Complete New Puppy Checklist

One new puppy going on a walk, one new puppy at home

It happened. You finally did it. You finally got the present you’ve always dreamed of finding in that wriggling, loosely-wrapped box beneath your tree. Congratulations on your new puppy! You’ll quickly learn that there’s nothing quite like unconditional dog love — and acting as a lifelong companion for your growing pup fosters a bond that will make you feel special each and every day.

But, in the paraphrased words of Spiderman’s Uncle Ben: with great cuteness, comes great responsibility. And your new puppy is no exception! Bringing home a puppy requires a little bit of preparation and a lot of patience … and Strut the Pup can help with all things puppy care and training.

With that in mind, check out our tips for taking care of your new lifelong friend, including a complete checklist of puppy essentials!

New Puppy Checklist – Strut the Pup

  1. Crate & Bed
  2. Collar & Tags
  3. Harness & Leash
  4. Puppy Food & Bowls
  5. Toys
  6. Poop Bags
  7. Treats
  8. Carpet Cleaner
  9. Grooming Supplies
  10. Insurance

New Puppy Essentials

There’s definitely some prep work involved with bringing home a new puppy. A puppy’s first couple days in a new home can be a scary time for them — it’s the first time they’ll be away from their siblings, smelling new smells and interacting with new people. It’s important to do your best to make them feel comfortable during this transition!

Here’s our detailed list of new puppy essentials that will have your littlest family member feeling at home in no time:

Beagle puppy looks up from bed in crate

Crate & Bed

Crates are not just a place for your dog to sleep; they’re also invaluable training tools when properly utilized. An appropriately-sized crate offers your new puppy a safe, secure den to rest, and offers you the opportunity to introduce new, fun things one-by-one in a place they feel comfortable, ensuring your pup isn’t overwhelmed. Add in a bed and your new puppy is sure to love it!

It’s completely normal for your new puppy to cry through the first couple nights — but it’s important to keep them in their crate, rather than rushing to console them. That way, they learn that their crate is a safe place to sleep.

If you choose to crate-train your puppy, never punish them in the crate. It’s all about positive reinforcement so they eventually choose to sleep in the crate on their own.

Collar & Tags

A collar is as much a necessity as it is an opportunity to accessorize. Puppies are naturally curious and easily distracted; you’ll want to make sure your dog can be identified and returned to you if they happen to run off. Be sure to grab a reflective and adjustable collar so it is both easily seen and can be sized up as your pup grows!

Australian collie puppy with collar and tags
Chocolate lab puppy with harness on

Harness & Leash

The harness and leash you choose really depends on the breed of your puppy; especially for smaller dogs or puppies that pull, harnesses are a must. As for leashes, be sure to find something durable enough to withstand sharp little puppy teeth.

Puppy Food & Bowls

Puppies need twice as many calories as adult dogs — and higher levels of fat, protein, phosphorus, and calcium, too. To make sure your puppy is properly nourished, it’s important to choose the high-quality food formulated not just for puppies, but for your puppy’s specific size and breed.

When it comes to food and water bowls, it’s smart to choose bowls made of dishwasher-safe materials like stainless steel or ceramic so they are easily cleaned; non-slip bottoms also limit messes as your dog is lappin’ it all up!

Corgi puppies in front of stainless steel bowl
Woman hands poodle puppy a plush toy


Both comfort toys and chew toys will be important for your pup to stay entertained and comfortable — puppies need an outlet for all that energy! Plush comfort toys can soothe a puppy for the first couple nights (some even give off heat or simulate heartbeats!), while puppy-sized chew toys are a great way to keep pups occupied … and not chewing on your belongings instead. Toys also stimulate a puppy’s growing mind, which — like a human baby — learns at a much quicker pace.

Poop Bags

Less for the sake of your puppy and more for the sake of the environment, consider investing in compostable doggie bags for easy disposal that limits waste. Picking up after your dog also helps prevent the spread of doggie disease and illness.

Doggie bag holder on leash
Cheerios used as puppy training treats


Doling out low-calorie, bite-sized treats to reinforce positive behavior is one of our favorite ways of training a puppy, especially those easily motivated by food. These treats can be little bites specifically formulated for dogs or puppies, or they can be everyday foods you probably already have in your pantry, like Cheerios, fruits, or vegetables. For both training treats and normal puppy treats, don’t forget to do your research to ensure they’re the healthiest choice for your pup!

Carpet Cleaner

Puppies, unfortunately, don’t come potty-trained. The occasional mess is unavoidable, so it’s good to have enzymatic cleaners around the house for when your new puppy doesn’t quite make it outside. Enzyme cleansers break down stains and smells to deep-clean accident areas; this is especially important as pets are creatures of habit, which means they’ll likely return to the same spot for future accidents if they smell something familiar there.

Small dog on carpet
New puppy rolling around in grass

Grooming Supplies

You likely won’t need these in the first 48 hours of puppy parenthood, but it’s always good to think ahead — especially when it comes to your puppy’s hygiene and comfort. Shampoo, brushes, nail trimmers, toothbrushes … all basic hygiene must-haves that it’s never too early to start getting used to! Be sure to check in your veterinarian or groomer before grooming.

Pet Insurance

Last on our checklist, but certainly not least, is something often overlooked by pet owners: good pet insurance. Bringing a new puppy into your home means welcoming a new family member, and you want to make sure this new family member is well-insured just like any other. Part of having a lifelong companion is ensuring your companion is around for a full lifetime. You never know what might happen!

French bulldog puppy looking up at owner

Puppy Care & Training

There’s a lot that goes into raising a puppy and, of course, it doesn’t stop once you checked all the boxes on our list of essentials. We recommend starting puppy training when the puppy is around 8 weeks old — it’s amazing what young pups can learn so early in their lives. Socialization with other dogs early on is also important for your growing pup, supporting their confidence with other dogs and people alike. 

For more information on puppy care and training, contact Strut the Pup by filling out the form below!

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Should You Feed Your Dog Your Leftover Food?

dog walking eating leftovers

People have mixed feelings about feeding scraps and leftovers to dogs. Some even detest the very thought of it, insisting that it is damaging to their dog’s health. On the other hand, there are people who have always given their leftovers to their pooches without seeing any health problems. And like anything you can find research supporting each and every opinion… If both parties have a ground to base their arguments on, what is really at heart of these differences?

There are three words we keep in mind when thinking about leftovers – thought, moderation, and balance.

Yes, you can give leftovers to your dog – but in moderation, and provided that your dog’s diet is balanced. Moreover, this is assuming you have thought about the types of foods are known to not do well for dogs.

For example, some clear ‘No No’s include:

  • Foods sweetened with Xylitol like baked goods and some diet foods, can cause your dog’s blood sugar to drop and can also cause liver failure.
  • Avocados, while tasty, can be poisonous to your dogs if eaten too much.
  • Onions and garlic can kill your dog’s red blood cells leading to anemia. Not good!
  • Even a small amount of raisins or grapes can make a dog sick and lead to kidney failure.
  • Everyone knows about no chocolate right? It can cause a dog to vomit and have diarrhea. It can also cause heart problems, tremors, seizures, and yes – death.

You should not feed your dog with ONLY leftovers, because your leftover food (as good as it may be in your opinion) probably does not provide all the nutrients that your dog requires. In fact, it may contain too much of a particular substance that can be harmful for your dog – for example, fat. SO make sure that yur dog is getting their nutritious balanced diet first, then think about the potential of leftovers in moderation.

Sounds like a lot of work? Well it should be. This may be why opponents vehemently stand against feeding scraps and leftovers to dogs – it is just too risky!

Given all this, if you are ready to be thoughtful and mindful then you can go ahead by all means and give your dog some good tasting leftovers like lean cooked meat; some fresh fruits like watermelon and apples; vegetables like carrots and yes even zucchini.

Remember: Thought, Moderation, and Balance.

Have fun!

If you’d like to learn more about pet care or obedience training, give us a call today!

Overnight Away Without Your Dog? Get A Dog Sitter

You have planned your dream vacation, or a trip to visit friends & family, a high school reunion…or a business trip. But, there’s an issue.  You have a pet dog you to need to care for while you are away.

dog overnight sitter

You start thinking of how to take care of your dog and be able to go worry-free.  You come up with two alternatives:  1) the obvious boarding your dog in a kennel, or 2) leaving the dog with a pet sitter who comes into your home. You now have to pick out which is the better of these two alternatives.

Since both alternatives give you the freedom to get away from home and have your dog taken care of, the consideration of what is “best for you” becomes less relevant. Therefore, the focus of your decision is really about what is best for your beloved dog.

Alternative #1 is definitely doable. There are quite a number of kennels in the area at which dogs can be boarded. From local establishments, to chain kennels.  Prices vary and conditions vary. For the most part the average kennel experience includes large periods of time in a cage of some sort and some ‘outside time’.  Some of the higher quality spots have a lot more outdoor time than others, and dogs stay in rooms rather than in a cage.

With that said, in all of these, the dog finds itself in an unfamiliar place, with unfamiliar smells, unfamiliar neighboring dogs, and more.  There is barking, crying, the potential fighting, all of which have the risk of creating unwanted stress for your dog. Moreover, you don’t know who the other dogs are, how they are cared for, etc. Are they bringing in unwanted diseases? Kennel cough? Worms?  Will these affect your dog? In these locations your dog will also be one of many. The better the place, the lower the ratio of caregiver to dogs, but they are still one of a group, getting only partial attention.

Alternative #2, keeping your dog in your home is staring to sound more appealing. Your dog stays in your (and of course his/her) own comfortable and familiar home. No fear, no anxiety, no stress. Just another great night in their great life. The sitter is fully focused on your dog, and your dog only. No other distractions. And since you know the health of your dog, and you know your home, there is no new health risks that are introduced while you are away.

An in-home overnight sitting for your dog has a care giver spend the night at your home, allowing for quality time with your dog and a real presence at your home. During the stay, the pet sitter can also perform general home checks, pick up newspapers and mail, change lighting around the house, and ensure all doors and windows are locked and secure. In essence you are getting a dog-sitter and home-sitter in one. And while you may think that hiring an in-home sitter is much more expensive than a kennel – think again, you may be surprised. After all, an in home sitter has no real estate costs to cover like a kennel does.

But before you let someone into your home and to care for your dog, here are some tips on things you may want to look for:

First, make sure you know who you are letting into your home. Is it a person doing this as a part-time gig, hoping to earn a few extra dollars, or is it a trained professional focused on caring for your pet as their daily job. Make sure to go with a company that stands behind its services, and doesn’t just ‘farm out’ your needs to a contractor over whom they have no quality control or assurances to you. Ask to interview the company leader and the proposed sitter.  Make sure to ask:

  • Who will be taking care of my pet?
  • Are they experienced? What type of pet care training have they done?
  • Is this their main job and focus or a ‘supplemental income’ gig?
  • If your pet gets hurt accidentally, does the sitter have any formal pet first aid and CPR training?
  • If your sitter gets sick and suddenly can’t complete the job, is there backup? Another equally qualified sitter that can fill in?
  • Is the sitter themselves fully licensed and insured with commercial insurance in case anything happens to them while on the job in your home, or is that risk on you?

Some of these questions may sound scary, but they are important and not outrageous to be asking. After all, this person will be staying in your home, caring for your beloved pet.

By the way, if you are thinking about asking a neighbor to do this or a friend’s child since that might seem to be cheaper, make sure you are comfortable with the answer to the ‘what if’ question. What if something goes wrong – Will they know what to do? are they insured? are they trained in first aid?

To conclude, if you have a professionally trained dog sitter staying at your home with you dog while you are away, you will be caring for your dog, your home, and enabling you to take that trip at ease with no concerns.

Have fun and safe travels!

If you’d like to learn more about our overnight home stays and dog sitting, please give us a call!


Dog Owners: Here’s How to Avoid the Dreaded “Separation Anxiety” While You’re at Work or Away

Dog Separation Anxiety
Photo courtesy of Unsplash by Andrew Branc

Dog Owners: Here’s How to Avoid the Dreaded “Separation Anxiety” While You’re at Work or Away – a guest article by Jessica Brody at

Whenever you hug someone you really love, your brain is flooded with a powerful feel-good hormone called oxytocin. Oxytocin is called the “love hormone” because it is the reason we feel a close connection whenever we look into the eyes of our pets. We humans get a strong dose of oxytocin when gazing into our dogs’ eyes – and, as it turns out, our dogs also feel the effects of the love hormone whenever they make eye contact with us.

Naturally, it can be tempting to tell ourselves that behaviors like separation anxiety are actually a sign of love. On the contrary, neuroscientists believe a dog’s separation anxiety is just another bad behavior, which is driven by a lack of trust but can be curbed with proper training.

To eliminate separation anxiety, you can start by helping your dog adjust to your long work days. This involves slowly, consistently teaching your dog to believe you’ll return home to him at the end of the day.

Here’s how…

Start by preparing your home for your pet. Make sure your pet has a safe space with plenty of food, water and toys to keep him or her busy while you’re away. Extra toys will entertain your dog, whether he is truly suffering from separation anxiety or is simply bored. It’s important to understand that this is an adjustment period and that your dog may be nervous or fearful at first, especially if this is a recently-adopted dog who is adjusting to new surroundings. Check out these tips to help prepare your home for your new puppy.

If you have a flexible work schedule and live close to the office, it might be helpful to run home and check on your dog throughout the day. If you’re unable to take these types of pet care breaks during your workday, you might want to consider hiring a professional to help you.

Even if you don’t work long hours, a professional dog walking service can be helpful with separation anxiety, and with providing your dog a well-deserved break. Exercise, fresh air, and the ability to relieve themselves, are important aspects of a healthy life. Dog walkers help ensure your dog is being looked after properly, and reduce your dog’s feelings of anxiety, abandonment and loneliness.

 Since you are working a good portion of the week, it is important to utilize your free time on the nights and weekends for properly bonding with your pet. Find a dog-friendly park to practice obedience training. You could also socialize your dog by taking him with you to a pet store, a Starbucks drive through (your dog will love the “puppy latte”), or a dog-friendly local restaurant. These will provide bonding opportunities and allow you to reinforce good behaviors with treats.

Although we can’t tell you how to keep yourself from having separation anxiety (that’s a completely different article for another day!) the words of advice listed above are a great first step to easing your dog’s separation anxiety. Remember, separation anxiety is a common behavioral issue that many dog owners have to deal with – but it doesn’t have to be permanent. With patience and consistency, you can end it for good.

If you’d like to learn more about our overnight home stays and dog sitting, please give us a call!

Visiting Friends … With Your Pooch

Tips and Things to Think About When Taking Your Dog With

dog walker

Many of us view our dogs as an integral part of the family and enjoy taking them with us on our daily routines be it taking them to work, shopping, or to a restaurant. But what about when we go visit friends or other people?

Not everyone feels the same way we do, especially in their homes. So as dog owners we may want to take a few steps to ensure that our visit is a good one, and that includes caring about those that invited us over.

If you intend on taking your dog with you to a friend’s home, especially if there are other people invited as well, be considerate and think about potential issues. i.e. to other guests that were invited over, it may have not been clear that a furry animal would be sitting next to them. As a dog owner you should be considerate of the fact that some guests may be allergic to dogs. Others may be bothered by the fact that fur could fly into their drink or cover their clothes. But more times than not, the concern is simply disruption to one’s experience – not everyone is used to, or even likes, a furry animal staring at them and running between their feet all evening.

A few tips on what we as dog owners should do when thinking of taking our pooch with us to visit friends:

– First and foremost, don’t assume. Ask your friend in advance if it is ok and appropriate to bring your pet with you. There may be children present, allergies, cats, and more that you are not aware of, and brining Fluffy with you could create unneeded embarrassment and trouble. If you are not sure if invited, ask. Better to be told no or yes in advance than face an unpleasant circumstance.

– Before walking in make sure your dog has ‘done its business’ so that accidents don’t happen in the house. With that said, no matter how good Fido is, prepare for the worst. Be ready for some potty accidents. Some dogs like to mark new territory or simply will feel the urge to go in a new environment. Come ready for cleanup so that you don’t have to start asking for cleaning supplies.

– Make sure to bring your leash with you. If they have a yard, it may not be fenced.

– Try to find a seat away from the crowd and place your dog at the far side of the room away from others. If the house is crowded, either look for another place or ask the people you will be sitting next to if it is ok that you sit or stand there with you dog.

– Have your dog lay down and make sure to always be in control of the leash so that there are no surprise run offs or tripping.

– Don’t feed your dog in the house. You can always get a ‘doggie bag’ (pun intended), and give them leftovers later.

– And please … don’t tie your dog outside to a pole while you go in and have fun. That is unfair to your pet and can create both a noise and safety hazard outside.

– Having a tag with your name and phone number is also not a bad idea, just in case Poodles gets lost in an unknown neighborhood.

– Even if Pooky is invited over, don’t assume that having them at the dinner table is acceptable. Not everyone is used to, or likes, having pet hair or pet breath around them while they eat. Best is to assume they are not invited to the dinner table and leave them in another location in the house. By the way if you have a crate or bed where they feel comfortable staying, that is a good idea as it will present a known safe place for them in the overall new area.

Have fun!!

If you’d like to learn more about obedience training and pet care, send us a message or give us a call!