Preparing for the Puppy
My shopping is done. My bags are packed. Airline tickets checked, double, and triple checked! I have everything I need now, except the puppy! Airline rules regarding pets are memorized at this point too.
So what does one need when preparing for a puppy? A crate! You will want a crate that is an appropriate size for your puppy. Too big and your puppy will also use it as as potty! You can buy a large crate for your pup’s projected adult size, but will need to partition it off so they don’t live in a palace until they are ready for it!
I set up two crates in my home for my puppy. One is in our main living area and the other in the master bedroom. The crate in the bedroom is elevated onto my nightstand so I can be as close to puppy as possible to ease his transition into his new home and new sleeping arrangements. He will be able to see me and I will be able to reach my fingers in to console him if he should need it.
You may need to set up an additional play area for your puppy when he will be unsupervised. For this I would use an x-pen or similar arrangement with baby gates. This is your puppy’s play space and a safe zone for when you cannot directly supervise him. You can include a potty area in this space, a litter pan would be my choice here, NOT pee pads. I chose to skip this because my pup is very small and I am using an oversize crate in the main living area for his play space. He will likely not spend a lot of time in it due to the nature of my life and schedule!
Note, if you have young children this is a crucial step in your puppy and children’s lives. Puppy needs a safe space away from the little ones. Children need to grow up learning they do not bother the puppy in his crate or his “safe spot.” This barrier is critical to protect your puppy and children from each other when you cannot directly supervise them both.
Next on my puppy checklist: Toys! Food stuffable toys to be exact. Being a dog trainer I have a zillion different toys, but not too many tiny ones so I purchased 2 additional tiny toys. Food stuffable toys are for those moments I need him out of my hair and for some puppy enrichment. Mental exercise is a wonderful thing. The plan is he eats his dinner out of a toy and then puts himself to sleep while I teach classes.
Other things I needed before flying out to get him were a leash, collar, and harness. After asking his breeder for his weight and measurements, I ordered a Puppia harness and found a super lightweight leash and collar made by Coastal Pets Li’l Pals. These were packed into his carrier. I also grabbed some bones at our favorite pet store, Fetch RI, so he could have some in flight entertainment. I packed a collapsible water bowl and lined his carrier with pee pads just in case of any accidents during the flight since dogs are not allowed out of the carrier.
Other things to have on hand for a puppy:
Treats! And lots of them! I even cut up all of my treats into tiny, bite size morsels. Also helpful to have a treat bag. My go to bag is made by DogGone Good. I just love this bait bag!
A Pillow Pet or other similar stuffed animal. This will serve as “company” for your puppy in his crate and/or pen. Many puppies will take comfort in having something to snuggle with.
Toys! In particular long handled, fuzzy, chase and tug type toys, but definitely have an assortment of toys. Toys of different materials and textures too.
Chew Toys. Puppies experience teething like infants and if not provided with a variety of options to soothe their gums they will find something else they like such as your kitchen table legs or shoes!
Dog food and bowls for both food and water. Find out what your puppy has been eating and get some of that. You can change it to whatever you prefer later.
Cleaning supplies. You will definitely need cleaning supplies. Accidents are bound to happen. Just clean them up and remember to pay better attention to your pup next time!
Poop bags. Lots of poop bags.
Flying with a Puppy
I also purchased a Sherpa Travel Bag that meets airline requirements and an awesome pet carrier backpack. The airline carrier will be used for his flight home and for car travel until he grows into my larger Sturdibag. The backpack carrier I purchased so I can easily carry him with me wherever I go! I know a 3 pound puppy will not be able to walk the distances and at the same speed as I do so I hope this makes life a lot easier. He will be able to experience the world from the safety of my back!
I am fully prepared! I cannot wait to meet the little guy who shall remain nameless for now. Alarms, three of them, are set for an ungodly hour and I have checked my flight departure time one last time. Soon I will be on a plane to Chicago. Not sure how one is supposed to sleep on the eve of such exciting things!