Owning a puppy is a big responsibility. You need to remember that a tiny little puppy has to leave behind his beloved mother and family and be in contact with you, his first human family. This can be scary and challenging for a young puppy.
A puppy is not a toy that you can exchange or get rid of when it no longer fits your lifestyle.
Preparing for the arrival of a new puppy is much the same as preparing for a new baby in the house. It is exciting and challenging and there is a lot to consider, and prepare, and buy, to be ready for your new family member. Food, water, comfort, vets, safety, love, and care are all necessary for a happy and healthy puppy.
We have put together a list so you don’t forget anything when getting ready for your new puppy. Are you ready for a new dog? Let’s find out with our checklist.
What You Need for a Puppy Checklist
New dog owners need helpful advice so they are not caught out once their new puppy arrives.
We are going to cover all that you need to prepare for getting a new puppy, including preparing your house, the yard, buying any essential items, and having important discussions with the family.
Puppy-proof your home first
Preparing your home for a new puppy is an essential step before you bring him home. A little puppy is very curious and active in a new environment. He should not be left alone without any supervision for too long.
A puppy has few skills and experience when it comes to taking care of himself and he will explore by biting and chewing everything in his little mouth until he is gently taught and trained to know better.
All nooks and crannies need to be checked for dangerous items – under furniture and dark places where a curious puppy will explore.
We have already written extensively on puppy-proofing your home, but here are a few more tips on what you can do to get started.
- Pick up anything off the floor that you don’t want to be destroyed. This includes shoes (a puppy’s favorite thing to chew on), plants, rugs, and decorations.
- Put away any breakables that are on low or unstable tables that a boisterous puppy could knock over.
- Keep cupboards closed and locked if they contain materials that could be hazardous to your puppy.
- Remove books and other items from the lower shelves of bookcases and open cabinets.
- Lift up or remove any curtains or low blinds.
- Remove or tie down cables and electrical cords.
- Remind the kids to pick up their toys and clothes from the floor.
Puppy-proof your yard
- Check your yard and outdoor areas for hazards, hoses, tools, and toys.
- Put away any dangerous chemicals and garden products.
- Check there are no puppy-sized gaps in your fence and make sure he can’t squeeze through or get his head stuck in any places.
- Check that you don’t have any plants in your garden that are harmful to dogs.
- If you have a pool make sure a puppy cannot get through the fence.
- It is best that you don’t leave a new puppy unsupervised outside until you are sure he is safe.
For those things around the home and yard that you can’t move you can try a puppy-safe deterrent spray so that he stays away from them.
Puppy Shopping Checklist
Here is a list of things you will need for your new puppy.
There are a number of things you need to have in your home before you go and fetch your little puppy. Here are the first things you should focus on:
- Transport carrier
You will need a safe way to bring your new puppy home. A transport carrier or car harness is a safe way for your puppy to travel in the car with you.
Food and training treats are essential to have before your puppy arrives. You should already know what you should be feeding your puppy and what you should not. Your puppy needs a specialized nutritious diet formulated for growth and development. Ask the breeder or shelter who sold the puppy to you what they were feeding your pup, and continue with this formula if you can.
Puppies are active and develop their muscles and bones every day. They need enough of the right calories and proteins from food that is specially designed for them.
Don’t forget to make sure you have some puppy training treats for rewarding good behavior. Your puppy will most likely be motivated by food so having treats on hand will ensure you can start training asap.
- Bowls for food and water
Feeding and drinking bowls for their food and water. We recommended going for the ceramic or non-slip stainless steel ones because they tend to last longer, they can’t be chewed on, and they are easy to keep clean. Look for ones that have a rubber base on as that will help them stay put on the ground and prevent them from spilling and turning over. They are also less noisy if you have an energetic feeder. Also, look for dishwasher safe bowls for easy cleaning.
- Crate, kennel, and bedding
Your new puppy’s crate or indoor kennel and his bedding are a top priority. A good crate can be beneficial for a puppy because it helps with house training and it keeps your pup safe and out of mischief when you can’t be with him. He needs a special place to go to when he wants to escape and relax.
Add some bedding, using old sheets or towels, and favorite toys to his crate. You can also get a dog bed that will fit inside the crate to make your pup more comfortable. When you are away for a while from your pup, a dog gate can be used to go across the doorway so that you can confine him to one room. Make sure he can’t squeeze through the bars or climb over them.
- Puppy pee pads
Buy some disposable puppy pads or plastic sheets to help with toilet training and those puppy accidents that are sure to happen. Don’t forget to get some poop bags for your walks as well.
- Puppy chew toys
Puppies love to explore with their teeth and this can be disastrous for your stuff. If you have something on hand that he can bite down on it can prevent your pup from destroying your things. Grab some chewable toys that are durable and sturdy and appropriate for his little mouth and teeth.
They also love playing games which are excellent for their growth and development and providing them with much needed mental and physical stimulation. A ball is always great to throw and chase after and soft toys and ropes for playing tug with him. Or you can make your own DIY dog toys to help enrich your puppy’s life.
Here are a few puppy toys to start with:
- A leash, collar, and harness
A good collar and leash, and perhaps even a harness, are needed for your pup so that you can keep him safe and under your control when you start to take him outside for walks and play.
Your dog’s collar should be snug but not tight. You should be able to easily fit 2 fingers between the collar and your dog’s neck. An adjustable nylon collar is a good start. You may need to buy new collars as your puppy grows.
A strong and durable leash is ideal to start with so you can keep your puppy close to you. 4-feet is a good length for walking and you can get a longer leash for training if you like.
- ID Tag
An engraved ID tag is essential for your pup because if something does, unfortunately, go wrong outdoors and you lose your pup, an ID tag with your contact information will help you get your puppy back. Consider microchipping your pup to make identification easier as well.
- Dog jacket and boots
If it is cold where you live or you are coming into winter, you will need to make sure you have something warm for your puppy to put on when you go outside for walks. A winter jacket and some warm booties are essential if you want to walk your puppy outside during the colder months.
Puppies are messy and will need regular bathing and grooming to keep them looking cute and fluffy. Here are a few things you will need when you bring your new puppy home:
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Conditioning spray
- Eye and ear cleaning wipes
- Brush, comb, and nail clippers
- Toothbrush and toothpaste, and dental chews
- Odor and stain remover for carpets and floors.
- Worm, flea, and tick treatments and prevention. Check with your vet for advice on when to treat your puppy. Here’s how to choose a good veterinarian.
- Also be sure to have a good first aid kit for pets on hand for emergencies.
You will need to have a training plan in place for your puppy before you bring him home. Know who is going to be in charge of your puppy’s training and know what steps you need to take to get your puppy on the right track.
An online dog training course can be a good way to be prepared for what you need to do to with your puppy in the first few weeks. This is a crucial time for a puppy’s development and knowing what to teach your dog and when to start socialization is important.
You should already have your collar, leash or harness, and some treats on hand if you are working your way through this list.
Know what dog training commands you should start with to make your training easier.
Paperwork on your puppy
Ensure you get a copy of your puppy’s registration papers and any contract from the breeder along with any information about your puppy’s genetic history, along with any information about your puppy on what food he likes, his behavior around people, and other animals, and any training he has already received.
This should also include any certificates for any previous health tests and vaccinations.
If you are getting your puppy from a shelter or other source, gather whatever information you can when you pick up your puppy.
What to do when you first bring your puppy home
Now that you have everything you need, here are a few tips on what to do when you bring your new puppy home for the first time.
- If you have other pets, don’t bring them out to show the puppy straight away. Keep them away or a bit until the puppy gets used to the home.
- Overexcited children need to behave calmly and quietly around him, not squeezing and prodding him. If your kids are very young make sure to keep them back to start with.
- When you bring a puppy home for the very first time the first thing that needs to be established is his very own bathroom spot. He needs to be encouraged there straight away.
- He shouldn’t really have free roaming space through the entire house as this will get him into trouble. To keep him safe and provide him with a place to play, run and stretch his legs, you can restrict his access to one room or get a crate set up.
- Puppies need to sleep a lot, and they need their own ‘safe’ place. With all that excitement around his arrival, the little pup will need some sleep after exploring his new home. He could be excitable himself, or he could be completely nervous, overwhelmed and dejected.
- Be prepared also that a brand new puppy is likely to cry and yelp through the night. Remember to be patient and do not yell at your dog. New things might scare him and at this time, he needs lots of comfort, understanding, and love.
- Puppies thrive on routine so make room for lots of breaks for him to drink or have his toilet break, to train, to sleep, to exercise, and to play. If there are other members of your household they all need to know the same rules because it would be unfair on him if everybody had their own set of rules to live by.
Buying your new little puppy and bringing him or her home is pretty exciting, but it also can be stressful times for both you and the pup. It is going to require plenty of patience, love, and perseverance to raise a pup, and everybody at home also needs to be on the same page so he remains happy, secure, friendly and obedient.
Make your home a welcoming home where your dog has his ‘special safe place’. Study up on training and socialization programs so that you can grow together with your pup, and then you will see what a great best friend you have for the rest of your life.