The Showcase Magazine - Articles

Puppy Raising Must Haves!

By Mary Lou Hanlon

A bundle of fur is about to become a part of your family! You start combing thru pet supply catalogs and websites trying to decide which items to purchase. Here is a list of essential things that all puppies need and make the preparation of your new furry family member easier.

If your puppy is a large breed, do not mistakenly buy large size products that you think the dog will grow into. You are better off choosing things that are good for the puppy at its current stage of development.

  • A crate. Sturdy with a removeable crate pan for easy clean up. It should be big enough for your puppy to stand and lay down comfortably with room for a bowl.
  • Puppy food. Look for a food formulated specifically for puppies, does not have chemical preservatives or animal by-products as its protein source.
  • A food and water bowl. Choose ceramic or stainless steel that are dishwasher safe in a non-tip design.
  • A 4’ to 6’ leash, collar and harness. For safety sake take the collar off your puppy when unattended or when left alone in its crate. For very young puppies, when taking the pup outside hook the leash to a harness so you don’t damage the tiny pup’s trachea.
  • If your home has an open floor plan a puppy playpen is essential to keep the pup safe from getting into unwanted mischief.
  • Puppy gates properly secured will help your dog stay in contained areas of your home.
  • Chew toys. American made all-natural yummy chews that will encourage your dog to satisfy its need to chew instead of seeking out your furniture.
  • Puppy treats. Yummy all-natural treats to reinforce good behavior.
  • Tug toys. Puppies love to play tug. Teaching your dog to tug with you will rapidly increase the human/canine bond.
  • A cozy bed. Choose one that is soft, cozy and most importantly machine washable. A waterproof bottom is an extra plus!
  • Brush and nail trimmer. Getting your dog familiar with being groomed at a young age will prevent struggling with your dog once it is mature.
  • Puppy shampoo. These are formulated to be much gentler than adult dog shampoos.

Enlisting the help of a professional dog trainer will help guide you in how to puppy proof your home, properly use the items listed above and maximize the experience of raising a well-behaved puppy!

Have fun with your animals. They are counting on you to provide them with a safe, loving and nurturing environment.

Mary Lou Hanlon is a longtime resident of Warren and is the owner of PetMinders, Inc, The Kennel Alternative. PetMinders has been providing professional pet sitting and dog training lessons in the privacy of clients homes for over 18 years. Mary Lou is one of the nation's top agility competitors. She has competed both nationally and internationally and has received numerous awards in both dog obedience and agility. She can be reached at 908-755-PETS (7387), via email at or visit the website