What shall I buy for my puppy?
It's always exciting to wait for our new family member to come into our life. You need to make sure everything will be ready for your puppy.
Microchip: You must make sure your dog is fitted with a microchip by the time it's 8 weeks old. You can be fined up to £500 if your dog is not microchipped.
Insurance: choose lifetime insurance instead of yearly because if your dog has any lifelong medical issue (diabetes, kidney failure, heart disease, atopy, osteoarthritis, urinary tract disease ..etc.), yearly insurance won't cover it.
Food: normally, puppies come with a small amount of that food what the breeder gave them. If you wish to change in the future, choose a good quality brand of dog food and not use the shops' own-brand foods. Make sure you need to swap the old food with a new one step by step, mix a small amount new with the old one and increase the new until the old completely gone. Sudden change can cause gastrointestinal upset.
Food and water bowls: plastic (cheapest, but dogs can chew easily), ceramic (most of the dogs like it, but can break easily), stainless steel (cheap, but some dogs are scared because of the shine and noise of the food inside), elevated dog bowls (comfortable, but it has higher risk to cause bloat in large/giant breeds), automatic dog bowls (comfortable for the owners, but non-programmable can cause obesity, programmable the dogs can break it to get more food, better to feed in person), slow feeder (recommend for the dogs who are eating too fast their food and this habit lead to vomit or excess gas).
Crate/bed: Most owners buy a crate for their dogs, especially for the puppy age. The crate should be a safe place for the puppies, as a den in the wild. Make sure it can't be too small because that can cause stress for your dog. When you buy a bed, buy a bigger one instead of changing every stage of your puppy's growth.
My dogs didn't have crate; from their puppy age, they were sleeping close to me in their bed, and slowly I moved their bed to the final place. When I needed to leave them alone at home, they had access only in the corridor, so they had freedom, and because our corridor didn't have any hazards, they were in a safe place, too.
Playpen/Baby gate: these are the best option to leave your puppy safe when leaving your home.
Puppy pads: if you plan to use them for your puppy toilet training, you need to buy puppy pads. Do not put too many inside the house; choose only 1, max. 2 places because of too many cause confusion in your puppy and takes longer the toilet training. Do not move the training pads once your puppy knows the place(s). If you have a garden, better start teaching your puppy from the first day to go out to do their business.
Collar and tag: All of the dogs needs to wear a collar with a tag. You need to write on the tag: dog's name, your phone number, your address (if room allows), medical needs (if room allows and need it). The collar needs to be fit for the dog; you should fit two fingers underneath it.
Harness: choose a safety harness because puppies can easily take out themselves from some non-safety harnesses. Do not use a harness inside the house for your dog; they don't need it, and it can be uncomfortable for them to wear all day. If you teach your dog to accept the harness, use only 10-15 minutes in time but not all day.
Toys: dogs don't need too many toys. It's not a point to buy 20 toys, but none of them is interactive for your puppy. Do not forget quality (good material) is more important than quantity. Toys need to include some chewing and some interactive toys, too. You can buy soft toys for your dog, but do not forget those less interactive toys for dogs.
I recommend KONG products (my dogs are using them, too). They have some non-familiar brand toys as well what they love, but all of them are interesting to them.
Brush/comb/nail clipper: choose a brush/comb that fits your dog's coat type. If you are unsure how you need to cut your dog's nails, ask your vet to show you; if you are not trusting in yourself, bring your dog to your vet or a groomer when they need a nail cut. Too long nails can cause pain and discomfort (curl over the dog's paw, break...etc.).
Toothpaste/Toothbrush: Dental care is really important for dogs. Feed your dog with dry kibbles (not only wet food), use a tooth cleaning product, and regular dental check-up can prevent dental issues. You can find many products in the market - many kinds of toothpaste with flavour, finger or normal toothbrushes or liquid dental care.
Dog shampoo: Buy shampoo for dogs, not human shampoo! Dogs skin are very different from human skin. Choose the right type of shampoo - puppy shampoo, flea shampoo, sensitive skin shampoo...etc. If you run out of shampoo and your dog is dirty but have baby shampoo at home, you can use it, but make sure ASAP to buy a dog shampoo. Do not give a bath to your dog often (if it's so dirty, of course, you can and need), but it depends on your dog breed, coat type...etc. Normally try to do not earlier than every 4 weeks, but if the dog is not smelly or dirty and summertime, for example, every 6 weeks can be ideal. (between the bath times, you can help yourself use wipes/wet towels to clean your dog after every walk). Over-bathing could strip too much oil from the skin and disrupt this process.
First aid kit/ear cleaner/eye cleaner: you can buy a ready kit from any online market, or you can make your own, should include: bandages, non-adhesive absorbent dressings, surgical sticky tape, cotton wool, sterile absorbent gauze, scissors, towel, vinyl gloves, foil blanket, antiseptic spray. Ear and eye cleaner - many products in the stores. Ensure you need to check your dog's ears regularly, especially after the walks, but clean only when necessary to prevent ear infections. You can use wet cotton wool to clean if you don't have an ear cleaner. Overcleaning the ears can strip away healthy wax and lead to irritation. Some dog breeds such as Pugs, Bulldogs and Pekingese are more prone to experiencing discharge from the eyes due to their short muzzle and brachycephalic face. These dogs may require regular eye checks and daily cleaning. You can use a damp cloth or sponge if you don't have eye cleaner.
Car restraint/crate: must-have for owners that often travel with the dog. Seat belts are suitable for dogs of all shapes and sizes; your dog will feel less restrained than in a crate, ideal if the boot or back seat is too full to use a crate but not suitable for dogs that like to chew. Crates are ideal for safety – limits mobility, provides a reassuring space for an anxious pet, but can be uncomfortable for the non-crate trained dogs and heavy for the large/giant breeds.
Clothes: Dogs natural coat protects them from the weather, but some breeds or puppies need extra protection when the weather is cold or even if it's too hot. It can keep clean your dog during the walks, too. If your dog doesn't like clothes, do not force him/her to wear them. Dogs don't need clothes inside the house.
Lead: use normal short lead, do not use the retractable lead it's not safe for you and neither for the puppy. During the walking obedience training, you can control and teach your dog much better with a normal short lead.
Long training lead: do not buy less than 10 metres, but do not buy more than 15 metres. I'm using 12 metres, mostly during my training. Ideal for teaching recall safely to your puppy or just practising with your puppy in the park/forest/field safely until the recall is not perfect and the puppy not well behaved yet.
Treats: You can use dog daily food as a treat, but if you would like, you can bake some homemade treats for the training or use any food from the safe food list as a treat. (you can find in the blog as Safe and Dangerous foods + tips for feeding)
If you prefer treats that you can buy from the shops, try to choose better quality treats (most of the good brands has their treats, too) and use a maximum of 2 types, do not buy too many.