Adopting a new puppy can be stressful.

You will find all the tips and tricks below for making sure the puppy parenthood transition is smooth.

The List of Essentials:

We found that adjusting to being pet parents was more difficult than we realized. If we knew then what we know now, we would have planned our spending in a completely different way. Below is a list of essential items we recommend you get before your puppy arrives (plus some do’s and don’ts).

  • Microchip your dog in their first vet appointment. All of our dogs at Galaxy Cavaliers are microchipped before going to their new homes. This is essential to being a responsible pet owner.

  • An appropriately sized kennel. Kennel training is very important for a few reasons. Kennel training makes potty training much easier. If you have to go somewhere for an hour or two and cannot take your dog, or have someone watch them, leaving them in a kennel is the safest option. This ensures they will not get into anything they are not supposed to, they will not have accidents around the house, and they won’t accidentally run out of the door when you come home. DO NOT leave your dog in the kennel for an extended period of time, this is animal abuse. The maximum should be 3-4 hours, (unless they are sleeping in the kennel at night with you in the same house) and once they are old enough to hold their potty. NEVER leave your dog alone wearing a collar in the kennel or your house. Your dog could die if the collar accidentally gets stuck on something (this happens more than you would think). The kennel should be big enough for your dog to lay down and stand up in. Our dogs are around 20 lbs and use medium sized kennels.

  • Multiple beds, at least 2-3. This is so that you can keep good hygiene for you and your pet. You should be washing your pets bed at least once a week. You want to make sure you have a few so you can switch it out on laundry day and not wait for it to dry. New puppies also have lots of accidents in the home before they are potty trained so having an extra bed makes sure you are prepared for accidents.

  • A good leash and harness. Many people think that walking your dog with the leash attached to the collar is how you should walk your dog. WRONG. Your dog can wear a collar in addition to a harness but the leash should be attached to the harness as to not choke and hurt the dog. A good leash is going to be 4-6 foot lead with dependable grip and attachment hook. We learned this the hard way The first leash we bought broke after a few uses and Elfia became loose. Thankfully we were in a pet store so we were able to grab her fairly quickly but you do not want this to happen, ever, because it could be very dangerous.

  • A hydro water bowl or weighted bowl. In our experience, we have found that this is the best option for us. The bowl is big enough to hold enough water for our three dogs and stays cool throughout the day. If you do not want to get a hydro bowl that is fine, but please get a weighted bowl so your dog does not knock it over and make a huge mess. You should be washing your dogs water bowl every single day with soap and water before refilling with clean water.

  • Multiple food bowls (and possibly slow feeders). You should have a few bowls so give your dog their meals in. Puppies need to eat 3 times a day until they are around 6 months old (and twice a day after that). You will want multiple bowls to give your dog their food in so they can have a new clean bowl every meal. If you dog inhales their food, you should purchase slow feeders. This helps your dog to eat slower for better digestion and less hazard of choking. You should not leave food out all day long. Once the food oxidizes, it can start to gain bacteria and potentially make your dog sick. Making sure you feed your dog meals helps to create a schedule for the both of you. We always feed our dogs when we eat. Metal or glass are the most sterile when sanitized.

  • Teeth brushing kit (dog toothpaste only). Your dogs dental hygiene is extremely important to their health. It is essential that you brush your dogs teeth once a day, every day. If you neglect your dogs teeth, their teeth will rot. It will be painful for them and could potentially lead to an infection from bad bacteria entering their bloodstream. It will also be very expensive for you because you will have to pay to get their teeth professionally cleaned and or extracted. Most dog toothpaste says you should begin cleaning their teeth at about 3-4 months of age. (Consult instructions on your dogs toothpaste and your vet). DO NOT give your dog human toothpaste.

  • Appropriate toys. We found out the hard way that two of our dogs are extremely aggressive chewers. What does this mean? It means that they will instantly chew through a toy and destroy is within minutes of being given the toy. They will try to ingest the toy once they have began to destroy it. Your dog should ALWAYS be supervised whilst playing with toys. This is for many reasons but the most important are so that they do not choke or ingest the toy. The toys that have worked best for us have been chuck-it brand, Kong brand, nylabone brand, and thick ropes. Always make sure that the toy matches their weight. This ensures that it won’t be too “weak” or able to be swallowed as easily. We like to go up a weight range for our aggressive chewers. If a toy starts to fall apart, toss it and replace it.

  • A vacuum mop, regular mop, and regular vacuum. This is absolutely essential to maintaining a clean living space. We personally have a regular vacuum (Bissell) to clean up all the fur, a regular mop to deep clean, a carpet cleaner vacuum (Bissell) to deep clean carpets from fur and potty accidents, and a mop vacuum (Tinecco) for our normal clean up of fur, dirt, and any other accidents in our home.

  • Non-toxic cleaner. We use “infuse” to clean out our dogs kennels when we switch their beds out every week.

  • Puppy grooming wipes. These are essential to keep in the house. They are a great way to do a spot clean in between baths if your dog has an upset stomach or stepped in poop, etc. We use Earthbath.

  • X-Pen (or more than one). We believe x-pen’s are essential to pet parenthood. Whether you are making sure your dog stays out of trouble, or stays in a confined area, you will need this!

Foods to avoid

Do not feed your dog anything containing grapes, chocolate, onion, garlic, or avocado. These foods are extremely toxic and can kill your dog. This might seem obvious but there are dog treats that include garlic or onion. If you dog accidentally eats one of these, seek medical care immediately.

Recommended foods

Chicken is a great protein source that is leaner than beef. A high quality kibble is ideal if you are not going to cook, make sure it includes a type of grain (i.e. rice, quinoa). There is a lot of debate about grain vs grain free foods. Foods containing grains are shown to help your dogs heart health over grain free. Grain free dog food is part of the human “diet culture” and does not make your dog healthier unless grain free feeding is instructed by your vet. Pumpkin is healthy and helps upset stomachs; Pure pumpkin puree is ideal, do not use pumpkin pie filling. Blueberries are great for eye health. Probiotics are a great additive for good gut health, always consult a veterinarian. Do not feed your dog raw meat unless you have consulted your veterianarian. Avoid rabbit meat, they are friends not food.

At Home Grooming

We quickly found out that going to the groomers was a very big added cost that we did not want to pay. We figured out how to groom our dogs on our own and it has been great! Here is a list of all the items we use and how we use them.

Items you will need:

  • Puppy shampoo (we use earth bath wild cherry scent)

  • Puppy spritz/leave in conditioner (we use earth bath wild cherry scent)

  • Dog conditioner (we use Top Paw coconut scent)

  • A dog grooming kit that includes nail clippers, a comb, a slicker brush, dog hair clippers, and a dog blow dryer (you may need to buy separately, some of these items may come as a set)

  • A shower or bath tub (we prefer a shower head that is detachable but it is possible without)

Steps to follow for grooming

  1. Make sure your water is warm. Not hot, not cold. Begin to wet your dog everywhere except the head and ears (you will do this later)

  2. Once your dog’s fur is saturated with water, you can apply the dog shampoo. Apply as directed on the bottle and rub shampoo vigorously throughout the coat. We do the back first, then the tail and behind, the stomach, the chest, each paw and leg, and then we go back for the face and ears. You wait to wet the face and ears because it is the most uncomfortable for the dog. Make sure you do not get water inside the ear canal.

  3. Once the entire dog has been lathered and scrubbed with shampoo, rinse shampoo completely out.

  4. Once shampoo is rinsed off, lather coat in conditioner.

  5. Let the conditioner sit for 1-2 minutes, or follow instructions on bottle.

  6. Rinse conditioner out.

  7. Ring out the excess water and rub down the dog with a dry towel.

  8. Spray puppy spritz/leave in conditioner and begin to blow-dry dog with a dog blow-dryer until mostly dry, a little bit damp is fine. (Our blow-dryer is also a slicker brush).

  9. Clean and dry ears with a dry cotton swab.

  10. Nail trim and shave paw pad, if necessary. Video’s on this in progress.

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“All his life he tried to be a good person. Many times, however, he failed. For after all, he was only human. He wasn’t a dog.” – Charles M Schulz (cartoonist, “Peanuts”)

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