2020 and 2021 saw many people trading the office space for a home office, while the kids also traded the school yard for the backyard. What better time to adopt a puppy then now? This is what many people thought, and thus a puppy-boom happened, nay- is still happening.
Droves of families and singles flocked to local pet stores, safely distanced of course, to get the necessities for their newly acquired pets. It can easily be overwhelming going through articles, videos and the endless must-have lists. I am here to offer you another one of those lists based on having worked through the entire pandemic in a pet store, meeting countless puppy owners and pet lovers. I have put together a top 10 list of basics. Shall we jump in?
- Water and Food Bowl
Stick to stainless steel for now, especially if your dog is expected to be considerably bigger than their puppy size. Even better, a stainless-steel bowl with a rubber bottom or sleeve for minimal spillage and movement on your floors. Invest in a cute, fashionable ceramic bowl once they are full grown.
- Pee Pads and Potty Bells
Pee pads are an essential buy even if you are planning to do your best to train them to go outside. Since puppies are tiny with tiny bladders, accidents will happen, so you may as well keep those accidents contained. In addition to pee pads, potty bells (a long rope with bells on it) is a great training tool to get puppies to let you know they need to go outside. It doesn’t work for everyone, and not everyone likes being at the beck and call of a puppy, but it may be a helpful tool.
- Poo Bags and Poo Bag Holder
This is as basic as it gets. You need to walk your dog. They will poop. You will need to pick the poop up. A good durable dispenser that easily provides you that magical bag is a great investment. Trust me, you will go through many iterations of dispensers, start with one, a cheap one, and go from there.
- Crate, Crate Liner or enclosure
There are countless theories on crate training and if you decide to go this route, you will need a crate. Some suggest to buy for the size your dog is going to be rather than the size they are now. If you have the money, you can buy both sizes. However, if you would rather stick to one crate, you can always just section off part of the crate to a smaller size while your puppy is small. This way they will not have space to go to the bathroom in there, and use it only for sleeping, playing and training. Other owners may opt to get an enclosure or section off a room, with areas for potty and the rest for sleep and play. Whichever way you go, make sure you get the right size crate or enclosure and that any liner or bed will be washable. Do not invest in fancy nice beds quite yet, the pups will most likely bite and chew on it. Start small, basic and invest in more aesthetically pleasing décor once they are full grown.
- Leash and Collar
Puppies will grow. As tempting as it may be to run and get a nice fancy harness or a one-of-a-kind collar, start with the basics. A collar that fits now, as a puppy, and a matching leash if you will, are the best investment. This way you get to know their walking style, any issues, as well as waiting for them to be their full size before you invest in a more expensive harness or collar. Who knows, you may need a specialized harness for pullers, which you would not know when you first get them. Until then, stick to the basics. Another suggestion is to get a Biothane leash and collar which are washable, durable, stink-proof and ideal for puppies. Make sure the clips are not too big and heavy. (See Lavender Set in the shop)
- Information Tag
Although most owners will opt to microchip their dogs, a tag on a collar is still a tried and true method of safety. It lets others know that the dog, should they get lost, belongs to someone and can be returned. Etsy and other vendors now make it easy to select font, shapes and all sorts of innovative designs to display key information. There are even collars that can be engraved with information if you do not want the clicking of the tag against bowls. Whatever way you choose to go, do not forget basic safety in having a tag on your dogs at all times.
This is by far my favourite part of getting a puppy. I recommend multiple types of toys to start off with, including one plush toy and one rubber toy for chewing. Plush toys are fun to play with, play tug, cuddle up with or yes, destroy. It’s fun. The rubber toys are great for teething, to prevent them from chewing your furniture and also to put treats in in order to keep them busy.
Much like with the toys, treats also come in different ‘types’; some for training, some for long lasting fun and others for just a once in a while reward. Training treats should be high reward, meaning the dog loves it so much they will listen to you throughout the training. Many brands make puppy specific high reward training treats, often soft, for puppy teeth. Long lasting treats like ears and tendons are also great for keeping active puppies engaged and quiet while you get some work done.
As previously mentioned, keep things simple for now. Puppies will chew and destroy beds, they may spill things, pee on it and you do not want to invest in high end beds. They will also grow and develop their own sleeping style. Yes, sleeping style! Some dogs curl up, some rest their heads on the sides of beds while others may stretch out. There are dog beds for all those types of sleepers. Wait until they are full grown, get to know them and then go nuts buying some truly gorgeous and comfy dog beds.
Left the most important product last. There is much too much to discuss when it comes to dog food, so this will be the basic run down. Follow what your breeder, rescue or previous owner was feeding the dog. Let them settle in before making big changes. Main things to keep in mind: size of dog, breed of dog, your lifestyle, price points and allergies. You can feed dry food (kibble), wet food, freeze-dried raw, raw or cooked-frozen food. Some people choose to cook their dog’s food, in which case there are toppers, and powdered supplements to ensure they get a complete meal. I highly recommend whatever route you go, to stick to Puppy specific formulas for the added calories and nutrients.
*There is another blog article that has a bit more detail, should you wish to start there.
Bonus Must Have: clicker- a great tool for training!
Hope this list gave you a good idea of what you will need to get started with your new dog. Once you fall into a routine, get to know each other, you can expand your list to things like shampoos, brushes, nail clippers, sweaters, booties and everything else imaginable. Start slow, enjoy your new puppy and congratulations!