Getting a new puppy can be exciting and stressful. The best way to keep everyone healthy and happy is to get organized and prepared before bringing your new puppy home.
Here is our 2023 new puppy checklist, complete with all the essential supplies you'll need for bringing your new puppy home.
This ultimate new puppy checklist will help you create a safe and comforting environment for the new puppy and help you find the right products and tools to care for your new puppy.
You can head to the local pet store for some of these supplies or simply order online at Homes Alive Pets for adult dog and new pup supplies. Your new furry family member will have all of the puppy essentials he needs to feel at home.
The Ultimate New Puppy Checklist
Once you are sure that you and your family are prepared for a new pooch, you need to make sure that you have all the tools to start your puppy's new life off right.
Take a look at our new puppy checklist and find out what to buy for a new puppy.
Download this checklist and use it on the go!
#1. Puppy Food
Your puppy's diet is the foundation of its health, so choosing the right diet is the first step in new puppy ownership. The type of diet you choose is up to you but make sure you know all your options before making a choice. Remember, a young pup will need puppy food for optimum nutrition.
It's a good idea to pick up some of the puppy food that your puppy is currently eating at their breeder or rescue. Regardless of whether you keep your new puppies on it or not, it's best to minimize changes to their diet and routine until they have had a chance to get comfortable in their new environment.
A new home is stressful enough for a puppy. Staying on the same food can decrease the likelihood of digestive upsets until they are acclimated to their new life.
How to Transition Your Puppy to New Food?
If you are planning on switching their diet, make sure that you leave yourself enough of the old food to properly transition. We recommend waiting about 3-4 weeks before making any big dietary changes unless it's absolutely necessary.
When you are ready to change your puppy's food, it's best to slowly replace the old dog food with the new food over the course of 7-10 days. Start by replacing 1/4 of the old diet with their new one and gradually increase this quantity over the course of a week or so.
Check out Tips for Changing Your Dog's Food to make the diet change as easy and safe as possible.
#2. Puppy Food Storage and Accessories
Another important item on our new puppy checklist is feeding accessories. The right feeding accessories can help take some of the guesswork and safety concerns out of your puppy's routine.
Proper dog food storage is part of ensuring your house is puppy-proof. Pet parents will want to keep their young dog out of the puppy supplies by using storage bins and other containers to hold the food.
The receptacles will help keep your puppy's food fresher and prevent bacteria contamination.
In addition to storage, there are many useful tools that can help make mealtime easier. Food scoops and mats help keep mealtime cleaner. For measuring food more accurately, you can use a pet food scale.
Keeping Puppy Food Safe
How you store your puppy's food after it's been opened will not only keep you and your puppy safe, but it will help to preserve the food for longer. There are different best practices for different types of puppy food.
Check out some simple puppy food storage tips:
- Puppy kibble is best stored in its original bag inside an air-tight container.
- Wet puppy foods need to be refrigerated once opened for up to 3 days.
- Can lid covers can be used to keep oxygen out and prevent spoilage.
- Wet foods that come in pouches or tetra paks should be transferred to a glass food storage container to keep them freshest.
- Frozen raw puppy food can be stored in its original box or bag, but consider transferring it to freezer bags for longer storage.
- Once raw dog food is defrosted, it must be stored in the fridge in a glass or metal pet food container for a maximum of 3 days.
- Similar to raw food, prepared freeze-dried and dehydrated foods can be stored in the fridge in an air-tight container for a few days, but unprepared or ready-to-eat formulas are best stored in their original resealable packaging or in either a pet food storage container or freezer bags for maximum freshness.
#3. Dog Food Dishes
There are many types of dog dishes to choose from, like plastic, ceramic, stainless steel, weighted, elevated, or automatic.
Plastic water bowls are cost-effective, but they do have a few drawbacks compared to other materials. For a puppy that loves to chew, a plastic bowl may look like a fun chew toy. They are fairly light, so it's easy for your pup to pick up, push around, and destroy if they feel so inclined.
If your puppy is a guzzler when it comes to food, try out a slow-feed bowl. This will help them regulate the speed at which they eat and prevent gulping large mouthfuls of food at a time.
Food Dishes and Acne
As the plastic wears, bacteria can hide in the scratches and grooves of the material. While this bacteria is unlikely to cause digestive issues, it can lead to puppy acne or small pimples that develop around their muzzle. Stainless steel bowls can prevent acne on your puppy's head.
Puppy acne will go away if the source of the bacteria is removed, but we recommend sticking to glass, ceramic, or metal to avoid puppy acne and bacteria build-up altogether.
Here are a few of our top picks:
#4. Dog Water Dishes and Fountains
It's best to avoid plastic for water dishes, as well. Just like dog food bowls, bacteria will build up in the dents and scratches of the plastic.
Even if you are regularly cleaning the dog bowl and replacing the water, a plastic bowl will become too soiled and need to be replaced more often than metal, ceramic, or glass.
Dog water dishes are cheaper and more common, but dog water fountains have certain benefits as well. Water fountains are an excellent choice to keep your puppy's water cool and easy to clean.
Here are a few of our favourite water fountains for dogs:
If you choose to use a dog water dish or bowl, make sure your puppy always has access to clean water. This may mean changing your puppy's water multiple times per day.
#5. Puppy Training Treats
Treats can make training easier and faster for your puppy. Try to find a variety of healthy treats that your puppy goes crazy for to help keep their attention during training sessions.
High-value rewards should be meat-based, smelly, or soft and chewy - though food-motivated pups might not care what kind of treat it is as long as they can eat it!
Look for dog treats with healthy, whole-food ingredients. Make sure the puppy treats are small enough and low-calorie so that you can feed many throughout the day as you train. When it comes to training sessions, the smaller, the better.
The type of treat use choose should be suitable for your puppy's needs and activities:
- Soft treats can be ripped or cut into smaller pieces for frequent training.
- Crunchy biscuits are great for rewarding and encouraging routine behaviours.
- Freeze-dried treats are very flavourful, making them some of the most popular options for keeping your dogs attention and rewarding them for good behaviours.
Don't forget a treat pouch and training treats for positive reinforcement when training your new furry bundle. You'll definitely want to reward a well-behaved dog with a tasty morsel of food.
#6. Natural Chews for Puppies
During their teething stage, puppies love to chew, and if you don't give them something they are supposed to chew on, they will find something they aren't supposed to chew on to sink their teeth into.
Those baby teeth are sharp but delicate, so stick to softer chews. to prevent dental damage and ensure that your puppy can properly chew the treat down. Here are some of our top picks:
#7. Dog Collars and Leashes
Every young dog needs a collar and leash. Getting them used to good walking habits can start right away. There are two things you need right away to start teaching your puppy good walking manners - a dog leash and a dog collar.
Both items are a staple of any new puppy checklist.
Depending on your puppy's breed, they may grow a lot over the next 18 months, or they may barely double in size. Either way, try to find walking accessories that fit appropriately now but also give your puppy some room to grow.
And don't forget to invest in a durable leash. Avoid retractable leashes when training your puppies will make it more difficult to teach good walking manners and may not be a sturdy as a standard nylon 6 ft lead.
#8. Poop Bags
Don't get caught without poop bags. Even if you are just going for a quick walk or walking from the car to the pet store, you never know when your puppy will have the urge to go. This is one product that is smart to buy in bulk because you'll be cleaning up a lot of dog poop as new puppy parents.
Poop bags come in a variety of styles, so you can choose the type that works best for you. Most poop bags are a standard size, but you can find larger poop bags if you happen to be raising a small bear.
All of us eco-conscious puppy owners love recyclable or even biodegradable poop bags. Why not pick up your dog's biodegradable poop with a biodegradable poop bag. You're welcome, mother earth!
#9. Puppy Training Accessories
Everything is a training opportunity with a new puppy, which is why our new puppy checklist recommends training aids and accessories for successful training. Here are a few popular training aids for puppies:
- Treat Pouch - If you are treat training, we recommend a good treat bag or treat pouch so that you can carry rewards with you anywhere you go with your puppy.
- Clicker - Clicker training is another option that can be used either in combination with treat training or instead of it. Clickers can attach to your training or wrap around your wrist, so it's always within range.
- Dog Whistle - If you are practicing your training in a large open space, a dog whistle might come in handy for getting your pup's attention quickly. You can even get a silent whistle so that it's less abrasive to other people.
If you are a new puppy parent then you might want to reach out to a dog trainer to learn how to puppy-proof your home and to enroll in dog obedience classes.
#10. ID Tag
Even if they never leave your side, you should always make sure that your pup is properly tagged. An ID tag on their can make it safer and easier for them to find their way back home if they happen to get out on their own.
If you want to avoid the jingle jangle of the tags clinking together, get a Dog Tag Silencer for your ID tag. It will cut the noise and prevent the tags from rubbing together and fading the engraving over time.
#11. Dog Grooming Supplies
Investing in grooming supplies doesn't have to break the bank. In the beginning, it's more about training than cleanliness, but having the right tools on hand can save you a lot of mess.
- Brush - Start with a small soft slicker brush, preferably one with rubber or plastic tips, as it will feel gentler on their sensitive skin and a great way to maintain a puppy's coat. The earlier you start brushing your puppy, the better.
- Deshedding Tool - For fluffier pups, especially those with an undercoat, you may want to invest in a good de-shedding brush, like a Furminator Deshedding Tool, that you can use once a week to reduce the dog hair that will inevitably end up on everything you own.
- Comb - Puppies will long fur will benefit from a dog comb. This will help prevent tangles and matts.
- Tearless Puppy Shampoo - Look for shampoo made from natural and gentle ingredients, like Earthbath Ultra Mild Puppy Shampoo.
- Pet Wipes - Overbathing puppies at a young age can lead to skin problems. When possible, try to spot clean or use natural hypoallergenic pet wipes to clean minor messes instead of a full bath.
Always choose a dog shampoo designed for dogs - human shampoos are made to suit a different skin pH. The wrong shampoo can dry out your dog's skin and coat or even cause an allergic response.
#12. Puppy Toothbrush & Toothpaste
You might think that dental care tools are an odd choice for a new puppy checklist, but starting dental care early sets up better dental habits as your dog ages.
Get your puppy used to proper oral care from a young age. Try to get in the habit of brushing your puppy's teeth every day. Good brushing habits mean lower vet bills over the course of your dog's life. To learn more, check out The Complete Pet Dental Care Guide.
Small finger toothbrushes, like Tropiclean Finger Toothbrush for Dogs, are good for small mouths and can be easier for your puppy to get used to. You can gradually switch to a standard dog toothbrush over time.
Even if your puppy hates the process of toothbrushing, keep trying. No other dental care routine will completely replace regular tooth brushing.
#13. Nail Clippers
Just like brushing, trimming your puppy's nails from an early age will help them get used to the practice and get over any fear or anxiety. Dogs won't need their nails trimmed as often when they are very young because the nail hasn't grown out past the quick very far, so just clip the very tips off.
Find a pair of dog nail clippers that are both suited for your dog's nails and comfortable for you to work with. The more comfortable you are, the easier this grooming process will go. For very young puppies, cat nail clippers are sometimes easier to work with when you are just getting started.
As dogs get bigger and the nails grow faster, you can start cutting a little further back, always being cautious of the quick. Check out our Dog Nail Trimming Tips to help you get started.
Invest In a Nail Grinder
If you aren't comfortable clipping your dog's nails, you might want to check out a dog nail grinder. They take a little practice, but some dogs are more amenable to the grinder than nail clippers. They also allow you to leave a smoother edge, so those puppy nails aren't a hazard to your floors and skin.
#14. Ear Cleaning Solution
Routine ear cleanings help to prevent itchiness caused by gunk and build-up in the ear. Puppies are messy, they love to get dirty, and some of that dirt will inevitably end up in their ears.
A good dog ear cleaning solution will be gentle and safe for cleaning the outer part of the ear and get in between folds that can collect bacteria. Monthly ear cleanings can reduce itchiness and scratching.
Occasional spot cleaning with Earthbath dog face wipes is also helpful, especially if your pup is suffering from allergies or skin issues that can cause frequent ear itch.
#15. Puppy Chew Toys
Stuck up on puppy toys. Teething puppies need something to chew. Choose tough dog toys meant for chewing that your puppy will not be able to swallow. Select quality dog toys of many different textures to get your puppy used to them.
If you are offering plush, stuffed, or rope toys, be mindful of all of the materials that your pup could potentially ingest. Stuffing, squeakers, and fabric can all cause digestive upsets and could be choking hazards.
At any age and with any type of toy, supervise your pet's chewing to avoid choking and ingestion of inedible materials.
Never give your dog a baby or cat toy or any toy not designed for dogs. They can be a choking or ingestion hazard or even toxic if eaten.
#16. Puppy Puzzles
Puppies might be a little clumsy and goofy, but they are smarter than they look. This is why they need a variety of mentally stimulating games and toys to keep them occupied and happy.
Puzzle toys for puppies are fun, engaging, and challenging. They will help your puppy develop new skills too.
Additionally, when puppies are understimulated mentally, they can default to some unwanted and destructive behaviours to try to entertain themselves.
Mind games and puzzles can reduce these bad behaviours and can save you some money and frustration in the long run. Try some of these best-selling products:
#17. Dog Kennel
Not everyone crate trains their puppy, but we added it to the new puppy checklist because it's something that everyone should at least consider when preparing for a new pooch. Dogs are natural den animals and feel secure in a crate.
Choose a dog crate or kennel that fits your puppy properly - he should be able to stand up in it and turn around comfortably. Your puppy's kennel should be roomy, but an oversized kennel can make house training difficult.
If left with enough space, your puppy will be tempted to relieve themselves in an open part of the kennel or dog crate. Your puppy is less likely to potty train in the kennel if they have to sit or lay in it.
As your puppy grows, you'll want to trade out his old crate for a bigger, new one. However, do you only want to buy one kennel throughout your puppy's life? Many crates, like Precision Pro-High-Value Dog Crates, come with wire divider panels, so your crate can grow with your puppy. The same crate will accommodate both puppies and adult dogs by simply moving the crate's divider.
Learn more about the benefits of crate training in our Fool-Proof Guide to Crate Training Your Puppy.
#18. Dog Bed
Where will your puppy sleep? Dog beds are for more than just comfort. Great dog beds for puppies are stain-repellent, durable, tear-resistant, and washable. Look for these features in a quality dog bed for your puppy.
You may even be able to find beds labelled as chew-proof guaranteed. These are a good investment for puppies with destructive tendencies, but it doesn't mean your puppy won't try.
She may even succeed. No dog bed is indestructible, so if your puppy likes to destroy her beds, save your money and stick to cheap and easily replaceable beds until she grows out of this habit.
Beds with removable covers are great too. The covers can be washed, and you will avoid having to wash a big bulky dog bed that will end up being misshapen after a tumble in the washing machine.
Bigger dogs may benefit from something more durable, like the Baxter & Bella Lounger Bed. This water-resistant lounger-style dog bed is suitable for indoors or out.
#19. Natural Pet Cleaners
Cleaners are essential puppy items. Your puppy will have accidents, and that's ok! Cleaning them completely and effectively decreases the chance your puppy will return to the same spot.
#20. Puppy Training Pads
Training potty pads are perfect for underdeveloped puppy bladders. Often scented with pheromones to attract your puppy, puppy training pads can be a great aid no matter how you plan to house-train your dog.
Start with the puppy potty pads in an area close to where your puppy normally spends most of its time. Using an exercise pen is a good way to give them room to play and still keep them contained. The pen will be large enough to fit a training pad and still have plenty of space for your pup to frolic.
Puppy gates are a great way for a pet parent to confine a puppy to one area of the house while potty breaking. The young puppy can be sequestered close to the puppy training pads.
Don't Forget to Puppy Proof!
Puppy-proofing your home is an essential step in ensuring your new furry friend's safety and well-being. Start by clearing away potential hazards – secure electrical cords, remove toxic plants and substances and store household chemicals out of reach.
Place valuable or delicate items higher up, and use dog gates to restrict access to certain areas.
Puppy Checklist FAQs
1. What essentials should I have before bringing my new puppy home?
A few essential items include a comfortable bed, collar and leash, food and water bowls, high-quality puppy food, and appropriate toys for teething puppies.
2. How do I ensure my puppy's health and safety at home?
Puppy-proof your home. Remove potential hazards, like cords, plants, and chemicals that your puppy could get into. Invest in pet insurance and arrange a visit to the vet for vaccinations and health checks. Always keep the vet's phone number programmed on your phone just in case of an emergency.
3. What's the importance of socialization for my puppy?
Socialization is vital for a well-adjusted pup. Introduce your young dog to various people, animals, environments, and experiences during their early months to build confidence, lessen separation anxiety, and prevent behavioural issues.
4. How can I establish a potty training routine?
Set a consistent schedule for feeding, playtime, and potty breaks. Take your furry friend outside frequently, especially after meals and naps. Reward them for going outside to reinforce good behaviour.
5. What type of training should I start with my puppy?
Begin with basic obedience training, such as teaching commands like "sit," "stay," and "come." Positive reinforcement techniques, like treats and praise, work well to encourage learning.
6. How can I ensure my puppy stays mentally and physically active?
Engage your puppy with age-appropriate toys and games that stimulate their mind and expend energy. Incorporate short training sessions, walks, and interactive playtime to keep them happy and healthy. Remember, a teething puppy needs lots of chews. Invest in chew toys designed for puppy teeth.