After breeding for as many years as we have been here at Lil Bit-O-Goldens, we have tried so many different products over the years. Below are some products that we use here and recommend for our puppy families!
Checklist for bringing your new puppy home!
Crate or puppy pen
Food and water bowls
Waterproof mat for under the bowls
Grooming supplies; brush, shampoo, nail clippers/file
Toys, toys, and more toys!
We have used MANY foods over the years and have a handful that we have liked and currently use in rotation with our own dogs. Since we have a few dogs that can be picky eaters we generally rotate these foods every few months to keep everyone happy.
Foods that our dogs approve of taste wise and we approve of for the amount of food that they need to be fed to be in great shape, have a nice luxurious coat, and does not give them overly smelly or frequent bowel movements are: Nutri Source Large Breed, Loyall Life Large Breed or All Stages of Life, Black Gold Explorer, and Royal Canin Large Breed or Golden Retriever.
For puppy foods we use one of two brands, either Nutri Source Large Breed Puppy or Loyall Life Large Breed Puppy. We send home a small bag of puppy food with every puppy, depending on what the moms are eating when the puppies start transitioning to solids will determine what brand of puppy food we will send home with your puppy.
NuVet Plus: Heal and protect your pet for life!! As a dog breeder, animal health is my top priority. That’s why we enthusiastically recommend NuVet Plus immune system builder to all of our customers. Simply put, it is the best nutritional supplement available today.
Hundreds of thousands of dogs and cats are using NuVet Plus to provide optimal health and a strong immune system. A strong immune system will protect them from environmental and food toxins such as back yard pesticides, hormones, toxic formaldehyde in furniture and carpeting. NuVet Plus also supports proper development as well as a beautiful skin and coat.
This is not just a vitamin. It’s an immune system builder with a precise balance of vitamins, minerals, omega fatty acids, amino acids and high-potency antioxidants. That’s why it works so well through all three stages of a dog’s life.
For puppies - Fills the immunity gap all puppies experience. Shortly after birth maternal antibody effectiveness is greatly reduced. By 8 weeks your puppy’s immune system is at a vulnerable point. Once in their new home, the immune system is weakened by the stress of adoption and exposure to novel bacteria and viruses in their environment. This is also when the vaccine series is started. Vaccines are most effective if the immune system can respond properly. Starting NuVet Plus now is important to helping your puppy grow into a healthy adult.
For dogs in their prime - Provides the necessary antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals to sustain peak performance during the prime of their lives.
For older dogs - Helps provide the nutritional needs to live long, happy, and productive lives in their senior years.
We highly recommend NuVet Plus to keep your pet on the path to perfect health! It’s not available in stores, and is only available to the general public with an order code from an authorized pet professional.
For your convenience, you may order directly from the manufacturer by calling 800-474-7044 and using Order Code: 26516, or ordering online at www.nuvet.com/26516. You can also save an additional 15% and assure you never run out of NuVet by choosing the “AutoShip” option at check out.
Crates & Gates
Generally our goldens have free range of the house with gates to keep them in/out of certain areas. However we do have crates for the times that we need to keep them a little more confined. We do recommend crate training your puppy when you first bring him/her home.
Crates & Gates: Most of my puppy families ask about crate training and what crates I would recommend. Our Goldens are not normally in crates as they have free range of the house or we block them in the kitchen/laundry area using baby gates if we need them to stay in one place or be separated but we do have a Collie who likes to cause mischief and needs to be crated at night and while we are away. We have the iCrate for her. Other puppy families have purchased the Amazon Basics Crate and really liked them. I prefer and recommend that you start right off the bat with the extra large crate (approximate dimensions 42L x 30W x 28H), most come with dividers if you want to keep your puppy in a smaller area. I also like to have the double door option but that is totally up to your discretion.
Another option, which is what I will keep the puppies in from the age of 4 weeks until they go home is a puppy play pen. You can get them in various sizes and make them bigger or smaller as needed. These are great for not only in the house but outside as well if you do not have a fenced in yard or just want to have your puppy outside with you but in a safe and secure area.
You will want a large variety of toys such as bones/hard toys to chew, balls, soft, crinkle, different shapes/textures, toys that you can hide treats in to keep your puppy busy. Plenty of toys during the puppy/teething phase will help to keep your pup occupied and hopefully from chewing on this he/she shouldn't!
The first few nights home are a big adjustment for your puppy as they're not only in a new environment but also are away from their siblings. To help the transition we recommend having a medium sized stuffed animal that your puppy can snuggle with at night. The snuggle puppy is a great option with its heart beat and heat pack it mimics another puppy.
Kong and Nylabone are two of our favorite brands for toys that are tough and can stand up during the chewing stages and even later if you have a pup who is rough with toys.
For bones we use 7" naturally flavored and seasoned beef bones.
While we do recommend having balls to play with, we do not recommend regular solid balls or tennis balls due to them being abrasive to dogs' teeth, they pose a choking hazard, and the dyes/glues in them can be toxic. Instead we recommend rubber balls that have a hole through the middle. With a hold in the middle, if your dog accidentally chose on the ball, the hole provides air flow and prevents suction.
We never recommend rope toys with the fringe pieces on the ends, dogs tend to pull at the fringe and tear them apart, this poses as a blockage risk when too much is ingested. For that reason, we make all of our rope toys out of fleece and tightly braid or knot multiple pieces together. You can also use old socks, towels, or paracord to make these toys. These toys are great for teething as the puppies like to chew on the knots or you can wet the toy and throw it in the freezer for a while then use it as a soothing teething toy. A frozen wash rag works is also great in a pinch for teething puppies! Some dogs are more destructive than others, so you want to be sure to check these types of toys regularly to be sure that your dog is not trying to chew it up/chew pieces off.
We also do not recommend raw hide as it is essentially a leather chew toy that is made with toxic chemicals. Not only do they contain toxic ingredients but also, they pose a serious choking hazard.
For bringing your puppy home, I recommend having a couple of beds on hand just in case there's any accidents. For the crate, I recommend a smaller bed until your puppy is potty trained. We generally use MidWest Homes beds in our dogs crates, depending on how big your crate is, I would recommend getting 2 - 22 to 24 in beds so it only takes up half of the crate. This way if your puppy has an accident hopefully it's not on their bed and if the bed does get dirty you have a back up just in case.
For outside the crate or once potty trained and you're ready for a bed that fits the entirety of the crate, we recommend Kuranda beds. They have beds that can be used in combination with your crate as well as bed pads for extra comfort. Kuranda beds keep your dog's joints healthier throughout their lifetime. The elevated design evenly distributes your dog's bodyweight which eliminates pressure points that cause sore hips, shoulders, elbows etc. Those pressure points can also cause callouses on the elbows. They're also easy to clean and durable. Kuranda Beds make a great, clearly defined space that is ideal for place training and are comfortable so dogs are happy to go to place and stay there for long periods of time. The clear boundaries relieve confusion about whether they are on or not on place and when dogs clearly understand what you want, they are happier.
The next best alternative to a Kuranda bed would be an orthopedic bed that also distributes your pups weight and soothes joints/pressure points.
An adjustable collar – At 8 weeks most of our puppies will need a 10-15-inch adjustable collar with it adjusted to around 11 inches when they first go home. It's ok if the collar is a little big at first as we do not recommend leaving your puppies collar on when he/she is not being supervised. Especially while they are in their crate/puppy play pen. There are many ways for the collars to get snagged on crates, gates, with other dogs, or even on other household items and can pose as a strangulation risk.
Harness - A harness is another great option to have on hand for when you're on walks or out of the house to deter your puppy from pulling and if he/she does pull it doesn't put pressure on their necks.
Leashes – A leash is a must for any puppy/dog. I would recommend having a couple of leashes in varying lengths. A longer leash will be nice for outside potty breaks or taking walks. A short leash (1 to 2 feet) is wonderful for teaching your dog to stay in stride with you or in higher traffic areas where you want him/her to stay close.
Slip lead – This is one of my absolute favorite leads for after 10-12 weeks of age and up. For training a young puppy the slip lead when put on correctly (in the form of a P over their head) will tighten when your puppy pulls or tugs and automatically loosen once he/she lets up. It is also super convenient to quick grab to slip over their heads for quick spur of the moment trips.
Food and Water Bowls
For food and water we recommend heavy duty stainless steel or crock bowls so they're not too easy to tip over. You'll also likely want a water proof mat to put under the bowls as sometimes our puppies like to play in their water.
Below is list of grooming supplies you'll need if you plan to do most of your puppies grooming at home. Even if you have plans to take your puppy to the groomer throughout his/her life you will still need a few basic brushes, a perfume to keep your dog smelling good between baths, and a back up shampoo just in case you need to give an impromptu bath.
Brushes: My personal go to brush for my dogs is a Wahl 2 sided brush or the Wet Brush for pets. For puppies I have a few smaller brushes that are similar two sided brushes or soft bristles.
For shedding many people swear by the Furminator, which is a great product that I have as well, but I find myself grabbing the Wahl 2 in 1 Combination Double Row Rake more often to pull out the loose hair on my dogs.
Bathing: A lot of baths are not good for dogs coats, it strips their skin and fur of its natural oils making it dry. One reason for excessive shedding is a dry coat. For that reason, I only recommend bathing your dog every couple months unless absolutely necessary. The wonderful thing about Goldens is they have a double coat, so when your pup decides to dig a hole after it's been raining and is covered from top to bottom in mud, don't fret. Let him/her dry off in a secluded place where they can't make even more of a mess and once they're dry you can brush almost all of the dirt right off of them! A great way to keep your pup smelling fresh between baths is either a dry "waterless" shampoo or some doggy perfume.
Shampoos - I am always buying and trying new dog and puppy shampoos but below are a few favorites that we keep in rotation.
Tropiclean - Tropiclean is my current favorite line of products. They have an array of formulas from flea/tick shampoo, shed control, conditioners, medicated, detangling, waterless, tear stain remover, deodorizing sprays, pet wipes, and teeth products.
Veterinary Formula Snow White Shampoo - when the dogs are especially dirty or stained from some of their favorite activities (like playing in the freshly mowed grass and come inside green or during the summer months when they spend a lot of time playing in either their water dishes or pools and start to turn a little yellow).
Pet Head Dirty Talk - is great for smelly dogs, Goldens love to find mischief and many times have come in after a day of playing in the yard smelling absolutely terrible.
Aloedine - in the past with our American Goldens we had a lot of skin issues, hot spots, allergies, etc along with having horses, we always keep Aloedine on hand. I have a lot of people that get puppies from me who have other dogs with skin issues and they ask what they can use to help clear it up, I always recommend Aloedine and many have said it's worked wonders for them. It's a mix of aloe and .5% iodine which helps sooth and heal skin conditions.
Waterless Shampoo - Tropiclean Berry Coconut or JP Pet Oatmeal Waterless Foam
Pet Perfumes: Anything Tropiclean or Pet Head Watermelon knot detangler
Nail clippers: I use clippers for large dogs and have a simple nail file on hand for in between trimmings or to file down darker nails after I've clipped them a little as to not cut too much.
I know some people are not comfortable with clipping their dogs nails, for those that don't want to have to take their dog in for a nail trim but are afraid of cutting too far with a traditional clipper themselves, a nail grinder is a great solution.
For those that do trim their dogs nails at home, I recommend always having some Styptic Powder on hand. In the event that you cut too far, pour some of this powder on the nail to help stop the bleeding.
Treats are something I am frequently asked about. For the first few weeks, I do not recommend giving any treats until your puppy has adjust and is doing well with potty training and then introduce treats one at a time as to not upset your puppies’ system too much. For those first few weeks if you are wanting to give a treat as a reward, I recommend using pieces of their food or breaking their NuVet vitamin into multiple pieces and then give it throughout the day as a treat. My favorite treats for training are Nutri Source Soft and Tender treats. They come in either bone shapes or small bite size pieces. The ones that come in bone shapes I always take the entire bag and cut each bone into 5-6 pieces as soon as I open them. You want to remember that treats will count as part of your puppy’s daily calorie intake and too many treats can attribute to weight gain. Besides you only need a small piece of the treat for training purposes. As adults my dogs get a lot of fresh fruits or veggies as treats. Be aware of which foods are ok and which are toxic to dogs! Blueberries and bananas are a favorite for most of my dogs.
If you will be flying to pick you puppy up, you will want an airline approved soft sided pet carrier to keep your puppy in during your flight home. This carrier will need to fit under the seat in front of you and have approximate dimensions of 20"L x 11.4"W x 12.4"H.
Taking trips with your puppy throughout his/her life a few items you may consider are seat covers, a seat belt, on the go water bottle, for longer trips a bag to carry bowls/food.
If you have a nervous pup in the car, the hemp calming chews are great.