Puppy Shopping List
With a new puppy coming home soon I'm sure you're excited and getting prepared for your new family member. This is a shopping list to point you in the right direction if this is your first puppy, or maybe give you a few new ideas if you are already a pro at this. So, on to the list!
Your puppy will be eating either "Pro Plan Puppy Chicken & Rice" if raised by Renee, or "Science Diet Puppy" if raised by Valerie. They will come home with a small bag of food for the first couple of days. If you'll be changing their food then feed them their food for the first week or so home, then begin mixing a small quantity of the new food into the old food. If done slowly over several days this can help prevent diarrhea from a sudden change in food. Your puppy will eat 3-4 small meals throughout the day.
Crates are a very useful thing for new puppy owners as they can be used for transport, long car trips, and sleeping overnight. A wire crate like this one is very good for a cockapoo to sleep in at night or be crated for short times during the day if needed. For an adult cockapoo a good size is 30" Long x 20" Wide x 20-24" High. Crates with two doors gives you more flexibility with how you position it. Once your cockapoo is a reliable adult you can pack the crate away, and bring it out if ever you need to travel with your dog or need to confine them.
For a tiny puppy a large wire crate could be too big at first, so these smaller kennels come in handy. Plastic kennels are excellent for traveling with your puppy, going to the vet, or using as a den. The smaller space makes it more likely they won't go potty in one of these crates overnight. A 23-24 inch long crates would be a good size, as these are a good fit when they're small but allow them some room to grow.
Bedding for inside of a Kennel should be washable in case of accidents. Many dog beds have so much filling that they cannot easily be washed and the loose filling becomes bunched up after a single wash. In comparison the thinner Fleece kennel beds are excellent for washing, and puppies love the pillow edge. Inside of the kennel you can use blankets or thick towels as a substitute. Now, around the house you can use the big fluffy dog beds, since they're less likely to need washing. There's a lot of nice ones on Amazon, or Check Ross or HomeGoods for discounted new beds. We've noticed our dogs like the beds with the raised pillow edges the best.
Shampoo, Conditioning Spray, and Cologne
When you want your puppy to be clean and smell amazing then these products should do the trick. The shampoo is a tearless puppy shampoo from the brand Isle of Dog, but any of the gentle puppy shampoos carried in stores would be fine. Just like with people it's important to use conditioner, the product "The Stuff" is amazing for that. Just mist your puppy's coat before brushing and detangling. Lastly, the smell! A long-lasting dog cologne like Eau De K9, is the real reason why your dog smells so good when it comes home from the groomers. When you bathe your puppy it is a good time to clean their ears as well, especially if you start seeing wax buildup. You just pour some into your puppy's ear, massage the base of the ear, then let them shake their heads. Wipe away anything that shaken out. Try not to poke q-tips into their ears, as rubbing the inside part of their ear even by soft things can cause discomfort.
Brushes & Combs
If you want your puppy to keep it's long fluffy fur then you'll need to start brushing inbetween professional grooming visits. Even though your young puppy might not have any mats yet you need to get them accustomed to being brushed. Mats are little knots in the fur that can develop into large tangles that are painful to remove. If your groomer finds too many mats then it's more humane to shave them short all over rather then to put them through a painful dematting process. Good equipment to use include a metal comb for "down to the skin" brushing, a pin brush, and a slicker brush. The slicker brush above is expensive, but I promise you it's the best one ever for getting rid of mats, it's well worth the investment!
Some owners will only use soft bristle brushes, then take their “brushed” dog to the groomer only to have it shaved. This is because the fur closest to the skin can become matted into a thick pelt of tangles, but the top looks pretty since the soft bristle brush brushes just the top of the pelt. This picture shows a pelt as it's being shaved, it comes off in one big piece. Don't be that owner, don't buy soft bristle brushes.
Check out this video: Proper Brushing Technique to see the brush and comb used in action. Cockapoos have fur that is more likely to mat if sticker burrs or leaves get stuck in their fur, if they're bathed and left to air dry without brushing, or if their fur is chewed on by another dog. Playing tug-a-war with each others ears or licking can cause mats to develop quickly. If you like the short coat look then you will only need to occasionally comb their ears and tails, so it's a lot less work for busy families.
Want to know a secret? There is no perfect dog toy... what is most important is who is playing with them. But they certainly can have favorites. With toys basically have fun walking through the toy aisles. Favorites include squeaky hedgehogs, crinkly foxes, and little squirrels they can pull out of a log. The more sounds the better! Our girls *love* the spikey rubber balls or the glow in the dark chuck-it balls. These pictures above are all of good toys to start with. If you want to gie your puppy something to think about you can get puzzle food dispensers and rolling food dispensers.
One toy/training tool we recommend to keep a puppy busy is a Kong,. A Kong is a plastic toy with a small hollow inside. This hollow can be filled with Peanut Butter (then frozen if you have the time) or use the Kong treats to stuff inside. Then when your puppy goes in his crate you can give him the kong to distracted him. If he gets one each time before he goes in his crate you might find him running and hopping in as soon as the Kong comes out.
Another great option for toys and treats is a BarkBox, which is a monthly subscription for a box of brand new toys and treats for your puppy. My girls have loved all the toys that show up from them. Check them out: BarkBox
Treats & Chews
Puppies love to chew! With that in mind it is good to be stocked up with chew toys like bully sticks, cow hooves, teething rings, and treats to put inside of their kongs. For training you will want small, soft treats that your puppy can eat quickly. Large soft treats you can break apart, like dog bacon treats, work as well. Some trainers have suggested hot dogs or cheddar cheese as well so you can get creative! Try to avoid giving rawhide to your puppy, as they can have problems if they swallow a large piece of it. As a chewing deterent we recommend Bitter Apple spray, this has a bitter taste that a puppy will help a puppy learn to not chew something you want to protect.
What happens if you have to leave your puppy for more than 2-3 hours during the day? You don’t want to leave the puppy loose in the house, but what if he wakes up in his crate and really needs to go? Well, an easy solution to create a Puppy Playpen. This can be done by buying a exercise pen like this one and setting it up on a waterproof surface or a waterproof pad like the EZ Whelp pad. Inside of the playpen place your puppy’s bed, food and water if this is during the day, a puppy pad or litterbox, a stuffed kong, a few toys, and you now you can leave without worrying quite as much about your puppy while you’re gone.
Puppy Potty Spots
It would be good to have a place for your puppy to go potty if you live in an appartment or have to leave for several hours. You have several options. We start the puppies with litterboxes. While both Renee and Valerie use litterboxes they prefer different material, if you get one of Renee's puppies they're used to Alfala grass pellets while Valerie's puppies are used to Pine pellets.
Real or artifial grass is another option. You can have real grass delivered to your door, or use one of the artifical grass trays.
Then there's the good old fashioned puppy pads. These work well if you buy a pad holder, Why? Because puppies love to grab those loose pads and play with them, rip them, or just crumple them in a corner.
Collars and Leashes
Leashes come in two different types, each with their own purposes. The first is a basic 6 foot leash. These are good for training and walks where your dog needs to be close to you. For parks and large spaces you may like using a ribbon retractable leash. I recommend avoiding the retractable leases that only have string rather than ribbon, as those cause rope burns to your legs very easily.
Harnesses are useful since they keep pressure off your puppies neck and airways. For teenagers and adults I recomend an Easy Walk Petsafe Training Harness over a conventional harness. The Petsafe Harness is designed by a veterinarian to gently pull the dog in your direction, without any gagging or choking like a normal collar. A teenager would need the Small size, and some of the adults will graduate to the Medium size.
Your puppy will not like being walked on a collar at first, so it's better to have a harness. A good harness for when you first bring your puppy home is the Copatchy Harness. I looked for awhile before I found this one, and I was really impressed by its construction and size options. A size XXS will perfectly fit most puppies, and XS for our larger puppies. If you wanted to be certain you could buy XXS and XS to make sure you had the right size, then return the one that doesn't fit.
Collar sizes can be tricky. To help you with shopping you can estimate that your puppy will come home ready to wear a XS-Small sized collar, around 7-9 inches. Nylon buckle collars are great since they can expand in size, try to find one that goes from around 8-12". As an adult you can expect them to wear a collar around 12-14 inches. For tags you can have one made right in front of you at your local Petsmart or Petco using their tag machines. In addition to wearing tags it is a good idea to get your puppy microchipped.
There are many brands of Pet Insurance available, and one that I recommend is Healthy Paws. They have high satisfaction ratings and have unlimited lifetime payouts. I have personally seen a pet owner with several thousands in vet bills have it covered by this insurance. A trip to the vet for a swallowed toy or a strange lump can add up very quick. In addition, starting coverage when a puppy is young means you are less likely to have problems with your insurance claiming a problem is not covered since it is a pre-existing condition. If you start a policy by clicking on the banner above you will get 10% off for the life of your policy.
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