Bringing home a new puppy means bringing home a lot of new supplies, too!
Here is our checklist for everything you’ll need to get your puppy off to a great start! Everything on this list has been owned and tested by our doctor and staff for our own pups
While any food or water bowl will do, we recommend staying away from plastic bowls. These tend to harbor more bacteria, food residue and smells, and can be harder to clean long term. Stick with stainless steel, ceramic or glass (if your pet can be trusted!).
Taking your food and water game to the next level? If you’d like to keep your pet on a strict schedule and measured feedings, you may want to consider an automatic programmable feeder like this one. You can also try a water fountain to keep the water fresh and circulating-we like this one and can even go in the dishwasher.
If you’ve got a fast eater who inhaled their food, puzzle bowls are great ways to slow them down and prevent food bloat. We’ve tried these and these.
Even if your pet spends most of their time indoors, it’s important to keep a collar on them for safety and identification purposes. Bonus points if it’s got reflective elements for seeing your pet in the yard during those late-night potty breaks! We like Martingale-style collars like this one since these help prevent your pet pulling out of their collar. Of course, your pet should always wear their identification tags as well, like one with your contact info, their rabies tag and their microchip tag. Hate the sound of jingling tags? Check out this tag silencer.
Under no circumstance should you get a retractable leash! We see many injuries each year due to these leashes- whether secondary to the small diameter cord or more often, to the leash breaking or not being strong enough to prevent a dog from pulling away and getting into traffic or a dog fight. Please avoid them at all costs! Look instead for a wide, flat leash with a sturdy collar hook and a comfortable handle like this one.
Note: if you’d like to use a harness with your pet, we recommend a soft, wide, easy to put on harnesses like those by the Puppia brand. If you’re using a harness to teach your dog not to pull on a leash or walk/heel better, we recommend the Easy Walk harness or a Gentle Leader.
Crate training is an important part of keeping your puppy safe, and giving them a safe place. We like this one, though there are many. Look for chew-resistant bedding (avoid soft towels and comforters that can be easily ripped apart by sharp puppy teeth) like this crate pad.
While crate training is great for when you leave the home or are sleeping, you may also run into the need to keep your puppy out of certain areas of your home, like stairs, kids rooms, or even just confine them to the kitchen during the potty training process.
Several of us have used this gate, and we like it because the door is easy to walk through (rather than taking down and/or trying to jump over it every time), and the cat door at the bottom makes it perfect for multi-pet houses. This allows you to keep a room open for your cats to escape to and a great way to keep dogs out of litterboxes!
Plan to invest in a variety of chew toys your puppy’s first year! You’ll want to provide different textures and shapes, and also rotate them out to keep your puppy interested.
Trusted and tough brands are Kong and Petsafe. Soft/fluffy toys and toys with squeakers should only be given under direct supervision so that your puppy doesn’t ingest any of the contents if they’re able to tear them apart! Here are some of our favorites:
PetSafe Busy Buddy Bristle Bone Dog Toy (refill rings here)
PetSafe Busy Buddy Kibble Nibble Meal Dispensing Dog Toy
PetSafe Twist ‘n Treat Dog Toy, Use with Food or Treats
PetSafe Busy Buddy Chuckle Dog Toy
KONG Classic Dog Toy
KONG Scrunch Knots Squirrel Dog Toy
KONG Snugga Wubba Dog Toy (great for the very baby pups!)
Get your pet used to a grooming routine early! You should only bathe your pet in a dog-specific shampoo, never human shampoo as it is far too drying. Oatmeal based shampoos are best and very gentle for even young puppies. A gentle, rubber tipped brush should be used for puppies. We like this gentle massager/brush for puppies and adults alike! It’s also important to start working with your pet’s feet and nails right away. Play with their feet daily, and start trimming their nails (even just one a day!) to get them used to this lifelong basic maintenance. We use these nail clippers here at the hospital!
In addition to their crate, you may want to offer your pet a soft bed elsewhere in your house. This is a great way to give them their own space and safe spot in your living areas. While your pet bed will depend on your pet’s size, puppies often like the beds with raised sides that they can really snuggle up in (and look even more adorable).
Keeping Your House Intact:
It’s inevitable, and understandable, that your pet may have an accident in your house. Use an enzymatic cleaner like Nature’s Miracle to break up the smell and prevent pets from returning to this spot. To keep pet’s from licking or chewing on items in your home like cords or furniture, try the Bitter Apple spray as a deterrent.
Hopefully this gives you a good start on products we recommend and trust for your puppy. There are lots to choose from, and we’re always here to help give you help and guidance any time.