There are necessary items that you must have at home before bringing 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 while getting her acclimated.
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. If your dog eats to fast, you may need to purchase a feeder bowl which are like puzzle looking bowls to slow down their eating. It is dangerous to the dog’s health when they eat to fast.
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 me 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. Now I will admit that I could not get her to sleep in her crate but it wasn’t for lack of trying. I did leave her in the crate during my work day and she was fine with that. When I adopted Gypsy, she was crate trained. So Gypsy did sleep in the crate until she was 2 years old.
Food: I have previously had dogs 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 she has allergies and the worst stomach which includes IBS. Another tip from our vet was to add a tablespoon of plain pumpkin to her food. Simba loved the pumpkin and it really helped her become regular. Prior to the pumpkin she suffered from constant diarrhea and then constipation leading to hemorrhoids. 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. Your best option is to make them yourself and know what is in them. Always keep an eye on your dog’s weight. Too many treats can cause weight gain. 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 along with being a choking hazard. Before knowing this I tried them with Simba and I would find blood in her poo. Chicken jerky is a great treat too.
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 break off sharp pieces making them a hazard. These can be hazardous to their stomachs, intestines and they can also get wedged in their gums. I also know of dogs who have broken teeth with hard bones costing the owners a fortune in dental fees. 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, peanut butter, frozen fruit, 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. I must add that she has no interest in the Goughnut since she can’t tear it apart.
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. Find a collar that has a snapping buckle that will pull apart if they get caught. 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. The collar can harm the dog if she is a puller. Yes, you should train your 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. The dog should be seat belted in. They make seatbelts that snap onto their harness. 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. I have switched over to a pet Dremel for their nails which I like much better. Gypsy has very thick and hard nails that have cracked when using a clipper. 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. German Shorthair Pointers need to be brushed often but don’t need to be bathed often. Shampoos remove the protective oils they have on their coat and also dries out their skin.
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 sherpa material both on top and bottom. They don’t tear easy. We have one that has lasted years.
Clean Ups: You will need to stock up on poo bags and pee pads. While I potty trained them, I laid a pee pad by the door that we use to go out. Sometimes she couldn’t hold it between ringing the bell and me putting her harness and leash on to take her out. Putting it by the door also helped her head to right way. Stock up on cleaners that will remove stains and odor of accidents on carpet or furniture. I found that Woolite Pet cleaner removes stains and odor the best, especially vomit stains. 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 squeaker out of the plush animals. Once she finds the fluff inside, she doesn’t stop looking for an opening until 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 sherpa. 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. I have also stuffed old socks inside a knee sock and knot the end off. 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. Tabasco worked for us.
Frontline or any other tick and flea prevention method
Bells on rope: 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 letting me know that she needs to go out.
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, especially puppy pics.
Books: You want to learn as much as you can about your breed and training them. For example, German Shorthaired Pointer are extremely active dogs. They need a lot of exercise or they WILL get into mischief. Actually, they will become destructive. Simba has eaten through drywall and Gypsy… well Gypsy has been through everything in the house. Her favorite is anything made of fabric like the couch, pillows, my mattress, etc. 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.
Most of all be patient, and enjoy your new best friend.