New Puppy Checklist: Essentials For Your New Puppy

26 October 2021

A new puppy requires a lot of love, work, patience and care. So get prepared with this checklist of the 20+ essentials you'll need to welcome your new canine friend home and get off to a great start together.

small grey puppy standing outside in the grass

So you’ve decided to get a new puppy – congratulations! By preparing in advance for your furry friend’s arrival, you’ll have more time to play and snuggle with your new puppy right away! Get ready for your new canine family member by going through the following new puppy checklist: essential things you’ll need when caring for a puppy.

Becoming a puppy parent

While you wait for your puppy to arrive, do a final assessment to make sure you are ready for this new addition to your family. Being a dog parent is a big responsibility. Your new pup may cause you to modify your routines, spend money on veterinary care, and sacrifice a little sleep! But in the end, it’s worth it to build a lifelong bond with your furry bundle of joy.

Select a veterinarian for your new puppy

Choose a veterinarian before your pup arrives home so you can schedule a well-puppy check right away. Your pup will need regular vaccinations and exams to stay healthy as it grows. The veterinary team will be an important part of monitoring your pup’s health throughout its life.

Prepare your home for your new dog’s arrival when they are 8-10 weeks old

Leaving its mother and littermates to live in your home is a big moment for your new puppy. The best age to bring a new puppy into your home is 8 to 10 weeks, when the puppy is fully weaned and ready to meet its new family. 

Welcome your puppy to your home with all the right essential puppy gear. Having puppy supplies in place before your pup arrives home will reduce anxiety on the big day and allow you and your puppy to get to know each other.

Review this new dog checklist to make sure you have everything ready.

small husky puppy on a leash outside with sun in the background

A good leash, collar, harness, and dog ID tags

A comfortable collar is a must for your pup, because it provides a place to hang ID tags and attach a leash. An adjustable collar can grow with your pup. 

Put the collar on your puppy as soon as you pick up your new friend from the breeder or adoption center. Attach the leash before you head to the car and hold onto the leash securely. You don’t want your new puppy to dash off on your first day together!

The collar should be worn by your puppy at all times. Don’t worry if your pup scratches at the new collar – in a few days, your puppy will be used to this new accessory. 

Place a padded harness on your puppy when you take walks together, and attach the leash to the harness instead of the collar. This is more comfortable if your puppy pulls against the leash as he learns proper walking behavior.  For help with leash training, check out our Guide to Leash Training a Puppy or Dog.

Healthy puppy food 

Puppies love to eat – a lot! Puppies eat more pet food per pound of body weight than adult dogs. You can find out how much you should feed your dog and how often here on the Tractive blog.

Choose a dog food specially formulated for puppies. Puppy food has the right nutrients to support healthy bone growth and organ development. Plan on serving puppy food to your little dog for the first year of life. 

Easy-to-clean stainless steel food and water bowls

Puppies get very excited at meal time, so choose food and water bowls that won’t easily tip over. A pair of stainless steel bowls in a holder works well. Start with small bowls and swap them for larger bowls as your puppy grows. Wash the bowls every day.

small white and brown puppy dog eating from a stainless steel dog food bowl inside

A dog bed for sleeping

Puppies play hard, and they sleep even harder! A comfy bed will keep your new puppy cozy at night. Deciding whether to use a dog bed, have your pup sleep in a dog crate, or welcome your furry friend into your own bed is a matter of personal preference. Make sure that you are able to get a good night’s sleep no matter where your puppy snoozes at night. 

Where should your dog sleep: Pros and cons of the various options

Dog crate for your puppy

A dog crate can serve as a nighttime den for your puppy. Or, a dog crate can be a secure place for your puppy to stay when you are away from home. A dog crate can also be an ideal spot for your pup to get some alone time during the day. A few blankets or old towels can create a soft place for your puppy to rest inside the dog crate. 

Place the crate near a space where the family gathers, such as the kitchen or TV room. It’s a good idea to put the crate on an easy-to-clean surface such as tile or linoleum. 

Dog gates keep your puppy out of trouble

Keep your pup from getting into trouble by using dog gates to keep parts of your home off-limits. Use the gates to block entry into carpeted rooms, for example, which may be harder to clean up in case of an accident. 

Dog gates can also keep your puppy away from problem areas such as stairs or a frequently-used doorway that leads to the outdoors, helping to prevent your dog from running away.

GPS dog tracker + activity monitor

Speaking of escapes, nowadays any modern dog parent and pooch duo isn’t complete without a GPS dog tracker and activity monitor. These cool devices can tell you where your dog is anytime, so in case your new puppy runs away, you’ll be able to find them with just the tap of a button in the app. Follow your dog’s live position as it gets updated in real time on the map, and be reunited with your (no longer) lost dog in no time!

Tractive GPS app feature screenshot LIVE Tracking

But live pet tracking isn’t the only feature of popular GPS trackers for dogs. You can also check out how many minutes of physical activity your dog gets per day, week, and month, what their sleep schedule is like, how many calories they burn, and much more.

Discover Tractive GPS

Potty pads help with house training your puppy

House training a puppy is a major goal for new puppy owners. Potty pads are a huge help with house training your pup. These pads are highly absorbent and scented to encourage your puppy to potty on the pad. Potty training often goes hand-in-hand with crate training to teach your dog where it’s OK to “go.”

Be prepared for occasional accidents when you have a new puppy

Puppies have a lot to learn, including when and where they can pee and poop. It’s inevitable that accidents will happen, especially in the first weeks and months. 

Have some paper towels, dog stain remover, and odor remover ready to handle accidents quickly and easily. Clean up messes right away, so your puppy doesn’t think that your floor is OK for pottying. 

Don’t forget the poop bags!

No matter where you live, you will encourage your puppy to poop outside. Often, the urge strikes when your pup goes for a walk. Be prepared to clean up after your pup by carrying poop bags and scooping the waste into the bag immediately. Dispose of the poop bag in a trash can or carry it home to toss in the garbage when you complete your walk. Be a good neighbor and always clean up after your dog. 

Healthy puppy treats for training

As you house train your puppy and start teaching commands to sit, stay, and come, you’ll need a supply of healthy treats. Purchase treats that are specially formulated for puppies, and use them only for puppy training. These yummy dog treats will be a great incentive for your pup to meet training milestones. And remember, puppy treats should not replace a meal of healthy puppy food. So don’t give your pup an entire dog treat each time training is successful. Instead, break off a tiny bit from the puppy treat and heap on the verbal praise. That’s what your dog is really after.

Dog training accessories

You can accomplish a lot of dog training with treats, but it also helps to have a few essential puppy training tools on hand to make training easier. 

A long leash will let you retain control as you teach your puppy to “come” when you call. Walking on a leash and harness and crate training should be part of your everyday dog training routine. 

As you advance your puppy’s training, you may wish to use a clicker or target pole to reinforce positive behaviors. 

Puppy training options

You can train your new puppy yourself at home using books or videos to guide you. Local animal shelters offer obedience training classes for puppies and puppy owners. Talk to other puppy owners about puppy training tips – everyone has ideas to share. Or you can enlist the help of a professional dog trainer in your area.

Training a puppy should focus on positive reinforcement to encourage desired behaviors. Negative reinforcement or punishment are not effective ways to train your puppy. 

Positive training techniques build trust with your new companion. This foundation of trust will grow into a powerful lifetime bond between you and your dog.

Dog chew toys, dog toys, and playtime

Engaging in play sessions every day will help strengthen the relationship between you and your puppy. Play sessions also expend some of your puppy’s seemingly endless store of energy! 

Dog chew toys and other dog toys can help redirect your puppy from inappropriate behaviors, such as chewing on your furniture. These dog toys can also be part of a post-training play session. Time spent together with you is the best reward you can give your puppy.

grey puppy standing outside

Did you know? You can monitor how much play time and active minutes your pup gets with a Tractive GPS Activity Tracker for Dogs.

Tractive GPS activity tracking for dogs screenshot of the app

Learn More

Grooming wipes

Grooming wipes are an alternative to giving your dog a bath too often. These disposable wipes can be used to remove dirt from your puppy’s paws, clean up his bottom, and wipe down a muddy belly. 

Brushes for your new puppy

Get your puppy accustomed to the tools required for proper brushing. Before brushing your puppy, enjoy some active playtime to tire out your puppy.  Allow your pup to sniff and inspect the brushes. Make the brushing session fun.

Some dog breeds may require regular coat care, while others need very little care. A special type of dog brush is available for every type of dog fur. If your puppy has a smooth coat, double coat, long coat, curly coat, or wire hair, there is a dog brush designed just for them. 

It’s also a good idea to get a dog toothbrush and brush your dog’s teeth twice a day.

Puppy shampoo

Giving your puppy a bath can be an adventure. Some puppy owners advise waiting until your pup is at least three months old before giving it a real bath. Others say it’s important to get the puppy used to baths at an early age. 

Whenever you decide to bathe your puppy, use a specially-formulated puppy shampoo. Rub your puppy’s fur gently, and rinse thoroughly. After rinsing off the puppy shampoo, apply a conditioner made especially for dogs. Puppy conditioner will help protect the skin from drying out.

New puppy nail care

Trimming your puppy’s nails requires careful attention. Avoid cutting the nails too short, or you’ll cut to the pink area, called the quick, and the nail may bleed. Use nail clippers specifically designed for dogs. Trim just a little bit at first. Keep the nail trimming session positive by offering treats when your pup cooperates with the process. 

Consider a microchip to ID your new puppy

Your veterinarian can microchip your pup by inserting a tiny capsule just beneath the skin. The microchip links to your identifying information, which can be used to contact you if your pup becomes lost or separated from you. An animal shelter or veterinary office with a microchip reader can access the information.

Invest in pet insurance

You have insurance for your home, health, and your car, but what about your puppy? Veterinary care can be expensive. Pet insurance can offset some of the cost for annual checkups, vaccinations, and potential emergency clinic visits. 

Pet insurance has deductibles and monthly premiums just like your own health insurance. You may decide the monthly cost is worth the peace of mind you get from knowing that your new puppy can get the care it needs.

small white and brown dog/puppy sleeping on a white fuzzy dog bed indoors

New puppy checklist complete? Then enjoy every minute with your new puppy!

So, we hope this new puppy essentials checklist will help make getting a new puppy a great experience for you.

Puppies can be fun, entertaining, loving, a tiny bit stressful, and outright adorable. But they aren’t puppies for long. Enjoy every part of puppy parenthood, even the messes and chewed-up shoes. Before you know it, that little pup will be a full-grown adult dog! 

The investment you make in caring for and training your puppy will pay off with years of loyal companionship with your dog. We wish you all the best with your new furry pal! 🐕❤️️

Want to know more? Learn more about GPS dog tracking or checkout the video below for some additional new puppy tips!


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