You can buy all sorts of equipment and accessories on the internet – and we all love an excuse to go shopping! But what is essential to buy in preparation for your puppy coming home for the first time?
- A dog crate or pet carrier to bring puppy home in – with something soft inside for snuggling on, but also something you don’t mind getting soiled – if a little toileting accident happens on the way home.
- Puppy food. The breeder should give you some of theirs to come home with, but you can always ask ahead of time what they use and have some bought ready.
- Two bowls – one for water and one for food (although I do like to use more inventive ways to feed a meal!) I like stainless steel bowls as they’re easy to clean and don’t break when I drop them!
- A puppy blanket
- At least one soft plush toy.
It’s a good idea to have a range of different types of toys for your puppy: enrichment toys like food dispensers to help fight off boredom and provide mental stimulation (I always recommend lick mats and Kong classics); interactive toys like a soft, fleecy tug toy to help build the bond between you and your puppy; self-amusement toys, are usually stronger, and more durable for dogs to play with when home alone; and lastly comfort toys, which typically are plush toys. In general, young puppies tend not to be so fond of the hard rope type toys. I tend to have about 5 toys out at one time for my dog, then wash and rotate them with some others (we have tonnes of toys!).
- Your puppy will probably come with a collar. But you will need to check its fit regularly, as your puppy will grow quickly. Its best to look for buckle or plastic clip type fastenings on collars.
- A lightweight lead (usually known as a house line). You will need a lead later on for walking your puppy outdoors, but for now a lightweight house line will be less off-putting for your young pup and handy to have so you can keep toilet breaks in the garden less distracting!
- Dog bed or crate with padding inside. There’s no right or wrong thing to use. I like to get a puppy used to a crate because it’s so helpful for toilet training and getting your dog used to places that may use one in the future (like the groomers or vets). They just need to be introduced slowly, and with positive associations. I definitely wouldn’t spend too much on a bed – not until your puppy is a little older and maybe not so prone to chewing! I’ve even used large cardboard boxes for the first few weeks with lots of blankets inside!
- Identity tag. I prefer lightweight plastic ones with deep engraving rather than metal that can be bulky for puppies and can clang on water bowls. By law you should have your surname and address with post code on it. But it’s also highly recommended that you put your home and mobile number on too.
- Stain and odour remover for cleaning up toileting accidents (it will happen). TIP:Always use an enzymatic cleaner that will completely eliminate the smell of urine. Your dog’s sense of smell is a million times better than yours, so make sure you have a cleaner that does the job well.
- Paper towels/kitchen roll for cleaning up mishaps!
- Save some cardboard inners from toilet rolls and kitchen rolls for your puppy to chew on.
- Old towels for wet paws
- Poo bags – there are some great biodegradable ones out there.
- Baby gate – you can get actual dog gates which are much taller. I’ve had mine for 12 years now …. so useful, even if it’s mainly in the garage nowadays.
- Play pen. These are particularly useful if you have a family, as it gives your puppy a space of their own for a bit of respite from children.
You can always pick up other things once you have your puppy – like grooming items, harness, treats and chews, treat bag, clicker (a really useful training aid), and even a wifi pet camera.
Some useful things to consider:
- Go online and check that your puppy’s microchip details have been changed to yours.
- Consider getting pet insurance, and do your research.
- Find a veterinary surgery that is convenient to get to, and that comes highly recommended by other pet owners. It’s a good idea to call them up ahead of collecting your puppy to find out if they’re going to be using the same vaccine as the breeders vet. Otherwise, your puppy may need to start their vaccine schedule from the beginning again, which can hold up getting your puppy out and about on walks.
- Find out where your nearest emergency out-of-hours veterinary surgery is located, and keep their number stored in your mobile and next to your home phone.
- Book your puppy class in advance of bringing your puppy home. Good ones will book up quick and classes should be started as soon as possible. But please do your research first to find a trainer who is experienced in using force free methods.
- If you’re likely to need a pet sitter and/or a dog walker, ask ahead of time for recommendations.