The excitement is mounting and soon there will be the pitter patter of little paws running around the house. You may have the puppy already picked out or have a trip planned to the local shelter to adopt your newest member of the family. Either way, soon your house will be filled with a puppy!
Spending a little time preparing for your puppy will allow for a smooth transition and set up a good foundation for a daily routine from the moment you bring your bundle of joy home. You will also have the things needed to deal with the normal puppy behavior that comes along with a growing puppy.
Here is a great checklist of things to do and items to stock up on to help prepare for your puppy:
- Attend Puppies W. I. N. (What is Normal Puppy Behavior). This is a free Help Session for puppy parents presented at no cost to attendees. These sessions are frequently presented at Animal Hospital of North Asheville. Visit http://petbehavioraid.org/helpsessions.html for bi-monthly times and locations. We have this class at AHNA 2 - 3 times a year.
- Family Meeting: Before bringing the puppy home, make sure everyone is on board with the new addition. Be sure to consider how it will affect the established family pets. Make sure you have time to devote to a new puppy’s training, socialization and bonding. Set up the rules of the house to help avoid confusion and arguments. (for example, who is going to feed, training methods, whether the puppy will be allowed on furniture, etc.)
- Stock Up On Supplies: Being prepared with the right supplies at home will help everyone settle in.
- Crate or Indoor Pen: Crates or indoor pens create a personal space for your puppy to relax in as well as keeping them safe when unsupervised. Crates or pens also help with house training. Puppies/dogs require exercise and stimulation so a crate should not be used frequently for long periods. Always err on the side of selecting a large crate, so your puppy has plenty of room to play and grow.
- Food and water bowls: Non-tippable stainless steel metal bowls are easy to clean and help prevent spills.
- Puppy food: Buy the same food as the puppy was previously eating. Sudden changes in food can result in GI upset. Slowly transition to a new food by gradually adding in the new food to the current food. Be sure to choose a good quality, well balanced, AAFCO approved puppy food. Your veterinarian can recommend a good food that is right for your puppy.
- Collar and Identification tag: Include your name, current phone number(s) and address on the tag or collar. Be prepared to either get your puppy microchipped or to immediately register the number if he or she is already microchipped. Use a flat collar, never a choke or prong collar, and realize that you will need to increase the size as your puppy grows.
- Harness and leash: There are different types of harnesses designed with specific needs in mind. No Pull harnesses (such as the Freedom Harness) can aid in teaching your puppy to walk properly and not pull on a leash. Freedom Harnesses are sold and fitted here at Animal Hospital of North Asheville. Choose a 6-foot cotton or nylon leash for walking. Longer leashes can be purchased to help with training. Avoid retractable leashes due the lack of control and the high incidence of bodily harm to you and your puppy.
- Bed: A soft and familiar place to sleep. If possible, look for a bed with a durable cover that can be removed for laundering.
- Toys: Toys provide entertainment, mental stimulation, and are an appropriate outlet for chewing. Include puzzle toys (such as a Kong) into their daily routine. Meals can be fed out of puzzle toys.
Note: watch out for toys with parts that can break or be chewed off. Never allow bones, antlers, or any hard toy because they can break teeth when chewed on.
- Baby gate(s): Allow you to block off sections of your house during potty training and help prevent damage to personal items when the puppy is unsupervised.
- Stain and odor removers such as Nature’s Miracle for cleaning up soiling accidents, and plenty of paper towels.
- Poop bags: Easy clean up for accidents and picking up waste on walks.
- A list with important phone numbers on the refrigerator: Include Animal Hospital of North Asheville at 828-253 3393 and ASPCA Poison Control at 888-426-4435
4. Puppy Proof Your House and Yard
If a puppy can find it, they will chew it. In every area that is accessible to your puppy, remove anything that can cause harm to the puppy or that you do not want to be harmed. This includes things they can chew on such as electrical cords, plants, baskets, and shoes. Secure table cloths, and remove objects from coffee tables and other low furniture. Put away anything breakable and lock up cabinets with food or chemicals. Cover wires and cords with plastic sheathing or PVC tubing. Check the yard for escape routes, holes in the fencing or ways into the swimming pool. Chemicals such as fertilizers, insecticides, and paint products are dangerous to puppies. Once you think you have everything secure, get down to the puppy’s eye level and look around to double check for danger.
Once your puppy is settled in, there will be several more items that you will incorporate into their lives as they grow: grooming supplies such as tooth brushes/tooth paste, shampoo, and nail trimmers; safety products such as car safety harnesses for travel; clickers for helping with training; medical preventatives for heartworms, intestinal parasites, fleas and ticks which will be recommended by your veterinarian.
Being prepared for all stages of life is the best way to go. Here are some great resources to help you with providing a great life for your puppy.
AHNA Puppy Preschool Information: Visit ahna.net. Scroll over “Services” and down to “Puppy Preschool” click on the topic of choice.