A puppy is a great addition to any home. Becoming a dog parent can bring both excitement and nervousness. With this puppy owners checklist being unprepared will at least not be a problem.
The constant chewing, whining, and puppy poop could leave you surprised and disenchanted. Besides, it can get more overwhelming if you have no idea about how best to help your dog socialize.
Thankfully, here’s a comprehensive guide that helps you navigate the new world of being a puppy owner. In theis puppy owners checklist we have 29 points featuring items and activities that everyone anticipating a puppy’s arrival should prepare for. These points are divided across sections of your dog’s life ranging from feeding, daily care, health, training, down to gear you might need.
Food and water bowls
The first, and probably most integral part of your puppy’s life is its diet. Your puppy will require different bowls for its food and water. These bowls come made in varying materials and different sizes. So, your choice of a feeding bowl will depend on your puppy, budget, and environment.
Stainless steel bowls are more durable and easier to clean. On the other hand, plastic bowls are cheaper and more prone to breaking into particles, which your dog may ingest. You may also consider heavier materials like ceramic or glass which minimizes the risk of your puppy flipping food over.
It goes without saying that your puppy needs to be fed at regular intervals. But beyond food, your puppy will also appreciate treats. Treats are small chunks of food items that offer your pet extra nutrition.
Dogs generally find eating treats as a fun-filled experience. The best types of treats are soft and do not include bones. You should also opt for organic treats such as pigs’ ears or pumpkin treats.
As the name implies, feeding syringes allow you to feed your puppy with liquid diet or medicine. Syringes are most advised when your puppy is sick or unable to chew all by itself. Also, very young dogs below four months may require syringe feeding.
Best syringe feeding practices include cleaning syringes before use and inserting the syringe only a few inches into the mouth to avoid choking. It is improper to use syringes as a long-term feeding plan for your puppy.
Puppies vary according to coat. So, while some pets may have so much fur, others may simply have soft, short hair on their coat. Depending on your type of dog, a brush or a comb is an essential part of your dog’s daily care items. For short-haired puppies, a rubber brush is your best option.
However, if your puppy is a heavy-coated breed with thick hair, you may require an undercoat rake. Puppies with long, tangling, or knotty hair could also use a slicker brush or a comb. Albeit if the hairs are long but not knotty, bristle brushes are perfect.
You should never leave your puppy’s nail to grow unduly long. That’s why it’s best to make your dog cultivate the habit of having its nails trimmed while it is still a puppy. Nail clippers are therefore a must-have in your home. You could choose from scissor clipper types or guillotine nail clippers depending on how long and thick your puppy’s nails are.
Puppies need a bath once in a while, and Shampoos generally come in handy in times like that. When getting a shampoo for your puppy, you should look out for its ingredients and ensure they don’t contain allergic properties.
In addition, do not use human shampoo for dogs as human skin differs in response to acidity compared to dogs. As a pro tip, shampoos with aloe vera and oatmeal will do your puppy’s coat a lot of good.
Puppies are more prone to parasites than older dogs. Due to their age, their immune system is still quite fragile, and they may require parasite preventive medicine. As a dog owner, you should ensure you have flea, earthworm, and tick prevention medications available. You should also treat your puppy for ascarids and hookworms as early as possible.
Despite their young age, puppies are very agile and this increases their chances of attracting dirt as they play and bring it into clean parts of the home. Besides, puppy urine and feces may be tough to clean most times. So, it is advisable for puppy owners to use enzyme-based cleaners. Enzyme cleaners help break down pet messes and are safe for use within your home.
Training is part of any puppy owners checklist
Training your puppy to urinate at the right places ought to start early enough. Although your puppy’s bladder can hold more urine as it grows, it’s simply safer if you get provide pee pads. These pads function as a designated spot for your pets to relieve themselves. As your puppies grow older, try to move pee pads outdoors so your dogs don’t get too comfortable urinating inside.
Grass Potty boxes
As a supplement or alternative to pee pads, grass potty boxes are also a useful item in your puppy home. They are toilets shaped like a box and most times made from grasses. You should train your dog to pee or defecate in grass potty boxes as it grows. There are different variants of the grass potty boxes and you may choose from synthetic grass or real grass boxes. Just like with pee pads, ensure to station them outdoors for the most part.
Puppies are known to put up several forms of behaviors during their formative years. So, it’s really up to you to show them what behavior is good and which is reprehensible. Puppy clickers are helpful in helping you reinforce behavior patterns. How do they work? Well, a puppy clicker is a “noisemaking” device that you can press and, in turn, automatically send a signal to your dog. Clickers are used alongside rewards. So, for each click, the dog is rewarded and this reinforces the notion that its actions were positive.
Puppies, just like humans, suffer from anxiety. Whether they are newly born or adopted, adjusting to a new life can be emotionally exhausting. This leads them to act irrationally or exhibit undisciplined behavior. You can remedy this through calming aids. Calming aids could be in the form of cuddlers, chews or even tunes. Decide which device your dog responds to best and make it its constant anxiety-relief aid.
Your puppy is most definitely beaming with high energy in its first months. And, of course, you’ll need enough play things to keep it engaged, especially in those times you won’t be around it. That’s why toys are recommended for every puppy owner. There are different classes of toys ranging from food-dispensing toys, ropes, and puzzle toys. In fact, experience with puppies shows that a more diverse mix of toys is better. However, when stocking up on toys, ensure they are the perfect size and make time to clean them regularly.
Gear on the puppy owners checklist
A collar is an important gear for your dog. Among many benefits, a collar can serve as an identification, especially if it has your puppy’s name tag. Your puppy’s collar is preferably flat with a fastening clip or buckle. This type of collar is easier to put on and highly durable. When putting on your puppy’s collar, always ensure to leave enough space, the width of two fingers. Also, as your dog grows, its neck increases in size. So, be sure to adjust the collar’s fit periodically.
If your puppy shows tendencies to wander during a walk, then a leash is one gear you’d need as a dog owner. A leash helps you control your puppy’s movement. They come in varying lengths and are made from different materials. The best types of leashes are those that offer greater flexibility and are retractable.
A puppy harness is a good alternative to a dog collar. It offers an ample covering for the puppy’s neck and back and can easily be attached to a leash. For puppies who like lunging during walks, a harness helps prevent injuries and choking. With a puppy harness, you also have greater control while your puppy enjoys comfort.
A crate is an enclosed box that can function as your puppy’s home. One of the benefits of crates is that it serves as a safe space for your dog and prevent it from wandering or picking up harmful items. Crates should be portable and big enough for your dog to stand in. You could choose from a wide variety of wired, wooden, or plastic crates for your puppy.
Letting your puppy sleep on your bed in its first few days at your home can seem like a good idea. Albeit your puppy may feel uncomfortable on a human bed, resulting in poor sleep. That’s why as a new dog owner, you should prepare to give your puppy its soft bedding. Adult dog beds are better for your puppy, considering that it will grow soon enough. You should also consider getting a bolster bed if your puppy likes to curl as it sleeps.
While gates have a close similarity to crates, they are quite different. Dog gates are barriers that can help carve a space for your dog indoors. Gates provide some form of security for your puppy and also serve as a demarcation for a play area. When installing gates, it would help to make them high enough so your puppy can’t jump over.
You definitely don’t plan to lose sight of your puppy when it’s outdoors. But there are many uncertainties when raising a puppy, such as it wandering or malicious people making an attempt against it. A tracker or a microchip is a useful item to trace your puppy if it ever gets lost. You can get your puppy microchipped at an affordable price at dog stores or from your vet.
Puppy Behavior and Development Activity
Reward Good Behavior
One of the best ways to effectively train your puppy is to reward healthy behavior. In addition to clickers, as highlighted above, there are multiple ways in which you can train your dog to recognize what you like and what you dislike. You may use heart-warming commands to demonstrate to your pet that the behavior is acceptable.
Other times, you may give your puppy treats or a pat on the back. Strong and negative commands could also be useful in the alternative to train your puppy to recognize wrong actions.
Arrange for Your Puppy to Meet New People Every Day
Your puppy gains a lot from socialization and human interaction. So, ensure that your puppy meets at least one or two kind people each day. Also, beyond meeting them, it will be helpful if they interact with your dog. This way, your puppy will learn to interact better with humans and see them as friends.
Practice Separation from your Puppy Occasionally
Sure, your puppy is your best friend, but allowing it to cling too much to you may breed overfamiliarity. The best approach to training your puppy is to establish control and assertiveness. That’s why you should take some time away from your puppy. Avoid letting it sleep on your bed incessantly or letting it eat from your plate.
Let Your Puppy Have Ample Time Watching the TV
Puppies love having fun and thrive better in an environment where there are pleasing sounds. Exposing it to television can be useful in this regard. Besides, it’s another way of letting it interact with humans while also seeing other dogs perform. However, don’t expose it to violence; instead, make dog shows occupy the bulk of your puppy’s TV time.
Visit the Vet Often
It’s a no-brainer that, as a puppy owner, you should be prepared to take trips to the vet. This may be as a result of constant check-ups or treatments against diseases. For your ease and convenience, it would help to have a go-to vet that understands your dog and follows its health history.
Minimize Contact between Your Puppy and Older Pets
If you have other pets like dogs, cats, or rabbits, it will help to provide them with a personal space separate from your puppy. Putting them together may brew conflict, and your puppy may be worse off for that decision. Instead, slowly introduce your puppy to older pets and protect the younger dog from bullying. Also, ensure that all pets are vaccinated and healthy enough to cohabit.
Avoid Park Visits Until Your Puppy is Older
Trips to the park are a good way to expose your puppy to socialization and the outside world. However, doing it too early can cause untold effects. First off, your puppy may likely eat something harmful at the park. And if it doesn’t, mixing with dogs that are most likely unvaccinated will increase its risk of falling ill. So, ensure park visits are done only when you’ve trained your puppy to avoid eating roadside items and when it is vaccinated against common dog illnesses.
Supervise Your Dog Regularly
Regardless of your puppy’s nature, you may need some hawkeye vision as it grows older. Puppies have a greater likelihood to put different substances in their mouth or even give off destructive tendencies. However, when you keep a close eye on them as often as you can, it would help reduce potential damage to your puppy’s health or the destruction of items.
Take Pictures with Your Puppy
Your puppy won’t remain young forever. In a few years, your pet will grow taller, bigger, and in some cases, less inclined to be playful. So, you’d need to document its puppy-hood memories as often as you can. The best way to do this is to take pictures with your puppy at events or during important growth milestones.
Without a doubt, you’re up for an amazing adventure with a puppy. But as you can see, owning a pet can be quite challenging. However, if you follow these 29 points, you’re better suited to have positive experiences and watch your puppy grow into the dog you’d very much love.