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    Tractor Supply Company

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    New Puppy Checklist: How to Prepare Before Bringing a Puppy Home

    Authored by Tractor Supply Company

    New Puppy Essentials to Prepare for Your New Dog

    Few things are more exciting than bringing home a new puppy. Getting a puppy is a happy time, but it’s hard work, too. Prepare for your furry family member with our new puppy checklist, complete with essential puppy supplies and steps you can take to ensure your new addition has a smooth transition into your home.

    What to Buy for a New Puppy

    Get ready for your new arrival with these new puppy essentials:

    • Collar and leash — Your new puppy will grow significantly over the first few months, and an adjustable collar can grow with them.
    • Harness — A harness makes an excitable pup easier to control as they learn walking etiquette.
    • Dog tags — Engrave a tag with your dog’s name and your contact details in case your pup accidentally wanders away from home. Check to see if your town requires dogs to have a town license, too.
    • Food and water bowls — Slow-feeder bowls help young pups learn to eat calmly.
    • Puppy formula dog food — Ask your vet or breeder for specific recommendations. If you want to switch your puppy to a new food, make it a slow transition. Changing foods too quickly can cause an upset stomach.
    • Training treats — Reinforcing good behavior is key to effectively training your puppy. Reward your puppy with training treats while walking and practicing commands.
    • Toys — A collection of balls, plush and chew toys, and interactive puzzles provides new puppies with mental stimulation.
    • Dog bed — An easy-to-wash style is best for pups who haven’t perfected potty training yet.
    • Crate — Crates are excellent training tools. Choose an expandable style to grow with your dog.
    •  Grooming supplies — Essential puppy care items include a brush, dog shampoo, nail clippers, a toothbrush, and dog toothpaste.
    •  Cleaning supplies — Messes are unavoidable when training a new puppy. Stock up on poop bags for walks and enzyme spray to remove urine odors.
    • Optional: Puppy pee pads — Outdoor potty training is preferable, but consider pee pads if outdoor training is tough (for example, if you live in an apartment).

    Steps to Take Before Bringing a Puppy Home

    Alongside your puppy supply list, there are several things to do in preparation for your new puppy.

    • Find a vet. Put in the research to find an excellent vet in your area, and set up the first appointment. Plan to discuss your puppy’s vaccination schedule, heartworm medication, flea and tick prevention, microchipping, and when to think about spaying or neutering.
    • Consider pet insurance. A small insurance premium could result in huge savings if unexpected medical expenses come up.
    • Think about training. Working with a professional or attending local classes provides valuable information on how to train a puppy. If you prefer the DIY approach, read training books, and watch online videos to prepare for at-home sessions.
    • Puppy-proof the house. Just like you’d do with a human baby, puppy-proofing ensures your dog’s new environment is safe. Move electrical wires and breakable items out of reach, put up gates, and double-check that your houseplants aren’t toxic to dogs. You’ll also want to keep any kids’ toys out of reach — a new puppy won’t understand the difference between human and dog toys and will likely chew anything that looks appealing.
    • Arrange for doggy daycare. Young puppies require almost constant attention. If possible, work from home or take your puppy to work the first few weeks. Otherwise, look into daycare or dog walkers in town.
    • Start researching dog groomers. Schedule your puppy’s first appointment when they are 12 to 16 weeks old.

    Preparing for Your Puppy’s First Night

    A puppy’s first night at home can be overwhelming. They’re adjusting to a new environment and getting used to the separation from their mother and littermates. Be patient as your puppy settles in, and take a few steps to make sure the transition into their new home is as stress-free as possible.

    • Keep the crate beside your bed. The sound of your breathing during the night is soothing to a new puppy. Be patient when he cries, but avoid bringing him into your bed — doing so early on forms bad habits.
    • Make the crate extra comfortable. A heating pad and stuffed animal in your puppy’s crate recreates the feeling of littermates.
    • Set a schedule. Dogs love routines, and creating one early on is important as your new puppy learns the ropes of their new home. Plan meals, walks, and sleep for the same times each day. You’ll also want to plan for bathroom breaks after each meal, about every two hours during the day, and once or twice at night.

    Whether you’re preparing for your first puppy or you’re a seasoned dog owner, the early days with your new pup are a roller coaster of excitement, stress, and—of course—fun. At Tractor Supply, we know the excitement and hard work that a new puppy brings to Life Out Here. That's why we carry everything you need to raise your puppy, from healthy food and treat options to training and playtime essentials