When you find that perfect pup for the whole family, you’ll need some basic essentials to make sure they’re happy and healthy when you bring them home for the first time. Luckily, there’s plenty of information out there about how to be a good pet parent. Most pet supply stores offer care sheets to help you learn the basics and decide what’s a good fit for your situation, and some even foster animals from local shelters, making it easy to find and adopt your forever friend.
Treats and Toys
With monthly themes like “Knights of the Hound Table” and “Chewrassic Bark,” Barkbox’s monthly subscription is a great way to try new treats and toys for your pup every month. Just pick the box that corresponds to your dog’s size and weight, and watch them enjoy their new goodies. Read more about our take on Barkbox here.
Kong toys are classics with trainers, shelters, and experienced pet parents for a lot of reasons. They’re more durable as a fetch toy than tennis balls and better for chewing than a lot of natural material toys designed for chewing; even for dogs who can successfully gnaw off a piece, they are soft and rubbery, not like sharp bits of stick or rawhide. They’re fantastic for keeping dogs from causing mischief while bored, too. Fill the inner hollow with peanut butter, applesauce, or your pup’s favorite snack and freeze it for a pupsicle they’ll love.
When you’re trying to encourage certain behaviors from your pup — whether it’s heeling well on a leash, loading up in your car, or tolerating a check-up at the vet — a little incentive can go a long way.
Letting out that new-puppy energy is essential to preventing boredom and bad behaviors. Long walks, plenty of fetch, and rewarding positive behavior is the best way to train a pup from the start, so they don’t go looking for their own entertainment.
Apparel and Accessories
Make sure your pet can find their way home in an emergency by having them microchipped, keeping your personal info up to date and on easy display, like on these customizable tags, perfect for dog or cat collars.
OK, sure, you could just pop on any old puppy collar, but if you’ll be socializing that new dog around town, getting him used to the sights and sounds of people, why not make sure he’s dapper and adorable while you do it?
ThunderShirts apply gentle pressure all over, like swaddling an infant, to calm dogs during anxiety-inducing events like thunderstorms. If street noise or other dogs in the neighborhood stress out your pup, wearing this breathable vest can help on walks. The reflective logos make it a great way to increase your pup’s visibility during nighttime walks, too.
Dogs need to walk every day to stay healthy and in good shape, trim their nails, mark territory with their scents, and entertain their brains with the sights and smells other animals leave behind. It also helps you bond with your pup; as you establish your place in control of the speed, length, and direction of walks, they’ll learn they can count on you to be a good leader.
Beds, Fences, and Crates
An elevated pet bed keeps pups cooler in the summer and discourages digging and bed shredding behaviors for some dogs. Raised beds also can help alleviate joint discomfort in older dogs with arthritis or joint pains.
These customizable panel pens let you keep a new puppy confined to limited space in a house, so they have time to adjust to an environment without becoming overwhelmed. They’re useful in keeping an unleashed dog limited to a small area outside as well, a great way to start potty training without letting a pup chase squirrels.
Vet visits are essential in those first few months, and many veterinarians offer “puppy plans” to help curb the costs of a vaccine regimen and series of checkups. Since some of the scariest illnesses in dogs, like Parvovirus, are most likely to happen to puppies, keeping up with that checkup schedule is essential.
Just like cats, puppies often want a place to retreat to when they need a quiet place to rest and recharge. This pet house gives them a hiding spot to escape rambunctious children or other family pets, and it’s washable, so those puppy messes are easy to clean.
Training and Cleaning
This four-part training system uses whistles, bells, treats, and a clicker pouch to help dogs communicate their needs and understand and respond correctly to our requests. Clicker training a dog can effectively encourage positive behaviors, tying treats and rewards to the sound of a button.
Make potty training easier on puppies with an assortment of these scented paper pads around their new space. They’ll soon learn where it’s safe to “go,” and you’ll learn how to pick up on their cues that it’s time for a walk.
City dogs and the people who walk them have to be prepared to clean up messes whenever they happen. These bulk packages of waste bags come with a clip-on dispenser, so you can attach them to your leash or clothing and be out the door and walking ASAP.
Messes are inevitable, so when they happen, have the necessary cleaners on hand to remove those stains and smells quickly. If smells are left too long and allowed to set, your pet may keep smelling them repeatedly, signaling that this spot is a good place to “go.”
Puppies go through painful teething stages, just like babies, but we’ve never heard of a toddler ruining a $90 pair of shoes bringing in a new molar. To prevent undesirable teething toy selection, use a bitter flavorant spray to make those nice pumps just too disgusting for a pup to gnaw on.
Chewy.com carries a wide selection of quality pet foods with an auto-ship option, so you’ll never be stuck running out to the store late at night for dinner for your pup. Merrick offers grain-free versions of this food, but for dogs without sensitivities, this version may still fit the bill perfectly — there’s no corn, potatoes, or wheat.
Buy yourself a few more minutes of rest in the mornings with these refillable food and water dispensers. They’re heavy enough that young pups can’t tip them over and make a mess, and the separate food and water dish make it easy to keep them far enough apart that your pup won’t leave food debris in the water dish or vice-versa.