What do you need to buy before you bring your new puppy home?
Go into any pet store and you’ll see so much stuff it’ll make your head spin!
Of course there are some essentials. But honestly, just as you wouldn’t overindulge a baby, there’s no need to overindulge your pup.
Stick with a few essentials beforehand then look into other items if you think you need to later on.
Here’s a rundown of what most would consider the essential purchases for your new puppy… (and if you want to download a checklist to make sure you don’t miss out on any of the essentials, grab yours here!)
1. Travel crate
Okay, so this one is slightly optional if you have someone coming with you to collect your newest family member.
But here’s why I think it’s a good idea – your new pup may be a little nervous, excited, or scared when you first collect him or her. Which means he or she may have a little ‘accident’ en route home. A crate can be lined for minimum mess. A person and the car not so much!
If you’re solo, you absolutely must consider a travel crate. You both need to be safe when getting home from the rescue centre or breeder. A travel crate can be popped on the floor of the passenger seat so they’re close to you but secure, and you can drive safely home.
Of course, this is dependent on the size of your new dog.
If you’re adopting an older dog, you may want to have a divider up in your car boot so he’s secure back there. Or a dog seat belt harness for the back seat.
2. House crate
Crates have a few benefits for new pups:
- Provide a den that helps him feel safe and protected
- A secure sleeping place minimising accidents on your floors at night
- A great training tool
- Offer a time-out space
There are advantages and disadvantages of using a crate, so be sure to look into how you should properly use a crate to avoid confidence issues, anxiety or aggressive behaviour as he grows.
3. Puppy food
There are various options here so it’s best to do your own research to know what you’d like to choose, what you’ll find relatively easy to maintain, and of course what’s best for your new pup – breed, age, energy levels, etc.
- Raw food (BARF – biologically appropriate raw food – or RMB – raw meaty bones)
- Kibble (dried, pelleted food)
- Wet dog food
There are pros and cons to each. So research well, find some impartial sources for unbiased opinions and go with what works best for you both.
4. Food and water bowls
A seemingly innocuous purchase but actually this one also needs a bit of research.
- The size of your pup will help determine the correct bowl size to use
- Consider non-tip bowls – stainless steel with rubber non-slip base for less mess
- Are they dishwasher-safe? (If that’s how you want to be able to clean them)
- You might want to place a non-slip mat under the bowls, even if you opt for non-tip bowls, as it’ll minimise mess on your floor
- Remember the water bowl! Fresh water must be available to your pup at all times
Small, soft toys are an absolute must for a new pup. They’ll want to sink their teeth into anything, so giving him his own dedicated toys will minimise the risk of him attacking your stuff!
Pups also need mental stimulation (as do dogs of all ages) so take a look at puzzle toys and treat toys as a way to help develop their cognitive function and tap into their inner instinctive tendencies.
Puppies grow up. I know this is obvious, but I have a point… they’re going to need a few new collars before they reach adulthood, so there’s no need to spend a fortune on his first one!
Sturdy but comfortable is what you’re looking for.
Size also matters.
Your pup shouldn’t be able to slip out of it, this is particularly important when using a lead as he may pull and wiggle out if it’s loose.
Equally, it shouldn’t be too tight. You should be able to slip your finger under it without any resistance.
And lastly, remember to get some ID tags attached – name and phone number.
There are people for and against extendable leads. So whether you decide to use one is entirely your call, though if you do, make sure you use it properly and have it appropriate to your dog’s weight.
Initially, however, a standard lead will work well for your pup as and when you venture out. You’ll want to keep him pretty close in those early days and weeks whilst allowing him to sniff around.
8. Grooming tools
Regardless of whether you’ll head to a groomer to keep your pup neat and tidy, it’s worth having a few grooming essentials at home too…
- Puppy shampoo (never use your own, it’s too harsh)
- Comb and/or brush (depending on your pup’s coat)
There are a couple of additional tools you could also buy which I’ve popped in the ‘next step’ purchases below.
9. Cleaning products
Your pup will pee (and possibly poop) in the house. It’s a certainty. So having decent cleaning products is a must!
Don’t rely on your regular household product because your pup’s nose is a zillion times more sensitive than yours, he’ll sniff his pee (or poop) out in no time if you haven’t cleaned it thoroughly using an enzymatic cleaner.
This is important because if he smells his own pee in the house, he may think it’s where he can pee, so go again on the same spot!
Treats are a great training tool. So definitely get some ready before your pup comes home.
While you may want to buy them to keep things quick and easy, do be mindful of the type of treat it is. Always check the ingredient list – just like for us, the more ingredients listed the less good it’ll be for your little one.
Otherwise, bake your own!
It may sound like a chore, but it’s really super simple (often cheaper) and you can whip up a bigger batch, freezing some, to make it worth your while!
Here’s a fab peanut butter dog treat recipe if you’re looking for a little inspiration, but a quick Google or Pinterest search will bring up loads more.
Okay, so we’ve covered the best pre-pup purchases, but as you’ve probably already figured out, there are other items that you’ll need at some point soon after bringing him home.
Here are a few of those next step purchases:
1. Dog bed
Whilst you may use a crate for nighttime sleeping, it’s still a good idea to have a comfy bed for your pup to use during the day. Or for when he wants to be near you, or vice versa, but is a little pooped!
2. Travel water bowl
If you plan on lots of outdoor activities or road trips with your pup as he grows, investing in a travel water bowl is essential – trying to cup water in your own hands or pouring from a bottle usually ends up with more on the ground than in your poor pooch.
3. Puppy pee pads
Your puppy won’t be able to control his bladder until he’s 16 weeks old. So there will be lots of toilet trips in your future to ensure he doesn’t pee in his bed.
Puppy pee pads can help during this initial phase.
Some experts don’t necessarily recommend this approach as it can hinder toilet training, but if you live in an apartment or don’t have easy access to some outdoor space, they can be handy.
4. Poop bags and scooper
You will be picking up your pup’s poop… ahhh the joys of pawrenthood!
So make sure you’ve stocked up on plenty of biodegradable poop bags for those post-jab walks.
And if you’re a bit icky about the whole hand-holding-poo thing, maybe buy a pooper scooper too. It’ll make a shit job a little less shit!
5. Safety gate
If you live in a house and don’t want your pup heading upstairs (important in those early weeks when you need to be mindful of his growing bones and joints), or if you want to block off certain rooms, a safety gate is the way to go.
Playpens are a fantastic idea if you live in an open-plan home. It’ll give him or her plenty of space to play without wandering into areas you’d rather he didn’t or chewing on things he really shouldn’t!
7. Additional grooming tools:
As mentioned above, in addition to puppy shampoo and a brush, you may want to keep his nails in check and you should start brushing his teeth as early as possible.
Gum disease is super common in many dogs and from a really young age too. Starting to brush them when he’s young will make it a normal thing and can even become a good bonding exercise.
- Toothpaste and brush specifically designed for puppy’s
- Nail clippers (though ask your vet or groomer for a demo first)
8. A harness
I like using a harness when walking a puppy, and dogs too unless they’re well trained on a lead.
But your puppy is likely to pull a little, yes, even after some training! They get a scent or see something and they’ll pull to get at it.
Using a harness means they’re not pulling on their collar and therefore neck, and it also gives you more control. Especially beneficial if you have a strong large breed dog – puppy or not, they have some strength!
You don’t have to use a clicker to help train your pup, you could use a word, sound, or movement instead. But for new dog owners training their new pup, a clicker is a great option as it creates the exact same noise each time.
The idea behind the clicker (and any tool you use) is to get your doing what you want each and every time.
- you get the dog to do the behaviour
- at the exact time he gets it, you mark that behaviour with a click
- and reward him for it to encourage the behaviour again
Otherwise known as positive reinforcement training, a truly great way to train your pup into adolescence and on into adulthood.
And there you have it – your pre-puppy purchasing list!
Download your New Puppy Checklist here so you don’t miss any of the essentials!
Did I forget anything? Let me know in the comments below!