What do you REALLY need to buy when you have a new puppy? And what is just a waste of money? Don't repeat my mistakes.
Our adventure started where everything should start: in a shopping mall. My new baby needed…everything! ( No, he didn't! DO NOT repeat my mistakes! He DID NOT need half of it!)
Hypoallergenic dog shampoo!
Gucci's vet gave me a shampoo for allergic skin, the one that you may and, in the case of strong allergies, you should use three times a week.
When the vet said: “That's the shampoo you're going to use!”
I looked at him, scared: “Why? Does he have skin problems?”
“No, but he will.”
He never had. To use that shampoo was the best advice we ever got.
Later, we changed the brand once or twice, when I couldn't find the one I got recommended in the beginning, but we always used some medical shampoo for frequent use and for allergic skin.
Different liquids for the hygiene (for the ears, eyes,…)?
Sexy Marilyn Monroe pose
Are they really necessary? Nope.
I bought ten different liquids: one for cleaning the eyes, one for the ears, one for disinfection, one for the stains around the eyes that white dogs get…
Thousand stupid things a person with too much money (I didn't have so much money, but I had MY money and I didn't have to pay with it anything else but my own makeup and new fancy shoes that I didn't need) buys when she decides to be the best dog mummy ever to the happiest puppy ever. Poppycocks.
Gucci's hair was still baby short and fluffy like a newborn chicken but despite that, the vet cut it a little bit, around his eyes and on his butty, because of the hygiene.
He warned me:
“Brushing from the first day on is very important! Start brushing him…yesterday.”
“But there's nothing to brush!”
“No, not yet, but get him used to the feeling of you touching him all over with a brush, of touching his ears, his belly, his paws, the tail,… If not, you'll have horrible problems when he's older, he won't allow you to brush him, he won't allow you to touch his tail or whatever he decides he doesn't like to be touched.”
I got a gentle brush that didn't do anything to his hair, lol, it cuddled him. At least he was learning to accept the brush.
Later, I will keep buying more brushes, always in a search of the perfect one, gentle, but effective. Today, Gucci has many more brushes than I do, counting the one I hold in my car, the one that's always in my fitness bag and two of them that I never know where they are.
Dog bags / carriers / crates / trolleys / strollers!
That was the day I started my Master’s course in “Dog bags/carriers/crates”.
I knew Gucci had to be inside of his doggy bag all the time during the flights but I thought it had to be the horrible plastic or metallic thing, the crate or a rigid carrier. I was worried about how would I carry all over Spain a suitcase, a laptop bag and the damned rigid carrier all by myself.
I was delighted to learn it didn’t have to be rigid at all! Actually, I still don’t have a clue where anyone puts the rigid dog carrier, considering the spaces between the airplane seats are getting smaller every day and the dog has to be under the seat, between your legs.
The best bag ever: it was impossible to see Gucci if I didn’t want you to see him
I bought the best dog bag in the world! Even if I didn’t know it at that point.
I bought three more in the next few months: a pink one, a ringtones one and one with little bones all over it… More foolishness.
With time I learned a dog bag has to match you and your clothes, not the dog! What kind of person do you have to be and what kind of outfits do you have to wear, to be matching a bright pink bag or the baby blue one with bones?! As far as he is comfortable inside, a dog doesn’t care what color the bag has from outside, obviously.
BUT, if you want to carry your dog EVERYWHERE, even where it’s not allowed to enter, then you don’t want to have a crazy fashion statement dog bag, pink with bones and diamonds… a bag that screams:
“Heeeeeeey!!!!! Look at meeeee! I’m a DOG baaaaaaag! There’s a dooooooog in side of here!!!!!”
Nope! You want a semi-boring, almost invisible bag.
I always kept the bag on the floor and left his toys inside. Whenever he woke up on the sofa, he would first search for his toys. He would wiggle that little fluffy butt, paddling with his tiny back legs through the air, trying to enter the bag and get his toy. Sometimes he got so tired he would fall asleep in the middle of the way, with his butty outside and his front legs hugging the desired toy.
I got what I wanted: he got used to the bag. He loved it, he understood it was his safe, happy place with all his toys inside.
Sometimes we were having a coffee in a bar, he was sleeping in my lap while his bag was next to me on the sofa. He would suddenly wake up and simply “migrate" to his bag and continue to sleep there.
He still loves bags. He now considers every bag a safe place, even if it's just my purse, not big enough at all… He lays down over the purse, his body doesn't even get inside, but just to feel any kind of bag near calms him down.
Gucci shopping in a random bag, literally “hanging around",
Get your dog used to his bag (or any bag) and you will never need any calming tablets before the flight.
Gucci’s little world changed drastically in the last 24 hours and boy, was it going to change much more.
It was shocking enough to take him away from his mum (his biological mum anyway), but there were also my cats who were staring at him, I was constantly kissing his little face and his belly (Oh, how I adore to kiss that bald puppy’s little belly), my mum was trying to steal him from me and to kiss him some more, we were both producing strange, squalling noises whenever we looked at him, while he was looking at as intelligently: “Who are you and what’s wrong with you?!”.
Then I would tell inauspiciously, to annoy mt mum: “Let’s go, Gucci, let’s go, don’t even let her touch you, she didn’t even want you!”
His little black eyes would look questioning at my mum and she would cry: “ Don’t saaay thaaat!”
With all that show going on around him, I decided to go on with the same baby dog food they were giving him before.
Collars, hair accessories … and everything you will want him to wear when he’s older!
I bought different collars, pure decoration to match my clothes, he wasn't going to walk anywhere for months.
But it was good to get him used to stuff he'll have to wear once he's older (like hair accessories, bows, etc. – now is the time to make him used to it, not when he's 6 months old!).
Stupidly enough, I got a lot of clothes for him. Obviously, he didn’t need any clothes yet, he still wasn’t allowed to walk on the street, he still didn’t get all his vaccines.
Surprisingly (not!), even “the pocket dogs” grow, not much, but still… Two months later I wasn't able to put on him anything I bought in that first “shopping round".
So, don't go crazy with the shopping in the beginning, you don’t need all that stuff! Buy the basics and shop as you go along.
“Because when I shop, the world gets better.”
– Confessions of a shopaholic
No, not yet.
The leash I bought was the lightest and the cheapest one because I was never even going to use it. I would put it on him when we were home and just leave it on the floor so he would get used to it (now that I think of it, I could have tied a common rope on his collar and let him drag it all over the house, but who thinks clearly in a shop full of bling?).
He hated the leash. He was angry and wanted to fight with it, to bite it and to run away from it.
After a while, he didn’t care about the leash “running after him” all around the house, but he still didn’t want to walk on it if I would take it to my hand.
If I tried to walk him on the leash in our living room, he would sit on his butt and try to break with all his fours. He looked like Fred Flintstone when braking the car with his feet.
I didn’t care at all, that was the last lesson I needed him to learn.
Yeap, you’ll need plenty of those.
I wouldn’t even but the ones for the dogs, they are more expensive. Buy them in a supermarket, the ones for incontinence. They are cheaper and bigger.
Read more about how to potty train your puppy, here.
Bowls for water and food
When we are at home, for the water I use a human glass bowl because I like to be able to see it’s always completely clean.
For traveling, though, I use some small, light, plastic meal container, with a lid! That way I can give him water at the airport or during the trip and what he doesn’t drink, I throw it away and close the container with a lid, so my bag doesn’t get wet.
When traveling, I use a big plastic container for the food that I put in my wallet, since I don’t want him to eat before the flight. It’s big enough for both Gucci and Whisky to eat out of it for almost 2 weeks. Since we usually move around a lot and change the hotels, it’s practical to just open the container, keep it on the floor and when we’re leaving again, we just close it with a lid and put it in a suitcase.
When we are home, I always use the food dispenser. Not the automatic one, just the plain one. That way, my dogs always have as much food as they want, not as much as the dispenser or humans decide he should eat. Read about how I feed my dogs here.
Gucci with his Ducky Goldie, ready to sleep
You’ll need those. You can use toys you already had home or buy some new ones. A puppy will need them to play with them and not to feel bored when he’s home alone. Also, his teeth will be itching in the process of losing his baby teeth and growing the new, dangerous, real dog teeth and he’ll need something to chew and it could be anything: your shoes, a table leg, a pillow… you’ll be surprised how imaginative a baby dog can be.
So offer him some interesting looking compromise: his own chewing friends. Maybe he forgets about your shoes.
I like to allow him to pick up by himself which one he likes. In a shop, I just show him a toy and if he wants to grab it, I buy it. It’s funny how he doesn’t show any interest in some of them, at all.
Gucci never wanted to play with anything made of gum, but then, he wasn’t a big “chewer”, he chewed only one human stuff in his life: my mum’s new Gucci reading glasses because he wanted to personally choose his name. He loved (and he still does) soft stuffed toys and since I noticed right away he wasn’t breaking them, I allowed him to have them.
Whisky is a Boston terrier devil chewer, so we never left her alone with a stuffed animal. I was always afraid of what would happen if a dog eats the fluffy sponge from inside and, as a matter of fact, Max almost died when he was a baby because od eating sponge when no one was looking, only an immediate operation saved him.
You can also buy the toys where you put some treats inside or a mousse. Gucci and Whisky love that toy mousse, they stick their tongues inside of the toy, like they were anteaters.
So, Gucci got plenty of toys, but never at once. I was hiding most of them and give him some three or four to play with. Next week I would give them some of the hidden ones and hide the ones he was playing. That was he was always excited about finding his old-new toys.