2020 was a year to remember- Not only because of the state of the world, but also because you welcomed in a new family member, best friend, and travel buddy; Your puppy. When you reminisce about the day you picked up your new canine companion, you may recollect and admire how prepared you were that day. Or possibly the opposite; Remembering how ill prepared you were when you arrived to pick up your new pup that day. As a current owner of two rescue pups of my own, there was once a time (a long time ago) in high school when I decided to adopt a kitten off Craigslist. (Long story short, my parents wouldn’t let me get a puppy, so I compromised and decided to surprise them with a kitten instead). I remember showing up with my friend at the time with so much naïve excitement to then be confronted with the realization of how terribly unprepared we were. We didn’t have a crate, or a blanket, or…heck, I still to this day don’t know what we should have brought, (I’m a dog person!). Thankfully, the kitten owner allowed us to borrow a crate from her as long as we brought it back, but you bet I was terribly embarrassed for being such an underprepared new parent. With that story in mind, and with that uncomfortable experience in my rearview mirror, it brings me to this guide of top things to bring when picking up your new puppy. With multiple interviews with friends who have gone through the adventure into new puppy parenthood this past year, I hope that this short guide can help you prepare for that moment you’ve been most excited for!
This may be obvious to some, however, in the excitement of the moment, obvious things can be forgotten. (Read my personal experience above- it happens to us all!). You will need some sort of crate to transport your new puppy back home securely. Keep in mind the size of puppy you are bringing home, as well as it’s breed. I’ve found that having a crate is useful for a dog’s entire life- So getting a crate that your puppy can grow into and be useful for the duration of their life can be a good goal. Crates can be pricey, but I’ve personally managed to find some less expensive options on resell stores online, such as Craigslist, and OfferUp. Of course, as a more temporary option, you can also ask a friend to borrow a crate for your ‘puppy pick-up’ expedition as well.
2. Puppy Pads
Although your puppy will be cute and fluffy, they still pee and poop like the rest of us. And It’s best not to let that poop and pee spread all over your car on the ride home! That’s where puppy pads come in handy. Make sure to spread these out on the entire floor of your puppy crate. In addition, if you are picking up a male puppy, I suggest laying some pads around the outside edges of the crate as well. (In case he sprays a little outside of the crate.) Keep in mind, the last thing you want on a long road trip is a smelly, urine filled car!
3. Soft Blanket (s)
Every puppy wants a warm and secure-feeling environment. Remember, puppies are used to being with other siblings plus their mother. Therefore, you will want to try to simulate that experience with some cozy blankets. However, keep in mind that these blankets may be pee’d and pooped on, (maybe even vomited on if your pup gets car sick). So don’t choose a family heirloom for this. Instead, pick an easily machine washable option.
4. Small Blanket, Shirt, or Toy to 'Transfer Scent' (Optional)
The reason I have listed this item as “Optional” is because there is still debate on whether or not this is a good idea when taking your new puppy home. Some say it is important to transfer the scent of the Mother dog and/or other litter mates to a toy, blanket, or article of clothing, when bringing your new puppy home to assist with the transition into a new home. However, some breeders suggest the opposite; That it is best to cut off the connection from your puppy’s previous family immediately, to start growing the connection with you and your new home. Therefore, explaining that the scent you deliver to your new puppy should be of YOUR new scent, rather than the scent of the mother dog. With that information in mind, I leave this for you to decide. I suggest doing some research yourself and also contacting the breeder or rescue center where you will be picking up your puppy. They will have more information for you as to the specifics of your puppy’s situation. Some puppies will have already been separated from their mother’s and litter for a week or so prior to picking them up. In this case, it wouldn’t be necessary to transfer any scent from the mother/litter.
5. Food and Water
This seems like an obvious one, however, these are the things we tend to forget when potentially overwhelmed. Depending on the duration of your road trip, your new puppy will potentially need some food and definitely some water on your journey to pick them up. If you’re only going a few miles, you may not need these. However, a lot of people end up driving 1-10 hours to pick up a new puppy!
6. Travel Bowls
In the case that you need to bring food and water to your puppy pickup, food and water bowls are extremely important. (If this is your first dog, then these can be easily forgotten!) Even if you are only going around the corner to pick up your new puppy, I still suggest picking up some collapsible travel bowls to have in your car permanently. Since these will always come in handy throughout your dog’s lifetime when on the road.
7. Chew Toys
Depending upon how long of a drive you have, having some chew toys on hand may be helpful. It’s always good to have these at home ready for your new pup anyway once you arrive. Since new puppy’s will want a way to stimulate themselves and won’t be able to play with other puppies or dogs until they get all of their shots at 16 weeks old.
8. Disinfecting Wipes Paper Towels, & Hand Sanitizer
Odds are your pup is going to create some sort of mess on your drive home. Whether is a ‘potty’ accident or tracking dirt around, these are things to prepare for and disinfecting wipes, and paper towels will help with that. Remember, this is your new BABY! Think along those lines- What kind of mess would a new-born baby make? How would you prepare for that? Being able to keep yourself and your surroundings clean, will help with the stress of the situation. Just like your puppy, you need to be comfortable and enjoy the process! Let’s create a good memory, not a miserable one.
Benadryl for your lil' pup can come in handy in case they suffer from motion sickness when they travel. Do some research on this yourself before giving to your puppy- make sure you get the dosing correct if you decide to use!
10. Trash Bags
Where do you put all of the hand wipes and puppy pad’s once they are used and soaked? A trash bag! Seal all those smelly smells away-It’s these little things that really help with the whole experience. Bring 1-10 trash bags, (depending upon the length of travel). It’s always good to be over prepared rather than under!
In conclusion, it’s always best to be prepared as a new puppy parent - it makes the ride a lot easier and more pleasant! However, if you forget the crate, you’ll make it work. If you forget the travel bowls, you’ll find a way. If you don’t bring the hand sanitizer, oh well! Just like a new parent, you’re learning along the way. As long as you’re caring, loving, and create a secure environment for your new puppy, they will be happy to see you and to join you in this new chapter of your life. Since after all, it’s once you get home with your new puppy that the real adventure begins!
Have something you think should be added to the list? Let me know! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below!