So you’ve decided to add a new member to your family—a puppy! This exciting decision also comes with a lot of other decisions to make: what do they need? Providing a comfortable and safe environment for your pup to thrive is overwhelming—head to any pet store or browse online for pet things and you will quickly see how many options there are. Before you bring your new puppy home, check out our list below for the must-have items you need for a smooth transition into your family.
1. High Quality Food and Treats
New puppies will have big appetites while they learn and grow! Make sure you buy the same food that they’re being fed before you take them home. If you decide to switch brands, you can slowly transition your pup to a different type of food. Buy a high-quality puppy food for your dog’s first 12 months of life so they can develop a healthy coat, skin, organs, and bones. Shop the best brands according to a veterinarian here.
2. Food and Water Bowls
There are many options for food and water bowls for your pup, ranging in quality and price. You can choose between stainless steel, ceramic, or plastic bowls. No matter which material you use, it is recommended to get bowls that are dishwasher safe and don’t contain harmful chemicals. Stainless steel food and water bowls are your best bet for easy cleaning and durability.
3. Safe Place to Relax and Play
Whether you choose a crate, carrier, exercise pen, or gate, it’s important for your pup to have their own space. A contained environment will help you housetrain your puppy as well as keep them from getting into messes in other areas of your home. If you choose a crate or carrier, confirm that they have enough room to stretch, turn around, stand up, and lie down. Crates and carriers are great for traveling in the car or on a plane. A pet gate or playpen can be great for keeping an eye on your pet inside your home. A gate can be used to block off certain rooms in your home, like carpeted areas, or to confine your pup into a certain space, like a mud room. A pet yard is great for designating a safe space in your home, and can be adjusted to the space your pup needs. Pet yards can also be used outdoors to give your dog a designated space in the yard.
Along with a space to call their own, your pup should have a comfy bed to themselves, too! Measure your dog’s size and get a bed that will fit their whole body, even when they’re stretched out. The size of your dog’s bed will likely need to change as they get older and bigger. Dog beds come in tons of varieties, like soft beds, elevated beds, and even memory foam beds. Make sure to get one that has a cover that can be cleaned, as puppies are likely to have accidents. Shop beds recommended by the American Kennel Club here.
There are two ways to give your new pup identification in case they get lost—ID tags and a microchip. We recommend you use both options! An ID tag is a metal or plastic name plate that will help people get in touch with you if they find your dog. Most people include the dog’s name, owner’s name(s), and cell phone number or address. A microchip is a tiny chip that your veterinarian will inject between your dog’s shoulder blades. This chip will store you and your dog’s information so that if your pup ends up at a shelter, they will be able to find you. If you move or get a new phone number, make sure to update your pup’s ID tags as well as their microchip information.
6. Collar and Leash
Once your pup has their ID tags, it’s time to attach them to a collar! Your pup’s first few collars should be adjustable so that it can accommodate your growing pup. The collar should be snug enough that it won’t fall off, but not so snug that you can’t fit two fingers in between the collar and your dog’s neck. A leash will attach to your pup’s collar for walks and obedience training, and should be durable and have a comfortable handle for humans. If your dog is a puller on walks, you can also try using a harness, choke collar, or head collar to help train them.
7. Poop Bags
You’re going to need a way to take care of your pup’s, uh, business. On a walk, that means carrying poop bags with you for when your pup has to go. Make sure to always have bags on you when you’re out on a walk as a common courtesy to your neighbors. If you have a yard for your pup, get a pooper scooper to make cleaning up easy.
8. Puppy Pads and Carpet Cleaner
Unfortunately, your new puppy will inevitably have an accident at some point. Even if you potty train on a schedule, messes are bound to happen. Puppy pads can be used to soak up the mess in your pup’s crate or safe area. A stain and odor remover will save your rugs and carpets from stains and smells. We also recommend a washable rug, like the ones from Ruggable.
Toys are important to keep your pup stimulated and happy! There are lots of toys to choose from, but they can all be categorized: chew toys, plush toys, fetching toys, rope toys, and critical thinking toys. Give your pup a variety and see what they like best. Do your research and buy high quality toys that are durable and appropriately sized. When your pup destroys a toy, make sure to take it away from them immediately so they don’t choke on a torn-off piece or stray squeaker. Shop all the different types of toys at Chewy.
10. Grooming Supplies
No matter what breed of pup you take home, you’re going to need some sort of grooming supplies to keep them clean and content. All types of dogs will need a regular shampooing, brushing, toenail trimming, ear cleaning, and teeth brushing. It’s important to start these tasks when your dog is still a puppy so they can get used to being cared for. Do some research on your individual dog’s grooming needs to determine whether they need anything extra, like special combs or haircuts. A Pet Bath/Splash Pool might be a helpful tool during bath time.