Clear the Shelters: How to Prepare for a New Puppy

This post has been sponsored by Hill’s Pet Nutrition. Thank you so much for supporting the brands that make Diary of a Debutante possible! #ClearTheShelters #HillsTransformingLives Bringing a Puppy Home Checklist, Puppy Proofing Your Home Checklist, Clear the Shelters Day information, Clear the Shelters: How to Prepare for a New Puppy by southern blogger and dog mom Stephanie Ziajka from Diary of a Debutante, Golden retriever puppies

Thinking about adopting a new fur baby? There’s no better time than right now! In addition to their ongoing efforts to transform the lives of pets through the Hill’s Food, Shelter & Love™ Program, Hill’s Pet Nutrition is sponsoring Clear the Shelters Day, the largest single-day adoption event in the country, on August 18. The event will be hosted by NBC and Telemundo stations, and its goal is to find as many fur-ever homes for animals in need as possible. If you live in an area with few adoptable pets, participating shelters have instituted a transport process that safely relocates adoptable animals to make sure no single shelter has too many or too few fur babies for Clear the Shelters Day and throughout the year. 

If you’re ready to open your heart (and home) to a new pup, get involved by visiting a local participating shelter in your area on the 18th. I know the thought of a new puppy can be overwhelming, so I’ve put together a handy New Puppy Checklist and Puppy Proofing Your Home Checklist (below!) to help make the adoption process as seamless as possible. Please free to pin, print, and/or share them with others who may be interested in adopted, too!

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Without getting too sappy, our two dogs have completely changed my life. When we moved halfway across the country– away from all our friends and family, I started to feel overwhelmingly depressed. We decided to adopt a dog as a last-ditch effort to bring me comfort and emotional support, and it was the best decision we’ve ever made– so much so that Kyle surprised me with a second one for my birthday last June. Dogs love unconditionally, they provide a sense of purpose, and they make it difficult to take life too seriously. In a nutshell, they’re angels, and they make life whole. Assuming you have the means and time to care for them, please consider giving a homeless pet a loving new home next Saturday.

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New Puppy Checklist

If you’re picking up a new puppy, here are some things to grab before introducing them to their new home:

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1. Puppy Food

The single most valuable piece of advice we’ve gotten from our vet is to choose a puppy food that’s specifically formulated for the breed, size, and age of your dog. Nala is 8-months-old and Nellie is 2-months-old, so we feed them Hill’s Science Diet Large Breed Puppy Food.

2. Food and Water Bowls

Every pup needs their own set of food and water bowls. If you plan on taking your pup to the dog park or on hiking trails, pick up a set of travel water bowls, too. 

3. Collar, Leash, and Name Tag

The thought of losing a precious pup is too much to bear. Make sure your dog has a safe collar (or harness) and leash, and order them an engraved identification tag, preferably with your phone number on it, in case he or she gets lost. 

4. Crate 

Your pup needs a safe space. If you aren’t planning on crate training your dog, make sure they have a “den” where they feel safe when you’re not home. 

5. Dog Bed

Dogs need a soft cushy place to sleep. Not only do dog beds provide them with security outside of their crate, they provide cushioning for their joints and bones, too.

6. Toys and Bones

There are some bad eggs out there, so please be smart with bones and dog toy choices. Only purchase durable, well-made toys that are tailored to the size of your pup and avoid rawhides, which post a choking and blockage risk, at all costs. 

7. Heartworm Preventative

To avoid the cost of treating heartworms and the risk of possible death from heartworm disease, your puppy needs a monthly heartworm preventative. Ask your vet for a prescription during your puppy’s first visit. 

8. Flea and Tick Treatment

Especially in the spring and summer, your puppy will also need a flea and tick treatment. Ask your vet for a prescription during your puppy’s first visit. 

9. Grooming Supplies

Dogs need to be brushed and bathed regularly. Pick out a safe puppy shampoo and research ways to tackle their oral care, nail care, and ear cleaning. 

10. Training Resources

Looking to house train your pup? Pick up a good dog training book and invest in some healthy, low calorie training treats.

10 Steps to a Puppy-Proofed Home

Before bringing home a new puppy, make sure your environment is as safe as possible by reviewing this handy Puppy Proofing Your Home Checklist. 

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1. Start with a clean slate.

Puppies are pirañas for small ingestible items. Bring your pup home to a tidy vacuumed environment that’s free of coins, hair ties, razor blades, and other swallowable objects. One of the biggest things to watch out for is gum. Many sugar-free gums and candies now contain xylitol, which is notoriously toxic and potentially life-threatening to pups. So, keep your bag (or wherever you store your gum) out of reach, as well.

2. Remove the temptation to chew.

Dogs are scent-oriented animals, so they gravitate towards items that smell like you. This is why your favorite pair of shoes can become their favorite chew toy. To avoid the temptation to chew, immediately pick up clothing off the floor, store shoes out of reach or in a secure closet, and put laundry in a tall, closed hamper.

3. Safeguard your medication.

Human medications are the most common source of poisoning for pets every year. Make sure your pills are secured in a medicine cabinet or somewhere the puppy can’t possibly get into. If you accidentally drop a pill and your pup snatches it up, call your vet immediately.

4. Lock up cleaners, chemicals, and batteries.

All batteries and most household cleaners, laundry detergents, plant fertilizers, pool chemicals, paints, etc. contain highly toxic chemicals. Keep them, including the TV remote, either locked in a cabinet or on a shelf out of reach.

5. Secure any exposed cords or wires.

Power cords and exposed wires look like chew toys to a teething puppy. Protect your new puppy from accidental shock, burns to the mouth, or worse, by using sturdy cord covers or taste deterrents, like bitter apple spray.

6. Spray furniture legs with a taste deterrent.

Teething puppies can be challenging. Stop any destructive chewing behavior before it begins by spraying the legs of your furniture with a natural taste deterrent, like bitter apple spray. 

7. Secure your trashcan.

Puppies love trash. The mixture of smells draws them in like a moth to a flame. From used feminine products to raw meat juice, it goes without saying that it’s ill-advised to let them ingest any of it. Make sure your trashcan is either out of reach or virtually impenetrable. 

8. Remove poisonous plants from your home and yard.

Although only a small percentage of plants are truly dangerous to your pet, they’re still an easily-preventable cause for concern. Check this list and remove any flowers or plants from your home or yard that could potentially be toxic to your new puppy.

9. Give your dog a den.

Dogs are den animals. They need a safe space, like a den, to feel secure. Whether it’s a crate or a confined space elsewhere, give your pup a special place to feel safe and protected when you’re not home.

10. Contain any potential damage.

The easiest way to avoid destructive chewing and emergency vet visits is to contain your new puppy in a defined space. Whether it’s through crate training, confinement via baby gates, or a watchful eye 24/7, keep tabs on your precious fur baby by keeping them close by and removing their access to hazardous areas.

Let’s make this the most successful Clear the Shelters Day yet!

Sources: Cesar’s Way | Preventative Vet

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