About to Become a Dog Parent?
So you’re about to emBARK on your #dogmum / #dogdad journey…
Welcoming a puppy into your home comes with a lot of love, sweat (and tears) and does require preparation. Just like when expecting a baby, you need to get your home ready for the new family member.
With four years in the pet industry, we’re confident we’ve covered everything you need to know when bringing home your new fluffy family member.
Here's our comprehensive list of essentials for your new pup.
#1 A Comfortable Dog Bed 😴
Your puppy is going to need a cozy spot to rest. A bed is not only a safe spot for a puppy, but it is also great for training. Having a designated bed helps your puppy understand where they’re allowed - especially in the case of ‘no dogs on the furniture’ households, says vet Cathy Madson. It will also help your puppy sleep through the night.
💡PRO TIP: Make sure to buy a bed that is size-appropriate. Some beds, such as the Barney Bed, even offer orthopaedic benefits for added comfort on little growing joints.
#2 Food and Water Bowls 🥣
Stainless steel or ceramic bowls are typically best as they're easy to clean and don't harbour bacteria as easily as plastic ones. Also, keep your eye out for 'slow feeders' these will slow your puppy down from eating too quickly, leading to digestive issues, says Petsafe Expert, Charlotte Higgins.
#3 High-Quality Puppy Food 🥦
For the first few weeks, your puppy will likely still be on puppy milk and perhaps puppy kibble. But when it comes time to transition them to adult food, ensure you research for their breed, age and weight, or consult your vet to find the best diet for your puppy's breed and age. Proper nutrition in the early stages of life is crucial for healthy development. Check out this AKC article on transitioning your puppy onto adult food.
#4 Puppy Toys 🎾
Puppies have a LOT of energy and they're also teething. Toys help in both stimulation and soothing their gums. Consider a mix of chew toys, squeaky toys, and interactive toys.
💡 PRO TIP: For a mental enrichment toy, you can’t beat a Kong. They’re made of durable silicone and come in a range of breed-appropriate sizes. You can find them at most Pet Warehouse stores across the country. Try a Kong that allows you to stuff it with treats (or peanut butter) - they’re always crowd favourites.
#5 Puppy Soothing Tools 🌚
Your puppy has been taken from his or her siblings and mother, so they’re going to be a little distressed, especially at night. We have a couple of tried and tested recommendations for soothing a distressed pup.
💝 Ask your breeder if you can keep a puppy blanket or toy they used in the litter. The familiar feel and smell will likely help soothe them, and make them feel more ‘at home’, even in this new environment.
💝 One of the BEST puppy inventions is a little heart beat soft toy. These toys are plush and can be turned on - they make a heart beat noise which emulates their mother’s heart. For a puppy that cries at night, this is a game changer.
#6 Puppy Treats 🍬
Treats are ESSENTIAL for training purposes and to reward good behaviour. Ensure they're suitable for puppies.
💡PRO TIP: Make sure you select treats with minimal ingredients. Just like human food, less additives are better, especially for sensitive puppy tummies. The general rule of thumb? If you can’t pronounce the ingredient, avoid it!
Our Favourite Simple and Natural Puppy Treat Ideas:
#7 Dog Waste Bags 🙊
Not so glamorous, but...PSA: Puppies poop, A LOT. You’ll need these.Check out our range of environmentally-friendly biodegradable poop bags.
#8 Puppy Training Classes 🗣️
Wondering whether puppy training is really worth it? In our experience…it’s complicated.
The most important thing your puppy will learn in puppy classes isn’t sitting, staying or laying down - in fact, a lot of the time your puppy may not actually even be old enough to learn (and remember) these commands.
The real reason you should take your puppy to puppy school? Socialisation. Doggy Dan of Online Dog Trainer, says socialisation is THE MOST important thing you can teach your puppy.
After living alone with humans for the last few weeks, it is crucial for puppies to be around other dogs - especially their peers. Dogs are, by nature, pack animals and un unsocialised puppies leads to an unsocialised dogs. Trust us when we say you DO NOT want this.
💡PRO TIP: The most affordable puppy classes are usually at the big pet stores like Pet Barn.
#9 Puppy Toilet Supplies 🍃
The best way to train your puppy is on real grass, but we realise real grass isn’t always accessible, especially for our fellow apartment dog parents. Wanna know something? That doesn’t matter anymore…
Try Potty Plant - they supply real grass patches via a subscription service. No more stinky, bad-for-the-environment potty training pads necessary.
🤔 DID YOU KNOW: Dogs use the Earth's magnetic field when they're relieving themselves. Canines choose to do so in a north-south axis, a new study published in the journal Frontiers in Zoology says. The study suggests that dogs are sensitive to small variations in Earth's magnetic field.
#10 Puppy Collar 👑
Yes, it is important to have a collar for your puppy.
Why? There are two main reasons:
💡 PRO TIP: Ensure you select a collar for your puppy that is lightweight. Check out our range of lightweight puppy collars. For large breeds, select the SMALL, for small breeds, we recommend the EXTRA-SMALL.
FAQ’s: Frequently Asked Questions 🐶
Can My Puppy Wear a Collar?It's a common misconception that puppies shouldn't wear collars. A puppy can (and should) wear a collar, especially for identification purposes. But it's essential to ensure the collar fits correctly and is appropriate for their size and age. The collar should be snug enough so it won't slip over the puppy's head, but you should be able to fit two fingers between the collar and the puppy's neck comfortably. Regularly check the collar's fit as puppies grow quickly. Always monitor your puppy while wearing a collar, especially during play, to prevent potential choking hazards or entanglements with objects or other animals.
Why Does My Puppy Cry at Night?
Your puppy might cry at night for several reasons. It's common for young puppies to feel separation anxiety when left alone, as they're used to the comfort and presence of their mother and littermates. Additionally, the new environment can be unfamiliar and overwhelming for them. Check out our tips at #5!
How to Potty Train My Puppy?
Potty training a puppy involves consistency, patience, and positive reinforcement. Establish a regular feeding schedule and take your puppy out first thing in the morning, after eating, after playtime, and before bedtime. Choose a designated potty spot outdoors, and always lead your puppy to that area. When they relieve themselves, offer immediate praise and a treat. If accidents occur inside, clean up promptly with an enzymatic cleaner to remove scent markers. Avoid punishing your puppy for mistakes, as this can create fear and confusion. Instead, focus on rewarding success and maintaining a routine to set them up for consistent habits.
More on positive reinforcement, here.
What Should I Feed My Puppy?
Feed your puppy a balanced and nutritionally complete diet formulated specifically for puppies. Puppy food contains essential nutrients, vitamins, and proteins that support rapid growth and development. Choose a reputable brand and consider your puppy's breed, size, and age when making a selection. It's often recommended to stick with the food the breeder or shelter was using initially to avoid digestive upset, then gradually transition to your chosen brand over a week if necessary. Always provide fresh water and consult with your veterinarian about specific dietary needs and portions for your puppy.
Check out our top 5 favourite puppy treats at #6.😘