The Top 10 Things You Need for a Puppy

The Top 10 Things You Need for a Puppy
So, you’re going to be bringing a new puppy into the house!! This is a very exciting time for you (and the puppy), so we’d like to help by providing a supply list of things you need for a puppy. This will help you determine everything you need for a new puppy.

Just like bringing a new baby home, you need to be prepared for your new canine companion. They’re going to need to eat, sleep and play, so let’s take a look a what to buy for a new puppy.

Things You Need For a Puppy (alphabetical order)

Dog Bed

While this is not critical for day #1, it is high on the list of what to buy for a new puppy. You can either purchase a bed and/or a crate for your puppy to sleep in (see below for Crate information).

Puppies need their own safe space to land at the end of the day or when they become overwhelmed. Even if you do get a crate, you may want to have a bed or two around the house where the family interacts, so they can be nearby when you are home

Puppy Collar/ID

Enough cannot be said about the benefits of pet identification and this is a must-have item on things you need for a puppy. Place a collar and identification tags—with your address and phone numbers—on your pet immediately. In fact, you should bring these with you when you pick up your pet.

The most appropriate types of collars for a puppy are the flat or rolled ones made of heavy canvas, nylon, leather, or other durable material. These fasten with a clip or a buckle and are easy to take on and off. They provide a metal loop for a leash and to hang an ID tag on.
ID tags are available at any pet store in a variety of sizes, shapes, and materials. Some stores even have machines where you can make the tag yourself. While you’re at it, make a spare, as tags can come loose and get lost, meaning that extra one can come in pretty handy.

When fitting the collar, make sure it isn’t too tight. You should be able to get 1-2 fingers between the puppy and the collar and you should check and adjust the collar every few weeks as the puppy grows.

Dog Crate

Training your new puppy to use a crate—for sleeping, travel, even to limit access to the house while you are gone—is a good habit. While you may not need to use the crate as much as they get older, it can be a godsend in many situations.

Crates come in a variety of sizes, and you can start with a smaller crate suitable for a puppy and graduate to a larger one later on, or you can begin with a larger crate right off the bat, based on the size they will become in adulthood. If choosing the latter, purchase a crate that has an adjustable back wall or divider wall, which can be moved to accommodate growth.

Crates are available in a variety of sizes, aesthetics, and costs. There are metal/wire crates, plastic crates, fabric crates, or decorative crates that actually serve as a piece of furniture. Your budget, space and the need for mobility (travel) will dictate which type you purchase.
For more information on how to crate train and the different crates available, check out our article here.

Puppy Food/Food Bowl/Water Bowl

This may be the #1 item for things you need for a puppy. Puppies require a specific nutrient profile compared to adult dogs, so be sure the food you purchase is formulated for puppies (it should be prominently displayed on the label). Make sure to feed your new pup a high-quality food that provides them with the appropriate nutrition and is free from excessive fillers.

The first item on the ingredients list should be the meat designated by the label and it should be followed by other healthy foods including whole grains (corn, wheat), soy, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. Their food should also be free of any artificial dyes, flavors, or preservatives, as they are harmful to puppies and dogs alike. Look for a statement from AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) as another sign of a properly balanced feed.

For the first 12 weeks, puppies will need to eat about 4 meals a day. Then you can reduce that to 3 times a day until they reach the age of 6 months. After that, you can get them on a regular feeding schedule of twice per day. As an alternative you can leave food out for them all day, however house training is easier if there are specific meals, as your puppy will often eliminate after eating.

Treats will also come in handy for training and to praise your puppy. Don’t go overboard with them, but positive reinforcement can work wonders when you want your dog to learn something new.

Also, make sure that they have plenty of clean fresh water available to them, both inside and outside of the house.

Puppy Harness

Harnesses should not replace collars, but can be used in lieu of the collar with a leash. Collars serve the function of having your pet’s ID on them, and should always be worn. However, if you would prefer walking or training your puppy with a harness, which puts less strain on the neck, it is a good training tool, making your job a bit easier. Harnesses are typically made of nylon or a soft mesh and easily clip on and off. Harnesses come with either a front clip (below the neck) or a back clip. The back clip is easier for them to adjust to, but offers less control over the dog than a front clip.

Dog Leash

A leash is necessary for training and exercise. Leashes come in leather, rope, nylon, and a variety of other strong materials. You’ll want to start with a shorter leash (4 to 5 foot) so that you can maintain close control on your pup. Retractable leashes are also an option, but don’t let them get too far ahead or allow too much slack, as you can lose control.

Dog Nail Trimmers

Dog’s nails grow at a fairly rapid pace, and unless they are walking extensively on a hard surface like asphalt or spending all day roaming the fields, it’s likely that you will have to trim those nails on a regular basis.

There are a variety of clippers available, from electric dremel-style tools to scissor and guillotine styles. Most veterinarians and dog groomers recommend the scissor or plier-style nail clippers over the guillotine ones, as the latter can crush a nail, particularly if it isn’t sharp enough.

For instructions on trimming your dog’s nails, check out our article here.

Dog Shampoo/Brush

Your pup’s breed and activity level will determine how often you need to bathe them, but keep them clean with a high-quality shampoo. Avoid over-bathing, which can lead to skin irritation.

Depending on your puppy’s coat and the environment in which you live, you may need to engage in regular brushing of your dog’s coat to remove excess hair, burrs, dirt and other nasties. A good dog comb and/or brush will do the trick.

Dog Toothbrush

Just like humans, dog’s need to keep their teeth healthy. Those teeth are used to eat, protect and even scratch an itch. You’ll find it easier to brush their teeth as they age, if you start the habit as a puppy.

You’ll need a canine toothbrush and canine toothpaste (human toothpaste can be harmful), both of which are available at your local pet store or online. Dog dental chews are also a good idea, as these specifically designed treats help remove plaque and tartar.

To find out how to properly brush your dog’s teeth, we have just the article for you here.

Puppy Toys

Puppies, like young children, have an abundance of energy. They like to run, chase, chew, and get into mischief. Providing them with ample distractions is your key to having those fancy boots stay intact or to keep that rug from being shredded.

Balls to play and chew on, along with a Chuckit for outdoor use, are a must. Note: If you find that your puppy is shredding the tennis-style balls, switch to the harder Kong variety made of durable solid plastic. They won’t break down, last longer, and there is no chance that pieces of the ball will end up in their tummies or lodged in their intestines like it can with a tennis ball.

Also on your puppy supply list are tug toys or teething ropes. These are perfect for your puppy to chew on and can be used to play tug-of-war with your new canine. Chew toys are also beneficial for teething puppies. These are often made of synthetic materials, but you can also find antler, hoof, and other natural materials for them to sink their teeth into.

Plush toys are often a favorite of puppies. If they’re used to snuggling with littermates or other dogs in a kennel, then having something soft that they can bring to bed and play with can be comforting. Some come with little squeakie boxes that will even entertain your pet (although possibly annoy you!).

So, those are the basics for what you need to buy for a new puppy. Undoubtedly you will come home from the pet store with much more…some things are just hard to resist!

Other Essential New Puppy Items

And don’t forget, once your new bundle of canine joy does come home, there will still be things they need:

Microchip ID: Don’t be devastated by the loss of your puppy due to an open door or gate. It’s a simple and inexpensive process to have a microchip inserted under the skin, and your chances of getting your dog back increase dramatically.

Vaccinations: Your puppy will need a series of shot up until the age of about 20 weeks, and then annual boosters as an adult. Make sure that you keep up to date with all recommended shots, including Parvovirus, DHPP (Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, and Parvo), Rabies, Distemper, and other serious illnesses. Other vaccines may be recommended by your veterinarian based on your specific geographic location and what activities your and your puppy participate in.

Parasite Control: Flea and tick prevention will likely be mandatory for your pet, and especially so in the summertime. There are a variety of flea prevention remedies, including spot-on treatments, oral medications, shampoos, powders and collars. If you live in an area with ticks, you will need to be vigilant and remove ticks as they appear. For prevention and eradication, there are tick collars, tick dips, shampoos, powders and sprays. Another parasite to be mindful of is worms, which are easily picked up by sniffing or licking items on the ground or playing with other dogs which are infected. They are also very common in puppies. Talk to your vet about the best course of action for deworming your puppy.

Obedience Training/Socialization: While you don’t need this to bring your puppy home, you will need it almost immediately. It’s important that you start training your puppy from a very early age to get along with humans (including children), as well as other animals. It will also make your life easier down the line if they have some structured obedience training. Look to your local Park and Rec department, local SPCA, or private classes to give you a good head start on obedience training.

Spay/Neuter: Prevent overpopulation, unwanted pregnancies, testicular cancer and reproductive tumors in your dog by having them spayed or neutered. We have a Snip-N-Chip program and offer reduced cost spays and neuters for those households who qualify. Click here for more information.

We hope this list has help you determine the things you need for a puppy! Share this with a friend who is considering or has already adopted a new puppy.