New Puppy Checklist

Everything you'll need for the big day

This article is courtesy of

By Phoebe Assenza

Bringing a new puppy home is a thrilling experience, but if you don't have everything in place upon its arrival, the experience can turn from happy to harrowing. We've assembled a checklist of items you may already have on hand, and a few to purchase ahead of time.

1. An appropriate-sized crate. Dogs are den animals, and they love the comfort and security offered by a snug space of their own. Ideally, the crate will have three "walls," with a front gate your dog can see through. It's important to find a crate that's just the right size for your puppy. If the crate has too much room, the puppy is likely to have an "accident" inside of it. But the crate should not be so small that he doesn't have room to sit up or stretch out. Add some bedding, like old sheets, T-shirts, or towels, so puppy has something soft to sleep on, and be sure to leave him a few chew toys.

2. Wire playpen. We recommend these wire panels, which can be configured to any size or shape you might need. They can also be used to block doorways to rooms you'd like to keep off-limits.

3. Wee-Wee 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.

4. Chew Toys. A new puppy will chew anything in his path: your shoes, furniture, DVDs. Make sure you have plenty of toys to chew instead, and always offer a toy when you catch him chewing a nontoy. We recommend starting with a variety, as different breeds and individual puppies gravitate toward different things. It will take some trial and error to figure out what your dog likes best. Start with a multipack of puppy bones, squeak toys, furry toys, and rubber balls.

5. Leash and collar. Even if your puppy is not fully immunized and therefore not ready to go outside, you can introduce him to his leash and collar, and get him accustomed to wearing it. Our favorite "collar" is the no-choke Puppia harness.

6. Bitter Apple Spray. 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. Bitter Apple Spray can be applied to most household items. It's scentless for humans, but tastes nasty to dogs, and keeps their curious mouths away.

7. Puppy food and bowls. This is obvious, as puppies need to eat about three times a day and require a bowl of fresh water nearby most of the time. Purchase high-quality pet food recommended by your vet or breeder, and serve in a stainless steel bowl (steel collects less bacteria than glass or plastic).

8. Nature's Miracle or other enzyme cleaner. Even the best-trained puppy will have an indoor accident at some point, and it should be cleaned up within seconds, when possible. The difference between enzyme cleansers and your regular household spray is that the enzymes will eliminate odors that only your dog can smell, reducing any reminder that he's gone potty in any particular part of your house. Also, avoid any cleaning agent that contains ammonia — the chemical smells just like pee to a dog, and dogs love "going" where they've "gone" before.

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