Puppy Checklist: Getting off to a Great Start
And while we’re talking about cleaning supplies, don’t forget the actual puppy. They will certainly be in need of a bath at some point. While you don’t need a shampoo specific to puppies, you will need one specific to dogs, as their sensitive skin is easily irritated by the stripping cleansers in shampoos designated for people.
Have a good brush on hand as well to get your puppy used to being groomed and to keep their puppy coat in tip top shape. Brushing helps keep the coat shiny and healthy by spreading the oils in their skin through the coat.
Dog Leashes and Collars
Dogs aren’t born knowing how to walk on a leash. Training them to get used to a leash and collar early is an essential socialization skill. For young dogs still learning manners, make sure your leash is short enough that they will be in your control and save the long leashes for when they are a bit older. If you have a small dog — under 20 pounds — you may also want a travel carrier.
Collars should be snug enough that a dog can’t back out of them, but large enough for 2-3 fingers to slip comfortably underneath. Remember, a growing dog will need a new collar several times during the puppy stage as he or she gets bigger.
It’s also a good idea to invest in a doggie seat belt. The leading cause of death in pets during car accidents happens not during the accident itself, but afterwards, when a panicked dog runs into the road. Seat belts can slip onto an existing harness or carrier. Some states are considering a dog seat belt requirement, so better to be prepared now!
Finally, and most importantly, before you bring that new puppy home, make sure you have established a relationship with a veterinarian. Your new four-legged bundle of fur will require ongoing care and advice from a veterinarian. Your pet needs to be examined at least yearly by a vet even if it appears healthy, as many diseases are hidden and not apparent. Remember it is much cheaper to prevent disease than it is to treat it!
Have fun shopping! And remember, puppies shouldn’t go to public places like pet stores until they have several sets of vaccinations under their belts, so let them enjoy the fruits of your labors from home.
The act of determining an animal’s age by looking at its teeth
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