The puppy packs given by dog breeders to new dog owners are a balance of breed literature, paperwork, and fun bits and bobs. Puppy packs serve primarily serve to educate the new owner and accompany the puppy into this all new environment.
Most breeders limit themselves to a handful of items in their puppy packs, but there’s so much more breeders can include that won’t cost them a fortune!
The below puppy pack checklist offers a comprehensive list of thoughtful items that are inexpensive, yet extremely useful. This checklist has been exclusively designed by Breeding Business, the number one online dog-breeding magazine, for the Continental Kennel Club website.
1. Paperwork, Health and Vaccination Records
The new owner will have to give the puppy’s new vet an exact breakdown of every health and vaccination record and visit. That way, both the new owner and vet know exactly what the puppy went through (the good and the bad) and both can, from now on, act knowingly.
Along with these health documents, a breeder must also provide a folder with the puppy registration documents, a copy of the pedigree (if applicable), and any other relevant documents. If both parties have signed a contract, signed copies should be kept by both parties.
2. Breed-Specific Literature
Some dog breeds are affected by breed-specific diseases or are naturally more inclined to some specific structural issues, such as arthritis. Other breeds require particular grooming and care given throughout their lives, while some breeds have unique coats that need specific brushing and trimming routines.
Each breed comes with its own unique set of guidelines to respect. As a breeder, you must write up a comprehensive document providing any literature specific to your breed.
New owners should already know these specificities before getting their pups, but you will want to be on the safe side and reiterate on paper, just to be sure that your future puppy owners will have access to all necessary information.
3. Guide for New Puppy Owners
A puppy is a puppy regardless of its breed! You must also provide a general guide to welcoming a new puppy home. This guide should include:
- Must-Have Checklist—toys and equipment to have ready at home
- Potty Training—people worry about potty training so ease them into it
- Puppy Proofing—remind people of clearing the house from dangers
- Socialization—breeders start it, owners should carry on doing it
- Children and Puppies—a warning on what children can and cannot do
- Feeding Schedule—explain what kind of meal planning to follow and why
There are many things you could add, so feel free to include any additional information you judge as valuable.
These tips are often read several times within the first weeks. Just opening the document and reading through will soothe so many frustrations new owners face when welcoming their new puppy.
4. Throw With the Mother's Smell
Look at it from the pup’s perspective: you were thriving with your mother, brothers and sisters for over two months. You enjoyed every single second, you slept a lot, you got used to that breeder walking around, and, suddenly, you are on your own with an unknown human.
It’s dramatic and traumatic. It really is.
More than the litter’s smell, the throw is included to also give the puppy the reassuring smell and feeling of closeness with its mother. Dogs trust their mothers, so having the mother’s scent around will help calm down any stress.
Obviously, the new owner has to take over as the mother figure, so it’s best to engage in reassuring behaviors as soon as possible, such as holding and stroking the puppy, to begin that transition. The process will take a few days, and the pup will follow the new owner around.
5. A Familiar Toy
Same here! A known toy, usually a tennis ball or plush toy, allows the puppy to escape the current trauma of being all alone, separated from everybody else, through play.
Because it is a familiar toy, the puppy will show less reservations and worries playing with it. And we all know that a playing puppy is a thriving puppy!
6. Week-Supply of their Current Food
The digestive systems of domesticated dogs are fragile, and an upset stomach can be expected if a dog’s diet is changed abruptly.
Some new owners may have a specific brand of food in mind for their pups, but others may not. If not, make sure you give them the exact brand and range you use so they can keep using the same seamlessly.
If they are determined to move away from the food you provided the pups, providing them with a decent supply of the current food allows for a smooth transition. Indeed, the new owners can start by mixing both and gradually putting more of their new food into the bowl and less of yours.
7. Sample(s) of Healthy Puppy Treats or Chews
Come on, we’re all so over these $2-a-bag treats.
Nowadays, there are plenty of extremely innovative treats out there. However, innovation isn’t everything. Quality is a very important factor.
You can introduce new owners to some unique treats and chews, and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg if you ask for samples to the manufacturers. They are usually happy to raise awareness of their brands by offering a few bags to serious breeders.
Some ideas of treats and chews to try:
- Fish Skins Crunchy Treats
- Organic Buffalo Bars
- Salmon Jerky
- Antler Dog Chews
- Himalayan Dog Chews
These are just a few ideas, but you can find so many more just by browsing online stores, such as Amazon.com.
8. Foldable Food and Water Bowl
Most forever homes will have both food and water bowls ready a couple of weeks before the new puppy’s arrival. However, most won’t have a foldable bowl they can bring around on the move.
A foldable bowl costs very little and is quite useful when traveling around to the vet, the park, the beach, the city, or anywhere away from home. It’s a cute little addition to your puppy packs that new owners will appreciate because of its usefulness.
9. A Love Letter
Last but not least, I want you to write a sincere love letter to each family. Not a generic one written seven times, but a personalized one for each and every family.
For over eight weeks, you have looked after the entire litter, and you have looked after the mother for years. Some breeders put decades of hard work into their bloodlines. Writing a sincere and short letter wishing the best to each family is easy: tell them why you believe in them and what it was about them that you liked enough to choose them to become the new family for your puppy.
In all honesty, I’ve never received a letter from any breeder in my entire life and just thinking about receiving one gives me the frills.
Let’s Wrap This Up!
A puppy pack must address the four needs new puppy owners often have:
- the need to know everything about the puppy
- the need to learn everything about the breed
- the need to ease the pup into its new environment
- the need to discover new brands, toys, treats, etc.
Finally, don’t forget to show your love and respect for this new family because they are adopting one of your four-legged children. And this matters, too.