There are some affiliate links below, but they are all products I highly recommend. For more info, view my disclosure here.

I’d always wanted to have a puppy, but ended up with awesome, older dogs. Until…one February morning when a box of abandoned puppies popped up on our neighborhood Facebook page. I lasted maybe 20 minutes thinking before dashing over there, and came home with my very first puppy, Roxy!

Then only 3 months later, we did it all again when we rescued Rico. I learned SO many lessons on life with a new puppy over those first few months. For one, don’t go crazy spending a ton of money on cute accessories, cause puppies grow QUICK. Plus, they have sharp teefers that can chew a fluffy bed in no time!

Most Important – Collar and Tag

A good, sturdy collar and tag are the top two things any dog needs, even puppies. I’ve seen a ton of Facebook posts on young dogs that ran off and got lost, so a tag is a must. Poor Ri was so scared of noises that he froze when we put a metal dangling tag on him. We ended up finding Boomerang Tags and we all love them! They work with most collars, letting them have style with none of the clinking you get from other tags.

P.S. Here are more tips on dealing with lost dogs, just in case you need it!

A Cozy Crate & Bed

Crate training is very highly recommended. It didn’t exactly work for Rico, so we had to make some adjustments. We suspect a regular crate was a little too similar to the box he was found in. We instead used this pen below and put R&R in it together, which worked great! 

With Roxy, we got a cute, fluffy bed for inside the pen…which of course ended up being mistaken for a stuffed toy! I quickly realized that thinner, flat beds like the one below worked best for her, and she enjoyed laying on them without being destructive!

Toys & Treats

Kongs are amazing for puppies who get bored easily. Giving them something yummy to chew helps keep their teeth away from your skin! You can add fillers that are easy on the tummy so they don’t get overloaded. I often mix a bit of white rice with peanut butter, and R&R LOVE it. They dash over as soon as the peanut butter comes out of the cabinet.

I also played puzzle games with Rico. Can you tell Roxy is NOT a fan of them, or having to think to get her food? At least Rico loves figuring them out! Click here for some of our favorite dog puzzles!

Potty Accessories

Having a strategy in place for dealing with potty accidents is key to keeping your sanity! We had tile floors everywhere, luckily, so I used these microfiber cloths constantly. The blue was great for cleaning nose art off windows, while the white was perfect for dusting. Any guesses on what the yellow ones were used for? 😉

We didn’t use pee pads, but many swear by them! Pro tip: bacon works GREAT for potty training! Ri was a tough one to train because he was extremely fearful of being outside with all the street noises. Bacon was seriously the only thing that worked to motivate him.

Healthy Food & Yummy Treats

We want to feed our pups the very best food, but it can be a bit challenging to sort through them all. DogFoodAdvisor.com is a fantastic resource for finding the best fit for your family. It breaks down the ingredient lists and shows details of protein/fat/carb content. Plus, you can sign up for their free recall alert service.

I also recommend fish oil, as it’s beneficial in helping the brain and eyes develop properly. For other tips, take a look at my Puppy Wellness Guide. It’ll give your new puppy the healthiest start to a long, happy life.

A great way to save money on one of the most frequent pet expenses is by ordering through Amazon’s Subscribe & Save program. We recently switched Roxy & Rico to Wag dog food, as it’s pretty highly reviewed on DogFoodAdvisor.

By ordering their food through Subscribe & Save, I can save up to 15% when I have at least 5 items selected. Plus, it gets delivered regularly each month, and saves me from carrying bags of dog food out of the grocery store when it’s -20 degrees outside in the winter! Click here to view all the dog food options available through Subscribe & Save.

Pet Insurance

Now, this is something we’ve never actually used for the babies. Mostly because the ones I found wouldn’t work with our vet in Puerto Rico, and by the time we moved to Alaska, most things might’ve been considered a pre-existing condition. I definitely encourage you to check out a few different plans to see if one fits your needs, though!

Money, Honey!

Puppies are NOT cheap. Shots and frequent check ups are pricey, but well worth it, as is a microchip, which I highly recommend. Here are some ways pet owners can save money.

I recently started playing with Stash Invest and this would’ve been a GREAT puppy emergency fund. It’s got a bit of risk behind it, but so far my investment fund has grown over 19%, and I’m getting educated on investments. I mostly like that it’s money set aside from my bank account, so it’s not likely to be spent. And it’s easy to transfer back to your bank account when needed.

For a less risky option, Digit is highly recommended. It syncs with your bank account and determines how much it can add to your savings safely, based on your spending. If you struggle with remembering to save, the monthly fee might be well worth it!

Another way I saved was by shopping online with Ebates. It doesn’t cost anything and PAYS YOU via cash back when you shop at participating stores. Petco is one of their partners, and also where I typically bought most of R&R’s toys, so it was free money! Plus, if you sign up by clicking here, Ebates will give you a $10 bonus credit after your first qualifying purchase! 

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

What did you find to be most essential with a new puppy? Share below!

Roxy & Rico

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