If you’re here, chances are that you are welcoming a new fur baby to the family. Congraulations!
Bringing a puppy home can be an exciting and overwhelming experience. This is especially true if it’s your first puppy.
My fiancé and I got our first puppy together in 2019. She came home with us at 10 weeks old and was a bundle of joy, love, and lots of energy. Although this was my fiancé’s first dog ever, my family has owned dogs throughout my entire life. But nothing could prepare us for taking care of our own puppy.
Luckily, after months of research and a lot of trial and error, we were able to learn the ropes. Along the journey of puppy rearing, we bought a LOT of stuff. Like, a lot. The kind of stuff that only two twentysomethings with disposable income could buy.
These five things that we purchased in our puppy’s first year literally made all the difference. Keep reading to find out what they are and why new puppy owners need to buy them right now!
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One of the very first things you may need when bringing home your pup is a crate. Like everything else related to owning a dog, crate training is debated. Personally, we had an amazing experience with crate training—our dog LOVES her crate!
We purchased this crate from Amazon a few months before we got our pup. Honestly, our decision came down to about three factors: 1) it was a good price, 2) it had good reviews, and 2) it was pink. But we ended up loving it!
The crate comes in various sizes and colours, with the option to have one or two doors. It also comes with a leakproof plastic tray underneath the crate which prevents any accidents from leaking through to the floor. We use a crate bed inside so this really doesn’t make a huge difference.
What we loved was the fact that the divider inside the crate is adjustable. For crate training, you’re not supposed to get a crate too big for your pup, as they may use the extra space as a toilet. Our dog was about 3lbs when we brought her home, so any crate was huge to her. The divider allowed us to adjust how much space she was able to use as she grew and it was PERFECT. Super worth the money!
Check out the crate here.
Puppies get into lots of trouble. When my family dog was a puppy 14 years ago, we had a plastic playpen that we put her in when she couldn’t be supervised. However, the little sneak learned how to climb out of it!
When it came to our new mischievous puppy, we were prepared for anything. So instead of a large, open playpen, we decided to buy this portable playpen made of tent material. It has mesh windows and doors which can be unzipped.
We got a ton of use out of this playpen when our pup was small and eager to get into trouble. We’d just pop her into her playpen with a bunch of toys and blankets, and she would have a blast.
When she got a bit older and we started going out more often for longer periods of time, we purchased a plastic playpen as well as a mesh security roof. To this day, we still make use of the playpen! Our dog loves it so much, she often just walks into it and takes a nap.
Check out the playpen here.
The Thundershirt was something we bought on a whim and boy am I glad that we did. This fabric wrap is intended to help puppies and dogs who suffer from anxiety related to thunderstorms, fireworks, travel, and separation anxiety. In the same way that swaddling comforts a baby, this shirt keeps pups at ease in less than comfortable situations.
When we first got our puppy, we were often travelling by plane to Florida to visit my parents. Since I had never flown by airplane with a dog before, we decided to take every precaution. Little did we know that the Thundershirt was probably one of the best purchases we would make for our puppy.
This shirt has been a lifesaver for us! This shirt has helped us through car and plane anxiety, thunderstorms, and the dreaded New Years’ Eve fireworks. Although she’s grown out of a lot of her fears, we still use the Thundershirt when she’s feeling a bit anxious about loud noises (typically fireworks).
Check out the Thundershirt here.
I’m gonna say it—travel water bottles for dogs are AMAZING. Whoever invented this is a genius.
This travel water bottle is an inexpensive but extremely valuable resource for us. To use it, you just screw off the top, fill up the bottle, then unlock it and press the button to fill up the attached bowl. Now, you have a water bowl for your dog on the go. The bottle has never leaked for us, which is pretty surprising given that it’s plastic and only $15.
We’ve made use of this bottle on travel days, especially when we’re at an airport or on an airplane where we can’t have a bowl out. More recently during the pandemic, we’ve used this bottle when we take our dog for walks in the summer. It keeps her cool and it’s so easy to travel with.
A piece of advice from me to you? Don’t put this in the dishwasher. We made that mistake the night before a flight and had to rush out to buy a new bottle when ours got totally warped.
This last entry on the list is a bit broader. Teething toys in general are an amazing tool that will save your life when you’re raising your first pup.
Between taking your pup home and them turning six months old, the teething period will dominate your life. While our puppy was pretty easy to manage during the teething period, my family dog was not. She chewed on the legs of our brand new kitchen chairs when her adult teeth started coming in.
But most of all, the teething period is painful for your puppy. It’s the same as for a baby! Those little chompers hurt poking through their skin. If you want to help ease your pup’s pain—and maybe save the life of your furniture—teething toys are great.
I personally recommend Nylabone, as they have amazing puppy toys specifically made for teething. This bone tastes like lamb and apple. You can pop it into your freezer so that it ices and soothes your puppy’s gums while they play. Best of all, the bone changes colours so that you know when it’s frozen and when it’s gone back to room temperature.