Puppies are kind of like furry toddlers. They throw tantrums, have to get their naps in, and need lots of love and patience. My Cocker Spaniel, Sage, joined our family when she was 10 weeks old. After living with a senior dog for so long, I was surprised by what a whirlwind it was to switch to raising a puppy. If you’ve just brought home a new furry bundle of joy – or are considering adopting – buckle up, it’s going to be a wild ride!! But I promise it’ll be more than worth it. Let me save you a few headaches by sharing puppy essentials that made parenting easier for me! Having these items at the ready will make keeping your pup healthy and happy (and keeping your house clean) a whole lot easier.
This might sound gross, but puppies (and grown-up doggies) poop, just like the rest of us! Sage did good with potty training, but I still had to keep the yard clean! To this day, I still order eco-friendly poop bags in bulk from Amazon. They’re great for using at home, and I like to keep some handy when we’re out and about.
Shampoo that contains oatmeal is supposed to be better for your dog’s skin and coat. It keeps Sage soft! If you can get one that’s tear-free, even better.
These are great for wiping off paws after playtime outside, or just freshening up your pup between baths! I’ve used Nature’s Miracle.
This one is mostly a reminder for you. Puppy teeth are sharp! Sage could just bump into me while playing, and I would get a cut. Keep your band-aids and neosporin handy!
Every dog is different, and will have his or her favorite toys. Sage loves racquet balls and furry animals with squeakers, but she doesn’t like hard, rigid toys. Have a variety of toys ready for your pup so that you can figure out what he/she likes. This also helps with boredom! When Sage got tired of one toy, we could switch to another.
TOY SAFETY – Safety matters when it comes to toys. I order Sage’s toys from Chewy.com, and a lot of the products there come in different sizes for dogs of all sizes! You don’t want something too small (we don’t want a choking hazard), or too big (that will be hard to play with). I also like to avoid any type of toy that has buttons/beads for the eyes, as this could be a choking hazard too! Monitor your dog when playing with stuffed toys. If it gets ripped open, you’ll want to throw it away so that they don’t choke on the stuffing.
TOYS & TEETHING – Sage’s puppy teeth were very sharp, and she could tear through a toy quickly. It became a challenge to find toys that would last her a while, and soothe her teething.
This will depend on what your puppy likes, but consider having a bed or blanket for them to lay on. Sage wasn’t a big fan of beds (she tore up every one I bought, lol), but loves to lay on throw blankets. Any soft blanket that we have around the house will do for her!
When you’re ready to start leash training, having a harness will make walking more comfortable for your pup. There’s lots of different leash and harness styles you can try!
What you choose to feed your dog is a personal decision. It will also depend on any health needs that your puppy has as he/she gets older. I’m still learning what works best for Sage’s diet, but here’s what seemed to work when she was younger.
Sage’s vet recommended Purina as her first dry dog food. I’m sure your vet can help you decide what’s best for your pup. Now that she’s older, I’ve decided to try out human-grade food from The Farmer’s Dog to see if it helps with her allergies. I’ll keep you posted on how that goes!
Sweet Sage was scared of her metal food bowls because of the clanking sound when she ate. It took some patience to get her comfortable eating with them. We started with small bowls, then upgraded to larger bowls as she grew. I also highly recommend a silicone mat to catch spills. Some bowls come with the mat!
If your dog is food-motivated, treats will come in handy during the training process! Sage loves MILK-BONE Mini’s Peanut Butter treats. I like getting the minis because it’s easier to portion how much she has at a time.
These portable bowls are great for making sure your pup stays hydrated while on walks or at the beach.
There’s lots of different options out there for treating stains. Nature’s Miracle Stain & Odor Remover is one of our go-to’s.
These two items aren’t cheap, but I think they’re worth it. This Hoover PowerDash Pet is a mini version of a carpet shampooer that you can use for cleaning small areas of carpet. It works best if you can use it right after the accident occurs.
This Dupray Neat Steam Cleaner is awesome! It gets rid of stains. It’s not just for pet messes – you can use it to steam clean your mattress, couch, or even the inside of your car!
I could go on and on about pet product recommendations, but I don’t want to overwhelm you. This puppy essentials list has some key items that were helpful during Sage’s first year. Some of them were things I tried after other products didn’t work, so I hope this advice will keep you from making the same mistakes I did!
One last recommendation: this free guide from PupBox that tells you what to expect behavior-wise each month of your puppy’s first year was so helpful!
If you have more questions, or just want some pet parent encouragement, feel free to DM me on Instagram. I definitely don’t have it all figured out, and I’m still learning. But I’m happy to share what I know! You’ve got this!