When first deciding to get a puppy, it can be quite difficult to determine what he or she needs and what will make life easier for the both of you. I made a list of items that I ended up purchasing for Mavis and will reveal what has and hasn’t worked.
Crates and Beds
Puppies are so full of energy and deciding where they are going to sleep and be during most of the day needs a lot of analyzing. For Mav, I bought a small pink crate for the purposes of a comfy sleeping place and for potty crate training. Most people discipline their puppy with crated time outs, but it’s important that the puppy associates the crate with more than just a form of punishment. We want puppy to recognize that the crate is a safe place that they can go to relax. That’s why I put it in a comfortable space next to my bed (being in a familiar area, not secluded is key). Mav doesn’t get nearly as upset when she can see her momma and knows I’m close by. When choosing the size of the crate, of course, you want to accomodate the puppy’s growing size, but you also need to consider if the crate is going to be where you leave the puppy when you are not home. If it is, then the crate should be placed in a gated off tile-floored area, especially if you are gone for several hours. This way, your little one can potty, get water/food, and play while you are out of the house. Upon brining Mavis home, I used the round faux-shearling cup bed to transport her and she loved it! She still uses her bed to relax in, although I keep an eye on her when she is using this one because Mav loves to dig and chew on her bed.
Toys and Activities
On to the TOYS. Mavi’s favorite subject. I bought her a variety of different toys, although I already had a few from our other dog, Eli and cat, Oliver. Mavis loves her small Kong stuffies! Elmer the Elephant and Ali the Alligator are often her go to durable babies. Her all time favorite toys are her pink Nylabone that I keep in her carseat and her mini Ewok toy (they seem to be out of the Ewok cat toy edition, but here is the Chewbacca version)! I purchase the cat toys because they are more suited for her size, but avoid cat nip and feathers! The Kong rope toy and Nylabone teething ring do not seem to keep her interest for long, so I wouldn’t have purchased these had I known that beforehand, but every dog is different and your baby might love them. The teething ring is also really hard! I thought it would have been somewhat soft and rubbery, but it’s just hard plastic, another reason why I don’t think she is fond of it. I love hiding Ziggies (although after the second bag, I moved to cheaper alternatives) and other treats into her Kong and she loves trying to get them out! This will keep your pup busy for a while, which is always appreciated and it challenges your pup with the promise of a tasty reward. Mav also loves playing with a little stuffed pug my boyfriend got for me when we first started dating and tennis balls! My mom recently gifted a cat tunnel that splits into three ways and both Mavis and Oliver are big fans!
For housebreaking I wanted to get a pad holder basically so it would be easier for her to identify where she should go potty, but furthermore so she refrains from shredding or flipping her pads over. Sometimes this works and sometimes she loves to chew at the snap hands until it unsnaps and she get to the pad (to shred). She is a master at shredding pads. Make sure to make notice what size the pad holder is, so you can correspond with the right size potty pads. I fold the edges of my potty pads up to tuck the ends in. I always keep some Nature’s Miracle Urine Destroyer for carpet mistakes. I learned the hard way the using pee pads isn’t a great idea for puppy to potty train because towel, rugs, and carpets feel too similar and Mav got confused. I do not punish her for going in the wrong spot, but now just immediately pick her up if she is going or about to go and walk her outside. Your puppy shouldn’t associate going to the bathroom with you yelling at them, otherwise they may hide from you and then go (making sneaky hidden messes). Also, rubbing their noses in their accidents is also discouraged because puppies have such a short memory span and are so young that they do not associate why you are punishing them and will become fearful. I bought a pooper scooper with the fear that she, like most puppies, would want to eat her and Eli’s poop, but luckily I was blessed with just a sniffer (the sniff to see if this is mine and run). I think it is something good to have on hand if you like to have backyard get-togethers in order to clean the area beforehand. Poop should be immediately picked up if the little one is indulging in this mysterious and nasty habit. It is really important to discourage puppy from this behavior as it can spread parasites and illnesses. I eventually want to try to use the tinkle bells to help teach Mav to ring the bell when she needs to go outside, but we have yet to cross that bridge with all that is going on.
Keeping Mavis healthy is one of my main priorities and having worked at a vet clinic for over two years, I know quite a lot about different products. First off, deciding on a food for puppy can be challenging when there are so many options and all the brands claim they are the best. The veterinarians I have worked for have only backed the brands Hill’s Science Diet, Royal Canin, and IAMS for puppies as their formulas are overall the best on the market and provide the perfect nutritional balance. For Mavi, I went with Hill’s Science Diet Small & Toy Breed Puppy food. It is so important to get puppy food for a puppy (versus Adult food, etc.) to meet their special nutritional needs. Feed BY the bag and not by what you think is enough to prevent over or under feeding. Avoid self feeders, as many dogs gorge themselves, leading to obesity. This also doesn’t provide a well set schedule for puppy.
I also recommend getting puppy grooming supplies. Puppies and dogs have different pH levels than humans, so buying them shampoo specified by their species is important. I decided to go with Burt’s Bees Puppy Shampoo because their cruelty free and I, myself, use Burt’s Bees for some of my grooming needs. I also purchased a dremel to keep Mav’s nails smooth. Puppies have super sharp nails usually, so the dremel can really help if you know how to use it. If you don’t know how, I recommend either youtube or asking your groomer/veterinarian if they could show you. Having a basic ear cleaner on hand is also recommended to keep puppy’s ears clean and free of debris. I clean Mavi’s ears twice a month to prevent the dreaded stinky ear infections and buildup. I recommend only using cotton balls, as Q-tips can potentially be shoved deep in the ear canal and can hurt the puppy’s ears.
Dental care is one of the most common issues that pet owners forget about, but it is so important if you want a long life for your best friend. If dental care is neglected, eventually your pal can and will get periodontal disease which can spread through the bloodstream and cause a number of serious health issues! I wanted to get Mav prepared early, although puppy’s teeth are usually in great condition and don’t need much help until they are 1.5-2 years old. I bough a toothbrush to help aid in getting Mav used to the teeth brushing habit. Ideally brushing your pet’s teeth three times a week is preferred (seems like too much, but it can save a lot of money in the end and it is good for your pup!) Dental chews are also highly recommended. I buy some veterinary recommended chews with enzymes added to help breakdown plaque.
Pugs and other flat faced breeds have short snouts and their noses can become very dry (as they are “smushed” in), therefore nose butter is a good idea to use weekly. The Blissful Dog has nose butter specially made for pugs in various sizes to cure the chapped blues. I also clean Mav’s face wrinkles with unscented baby wipes to avoid any hidden debris or dirt from building up and causing infections.
Since Mav is training to be a service dog, I have a vest for her that reads Service Dog In Training and has her name embroidered on it, a leash cover that is used to warn off strangers from distracting Mav from her duties, and an awesome patch to educate the ignorant. To aid in training I use a Rapid Rewards training pouch to have quick and easy access to rewards for a job well done. Along with the pouch, tasty treats are also recommended (sparingly) alongside their regular kibble. I found these treats that are moist and one of my little one’s favorites. I also purchased these, but they were too large to use as rapid rewards, so I had to cut them in half beforehand. They also are rather hard and difficult for Mav to chew. Because Mavis goes with me to so many different places via car ride, I wanted to maximize her safety. In some countries it is illegal to have an animal that is unsecured in the car! I bought her, her very own booster car seat that allows me to clip her in by the harness (sold separately) into a little seat/basket which attaches to the car’s seat. It also come with little pockets in the front that I keep toys in that keep her occupied (so that she won’t chew on the safety belt). I feel safer knowing that Mav won’t go flying through the windshield should there ever be an accident. You might think this is a little excessive, but I saw a case last year that made me more aware of pet safety: a pet mom and her furry friend were in a serious car accident. The pup broke his neck and had to be euthanized after suffering for over twenty-four hours (the neighbor had taken him to the emergency vet on the night of the car accident, who didn’t notice the broken neck. The next day the neighbor brought him into the clinic I was working in with complaints that something was not right with him and he was not walking, eating, or drinking). I also bought and extra seatbelt for when I am traveling in someone else’s car. This allows her to be safely buckled in without a special seat for her to sit in.
Last but not least, the basic necessities: collars, leashes, and tags. I originally purchase this collar as it was cheap and durable, but Mav was so tiny, that I had to get a temporary kitten collar for her to use until last week. I already had an extra leash from Petsmart, so there was no need to get a new one. Finally because I have such high anxiety about social situations, I ordered my tags online along with a super cute strawberry bell. All my items I purchased online through Amazon (choose smile.amazon.com to donate a percentage to your chosen charity. I chose People Hope), with the exception of a few items I bought at Walmart and Petco.
I hope that this will help make puppy decisions easier. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to ask!
Cass & Mavis
Dividers made by Laura Hunt