It’s official: You’re adopting a puppy! An estimated 63 million American households own a dog, and you finally get to count yourself among them. You probably can’t wait to bring your furry friend home and start spoiling them with cuddles, daily walks, and the best dog treats money can buy. Before any of that can happen, though, you need to prepare your space for your new pup’s arrival. Puppies require a lot of time, attention, and care, so it’s important to have all the essentials in place by the time you bring them home.
Not sure what to get for your four-legged friend? Here are the basics your new puppy needs to get their life started on the right foot.
- Dog Crate and Bedding
Every pup needs a cozy space of their own where they can go to decompress and relax. For many pup parents, using a dog crate makes the most sense. In addition to providing your puppy with a safe place to rest and relax, a crate doubles as a training tool that can make your life a lot easier.
For example, if you’re housebreaking your puppy or training them not to chew on things, you can use your puppy’s crate to keep them confined when you’re not able to supervise them. A crate also comes in handy for traveling and emergencies. If you’re using your crate to housebreak your puppy, you’ll want to make sure you get the right size. These days, many dog owners buy a crate that will fit their puppy’s adult weight and use a crate divider panel to make it smaller until their pup grows into it.
- Puppy Food
Puppies grow rapidly in their first year of life, so it’s essential to feed them a diet that meets their unique nutritional requirements. When choosing a food for your furry friend, look for a label that says “complete and balanced.” This label means that the puppy food meets the nutritional requirements determined by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).
No matter how confident you are in choosing a puppy food, it’s always a good idea to check with your vet to ensure that the food you’ve picked will meet your puppy’s specific needs. They can give you peace of mind that you’re setting up your furry friend for healthy adulthood.
- Food and Water Bowls
Don’t forget to pick up food and water bowls for your puppy. Stainless steel is one of the best materials for dog dishes because it’s durable, long-lasting, and easy to keep clean. If your puppy tends to scarf down their food, consider feeding them with a slow feeder bowl. These interactive dog bowls force your puppy to eat slowly, reducing the risk of a life-threatening condition called gastric dilatation-volvulus (aka, bloat).
- Dog Treats and Chews
No puppy will pass up a tasty treat or dog chew. Before your puppy arrives, stock up on high-quality training treats to reward them for good behavior. Puppies love to chew, so it’s also wise to offer your furry friend a variety of dog chew treats. If you want to treat your pup to the best, skip the low-quality ones and reach for bully sticks for dogs instead. These high-protein chews are chock-full of nutrients that your puppy needs for healthy development. Bully sticks, pig ears, and collagen sticks are also excellent choices that will keep your pup satisfied. Just remember to supervise your pup carefully!
Appropriate toys are a must-have for dogs of all ages, but they’re especially important for puppies and young dogs. Toys keep your puppy calm and happy, provide much-needed mental stimulation, and help you build a stronger bond with them. Plus, they keep your puppy out of trouble. Your pup is less likely to chew on the legs of your furniture when they have a variety of dog chew toys to keep them entertained. Keep in mind that puppies can get bored with the same toys. One way to keep them from losing interest is by rotating your pup’s toys every week. With an ever-changing collection of toys, your pup will always be happily entertained.
- Collar/Harness and Leash
With so many unique designs and colors, choosing a collar for your new puppy is probably one of the more fun decisions you get to make as a pet parent. However, collars do more than elevate your dog’s style — they also let the world know that you’ve got dibs on your little furball in case they become lost.
Don’t forget to pick up a leash for your puppy while you’re out shopping for a collar. In addition to a standard walking leash, you might consider getting a long lead leash for your puppy. Long lead leashes are particularly useful for practicing “stay” and “come” outside without putting your furry friend in danger.
- ID Tag
If your puppy decides to bolt out the door, you’ll want to have everything in place to maximize your chances of getting them back safely. Along with microchipping your pet, make sure that your puppy has an ID tag attached to their collar. Pet ID tags significantly increase the odds of being reunited with your furry friend and can potentially save you a lot of stress. Your pet’s ID tag should include your pet’s name, your name, and an emergency phone number. If you have room for additional text, consider including your address as well.
- Grooming Supplies
Don’t wait to pick up basic grooming supplies for your puppy. The sooner you introduce nail trimmers, doggy toothbrushes, and other grooming supplies to your puppy, the better. Here are some essential grooming items you’ll need for your furry friend:
- Dog shampoo
- Nail trimmers
- Flea comb and brush
- Doggy toothbrush and toothpaste
- Ear cleansers
- Pet Stain Remover
Cleaning up unpleasant messes is an inevitable part of pet parenthood. To make cleanup easier, make sure that you have a good pet stain remover/odor eliminator that works well on carpet and upholstery. While you’re at it, you might want to buy a vacuum specifically for pet hair. Handheld vacuums are great at removing pet hair from tight crevices in your car and home.
There you have it! With this puppy checklist, you can set your furry friend up for success and cut down on stress. Just remember to be extra patient with your puppy as they get used to their new home. Train with love and positivity, and your hard work will eventually pay off.