The announcements have all been sent out. The nursery’s complete. And you just got back from the babymoon. You’re both excited to bring home the little one. It’s going to be a life-changing experience, but you couldn’t be readier or happier for this next step.
Sure, the “nursery” may be a crate set up in the kitchen with a comfy blanket and an oversized pillow bed in the living room corner. But let’s face it, your new pup is essentially your baby. That being said, here are four must-do’s for new puppy parents who are preparing to welcome the newest member of the family.
Water, food, a collar and a leash are among the basics necessities you need at home to take care of your new dog. Follow this checklist to ensure you’re fully prepped for your four-legged companion’s homecoming:
- Food and water bowls
- Chew toys
- Crate and bedding
- Grooming supplies
- Registered ID tag and/or microchip
- Gate (to create boundaries)
- Puppy pads, carpet cleaner and odor neutralizer for house training
Spayed or neutered dogs tend to live longer, be healthier and have fewer behavioral problems, according to the Humane Society. Aside from those benefits, you also prevent future puppies (and overpopulation). For maximum health, you may also want to provide you furry friend with the following:
- Heartworm medication (monthly pills, monthly topicals or even a six-month injection) to prevent heartworm disease caused by an infected mosquito.
- Flea and tick control or preventative treatments to protect your pet from fleas, flea eggs or larvae, ticks and chewing lice. For a more nontoxic and natural approach, give your pup black walnut or vitamin-B flea treats, use a a fine-toothed flea comb, vacuum frequently, use herbal shampoo or apply a homemade natural insect repellent recommended by PETA.
- Regular veterinarian check-ups or even training classes to provide your pet with optimal health and discipline.
Dogs are loyal, loving animals and enjoy snuggling up at your side. But, they also want to resort to a safe space when they feel threatened or nervous, such as during a thunderstorm. Instinctively, dogs prefer to be in a den-like space, which serves as shelter away from the storm, according to Daily Puppy.
Darken a space with roller blinds, which are a safer alternative than long window dressings. Keep in mind that your pup also could damage vertical or mini blinds as a way to deal with his or her nervousness. Also, place a blanket, pillow and toys to comfort your dog during the storm, and create positive associations with the space.
Unfortunately, many pups are left at home during most the day, and babysitters or doggie daycare can be expensive. Instead, equip your home with iCPooch, which is an interactive care system for your dog. With iCPooch, you can video chat or deliver a treat over the Internet and lovingly keep in touch with your furry friend while away from home. The all-in-one pet treat dispenser and computer connects you and your pet at all times, whether you’re at work or on vacation.
Introduce the newest member of your family by planning a welcome-home party for friends, family and their dogs. Provide refreshments and bake biscuit-shaped sugar cookies for friends and family. Homemade healthy recipes like frozen peanut butter yogurt dog treats or apple crunch pupcakes are for the four-legged guests to enjoy.
Set up a fun obstacle course, or plan a “Go Fetch” dog-themed scavenger hunt, challenging owners and their pets to win a prize by finding hidden items, such as rawhide bones, a pair of slippers or chew toys. Don’t forget to create goodie bags filled with treats and toys to give your guests and their furry sidekicks as thank you’s for when they leave.