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When bringing home a new puppy, there are several things that will make the transition easier and help your puppy develop into a healthy, happy member of your family. Here is a list of ten essentials for your new addition.
Though it may take a little training, puppies love the comfort and security of their own crate. The crate should have three "walls" and a front gate she can see through. It should also not be too large, but not too small either. Ideally, your puppy should have enough room to sit up or stretch out. Then add some bedding -- like old sheets, T-shirts, or towels -- so she has something soft to sleep on.
Sometimes referred to as wee-wee or pee pads, these are essential for puppies not fully immunized and not yet allowed outside. They may also be a permanent solution for apartment dwellers or others who find outdoor housetraining impractical.
You've probably seen these used to block doorways and keep certain areas in the home off-limits to toddlers (aka baby-proof your home). Well, guess what? They can be used for your puppy, too. It's important, however, that the openings on the gate walls not be large enough for the puppy to stick her head in. This may lead to an accidental strangulation. Playpens are an adequate alternative, should finding a safe baby gate prove difficult.
After puppy-proofing your home, there may still be a few items you can't just place out of puppy's reach, like the corners of your furniture. Pet-friendly bitter spray can be applied to most household items. It's scentless for humans, but tastes nasty to dogs, and keeps their curious mouths away.
The leash is one of the most effective tools for keeping the puppy in place and maintaining his attention. Choose one that feels right for both you and the pup, not just one that is sparkly all over.
Your puppy should start off with a flat leather or nylon collar that is equipped with a buckle closure. Then, after about a month, replace it with a perfect fit collar -- neither loose nor tight around the neck.
A new puppy will chew anything in her path: furniture, plants, your shoes! Avoid the fashion faux pas by offering her plenty of toys to chew instead. It may take some trial and error to figure out what your dog likes best, so start with a multipack of puppy bones, squeak toys, furry toys, and rubber balls. However, nothing that may accidentally be swallowed or choked on.
This is a must since puppies need to eat about three times a day and require a bowl of fresh water nearby most of the time.
Puppies need certain nutrients to grow strong bones and muscles, to feed their developing brains, and to build their immune systems. You will want to choose the food that is tailored to meet your pet's needs during this crucial stage, or you may have to pay for it in veterinary services, medications and special diets later in life. Treats should also be healthy and nutritious.
Let's face it: accidents are going to happen. Don't get angry. Don't yell. Just wipe up the mess, teach your puppy how to behave properly and move on. Welcome to the joys of puppyhood!