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Puppies are bringing joy to friends and family all around me. First, my dear friend Jackie and her husband, Dick, adopted Miss Lola after their beloved Shi Tzu passed away. Soon after that, my niece and nephew, Bekka and Adam, brought a precious Goldendoodle, Zoey, into their lives to uplift them after the loss of Bekka’s beautiful mother, Kim. And only last week, my sister texted me photos of two adorable rescue puppies and told me one of these might become a family member! In short, everyone seems to have puppy fever!
I thought between this and the fact that March 23rd is National Puppy Day, I should share some advice on how to get ready for your first night with a new puppy.
New Puppy Checklist for Safety
First and foremost, make sure your home is safe for you and your pup’s first night together. The last place you want to spend time with your new puppy is at the vet’s office. Here are my top safety tips:
- Small items can be a choking hazard. Make sure everything is tidy, even in those hard-to-reach places. Remember, puppies can often fit under and behind furniture.
- Place shoes and bags out of your new furry addition’s eyesight. Not only do you not want your items to be chewed on but, quite often, we carry around items in our bags, such as gum or candy, that could be toxic to our pups.
- Keep all food and medications safely hidden away in your cabinets.
- Make sure that none of your houseplants are poisonous to dogs. If you’re unsure, the ASPCA website has a list of toxic and non-toxic plants.
- Puppies may have little legs, but they’re fast! Make sure all doors, including screen doors, are able to latched tightly so puppy can’t escape.
- Keep a close eye on them while they explore. Dogs love to scope out every nook and cranny in their new home, and because they’re so small, it’s easy for them to get wedged in hard-to-reach spots.
- Now is the time to research pet insurance! I can’t tell you how highly I recommend this as having it will not only give you peace of mind that you can afford any accidents or illnesses you encounter with your puppy, but it will save you money over the course of your dog’s life. There are many great pet insurance companies. One of my faves is FIGO — you can get a free quote here.
Doing a quick check around your house can prevent potential problems for yourself and for your sweet new furry addition on that first night.
New Puppy Supplies
Of course, the first thing you’ll need to buy is dog food. It’s wise to find out what kind of food your pup has been eating before you brought him home. However, if it wasn’t nutritious food, you’ll want to transition to a healthier option. I like to consult a veterinarian when I have questions about my pets’ nutrition. Keep in mind, most vets don’t learn much about nutrition in vet school, so definitely speak to them, but do some additional research from a reliable source. I like Dog Food Advisor, but there are others too.
Stations for Food & Water
Do you know why pets often prefer a gross watering hole to their bowl of fresh water? They’re instinctively not interested in stagnant water unless it contains elements from nature, like leaves and mud. That’s why I’m a huge fan of drinking fountains. The movement of the water appeals to their natural instincts and encourages pets to drink their water and prevent dehydration. This one from PetSafe is my current favorite.
After your new puppy tries out his drinking fountain, he’ll likely soon be looking for a bit of kibble for his belly. Puppies get so excited when feeding time comes around that they often gobble everything up as fast as they can. However, eating fast can cause digestive issues such as indigestion, vomiting, and bloating. Using a slow feed bowl can prevent those problems along with preventing obesity. Here’s a great slow feed bowl from DotPet.
Somewhere to Relax
There’s no reason to feel bad about encouraging your new puppy to use a crate. You’re not imprisoning your dog or ignoring him. In fact, crates and dens can provide a feeling of comfort and security that your new puppy needs. Having a crate also keeps your puppy in one spot until he is used to his new environment and the house rules. This is especially helpful at night when you aren’t awake to watch your new furry family member. Aspen Pet has a wonderful training crate that is the perfect size for your average puppy.
While a crate is useful for training and security, at some point, your puppy will feel comfortable enough in his new home to find his very own comfy spot. A pet bed is a necessity for any pup and there are many options. However, I suggest opting for a bed that is machine washable. One like the SnooZZy bed by Precision Pet is ideal for your new puppy’s first bed.
Toys, Treats, and Entertainment
Playtime with your new puppy is almost as important as sleepy time and feeding time! However, not all toys are appropriate for new puppies. Here are a few that I recommend to new pet parents.
Kong Dog toys are great for playtime and they come in sizes for each stage of a dog’s life. The puppy version is made for their specific dental and activity needs. In addition, you can also put a bit of peanut butter inside of it, giving them a bit of mental and physical exercise, which is great for puppy’s development.
Since puppies love to get into everything, it’s a good idea to have multiple things for them to play with to keep their attention on the toys and not household items that are not for play. Play mats like this one from HoundGames are great because they have several toys built into one.
As much as I know you’d love to stay home and play with your new puppy 24/7, at some point, you’ll have to leave him home alone. Even when he gets to the point where he can stay home alone without a crate, it’s still a good idea to check in on him during the day. For that, I love the Furbo Dog Camera.
Have you ever used a baby monitor? Well, this is like that, except about a million times better! To begin with, you can check in on your pets when you’re out, talk to them, and hear them. You can also remotely feed them treats, but don’t do this often unless you have healthy treats and only dispense them in moderation. The Furbo Dog Camera is one of my all-time favorites purchases.
Puppy brains are still learning and are very active. If you don’t provide enough stimulation for them, bad behaviors can easily creep in.
DOGTV is one of my favorite tools to keep Chilly’s mind engaged and help alleviate anxiety when I’m gone. It works by helping dogs become accustomed to sounds that might normally induce bad behaviors, like doorbells or barking from other dogs. It also has segments, like this one, designed to alleviate anxiety.
You can sign up for a free 30-day trial of DOGTV, using the coupon code: PETLIVING.
Puppy Training Guides
As every new puppy parent will tell you, it’s not all cuddles and fun! It’s a lot of work to train your new puppy, and this is where some new parents feel a bit lost. Never fear! My favorite training guides and products are here.
I encourage everyone to do research on how to train their dog properly. Dog training helps a pup learn how to act around humans, other animals, and helps them know how to act appropriately in different situations. Andrea Arden’s Book ‘Dog-Friendly Dog Training‘ is an excellent go-to book for all your training concerns.
One of the biggest training challenges is potty training. Many puppy parents find that one simple trick can quickly eliminate indoor accidents. Try putting your pet’s food bowl right next to the spot where they had their last potty break. Most pets will instinctively keep their feeding and potty spots separate. So you’re effectively telling your puppy, “This is not a potty spot.”
Being patient is key, though! New puppies may need to be taken out for potty breaks as often as every two hours or more. If you’re not vigilant about this when puppy is young, it can lead to developing bad habits that are hard to break.
Of course, you’re not likely to take your puppy out at all hours of the night, so these Training Puppy Pads from Simple Solution are perfect to line your dog’s crate with and minimize the mess from both potty accidents and water bowl spills. They’re highly absorbable and have built-in technology to attract dogs to use them.
Bissell’s SpotBot does all the work for you. All you have to do is fill the machine with the solution and warm water, place the SpotBot on the stain, and then you’re free to walk away to spend time with your new puppy while the stain disappears.
InstaClean is another great tool to remove stains. I especially love using it on furniture and in my car. The best thing about it is that it works in only 30 seconds!
Taking the puppy-plunge is a big decision, but such a rewarding one. I hope these suggestions help you have a fantastic first night with your new pup, and I wish you and your dog a lifetime of happiness together!
*Check out my full list of Irresistible New Puppy Products on my Amazon Storefront page!