You just adopted a new puppy, but you have no clue about the things he’ll need. Maybe you’re a first-time pet parent or maybe you just want to make sure you have everything. Whatever the case, read on to learn the 10 things to buy a puppy.
Things to Consider Before Buying Things for Your New Puppy
Let’s paws for a minute. Before going on a little shopping spree for your new pupper, you should know about some things to take into consideration. They may seem like no-brainers to you, but some dog owners don’t think about these things when going shopping for their new puppy. Sometimes we just pick up items without a second thought to how these products will work for our unique furbabies.
Your puppy’s size and weight will be a big factor in the things you buy for him, from how often you feed him down to the size of his collar. You’ll also need to think about how big he’s projected to grow. This will guide you in buying products he’ll grow into. Like babies, dogs can be expensive. So it’s good–although not always practical–to buy items that you know you can use as your dog gets older.
Are you adopting a puppy fresh out the womb, coming right from his dog mommy’s breasts? Or is he a few months old? This is important because age affects what kind of dog food to buy as well as how you feed your new canine companion.
Your pup’s breed is also a huge factor. Maybe he’s a high-energy breed like a Greyhound or Jack Russell. He’ll need tons of activity and toys to play with so that he won’t expel his pent-up energy into destructive behavior. Or maybe he likes to lounge around like Bulldogs and Basset Hounds. If that’s the case, he’ll need a more comfortable, high-quality dog bed.
Perhaps he’s destructive. A sturdy, indestructible crate will do.
Also, some breeds require more grooming than others. Dogs with longer coats will require grooming products specific to their hair type.
10 Things to Buy a New Puppy
So let’s get to the list you’ve been waiting for. Got your notepad ready?
This is an obvious necessity. But not every pet parent knows you should get a collar unique to your pooch. There are so many types of dog collars on the market people aren’t aware of. Also, some of us don’t pay much attention to the fit of the collar–I know I didn’t. It’s important to make sure the collar isn’t too loose, but you should make sure it’s not too tight either.
Flat/Everyday collars: These are regular collars that are perhaps the most common collars. It’s important to not get a cheap one as they are easy for your dog to escape from. Get a higher-quality flat collar and you shouldn’t have any problems with your pup slipping out of them.
Martingale collars: If the flat collar isn’t working for you for whatever reason, you can try a martingale collar. It has an extra loop that tightens whenever your dog pulls on his leash. Speaking of leash-pulling, the martingale collar works well for leash training. Your dog won’t be able to slip out of it..well, unless he’s the hulk.
Choke collars: In case your puppy does have hulk-like strength, a choke collar might be the way to go. However, I wouldn’t recommend using one. It’s possible that the collar can cause a neck injury or live up to its name: “choke” collar. So don’t use one unless your dog is extremely aggressive and a danger to those around him. If you just have to use a choke collar, first consult with your vet and/or professional trainer before doing so.
Head collars: Here’s a better alternative to a choke collar, in my opinion. It wraps around your pup’s nose and secures around the neck. Then, you just attach a leash to it.
This is another good way to leash train your puppy. The fact that it wraps around the head might make it seem harsh and painful, but if you’re gentle, your furbaby will be just fine. The cool thing about head collars is:
“…the pressure of the noseband mimics the ‘calming’ action of the dominant, parent dog’s jaws around its subordinate, youngster’s muzzle, and that the pressure of the headband and noseband correspond with natural acupressure points on the dog’s head and face.” – Lizi Angel
Smart collars: Smart collars are all the rage these days. Technology has most definitely reached the canine world. Smart collars come with GPS trackers, which is pretty convenient if you lost your pup. They’re typically compatible with a mobile app on Android or iOS. A smart collar allows you to receive alerts, track your pooch’s activity, scan his food, and even plan events in a calendar!
2. ID Tags
For identification purposes, you’ll definitely need to purchase an ID tag for your pup. Most pet supply stores have an area where you pick out the type of tag you want (i.e. hanging ID tag, slide-on tag, etc) and personalize it.
It’s wise to get an ID tag that has enough room to include your dog’s name, your contact phone number, your own name, and even your home address. That way, if your puppy gets lost, the person who finds him can identify your pooch by name as well as get in contact with you.
Like with collars, size matters for harnesses as well. You want a perfect, or at least near perfect fit. One thing that I suggest–but is completely optional–is to measure the width of your dog’s rib cage, his lower neck, and chest. You can also weigh your pup on a scale. Then, choose a harness that’s closest to these measurements and adjust accordingly.
These steps are important because a loose-fitting harness can be uncomfortable for your puppy as it may chafe, or rub against his skin, causing irritation. But the harness shouldn’t be too loose so that he can slip right out. You should be able to slide your pinky finger underneath the harness, but at the same time, it should fit snugly.
There are a few different types of harnesses you can choose from to fit the unique size and temperament of your canine companion
Front-clip harness: This harness straps across the front of your puppy’s chest. The leash then attaches to the ring on the front of the harness. If your puppy is a small breed, then this harness might be the way to go. This is because this type of harness doesn’t require anything to be secured around your dog’s neck. The necks of small puppies can be pretty fragile when using a collar, especially if they’re pulling on the leash.
Back-clip harnesses: With these types of harnesses, you clip the leash on the back of the harness. Like front-clip harnesses, this harness doesn’t require a collar either.
Tightening harnesses: This kind of harness is great for more stubborn puppies who are a bit more aggressive with pulling. When your dog pulls on a tightening harness, it does just what it says–the many straps on the harness will “tighten” around his body. Be careful to choose a high-quality tightening harness that’s soft and comfortable. If not, it could cause your dog to feel discomfort from the tightening.
Getting a good, sturdy leash is very important. But you want to get one that suits your pup’s personality and temperament. Also, the type of leash you get should depend on the level of training he’s received.
There are a few types of leashes you should familiarize yourself with:
Standard leashes: This is the everyday leash and can also be used for training. Standard leashes are generally about 3-6 feet long with a loop at the one end for you to pull. It clips right onto a collar or harness. The common types of standard leashes include leather leashes, rope leashes, and chain leashes.
Retractable leashes: This leash is pretty long and retracts, allowing you flexibility in how far you let your pup wander while you still have control. Keep in mind that you should have your puppy leash trained if you use this type of leash or else, you’ll encourage leash-pulling.
Adjustable leashes: The cool thing about these leashes is the fact that they have multiple loops. This allows you to adjust the length of the leash, similar to a retractable leash. Also, you can wrap this type of leash around your body, allowing you to walk your dog hands-free. This is great for owners who enjoy running alongside their dogs.
Slip leads: Pretty much a leash and collar in one. There’s a loop at one end that tightens around your pooch’s neck, like a collar. As you and your dog pull on the slip lead, the loop will tighten. It’s important to be careful with this type of leash as you don’t want to apply too much pressure and hurt your dog. It’s a good idea to have your pup leash-trained if you decide to use a slip lead.
5. Dog Food/Treats
Obviously, you’ll want to buy dog food that’s specifically made for puppies. But have you ever thought about why? Puppies have special nutritional needs because they are growing and developing. They also have baby teeth, so regular dog food might be too tough for them to chew. Depending on the age of your puppy, you might need to mix a little formula with the food, especially if he’s being weaned. You also have to pay attention to labels when it comes to specially formulated for particular breeds and their standard sizes. Dog food manufacturers generally market foods for small and medium-sized breeds and large breeds.
As far as ingredients go, look for foods with no artificial flavors/colors, by-products, or preservatives. Oh, and make sure it’s packed with protein!
So what type of dog food is best for your puppy: dry, wet or semi-moist?
Dry food: This is a great option. Most dogs love the crunchy texture. And as a plus, the crunch helps clean your pup’s teeth. Dry food is generally the least expensive type of puppy food.
Wet food: This type of dog food has a high water content. While it might be tasty, it doesn’t have as much protein as dry food.
Semi-moist: Got a picky eater? What about a messy one? Semi-moist food could be your savior. It tends to be tastier than dry dog food and it makes less of a mess than wet food. Unfortunately, there are only a few brands of semi-moist dog food that cater to young pups.
And there’s nothing wrong with using a combination of the three if your budget allows. But don’t overfeed your pooch!
For information on treats for puppies, go check out the post I did on best training treats for puppies.
There is a wide array of toys available for young puppies. But before we get to the types of toys, let’s talk about some benefits of toys for puppies.
- Toys help with boredom
- Toys provide comfort to stressed pups
- Toys help keep destructive behavior at bay
- Toys are good for teething puppies
- Toys stimulate the mind
Now that you know some benefits of buying toys for your pup, you can better understand how the different types can help solve a specific problem.
Teething toys: The great thing about teething toys is the fact that they will help soothe your pooch’s sore gums as his adult teeth are coming in. They’ll (hopefully) keep him from chewing your things!
Plush toys: These toys are really soft and…well…plush. The softness provides comfort to your pup. Unfortunately, this is what makes these toys easier to destroy, leaving a cottony mess all over your floor.
Indestructible toys: This type of toy is made of tougher material, This doesn’t make it completely indestructible as the name suggests, but it will last longer and is more durable.
Interactive toys: There are a few interactive toys you might consider. They include treat toys (where you hide the treats inside the toy), ropes, frisbees, and puzzles. These are fun because they not only get you involved, but they promote mental stimulation.
7. Grooming Supplies
The type of grooming supplies you get for your puppy will depend on whether you plan to take him to a professional groomer and the length/thickness of his coat.
But here’s a list of the basic grooming supplies:
- Comb (if your dog has longer fur or gets matted easily)
- Nail clippers
- Bathing wipes (optional)
- Clippers (only if you don’t go to a groomer)
8. Food & Water Bowls
Choosing a food and water bowl for your puppy seems pretty straightforward, doesn’t it? It is. However, there are many types of bowls to choose from. You’ve got stainless steel, which is supposed to be bacteria-resistant. Then, there’s elevated feeders that prevent spills and messes. Just when you thought that was all, slow feeders are gaining popularity as well. They’re designed like a maze to slow down fast eaters.
Does your pup like to nudge and flip over his bowl? What about spill his kibble? Get something sturdy that isn’t easy to flip over. Got a fast eater? Get a slow feeder. Maybe your pooch doesn’t like bending over to eat. An elevated feeder can create a more comfortable experience and aid in swallowing and digestion.
Yet another essential that seems like it doesn’t require much thought. But there’s a lot to take into account before buying a bed for your new puppy like his activity level, his favorite sleeping positions, possible health problems, etc.
Orthopedic beds: These beds are often marketed for older dogs suffering from arthritis and joint pain, but they can be great for puppies too, especially if your pooch is a bony breed like a Saluki or Whippet. Orthopedic beds provide plush cushioning and support.
Donut beds: These beds have raised sides, which are ideal for pups who like to snuggle against things. As puppies are still learning how to regulate their body temp, the coziness of these beds provides warmth. As with most puppies, yours will probably love curling up into a fetal position. This bed is great for that too.
Pillow/Cushion beds: These are basic beds that are pretty much just pillows on the floor. But they can still be quite comfortable, especially for pups that like to stretch out.
Heated beds: This type of bed is not only great for puppies, but for small breed dogs as well. Smaller dogs tend to easily lose their body heat, which makes heated beds a viable solution.
Outdoor beds: If your puppy will be spending a lot of time outdoors, it’s a good idea to get an outdoor bed that has breathable material during the summer and the flexibility to add blankets during the winter months. Outdoor beds are typically elevated to keep away from the ground when it’s really cold or hot.
When it comes to choosing the right crate, you want one that’s sturdy and will hold up for a long period of time. You’ll also need one that’s the perfect size for your puppy. And if you’ll be using a crate to help potty train your dog, it’s best to get one that’s small enough that he won’t eliminate in it (dog’s don’t “go” where they eat or sleep), but large enough for him to move around comfortably.
Wire crates: You’ve probably seen this type of crate lots of times. It’s pretty common amongst pet parents. It’s rather sturdy and pretty affordable. The size is ideal for a growing puppy. Some wire crates are adjustable too.
Plastic crates: This is another type of crate that’s pretty common. You’ve probably seen pet parents carry their toy breeds in a plastic crate. If you know your puppy isn’t going to grow that big, a plastic crate is the way to go. Plastic crates also come in sizes for larger dogs, but I doubt you want to be carrying around a heavy dog. Plastic crates are great for travel, they don’t take up a lot of space (some are even stackable), and they have a convenient handle on top.
Soft-sided crates: These are also portable as they’re lightweight and easy to take down. This might not be the best type of crate for a puppy as they’re pretty destructible with wire meshing and soft material. It’s best to make sure your pup is fully crate-trained before using a soft-sided crate.
Heavy-duty crates: These crates are the most durable and are for extremely strong, destructive dogs. Chances are, your little pooch won’t be using a heavy-duty crate anytime soon, but if you know he’ll grow to be strong and a little aggressive, a heavy-duty crate might be a good option.
Sometimes we don’t take the time to think about the things our new furry friends need. It’s natural to think you have it all under control…because you do. But sometimes you might just need a little nudge in the right direction.
Did you go all out for your new puppy? Or did you follow a basic checklist like this one? Let me know in the comments!