A new puppy can be an exciting addition to any home. However, proper preparation can mean the difference between a welcoming homecoming and a frightening one. Being prepared ahead of time for a new puppy allows owners to maintain control while helping the pet feel welcome. Purchasing necessary items as well as securing electrical cords, removing plants and placing gates in living areas are all important steps to take before bringing a new dog home.
New puppies must have some form of identification so that they can be returned in case of loss or theft. ID tags can be purchased inexpensively and attached to a dog collar; many of these are produced at pet or hardware stores while you wait. Permanent identification options are also available, although they are more expensive. These types include tattoos, inserted microchips or attached global positioning devices.
New puppies need food and water bowls or dishes; the Partnership for Animal Welfare in Washington, D.C., recommends that dishes be stainless steel or ceramic, as plastic can absorb bacteria and smell. However, more importantly, new puppies need food that provides them with the nutrients necessary for proper growth. Although a great many prepared foods are available on the market today, those that are nutrient-rich allow for optimum pet health. According to the Dog Channel, foods that have been approved by the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) are a good idea.
To keep new puppies properly groomed, owners should purchase a flea comb and brush. Additionally, those wishing to keep nails trimmed need to purchase proper tools for the job. A book describing grooming techniques can be helpful.
According to the Dog Channel, toys are important to puppies for several reasons. They help with good dental hygiene, are teething aids, provide comfort and physical activity and also serve as a form of mental stimulation. Also, puppies like to chew. An array of chew toys can keep dogs from gnawing on furniture or other items. Chew toys that are deemed safe and durable on packaging or by other dog owners are good choices. Dog owners should remember that the size of the toy should be considered, since puppies can swallow toys larger than their jaws. Help from a knowledgeable clerk, vet or fellow dog owner can help.
New puppies need a collar to house rabies, vaccination and ID tags. The Partnership for Animal Welfare (PAW) recommends a leather or non-stretch collar that is "two fingers snug." Additionally, a dog leash that has a strong clasp and fits comfortably in the owner's hand is needed. (Two sizes--a long and a short--are recommended for various uses.) A properly-fitting head collar or harness is also suggested by PAW because it helps owners with training their puppies.
Puppies need to be housed in secure locations for several reasons. They may need a quiet space to rest from rowdy children, or they may need a place to feel safe when owners are away. Several options are available. These include baby gates or dog gates as well as crates. Crates should be carefully chosen to ensure that dogs have ample room yet do not have a corner in which to potty. Adjustable crates can also be helpful so that they can be expanded as the puppy grows.
New puppies need bedding or a clean blanket so that they are aware of where they should sleep. Establishing a sleeping space early on can help dog owners keep control of the dog's environment. A puppy care book or a book on dog training can also be helpful for new dog owners.
Kendall Olsen has been writing for more than 20 years She is a University of Missouri-St. Louis Gateway Writing Project Fellow and has published instructional materials with the McDonald Publishing Company. Olsen holds an Ed.S. in educational technology, an M.Ed. in secondary English curriculum and instruction, a B.S. in elementary education and a B.A. in art history.