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A Puppy Survival Guide: From a 23 Year Old

Let’s face it, everyone gets puppy fever, and even though Puppy’s have the most sweetest and cutest little faces, you cannot forget how big of a responsibilty they are. In this article, I am going to lay out what you need to do if you decide to add a furry little angel to your life!

Do Your Research Beforehand

  1. Watch plenty of youtube videos about training a puppy. Types of training you will encounter will be potty training, crate training, seperation anxiety training, and trick training. All of these are integral to making your life easier and your puppy happier as they get older!
  2. Use google/internet to learn more as well, but make sure you read multiple opinions from different sources.
  3. Join dog facebook groups and ask questions! I joined a Red Golden Retriever Facebook Group where I not only found a breeder to get my puppy but I also asked so many questions and got a lot of helpful advice from dog owners. It was nice hearing their experiences and knowing I am not alone on any problems I encountered with my pup!
  4. Ask your family and friends who have had a puppy about their experiences! It is good to hear from everyone so you know what works and what doesn’t.

Get The Right Supplies

  1. Food and Water bowls are obviously a MUST. If you can, make sure to get stainless steel bowls, or if you get plastic ones, make sure they are BPA free, because puppies might have an allergic reaction to the plastic, which could result in a mild skin or chin reaction.

Pro Tip: Check out your local Target and Petpeople stores for BPA free pet bowls.

2. Again, watch youtubers who have dogs and post videos about their experiences as well as what kinds of products they use! After combining your research with what they reccomend, you can decide what products are going to be best for you and your puppy!

Pro Tip: Here are a couple of my favorite Youtubers I watch: Rachel Fusaro, McCann Dogs, and Cesar Millan

3. Dog Food/Kibble! Make sure to talk to a Vet about what food they reccomend for your puppy, and if you want to add more fresh food varieties to your pup’s dog bowl, consider adding some kibble toppers like fruits and veggies!

Pro Tip: Make sure you don’t change quickly from the kibble the breeder fed the pup to the new kibble that the vet reccomended. Start by putting half and half in their bowl, and eventually, use the new kibble fully. If you change the kibble without the transition strategy your pup could have diarreha and stomach issues.

4. Crates, Playpens, Dog beds! It is essential to get a playpen or a crate for your puppy! Puppies need to be supervised at all times because they love to explore and get into trouble, whether that is chewing on furniture, chewing on chords in small corners, or chewing your home decor. Supervision is key to keep your pup safe from eating or chewing on anything harmful. A crate or playpen allows you to go on your phone, clean the kitchen, or even go to the bathroom without worrying about your pup getting hurt.

Pro Tip: Make sure you make the crate feel like “Disneyland” for your pup. This way they will feel safe and happy when they are inside it. You can do this by feeding them inside, playing with toys inside and around the crate, giving them treats in the crate, and making it nice and cozy with blankets and fluffy toys!

5. Pee Pads and Poop Bags! Yes, you are gonna have to pick up a lot of dog sh*t outside, especially if you live in an apartment complex. Just remember accidents happen, even if you take your pup out every 30-45 minutes like you are suppose to (which is key to prevent accidents and potty train).

Puppy’s cannot hold their bladder long, especially when you get them as earlier as 8 weeks! Be prepared to take your puppy outside to pee and poo every 30-45 mins, and if you have to leave your pup home to go to school or work, make sure to lay down pee pads in the crate or play pen that you keep your pup in!

Pro Tip: Use biodegradable poop bags to lessen your carbon footprint!

6. Leash, harness, and collar! These 3 items are pretty self explanatory and are essential for keeping your pup safe when you are taking them outside to go potty or taking them on walks!

Pro Tip: If you plan on taking them outside in the dark, get a reflective leash, so cars can see you guys at night!

7. Dog Cleaning Wipes and Oatmeal Shampoo! It is inevitable that your pup is going to get dirty, so having cleaning wipes are important to keep your pup safe and clean. The dog wipes are also good to make up for not bathing your pup a lot. Dogs should not take lots of baths because it can strip their natural oils from their fur! I have a Golden Retriever pup with long hair, so I want to make sure that their coat always looks shiny and healthy.

Pro Tip: Make sure to make a habit of wiping their private areas to ensure they stay clean and healthy. You can also use the wipes anywhere else on their body like the ears, around the mouth, paws, around the eyes, and more.

Don’t forget to give lots of love!

It can be frustrating sometimes to have a puppy, and it is a lot of work, but it is worth it! Soak in all their puppy cuteness, cuddles, and whisker kisses, because they grow so fast as each week goes by. Always remember to not be too hard on yourself and prepare/research before picking up your pup. If you take these steps, you and your puppy will be just fine!

Emily Durham

Bowling Green '21

Emily Durham is a Fifth year English Major with a Creative Writing Minor at Bowling Green State University. She is an Intersectional Feminist who enjoys writing things that will inspire others. Her dream is to write and publish a screenplay as well as a poetry novel, all while working as a high school english teacher. Her hobbies include writing, reading, hiking, vinyl collecting, and taking care of her indoor plants!
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