys that are made out of fleece. For some reason she does not tear these open. I also tie old socks all together and she loves to play with these and we also use these as pull toys. This is our version of arm wrestling, who can hold on the longest as we drag each other back and forth.
A few other items you may need:
- Bitter Apple: The is sprayed or wiped on furniture or items that the puppy may enjoy chewing on. Simba personally enjoyed the taste of bitter apple so another option is Hot Sauce. The hot sauce worked for us.
- Frontline or any other tick and flea prevention method
- Bell on ropes: I have those bells on a strip of leather that you see around Christmas time hung on my front door. I trained Simba to ring them whenever she needs to go out. This works very well for us if I’m in the other room. She walks by and hit the bells with her nose.
- Books: You want to learn as much as you can about your breed. For example, German Shorthaired Pointer are extremely active dogs. They need a lot of exercise or they WILL get into mischief. You may also pick up book about training your puppy. A must read…The Definition Of A Dog, by me. One more must read…Dog Owner’s Ten Commandments.
- Camera: You will want to share pictures of your new baby with all your friends and family. When they get tired of seeing them, share them on your favorite social sites. Dog lovers never get tired of looking at doggie pictures.
- Most of all be patient, and enjoy your new best friend.