A puppy chewing on a bone next to a tennis ball toy

The Ultimate New Puppy Checklist for Pet Parents

Adopted a canine friend? Make sure your puppy is comfortable in their new home with our new puppy checklist

February 03, 2021

So you’re about to adopt a new puppy. Congratulations on the best decision of your life! (But probably don’t tell your partner or children that they come in a distant second.) If you’re doing pet ownership right, you’ve come up with the perfect name, hidden all your shoes in a safe place and read all about training. But have you got all the puppy supplies you need to make the latest addition to your family comfortable in their new home? Go through this new puppy checklist to be sure you’re ready to welcome your furry friend.  

New puppy infographic with list of everything a new dog parent needs to know and to get.

Basic Puppy Supplies 

Food & Water Bowls

Dog bowls are commonly made of ceramic, plastic or stainless steel. Make sure to always keep the food bowls clean. 

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Puppy Food 

When you arrive at a new place, what is likely the first thing you need? Right—food! Your furry friend is no different in this respect, so naturally, toward the top of our new puppy checklist is puppy food. When it comes to feeding your new best friend, there are several diet options: dry, wet, natural food, etc. We recommend talking to your vet before deciding on a diet as well as doing some research online, especially when you’re ready to transition them to an adult dog food formula. When choosing a brand, always look at the ingredient list, because you only want your puppy to have the high-quality stuff, right?

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Dry food:

Wet food: 


Treats are a puppy essential that are commonly used to train. But also, don’t you want your dog to like you? When it comes to treats, there are so many interesting options available, so you might need to experiment a little to see what your puppy likes most. Fair warning: Some of these treats may look strangely appealing to humans. 

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Your puppy will quickly outgrow its first collar, but it’s still among the most important puppy supplies for any owner. After all, it will appear (adorably) in your puppy’s very first pictures. We recommend getting a simple nylon collar rather than opting for a more expensive leather one. Make sure that the collar has an ID tag that you can fill in with your puppy’s name, your name and phone number. Additionally, some collars, like Alzoo, can repel ticks, fleas and dust mites.  

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A leash is an important training tool, so it’s critical to find the right fit. Some people choose to have several leashes on hand, while others want an all-in-one option. Ideally, you’ll want an adjustable, reflective and easily washable leash. Nylon leashes are durable and less likely to get tangled. However, a lot depends on your puppy’s breed, size, character and energy level. Learn more about different leash materials and styles and check out all the options available on Gopuff.

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Dog collars, especially on puppies, can be adorable, but they are sometimes a literal pain in the neck for them. You may want to consider using a harness instead of a collar since a harness fastens around a dog’s body and has a leash loop near the shoulders, which takes the pressure off the dog’s neck. When selecting the perfect harness for your fur baby, be sure to do your research since there are a number of styles and options. 


No puppy supply list would be complete without toys—just like human kids, puppies love to play! Make sure your new puppy has both active toys, like balls and rope toys, chew toys for teething and plush comfort toys. Some breeders believe it’s a good idea to rub plush toys on the pup’s mom or siblings before taking your puppy home. Keep a close eye on your fluffy friend’s toys, and be sure to discard them immediately if they are cracked to avoid injuries. 

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Chew toys for teething: 

Active toys: 

Comfort toys:

Puppy Grooming Essentials

Grooming Brush

Another item on our new puppy checklist is a grooming brush. You should pick one that’s suitable for your dog’s fur. Slicker brushes are ideal for removing knots in long, medium and curly fur, but if your puppy has short fur, it might scratch their skin. For dogs with shorter coats, choose a bristle brush instead. For thick, heavy coats like those of Siberian Huskies and Pomeranians, you will need an undercoat rake. For double-coated dogs, go with a moulting comb. If you’re looking for a universal brush, consider a rubber brush or a double-sided brush. 

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Nail Clippers

Whether it is a child or a pup, nail clipping can be a nerve-wracking experience, but it is an essential part of your furry family member’s general grooming needs. A dog’s nails are always growing, and while some pups are able to wear down their nails naturally from walking on pavement, it’s sometimes not enough. Since a majority of dogs today live indoors, they don’t typically spend enough time on harder surfaces, like pavement, to keep the nails short.

If a dog’s nails are left untamed, the nails will sometimes curl under and actually start growing into the footpads, which can lead to painful sores and infections. The good news is that there are nail clippers out there that can do the job and relieve anxiety for you and your pet, which you can find online or at your local pet store.

Dog Shampoo 

If your dog doesn’t have allergies or skin conditions, you can shop for shampoo based on scent or price. However, when in doubt, consult your vet or opt for pH-balanced or soap-free variants of doggie shampoo.  

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Dog Toothbrush and Toothpaste 

No puppy checklist is complete without a dog toothbrush and toothpaste. When it comes to keeping pups healthy and strong, dental hygiene is often overlooked by pet owners. The primary sign of early dental disease for pups is bad breath, which is easy for owners to overlook because they think that bad breath is simply something dogs naturally have. Be sure to get a dog toothbrush and toothpaste to keep your pup’s dental health in check (plus your sense of smell will appreciate it, too). If you are not comfortable with brushing your puppy’s teeth yourself, you can also talk to your vet about having them done professionally. 

Puppy Potty Training Necessities

Training Pads

As you might have guessed, training pads are not the most glamorous item on this list. However, if you live in a place with dramatic weather changes or if you adopted an elderly dog or a dog with a disability, pee pads may be a necessity. If you’re planning on potty training your dog, you may find this video helpful. 

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Dog Waste Bags

For walks that don’t result in your neighbors getting grumpy, make sure you’ve got a stash of waste bags on hand. If you have a yard, be sure to get a pooper-scooper so you can easily clean up your dog’s poop so you don’t accidentally step in it at a later date.

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Stain & Odor Remover 

To hide the evidence of your little dog’s accidents, you’ll need good cleaning products. For example, Nature’s Miracle Dog Stain & Odor Remover is enzyme-based and can be used to remove pesky stains on floors, clothing and carpets.

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By the way, if you’re looking for some cleaning inspo, check out this cleaning supply list that will help you keep your house spotless! 

Comfort & Safety

Dog Bed 

Did you know that adult dogs sleep an average of 12–14 hours a day, and that puppies enjoy 18–20 hours of sleep daily? While dogs are happy to nap in various places around the house (including your carefully made bed), it’s important for them to have a place that is their own. 

Do some research, since there’s a multitude of dog bed options available, including cooling, orthopedic, odor-resistant and hypoallergenic ones.

If you’ve adopted an adult dog, measure them from nose to tail while they are sleeping. Then add about 10 inches to the length of the bed. If you have a puppy, opt for a larger bed or be prepared to replace it pretty soon. You may want to consider getting two dog beds so your pup has more than one cozy spot to call their own or just in case they have an accident. To help your puppy feel cozy and safe, add blankets or pillows. 

Dog Crate

In addition to a dog bed, you need to get a dog crate that is the right size for your pup so you can successfully crate-train your pup. We know that crates may seem like doggy jail, but acclimating your new dog to a crate is essential. When crate training is done properly, it can provide dogs with a sense of security, and safety when traveling. Crate training can also help prevent accidents.

Puppy Playpen & Gate

Because a puppy’s energy is boundless, any previous puppy owner can attest that puppy training can seem like a full-time job. Even the most attentive pup parents who use their training clickers consistently sometimes need some additional tools to help them train their pup and keep them out of trouble. Some great options to consider are playpens, dividers or baby gates. The best decision is based on what your and your pup’s needs are. For example, if you want to let your pup have some playtime/socialization with another pup, then you may want to consider a playpen to designate a safe space for them to play.

Healthcare Needs

Select a Vet

Before you bring your new furry bundle of joy home for the first time it’s important to do some research about what veterinarian would be best for you and your pup. Prior to making a final decision, consider factors such as your pup’s age, special medical conditions or previous injuries and surgeries. Additionally, your dog may need a veterinarian with specialty training and equipment, or one who offers special services.

Once you have selected a vet that both of you are comfortable with, bring your new pup in for a wellness checkup and be prepared to ask questions about spay and neutering, vaccinations, parasite testing, microchipping and supplements.

Choose a Pet Insurance Plan

Selecting a pet insurance plan for your pup can be overwhelming, since there are a lot of options on the market and there are a variety of details to consider in regard to coverage and pricing. When you start doing your online research, be sure to understand the pros and cons of buying pet insurance, what to avoid and what to look for to find the perfect policy for your budget and your pet’s needs. In addition to online research, you can ask loved ones or your vet for recommendations.

Heartworm, Flea and Tick Prevention

An essential aspect of puppy healthcare is to get them heartworm protection. In the first year of a puppy’s life, they need to take a pill once a month. Some medications even include flea and tick prevention. Once your fur baby is a year old, the pill can be replaced with a bi-annual shot if you and your pup prefer.

In case your puppy’s heartworm medication doesn’t include flea and tick protection, you can get a collar that’s flea- and tick-repellent. However, it would be best to get a flea and tick spray, too, to make sure your pup has extra protection. To apply the spray, just gently mist your puppy’s fur coat every 2 months. Note: Flea & tick sprays are not safe for dogs under 12 weeks old.

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Additional Resources

It takes a lot of time and work to raise a pup, and we all need a little extra help sometimes. For more in-depth material about how to raise, train and care for your new puppy, be sure to check out the resources below.

  • How to Choose a Veterinarian: Dog expert Cesar Milan provides advice on how to find and select the perfect vet for you and your pup.

  • How to Train Your Dog: You can take your pup to a local trainer to learn basic training and commands, but the Spruce put together a guide about how to properly train your pup.

  • How to Puppy Proof Your Home: This guide, provided by the American Kennel Club, gives tips on how to prepare your home and family for a new puppy.

  • How to Bathe a Puppy for the First Time: This step-by-step guide, provided by the American Kennel Club, shares tips on how to successfully bathe a puppy for the first time.

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