So you just brought a new puppy home. We couldn't be happier for you welcoming this little furball into your life. The next few hours are going to be you gushing over how cute the little pupper is and the next will be you getting all panicky about how you got yourself into this. Hold on to your biscuits here until you have a completely new puppy checklist ready by your side.
The uncertainty of whether you are handling your pup right is not new. Almost every new puppy parent feels the same way. So your feelings are 100% valid. A new dog checklist that covers all the essentials is an infallible way to get everything under control and kick things off on the right foot.
You'll want to stick around and read our article because it's got a checklist perfectly curated by none other than a dog training expert. From chow that's more drool-worthy than a T-bone steak to toys that'll make your little pal's tail spin like a helicopter, our list has it all to get a grip over the new-puppy-in-the-house chaos. Happy unleashing the fun!
The Ultimate New Puppy Checklist [Most Needed]
We promise you days filled with love and joy, and a whole lot of slobbery kisses will come once you cover some important groundwork. Read and save this list to get into the real action.
1. The Essentials
Here is to the beginning of creating personal wellness for your new member. Here are the everyday basics needed for your pup.
1.1 Dog Food
The first essential we would recommend buying is your dog’s food. We know you thought of that too. However, there are a few pointers to be kept in mind while getting suitable food for your dog. Firstly check if it is FDA-approved. If the packaging says yes, then you have one checkbox ticked. The dog food you pick should be age appropriate for your puppy and most importantly, it should be approved by your vet.
To start with the basics, there are 2 kinds to opt for:
This one is popular for feeding puppies with growing needs. Dry kibble is full of nutrients, helps in teeth cleansing, and is cost-effective. Of course convenient for you to feed.
Wet dog food is great for hydration. It is also easier for the little tummies to digest and absorb nutrients. Wet food is more palatable with more flavoring and textures. Even the pickiest eaters will love having this.
Here are a few things you should keep in mind when picking puppy food.
This is a crucial time for puppies in terms of growth and development. You should choose a dog food that provides all essential nutrients. For that, always check the label for guaranteed analysis (GA). You will find the percentages of protein, fat, fiber, and moisture content in it.
This is specifically for puppies whose bodies don't show acceptance of certain ingredients like grains, corn, soy, etc. If your puppy has a bad history with any of these, get grain-free food. But there've been some studies linking grain-free diets to potential heart problems in dogs. So only dogs that have issues with grains should be on grain free diet. Consult a vet before you make the switch.
Proteins are the building blocks of a dog’s body for healthy and sprouting growth. If your puppy belongs to a large breed, they need more protein and less fat than the average pup.
But here's the thing – too much protein isn't good either so you don't want to overdo it. Just find the right balance. Make sure the ingredient list contains meat like chicken, fish, or beef.
This puppy food type contains one protein source and one carbohydrate source. These are ideal for curbing the intolerance or sensitivities puppies develop to certain ingredients. GMOs, artificial flavoring, color preservatives, or dairy products – it can be anything. Just make sure that there is no compromise on the growth nutrients.
Remember that trying limited-ingredient foods for your dog isn't something you should rush into. The best approach is to consult a vet to figure out if these foods are the right fit for your furry friend.
1.2 Food & Water Bowls
So next up, you need feeding bowls. You may say, what’s the big deal here – just buy anything deep that serves the purpose. But there’s more to it. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
Your feeding bowl should be ergonomic. While feeding, it should support a good posture.Elevated twin dog feeding bowls are a popular choice.
We recommend stainless steel. It is easier to clean, you are sure that it won't be toxic, and it catches less bacteria. It will last long too. Some people opt for silicon or plastic bowls. Just make sure they are BPA-free, unbreakable, and do not pose a threat to your puppy’s safety.
1.3 Collar & Leash
These are important accessories that come in handy for training your new puppy. Buy a collar that is a perfect fit – not too big and not too small. Once you've adjusted the collar on your dog, do a little test. Try to pull it over their head gently. If you can slip it off easily, your clever pup can do the same. So make sure it's snug and secure. Also, it should be durable, cost-effective, and come with safety perks like reflective strips.
A nylon or leather 6-foot leash is considered ideal. Avoid weak, bungee, or retractable leashes.
1.5 Dog Crate & Carrier
Now this is important. Get a dog crate for your pup asap. Buy one that has good ventilation and a view. The size should be just enough for your pup to get up, turn, and lie down comfortably. Not bigger than that or else you will have piddling accidents in the crate. Check out our article on sizing a crate for more information.
For crate training, you can also get a crate with dividers. When your puppy gets bigger, you can take that divider out. The pup will have the entire crate to stretch out and enjoy all to itself. For vet visits, you will need a carrier. Some crates are portable – buy the one that will save you money. We have a whole article dedicated to helping you learn how to crate your puppy and multiple crate reviews?
Don't let your puppy sleep on the hard floor. Look for a dog bed that gives them enough space to sprawl and snuggle comfortably. If your pup loves to curl up, a donut-style bed is ideal for that cozy feeling. On the other hand, if they're more of a sprawler, a flat and cushioned bed could be the way to go.
However, if you prefer cheap and disposable, then puppy sleeping pads will do. Don't forget to get a soft small blanket as puppies need cuddling up to regulate their body temperature.
1.7 Chew Toys
Teething toys have our vote of confidence. Ones made from rubber or silicone are usually preferred. Do a thumbnail test before getting the chew toy. The size of these dog toys matters too. Don't let it be a choking hazard.
1.8 Puppy Pads, Poop Bags, & Litter Boxes
Your pup is not going to be potty trained when it comes to you. So for preventing the mess made by accidents happening in the house, you can get puppy pads. We don’t generally recommend using puppy pads since it can make housebreaking harder for you. Many people prefer using them as a quick fix. We would prefer you follow these steps outlined in our House Breaking and Potty Training Article. If you are going to use potty pads we highly recommend you use them outside of your pups crate and always in the same place. This will help the dog know they can go potty only in this area.
Litter boxes can be used for the same purpose, the one pictured above from Fresh Patch even resembles real grass. You can choose one and don't necessarily have to buy both. Poop bags are great for disposing of poop responsibly. Get the biodegradable ones and pitch in your share for a safer environment.
1.9 Grooming Supplies
Hygiene is important for everyone, even your pup. It needs regular baths to stay healthy. So buy a good quality puppy shampoo. Oatmeal shampoos are naturally gentle and used for curbing any skin allergies. Plus, they elevate the natural shine of the fur. Read the label and pick the dog shampoo suitable for your puppy breed’s hair. Other supplies include:
- Nail clippers
- Cleaning wipes
- Ear and nose care
- Microfiber bath towels
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2. The Healthcare
Here are the things that you need for your puppy’s safety and well-being.
A puppy is scheduled to get its vaccination shots in its very first year to shield them from various diseases like:
- Kennel cough
- Canine hepatitis
- Canine distemper
The vaccination schedule starts when your puppy hits the 6th week. Here’s a quick look at their schedule.
- First round: 6-8 weeks.
- Second round: 10-12 weeks.
- Third round: 16-18 weeks.
- Fourth round: 12-16 months.
- Next rounds: Every 1-2 years.
Consult your vet for more details on these shots and their frequency.
2.2 Puppy Proofing Supplies
Puppies are just like babies. They are intrigued by everything around them that we specifically don't want them to be with. So you need to puppy-proof your house. If you have stairs – get a stair gate. Electrical sockets – invest in covers. Trash can – hide them. Cords – use cord organizers or cable covers.
Other things to do are:
- Get rid of toxic plants
- Get window treatments
- Keep the toilet bowl lids down
- Put away the medicines or any other hazardous elements in the house
3. The Training Supplies
Training is the most important and inevitable part of this journey. Buying training aid supplies may not be mandatory but they make the whole training process much easier.
3.1 Training Treats
Dog treats are important to keep your pup motivated during the training period. Get organic and natural ones. Consider your dog’s age since these treats come in a large variety.
The size, hardness, and shape of these treats should be convenient for your pup to prevent choking hazards. Check ingredient quality and quantity. It shouldn't contain anything your pup is allergic to. Even look out for the ones that provide sealable bags to keep the chews from going stale. Above all, check if they are FDA approved.
3.2 Training Bells Or Doorbell Mats
These are both training aids that come in handy for potty training a puppy. Dog training bells are jingly, hanging bells usually attached to a strap. You can hang them on your doorknob or by the door and train your dog to nudge or paw at them when they need to go outside to do their business.
Doorbell mats are regular mats but equipped with a doorbell mechanism that makes a sound when your dog steps on them. So when your clever canine wants to get your attention or signal that they need to go outside, they just give that mat a little tap with their paw.
4. The Entertainers
So your new puppy is here just when summer is starting. Talk about perfect timing. If you love spending summertime in your yard or outdoors, these are the things you’ll need.
4.1 Outdoor Toys
To keep your dog entertained while you get an undisturbed golden tan, get them some outdoor toys. A sprinkler pad is a great option to beat the summer heat safely. Other options are ball launchers or simple chew toys suitable for their age.
4.2 Playpen Or Fenced Yard
Your pup is small and new to the place so you wouldn't want it warding off to unknown places or running after squirrels. The solution? A portable and usually foldable enclosure aka playpen. It is the best option if you are an outdoor person who loves soaking up vitamin D.
You can set up the playpen indoors or outdoors, depending on your pet's mood and the weather. It's like giving your pet their own mini playground where they can frolic, stretch their legs, play with toys, or simply lounge around like the royalty they are.
Just look for a playpen that is a suitable size for your puppy. It should come with sturdy stabilizing feet for the ground. But most importantly, the material should be chew-free and non-toxic. Don't forget to monitor your puppy at all costs.
5. The Cleaners
Where there is a puppy, there is going to be a mess. There will be piddling accidents, drool on the couch, and hair on the carpet. Be equipped with these cleaning supplies to keep up with the cleanliness of your home.
5.1 Enzymatic Cleaner
This is a must-have. No compromises here. An enzymatic cleaner is natural with no harmful fumes or effect and thoroughly clean the area where your pup has had an accident. Why is it important for new puppy parents?
Well, you may think that you have cleaned up the X-marked area thoroughly but the dog’s noses are like Sherlock Holmes's magnifying glass. They find their soiled area and mark it as their territory for future elimination. Natural instinct! Enzyme cleaners kill the urine odor and stain from scratch, not leaving a single sign for the puppy to come back.
5.2 Lint Roller
Here’s an insider: a lint roller will be your best friend after you adopt a puppy. There is a healthy amount of shedding that every pup goes through and your clothes or couch will have hair. A lint roller will save the day in these situations.
Simply roll it over your clothes, furniture, or even your car seats, and like a magnet, it snatches up pet hair that ruins your perfectly put-together look. It is a super convenient yet affordable buy. Don't ignore it.
6. The Services
To lay the mental and physical wellness foundation for your pup, it is best to get these services.
6.1 Vet Appointments
Crucial for your puppy’s future health, a vet visit sets a future benchmark. It is due within the first 48 hours of your pup’s birth. Yes, it is that important. Some vets can do home visits as well which can be less scary for your pup if it’s really small.
6.2 Dog Trainer
Most of the time, new puppy owners are clueless or petrified when it comes to training a pup. In such cases, it is best to hire professional help. These guys know their job well. From potty and crate training to socializing and leash training, there is so much to be done with a new pup at home.
To pick the best trainer in town, ask around for recommendations from fellow puppy parents or your vet. Personal experiences and word-of-mouth can be gold. Check for their online reviews and testimonials. Take a peek at their credentials and certifications. Observe a class or session if possible and see how they interact with the dogs and the pet parents.
6.3 Pet Insurance
To cover medical expenses, pet insurance is very helpful, though not compulsory. Check for their terms and conditions before getting yourself one. Different companies offer plans with different perks and limitations. Consult your vet as well and choose one that best suits you.
6.4 Dog Groomer
You can’t be the jack of all trades. Puppy haircuts and trims are not your cup of tea. They squirm, they move, they make it difficult. Leave it to a professional dog groomer so your pup looks dandy without any cuts, bruises, or injuries.
6.5 Pet Sitter
Sometimes new puppies develop separation anxiety when you need to be away from them for a longer time for work or traveling purposes. If your schedule is rigid, it is best to hire a sitter for those hours.
The Best Option For Your New Pup: Suburban K9’s House Call
Owning a puppy is hard work and there is a lot more to a new puppy than just getting the everyday supplies. The real struggle begins when you have to train your new pup – from house-breaking to socializing, leash, and crate training. But here’s the good news – our expert trainers at Suburban K9 make the training process stress-free for you.
During our in-home training classes, our skilled dog trainer will have a sit-down chat with you and your adorable puppy. It's a personalized one-on-one session where they get to know your pup's one-of-a-kind personality and your specific training goals. With all this knowledge in hand, we’ll create a training plan that's just perfect for your puppy. No more one-size-fits-all stuff, only a training journey tailor-made for your furry buddy.
When we come over for in-home training, it's not just about your furball - we'll also make sure you're all set. Our trainers will give you personalized homework after each session that matches your dog's personality and the goals you've set together. You'll get all the tools to keep reinforcing what your dog learns, even when our trainer isn't there with you.
Our experts use a balance training method to ensure that your dog learns that it is not ok to break or not follow certain house rules. Our balanced approach includes gently guiding your puppy in the right direction without adapting anything harsh.
We know how crucial it is for a puppy to be socialized in the earliest stages to make sure that no behavioral issues pop up at later stages of their life. The socializing window is small for puppies. Our experts take full advantage of that time to introduce your pup to the world perfectly.
Puppies are tiny beings that get separated from their mother at a very tender age. So naturally they need the utmost care and the right attention. As much as a new puppy checklist is important, the ultimate essentials are love, patience, and grounding expectations.
Remember, your puppy isn't used to your expectations and neither are you a seasoned dog keeper. So there is going to be laughter, mistakes, piddling accidents, sleepless nights, and slobbery kisses. All will fall perfectly in place with time. And yes, consistency and patience make it all achievable.
At Suburban K9, we have a team of dog trainers with years of experience handling dogs. Our in-home training lessons are a bliss for new dog parents where our training experts sit and understand family goals and get to know the dog more. Our lessons are based on customized obedience training ensuring that your dog is the most well-behaved one in the neighborhood. Contact us now to learn more about our training programs.
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