In two short weeks, the Hunky Engineer and I will be bringing home our first PUPPY! I have never had a dog (but always loved visiting friends that did) and the Hunky Engineer used to have dogs when he lived in Mexico but they never lived inside. SO, this endeavor is pretty huge for both of us! We are beyond excited to be welcoming a little nugget into our home and cannot wait to shower him with love and kisses and toys every day of the week! (Okay, let’s be honest here, I will be doing all the love-showering, but Hunky Engineer is excited too.)
I wanted to go over my “to-do” list for puppy preparation as I have done oodles of research. Seeing as I never had a dog, I was starting with zero knowledge. I hope this guide can help any of you looking to get a puppy or preparing currently for your own!
But, before I get into that, here’s a photo of my fur-baby, Toro! He is an American Pit Bull Terrier (if you have something negative to say, keep it to yourself.) He is a gorgeous tan color with slight brindle stripes that might come out more as he gets bit older. Right now, he is 5.5 weeks old and weighs 7.2lbs! (a BIG baby.)
The first thing I did was consult with people who already have/had dogs to get as much advice as I could. Of course, there is always conflicting advice, so you ultimately need to make the decision on what works best for you to raise your fur-baby.
Here are a few things I learned/needed to buy:
1. A Crate
There are some contradictions on whether or not you should crate-train your dog (we will be crate-training Toro because we both work full-time.) However, a crate is a necessity in case your dog has a hard time in the car or going to the vet. Plus, you should have it to put your dog in at home if someone comes over who might be afraid of dogs or if your dog isn’t people-friendly.
Luckily, one of my close friends has two Pit Bulls and gave me the crate they used to crate-train their dogs so I didn’t have to spend the money on it! Hand-me-downs are a MUST when getting a puppy. There are probably so many people you know that have old dog stuff just sitting in their basement or garage taking up space. So don’t be afraid to ask friends for assistance!
2. Baby Gates
These you can most definitely get from someone you know. I bet your parents, grandparents, aunts/uncles, siblings, co-workers, SOMEONE in your circle has baby gates lying around. Once again, I was able to get these from someone we know from work. He gave us FOUR!
Baby gates are helpful for when you are potty-training your dog or when they are teething and might try to chew something up. You can gate the dog into certain area of the house so they can still run around but not ruin your whole house.
I can’t tell you how much research I did on Pit Bull diets before I chose a food brand. Pit Bulls are susceptible to grain allergies which can dry out their skin, so I wanted to avoid food and treats with grains in them. We don’t know if our puppy will even have an allergy, but I wanted to play it safe when I chose his food and treats. We decided to go with the Blue Buffalo brand for treats and Nutro for puppy food.
The bags of treats are already opened because I put all the treats into plastic containers for freshness and easy storage. Of course, I wanted to keep the bags so we can establish what Toro does and doesn’t like.
The small training treats we bought are by Blue Dog Bakery and we chose them because they are all natural and were recommended to us by someone who has had multiple Pit Bulls. If we don’t end up liking those training treats, we will be getting the Blue Buffalo training treats.
I know food and treats can seem like a monumental expense, but you could end up spending more money if your dog ends up having an allergy that needs to be treated. We decided to avoid those risks and invest in good nutrition for our fur-baby. Plus, the Hunky Engineer wants to bulk him up a bit, and all you fitness-lovers out there know that starts in the kitchen!
4. Dental Health
Growing up with indoor cats, I had no experience with dental health of an animal. I always assumed there were dog toys that also scrubbed teeth. Turns out, I was partially correct. However, I also made sure to get puppy dental sticks and a toothbrush and toothpaste (for dogs, not people.)
Buying toys was probably the most exciting part of my prep journey. I loved getting to browse online and in stores and imagine Toro playing with all sorts of toys! We got him so many different toys for when he comes home to us (I might have gone a little overboard.) He is a Pit Bull, so I want to be cautious of toys that he could eat or choke on because he is going to be a strong biter. He has 2 rope toys (that will only be played with when we are supervising him), Kong brand tennis balls, bones, and squeaker-toys, and Nylabone brand bones and teething kits.
My biggest advice to those of you getting a puppy is to do research on the breed you are getting. Is the breed usually a rough chewer? Does the breed need a lot of exercise and get toys that reflect that? Make sure you do thorough research and don’t just jump into a puppy. It will only hurt you and your puppy. Also, when you are getting a puppy, make sure to get lots of teething items. If not, your puppy will start chewing on everything in your house and you will not be happy as a puppy parent.
6. Pet Insurance
Okay, pet insurance is incredibly important for your dog. Pet insurance is equivalent medical insurance. If your dog gets hit by a car or ingests something he isn’t supposed to, pet insurance will reimburse you for the vet bills. We decided to go with Healthy Paws Pet Insurance that offers 80% reimbursement for vet bills.
The only downfall of pet insurance is the lack of preventative care insurance, such as routine shots, heartworm, fleas, etc. Some insurances are beginning to add in preventative care options, but there aren’t enough out there yet for there to be competitive rates. Hopefully that will change soon. Regardless, standard pet insurance is important and I highly recommend it to anyone with a dog. I also recommend getting it right when you get a puppy because most insurances don’t cover pre-existing conditions.
That’s pretty much it! Outside of these big items, there are things like the leash, collar, food dishes, water bowls, and towels for the crate. But, these will all depend on how big the breed you are getting is. We just got a basic collar and leash because Toro is probably going to chew on the first set. Once he’s done teething and training, we will invest in a much higher-quality collar, harness, and leash.
Thanks for reading my blog and I hope it helps all you future dog-owners out there!