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Critter Chatter, Dogs, Quick Tips

CRITTER CHATTER: Bringing Home a New Puppy

The Paw Print

Essential Pet Blog

light brown yorkie puppy looking over the arm of a brown leather chair

“Puppies are forever, not just for Christmas.”
Sia, Everyday is Christmas

Bringing home a new puppy is a wonderful way to start the New Year and begin a new life for a little guy. It’s helpful to prepare for the arrival in advance so the homecoming and subsequent blending into your family can be smooth and fun. Besides, it’s a ball to cruise pet stores and websites to find “perfect” puppy presents.


Puppies should be fed pet foods specially formulated to address their demanding energy and nutritional need to ensure growth into healthy adults. This means the right blend of protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins and minerals. If you’re not sure about which diet to feed, talk to your veterinarian or a knowledgeable pet store associate. I prefer puppy foods that do not contain by-products, chemicals, artificial preservatives, and fake flavor enhancers. Treats developed for puppies and made as natural as possible are most healthful. Most pups do not initially require multivitamin-type supplements unless directed so by a veterinarian.


Stainless steel feed and water bowls, though generally expensive, are the best choice because they are strong and easy to clean and sanitize. Glass bowls are okay, although breakable, but some ceramic pieces contain lead and may not be dishwasher safe.

Crate and bedding

A well-constructed dog crate or carrier replicates a cozy, warm den and offers a “safe” place at night, especially when outfitted with a soft bed or blanket. Make sure that your pup can stand up, lie down, turn around and stretch inside. During the day, a washable dog bed provides a comfortable place to hang out. Select a small- to medium-sized bed that helps your pup feel snug and safe. Beds stuffed with cedar chips help with odor and insect control. Baby gates help cordon off restricted areas and prevent roaming through the house during the day or when company first arrives.

Collar and leash

Your puppy will need a collar and leash the day you bring him home. The collar should fit snugly so it won’t slip off, but should not be too tight – you should be able to fit two fingers between the collar and the pup’s neck. As your dog ages, remember to re-size the collar. Always attach an identification tag that bears your name and telephone number.


A microchip that stores your contact information inserted between your pup’s shoulder blades by a veterinarian ensures that your dog can be reunited with you if ever lost and subsequently found by someone else. Animal shelter personnel or a veterinarian will use a scanner to read the code embedded in the microchip to reveal your contact information so you and your dog can be reunited. Remember to keep contact information up to date through the years.


Toys should be strong, durable and appropriately sized. Hard-rubber toys satisfy the need to gnaw, although socks are more fun; stuffed animals provide comfort – just make sure they are sturdy and don’t contain squeakers that can be dislodged; tennis balls and flying discs encourage activity and reduce boredom; rope and tug toys help floss teeth and reduce tartar as the pup plays; and critical thinking toys, such as treat-dispensing devices that release goodies when the pup performs certain tasks, promote intellectual development and training.

Grooming Supplies

Have grooming supplies ready and understand how to properly use them as soon as your puppy arrives. Begin regular washing, combing and brushing at an early age to help your pup learn how to behave during the process. Getting comfortable with being groomed at a young age is especially important for those breeds that require regular grooming throughout life. Begin toenail trimming, ear cleaning and teeth brushing at an early age too.

Purchase these puppy presents before your little guy comes home because once he arrives you’ll be too busy playing with him to go shopping. With these items in hand, you’ll be well prepared to welcome your puppy to his new forever home.

a vet and his dogABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Brown holds a Doctorate Degree in Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from the University of California at Davis, a Master of Science Degree in Animal Science and Bachelor of Science Degree in Animal Physiology from the University of California.  Following discharge from the Air Force as a Captain, he owned and operated the largest veterinary hospital on Cape Cod for almost twenty years. Brown is the past President of the Yavapai Humane Society Board of Directors, Branding Committee Chairman for National Animal Supplement Council and member of the American Veterinary Medical Association.  He writes and lectures frequently on the benefits of natural and organic foods and supplements for animals and lives with his wife and a Golden doodle named Charlotte.

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