New Puppy Checklist
by Kyle Larson
Congrats on deciding to get a new puppy!
Do you have everything you need?
This new puppy checklist will help you on your way to getting ready.
There are some things you’ll need to have for your puppy to take care of them and keep them fed. We’ll first cover those essentials you’ll want right away. Then we’ll go through some things that will make life easier for you and your puppy. We may even cover some things that you haven’t thought of!
The New Puppy Checklist
Food – You’ll need to feed your new pup 3-4 times per day (you’ll cut back to two feedings when they are 6-12 months old). The first thing you’ll want to do is figure out what food they are currently eating. Get that to start if you can (it’ll be easier on their stomachs). Then you can decide if you want to switch their food and blend it with their old food for an easy introduction.
Treats – There are so many treat options for dogs it’s unbelievable! Treats are a great way to reward good behavior and get your dog’s attention. Just don’t give them too many or they’ll be overweight.
Be very careful with bones or rawhides (especially with a puppy) as they can break into pieces and choke. It’s better to start out with things that are easier to eat. You can buy simple dog biscuits or some fancier meat flavored treats. It’s a good idea to have a standard treat and an ‘extra special’ treat to use when training.
Leash & Collar – Next you need a leash and collar to walk your dog around outside & attach any tags to. Get a name tag with your phone number in-case your pup decides to explore the neighborhood alone. Pet stores are a great place to get these. When you go to the vet you’ll also get a vaccination tag. Their collar should be adjustable and fit with two fingers of space between it & their neck. It may seem tight but will keep them from slipping out.
For the leash you can get a retractable leash or a standard one. Retractables are great for adaptability, but I like the standard ones better for training & control. Our pup was a chewer and destroyed a couple leashes so it might be a good idea to get a thicker standard one. You could even get one of each. If you’ve got a high-energy dog you can get a standard one with an extra loop on it to give even more control.
Poop Bags – The unfortunate part of dog ownership is having to clean up after them. But it’s your dog parent duty (pun intended) to make sure to keep the neighborhood or park tidy. I like these bags that are bio-degradable and have a scent in them:
Kennel – If you’re getting a small pup, a plastic kennel is great for transporting them or keeping them safe while you’re away. You can also get a wire kennel, which is cheaper and better suited for large dogs. It may seem weird to put your dog in a cage, but keep in mind they feel very safe in an enclosed space. They may even choose to be in there at times.
Bedding – You’ll want to make their kennel even more comfortable. You can get some old blankets and put them in there (make sure there’s nothing bad inside if they get into it) or buy a dog bed. If you have a chewer they may destroy it as a puppy so I wouldn’t invest too much at first.
Cleaner – Your new pup will have some accidents before they’re housebroken. Dogs often will return to the same spot to go again so you’ll want a product that cleans & eliminates odor. Nature’s Miracle makes a great product for this.
Paper Towels – Always a good idea to have on hand. Pups can be messy! You may also want some old towels or beach towels for when your dog gets muddy or wet.
Food Container – It’s a good idea to get a container for dog food. You’re pup will try to get into it if it’s not protected and if you keep it outside, you could risk pests getting into it.
Food Bowls – Get some containers that are the appropriate size for your dog. These don’t matter too much as long as they are the right size. Our dog is a bit sloppy with his drinking so I also got a mat to put his bowls on.
Gates – If you want to control where you’re puppy can go baby gates are handy.
Fun & Training Products
Toys – There are tons of toy options. The best toy for any dog is a Kong. You can fill them with treats or peanut butter and keep your pup occupied.
Then consider your pup & how much they like to destroy things. Stuffed animals are fun but our dog will destroy them in 2 minutes (or less)! With a chewer try and get more durable toys like ropes & Nylabones. With a more careful pup you can buy some fun stuffed animals (make sure they don’t eat the stuffing) or squeaky toys.
There are also fun puzzle toys you can get to occupy your pup & engage their mind. Check out a list of dog puzzle toys here.
Training – Once you’re ready for some training it’s a good idea to have treats. Also consider using a clicker. These are cheap and they provide a signal to use when your pup does something good. A treat bag is also helpful (this one also includes the clicker). Then your pup knows you have the treats, but isn’t distracted by staring at your handful of goodies.
Now lets cover some non-product steps in our new puppy checklist:
Clean – Before bringing your new dog home, make sure to clean up a bit. They’re going to want to explore everything in their new environment. Their natural approach to examining will be to pick or chew objects that are sitting around. Everything can be a toy! Hide your shoes and other things they might grab.
Remove harmful substances – As you’re cleaning put away any chemicals you might have. If you have oil or fertilizers in the garage put them away. Anything with a smell will be particularly interesting.
Check your yard – Don’t forget to check your yard for any hazards, toys, plants or other things you don’t want your pup chewing on.
Hopefully this new puppy checklist has been helpful! You won’t need all these things immediately, but they’ll be helpful to keep in mind for the future.