Necessary Supplies for your Australian Labradoodle Puppy
You will need to have some supplies on hand when you bring your puppy home. Other items can be purchased down the road as you will not need them right away. And of course, there are always new toys, treats, and even clothes to buy!
- Food: Put up a supply of puppy kibble. We feed our puppies Acana and recommend you continue this food for at least the first month. After that you can gradually transition to another high-quality dog food if you wish. We also feed a small amount of Tripett, a tinned food made with green tripe, which contains lots of Omega 3 and 6 vitamins that help to keep your puppy’s coat glossy and healthy. These can be purchased at many specialty pet food stores. (PetSmart does not carry them. Global Pet Foods does, as do several independent pet stores, including Wag, The Pampered Pet, Bark & Fitz, Little Critters at Billing Bridge, and the Sandy Hill Pet Food Co-op.) Feeding only high-quality food will protect your puppy’s health and promote a long life. It is best to avoid foods containing grains, especially corn and wheat as well as meat by-products. Some people choose to feed a diet of raw, meaty bones as something that approximates what a wild diet would be.
- Food and water bowls: If you have food, you need somewhere to put it! Stainless steel bowls in a non-skid stand or ceramic bowls are recommended for ease of cleaning and staying in one place on the floor.
- Collar and leash: Your puppy will come to you with an inexpensive puppy collar and leash. You will want to buy a good quality collar that will fit them as they grow. Trainers recommend leashes that have buckles rather than clips, as the plastic clips may break especially if your puppy pulls a lot. A six-foot leash is ideal – it allows your puppy freedom to roam a bit ahead but is short enough to keep it under control.
- Poop bags: Responsible dog owners ALWAYS pick up their dog’s feces. If the feces is firm it is recommended to empty the bag into your toilet at home and flush it into the sewage treatment system. Otherwise, throw it in the garbage.
- Vet appointment: Your contract requires you to take your new puppy to the vet within 3 business days of taking him home. This will be a chance for your vet to establish a baseline for your puppy’s health and give you advice on vaccinations and other health measures (such as heartworm, flea, and tick treatment). It will also assure you that you have a great pup! (Remember, your pup will already have been spayed or neutered, so you don’t need to worry about getting that done.)
- Paper towels: Useful for cleaning up after indoor messes and also for cleaning your puppy’s bum if he ever gets diarrhea or has sloppy poop. Keep a good supply on hand until your puppy is fully house-trained!
- Old blankets or towels: Your puppy is not going to soil its crate unless it is left there too long, but you might still want to use an old blanket in the crate until you are sure of this, or on those rare occasions when you can’t avoid leaving the puppy for a long time. Old towels are also handy for mopping up “accidents” on the floor.
- Crate: While not everybody has their puppy sleep in a crate, it is extremely useful for house-training. It must be large enough for the dog to stand up comfortably without hitting its head, lie down with its forelegs stretched out, and turn around. Think of the size your puppy will be when grown, not how big it is now! If the crate is too large for the puppy now, you may be able to section it off and increase the available size as the puppy grows. This will save you spending money on two or more different sized crates. A wire crate is fine as long as it has a solid bottom that will not hurt the puppy’s feet. If you plan to take your puppy anywhere by air, buy a plastic crate as these are accepted by airlines.
- Large blanket: Especially if you are using a wire crate, it is a good idea to have a large blanket you can use to cover the outside of the crate. This creates a comfortable den-like atmosphere for the puppy, which helps it to feel secure.
- Slicker brush: This is a brush with small wires set close together. This is the most useful brush for grooming, which you should do at least weekly – more often if your puppy’s fur gets long. Even if your pup doesn’t need much grooming yet, it’s a good idea to brush it every so often as part of your cuddle routine, so it gets used to being brushed and associates it with a pleasant time with family.
- Chew toys: Puppies love to chew! They will be teething for several months, first while all the puppy teeth come in and then while these fall out and the permanent teeth erupt (from 4 to 8 months of age or so). If you give them some good chew toys, like a puppy Kong filled with a treat or peanut butter, they might leave your furniture alone. DON’T give them any rawhide. Nyla bones are great, cow hooves are good, deer antlers are excellent. Rope toys are fun. Tie an old piece of cloth to one end of a string and a stick to the other end and you’ve got an instant “puppy lure” to wave around and keep your puppy entertained and excercises.
- Puppy doorbell: You can buy a door hanger bell at a pet supply store or make your own by tying or sewing a bell to a piece of rope or cloth. Hang this over the doorknob where the puppy goes out to do his business, and every time you let him out, take the puppy’s paw or nose and ring the bell with it. It won’t be long and he’ll be ringing the bell himself when he needs to go outside. (Some of our puppies are doing this already!)
- Ear and eye cleaner: These can be purchased at any pet supply store.
- Cotton balls: Necessary to clean the eyes and ears.
- Canned pumpkin: Your puppy might get diarrhea or constipation from changing foods, eating something he shouldn’t, or just from stress. The best treatment is to feed him pure canned pumpkin, either on its own or mixed with a bit of plain cooked white rice (no salt added), until things clear up, then pumpkin mixed with his regular food for another day or two. Be sure to buy the plain cooked pumpkin, NOT pumpkin pie filling.
- Odour neutralizer: Pet supply stores sell products, like Nok-Out, to help neutralize the odour left behind when your puppy does his business in the house. For a less expensive home-made solution, mix 250ml of plain white vinegar with four litres of water and use this to mop up after any messes.
- Puppy toothbrush and toothpaste: Vets recommend brushing your puppy’s teeth daily – or at least a couple of times a week. Some dogs tolerate this well, others don’t. Start by putting a bit of toothpaste on your finger and letting your puppy lick it. (Be sure to use doggy toothpaste, as human toothpaste is not meant to be swallowed and will make your puppy sick!) Then put some on the toothbrush and let your puppy chew at that. Eventually you’ll be giving your dog a real brushing.(Or so the theory goes.)
- Shampoo: Buy special dog shampoo. Human shampoo is hard on your dogs’ skin.
- Nail scissors, file & styptic powder: A pair of small, blunt-tipped, curved nail scissors works well for clipping your puppy’s nails. Larger nail cutters can work too. A nail file (plastic or sandpaper type) is useful to file off any sharp edges after cutting the nails. The styptic powder is used if you should ever accidentally cut the nail too short and hit the vein. If so, just dip the nail in the styptic powder to stop the bleeding and prevent infection.
- Medium-tooth comb: This is useful for grooming short hair (after a haircut).
Other things to consider getting or doing
- Anti-chew product: If your puppy chews on table legs, furniture, corners of walls, or the like, despite all the chew toys, spray these areas with an anti-chew product like Bitter Apple, sold in pet supply stores. Alternatively, make your own by mixing a couple teaspoons cayenne pepper with water, or use straight Tabasco sauce. (Be sure it won’t stain your furniture first.)
- Baby gates: If there are areas of the house where you don’t want puppy to go, use a baby gate to block off access. Get these at the hardware store rather than the pet supply store. Make sure the spaces between the bars are small enough that your puppy can’t squeeze through. And some little escape artists will be able to use horizontal bars to climb out!
- ID tags: Your puppy will have a microchip tag attached to his collar, which gives the name and number of the microchip company and has a tracking number on it (not the same as the chip number itself). When your puppy is vaccinated against rabies, your vet will give you a rabies collar tag. In addition, you may choose to buy a personalized ID tag with your pet’s name and your phone number on it, to help him find his way home should he ever get lost.
- Car harness: If you ever take your dog in your car (who doesn’t?) it is advisable to purchase a car harness that can attach to a seat belt to keep you dog safe in the car. You might choose to wait with this until your puppy has matured to its full size, and just use a travel crate while it’s small.
- Hydrogen peroxide: If your puppy ingests something very, very bad for him, you may need to induce vomiting. A small amount of hydrogen peroxide will do the trick. (Or call your vet for advice.)
- Puppy kindergarten: If you haven’t had experience with training dogs, taking your puppy to kindergarten, and eventually further obedience training, is highly recommended. It will help you to learn how to work with your dog, care for your dog, and give you some quality time with your puppy – not to mention you’ll end up with a puppy that knows how to behave!
- Training treats: Training treats should be very tiny and soft for ease of eating and because you don’t want your dog to get fat while it’s being trained! You can buy bags of training treats at any pet supply store, or make your own with boiled beef liver chopped into tiny bits. (Boil a bunch of liver and chop, then put small amounts into baggies and freeze them to keep them from spoiling before you can use them all.) Small bits of cheese or wieners can also work, though they’re not as healthy. (Some dog don’t tolerate dairy well, and wieners contain tons of salt and preservatives.)
Fun and fashion (going all out!)
- Squeaker toys: Puppies love stuffed or plastic toys with squeakers in them. Buy good quality ones, as otherwise they’ll last about five minutes.
- Balls: Puppies love to play ball! Special squeaky rubber balls are a fave. Tennis balls can be hard on dogs’ teeth. For more fun, buy a ball throwing stick.
- Rope toys: Dogs love to play tug of war. But be careful as they can sometimes catch on their teeth and cause dental problems. Some trainers discourage tug of war as they believe it encourages dogs to bite. Assess your dog’s temperament and base your use of these toys accordingly.
- Dog jacket: Labradoodles don’t have an undercoat. That means they don’t shed, which is great. But it also means they don’t have much insulation to keep them warm in cold temperatures or in rain. If you take your puppy or dog out for long walks when it’s cold, get him a jacket so he can enjoy himself and stay warm for longer. Especially if he’s just been groomed and his fur is shorter than usual.
And most of all…