Below is a checklist that we put together with items we consider essential for you to consider/purchase for your golden retriever puppy before he/she gets to your home! We recommend to start looking at these items early and make a plan to get them ordered so they arrive before your puppy does.
Your puppy will be started on Life's Abundance Large Breed Puppy Food. We have been feeding Life's Abundance over 5 years now and have chosen this food due to the high quality ingredients that will promote a healthy immune system and support your puppy's growing joints. We also like it due to its affordability compared to other brands of similar quality and its accessibility. We highly recommend that you continue this food until your puppy is around 12 months of age. Then we recommend to go ahead and switch your puppy to the Life's Abundance All Life Stages Variety or a quality adult food of your choice.
*Make sure to order this food when your puppy is around 6 weeks of age to ensure it gets there before your puppy does! The recommended autoship frequency for the 35lb bag is every 7-8 weeks for an 8 week old puppy eating approximately 1.5 cups/day.
*Even if you intend to feed your puppy something else, we recommend you keep your puppy on the Life's Abundance Large Breed Puppy Food for at least the first 4-6 weeks to keep things fairly normalized and then take 2-4 weeks to have a good long transition period to the new food to avoid upset tummy (food transitions, especially if done to fast, will almost always create an upset tummy).
We personally use and recommend both Life's Abundance and NuVet Supplements. If you are continuing with Life's Abundance Food, it is convenient to also order supplements from the same place. NuVet has a great option in powder form, which is nice for when we start puppies off with mush and for those dogs that don't like to eat a wafer. I recommend a wellness/immune supplement starting at 8 weeks of age to help build the immune system and then implement an agility supplement (glucosamine) around 6 months of age. This can also be given earlier if the puppy has growing pains.
3. Treats for training and chewing
We use and recommend Life's Abundance treats (lots of varieties but our favorites are the Nutritional Rewards and Berry Treats and again, it is really convenient to be able to also purchase healthy treats from the same trusted place), Paw Tree treats (also lots of varieties), TLC Dog Biscuits, Antler Chews, Yak Chews, and Bully Sticks.
Bully Sticks Link; Life's Abundance or Bullybunches.com (good for bulk orders and also have Yak Chews)
We recommend for cost efficiency to buy a large wire crate with a divider you can move as your puppy grows. The divider will allow you to alter the size as the puppy grows and save you from having to buy different size crates! Always take your puppy's collar off when going into a crate so it does not get caught up.
Recommended crate; Frisco Fold & Carry Double Door Collapsible Wire Dog Crate, 42 inch: https://app.chewy.com/hOYq7uH9Ueb
5. Hygiene Items- Shampoo/ear cleaner/bath mist
Life's Abundance, Paw Tree, and NuVet all have nice quality shampoo, ear cleaner, bath mist, etc. with safe and natural ingredients.
Our favorite beds to use are raised beds due to being comfortable, space saving, and most importantly, easy to clean. To save money I would skip buying small beds and just go straight to buying large beds. For crate beds, I would use something that is easy to clean in case of an accident. These beds can be found on Amazon and Chewy.
Your puppy will go home with a puppy collar and leash.
Your puppy will go home with some common toys we personally use. Great options are rubber balls, chew resistant stuffed toys, fleece ropes, West Paw Toys, Kong, etc. We recommend avoiding real rope toys, normal stuffed animals, and rags that can be very harmful when ingested. These can wrap up in the intestines, which can be fatal. Also avoid true tennis balls or make sure once they start to get dirty or deteriorate to throw them out. The glue used on them can rapidly break down your dog's teeth.
Our favorite tool to use when brushing our dogs is the de-shedding tool. It does the best job pulling out the loose undercoat while not damaging the top coat. Curry Combs are also a nice tool to use to get loose undercoat out. Both of these tools can be found on Amazon or Chewy.
10. Nail clippers
Make sure you are regularly trimming nails either yourself or taking them into your vet or groomer to be done! Before puppies go home, we trim toenails about every two weeks or sometimes once a week if they are growing quicker.
11. Veterinary care - Take a look at our page HERE for our Vaccination Protocol
Make sure you do your research on veterinarians and find the best for your pet! Your puppy will have his/her first vaccines around 8 weeks before leaving our home but we recommend you get your puppy into your own vet within 72 hours of bringing them home for a wellness exam to get a second opinion and start building a relationship with your vet and chat about a vaccination schedule.
12. Parasite control - Take a look at our page HERE for our Deworming Protocol
Your puppy will leave with age appropriate preventative deworming. For fleas/ticks we use and recommend Paw Tree spray or a product of your vet's recommendation. Set up a regular deworming schedule with your vet (we recommend your puppy continue to be dewormed at 10,12,16 weeks and then every 1-3 months after that depending on the deworming product). Make sure you get them on a heartworm product as well when it’s age appropriate if heartworm is prevalent in your area.
4. Puppy Training or Obedience classes
We highly recommend obedience classes of some sort. A well behaved dog that has rules and boundaries is a happy dog and happy owner.
If you have any questions or concerns about anything do not hesitate to ask us! If you think of something else you might need that we forgot to list on here let us know! :)
Puppy Pickup Day!
A schedule will be made early on after puppies are born when they can begin going to their new homes. This is typically the day they turn 8 weeks old and after they have had their vet visit for their wellness checks. If this day is on a week day and that does not work for you, we can schedule a day during the following weekend. We ask that you make these days work. You will have plenty of notice to the day of their vet visit and day of pickup to make a plan. We do start charging $20 a day when the puppies turn 8 weeks old if they are still here as we will begin one on one training at this point. If you are interested in your puppy staying longer for training take a look at our Puppy Training Program page.
You will be aware of what the price of your puppy is going to be before you even put your holding deposit down. The total amount due will be what is left to be paid after you have put down your deposit or what you have left if you have been doing payments. This amount will be due in cash upon pickup/meet if we are personally meeting you or BEFORE the puppy leaves our home if we are not personally meeting you. Again, we do not take personal checks and your puppy must either be paid for BEFORE it leaves our home via GoodDog or in cash upon pickup if you are picking up personally.
On the day of pickup we will be doing the following;
1. Activating the 30 days of free insurance
2. Going through Folder that includes vet record, microchip record, current feeding schedule, etc.
3. Enrolling the microchip with your information. The microchip itself has been implanted and paid for by me and the enrollment cost cost is paid by you (Cost $19.50)
4. Registering your puppy with AKC online. Please be prepared with a registered name and a credit or debit card to pay. If you do not have a registered name, I will make one. (Cost $37.99) - OPTIONAL
Please bring with you on the day of pickup;
1. Final payment in the form of cash
2. Credit or debit card for Microchip Enrollment and AKC Registration
3. Registered Name for your puppy (if you do not have one I will make one) if you wish to register your puppy
3. Crate or warm lap for your puppy to ride home. Some people prefer to let their puppy sit on their lap for the ride home as well but the safer option is for your puppy to ride in a crate.
4. Food/Water and bowls to let your puppy have a snack or drink during the trip. We typically keep food to a minimum on travel day to avoid car sickness but if you are traveling a longer distance this may be necessary.
I will potty your puppy before you get here and I recommend to drive as far as your puppy will sleep on the way home. Your puppy pack will include leash, collar, microchip tag, homemade blanket (smells like mama), toys, treats, other fun goodies and information packets. It will be your responsibility to purchase any food and other items for your puppy prior to bringing him/her home.
Again, it is IMPORTANT that you keep in mind that these puppies are not fully vaccinated and are very susceptible to parvo/distemper/ kennel cough, other diseases, all of which are easily spread. PLEASE make sure on the day of pickup you wear clean clothes (including your shoes) and avoid ALL places where dog traffic is higher and there potentially could have been unvaccinated dogs; Vet Office, Dog park, Pet Supply Store, Murdoch's, Home Depot, gas station, etc. We would really prefer you come straight from your house in clean clothes to us and avoid any stops along the way.