So the day is nearing, and you are almost ready to get your new puppy. Are you sure you're ready? To help you get started, we put together a basic new puppy starter kit with a list of supplies for your new fur baby.
To complete this list, we have looked at everything you need to do before you get your puppy, and then at the shopping list of supplies you need for your new puppy starter kit. If you are on the lookout for a new dog, make sure to print this article out and check off your bases.
New Puppy Starter Kit: Choosing the Right Breed
Research the breeds you want thoroughly. One of the biggest mistakes a new pet parent makes too often is getting a puppy that does not fit their lifestyle. Questions to ask yourself when selecting a breed include:
- How much exercise and training does this breed need? Can I supply them with the activity levels they need, particularly if it is a working breed such as a Husky or Border Collie, or a hunting dog such as a Vizsla or German Short-haired pointer.
- How experienced am I as an owner? Inexperienced owners or even just average dog owners used to breeds like Labradors should never take on an extremely dominant dog such as a Cane Corso, Presa Canario, or Boerboel. These are powerful and dominant breeds that need owners with specialized abilities and leadership skills.They are not good pets for the average dog owner.
- Is the breed suitable to the climate I live in? Avoid the temptation of getting an Alaskan Malamute if you live in a hot or humid climate.
- Do I need a hypoallergenic breed? No dog is truly hypoallergenic, but if somebody in your household suffers mild allergies, look for less allergenic dogs like poodles.
- What are the space requirements for this breed? Whether you live on a farm or an apartment, make sure the type of dog you look for is adaptable to that space.
- How often am I away from home and is there somebody at home to stay with my dog most of the time? Some dogs are far more prone to separation anxiety, like the Bichon Frise and will not do well if they are left alone all day while you go to work.
- If I have children, is this breed usually compatible with children? Make sure you keep the age of the children in mind. Also, smaller dogs do not equal better with kids. Children are more likely to be bitten by Chihuahuas than nearly any other dog. Even if a small dog can’t do the same amount of damage as a larger dog, you never want to place your child in that situation.
- Does this breed get along with other dogs and cats? Although socialization is always essential, there are breeds that may always be aggressive with other animals. Avoid them if you have other pets.
- How healthy is this breed? As the genetic pool for many purebreds grows smaller every year, make sure you know what you are signing up for in terms of vet visits. Although health is never guaranteed, some breeds are going to cost a fortune. These include dogs like French Bulldogs, Neapolitan Mastiffs and English Bulldogs.
New Puppy Starter Kit: The Breeder Checklist:
Once you have selected your breed of choice, the next step is to find your puppy. The first decision is whether to adopt your dog or purchase a puppy. Naturally, we encourage everyone to adopt. Visiting your local shelter can be fruitful, but you can also look for breed specific rescues to find the dog you're looking for.
However, adopting often means you know little to nothing about your new dog’s background, which can be a problem. If it is within your budget and you would rather look for a specialized breeder, then find the best breeder you can to ensure a healthy and ethically bred dog.This means far more than just AKC registration papers. Rather, use this checklist to find the right breeder:
- The breeder shows you the full health screening results for the parents. This should include the hip and elbow tests for larger dogs and DNA tests for breed-specific conditions such as certain cancers, liver shunts, or any other congenital issue common in that type of dog, including eye tests.
- You get to visit the facility and meet the parents, as well as assess the conditions where the dogs are bred. If the dogs seem nervous or aggressive, do not buy puppies from the breeder.
- The breeder has a waiting list. Having puppies immediately available is a red flag.
- No backyard breeders or puppies from pet shops.
- The breeder asks questions about you and does a background check to make sure the dog is going to a good home.
- You sign a contract with the breeder.
- Puppies are vaccinated and microchipped. They show no signs of illness, such as discharge from the eyes or nose. They are confident and outgoing rather than fearful and withdrawn.
- Beware of marketing gimmicks that can affect your dog's health and temperment, this includes breeding for color or size as with teacup, giant, or pocket-sized dogs Inbreeding (line breeding) for exaggerated features and to meet the perfect “breed profile” in the show ring is also a problem.Often, this kind of breeding can result in dogs that health issues such as breathing problems or extreme anxiety and behavioral issues. On the same note, if you do not want a working dog, do not buy a dog like a German Shepherd that comes from working bloodlines.
To do list for your new puppy:
- Puppy proof your home. Make sure your new loved one can't get near any stairs, leap off furniture, or have access to anything dangerous such as cables, chargers, or any chemicals in the kitchen or garage.
- Visit a few different puppy schools and socialization classes to find the right school for your puppy. Ask for references and try to sit in on a class to assess if the trainer is effective, if they use positive reinforcement methods, and if they intervene when puppies are bullied or anxious.
- Decide on a routine for your new puppy. When will they go for walks, be fed, take naps, or have playtime? Routine is essential for your dog’s well being.
- Write a list of rules for your new dog that the whole household agrees to reinforce. For example, will they be allowed to jump on people? If not, then jumping on people as a puppy needs to be discourage. Similarly, will they be allowed on furniture? Do not allow your new puppy on the couch if you don't want them on the couch as adults.
- What will your new dog eat? It is essential to look for food that will promote your dog's long-term health. Make sure to educate yourself on the nutritional requirements for your dog’s age, health, size, and breed. For instance, if you have a small breed, you can read this article here. Or use PetAssistant’s food comparison tool to find the best food for your dog.
- Establish a relationship with your veterinarian. Make sure you have their contact details, including the emergency after hours numbers, and set up a schedule for your puppy’s vaccinations.
- When your puppy is old enough, use an app like BarkHappy to make sure you can set up playdates.
- Find a reliable pet sitter and dog walker in case you need one.
- Look for a trusted and experienced doggy parlor if your dog has more intensive grooming needs.
- Pet insurance: make sure your dog is insured to help with any unforeseen vet’s bills.
What to buy for your new puppy: The New Puppy Starter kit
- A new harness and leash. While collars may give you more control over your pet, they can also lead to dangers such as trachea or thyroid damage. Smaller breeds are at particular risk of damage to their neck. However, some harnesses can encourage pulling, so a collar is often more appropriate for a larger dog that you need more control of. Train your puppy from an early age to walk politely beside you and never pull. Pro tip: do not buy retractable leashes. These are dangerous to you and your dog.
- A new bed.
- Metal or ceramic food and water bowls, never plastic.
- A crate (and multiple mats if mat training).
- A CPS crash-tested harness or carrier for traveling. There are plenty of harnesses and crates on the market. Still, most are misleading when it comes to how much they will actually protect your pet in the event of an accident.
- Healthy, unprocessed, low-calorie treats for positive reinforcement training.
- A teletriage service such as FirstVet in case of late-night questions for a professional.
- Training pads for dogs in apartments or small breeds.
- Biodegradable disposable waste bags.
- A pooper scooper.
- Ammonia-free and deodorizing cleaning products for accidents. Look for one with active enzymes and probiotics to naturally break down smells.
- Toys, especially chew toys for the teething phase between three and six months. Puzzle toys are also helpful to keep your puppy busy.
- Puppy shampoo and conditioner (avoid bathing more than once a month to prevent stripping the coat of natural oils.)
- Dental care products
- A good slicker brush for daily grooming, and a deshedder if needed.
- A doggy nail clipper or grinder.
- Lint rollers for doggy hair.
- A doggy toothbrush and toothpaste.
- A good ear cleaning product.
- Booties for extremely hot ground, salted ground, or snow.
- Jackets for cold weather if your dog is not equipped for the cold (like a Husky or Malamute).
Finally, it pays to invest in a first aid kit.
New Puppy Starter Kit: Your new puppy’s first aid kit:
This may include:
- A digital thermometer—have your vet show you how to take your puppy's temperature. A healthy dog temperature is between 101 and 102.5 for dogs (or 38.3°C to 39.2°C.)
- Antiseptic and antifungal creams
- Veterinary and emergency contact details
- Medical details
- Needleless syringe
- Styptic pencil
- Non-latex disposable gloves
- Fresh hydroperoxide, in case you need to induce vomiting.
- Charcoal pills if your dog has swallowed poisons (only use after vomiting)
- Cotton balls or absorbent gauze pads
Hopefully, this list for a new puppy starter kit can help you prepare for a new puppy. Remember, although it is tempting to bring a new bundle home on impulse, skipping the steps of adequate preparation can lead to disaster. Make sure to do your research before bringing a new puppy home, and invest in all the necessary items you may need for your new family member.