With so many pups moving into new homes at this time, now, like any other, is a good time to offer readers a checklist of things they are likely to need:
• eat – Choosing a food is one of the most important factors in your puppy’s short and long term health. Breeders and rescue workers usually choose foods that make sense to them, a decision where price may be more important than quality. Since you are not feeding a kennel full of dogs, you can afford to purchase higher quality food than your breeder / rescue would, and in most cases the transition to a better food without indigestion is easy to make. Raw frozen food is always our first recommendation, but there are many other options. I recommend limited processing and at least no synthetic fabrics.
• Peel – Raised bowls are always a great option for large dogs, and they come in a variety of sizes with adjustable stands. Raising a bowl will reduce neck strain and fatigue, especially in large breed dogs or in dogs that may have neck / spine compromised as a result of breeding. Some dogs prefer shallow bowls or even plates. There are also a variety of slow feeder options for dogs plowing their food through.
• to clean up – Pee pads and an enzyme-based stain and odor remover are the basic requirements for young puppies. Pee pads usually contain attractants to encourage the puppies to use them, and once they are used to the pads you can move the pads to the door and then outside, and hopefully the puppy will get the idea to the door to go to get to the pad. Stain and odor removers must be “enzyme-based” because the enzyme breaks down the odor molecules. Without enzymes, we won’t smell the accident, but the puppy will and will return to this place again and again.
• Goodies – Quality treats are important, especially during exercise. We usually recommend two types of treats, one for daily treats and another “high quality” treat for special training. Something like a freeze-dried liver nut is great for daily reward, they’re inexpensive, and dogs love them. For a high quality reward used when puppies are brought into their kennel or after they have been taken out of the kennel and using the appropriate potty area, we recommend something like smoked tripe. These are soft, full of flavor and also healthy.
• Toys – I don’t think having too many toys for a puppy is possible, but there are three essential things that you should have. A hard toy like nylon is essential for teething, and when puppies chew on table legs, remote controls and baseboards, you can scold them, then offer the hard toy and say, “Please, good dog.” A rubber toy, like a kong, can be used when a puppy is chewing on things like shoes or boots. Finally, you need a rope toy that is offered as a substitute for chewing on fabrics such as carpets, socks, or upholstery. Ropes can also be soaked in low-sodium broth or water and then frozen to soothe the gums while teething. Stuffies, unstuffies, balls, frisbees and other toys are also great. Your pup will end up having favorites, so don’t be afraid to buy plenty of options.
• Hiking equipment – Poop bags, leashes, collars or harnesses and treat bags are all products that make walking or going to the dog park easier. Poop bags come in different sizes, with different scents and even biodegradable or compostable. Most people use a simple collar and six-foot leash to walk their dogs, but some dogs require control collars or harnesses, and there are many options depending on the dog and its behavior. Treat bags are very handy, many have tops that open and close, and most have clips that attach to belts. They’re much more convenient than having a bag of goodies in your pocket that spills or makes your fur a dog’s favorite chew toy.
There are many other items that you can buy for your pup, but I have found that these are the essentials that you need to have ready when a pup comes home.
Pets are people too
Jeff McFarlane is the owner of Thrive Pet Food Market. Contact him with your questions or ideas at [email protected] or visit www.thrivepetfoodmarket.com
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