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Congratulations on your new puppy! You’ve made the decision to add a dog to your home, you’re ready to go get your furry bundle of joy, and now you’re wondering, “Okay, what’s next?” We’re here to help. Our new puppy checklist covers everything you’ll need to prepare for your new best friend.
This checklist isn’t just for puppies, either—these tips are useful if you’re adopting an older dog, too. (Spoiler alert: The most essential item? Your unconditional love. Cheesy, but it’s true.)
From health and safety items to training and grooming tools and even essential services—we’ve rounded up the best products and information for your new puppy. And to help you budget, we’ve estimated the total cost for these items as well. According to our research for the cost of dog parenthood, bringing a new dog home with all the supplies can cost anywhere from $1,135 to $5,155.
Read on to get the ultimate scoop and start ticking off those boxes.
The Essential New Puppy Checklist
New Puppy Checklist: Basic Supplies
Before you bring your new puppy home, it’s a good idea to make sure you have the essentials—everything from puppy gates to puppy food.
Collars are for show these days, and by that we don’t mean show dogs. Most experts agree that walking your dog in a harness, rather than a collar, is safer for their health, and can impact how well your dog bonds with you. A collar is good for when your dog needs to be harness-free, like at doggy day care or the grooming salon, but still needs to wear identifying information.
Choosing the right harness for your new puppy can lead to safer, more enjoyable walks and training sessions for you both. Add an adjustable dog harness to your checklist and give your puppy room to grow.
Pro-tip: Over-the-head harnesses can be scary to small pups. Avoid bad associations by throwing treats on the floor and slipped the harness over your pup’s head from a low position, rather than coming from above.
Truelove No-Pull Dog Harness
This over-the-head style harness is a great choice for puppies that have a tendency to pull while learning to walk on a leash.
Not all leashes are created equal. Most puppies chew, some pull, and others need to be kept close so they don’t get into trouble. Picking the right leash is a must for any new puppy checklist.
Make sure your new puppy is easy to identify in case they escape, and double-check they’re properly registered where you live. These should be attached to your dog’s collar for visibility and reassurance.
GoTags Personalized ID Tag
Personalize this solid stainless steel ID tag.
Some rescues and breeders already microchip puppies before they’re adopted. Just make sure the registration has moved under your name and all the information is correct, especially your phone number and address. If your puppy hasn’t already been microchipped, talk to your vet about getting it done.
It seems like a simple thing, but some puppies may need special food bowls for their size, eating style, or even medical needs.
Water bowls are, of course, essential to any new puppy checklist. And there are a lot of options out there for new puppy parents, including travel dog bowls to keep your puppy hydrated on the go.
Pet Fusion Elevated Dog Bowls
Elevated anodized aluminum bowl set.
Finding the right dog food for your new puppy can be tricky. Do you shop grain-free or go raw? Buy dry food or canned? As always, talk to your vet. And give it some time. You’ll soon discover what has your puppy licking his bowl clean.
When it comes to chews and dental snacks, the options can seem endless. For treating your new dog, it’s a good idea to have a small selection on hand—it’ll keep things fresh and help you learn what flavors your puppy loves.
Training treats are a little different from normal puppy treats. They’re meant to be “high value”—something your pup will really love—so they can serve as an incentive to learn.
All those treats for your new puppy need somewhere to go. A treat pouch helps keep all your goodies in one place, so you can quickly deliver them when your dog does something you like.
Ruffwear Treat Trader
Durable and resistant to the elements, Ruffwear’s treat bag features an additional pocket and magnetic closure.
Let’s face it. Puppies can and will get into everything. You’re going to want puppy-proof food storage. Thankfully, there are tons of options out there.
SimpleHuman Dog Food Storage Can
Sealed for freshness, this food storage can is made from stainless steel and BPA-free plastic.
Poop bags are a necessity no matter where you live. A dispenser and holder can help keep it all together, so you’re not scrambling to find a bag when you need it the most.
The Original Poop Bags® Bundle
This bundle has everything you need: eight rolls of compostable and biodegradable bags, a bag dispenser, and a bag holder accessory for leashes.
Frisco Training and Potty Pads
Quick-drying and absorbent, these pads are great for training and aging dogs.
Every new puppy needs a place to sleep. The cozier and more durable, the better.
K9 Ballistics Tough Rectangle Dog Bed
Soft yet durable, this bed features a removable waterproof cover.
Being able to limit your puppy’s access to the rest of your home while you puppy-proof everything is key. That doesn’t mean your pup can’t be comfortable and nearby.
New Puppy Checklist: Dog Toys
Every puppy needs to play, whether they’re chasing a ball or chomping on their favorite chew toy. Here are some of our favorites.
There are so many new things for your puppy to get used to—especially that first night and the following weeks. Toys designed to reduce anxiety can be helpful while your new dog adjusts.
Great for entertaining your curious puppy, puzzle toys are a fun way to lessen separation anxiety and enrich your puppy’s day.
Puppies love to chew. Durable chew toys give your new dog the option to gnaw on something safe instead of your beloved shoes.
Have an energetic pup that needs a lot of exercise? Chase toys can help puppies get all that excess energy out.
Grab this bundle, which includes a foldable launcher, two ultra balls, and limited edition confetti ball—all of which bounce and float.
Some puppies have an appetite for play that goes far beyond what most humans can maintain. Let an interactive toy take over while you rest.
For puppies who love to cuddle, plush toys can be comforting. And they’re a lot of fun for your new dog, especially when a squeaker is involved.
West Paw Rowdies Squeaky Plush Dog Toy
Made in the U.S., this eco-friendly toy is durable yet snuggly.
New Puppy Checklist: Grooming Supplies
Grooming is part of a puppy’s overall health. Our top picks below will help you keep your pup feeling, looking, and smelling great.
For messes that are too small for a bath but too big to leave alone, grooming wipes are just the ticket.
Some dogs are just excessive shedders, but even low-shed breeds need to be brushed now and then.
Whether you decide to use a commercial puppy shampoo or make your own, it’s easy to keep your puppy smelling fresh.
New Puppy Checklist: Cleaning Supplies
Where there’s a new puppy, there’s bound to be some new messes. Be prepared with products that are pet-safe, like the options listed below.
Accidents happen, but they don’t have to ruin the carpet or furniture. There’s a wide array of safe cleaning products that can help.
Puracy Natural Carpet and Upholstery Shampoo
Remove odors and pet stains with Puracy’s natural plant enzymes.
Welcome to shedding! If this is your first dog, you’ll probably need to change things up and break out a vacuum that can tackle pet hair.
Hoover Power Drive Bagless Multi Floor Upright Vacuum Cleaner with Swivel Steering
Made for cleaning carpets and hard floors, this Hoover also comes with attachments for picking up pet hair.
A pooper scooper is a must-have item if you have a yard or don’t like the “hand in the bag” approach.
New Puppy Checklist: Essential Health Care Services
It takes a village to raise and care for a new puppy. Make sure to enlist trusted professionals to help you with your puppy’s health and wellbeing.
A check-up is going to be one of the very first things on your new pup’s to-do list, and it can take a little while to find a vet you like and trust. It’s nice to shop around before you bring your new buddy home—that way you can find someone who’s a good fit for you and within your price range.
It’s also important to know where you’d take your dog in an emergency and who you’d call—figuring it out on the fly can add pressure to an already stressful situation.
It’s also a good idea to make some financial preparations. It’s not easy to think about accident or illness befalling your brand-new puppy—but knowing how you’d pay for any major veterinary costs can offer peace of mind as your dog ages (and gets into mischief).
Pet insurance is one way to make sure you’re covered for catastrophes, and the younger your pup is when you get a policy, the more likely it is that treatments for health problems down the road will be covered (and not denied as pre-existing conditions). Read on for resources to help you figure out what’s right for you.
Telehealth Providers Like Pawp
If you’re a first-time pet parent, there’s a good chance you’re going to have some questions. Let’s say your little guy gets into something he shouldn’t have and is looking queasy—should you rush him to the vet, or can you wait until morning and see how he’s feeling?
A telehealth provider like Pawp is a nice solution. Their vets are on call 24/7 to answer your questions, and while they can’t prescribe medicine or physically examine your dog like your vet can, they can help you make some judgment calls and offer advice on a range of issues, from anxiety and behavioral problems to rashes and odd poop (trust us, you’re going to have poop questions). The next time you encounter one, give it a free trial.
Other Services to Consider
Dog trainer: A certified dog trainer can make training your puppy a lot easier. If this is your first-time raising a puppy, we highly recommend taking a puppy prep class. This can help your puppy socialize and increase your chances of getting into doggy day care.
Pet sitter: It’s easy to forget your puppy can’t go everywhere with you until that first impromptu weekend getaway. Having a trusted pet sitter makes everything easier. We recommend letting your puppy get used to being watched by a pet sitter for few days and overnights to make multiple nights away from you easier.
Dog walker: Life can get hectic, and puppies have their own schedule. Having a dog walker to give your pup a potty break or some exercise is great for peace of mind, especially if you commute far for work.
Dog groomer: While some breeds need professional grooming more than others, it’s a great idea to work on getting your puppy used to handling for easier visits down the road. Some professionals recommend even bathing your puppy once a week up until 6 months so your pup is used to being handle in the tub or dried by a loud blow dryer. Slowly desensitizing them help you avoid being rejected by groomers down the slow.