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Congratulations on deciding to get a new puppy. Now that you have made this big decision, it’s time to think about what you need for them.
Puppies require a lot of stuff, but it can be hard to know what is needed and what is not. And going to the pet store without any idea of what you need can be overwhelming.
Much of what is on this list will be difficult to purchase until you’ve picked out your puppy. But you will want to purchase most of it prior to bringing the puppy home.
It’s easier to shop for puppy supplies without your new puppy than with. For Luna, we had everything we needed, because we already had Morgan, except for her crate. So, we took Luna with to pick up the crate before going home.
It was much more difficult than it needed to be. Luna was scared and then we had to stop at the pet store, so we could get a crate big enough for her. We ended up just getting something that would work for a little while, so we could get her settled at home.
I do not recommend bringing a new puppy to the store with you. Once your puppy is used to you, then you can take them to the pet store, but not until then.
Must-haves for a puppy
1. Crate and gates
A crate is necessary if you are going to crate train your puppy. Crate training is highly recommended, so your puppy can have a safe place to be when not being watched.
Puppies can quickly get in trouble when not being supervised, whether it be chewing something they shouldn’t or having a potty accident. Crates limit both by limiting the puppy’s access to the house while not being supervised.
A crate can also become a puppy’s safe place where the puppy will go when they need alone time. Luna loves her crate and will go in it off and on throughout the day.
Gates are helpful if there is a spot in the house that you don’t want the puppy to go even once they are house trained. I have a gate up to keep both dogs out of the laundry room.
That’s where I keep the kitty food and litter box and the only way to keep the dogs out of those items is to block it off. Kitty can jump the gate but neither dog “can.” I say “can” because Luna could if she tried, but she hasn’t tried.
2. Puppy food
To start off with I recommend using the food that your new puppy is on when you get him or her. I think it’s better to not change everything all at once on your puppy.
If you don’t like the food they are on, I would talk with the vet and do some research. Then choose a high-quality puppy food and slowly switch from the old food to the new food.
Both Morgan and Luna had to be on several different foods before I found something that worked for them. But I waited a few weeks before switching so they were used to my home first.
3. Dog training book
You can also sign up for puppy training classes to help train your new puppy, but I recommend getting a good training book too.
4. Collar and leash
Besides the fact that most towns and cities have leash laws, it is also safer to have your puppy on a leash. Puppies are easily distracted an won’t know to come when called (at least until you have trained them) so it would be easy for them to get lost without a leash.
A collar also gives you a place to attach their id tags (more on that in a bit).
A harness is recommended to use when walking instead of a collar. A harness makes it less likely for your puppy to hurt its trachea if they pull a lot when on a leash.
Here is a review of three harnesses (well two and a head halter) that I’ve tried with Luna to reduce her pulling.
6. ID tag
An ID tag is highly recommended in case your puppy ever gets away from you. Many customizable tags allow you to have your puppy’s name engraved on one side and your name and contact information engraved on the other side.
7. Food and water bowls
There is a large variety of food and water bowls, but I recommend a “spill-proof” stainless steel water bowl. Luna has figured out how to spill these, but she doesn’t do it nearly as often as she did the other style.
You can use the same style of food bowl as water bowl, or you can do something different. After having Luna for a few weeks, we noticed that she is a speed eater and decided to get her a slow feeder bowl.
Along with the slow feeder bowl, there are other ways to slow a puppy’s eating down that you can read about here.
8. Training treats
Since a new puppy needs to be trained so they will grow into a well-behaved adult dog, they need training treats. And since you want to reward often, at first, you want something small and easily breakable.
This is one of the treats that I use.
9. Poop bags
This is not a fun thing, but it is a necessary one. If you plan on taking your dog on walks, you need to have poop bags.
No one likes finding random dog poop in their yard. Being a responsible dog owner means picking up your dog’s poop and having poop bags that attach to the leash makes that easier.
10. Toys – several varieties
Toys can be fun to pick out, but it can also be overwhelming. You want to start with a variety of toys until you find what your puppy likes. Morgan only likes chew toys. Luna likes almost anything, especially if it squeaks.
Please make sure you supervise your puppy with each of these and take away any that start to tear. Some dogs just can’t have certain styles of toys because they will destroy them.
Luna cannot be left alone with a rope toy, she will just pull the fibers loose, but she loves to play tug with them. You can make your own out of t-shirts that limits what can be pulled out. You can learn how to make it here.
11. A Brush
A brush is a necessity more to teach your puppy to allow you to brush them than anything. Most puppies, in my experience, don’t shed much, but as they get older many will.
You don’t want to wait to start brushing your puppy until they absolutely need it. It is much harder to get an adult dog to let you brush them than it is to get a puppy to let you.
For Luna, I use a regular brush but also the Furminator. Some people love it, some hate it. It definitely gets the fur out of her and as she sheds constantly, I will use whatever works.
12. Flea, tick, and parasite preventatives
Flea, tick, and parasite preventatives help keep your puppy healthy. I recommend checking with the vet before purchasing any of these. They will know what works best in your area.
Flea and tick preventatives are available everywhere that sells pet supplies, but your parasite preventatives are usually only available from your vet.
13. Enzyme cleaner
It’s going to happen. All puppies have an accident at some point or another. If you’re lucky your puppy won’t have many accidents, but I’m sure they will have at least one.
Getting an enzyme cleaner designed to get rid of the smell of urine before it’s needed will make cleanup faster.
14. Vet care
Finding a vet you trust is probably the most important decision you will make, besides which puppy to get. I recommend asking local family and friends, and neighbors, who they use and if they like them.
Also, consider how close the vet is to where you live and work. You want one you trust, but you also want one that is close.
Nice to have
These items aren’t necessary but can make your puppy’s life (and yours) more comfortable (and easy).
Bells can help with potty training by giving your puppy a way to tell you they need to go out. I’ve never had success with bells, but that’s partly because we take the dogs out more than one door to go potty.
I know multiple people that have had good success with these, so it’s worth a try. Anything that helps you know when your puppy needs to go can help.
A clicker trainer can help make training easier. It’s easier to give a click right when your puppy does something right than it is to give a treat.
I used a clicker at first with training Luna but stopped after a while. Mostly it was because I would forget to click right when she did something right.
Again, I know several people that have had great success with a clicker, it just depends on what you like.
I do recommend getting an inexpensive bed or making one (here are several ideas of beds to make) to see if your puppy likes them.
We have two beds, a little one for Morgan and a larger one for Luna, and Morgan is the only one that sleeps in either bed. Luna prefers her plastic crate bottom, the carpet, the couch, or the vinyl kitchen floor.
If you do decide to get a dog bed, I do recommend keeping it out of the crate at first. You don’t want anything in the crate with your puppy until they are completely potty trained, and you know they won’t chew it up.
A treat pouch makes carrying treats on walks much easier. Some people just put the treats in their pockets, but that isn’t something I’m willing to do.
A treat pouch gives me a place to put the treats without having to keep them in my hands. It’s much easier to give Luna a treat when walking nicely if I don’t have a full hand of treats while trying to give her just a little piece.
I’ve used a couple of these before, but I don’t use them now.
Tie out stake
If you don’t have a fenced-in yard, but you want to place your puppy outside without having to hold on to the leash, a tie out may be useful.
If you do decide to use a tie out, I recommend not leaving your puppy outside without supervision for very long. Part of the reason I don’t use this anymore is that your dog can get tangled up if there’s anything within their reach to get the leash caught on.
The other reason I don’t use this anymore, besides having a fenced-in yard, is that Luna is large enough I worry about her being able to pull it out. She gets very determined when she wants to go play with the neighbor dog, or I walk towards the car, that I worry she could pull the stake right out of the ground.
A smaller dog wouldn’t have this issue, but at 85 pounds I worry Luna would.
A puppy playpen is something that you can set up either inside or out to give your puppy more space than a crate when you can’t supervise them.
I’ve used this outside for a small dog so they couldn’t run off but also wouldn’t have to be on a leash.
Some people use this inside, so their puppy can have more space while being unsupervised. If you do this, you have to be okay with the fact that your puppy may pee while in the playpen.
I wasn’t willing to allow the accidents on the floor, so I just had my dogs go into the crate when they couldn’t be supervised and let them out as soon as possible.
Either way, playpen or not, eventually, your puppy will be trained well enough to not need constant supervision.
Puppy pads give your puppy a place to pee inside the house. I thought about using these with my first dog but changed my mind after a couple of days.
I felt that it would be confusing to my puppy to allow her to pee inside the house and then try to teach her to only potty outside.
Some people have used these and been successful, and others have had issues with the transition to outdoor potty training. Though if you have a little dog in an apartment, these may be useful for the life of your dog.
I hope this list of puppy supplies helps you get everything you need for bringing your new puppy home. Some of these items can be used for your puppy’s whole life (like the crate if you sized it correctly). And others will need to be replaced or changed as your puppy gets older.
I hope your new puppy adjusts quickly to your home and that this is the start of a long life together.