So your family's adding an adorable new fur baby to the mix? Congrats! Get ready for a fun, chaotic, and wild ride (oh, and lots of puppy kisses). Before you head to the pet store or start adding items to that Amazon cart, be prepared! Read up on our list of puppy must-haves, and have fun!
There's nothing more exciting than bringing a new puppy home, but if you're not careful, you can quickly find yourself feeling overwhelmed. Yes, puppies are a ball of fluff, love, and fun, but they're also kinda crazy. Think toddler crazy.
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We've raised a puppy or two, so today, I'm passing along a few of our best tips! From one pawrent to another, here's what you need to know to get your house ready for Fido. Are you ready for my list of puppy must-haves? Let's do this, Freebs!
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: MEET RIO!
In case you missed it, we got another puppy! Eek! Are we crazy? Maybe. Are we over-the-moon in love with Rio? Definitely! I mean, just look at that face, you guys. Dog-gone it, he's cute!
I could probably write a whole post about how much we love Rio and fill you in on all the cute shenanigans he and Rome are getting into, but instead, go check out their Instagram page: @romeandrio. (#ShamelessPlug) Yes, I'm that dog mom! Now, before you fall into a rabbit hole scrolling through puppy pics, let's get to those puppy must-haves, okay?
PUPPY MUST-HAVES FOR TRAINING
Unless you want to spend the next decade cleaning puddles off the floor, you'll want to start training that new pup ASAP. There are TONS of products and classes on the market, but these are the puppy training products that we swear by:
- Puppy Pads – The great puppy pad debate! You either love them or hate them. I actually have mixed feelings, but if you plan to travel with your pup, these are a MUST! Use them in a car or on a plane to save yourself a little trouble. They also come in handy during rough weather. Fun fact: lots of dogs refuse to go potty in the rain.
- Door Handle Bell – Help your pup help you! These door handle bells make potty training a breeze. You won't believe how quickly they start signaling when they need to go out.
- Poop Bags – And since we're on the subject of potty training. Don't be that person who leaves the poop and keeps going! Invest in some good poop bags and clean up those messes.
- Treats – Treats are an essential incentive when you're training a dog, whether you're putting the leash on for the first time or teaching them to sit.
- Kennel / Crate – Crates are like a man cave, den, or crib for your puppy. It's a warm and cozy spot for them to feel safe when you're out running errands or if you're traveling. Rather than buying multiple kennels, buy the size you'll need when your pup is full-grown. You can always add in a divider if you need to!
- Collar and ID Tag – Make sure the ID tag has the dog's name, as well as your phone number and address on the back.
- Harness – Puppies love to pull. Do you know the one thing that surprises a lot of new dog owners? You have to teach them to walk on a leash. Harnesses are a great tool while they're learning!
- Retractible leash – Make sure to buy one that snaps and locks. You can thank us later!
- Rope leashes – You never know when you might need one! Rope leashes are sturdy and great in emergencies. We keep one in our car. Warning: your pup will try to chew it up, so keep it out of their reach!
Okay, now that we've gotten the training essentials covered, who's ready to play?!
PUPPY MUST-HAVES FOR CARE AND PLAY
Puppies are just so stinking much fun! So, let's have some fun, you guys! These are the products we use to play with and to care for our pups:
- Chew Toys – Heads up: if you don't give your pup enough toys to chew, they will find your shoes and use them as toys. Or your furniture. Either way, no bueno, right? We like to buy a few squishy toys, some that are chewy, and a couple of noisy ones. Those will keep them busy, amused and help calm them down when they're anxious.
- Dog Bed – They've gotta be comfy, right?! Just know this, if you have an older dog, they will try to squeeze into the puppy's bed.
- Dog Gate / Playpen – Introduce your home a little at a time to help them learn good behavior. This tip saved us when we brought Rome, and it's working just as well for Rio! Trust me, you'll find yourself cleaning up a whole lot fewer messes.
- Puppy Shampoo – Not all shampoo is created equal! There's puppy shampoo for hair and then different kinds for fur, so do your research and find out if your pup is hairy or furry.
- Electric Food Dispenser – If you're going to splurge on an item for your new pup, get an electric feeder! You can save yourself a heck of a lot of time and make sure they're eating the right amount, which means you'll end up saving money on food, too.
- Water Bowl – If you've never owned a dog, let me tip you off on a little secret. Puppies LOVE tipping over water bowls. Invest in a quality, weighted dog bowl that won't tip.
- Carpet Cleaning Machine – I have tried every store-bought carpet cleaner imaginable. From my experience cleaning up puppy messes, this carpet cleaning machine on Amazon is the one you need.
And there you have it! Those are all the products we love to use with our puppies. But we're not done yet, because the most essential puppy must-have of all is something you can't buy at the store! Can you guess what it is? (No peeking!)
THE BIGGEST PUPPY MUST-HAVE OF ALL? EXERCISE!
Maybe you already know this, but I think a lot of people underestimate how much exercise dogs need. Set aside some time in your block schedule to take the dog for a walk or two! Dogs need to exercise for health and mental stimulation. Nine times out of ten, exercise can solve behavioral issues. And the great thing? It doesn't cost you a dime to spend time outside playing with your dogs!
I hope this post helps you gear up for your new furry family member! There's nothing better than a cuddly puppy, so I'm so excited for you!
If you've had a pup before, what's your best tip for first-time dog owners? Leave your best tips below!
By the way, if you're wondering how to budget for that new dog, you should check out my Budget Bootcamp! It's a super fun, interactive, and self-paced online course that will whip your wallet into shape.
Looking for more shopping tips?
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- Get all my best tips for grocery shopping on a budget.
- Want to find the best deals online? This post about online shopping will teach you all our best tricks!
Now, go enjoy all those puppy kisses!