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Prep Your Home for a Puppy With These Lifesavers

These are the essentials we'd give first-time dog parents.

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Photo: Duncan_Andison

Doggie Placemat

Just like babies, puppies are really messy eaters. Lay out a rubber or vinyl placemat under new food and water bowls for easy — and contained — cleanup.

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Photo: ruvanboshoff

Head Lamp

This may seem like a strange gift but it's a godsend during the first couple weeks of 3 a.m. potty breaks. Place a headlamp on your bedside table, so as soon as you wake up you've got a clear path to the crate with both hands ready to wrangle a puppy that doesn't understand how to hold it yet.

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Photo: Ismailciydem

Baby Wipes

Puppies don't have great immune systems, and during the first couple of months — especially before completing all rounds of vaccinations — a puppy is susceptible to intestinal parasites. These are spread by tracking in feces and soil from outside — and they can even give some of these to you. Prevent tracking in bugs by immediately wiping a pup's paws after every visit outside. The extra step is annoying since puppies go outside a lot, but the peace of mind is worth it.

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Photo: cynoclub

Food Puzzles

Puppies get excited about food. Really excited. And when they're excited they tend to inhale food. Eating too quickly can upset a puppy's tummy, so help them slow down at mealtime with food puzzles. You can try bowls with mazes or snuffle mats that hide food. These puzzles give pups a safe space for acting out instinctual behaviors, such as foraging and digging, so it's a great mental exercise, too.

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