Now that you've decided to get a puppy or dog, the next few weeks will be busy and at times, more than a little bit crazy. That's why it's important to plan in advance for the arrival of your new pet. If possible, get as many necessities ready before your puppy comes home.
Travel crate: Even if you don't plan on crate training your dog, consider the benefits of owning a crate for other reasons, like transporting an ill or injured puppy to the veterinarian.
Food and water bowls: If you have a puppy, keep the bowls low and shallow. Tip-proof works well, too. As they grow, you'll likely need to upgrade to larger dishes to accommodate your pet's size.
Food: Choose an age-appropriate food. Ask your vet or local pet store for recommendations if you're not sure what kind to purchase. Remember that high quality dog food keeps your puppy healthier and happier.
Collar: Pick a collar that fits properly now. You can always upgrade later if necessary.
Leash: A six-foot lead works well. Choose the right thickness and strength for your dog. A Chihuahua's needs are very different from the needs of a Rottweiler.
ID tag: As one of the first things people search for when finding a stray dog, an ID tag can help make sure your puppy makes it home safely. At a minimum, have your phone number engraved on the tag.
Grooming supplies: Different breeds require different levels of grooming. However, every pup can benefit from a good weekly brushing. It's also a great way to have quiet, bonding time with your new dog.
Housebreaking supplies: Even adult dogs have accidents, so be prepared with good cleaning supplies.
Veterinarian: If you don't have a favorite vet already, ask family, friends and neighbors for a recommendation. Have an appointment scheduled within the first few days of bringing your puppy home, so your vet can check for worms, other health conditions, and start her vaccination regimen.
Obedience classes: Every dog can benefit from learning some basic obedience skills.
Puppy treats: Yummy treats are the perfect reward when you're working on obedience. Or for when they're just being adorable.
Toys: Chew toys help satisfy your new puppy's teething needs. If you'd like to teach your dog to retrieve, look at purchasing a few balls, but make sure they're not so small that your dog chokes. A lot of people swear by Kong, an awesome rubber toy you stuff with treats to keep your new pal busy.
Sour apple spray: Use this product to spray on spots your puppy loves to chew on. It's a terrific deterrent for naughty puppies.
Baby gates: Want to keep your dog in one area of your house? Use baby gates to corral him. Let's face it; for a lot of us, dogs are our babies anyway!
Dog house: If your pup will spend any time outdoors, he'll love having his own little house. Fill it with great chew toys and a cozy blanket, and it will be the perfect home away from home.
Doggie door: Training your dog to use a doggie door when she needs to go outdoors makes life easier for you and your pal.
Clothing: Depending on where you live, sweaters or snow boots may be required outdoor gear for your dog.
Now that you have the basics on hand, don't forget the most essential items for your new puppy: lots of hugs, kisses, and sweet talk. Best of all, they're free!