I love summer, but the unfortunate reality is that we have to deal with ticks here in Saskatchewan.
This wasn’t always the case; it was probably only about 4-5 years ago that they became a problem around here.
I am not going to post any pictures of those ugly buggers here! If you don’t know what they look like and need to find out, Google will give you a hand.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I absolutely HATE ticks! YUCK!
So the question is; how do you deal with ticks during this time of the year?
They tend to be the worst in the spring as the weather starts getting warmer, less of a bother mid-summer, and relatively bad again in the fall.
Lets start with puppies… They are just as likely to get a tick on them in the grass or under the trees as an older dog, however your options are far more limited in tick treatment because of their young age.
Many tick treatments are not recommend for puppies younger than 6 months, however your vet carries a line approved for the under-6-month age group.
If you choose to use a tick treatment, be sure to do your research on which brand you go with so you are familiar with any risks that may be associated.
Liquid tick treatment(like the one pictured below) is easy to apply, lasts about a month, and does not require the tick to bite your dog in order to be effective.
I recently had a puppy family ask me if I had a shopping list on my website so they could order everything they need for their new puppy – and I realized that I ought to have a comprehensive list of all the puppy supplies a new family should have!
(Note: this post contains affiliate links. If you purchase an item through one of these links, I may get paid a small commission at no extra cost to you)
If you have had a dog in the past, you likely will already have some of these items – but it is still nice to buy some personalized items for your new pup.
If this is your first puppy, you will need to load up on all the essentials and will likely want to splurge a little on the “spoiled dog” items for your new fur baby.
I mean, let’s face it – shopping for your new puppy is a great way to help count down the days until your pup finally gets to come home!
So let’s get started on that list!!
#1 – Kennel/Crate
I am a big believer in crate training; your dog’s crate should be their safe place.
If they hear a loud noise that scares them, they run to their crate.
If they know they got into trouble, they hide away in their safe crate.
If they are sleepy, they put themselves to bed in their crate.
Choosing the right size crate is important for your dog so they have enough room to stretch out and move around. I typically go with one size larger than the manufacturer recommends for Mini Schnauzers (15-20 lbs) for more of a “Penthouse Suite” feel for my dogs.
I typically recommend a crate with a removable divider as part of training your puppy to keep their crate clean and avoid accidents. If they have too large of a space, they are more likely to have accidents in their crate (I will add another blog on this later).
Many people will pick up a cute collar for their puppy, which is totally fine.
However, it takes time and training for a puppy to get used to a collar and I personally find that a padded harness is a gentle way to start their training.
A collar pulls on their neck, which can be quite uncomfortable until they learn to heel while on a walk, AND a panicked puppy can possibly pull against the leash hard enough to slip out of their collar (especially if it is poor fitting).
A harness, on the other hand, distributes any pressure from pulling along their body and is far less likely to allow your puppy to slip out and run into a dangerous intersection.
If you want to go one step above-and-beyond to make sure your dog is safe on walks, you can get a reflective or LED harness for walks after dark.
#3 – Dog ID Tag
Don’t wait until your puppy comes home to get them an ID tag!
This is a big one that a lot of families forget.
What is more important than making sure your puppy is as safe as possible?
If, God forbid, something happened and your puppy was separated from you before you picked up their ID tag – how would you plan to find them?!
While microchips are awesome, your random Good Samaritan isn’t likely to have a chip reader and won’t have to make a trip to the vet’s office to get your contact information if your dog has an ID tag.
This inexpensive investment is just a matter of planning ahead; make sure to include your dog’s name, your name, and phone number. Some people will even choose to add their physical address.
#4 – Dishes
This one is an easy no-brainer!
The question is, do you want to go with the traditional “bowls-on-the-floor,” an upgraded bowl-stand setup or even an automatic water bowl?
There is no right or wrong answer here, in my opinion. It is a matter of your personal preference.
#5 – Snuggle Puppy
If you like sleeping at night, TRUST ME on this one!
Puppies are used to sleeping with their momma and siblings, so their first night in a new home with new smells and new sounds – and sleeping alone for the first time – they likely will cry the first several nights.
I have had amazing feedback from puppy families who invested in a Snuggle Puppy; not only is it a cuddly stuffy, but it also has a heartbeat and heat pack to help simulate sleeping with mom/siblings.
Even years later, some of my puppies drag their Snuggle Puppy everywhere with them! It is like a security blanket or childhood stuffed animal for them.
While your pup will have a bed in their crate, you likely will also want to have a comfy spot for them to chill with you in the living room.
The couch may seem like an obvious choice, however Zeus usually ends up back on the floor sooner than later (don’t ask me why; he has a mind of his own!), so a soft doggie bed will be well used & loved!
#7 – Dog Food
You’ll want to talk with your breeder as to what kind of dog food your puppy has been eating before moving on to this step.
My puppies will be eating dry puppy chow by the time they come home and I send a bag of the food their little tummies are used to when they come home with you.
If you want to switch them over to a different brand, it is important to transition them slowly so they don’t get an upset tummy.
It is typically recommended to keep them on puppy chow for the first year because of all the nutrients designed for their growing bodies.
Your vet’s office will have high quality dog food that has less fillers than you would find at a retail store brand and will be specifically geared toward any dietary needs your dog may have, so use your vet as the amazing resource that they are!
You will also want to think about the dog food container you’ll be using; there is something to be said for a tidy, organized way to store their kibbles.
#8 – Shampoo
Just like with their dog food, your puppy will be used to a certain kind of shampoo.
It absolutely breaks my heart to hear of dogs passing away from cancer… We often think about dietary health, but tend to forget that many shampoos have carcinogens and other unhealthy ingredients in them!
All of my dogs & puppies use MONAT Pet Shampoo exclusively for that very reason.
Not only is it a healthy, all-natural option – but it makes my pups smell AMAZING and feel sooo soft!
The MONAT Pet Deodorizer spray is fabulous for a “between baths” freshen-up, as well.
(Call or message me for info on getting 15%-30% off)
Starting with good dental hygiene early in your puppy’s life will save you time, money, and headache in the long run.
Regular brushing of their teeth, good chew toys, and dental treats should be a “MUST” on your puppy shopping list!
Check out a few of these options:
#10 – First Aid Kit
While I hope that you never need a first aid kit for anyone in your family, being prepared makes emergencies less stressful!
We live in the country, as many Sasketchewan folks do, so a trip to the city can be a fairly long drive… In a pet emergency, it may be too longof a drive without some primary care before hitting the road!
You will never regret having a first aid kit on hand – so make this one a priority!
#11 – Tick Treatment
Eww! Eww! And eww!!!
I hate ticks soooo much, so if you’re anything like me you want them all dead.
Tick prevention will be an important part of your summer to-do list; you will want a tick removal kit on hand even if you choose to use medication or tick collars.
Very important note: when your puppy comes home at 8 weeks old, you should see your vet for tick medication to make sure you are getting a treatment that is approved for their age.
Okay, enough on that topic. Ticks are gross!
#12 – Pee Pads & Poo Bags
If you plan to train your dog to “go” on pee pads, this is an item you’ll want to stock up on (be warned, you’ll have to keep an eye on your puppy if you use disposable pee pads so they don’t chew their pee pad at first… Teething puppies will chew anything!)
Reusable/washable pee pads are a much better option than the disposable version and will save you money if you plan to use pee pads long term.
The poo bags will help you do your part to be a good neighbour; no one wants to clean up after someone else’s dog when they drop a stink bomb while out for a walk!
Most poo bag systems can be attached to the leash or harness so you have a clean bag handy whenever you need it.
#13 – Training Bell
My dogs all come running when I knock on the font door… It is sooo cold during the winter that I don’t want to open the door to call them in and let the chill into the house anymore than I have to! Summer or winter, they know that’s their cue to come in.
On the flip side, why not train your dog to call you to let them out?!
You can go with an old-school bell (like a real bell) or a fancy modern system.
The point is that your dog learns when they use their bell, they get to go outside to do their business so you don’t have accidents in the house or excessive barking as their way of telling you they need to go out.
#14 – Clippers
If you plan to take your dog to the groomer for all their haircuts, you will not need clippers.
Many families, however, will do a bit of a trim between grooming appointments to keep an updated Schnauzer cut.
Some families even have chosen to learn how to do a proper Schnauzer cut and will take the time to do haircuts every 6 weeks or so! (This takes practice and patience!)
If you plan to try your hand at trims or hair cuts, I strongly suggest that you spend the cash on quality clippers!
I have found that anything less than $150-$200 clippers tend to dull very quickly, which in turn will start pulling the hair rather than cutting well and your poor dog will NOT be a happy camper!
I personally have used the Wahl brand for many years now and have been happy with the quality of their pro-level clippers – plus their customer service has been fabulous if I have questions or concerns.
#15 – Nail Clippers
If you plan to look after your dog’s grooming, nail clippers are another tool you’ll need to have.
Make sure you do your research on how to properly clip your dog’s nails because if you clip them too short it will hurt your dog – and the nail will bleed if clipped too short… Ouch!
#16 – Travel Accessories
If you love to travel like we do, you’ll want to have some great travel accessories for your pup to make the trip comfy and organized.
Here are just a few suggestions:
16.A – Travel Bag
A nice organized travel bag just makes life so much easier by keeping everything you need at your fingertips.
If you keep their travel bag packed with the necessities, heading out for a weekend at the lake can be as simple as “grab & go” – well, at least for your pup! 😉
If you get a travel bag these likely will be included, however if you want to trim down to the basics you can buy your travel bowls separately.
Collapsable bowls are great for day trips out hiking!
16.C – Doggie Car Seat
You would NEVER think of putting your child in the car without making sure they are buckled up, so why would your dog be any different?
If you were to get into an accident, the last thing you want is for your dog being injured.
In addition to accident safety, a doggie car seat will make sure they are not becoming a distraction trying to clim onto your lap as you drive or attempting to check out the groceries in the back of your car.
Most doggie car seats are easy to install or remove from your vehicle as needed and will clip onto your dog’s harness.
16.D – Playpen
If you travel a lot and don’t want to tote your pup’s crate with you, a playpen may be a good option.
You may also want to consider a play pen if you do not want to give your pup full run of the house right off the bat.
16.E – Lifejacket
If you spend much time on the water, this one is a MUST!
Even if your puppy learns to swim, if you are in the middle of the lake and they decide to jump into the water I would rather be safe than sorry!
Most life jackets come with a handle on top so it is easy to grab your dog out of the water, if need be.
The reflective design on many of the lifejackets is also great for the added visibility!
16.F – Portable Dog Crate
When air travel picks back up again, this will be something you’ll need!
Even for road trips, portable dog crates can come in handy for hotels or staying with family; it will smell like home and give your pup their “safe place/bedroom.”
If your puppy is still teething, they may try chewing soft-sided crates.
NEVER – I repeat – NEVER rely on that flimsy little handle on a plastic crate to carry your dog (see the red & black crate below as an example).
The plastic handle is meant for transporting an empty crate and is easily removable.
#17 – Training Books
Let’s be honest here…
Training a dog is more about training the human.
What do I mean by that?!
We humans tend to want instant gratification and can get lazy so fast!
While dogs can learn quickly, they need consistent, persistent reinforcement.
If we are inconsistent in rewarding good behaviour or disciplining bad behaviour, it is confusing to Fido!
So why not get a book or two on how to train your dog? Or even check out tutorials on YouTube!
I try to be a resource for my puppy families, but by no means do I have all the answers – so I am more than happy to rely on professional dog trainers for their pro tips!
#18 – Jacket & Booties
Here in Saskatchewan, we get some of the most brutal winters in North America (okay, that may be an exaggeration, but we do get some really harsh winters).
On a January day at -40 C (with a wind chill of -58 C) with drifting snow, a person can get frostbite in somewhere around 10 minutes!
Sooo, as smart people we bundle up when we have to go out.
Did you know that your dog’s paws can get frostbite, too?
If you see your dog shifting from one foot to the other in cold weather, chances are their poor little toe pads are freezing!
Using booties will help protect your dog’s feet (oh, and they walk sooo funny the first time you put them on, so be sure to have your camera ready for the adorable, awkward high-stepping!)
As far as jackets go, when a Schnauzer has a fresh haircut they don’t have the warm, insulating fluff to keep them warm so they will greatly appreciate a cozy jacket to keep them from shivering in the cold.
Plus – there are some pretty cute jacket options to choose from these days!
#19 – Toys
Last, but not least – toys!
I left this one for last because there are just too many fun toys to choose from!
From a classic ball to play fetch to a frisbee or even cool ball launchers, you have so many choices!
Chew toys are a MUST for a teething puppy if you want to save your shoes; you’ll want to look for chew toys with nubs that will feel good on puppy’s gums and maybe a flavoured chew toy to make it more attractive than other non-puppy-friendly options around your house.
And why not just splurge and get a monthly toy subscription box for your pup?! We love our Bark Boxes and your pup will too!
Did I miss anything?
Was anything missing from my list? Drop a comment below!
I have had a lot of questions from families, asking me what to expect when they bring their puppy home.
Adding a new member to the family is a big responsibility, and I know these families are all trying to be as well prepared as possible.
No one wants to be blind-sided by an unexpected situation they aren’t prepared for!
Some of the most common questions I get are things like…
Will they cry at night?
What if they don’t eat right away?
Is it normal for them not to “do their business” and just sniff around the yard or play?
These are all very good questions! And I have some insight to help out with the first days bringing a new puppy home.
Before you bring puppy home
First and foremost, preparation is key!
Talk with your family vet. If you do not have one already, make sure you have chosen one that you feel comfortable with.
Why is this so important?
If your puppy has any kind of medical issue or accident after they come home, your vet should be your first call.
Obviously, before coming home they should have a clean bill of health from a vet and come with their first shots, but better safe than sorry to make sure your family vet is on speed dial just in case Fido eats grandma’s dentures and you’re not sure what to do!
Second, puppy proof your home!
Puppies are like kids in so many ways…
They cry at night…
They get into mischief…
Aaaand, they put EVERYTHING in their mouths when they are teething!
So make sure that you have vulnerable things put out of reach, such as wires, couch pillows, and – at the expense of sounding cliché – yes, your shoes!
Teething puppies like anything that feel good on their sore little gums.
Make sure that you have some quality chew toys for them to sink those little teeth into and you’ll be ahead of the game.
Will my puppy cry at night?
Yes, the sad part of the first night – or week – is that your puppy will likely cry at night!
They are used to sleeping with their momma and siblings, so sleeping all alone in their crate takes some getting used to.
I know some people are softies and will let their puppy sleep in bed, so if you are one of those just make sure you take them out right before bed and perhaps a couple times during the night to help make sure you don’t end up with any suspicious wet spots in the bed.
There are a few things that will help your puppy sleep at night.
The first is having their crate in the bedroom with you; they will know they are not alone and this will help comfort them.
The classic “ticking clock” is truly a timeless soother, so you can consider putting one by their bed.
Also, a bottle filled with hot water and wrapped in a blanket can give the illusion of snuggling a warm sibling.
I have had amazing feedback from many families about the Snuggle Pet, as well.
It is a stuffed animal for your puppy, with a pocket for a heat pack and a battery-powered heart with heartbeat sound and vibration, which also helps simulate sleeping with momma and siblings.
What if they don’t eat right away?
This is very normal, so don’t worry!
All the excitement with new smells and cool new areas to check out is just so much to take in!
For my pups, I do not feed them within a couple hours of a car ride to help reduce the chances of car sickness.
They will be hungry in their own time, but be patient with them and let them adjust to the new environment.
Put food out for them and let them decide when they are ready to eat.
Yes, it is also normal for your puppy to be more interested in playing or sniffing around their new territory than doing their business…
So once again, be patient with them. It takes time to adjust.
I personally have done my fair share of 3 AM walks to make sure we didn’t have any messes in their crate (while in my housecoat – in chilly temperatures, no less!) so I understand the struggle of wishing that puppy would hurry up and get down to business.
Oh, and on that note… how often should you take puppy out?
The “rule of thumb” is their age in months +1 in hours…
So for example, they come home at 2 months old.
Add “1” and you can expect they should be able to hold it for 3 hours.
Also, like kids, it helps not to give them food or water RIGHT before bed! I usually will take their trays away about an hour before bed.
What about feeding?
I free-feed my puppies, which means that they get to eat as much as they would like during the day.
As a puppy with a growing body, it takes a lot of energy!
When they are a year old, talk with your vet to see if a special diet is needed.
Also, you should keep them on puppy chow until they are a year old.
Puppy chow is specially formulated with nutrients for their growing bodies.
If you decide to switch them to a different puppy food when you first bring them home, make sure to mix it with food they are accustomed to and transition them to the new food over the matter of a week or so.
Typically you want to add 75% food they have been eating to 25% new food on the first couple feedings.
Then, modify to 50/50 for several days.
Next, mix their food with 75% new food and 25% original brand for a few more days.
Finally, if they are adjusting well to the new food, transition them completely to the new brand.
If they seem to be having issues with throwing up, diarrhea or constipation you should not continue with the transition to the new brand of puppy food and get in touch with your vet.
We have other pets; how do we do introductions?
I personally am a big believer in allowing your puppy to get to know you first, before introducing other pets.
It has already been an exciting day, filled with new things, so take it slow.
Keep your other pets away until you feel your puppy is confident in their new surroundings.
When you introduce them, make sure the older pet is not aggressive toward your puppy and monitor all interactions closely until you are confident they are BFF’s.
Your puppy will likely take a bit of time to warm up to the “newcomer” and realize they can be pals.
That is normal. Give it time and keep a close eye on them.
If your other pet is getting up there in years, they may not be thrilled with the endless energy and enthusiasm of a puppy and can take a while to warm up from their end of the relationship.
Cats. What about cats? Well…. If your cat is fully grown and your puppy is a tiny thing, they tend to learn to respect each other better than if your dog were fully grown meeting a cat for the first time.
Bianca was a tiny 9 or 10 week old puppy when our kitty stole Bianca’s puppy bed.
She didn’t know what to do about it and gave up barking at the cat after a while.
To this day, she still has no interest in chasing cats!
And lastly, but certainly the best part, enjoy the snuggles!
They only stay little for so long and their puppy antics (and puppy breath!!!) only last for a short time.
Enjoy the absolute attention and loyalty they just brought to your home.
Enjoy the wiggly bum when they know you have a treat for them.
Enjoy that long sigh they make when they are snuggled on top of you, just about to fall asleep.
Yes, puppies are a lot of work.
But the wonderful companionship and hilarity of their silly moments all make it worth the effort, which seems small in comparison!
Did I miss a question you had? What are you looking forward to most when your puppy finally comes home?
When emergency hits unexpectedly, we all want to be as prepared as possible. You may have your flashlights, water, and generators ready, but do you have a pet emergency kit put together?
If your answer is “no” then there is no time like the present to get one put together!
So what should you have in your pet emergency kit?
#1 – Food
You’ll want 3-7 days of dog food in a water proof container or canned dog food. Obviously keeping consistent with the kind of dog food they are used to will be important so they do not end up with an upset tummy switching to something new during an already stressful time.
#2 – Water
Clean, sealed drinking water for 3-7 days. Water is easily one of the most important parts of an emergency kit! During fires, floods, earthquakes, etc. you may not have access to clean drinking water – and we all know drinking contaminated water can make your pup sick fast!
#3 – Food and water dishes
Once you’ve packed the food and water, don’t forget that you’ll need a dish to give it to your pup.
#4- First aid kit
A first aid kit is essential during emergencies; you need to be prepared for the unfortunate event that your pet is injured.
#5 – Medications
Keep any medications your pup needs with written instructions. Don’t forget to keep current with any expiration dates by checking and restocking your emergency kit as needed.
#6 – Vet records
Have your dog’s vet records handy with proof of vaccinations and your vet’s contact information. If they get separated from you or have to be rescued while you are not home during a natural disaster, this will be valuable information for their caregivers.
#7 – Collar and leash
If you want to go a step beyond a collar and leash, you can go with an LED lighted harness to keep your pup visible and safe at night.
#8 – Favourite toy and blanket
Having a little piece of home during an emergency can go a long way to keep your dog calm and relaxed.
#9 – Kennel or crate
If your dogs are anything like mine, their crate is their safe place. If they are scared (or know they’re in trouble), right to the crate they go! Not only does this give you a way to transport them, but it will make them feel safe while on the move.
What else do you keep in your pet emergency kit?
I would love to hear from you! Are there items that should be on this list?
Don’t forget to check your emergency kit twice a year to make sure everything is stocked and expiration dates are current! You can do this at the same time you change the batteries in your smoke detectors if that helps you remember when to restock your kit.
Oh boy… Where do I start with this HUGE personality? Zeus is a big ham – when I don’t have a camera out, anyway. As soon as Zeus sees the camera he gets all shy, like an out-going kid who never takes a good picture…
He loves to be the center of attention when we have company and will do anything to get as many snacks and snuggles as he can. Oh, but not long snuggles… There are so many things to do and places to patrol.
First thing in the morning, he needs to do his patrol around our property when he goes outside… His rounds are almost always the same; pee on mom’s driver-side tire (to make sure no other dogs try getting chummy), proceed in a clockwise manner around the house and pee on the tree, then the other bush, then come back to the front step when finished.
OH! And barking at the cat is MANDITORY any time that slinky feline may be anywhere within earshot… Because cats are totally the worst.
Zeus is a happy-go-lucky, sometimes shenanigans-causing, wet-nosed teddy bear. Have you ever tried giving a haircut to an unwilling, wiggly little critter only to have them sheepishly act like they didn’t mean to make it take 3 times as long once they’re done..? Yeah, they know you can’t stay mad.
Favorite treat? FOOD! Any kind of food will go over quite well… Except maybe veggies, one wouldn’t want to be too healthy. Although, for as much as Zeus likes his treats, Lady is often smart enough to pull off stealing his treat and still getting her own if I don’t catch her scheme in time.
Funny Quirk? The first endearing trait that jumps to my mind isn’t really a quirk… It is the gentle way that Zeus plays with his pups, rolling onto his back and letting them climb all over him, tugging at his ears. He will pounce playfully toward them and then they playfully mimic the pounce back at him.
Want to know more about Zeus? Shoot me a message!
And don’t forget to check out our YouTube channel with all kinds of adorable puppy videos – including one of the few moments I have caught on camera of Zeus playing with pups (remember the camera-shy thing).