There are few days more exciting than the day your new puppy comes home. But before you can welcome your pooch to their new home, you’ll want to make sure you're fully prepared. That means securing all of the essentials to ensure that your puppy is healthy, happy, and comfortable from the moment they come home.
We're going to help you get organized ahead of the big day with our New Puppy Checklist. Refer to it as you gather everything you need, from the must-have items like dog id tags, to items that can wait until your pup is settled in.
If you'd like a hard-copy of this list, you can get the PDF version here!
Related: How Often Do You Walk Your Dog?
The following are must-have items you absolutely need at the ready before you bring your pup home.
Any pooch that goes outside will need a collar. This will allow you to keep your them on a leash and clip on their dog tag, so that you can be contacted quickly should they get lost.
Attaching a personalized dog tag to your puppy's collar is the fastest way to bring your dog back home if they get lost. We offer a wide range of dependable pet ID tags that are built to last and provide all of the pertinent information necessary for making sure your dog comes back home. And we might be a bit biased, but our tags are the cutest ones out there!
- Dog Bowls
Your puppy is going to eat, a lot! You need good, solid dog bowls for food and water. Puppies can get messy so you want to be sure the bowls you purchase are ready to meet the challenge of an energetic pup.
- Dog food
There are many brands on the market so you'll need to do a little research into the best options out there. Talk to your veterinarian about the kind of nutritional demands that must be met for your puppy and which types of food he or she recommends.
- Treats for training
Another necessity as you begin to train your puppy in the dos and don’ts. Puppy training is a must, as your pup need to be taught right from wrong in a kind and caring manner from day one. You do not want to allow bad habits, like peeing indoors or chewing on shoes, to take root. Positive reinforcement is the best way to teach new puppies right from wrong. And nothing works better than treats when it comes to encouraging your pup to behave! If you don't have time to get their treats from a pet store, certain foods like bell peppers, asparagus, or watermelon can be used as treats as well.
- Dog Bed and Crate
You want to give your puppy a safe place to rest when playtime gets them all tuckered out. A comfortable dog bed lets your puppy establish their domain and helps in the training process as well. Some owners choose crate training as a way to form a strong sense of discipline in their dogs. If you decide to go this route, you want to be sure the crate is large enough to accommodate your pup's size and doesn't make them feel contained.
- Dog Toys
Puppies love to play, but you don't want anything and everything in the house becoming a dog toy. So you want to get your pup some toys that are theirs to enjoy. Toys encourage activity and playtime, and are important for your dog's development and growth.
- Cleaning Supplies with Stain/Odor Remover
Your puppy is going to have an accident in the house - it’s inevitable. You just need to accept that fact from the get-go and acknowledging this eventuality means purchasing some cleaning supplies specially formulated for pet messes and the odors that can linger afterward. Get the strong stuff - you'll be glad you did.
- Poop Bags/Pooper Scooper
Cleaning up after your pup during a walk is a common courtesy you should always recognize. Local ordinances might be in place and it's just a good neighborly habit to practice. If you have a private yard, you still want to pick up the mess after your pup is finished going to the bathroom. Dog waste can harm your grass, and you probably don't want to spend time enjoying your front or back yard while navigating around pet poop.
Puppy Grooming Supplies
These are the necessary items you want to have on hand to keep up with your pet's hygiene.
- Nail Trimmer
It's recommended that you start to clip a puppy's nails at around six weeks. This recommendation has more to do with training a new puppy than their actual nail length. The nails may not have grown too much, but you want to get the pup used to the routine at an early age. The more comfortable the dog is with having their nails cut, the easier it will be for them (and you) as they grow.
- Dog Toothbrush & Paste
At roughly eight to sixteen weeks, you'll want to start brushing your puppy's teeth. It's good for their dental hygiene and, much like with clipping their nails, the earlier you get them accustomed to this practice, the better.
- Dog Brush/Comb
Puppies enjoy having their coats brushed, and it's especially important for some breeds to be brushed so as to avoid knots and kinks from developing.
- Puppy Shampoo
The right shampoo is going to help your pup's coat look and smell its best. Plus, it can help to untangle any knots that might show up in longer-haired breeds.
The Optional Stuff
These are the optional items that you may not need for your puppy in your particular situation. But many dog owners have found these accessories to be invaluable.
- Gate or Playpen
Puppies love to explore and you can bet they will very quickly find themselves in places where they don't belong. A gate or playpen is an ideal solution to this common problem. Both items can allow the dog the ability to play while preventing them from getting into parts of the house they shouldn't be in.
- Travel Kennel
If you're planning on taking a trip, a travel kennel is a must. This kennel is designed to keep your puppy safe and secure when traveling from one destination to the next. They are ideal for use on plane trips, but can also be a good idea even if you're taking a road trip.
Many dogs don't take well to wearing a collar around the neck, and many dog owners feel like they are choking their pup when walking them on a leash. A harness can make walking your pup easier on both of you.
- Treat Pouch
As you and your pup begin the training process, you'll quickly realize the importance of treats. A pouch can keep them organized and within arm's reach at all times.
- Good Quality Food Container
Storing your food in a plastic container is often much safer than storing it in the bag, as it's a lot tougher for your puppy to tear open and spill all over the floor. It also keeps the food fresh longer.
- Books on Puppy Training
These books can be a useful resource to help train your pet and alleviate the frustration that can come when your pet won't, no matter how many times you call their name.
- Puppy Pads
Housebreaking pads are an effective tool for getting your puppy to go to the bathroom outside. They are designed to attract the dog to the area where the pad has been placed. The pup goes to the bathroom on the pad instead of the carpet or floor. The goal is to move the pad closer to the door so the pup understands that the bathroom is outdoors. This, of course, takes patience through the training process.
- No Chew Spray
As we've mentioned, puppies love to chew. But they don't always go for what they're supposed to chew, opting instead to turn their attention to the couch, your shoes, and other household items. A good no-chew spray will deter your pup.
Puppies need reliable veterinary care and you want to be fully prepared as your pup will need checkups and shots to stay healthy.
- Getting a Microchip
Microchipping your dog can give you an advantage should the pup go missing. Dog ID tags are a must, but for some added protection consider getting your puppy a microchip.
- Choosing a Veterinarian
Selecting the right veterinarian for your puppy is essential for getting routine checkups and having someone to examine the pup in case of emergency.
- Pet Insurance
Vet bills can get very expensive. In the event your pup gets sick or hurt, pet insurance is there to help defray some of those costs. Too many dog owners have an extremely difficult decision to make between spending significant sums of money they may not have and putting their pet to sleep because they can't afford to cover veterinary costs. Avoid this for yourself by investing in pet insurance.
- Vaccinations and Licenses
Getting your pup all the necessary vaccinations builds their immune system and maintain their wellness so they can fight against infections and illnesses common in dogs. These include rabies, distemper, parvovirus, and many others. Your dog is issued a license after vaccination to let the public know your dog is not a carrier of rabies or other illnesses.
- Medications and Preventive Measures
- Flea & Tick Meds
At the first sign of your pup itching, you'll want to check for fleas. They're not hard to recognize and if your pup is infested, getting a good flea and tick medication will end that itching and discomfort in no time.
- Heartworm Meds
Heartworm infections can be very difficult on a dog, resulting in lung and organ diseases, and even heart failure. Heartworm meds are a must to prevent this from happening.
Sometimes you need a little help with your pup. These are some of the most common services that dog owners consider for the care and comfort of their dog.
- Dog Trainer
In most cases you can manage training your pup at home. But for those strong-willed pups who have discipline issues, a dog trainer can make a world of difference in addressing deep-seated behavioral problems.
- Pet Sitter or Puppy Daycare
When your puppy is young, they need constant attention. But if you're not able to be there because of work or travel, you can hire someone to come to the home or drop your pup off at daycare so you little one isn't lonely.
- Dog Walker
Maybe you just need someone to come by and take your pooch for a walk while you're gone during the day. A dog walker can be there when you aren't able and take your pup for a 30 or 60-minute long excursion around the neighborhood.
- Dog Groomer
Another service that might benefit your puppy. Dog groomers will wash and clip your pup's coat and provide other services like nail clipping and teeth cleaning.
This may seem like a lot to think about when you are getting a new puppy. You're about to take on a major responsibility and first time dog owners may feel a bit confused and more than just a little overwhelmed by all of the supplies and necessities that come with their new best friend. You're going to make mistakes and so will your puppy. That's okay - this is the start of a friendship that will last a lifetime. Focus on giving the pup your unconditional love and everything will work out great.
Want to know more about raising your pup? Be sure to visit the Two Tails Blog for tips, tricks, and advice.