Our pets are among the things that bring us the most joy in life. Even tough you could argue owning a pet isn’t really minimalistic nor great for the environment, they always keep us living in the moment and love us unconditionally. When preparing for the arrival of a new puppy, it seems often overwhelming how much stuff there is to buy and how many items you really seem to “need”. Is it possible to raise a puppy the minimal way?
I think that the answer to this question is most certainly yes. Animals aren’t as attached to stuff as we humans are and they aren’t influenced by the latest advertising as well. Puppy mothers raise their pups completely fine without the use of any products. However, there are a couple of things that could help a puppy adapt to our busy human society.
First of all an adjustable harness with a matching leach is important to help keep your pup safe in busy situations or close to traffic. If you choose a harness or a collar is up to personal preference. A collar is easier to put on quickly. However a puppies neck is still very vulnerable , so we chose to use a harness at least until she is fullgrown. A harness and leash can last a long time, so there is no need to buy a complete new one for the puppy. The harness we have for Nalle, was also used by the other family dog when he was smaller and even then we bought it second hand.
The second thing a pup needs is a safe place to sleep. A crate makes creating this place really easy. Dogs learn really fast that the crate is their quiet place where they can sleep and relax without being disturbed. When they know the bench is their place, they won’t use it to poop or pee in. This makes a bench also a great tool for making a dog room clean. To make a bench more comfortable to lie down in, you could put some old sheets or towels at the bottom. Not only do they help in creating a more comfortable environment, they are also easy to clean in the washing machine when accidents do happen.
A bench can also be bought second hand or borrowed from someone with an older dog that doesn’t need the bench anymore to sleep in.
Puppy teeth are very sharp and not so much fun for clothing or hands. It is great to have some stuff around to redirect their playbites on. I personally like to have a strong cotton Play rope for this. They can use it to bite on and it’s a great toy to play together with and bond over. Cotton ropes can be bought in almost any petstore or you can make them yourself with some old t-shirts or rags.
Next to a rope, I always keep some organic carrots on hand. Organic carrots are amazing for teething puppies. When stored in the fridge, the carrot will cool down their painful gums and carrots are hard enough to fulfill every pups biting needs.
A food and drink bowl are also very handy to have. You can also use some bowls you already have at home, they don’t need to be specially designed for dogs. However, I prefer having two bowls specifically for her that are also easy to take with you when traveling.
Since our family has many members that are allergic to dogs, keeping shedding to a minimal and our home as clean as possible is very important to us. In order to attain this, we let Nalle get used to a (shedder) brush and (deshedding) shampoo very early. When hair isn’t a very big issue in your family, these items may not be as necessary for you.
The last but not the least item to get your puppy is a soft toy. This doesn’t need to be anything special. An old towel with a knot in it can do the trick just fine. A secondhand plushie from goodwill will be just as good. Whatever option you choose, a soft toy can provide your pup some comfort in his/her first nights in her new home. She can play with it on her own and when in new and maybe scary situations, a soft toy can comfort her just enough so that the situation will not be as scary anymore. It will be her little friend to comfort her during the first weeks of exploring her new life.
Of course there are many more items you could get for your pup, some of them not as necessary as they seem. Which items you can skip, we will discuss in another post. But for now: what items were really handy having on hand the first weeks/months with your puppy?