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New Puppy Checklist: 10 Things You Need Before Bringing A New Dog Home

Bringing a new puppy home is fun, but it also requires plenty of preparation. Here's a new puppy checklist: 10 things you need before bringing a puppy home.

Becky Bicks

Updated December 15, 2022 • Published June 07, 2019

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New Puppy Checklist: 10 Things You Need Before Bringing A New Dog Home

While bringing home a brand new puppy is loads of fun, it's also important that you have everything your new pet will need before they arrive at your house.

Before you take the plunge to be a pet parent, there are several questions you need to ask yourself: Are you ready to bring a new puppy into your home? Do you have all the essentials that you need to properly care for them? Have you thoroughly examined a checklist of must-have items before you committed to bringing your puppy home? 

Whether this is your first furry family member or your fifth, making sure you have everything on this new puppy checklist is essential to helping your pup succeed in their new life. Ensuring that your new puppy has access to all of these items is crucial to creating a safe, healthy, and comfortable environment for them to grow in: time to start shopping. 

New puppy checklist: 10 essential items for your new dog

1. Puppy food

Puppies have unique feeding requirements. To set your pup up for long-term nutritional success, you must ensure that you selected the right puppy food for them.

One thing to note here: When you first bring them home, it's recommended that you keep them on the same food that they were being fed previously, and then can slowly transition them to your puppy food preference.

Unfortunately, not all dog food is equal. This means that you will have to be cognizant of ingredients to include or skip when you’re searching for the perfect food for your pup. 

There is plenty to learn when it comes to the topic of feeding your puppy, and one of the single most important facets of this is to ensure that you’re giving your dog food that is quality: more protein and less filler.

In addition, you will also want to ensure that you’re keeping an eye on your puppy’s growth; watch how your dog is growing instead of how much food they leave on the plate.

If you find that your new puppy is not enjoying their food, you will have to transition them to a new one. Again, this should be done slowly and mindfully, as dogs have sensitive stomachs. The same will go for when you eventually transition your pup away from puppy food and help them move on to adult food.

If you’re unsure about your food of choice’s quality, your best bet is to ask instead of guess. Talk to a vet—they can tell you whether or not you've picked a good food for your pup. 

Pro tip: It helps to line up a vet before you bring your dog home.

2. Food and water bowls

The next item on your shopping list before you bring your new puppy home should be dog dishes/bowls.

Be sure to remember to purchase two, as you will give your pet food and water out of these. These are crucial so that your dog has the opportunity to eat and stay nourished and hydrated. Keep in mind that some dogs are allergic to plastic, so you may want to opt for a stainless steel bowl. 

There are a few things that you should keep in mind when it comes to selecting the right match for your pup. First, shallow bowls are the best for puppies. This is because they are often smaller than their adult counterparts.

That being said, you might need to upgrade to a deeper dish as your puppy grows. If you have a pup who is a speed eater, puzzle bowls can be helpful. They help them slow down their eating, keep them mentally stimulated, and prevent boredom.

You can also look into breed-specific bowls. This could be useful if you have a dog that has lengthy ears, such as a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, or a breed with a flat face, such as a French bulldog. With the right research, you will find the perfect one. 

3. A name tag and collar

You'll want your puppy to have a name tag attached to a collar in case your pooch gets loose.

The collar should fit snugly so your pup can't slip out of it. But make sure it’s not too tight. There should be room to slip two fingers between the collar and your dog's neck to ensure there's enough space for your puppy to breathe comfortably. Another option is a harness. You can try both and see which your pet prefers. 

On the identification tags, list your puppy's name, your phone number, your address, and maybe even your email address. Provide as much information as you can, so if and when someone finds your dog, they know who to contact.

Of course, no one ever wants to think about their puppy getting lost, but the reality is that accidents happen, and sometimes, dogs get out. A name tag and collar is a must-have on every pet parent's puppy checklist to ensure your pup will find their way back to you in the event of a mishap. Ask your vet about a microchip for dogs as well. 

4. A leash or two

Your puppy will need to go out regularly to use the bathroom and for exercise. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), you should consider investing in two different types of leashes for your dog:

  • A 4- to 6-foot leash to keep your puppy close by and under control while outside

  • An even longer leash for things like potty training and learning to walk on a leash

While longer leashes certainly have their uses, it’s a good idea to purchase both of these to ensure that you have the right leash for whatever situations you and your dog get into. 

5. Poop bags

When you take your dog for a walk, don’t leave the house without poop bags.

One of the less desirable parts about pet parenting is that you need to pick up your dog's poop and dispose of it properly. If left behind, dog poop can harm grass and even disrupt the ecosystem by introducing bacteria that aren't native to the area.

In addition to this, the bacteria present in dog feces can also prove dangerous to human health. It could also potentially contaminate the water supply. Consider buying biodegradable poop bags, which are better for the environment than plastic bags.

6. Grooming supplies

It's important to take care of your dog's fur, skin, and nails regularly. Either your dog will have to visit a groomer or you will need to do it yourself. To do this, you'll need a puppy brush, puppy shampoo, and puppy nail clippers.

Get these supplies in advance and introduce them to your puppy right away. The sooner you practice maintenance grooming with your puppy, the sooner they'll get used to it, and the less likely they will be to resist it. Make sure to look into what comb type is best for your dog's fur. 

While it’s valuable to have grooming supplies on hand for your pet, and you’ll surely save plenty of money, a trip to the groomer every so often could be a smart investment. Groomers don’t only work on your pet’s coat; they sometimes are able to detect that there is a sign of trouble beneath the surface of your dog’s fur. 

7. Dental care supplies

You also need to take care of your dog’s oral health. Not only does brushing your dog’s teeth regularly prevent bad breath, but it can also help prevent more serious health issues too, like periodontal disease. 

Starting to brush your dog’s teeth when they are young will help them get acclimated to the experience. If your dog is finicky and doesn’t like having their teeth brushed, you can also consider having some dental treats on hand. However, it’s always a good idea to get your dog’s teeth professionally cleaned if they only will chew on these and refuse to have their teeth brushed. 

Make sure to purchase a toothbrush and toothpaste specifically made for dogs; dental cleaners for humans are quite different. 

8. Dog toys

Puppies are chewers. You don't want your pup to destroy your clothes, shoes, or furniture, so make sure you provide them with plenty of chew toys.

Rubber options like Kongs or Nylabones have a special design that suits puppy chewing, which means they won't break apart and endanger their health. 

Don't just choose any toy for your puppy, though. First talk to your vet about the best dog toys for your furry friend. Some dogs may enjoy the warmth from a stuffed toy, and others who need more mental stimulation could like puzzle toys. 

9. A crate

There are a myriad of reasons why giving your dog a crate and crate training them is an excellent idea. Creating a den-like environment in your puppy's crate can make them feel comfortable in their new home.

And crate training is a great way to prevent accidents and keep a teething pup from destroying your stuff.

Size matters: Your dog should be able to move around comfortably in the crate—but make sure it’s not so big that they can find an open corner to soil. 

If your dog struggles with separation anxiety, that’s just another reason to get a crate; it can prove effective in combating it. If you are concerned that your dog is going to feel trapped or punished, don’t worry. It will take some getting used to, but pretty soon your dog will realize that their crate is their sanctuary.

10. A dog bed

Your dog will need somewhere cozy to sleep and rest. Get them a soft dog bed so they can curl up on a surface that's more comfortable than the hard floor. Even if your dog sleeps in your bed, it’s nice for dogs to have a bed in the area you spend most of your time in. 

Enjoy your new addition

Having a puppy around can provide you with tons of happiness, fulfillment, and excitement. If you check everything off on this new puppy checklist, when your furry friend comes home, you can simply devote all your energy to raising a perfect pup who will be your loyal companion for years to come.


Puppy Feeding Fundamentals: Timeline for Puppy Feeding | AKC 

New Puppy Checklist: Toys, Treats, Supplies, And More For Your New Pup | AKC 

Pet Waste Pollution | City of Corpus Christi, Texas  

Hair Comes Trouble: Why Pets Need Regular Grooming | ASPCA 

Keep Your Dog's Teeth Clean With Five Tips | AKC

Crate training 101 | Humane Society

Grooming and Coat Care for Your Dog | VCA Animal Hospital

13 Dog Dental-Care Products: How to Brush Dogs' Teeth 2019 | The Strategist

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