There's no getting around it; a new puppy has a lot of needs. From supplies to training, these handy checklists will keep you organized and on track.
Basic Puppy Supplies Checklist
The supplies on this checklist will ensure that your pup has everything she needs to stay happy, healthy and content in her new home. If you need help downloading the printable list, check out these helpful tips.
1. Puppy Food
It's best to use the same brand that the breeder was feeding the pup since her stomach can easily become upset if the food is switched too quickly. If you want to switch to a different brand of dog food, do so by gradually adding the new brand in as you decrease the puppy's current brand.
2. Food and Water Dishes
You'll find all types of dog dishes on the market. However, tip-proof, stainless steel bowls offer the most durability and value.
3. Collar and I.D. Tag
The last thing you want is for your puppy to get loose with no identification. Purchase a collar that fits well (one that fits around the pup's neck with about 1 1/2 inches to spare) and an I.D. tag that has the puppy's name and your address and phone number.
4. Dog License
Although local laws may vary, most municipalities require puppies aged three months and older to have a license. Some pet supply stores sell licenses, but you may need to contact your local dog warden or county auditor to purchase one.
Most municipalities require dog owners to keep their pets on a leash. Choose a leash that's about six-feet long for the best training results.
Crate training is one of the most effective ways to house train your new puppy. Using a crate will also protect your furniture, as well as your puppy, while you are away from the home.
7. Washable Dog Bed
Every puppy should have a cozy place to snuggle up. Look for a bed that is either fully washable or at least has a cover you can remove and wash.
8. Chew Toys and Treats
Puppies are natural chewers, and the only way to prevent them from destroying your slippers, shoes or furniture is to provide them with a couple of different chew toys or rawhides to satisfy their urges. Treats also offer a great way to reward positive behavior, but you have to use them wisely in order for them to be effective.
9. Puppy House Training Pads
Also referred to as "wee wee pads," puppy pads are a wonderful house training aid. Even if you intend to teach your pet to relieve herself outdoors, you can still use house training pads indoors to keep the mess to a minimum until she gets the hang of it.
Grooming Supplies Checklist
Even a shorthaired dog needs some grooming. These basic supplies will help you handle most of your pet's grooming at home, but dogs with more demanding coats may need to visit the groomer occasionally.
1. A Pin Brush
This type of brush has individual pins that are topped with a protective coating so they won't scratch your dog's skin. Regular brushing removes loose fur, tangles and any debris stuck in the coat.
2. A Greyhound Comb
If your pet has even a moderately long coat, this type of comb is great for removing excess shedding and teasing out mats. The tines or "teeth" are usually about one inch long, and they're spaced closer on one side than the other so you can choose whichever side happens to work best for the job at hand.
3. Dog Shampoo
You'll find a lot of shampoo choices, and you'll probably try a few different brands before you settle on a favorite. A basic shampoo is usually sufficient, but you may need to purchase flea shampoo if your pet winds up with fleas. Just make sure the flea shampoo is labeled safe for use on puppies.
4. Dog Cream Rinse
Shorthaired dogs may not need cream rinse, but this product is essential for any long-haired breed. A good rinse conditions the coat, and it makes it easier to brush out longer coats.
5. Dedicated Bath Towels
You won't want to share the family's bath towels with your new pet. Unless you have some old bath towels you want to designate for the dog, purchase one or two fluffy towels you can use to dry your pet after a bath.
6. Ear Cleaning Solution and Cotton Balls
All dogs need to have their ears cleaned at least once a month minimum. You'll find several brands of ear cleaner at your local pet supply store, and you'll use the cotton balls to clean the ears and dry them.
7. Doggie Toothbrush Kit
Don't reuse your old toothbrush on your pet because you can transfer germs to her mouth. Instead, purchase a dog toothbrush kit at your local pet supply store. These kits come with a brush, as well as toothpaste that's safe for dogs.
8. Nail Trimmers
Unless your puppy does a lot running outdoors, she'll need to have her nails trimmed about every two weeks. Scissors-style trimmers generally cut better than guillotine-style trimmers.
Veterinary Care Checklist
1. New Puppy Health Check
You should take your puppy to the veterinarian of your choice for a basic health assessment as soon as possible. The vet will give your pup a thorough checkup, including listening to her heart to check for a murmur. The vet will also give your pet whichever vaccination she's due for, and may worm her as well.
2. Follow Up Boosters
Vaccinations are typically given in a series of three shots spaced two to three weeks apart to help the pup develop immunity. Make sure your pet goes back to the clinic for her boosters according to whichever schedule your vet uses.
The decision to have a pet spayed or neutered is a personal one. If you decide in favor of the procedure, most vets recommend having it done around six months of age.
4. One Year Exam
Hopefully, your puppy won't require additional veterinary care beyond her initial health check. However, you should still schedule a checkup for her around the time of her first birthday, and continue with at least a yearly checkup each year after that. This will help you keep tabs on her overall health, as well as keep up with any booster shots she may need.
Basic Training Checklist
A great dog doesn't just become that great on her own. It takes socialization and training to help a puppy develop into a well-adjusted and obedient adult dog. Follow this training schedule, and help your pet become the best companion she can be.
1. House Training
House training should begin from the very first day you bring your new puppy home. Be consistent so your puppy doesn't become confused about what you expect from her.
2. Puppy Kindergarten
Puppy kindergarten classes help socialize pups and teach them to accept new people, places and other pets in stride. This is also where puppies learn some basic manners. You can enroll your puppy as soon as she has her first two vaccinations, usually around eight weeks old.
3. Basic Obedience Training
Every dog training facility has its own age guidelines, but all puppies should begin basic obedience training by six months of age. You can work on obedience training older pups and adult dogs, too, but younger dogs are usually easier to train, and you can nip some behavior problems in the bud before they become ingrained habits.
Print these checklists and keep them handy. You can take the supply lists with you when you go shopping, and check off items as you go so you don't forget anything. Stick the vet care and training checklists on your refrigerator as a reminder so you stay on track. That first year is going to go quickly, and you don't want to miss anything!