If you're unsure of what your new puppy will need, this essential puppy supplies checklist will ensure you have all you need before your puppy arrives in his new forever home, leaving you to concentrate on more important things like chilling out and enjoying your new Cocker Spaniel puppy when he arrives.
Relax; we've got you covered!
At the very least, this list highlights the basic puppy supplies you must have before you bring your puppy home. Anything else will be nice to have but will not be necessary; you can always buy more later.
Essential puppy supplies your new pet will need are:
You must have at least a small bag of good quality puppy food in-store; it's the most important thing your puppy will need to help him grow strong and healthy and get off to a good start in life!
Your breeder will likely give you a diet sheet and a small supply of carefully chosen puppy food with which your pup is already familiar.
I strongly recommend that you continue feeding him with this particular puppy food so that you don't interrupt his development or upset his little tummy.
However, if you decide to change brands later, check the new brand's ingredients label to ensure your puppy is still getting the exact balance of nutrients his little body needs.
Don't change foods overnight; otherwise, you risk upsetting your puppy's delicate digestion. If you change your puppy's food, feed a mixture of new and old, and gradually replace the old puppy food with the new.
Do it this way, and your Cocker puppy won't notice any change in his diet. It will allow his little tummy to get used to his new food without getting upset.
On our essential puppy supplies checklist, you'll find a food bowl and a specially shaped-bowl for your puppy's drinking water.
The sides of the water bowl should slope inwards so that the pup's ears don't dangle in the water when he drinks, but be aware it doesn't always work as it should. Max's ears often dangle inside his water bowl; he walks away, dribbling water from his ears all over the kitchen!
Ceramic bowls are better than light plastic ones as they don't tip over as easily.
Buying a crate for a young puppy is a must!
Your puppy will soon see his crate as his den, where he can be safe and comfortable away from the madding crowd. He will often use it as a haven away from our human world when things get too much, especially if loud, excited children are around.
Your breeder will almost certainly have kept their puppies in a crate, so your little one should feel relaxed about sleeping in a crate in his new home.
Teaching your puppy to use a crate will be necessary if he's to settle in quickly. If you have to go out for a couple of hours or do some housework, you can place him inside his crate, safe in the knowledge that your new puppy won't come to any harm.
You might want to put off buying an expensive dog bed for your Cocker until you've managed to control his chewing; otherwise, you may come home one day to find that very expensive bed in shreds!
However, when your puppy has passed the chewing stage and you're ready to buy his 'Big Boy' bed, here's some helpful info on choosing your dog's bed.
I'd say vet bedding is the most useful of all the puppy supplies on this page. It's inexpensive and ideal for a young puppy!
Puppies chew, so don't buy an expensive bed just yet!
It looks like a square of sheepskin, but it's a machine-washable thick pile made from strong polyester fibres, which make it harder to chew.
It's also non-toxic, non-allergenic, and resistant to bacteria.
It also has a latex-coated open-weave backing which lets moisture seep through, keeping your puppy dry. You can pick it up from any pet shop, or your vet may stock it.
It can be expensive (not as expensive as a designer dog bed!), but its strength and durability mean it can last a long time.
In addition to using it in the home, it's also used in vet clinics to provide warmth and comfort for sick animals or those recovering from surgery.
You can cut it to size to line your puppy's crate. I bought two pieces, one for use in Max's crate while the other was in the wash. Thirteen years later, they're still going strong!
When your puppy is trained only to chew his chew toys, it will be the ideal time to buy him his first 'big boy' dog bed.
Your puppy's coat won't need the same grooming as an adult Cocker Spaniel; however, I recommend you begin brushing him and prepare him for grooming as early as possible.
Gentle brushing will help your Cocker pup get used to the feel of a brush and a comb, of being handled frequently, and as a bonus, it will also help to keep his coat healthy and shining!
Regular grooming is essential for adult Cocker Spaniels because their feathers attract burrs and twigs.
Their coats need brushing often. At the very least, twice weekly, but if you have time, brush your puppy when you return home from your walk. I recommend you check for (and remove) any vegetation stuck in his fur.
All you'll need for the moment is a soft puppy brush and perhaps a tiny metal comb, but as your puppy's coat and feathers develop, you'll need a more extensive selection of grooming accessories.
Once your puppy has settled into his new home, you can introduce him to his puppy collar and a soft, pliable lead.
Put a collar on your puppy as soon as you get him home, just in case he ever escapes (heaven forbid!). Let him wear it during the day, but not when he's in his crate, and take it off at night.
It's also a good idea to introduce your puppy to the feeling of being on a lead at such a young age.
If you take it gently and slowly, he'll soon get used to his collar and leash, and in no time at all, he'll let you put them on and take them off without any fuss.
Learn more about leash training your puppy, and enjoy long gentle walks with your little boy sooner than you think!
An identification tag is among the most important of all the essential puppy supplies listed.
Depending on where you live, it's a legal requirement for your puppy to wear an identity tag on his collar. It makes sense too. I recommend engraving it with your name, address and zip or postcode.
It seems strange that your telephone number is not required by UK law, but I recommend including it to make it easier for someone to contact you if your pet is lost.
Whether you add your puppy's name is your choice, but I wouldn't recommend it, as it can make life easier for dog thieves.
Your puppy will need some toys to play with and a couple of chew toys to help him with his teething.
Every puppy needs a soft toy for comfort, just like a baby uses a teddy bear, so remember to buy him something to snuggle into.
I also recommend a toy or two that will stimulate his mind. For example, with a toy that drops small treats out of a ball, the trick is to learn how to roll the ball to get at the treat! That will get his mind working!
Ensure you buy the right size toys for him and check that they're suitable and safe for young puppies.
While Max was a puppy, I always preferred to stuff the Kongs with his kibble to ensure he had all the necessary nutrients a puppy would need.
Nowadays, I have several Kongs, and I stuff them with either rice and lamb or paste, rice and a little peanut butter (the possibilities are endless!), and Max loves them.
These also slow down his eating, which is good for his digestion and keeps him occupied (read quiet!) for ages.
You must remember to reduce the amount you feed your puppy if you give him stuffed Kongs; you don't want your puppy to become overweight!
Your puppy won't need to visit the vet too often (other than for vaccinations and regular health checks), but you should take some time to choose a vet you feel comfortable with.
Do this well before your puppy's arrival so that you can give the vet at least one week's notice of an appointment.
Most good breeders recommend that you arrange to have your puppy examined by your vet (usually within 24 hours of bringing him home) to check his health.
In the unlikely event that something is wrong with your puppy, you may be entitled to a full refund or to choose another pup, depending on your contract with the breeder.
Before deciding which veterinary practice you will use, phone a few surgeries and ask to speak to one of their vets; if they're busy, they may ask you to call back later when the surgery is quiet when they have more time to talk, but that's fine.
Don't bother with those who make you feel intimidated or stupid.
Choose a vet you feel comfortable speaking to, who will listen to you, and who will take the time to explain to you what (s)he's doing and why.
Most importantly, your vet should take a genuine interest in your puppy and handle him gently and kindly.
I strongly recommend having your puppy microchipped.
It's so tiny (the size of a grain of rice) that your vet can inject it into your puppy. Should your puppy ever wander off, a shelter, dog warden, vet (and sometimes the police) can scan your puppy for a registered microchip. Once they have the code, they can obtain your contact details and get in touch.
It's worth the extra expense and effort.
You might also like to have a packet of training treats handy for when you begin his training - it's never too early to begin his obedience training - the sooner, the better!
And, of course, you'll need a ready supply of poop bags, a poop scoop, and a good cleaning agent to get rid of puppy urine smells; one that doesn't just mask them.
Puppy supplies you may not need right now but you will need later are: