A friend of mine asked me what to buy for his new puppy and I thought I would compile
a list of essentials to get before your new puppy enters her home. I approached
this “survival kit” from three different angles: feeding your puppy, walking your
puppy and caring for your puppy. It is important that you know how to feed your
dog properly. In addition, it is important that you can walk your dog for exercise
and for toilet training. Finally, the basics for caring for your puppy such as
toenail clippers or brush belong to those essentials. Of course you won’t have to
buy everything at once, but it is important to have the necessities ready before
your new family member arrives.
How to feed your Puppy?
Earlier, we wrote about how to
feed your dog properly, which is
one of the most important things concerning dog ownership. Some of the basics related
to this topic are that your dog is not offered a continuous buffet, rather than that
she has regulars meal times. Usually a puppy is given three meals a day and an adult
dog two. A second important thing related to feeding your puppy is the availability
of fresh drinking water at all times. Thirdly, you should stick to one brand and type
of kibble at a time and use a so called four day method if you need to change
Two stainless steel dog bowls, one of which is for water and the other is for food. Steel bowls are the easiest to clean and survive the longest. A ceramic bowl will break for example if you happen to drop it on the floor.
Dry food or kibble seems to be the most difficult, since there are so many different
brands and types of food available. We have preferred
because it is very well established, it is readily available
and it is priced reasonably. Eukanuba has many different types of kibble available
even for puppies, but the easiest is to choose a kibble based on one of the three
dog sizes: small dogs weigh less than 10kg as adults, medium dogs between 10kg and 25kg
and large dogs more than 25kg.
In addition to Eukanuba, other quality brands include for example
Royal Canin Size
and Hill’s Science Plan.
Even Royal Canin has so many different types of food available, but as stated above, it is
easiest to choose the kibble based on the size of your puppy’s race as an
adult (mini, midi, maxi).
How to Exercise your Puppy?
In addition to feeding your puppy, exercising her is the next natural progression of events.
Exercise serves two main functions: it gives an opportunity for your puppy to develop
her physical fitness and expend her energy, as well as an opportunity to relieve herself.
In respect to the latter, a good rule of thumb for how long your puppy can hold it in
is her age in months. A two month old puppy’s bladder control is approximately two
hours, a three month old can hold it for three hours during the day and so on.
This is why it is important to take your puppy out regularly especially after she
has eaten. Of course this is not always possible, which is why you will have to offer
her an acceptable and sanitary way for her to relieve herself indoors with the help of
puppy trainer pads.
Toilet training will take time, since it is not physiologically not possible to
expedite things. If, however, your puppy learns that the trainer pads are the acceptable
place for number one or number two, simply removing the pads entirely later on at the
age of five or six months will care of toilet training in a natural way. One important
thing to note is that you must never reprimand your puppy is she has an accident.
To be able to walk your dog, you must have a lead and a collar. I have always preferred
leather leads and collars, simply because they are very durable. I leave the collar
on all the time even indoors, which offers a safe way to restrain your dog should the
need arise. I have trained my dogs with the help of treats so that simply the act of
taking hold of her collar will have a calming effect.
Leather dog collar with a D-ring to help attach the lead with ease and comfort.
Extensible leather dog lead is a good choice for a lead.
Why a collar? Simply, because harnessess give you no control over your dog but have their
uses later on if you decide to start jogging with her for example.
It is important that you become a responsible dog owner and will clean after your dog has
pooped outside. It is best way to carry a roll of
dog poop bags
with you at all times. The only exception I can think of is if you live in the countryside
and your dog relieves herself in a field or a forest.
Since treats are an essential part of dog training and obedience, you should get yourself
a belt pouch to make it more practical to carry them with you. Please note that treats
are not a form of bribery, rather than a reward for acceptable behavior such as
passing other dogs calmly while walking on a lead.
Dog treat bags that attach to your belt are a handy way to ensure that you have your rewards with you.
When you’re walking your dog, it is a good idea to carry a water bottle with you,
especially during the summer, since dogs can overheat quite easily.
I plan to write about exercising your dog later on, but at minimum, you should walk your
puppy a minimum of three times a day, after each meal. Please note that after a meal
the main function is to offer her a chance to relieve herself. You must never exercise
your dog heavily after a meal. The worst case scenario especially for larger dogs can be
a condition called gastric dilatation volvulus,
How to mentally stimulate your puppy?
In an earlier article, I wrote about how to stimulate
your dog’s mind. In a nutshell, the basic idea is to give your dog mentally
stimulating things to do beside physical exercise. The stimulating activity
can be intellectual, or it can be related to satisfying her natural instincts
to gnaw, rip apart or lick things to calm her down.
activation toys are the perfect tool for this, so it is a good idea to buy
a couple of them. Filled with minced meat and placed in a freezer, the toy
will captivate your dog anywhere between 15 minutes and an hour.
Dental care and satisfying your puppy’s natural need to chew on things, you should
buy Barkoo rolled chews,
which you can use right from the start.
Plush toys also come in handy especially when your puppy is teething. The best
plush toys are actually made for children, but the ones manufactured by KONG are
not bad either.
How much you need to groom your dog depends largely on her race. My favorite dog race,
the Hovawart, are an easy race in this respect. I groom her maybe once a week just
to keep up the habit and make her presentable. It is quite important to practice
grooming your dog from an early age and regularly so that it will not become a
problem later on. Associating grooming to a nice activity with the help of
treats will not hurt your relationship with your dog.
A dog brush and combs are handy to use on a weekly basis.
Your puppy should have a safe place, which she uses to calm down and sleep and I recommend
a proper dog bed even if the idea of inviting your dog to sleep in your bed. If you decide
to allow your dog to sleep in your bed, you should make sure that you teach her to ask
for your permission to enter the bed. Your bed is your domain and the dog cannot make
this decision for you.
One nasty part of dog ownership are ticks and other parasites. For this purpose it is
a good idea to carry with you a set of special tick tweezers for safe removal of attached
ticks. It is a good idea to check your dog for ticks every day especially if you’re
living in the countryside. (Usually this is not an issue for city dogs.)
Tick tweezers to safely remove ticks, which have attached to your dog.
The final essential that is part of every dog owner’s paraphernalia are claw scissors.
Like brushing your dog, it is a good idea to regularly clip a little bit of your dog’s
claws so that it becomes a regular no fuzz activity.
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