Preparing the Home for Puppy: 5 Essential Items

Friends of ours recently adopted a 12-week-old puppy, and having raised a pup ourselves (see above, little Wilbur in his crate on his first day home), we thought we'd help them out with a list of the items we found indispensable during Wilbur's puppyhood. To some extent, even the most design-devoted puppy owner just has to accept that the house will sustain a bit of damage (hopefully just a bit!) during the new pup's early weeks, but here are some items that can do a world of good if you're trying to keep your lovingly furnished home in good shape...

1 Old sheets and towels are key. They come in handy for protecting furniture and carpets until the puppy's house-trained, and even later on, when your pup gets a flea treatment or has a cut that's bleeding. Of course they're also a must for cleaning up accidents.

2 Nature's Miracle really does seem like a miracle product. It does an amazing job removing any stain of an organic nature, including mud, vomit, and other common puppy-related messes.

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3 Choose durable toys that can at least make some feeble attempt to withstand the teething process. It's worth it, because if you don't give your puppy stuff to chew on, he will make chew toys of whatever he can find (couch corners and so on). Make no mistake—you will buy toys that will be destroyed within ten minutes of their arrival in the house. Probably many of them. So best to resist the expensive cute ones (unless you can't help yourself—witness Mr. Squid above).

4 This may not be popular with everyone, but a dog crate is really a lifesaver when it comes to puppy training. It takes some serious effort to accustom a dog to staying in the crate when he doesn't want to be in there, but in the end it's worth it, and most dogs really like the coziness of the small space, once they're used to the fact that they don't always get to choose how long to stay in there. (Witness Wilbur, who sidled into his crate all by himself on the first day at home and snuggled in for a good nap.)

5 A baby gate or pet gate is also a good investment. Before they're house-trained, puppies really need to be watched constantly, so the gate helps to keep the pupster in whatever room you happen to be using at the time.

Of course there are other items to add to this list, like the bed, bowls, collar, and other standard trappings of a dog's life. But these are the fundamentals you'll need to keep your home in decent shape. In all likelihood the puppy will be so cute that you won't mind a few carpet stains or chewed-up throw pillows!

Puppy owners, please weigh in below... what's the survival list you would recommend to those bringing new pups home?

(Images: Susie Nadler for Apartment Therapy)

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