This post may contain affiliate links. If you click and buy something that I recommend, I might receive a small commission.
If you decide to add a new puppy to the family, you must be prepared – starting with a new puppy checklist.
Few things are as exciting as getting a new puppy.
But adding a furry friend to the family comes with additional responsibilities.
Ideally, preparations should start well before you bring your puppy home.
You will need to buy all the essentials, such as food, bowls, and a dog bed.
You should also dog-proof your house to keep your belongings and new dog safe.
Raising a puppy can be a wild ride, but with the proper preparations, this new puppy checklist, and the right products, you’ll be off to a good start.
- New Puppy Shopping Checklistlist
- Vet Care
- Training Resources
- Things to Do Before You Bring Your New Puppy Home
- What to Expect on the New Puppy’s First Day
- Final Thoughts
New Puppy Shopping Checklistlist
Prior to bringing your puppy home, you’ll want to make sure you have everything you need to raise your puppy.
That way you don’t have to worry about it once you have the puppy home.
Here is a new puppy checklist you can use in preparation for a puppy.
- Crate – Decide where you want your dog to sleep. If you plan to crate your dog, which we highly recommend, you need a quality crate that can be adapted to the size of a growing puppy. I recommend the MidWest crate because they come with a divider so the crate can easily grow with the puppy. They also easily attach to the Midwest playpen.
- Playpen – Playpens are powerful tools to help you potty train and puppy-proof your home. You may also consider a baby gate if there are hallways or doorways you want to block off. The Midwest Playpen comes is a variety fo colors and configurations and easily attaches to the crate above.
- Dog Bed – If a dog bed is what you prefer, or if you want one in addition to your crate, keep in mind that puppies can be destructive. You might be better off with a cheaper bed or thick blanket while your puppy is young for easy cleaning and affordability.
- Enzyme-based Stain & Odor Remover – Accidents happen. When they do, it’s important to have an enzyme-based odor and stain remover. Enzymes break down the proteins in urine and other organic matter, eliminating the source of the odor rather than just masking it. In addition, enzymes are safe to use around pets and children and are gentle on carpeting, upholstery, and other fabrics.
- Quality Vacuum – When you own a pet dog, it’s important to have a high-quality vacuum cleaner. Dogs shed their fur all year round, and if you don’t have a good vacuum, your home will quickly become covered in pet hair. A good vacuum will have powerful suction that can pick up all the fur, dander, and dirt that your dog tracking in from outside.
Food & Water
- Food and Water Bowl – Dogs need a calm space to eat and drink, so setting up a designated food and water area is a good idea. Consider stainless steel or porcelain bowls, as they are durable and sanitary. Don’t forget to wash these regularly to prevent bacterial growth once the puppy moves in.
- Bowl Mats – Puppies are messy, and bowl mats can make all the difference. Bowl mats will help contain spills and prevent the bowls from sliding on the floor. I prefer this bowl mat because they come with a clever non-spill design and two stainless steel bowls.
- Puppy Food – What will your puppy eat? Puppies need puppy food formulated for growing dogs. Many puppy parents like to change their dog’s food when bringing it home. Unless your puppy is having problems with their current food, I recommend feeding them whatever food they were being fed before you brought them home.
- Harness – Wearing a harness is something you can practice daily until you are ready for your first walk together. Use positive reinforcement methods and keep it fun for your puppy. I prefer the Blue-9 balance harness for puppies because they easily grow with the puppy.
- Collar & Leash – You should have the Collar & Leash set ready when the puppy moves in. Choose a sturdy leash that you can comfortably hold onto when you are leash training your puppy.
- ID Tags – Even if your puppy isn’t out much in the beginning, a simple collar and ID tags with your contact information can be a lifesaver. I typically order all of my custom ID tags on Etsy!
- Long Line – Long lines are an important tool for teaching recall. By gradually increasing the length of the line, dogs learn that they can always come back to their owner no matter how far they wander. Recall can be a lifesaving skill if a dog ever gets loose from its leash or yard.
- Training Bag – A treat bag is a great way to ensure that you always have treats on hand when your puppy does something right. Additionally, using a treat bag can help you to be more consistent with your rewards, which will make training more effective. I have personally used my Tuff Mutt Dog Treat Pouch for years
- Training Treats – It’s also worth noting that puppies generally respond better to small, frequent rewards than to large ones. Therefore, using training treats can help you to give your puppy the exact amount of praise and encouragement that he or she needs to learn effectively.
- Nail Trimmers & Styptic Powder – Overly long nails can seriously impact your puppy’s skeletal development. Assuming you don’t want to take your dog to the groomer several times a month, invest in a high-quality set of nail trimmers so you can keep their nails at an appropriate length. Also, by exposing your pup to nail trimmings early, you can get them used to the experience and prevent reactivity later in life.
- Dremel – A Dremel is a great alternative or addition to your nail maintenance toolkit. Dremel’s will take some time for you and your dog, but they do a great job shortening nails and eliminating sharp edges.
- Shampoo & Conditioner – Your puppy is sure to get into things that will demand a bath. A good shampoo and conditioner will help keep your dog clean and their coat healthy. Be sure only to use products designed for dogs, as other products might have harmful chemicals.
- Hairbrush & Comb – Another important part of your grooming arsenal is a hairbrush and comb. A high-quality hair brush will help keep shedding and knotting under control and might even prove useful should something get stuck in your dog’s coat.
- Ear Cleaner – It’s important to have a good ear cleaner product on hand. Ear cleaners help to remove the dirt, wax, and debris that can build up in your puppy’s ears. They also help to prevent infection by keeping the area clean and free of bacteria. So if you’re looking for a way to keep your puppy’s ears clean and healthy, ear cleaner products are a great option.
- Toothbrush & Toothpaste – Poor oral health can lead to a number of health problems later in life. That’s why it’s important to get your puppy started on a dental care routine early. Taking care of your puppy’s teeth may seem like one more thing on your already full plate, but it’s an important part of keeping your pup healthy and happy.
Toys & Chews
- Flirt Pole – There are many benefits to using a flirt pole, including helping your puppy burn off excess energy and improving coordination and body awareness. Plus, it’s also a great way to teach impulse control.
- Chews – Puppies love to chew, especially while teething. Invest in quality chews to redirect from getting your hands or furniture chewed up!
It is never too soon to prepare for the worst.
Nobody wants to think about injuries, disease, and other complications before bringing a puppy home, but accidents happen.
Do your research and find a veterinary clinic you feel comfortable with so that you know where to turn if something goes wrong.
In any case, you will also need a veterinarian when it’s time for the remaining puppy shots.
Keep in mind that vet offices are often booked out for several weeks in advance, and you might want to set up appointments for your puppy’s shots ahead of time.
Many future dog owners opt to make these appointments before picking up the puppy to be on the safe side.
I also encourage new pet parents to consider getting pet insurance for their new furry family member.
Emergency vet bills are often unexpected and expensive. The last thing you want is to be unable to pay for care if your new pup needs it.
Some employers even offer pet insurance plans as an employment benefit.
- Pupford Training App – Puppies require a lot of training. That’s where the Pupford app comes in. The Pupford app offers useful classes, such as the 30-day perfect puppy course, to help new pet parents train desired behaviors and ultimately build a relationship with their puppy.
- YouTube Videos – YouTube has become a popular destination for pet owners looking for information on how to train their puppies. There are several advantages to using YouTube videos for puppy training. It is a convenient way to access a wide range of training resources. Plus, YouTube videos are free to watch.
- Local Puppy Classes – Training a puppy can be a daunting task, but the benefits of enrolling in a local training class are well worth the effort. Not only will your puppy learn the basic commands, but he or she will also be socialized with other dogs and people. With the help of a professional trainer, you will be able to ask questions and get tailored advice that is specific to your puppy’s needs.
- Professional Training – A professional trainer can teach your puppy the basic commands and help them to develop good manners. They can help you to troubleshoot any behavioral issues that may arise. In addition, a professional trainer can provide you with customized guidance based on your puppy’s individual personality and needs.
Things to Do Before You Bring Your New Puppy Home
Puppies are like babies—innocent and tend to get into trouble.
Before you bring one home, you must puppy-proof your home and yard to the best of your abilities.
The goal is to protect your house and belongings and keep your puppy safe while exploring.
There are a variety of things you can purchase to puppy-proof your home that can be added to your new dog shopping list.
Here is what you should consider when puppy-proofing your home:
Puppy Proofing Your Home
Protecting Your Home
- Restricting Access – Puppies don’t need access to your whole house, especially not in the beginning. If you have rooms with valuable items, electrical cords, carpet that can’t be removed, and more, you can always keep that door closed.
- Using Baby Gates – Baby gates are great when you want to restrict your puppy’s access without having to close the door. You can also invest in a puppy pen for additional control, but keep in mind that as your puppy grows, it might be able to get out.
- Remove Rugs and Loose Items – Unless your puppy comes potty trained, there will be accidents. Make life easier for yourself by removing any rugs from your floors. You can also opt to cover specific areas (such as carpeted floors) with puppy pads for easy cleanup.
Protecting Your Puppy
- Unplug or Remove Electrical Cords – Electrical cords are no-goes for puppies! If your puppy would successfully chew through a cord, you could come back to an electrocuted dog. To prevent this, unplug any cords in the puppy area, and remove or cover them.
- Safely Store Cleaning Supplies – You’ll need cleaning supplies while potty training your puppy, but that doesn’t mean you can leave them within reach of the dog. Accidentally getting into cleaning supplies could have lethal effects, and these should be stored safely and out of reach.
- Keep Medications in a Secure Cabinet – Puppies and human medication are not a good combination. Puppies are extremely good at getting into things they shouldn’t, and it is better to be safe than sorry by locking away any medication.
For those lucky enough to have a yard, this part of your property also needs puppy-proofing – and should not be forgotten as you prepare your new dog shopping list.
- Secure Potty Area – Having a fenced-in yard makes potty training much less stressful and can give your dog freedom until you are ready for walks. If you already have a fenced-in yard, now is the time to check for holes, loose planks, etc.
- Toxic Plants – Any toxic plants need to be removed to prevent your puppy from nibbling on them. If unsure, a quick Google search can tell you if a plant is puppy-safe or not.
- Pest Control – Keeping your grass and bushes trimmed is also recommendable, as creepy crawlers like ticks tend to thrive in tall grass.
- Pool Precautions– In-ground pools should also be fenced-in to prevent a devastating drowning incident.
- Safe Area – If there are too many hazards in your backyard, another option is to establish a designated puppy area and seal it off with a fence or puppy pen.
Remember, regardless of how much puppy-proofing you have done, you should always supervise your puppy when out in the yard.
What to Expect on the New Puppy’s First Day
If there are children in the family, take some time to explain what is about to happen.
Most puppies are separated from their mom and littermates when moving to a new home, which can be a confusing and frightening experience for them.
With this in mind, don’t expect your new puppy to be happy and playful right away.
Instead, give the puppy some space.
Instruct everyone in the household to let the puppy sniff around and explore on its own the first day, without pressure.
Expect there to be potty accidents and remain patient.
Provided you have followed the puppy-proofing steps, cleanup should be simple.
Leave potty training, playtime, and training for another day.
Instead, allow your new four-legged friend to settle in first.
Puppies should always have a safe space to hide when tired.
This can be a crate or a dog bed, and the rule needs to be that no one pets or approaches the puppy when in their safe space, no matter how tempting it can be.
Preparing your home for a new puppy takes time and effort.
But once you get that adorable fur baby home—it will all be worth it!
Use your new dog shopping list as a starting point, and continue to add to the list as you see fit.
Puppy-proof your house and your yard, buy some of the things you need to raise your dog, and enjoy the experience!
It will be hard at times, but you have to remain patient and positive.
If this happens to you, just remember that you’re not alone and that it gets better.
Safety should be your primary concern at this stage, and the goal is to create a secure and welcoming environment for your new family member.
The more you prepare yourself and your home for the puppy’s arrival, the easier it will be.