Posted on April 12 2022
Adding a furry friend to the family? Congratulations! New puppies open the doors to long-term companionship, endless snuggles and laughs between best buddies, and potentially even a new alarm system! But puppies are not always roses and rainbows. As the journey evolves and your pup's personality unveils itself, scores of unique surprises and challenges will emerge from the woodwork.
So we have created an ultimate guide to help you through the tough spots before you em-bark on a new journey with your doggo. Discover tips to prepare for your four-legged friend, a new puppy shopping list, and guidance for getting your pal settled down. With this new puppy checklist, you will be ready to go in no time!
If you want your pup to grow up in style, they will need the right essentials. Here at Bitch New York, we have all your puppy's grooming, lifestyle, and feeding accessories to keep your wee baby happy, healthy, and gorgeous. Check out our chic range to find everything your puppy could wish for! Now, let's dive in.
How To Prepare For Your Puppy
There are a couple of things to organise, like the home and your personal routine, as you plan for the arrival of your puppy. Forethought in a few areas will support your recalibration to dog life and establish the grounds for smooth sailing once doggo gets home!
Assess What is Going On
Before you commit to a dog, evaluate your lifestyle and current projects. Does a puppy fit into this picture? Adapting to a new home is an inherently stressful experience for anyone, and certain temporary situations may aggravate a puppy's stress.
Less-than-ideal conditions could include extended periods where you are away from home, a planned move, or renovations to your property. Even if you have house guests arriving for a short period or an upcoming vacation, it is better to wait for things to calm down before introducing a puppy to the family.
Define Your Routine
Dogs are creatures of routine, and how happy they feel in the world around them is a reflection of their environment. Establishing a schedule as you prepare for the pup's arrival is a great way to offer them structure and confidence.
For example, respecting an animal's circadian rhythms will help them adapt to a new environment and regulate their energy. If you are a night owl you may consider ways to create a peaceful environment for your dog to sleep in as you settle to work in for the wee hours of the morning.
Feeding the puppy at the same time every morning and night will encourage positive food habits. Consider all the ways your overall timetable can support a new puppy.
Prepare the Family
Kids love puppies! If you have children in the house, take them to meet the puppy before he or she arrives, so they have an idea of what to expect. Reading a child stories about dogs opens up valuable opportunities to learn and emotionally manage the anticipation of a brand new canine companion!
Get your kids to help pick out supplies from our new puppy shopping list, and guide them through the puppy's routines. By letting kids participate in caring for the dog, they will become empowered to develop a strong bond with it.
Consider any other pets in the home as you prepare for your new arrival. Older animals may find it challenging to adapt to an energetic puppy. Finding a space where they can rest away from the puppy, and encouraging them to use their new retreat, can help everybody in the family adjust.
Make Space For Your Dog
Every animal needs a place in the home to feel safe and secure. Bear in mind that certain spots are more appropriate for raising a puppy than others. Create an environment where the puppy has plenty of natural light, is protected from attempting potentially dangerous stairs, and cannot refurbish your favorite chaise lounge while you're at work.
A safe space to retreat to will also dampen any stress or destructive behavior your doggo may be experiencing.
If you already know what breed to get, great! Now is a chance to check out some vlogs or read about their behaviors and characteristics online. Researching will illuminate your expectations and how to best care for your breed.
If you're unsure what breed suits you best, consider the following to ensure you and your new best friend can complement one another's lifestyles.
- Size - If space is limited (i.e. you live in a studio apartment with no backyard), smaller breeds will have more room to move around relative to their body size. On the other hand, if you live in the countryside or a suburban environment with plenty of space, large and small dogs will have plenty of room to run around.
- Activity Levels - Certain dogs require higher activity levels to regulate their energy than others. If you have a sporty lifestyle, pick a breed that can keep up with you! If getting out and about with a puppy will be more challenging, we recommend choosing a breed that needs fewer runs.
- Fur Type - Are you psychologically prepared to learn what vacuuming your clothing is all about, or do you prefer a dog that doesn't shed? Understanding the fur type of your favorite breeds will help pick a puppy that will match your cleaning routines and expectations.
Puppy Proofing The House
Pups are adventurous critters, and they will undoubtedly want to explore their new terrain. Puppy proof your property by barricading no-go zones in the house with puppy gates until they are big enough to use them. Indoor dog gates are a godsend for puppy owners who cannot stay at home all day to supervise their venturesome new friends.
Some house plants are toxic to dogs when they are chewed or ingested, so research the plants inside your home and in the yard and put any hazardous leaves out of the reach of curious teeth. Electric chords can also present danger to inquisitive puppies. Tape down any chords that cannot be removed from reach so your dog cannot chew on them or become tangled up in them.
Particularly in their first few months, any mouth-sized object that's accessible to your dog faces potential risks. To keep your dog safe from choking, thoroughly scour the inside and outside of your home for anything a puppy may chew on. This includes (but is not limited to) kids' toys, shoes, shopping bags, and vacuum cleaners. Puppy-safe chewy toys are a great way to keep your puppy occupied around the home as they grow.
Get Puppy Supplies
Ensure that you have organized sufficient supplies in advance of their arrival. The first few weeks are the most critical, so aim to get enough to keep their routine and diet consistent for at least a month.
Having the right supplies means you are well-prepared for any possible scenario when your doggo arrives home. Our puppy shopping list is a great place to start, but if you feel like getting creative or pampering your pooch even more, check out our comprehensive range of options to keep them safe, happy, and smothered in love.
Plan For Travel
The journey home will be the first experience you share as new friends! This is extremely exciting for everyone, so it's wise to bring a few essential items to facilitate a smooth ride.
A bed or crate will give your pup a place to sit during the journey home. Or, if you prefer to have them on your lap (and you are not driving), a comfy blanket may help position them safely without them adventuring around the confines of your car.
Bring a collar and a leash to help guide them to the car and into your home. If it is a long journey, you may consider taking water bowls and baby wipes in case of any accidents.
Choose a Vet
Puppy will need a vet appointment in the first few weeks of coming home with you. It's a good idea to research your vet options before the havoc and excitement begin. At the appointment, the vet will perform a general examination to ensure your pup is eating, growing, and digesting food normally.
The right vet will care for the medical needs of your pup throughout the dog's life, so read reviews or speak with your pet-parent friends to find the best vet in your area. Consider the vet's locality as well - as a general rule, having an easily accessible doggo doctor is a high priority for many pet owners.
Now is also a great time to check out pet insurance plans. Vet bills can add up throughout your dog's life, and being prepared for these expenses is a great way to protect you both in the long run.
So, now we have the basics prepared for the arrival of your puppy, let's get into the gear! What exactly does an expecting puppy owner need to care for a puppy in the home and beyond? That's what we're going to take a look at next, with the ultimate new puppy checklist.
Puppy Essentials List
Food, shelter, hygiene, safety, love... These are things that none of us could live without, and our pets are no exception! In this comprehensive bringing a puppy home checklist, you'll find everything to stockpile so you are ready for just about anything!
Your puppy's diet is the premise of their overall health, so feeding them the right stuff in the right way is critical.
Keep your puppy on a standard diet for at least a month. If you do decide you need to change your puppy's food, it is recommended to transition slowly over a week or more to avoid an upset tummy at an already stressful time. Begin by replacing 1/4 of the food with a new product. After a few days, change half of their food for the new brand, and after a few more days replace 3/4, until the puppy is eating a whole meal from the alternative food supply.
There are several things to know when you're choosing the right food for your puppy. First, it should be specific to the puppy’s stage of life. Puppies and dogs do not eat the same stuff, as typical dog food generally caters to animals at different life stages with varying energy demands and growth rates to puppies. Here are a few more things to look out for:
- Nutritionally balanced and complete - Puppies require four main components in their diets: protein, fats, calcium, and digestible carbohydrates. Immediately after weaning, puppies ingest the highest amount of protein, though this will decrease as they grow.
- Compliant with the Association of American Feed Control Official (AAFCO) nutritional standards.
- Palatable - If your pup is a fussy eater, try to get the food they like to eat to affirm they consume enough energy. We're not suggesting you try the food yourself, obviously. Some reviews may help to guide your decisions.
Water and Food Bowls
Dogs should have a water bowl and a food bowl. You may only put your puppy's food out at mealtimes, but freshwater should always be available.
From dog feeders that support an ergonomically correct eating position and help your pup digest, to designs that are customized according to your puppy's breed, there are so many gorgeous dog bowls to choose from that are both durable and easy to clean.
Gourmet Puppy Treats
Gourmet dog tidbits have many functions! As puppy training treats, they positively reinforce good behavior. They can also help strengthen the bond you build together. Consider that small pups' teeth are not fully developed yet, so they will struggle to chew on the regular treats adult dogs enjoy.
There are so many luxury dog treats made from healthy, whole-food ingredients that are free from chemicals or preservatives to keep your doggo smiling and healthy. They look so delectable you may be tempted to try them too... But we don't recommend it.
Walks are every dog's favorite part of the day - second to smothering you in cuddles when you arrive home from work! Once your doggo is vaccinated, registered, and microchipped, the two of you will be able to chill-out on long strolls through the park!
Dogs tend to experience the world through their powerful sense of smell, and walks are an incredible way to open them to new wonderful (and not-so-wonderful) scents. Once you and your puppy start walking together, they can begin socializing with other dogs, so you need to choose the right gear.
A collar is the only item dogs wear at all times, so it needs to fit comfortably around their neck. Collars are also the place where their registration tags (and your contact details) stay, so it keeps them safe if they feel so inclined to take themselves for a walk one day.
A collar should fit snugly and firmly around their neck. If it is too loose, it may get caught up on objects; too tight, and it may restrain their movement and make them feel uncomfortable. Try to find a good balance between the two. There are plenty of options for easy removal such as buckles and clips.
Walking with a pup is a wonderful way to get both of you active while exploring new parks and recreational areas together - especially when the sun is shining! A leash is an essential part of puppy training when you go out and about. They teach your pup walking etiquette when crossing roads and make sure your dog doesn't wander off too far.
Leashes can be made from cord, leather, or chain, and they can come with retractable features to allow your pup to roam a little more freely. However, retractable leashes can encourage dogs to pull and tug while they learn about walking with a leash. It may be wise to hold off on them until your dog has been enrolled in puppy training and has learned to walk with a loose leash first.
Many leashes can have poop bags attached to them to keep the parks, trails, and streets you roam together clean. The best part about leashes is the gorgeous range of dog leashes available for you to match your dog's personality, style, and breed! Happy shopping, dog lovers!
Some dog lovers will want to keep their dogs pristine and immaculately primed. Others are happy to let their pup stay au naturale - either way, you will need some grooming tools to keep their health intact. Here are some of the grooming supplies to get for a puppy.
A Good Brush
Every puppy needs a good brush regardless of the coat they have. It promotes healthy hair growth by activating your pet's natural oils and massaging their skin. Additionally, it keeps your dog's coat vibrant and chic by eliminating mats or knots and minimizes the time you spend vacuuming dog hair off the furniture.
Your dog's hair type will influence the type of brush that suits your puppy's needs. There are four main types of brushes for dogs:
- Slicker Brush - A slicker brush is used for dogs with medium to long hair, such as golden retrievers or curly hair. They feature a flat panel spiked with thin, short bristles which detangle and remove mats from the coat. Always take care when using a slicker brush as the fine metal wires can pull on knots which may be painful for the puppy when too much pressure is applied.
- Rakes - This is a type of brush designed to infiltrate the dog's coat and remove any dead undercoat close to the dog's skin. Like a slicker brush, apply minimal pressure when using a rake.
- Bristle Brush - These feature clusters of natural bristles that are tightly packed together to remove loose fur and stimulate the skin's natural oils. Use bristle brushes for breeds with short and smooth coats.
- Pin Brush - Pin brushes are commonly used by humans and come as a flexible oval pad dotted with smooth metal pins. They are best used to collect loose hair before it goes onto the furniture, and fluff up a medium-length coat after a good session with the slicker.
Your puppys' nails will grow and need to be trimmed every now and again. It is a good idea to start early to get your pup acquainted with having their nails trimmed. Ask your vet how to do this safely if you have any concerns.
Your puppy will get a little dirty and smelly at times - especially if they have an inclination to roll in bad-smelling things at the park. Dogs use shampoo specially designed for their skin and hair, free from harsh detergents and chemicals. Puppies usually have a unique puppy shampoo designed especially for their skin as it tends to be more sensitive than adult dogs.
A few good home necessities will make your puppy feel comfortable when they arrive and encourage play, rest, and safety.
A Comfy Bed
Even though we may love snuggling up with our dogs in our beds, every dog needs a soft retreat of its own to sleep in after an adventurous day of exploring. You may offer your pup a luxury blanket in their sleeping space or a plush toy to keep them comforted at night.
Ensure the dog bed has enough space to lie stretched out on their side. Consider that your dog will grow, and their bed size requirements may expand a lot! Additionally, select a dog bed that is easy to clean - removable covers or machine-washable beds are great for this. It will not take long before their bed gets dirty.
Puppy gates create a play-proof area in your home for doggo while they learn about their new space. They are efficient at keeping your puppy safe from stairs or un-fixed objects while you are at work or busy cooking dinner.
They also help to protect your furniture, clothes, and shoes from the mischievous adventures of puppy teeth when they enter into the teething phase. Lightweight options are easier to travel with, but ensure that the gates are steady enough to prevent pup from knocking it and high enough that they can't jump out.
Most puppies have a lot of energy. Providing a few toys is a wholesome way to encourage their playful nature, direct their energy, and keep them occupied for hours. Pick toys that are the right size for your puppy's mouth and can be cleaned easily.
Dog toys are designed with several different purposes in mind, such as pulling, chasing, and chewing. If your pup likes to play rough, rubber toys are soft and won't damage their teeth, while being sufficiently durable to stay intact. Rope toys and balls encourage interactive play with your puppy and strengthen your friendship.
Puppy Training Tips
The final part of the new puppy checklist is taking steps to ensure your doggo will behave well and integrate with family, friends, and other puppies!
Enroll in Puppy Training School
Whether you get your doggo a dog trainer or choose to train them at home, investing time into educating them about bite inhibition and teaching them some basic commands will set them up for life.
Before your pup gets socialized with other puppies, they will likely need to be vaccinated. If you choose to train the pup yourself, remember patience, positive reinforcement, and treats are powerful tools.
A puppy requires strong boundaries to learn what behavior is acceptable inside and outside the home. Dogs are intelligent animals, so enforcing boundaries while they are young makes it easier for them to learn.
Ensure your family is aware of the boundaries you set in the home and for walks. The initial months of having your new puppy are the most critical and often require higher energy input to teach and reinforce limits, but it will get easier as your dog grows.
Prepare for Teething
All puppies go through a teething phase, where they chew on just about anything in sight to help their puppy teeth grow! It usually begins at around three weeks and lasts for between 8-9 months after all the adult teeth have come through. Teething puppies love plush and rubber dog toys, chew sticks, and rawhide bones.
The soothing your puppy craves may change over the course of their teething, so it is good to give them options. That way, you don't have to sacrifice a shoe or your favorite cushion.
Congratulations new pet parents! Welcoming a new pup to the family is always an exciting experience that will offer endless rewards for many years to come.
With that said, puppies require tons of care, attention, and patience. It's completely normal to feel overwhelmed at times. This checklist will have you well prepared to care for your canine companion so you can enjoy the process as your puppy grows.
Bitch New York has all you need to take care of your furry love ball as they develop into an adult dog. We are here to support your journey together, so be sure to check out our chic collection of dog accessories, grooming gear, and gourmet treats!