I'm a former corporate marketing and brand manager turned dog owner and pet-industry marketer.
Puppy Essentials Checklist
Getting a new puppy is hard work. First you have to research all the dog breeds (from Bull Mastiffs to Chihuahuas) to find the one that's right for you and your family.
Then, you have to call around to all the breeders in the country and pick the one that sounds the best, only to realise you'll have to wait months for the next litter of puppies to arrive.
Finally, when you've met the puppies and their mum, and you've chosen the cutest puppy of them all, you'll have to do more research and buy some puppy supplies before you can bring your new best friend home.
But, what do you really need to get for a new puppy?
As soon as you go to your first pet store you'll realise what a big business puppies are. The sales people will try to sell you everything from heated pads, to remote control training systems—so you need to stay focused unless you want to end up buying the entire shop!
This is a check list of the basic puppy essentials you're going to need.
Supplies for a New Puppy
- Food and water bowls
- Puppy collar, lead and ID tag
- A comfy bed
- Puppy food
- Puppy toys for play and soothing sore gums
© Linda Bliss 2012
1. Food and Water Bowls
Every dog needs his own food bowl and from metal bowls, to cute little puppy bowls there is a big range to choose from. Remember that puppies are mischievous and like to play with and chew everything they can get their paws on so choose a bowl that can survive both eating and playing.
Choosing the Right Bowl for Your Dog
The bowl needs to be wider at the base than the top so it doesn't tip over. Choose a bowl size that will fit your dog as an adult - otherwise you'll end up buying two sets.
- Thick ceramic bowls are heavy and easy to clean - and best of all, your puppy can't chew them.
- Stainless Steel Bowls are practical and easy to keep clean - but the rubber lining at the bottom easily falls off and then the bowl will start sliding all over the floor when your puppy eats. As you can see in the video, they are also rather light so your puppy will have a great time playing with it.
- Plastic Bowls are cheap, sturdy and practical, but unfortunately also very chewable.
Our 4.5 Month Old Puppy Playing with His Stainless Steel Bowl
2. Puppy Collar, Lead and ID Tag
Most good breeders put collars on the puppies so they are used to wearing one when you come to pick up your new dog. Either way, you'll need to get a collar for your puppy and it will have to be absolutely tiny to fit around his little neck. Puppies grow really quickly so don't spend too much money on the puppy collar—he will need a full sized one in just a couple of months.
Choosing the Right Lead
You will also need a lead. We bought our puppy's first lead before we'd picked him up and it turned out to be way too big for him—a thin puppy lead was just perfect until he'd grown into the sturdier, bigger lead.
An ID Tag could re-unite you with Your Friend
Don't forget to buy an ID tag for your dog before you pick him up—this is actually required by law in many places such as the UK, but also essential if your puppy gets lost or runs away.
Many dog owners recommend that you don't engrave the dog's name on the tag as it would make things easier for anyone trying to steal the dog—but do include your name, phone number and address if there is enough space on the tag.
3. A Comfy Bed
Unless you were planning to let your puppy sleep in your own bed, he will need a comfortable dog bed of his own. Choose a bed that is warm, soft and machine washable. Puppies love to chew so try and avoid wicker baskets as they won't last long against the sharp puppy teeth!
You can either choose a bed that will be the right size for him when he's all grown up—or you can pick one of the many adorable puppy beds that are available in the pet stores. The most important thing is that it keeps him warm and cozy and that you can throw it in the washing machine if there are any 'accidents'.
4. Puppy Food
Most dog owners would recommend that you continue feeding your puppy the food they are used to from the breeders. But of course this isn't a rule set in stone—we changed our dog's diet to raw food as soon as we got him and he wolfed the food down with no tummy problems whatsoever.
Introducing a New Food
If you wish to change your puppy's diet, you can do so by slowly weaning him off the old food and mixing in the new food and gradually increasing the amount of new food day by day. I'd recommend that you buy a high quality puppy food as puppies are growing and have different nutritional needs to an adult dog.
Good Quality Food
You want your puppy to get the best possible start in life so watch out for some of the dog foods in the supermarket—many are full of colourings and e-baddies, known to cause allergies and other health problems.
There have been many cases of dog food recalls in recent years, so choose the best dog food you can afford—many of the best brands include only human grade ingredients and no additives or colourings.
5. Puppy Toys for Play and Soothing Sore Gums
Puppies love to play—when they are younger they love soft, snuggly toys they can sink their little teeth into and carry around the house. They also like to explore different textures and enjoy toys with sound effects. As they grow older they will start to like games like fetch and tug-o-war.
The Puppy Teeth
An important part of growing up is when the puppy teeth start falling out, only to be replaced by full sized adult teeth. Just like for human babies teething is a process that can be painful and uncomfortable—and left unattended, puppies solve this problem themselves by chewing anything they can get their teeth into. So you better be prepared with a couple of chew toys—or else your shoes and furniture will be in trouble!
- A Kong with frozen puppy food, mashed banana, or even ice can help soothe the pain of growing teeth.
- Dip a rope toy in water and freeze it -perfect for chewing and soothing itchy gums.
- Nylabones come in different flavours and are a safe option for puppies to chew.
- Deer antlers or marrow bones are natural alternatives for alleviating itchy gums for dogs of all ages. Choose a large size, so your puppy doesn't accidentally swallow parts.
The First Two Weeks with Our New Puppy
More Puppy Supplies
The following items on the list are not strictly necessary, but can make your new life with a puppy a whole lot easier!
6. A Dog Crate
The crate is a safe place for your puppy to stay when you are not at home, or during the night when you can't supervise him.
If you let your dog sleep in the crate, he will become potty trained in no time with just a little additional training. This is because dogs have a natural instinct not to go to the toilet in their beds, and they will try and hold it until they get let out of the crate. You need to introduce the crate slowly, and for short periods of time initially - and it can never be used as punishment for the dog. Done correctly, crate training can be a very positive experience for both the puppy and his humans.
7. Puppy Playpen
A puppy playpen is great for mischievous puppies. It allows you to seal off parts of a room, whilst allowing the puppy space and freedom to play. As our puppy grew bigger he tried to jump the fence, and we were worried he might topple the whole playpen over. So eventually we gave in and bought a crate for him to sleep in at night and when we went out.
8. Baby Gate
A baby gate is great for sealing off rooms, or stairs, where you don't want your puppy to explore on his own.
9. Brush and Shampoo
All dogs need a certain amount of grooming, and generally the longer their coat, the more work is involved in grooming them. Get your dog used to being brushed and bathed from an early age - it is much easier to teach a puppy to behave in a bathtub, than a full grown struggling dog.
10. Nail Clippers
Dog's claws grow continuously and unless you walk them regularly on asphalt and gravel roads, they are likely to require trimming. Watch out for the dew claws on the side of your dog's paws, unless they get trimmed they can grow really long and cause lots of problems.
11. A Dog Training Book or Video
This is a must, especially if you're buying your first puppy. Look out for titles that use clicker training, which is a well known and popular training method using only positive reinforcement.
12. Puppy Pads
Puppy pads can help take the mess out of potty training.
13. Cleaning Spray
Cleaning spray such as Urine Off contains cleaning agents which eliminates all traces of urine smell on floors and carpets. Dog's noses are so sensitive that they can smell urine even if its been cleaned with regular soapy products - and if they can smell urine in a spot, they are sure to use that place as toilet again, and again!
14. Bitter Apple Spray
Some dog owners say this product can be used to deter chewing on furniture, shoes and leads, but our dog never even seemed to notice the difference!
I hope you've found this article about puppy supplies useful - if you have any additional tips or ideas for new puppy owners, please leave a comment below.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Jan Ross on November 07, 2017:
What a wonderful, informative article. I shared this article with my sister who is in the process of selecting a new dog. Thank you so much.
NaRe DeBacun on October 22, 2016:
I decided not to give my Maltese that is ready for me to pick up in 5 day's, a macho name. I want to name him Utoh. Pronounced Ut Oh. That's what I thought when I saw him. Ut Oh, be still my heart. What do you think?
Rachel O on April 02, 2016:
We just found out that we get to bring our puppy home on Wednesday and I am so grateful that I found this blog to make a shopping list for her. It was very helpful and while I've had dogs before, you listed things I definitely would have forgotten or overlooked. Thank you!
Alison on May 27, 2012:
Hey Sweetie - great blog. I remember him when he was just ickle - so crazy to see this when he is so huge now. xx
Linda Liebrand (author) from San Francisco on May 17, 2012:
Thanks for stopping by Sabine, and thanks for your great feedback :-)
sabinepanneau from Rosario, Argentina on May 16, 2012:
Great hub Linda! I love the way you mix many elements on this page: videos, photos and those little paws! Voted and shared!
Linda Liebrand (author) from San Francisco on April 29, 2012:
Hi ElizaDoole - thanks for reading the hub and watching my puppy videos, our Alfie is a little cutie :-)
Linda Liebrand (author) from San Francisco on April 29, 2012:
Thanks for stopping by Algarveview! I hope your friends the puppy info useful - they will have so much fun with their new little doggie!
Joana e Bruno from Algarve, Portugal on April 29, 2012:
Hi, Linda, beautiful puppy you have and useful info here. I'm sharing this with a friend that is now trying to get a puppy, surely she'll appreciate all the info you have here, great listing! Voted up and useful and sharing!
Lisa McKnight from London on April 28, 2012:
Linda this is a gorgeous hub. Your puppy is beautiful, I watched the videos he is SOOOO cute!
ShepherdLover from Portland, OR on April 28, 2012:
Great list, very thourough and useful!