Woman smiling and holding dog

New Dog Checklist

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Potty pads, crates, toys and more!

Everything you need to welcome your new best friend home.

Congratulations! Your life is about to get a zillion times better with the addition of a wiggly, waggly bundle of furry love! Before you bring your adorable new family member home from the shelter, make sure you’re prepared to keep your dog healthy, safe and happy. Here’s a list to help you get started:

1. Veterinarian

Choose a vet for your dog and make your first appointment for a puppy or adult wellness exam and any vaccinations or boosters needed. In addition to a regular vet, be sure you know the name, location and hours of the nearest 24-hour emergency vet clinic—just in case. Put both in your phone contacts. And, it’s a good idea to post them in your home, maybe on the fridge, for easy access for other people, too.

2. Crate

Like a den for your little wolf, crates provide a place where dogs can feel safe and secure. Crates also keep your home safe and secure if you need to limit your pup’s adventures when you can’t pay attention. They are also the safest way to transport your puppy in your car. Watch this quick video for crate training tips.

3. Microchip

About the size of a grain of rice, a microchip contains an identification number linked to a database with your name and contact information. Vets and other authorities can scan the chip to help reunite you with your dog if they get lost or stolen. The chip is injected under the skin with a hypodermic needle. You can get a microchip implanted at your first vet exam, or, some people prefer to do it during spaying or neutering surgery when the puppy is anesthetized. Be sure to register your puppy’s microchip and update your contact information if it changes. Learn more about microchips here.

4. Puppy Food & Treats

Puppies need different nutrients than adult dogs so it’s important to feed them food formulated to nourish their growing bodies. Same thing goes for treats. Stock up on lots of both for hungry puppies. You can immediately begin to train your puppy with positive reinforcement using treats to encourage good, safe behavior. Try KONG Puppy Snacks made with a recipe developed especially for tender puppy tummies, to reward puppies for things like sitting and going potty outside.

5. Expert help

Ask your vet or the shelter for a recommendation for a puppy trainer for classes and advice. Many shelters offer puppy socialization classes — a great way to help puppies learn how to interact with other puppies. (Plus, these gatherings are way better than any sitcom!). There are tons of puppy training videos online and books on the shelf, but be careful to learn from qualified, respected experts. You can start here with this video.

New dog checklist

6.Toys

Dogs and puppies need to play! Not only does playing burn off all that puppy energy to help keep them out of mischief, playing satisfies natural instincts, enhancing physical and emotional health.

Toys are critical for providing enrichment for dogs of all ages, and are especially important when it comes to comfort and teething relief for busy, energetic puppies.

KONG Puppy: For puppies, try a Puppy KONG. More than a toy, a KONG satisfies natural chewing instincts and teaches puppies appropriate chewing behavior. Puppy KONG is made of natural KONG Puppy Rubber, created especially for a growing puppy’s baby teeth. The unique, natural rubber formula is the most gentle within the KONG rubber toy line. It soothes gums as teething pups chew. Stuffing Puppy KONG with KONG Puppy Snacks, KONG Stuff’N Puppy Ziggies or puppy kibbles for a mentally stimulating food puzzle.

KONG Classic: For older dogs, try a Classic KONG or an Extreme KONG if you have a power chewer. The natural rubber helps to clean teeth and keep them mentally and physically stimulated. The unpredictable bounce keeps dogs guessing and entertained while engaging natural instincts.

For a longer-lasting challenge—and cold relief for achy gums—stuff a Puppy or Classic KONG with a mix of wet and dry puppy food and freeze it before giving it to your dog or puppy. Keep a supply of stuffed KONGS in the freezer and you’ll always be prepared for a teething attack. Learn more about how Puppy KONG helps puppies grow up happy and healthy here.

Plush toys: Soft stuffed toys encourage comforting cuddles and make great naptime buddies. Find an adorable menagerie of plush friends here, including the KONG line of Cozie, Softies and Comfort toys.

Sturdy fetch-and-tug toys: These toys invite dogs to chase, fetch and tug—healthy exercise that satisfies hunting instincts and also helps cultivate the bond between you and your dog as you play together. Try KONG Goodie Bone with Rope (Classic or Puppy), KONG Ball (Classic or Puppy) and KONG Signature Rope Crunch (Classic or Puppy).

7. House training supplies

House training won’t happened overnight (usually!), so be prepared. Even adult dogs can have accidents, especially in a new environment. Puppy pads encourage dogs to potty in one place with a scent that’s embedded in the pad. Natural enzyme spray cleans up accidents. Unlike regular household cleaners, these products eliminate odors that only your dog can smell, reducing reminders of urine (dogs love to pee where they’ve gone before). And, don’t forget biodegradable poop bags!

8. Tag, leash and collar.

Have your dog’s name and your contact information engraved on a tag at the pet store, or order online to help keep your little one safe. A well-fitted, comfy collar or harness is key, but remember, if you have a puppy they will quickly outgrow their first one. Invest in a sturdy leash—because sooner or later, someone will chew on it! Avoid retractable leashes which can cause injuries to you or your pup.

9. Bed

A soft, cuddly bed is key for nighttime dreaming and all those power naps. Beds with removable—washable—covers are especially handy for puppies. Having a bed for your dog gives them a consistent spot to return to and can also aid in training for various commands.

This list covers the basics for preparing for a new dog or puppy to bounce into your life, from emergency vet care to potty emergencies. Once you’ve done your shopping, you’ll be ready for all the joy, laughter (and chewing) your new dog will bring to your life. Of course, the most important thing you need for a new dog you can’t buy—love!

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