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What exactly does a new puppy need besides love, food, and water? We asked members of Rover’s Dog People Panel, celebrity dog trainer Nicole Ellis and top vet Dr. Gary Richter, for their must-haves for new dog owners. We asked them to keep it simple and high-level—just the absolute essentials. The answers may surprise you.
Essential supplies for new dog owners
1. Microchip and ID tags
Both experts agree that safety is first. If you haven’t already, microchip your pet. It can save their life. And don’t forget a collar and name tag. We’ve got everything you need to know here: Microchipping 101.
2. Pet insurance
This may not seem obvious, but the earlier you purchase pet insurance, the more affordable it is. Insure your pet as soon as possible to avoid pre-existing conditions. We’ve got everything you need to get started researching insurance for your dog here: Pet Insurance 101.
3. Puppy kindergarten
Dr. Gary Richter says, “enroll in an early puppy socialization class. That sets the stage for a lifetime of behavioral successes.”
Of course, you can go DIY with your dog’s socialization, as long as you make sure to expose them to a wide variety of people, places, dogs, and sounds. Read more about socializing a puppy here, and socializing a rescue dog here.
4. High-quality toys
Toys keep your pet stimulated and out of trouble. Nicole says, “I love using KONGs that can be stuffed with food, treats, peanut butter or whatever you have on hand to help keep your pet’s mind active plus help them with teething.”
5. A crate
Crate training your puppy is a win/win—her crate can be a safe space to relax in and it can bring you peace of mind. Not sure where to get started? We’ve got the lowdown on crate training your new puppy here: Crate Training Your Puppy.