Congrats on the newest addition to your family! Before you bring home the little bundle of fur, there are some tried-and-true steps you can take to be prepared for all excitement and fun of a new puppy, minus the inevitable chaos. Follow our New Puppy Checklist and you’ll be as prepared as you possibly can be:
- A Puppy by Any Other Name: You’re going to need a name! The most popular pet names include Bella and Cooper, but you can always stand out with names like Anna Guacamole or Ziggy the Zag!
- Puppy Proof Your Home: From removing toxic foods, plants, and cleaning supplies from paw’s reach, to picking up your oh-so-chewable pair of boots, puppy-proofing before you bring your new dog home is a great way to keep your sanity…as well as keeping your new pup safe.
- Do Your Research: Read up on dogs! We like John Bradshaw’s book Dog Sense for behavior, Patricia B. McConnell’s The Puppy Primer for training, and anything from the Monks of New Skete, a monastery that specializes in the raising of German Shepherds.
- Go Shopping: You’re going to need new puppy stuff! Puppies need food and water bowls, bedding, toys, puppy chow, a collar, a leash, poop bags, treats, identification (i.e. tags), a crate or kennel, and grooming supplies (brush, nail clippers, toothbrush). Make your life easier and bring our new pet shopping list with you to the pet store.
- Make a Vet Appointment: As soon as your puppy gets home, make an appointment with your vet for their first checkup (and here’s what to expect at your puppy’s first vet visit). Check out the AVMA’s guidelines on choosing a vet, if you’re not sure how to do so. While you’re there, make sure you microchip (and register) your pet as well.
- Enroll in Pet Insurance: Puppies can be enrolled as early as eight weeks. The earlier you get dog insurance the better: getting coverage before your pup gets sick means you won’t have to worry about pre-existing conditions, which aren’t covered by any insurance provider. Plus, you’ll be protecting your savings from clumsy accidents (which puppies are great at).
- It Takes a Village: If you work full-time or are otherwise away from the puppy for extended periods of time, you might need to schedule a dog walker/sitter. We love Rover – it’s a simple, geo-based app for your phone that handles meeting walkers and sitters, booking appointments, and payment.
- Back to School: All pups need training, with potty training your puppy being the top priority for pet parents. There’s no shortage of online resources to help you with additional training, but consider obedience classes if you’re feeling overwhelmed or can’t get behavior issues under control on your own.
- Find A Groomer: Depending on your dog’s coat, frequent trips to the groomer might be your new reality. Start asking fellow pet parents in your city, researching on Yelp, and dropping into neighborhood grooming businesses to find the right groomer for you.
- All the Bells and Whistles: Sign up for a puppy subscription box, like BarkBox, get a Whistle GPS in case your pup gets lost, and license your pet (it’s the law!).
And finally – enjoy it! They’re only puppies for so long. Those sweet, sleepy little buddies grow up fast!
Don’t forget to sign up for pet insurance! Enrolling early means all the mishaps, accidental ingestions, dandelion sneezes and more will be covered up to 90%. Start by getting your quick quote.