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Before I got my puppy, I thought the hardest part about having one was picking out a name. But on my first sleepless night with Wilco — a cheeky name considering he's not usually willing to comply with commands — I learned just how hard having one can be.
For starters, he tried to finish off my favorite flip-flops. Then, he insisted on peeing on the most trafficked part of the carpet.
They're also expensive. According to Rover, the "true cost of a puppy in 2019" is $1,487. I've spent about $1,200 so far. But much of what I've acquired has been much needed.
A solid puppy starter pack is not only an investment in your puppy's health, it's also an investment in your sanity. Here's what I recommend having on hand if you recently brought home a furry little bundle of joy.
"Getting your new puppy used to having their mouth touched from a very early age not only sets a foundation for great oral health routine, it also helps make veterinarian exams a better experience for both pet and vet," said Dr. Kurt Venator, Purina's chief veterinary officer.
He recommended this bestselling (4 stars from 1,902 ratings) finger brush made from food-grade materials. For $7, you get 6 brushes. Each one lasts about 2-3 months. For toothpaste, try this bestselling $12 toothpaste (4.6 stars from 12,808 ratings).
I'm not a real mom yet. But I think having a dog who loves their crate is like having a baby who loves getting their diaper changed. It makes life a lot easier. This crate has more than 76,000 reviews and an impressive 4.7-star rating. It sets up in seconds (and folds flat in seconds), includes an easy-to-clean removable pan and even has a divider so you can grow the interior space as your puppy grows.
3. Pee-Pee Pads
According to the American Kennel Club, potty training your puppy can take months. Even after having Wilco for three weeks, he still had an accident in the house at least once a week. Fortunately, my parents gave me pee-pee pads left over from their Bernese Mountain Dog puppy who is a couple weeks older than Wilco. These pads have five layers that work to attract puppies to pee in the same spot, absorb urine, resist leaks and control odor.
Even if you have a nice stash of pee-pee pads, accidents are going to happen. For that, you'll want to keep this spray handy. It works on feces, urine, vomit and drool and can be used on almost any floor surface including carpet and hardwood.
Puppies are notorious for ripping new toys to shreds (and leaving the stuffing all over your living room). Instead of soft filling, this fun chew toy has a water bottle hidden inside. It provides a satisfying crunch that your dog will love and it can also be replaced easily when they chew through it.
Wilco spends a lot of time on my parents' farm. Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of time to give him daily baths. That's why I love this no-rinse shampoo that keeps him fresh until I can give him another bath. It's hypoallergenic and the natural ingredients are safe for puppies. It includes jojoba seed oil, red raspberry seed oil, argan oil and niaouli oil which acts as a disinfectant and kills bacteria.
You'll be going on plenty of walks, so you want to make sure your pup's little paws are protected. Whether you're out in the snow or heat, apply this wax two to three times a week to soothe and condition their paws and keep their pads from getting cracked and dry.
When Wilco is full grown, I hope he'll be as big as his dad (170 pounds). That's why in lieu of a traditional doggy door, I like the idea of this instant screen door that he (and I) can walk right through, hands free. It uses a magnetic closure, so bugs won't get in, and it hangs from a tension rod so it's easy to install and take down without needing tools. From 267 reviews, it has a 4.4-star rating, and comes in several different sizes.
Get your puppy ready for all the big adventures ahead with this bestselling custom dog tag. It features your dog's name along with your contact info.
This furniture-saving product came onto my radar a few years ago when my roommate got a boxer puppy. Little Roger was determined to eat my new couch until my roommate sprayed this on it. It's made from a nontoxic formula that works on everything from fabric to fur (for puppies who might be gnawing at a hot spot). Simply spray it on any surface that your puppy wants to put in its mouth.
For more stories like this, check out:
- Leave everything at the door (and off your floors) with this heavy-duty doormat
- 15 upgrades that'll give your bathroom a facelift on a budget
- 8 weighted blankets that are perfect for hot sleepers
This article was originally published Aug. 4, 2016.