If you’re on this page, you’re either in the research phase of getting a new puppy, about to bring one home, or just brought one home. Either way, this is an exciting time in your life. But it can also be pretty overwhelming, especially if you’re a first-time dog owner.
We’ve been there with our pups and remember all-to-well the joys and stresses that came along with it. Let’s face it, there’s a lot to consider and prepare for before you bring them home. So to help you out, we’ve broken down all the puppy supplies into the essentials you need and the extras you might want to add.
1. Puppy Food
Whether you’re getting a puppy from a shelter or from a breeder, it’s important to find out what they’ve been feeding them. That’s the food you’ll need to have when you bring them home. I’d recommend you check Amazon for puppy food because they probably carry what you need and you can likely save by subscribing to have the food sent to you each month.
Now, if you don’t like the food your puppy’s been eating, you can always transition them to a new food. You’ll want to keep feeding them what they’re used when you initially bring them home. Transitioning them to a new food should be done over a 2 week period, where you gradually add more of the new food with the old.
2. Toys, Chews, and Balls
You’ll want to get a good mix of toys, some soft, some hard, some that squeak, some that roll, and even some that hold treats. Puppies, like people, like choices.
They might have a sore mouth from teething and want something a little softer. Or they might have an urge to really chew aggressively, so an antler chew might be appealing.
Having a variety of toys readily available will help reduce unwanted chewing. If they don’t have things that are their own to chew on, they can quickly turn to couches, table legs, and cabinets instead.
Tip: Having ‘special toys’ that they don’t get all the time can really help with training. These toys will get them excited and hold their attention much better.
3. Crate with Divider
Crate training your new puppy is a great idea and something that we highly recommend. Not only does a crate give them a safe place to go when they need some alone time, but it’s also an important tool for potty training them.
Get a crate that will allow for their growth. I recommend getting one that will fit them comfortably (allow them to stand, turn, and lay) when they’re fully-grown. Make sure it has a divider so you can control the space they have when they’re smaller. This helps with potty training.
We recommend this crate by Midwest Life Stages because it’s quality, folds easily, has 2 doors, a divider, and comes in all different sizes. It’s the same one I use.
4. Puppy Playpen
Giving a puppy too much space early on can leave your house a chewed up mess. A playpen (like this one) can be placed at the opening of their crate to control their environment and give them more space. Just make sure it’s tall enough so they won’t be able to jump it.
You can also use the playpen standalone to keep them in one spot when you’re not going to be right near them.
Tip: Puppy-proof the house before you bring them home. Make sure to pick-up and put away anything you don’t want them to chew on. Some things to be extra careful with are power cords and cables, plants, trash cans, children’s toys, shoes, socks, and cleaning supplies.
5. Puppy Bed
You probably won’t want to invest in a bed for your pup until they’ve been potty trained a bit and aren’t having accidents much anymore. An old blanket or some towels will work great and are easy to clean up when accidents happen.
If you want to give them something a little more comfortable that they can call their own, a puppy blanket like this is an excellent option.
6. Healthy Puppy-Size Treats
By healthy, we mean treats that aren’t packed with fillers, additives, salt, sugar, preservatives, and dyes. Read the labels. The fewer ingredients you see, the better the treats probably are.
The treats should also be small enough for your puppy to enjoy. Smaller treats, sometimes called training treats, are perfect because they’re small.
Here are 3 healthy treats with limited ingredients to choose from:
- K9 Natural Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Treats
- Fruitables Greek Strawberry Yogurt Crunchy Treats
- Sojos Natural Freeze-Dried Treats
7. Treat Pouch
Positive reinforcement is the best way to shape a young puppy’s behavior. When your puppy does something you like or want them to do, rewarding them with a “yes, good girl” and a treat is super important. A treat pouch, like the one I use, makes sure you have treats close by and makes consistent reinforcement that much easier.
8. Water & Food Bowls
You’ll need at least 2 bowls — one for food and one for water. You can pick up this Amazon Basics 2-pack of bowls for only $17.99. But you might consider getting a few sets. This way you can have one for outside and an extra set to swap in when you wash their main set.
For bowls, you want to stick with stainless steel, not plastic or ceramic. Plastic and ceramic bowls harbor dirt and bacteria which can be consumed by your pup.
9. Puppy Collar & ID Tag
For a collar, you don’t need anything special, especially early on. Make sure the collar has a little ring that you can attach their ID tags to. A nylon collar like this will be just fine.
The ID tags should not only have their name but also have a phone number to reach you at if they’re found.
A simple nylon leash will work just fine to start. They’re inexpensive and easy to wash if you need to. You won’t want anything longer than 6-feet in length.
Tip: Get a leash that can be secured around your waist (like this one). Tethering your pup to your side early on (especially with you’re in the house) helps keep them out of trouble and gives you tons of opportunities for training.
11. Puppy Harness
A harness makes it safer and easier for you to control a puppy. There’s less pressure being put on their little necks and you’ll have more places to hold them securely if needed. This harness by Ruffwear is really highly-rated on Amazon and is the one I actually use.
12. Brush, Comb, or Both
Many people overlook getting grooming supplies, especially for puppies. Regardless of the size, age, or coat type of the dog, basic brushing is important. Not only for the health of their skin and coat but because of the bond it helps build between you and your puppy.
Here’s what we recommend:
- For All Puppies (except Doodles): This basic 2-sided brush is a great general-purpose brush to start with for most breeds.
- For Doodles (Labradoodles, Goldendoodles, Bernedoodles, Cavapoos…): we highly recommend getting these 3 grooming tools: A slicker brush like this, a comb like this one, and a dematting comb like this one. For a puppy, you’ll probably use the comb almost exclusively.
13. Shampoo & Conditioner
Find a shampoo that’s soap-free and alcohol-free. After much research and comparison, we decided on and highly recommend earthbath’s line of shampoos. Their ingredients are simple, non-harsh, and use cleaners derived from coconut. They also make a conditioner that follows the same simple formula. You can get the earthbath shampoo and conditioner bundle here.
14. Toothbrush & Paste
Start brushing their teeth early and do it often. With an early start, they’ll become used to it and it won’t seem like such a chore. You can get them used to having their mouth touched and teeth brushed by starting with a finger brush. This is the puppy dental pack I started with because it comes with a brush, paste, and a finger brush.
15. Find a Reputable Veterinarian
Soon after you bring your puppy home (within 24-48 hours) you’ll want to take them to a Vet for a basic exam. Doing the research on this beforehand will save you from making a hasty last-minute decision. Ask friends, do a poll on Facebook, read online reviews. While at the Vet, be sure to ask about Flea, Tick, and Heartwork treatment/prevention.
Flea & Tick
When it comes to protecting your pup against fleas and ticks, your vet will recommend a monthly preventative medicine like Simparica. That’s what my pup’s been taking, monthly, since we brought him home. Depending on where you live, you may not need to give it to them year-round. You might also consider something more natural like this topical essential oil spray.
Heartworms are a deadly parasite that is transmitted to dogs by infected mosquitos. You don’t want to chance your puppy getting them, so it’s a good idea to keep them on a heartworm prevention medicine from the start. My pup takes Interceptor® Plus for Dogs which is a chewable that we get from Chewy.com with a Vets prescription. Check with your Vet to see what they recommend.
Extra Puppy Gear to Consider
Don’t get overwhelmed here, but we wanted to include some other items you might want to pick up for your puppy. Some of the things you just might not need based on your situation, others might be something to consider in the future. So if you don’t get them, it doesn’t make you a bad dog parent. 😉
Leaving your puppy home alone for the first time is so hard. I remember not being able to think about much else and counting down the time until we returned. Enter, the camera.
We didn’t end up getting this camera until our puppy was closer to 4-months old. I wish I would have gotten in from day 1, though! This thing has 1080p resolution, can turn around 360 degrees, zooms, has 2-way audio so you can hear what’s going on, ways really easy to set up, and only costs $30.38. Best of all, you can do all of this remotely from your phone.
Puppy Go-Bag (Backpack)
On the go a lot? Having one place to keep everything you need when you take your puppy somewhere is really helpful. A simple backpack, like this one, is perfect for storing extra bowls, toys, a water bottle, poop bags and whatever else you might need.
This is a great way to further control their environment and what they have access to. If you have rooms you want to block off or stairs you don’t want them on, a gate is a great idea. They even make gates, like this one, that have a door so you can pass through without climbing it.
Last update on 2020-12-01 at 19:20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API