Puppy Shopping List
Welcome to our Shopping List - designed for new puppies! If you're waiting for the arrival of your new pup, here are some baseline products to help avoid some of the challenges you inherent with having a new puppy and lay the groundwork for a well-behaved adult.
If you’re a dog lover it’s hard to think of many things more exciting than getting a new puppy. There is so much fun and laughter ahead for the two of you.
Puppies are funny, cute, snuggly, and very loving. You’ll spend the next few months getting to know your new best friend and planning all of the wonderful things you’re going to do together.
But puppies take some preparation, too. You need to be ready when you bring your new puppy home so his homecoming will go smoothly. Here is some advice to help your first couple of days with your new fur pal go better.
New Puppy Tips
Do puppy proof your house or apartment before you bring your puppy home. This is like child proofing a home. Puppies are every bit as curious as cats, so you can expect your new housemate to have his nose in everything. Hide or tape down electrical cords so your puppy can’t chew on them. Put away household cleaners so he can’t eat or drink something toxic. Put all medications (over-the-counter and prescription) in cabinets so he can’t reach them. Put away shoes, clothes, remotes, and breakable things so your puppy can’t get them. Put away house plants so he won’t eat them or dig in them.
Do have some of the essentials your puppy will need ready and waiting when you bring him home. Some of the things your puppy will need include food, a collar and leash, a bed, and so on. And toys, of course. Puppies can never have too many toys! We’ll discuss these puppy essentials in more detail in the check list below.
Do take your puppy to the vet. Make sure your puppy has his puppy shots and his rabies vaccination at the appropriate time. (All 50 states require dogs to have a rabies vaccination.) Whether you get your puppy from a breeder or a shelter, it’s a good idea for a veterinarian to check him out within the first 48 hours after you bring him home.
Do use bitter apple or a similar product to discourage your puppy from chewing on furniture and woodwork. Puppies love to chew and they often go after furniture, especially wooden furniture.
Do provide your puppy with plenty of safe chew toys. Puppies chew when they are teething and to explore. This phase can last for months. Giving your puppy lots of safe things to chew on such as toys, Nylabones, Kongs, and dental chews can keep him from chewing on your belongings.
Do have reasonable expectations about house training. If you consistently take your puppy outside to potty, most puppies will learn to let you know they need to go outside in just a few weeks, but you have to watch for the signals that indicate he needs to go. All puppies have accidents so don’t get angry. It often takes Toy and small breeds longer to be house trained than larger breeds. Males can take longer than females for some reason. It can be harder to house train a puppy if the weather is cold or wet – many puppies don’t like to go outside in this kind of weather. Be sure to praise and reward your puppy when he potties outside.
Do spend as much time as possible with your puppy at this age. They are only puppies once and they learn fast when they are young. Socialization is especially important with young puppies so get your puppy out of the house and let him meet other friendly people! Sign him up for a puppy pre-school class so he can play with other nice puppies in a supervised setting. The more he builds his confidence while he’s a young puppy, the more well-adjusted and happy he will be as an adult dog. Well-socialized puppies are less likely to have problems with separation anxiety and other behavior problems as adults.
Do start teaching your puppy some basic obedience. Puppies can start learning basic obedience as early as six weeks. Learning manners and early lessons such as Sit, Come, and Stay is good for every dog and it helps build a bond with you. Keep your lessons short and fun. Puppies learn best if their lessons are like games. Lots of praise and some tasty rewards work great.
Do work on your puppy’s manners and behavior. The rules you set now will determine how your puppy behaves later. If you let your cute puppy jump up on people now, it will be hard to stop this behavior when he’s bigger, for example. Teach him – gently but firmly – that some behaviors are not welcome.
Don’t take your puppy to a dog park at this age. Dog parks can be fun but some parks are too rough and tumble for young puppies. If you like dog parks, wait until your puppy is older – and bigger – so he won’t be bullied by other dogs. Then carefully check out the park to make sure it’s a good fit for your particular dog.
These are just some of the basic things you can do to make things go better for you and your puppy during the first few weeks you are together. They should also help him grow up to be a happy adult dog.
Here’s a checklist of some of the things your new puppy will need.
New Puppy Supplies
Potty Training Pads
Potty training pads are always high on the list of things you need when you get a new puppy. Whether you intend to train your puppy to potty outside or indoors, there will probably be times when your puppy has to spend time alone in the house before he is potty trained. If you work, for example, you probably have to leave your puppy home during the day. Training pads are useful for anyone who has to leave a puppy or dog at home in case the dog needs to potty while you’re away.
Most potty training pads are essentially the same. They are pads with a plastic liner on the back to keep urine from leaking through. Most pads today contain a chemical that attracts puppies and dogs to them and encourages the dog to pee on them. This discourages your puppy from leaving puddles at random throughout your house or on a carpet or other place in the house where it might be hard to clean up.
If you want to use a potty training pad to house train your puppy, place one outside where you want your puppy to relieve himself. Your puppy should be immediately attracted to the spot when you take him outside to potty since it has an odor that he already recognizes.
If you have taken the next step with your puppy and you are taking him outside to potty, you will need to pick up after him. Nothing makes other dog owners angrier than finding poop left by another dog owner!
Most poop or waste bags are basically plastic bags that come in a convenient rolled and tucked form so you can easily reach them when you are walking your dog. (If you have ever struggled with plastic bags from the grocery store or other plastic bags as poop bags, you know that it’s not always easy to use them for this purpose.) Some poop bags come with handy dispensers. Some are made from recycled plastic. Some are even flushable. They protect you so you won’t get dog poop on your hands and make it easy for you to pick up after your dog.
If you have a puppy there’s a good chance that you are going to have stains. Your darling ball of fur is going to emit things that will curl your hair. Not only that, but he will also likely spill things, track dirt in your house, and possibly take up hobbies like paw painting and mud wrestling. You need stain removers if you have a puppy.
Nature’s Miracle is the long-time favorite among dog owners for stain removal. There are lots of homemade stain remover remedies online and we have tried some of them. Honestly, they don’t come close to products like Nature’s Miracle and Simple Solution when dealing with dog stains.
If you are removing a urine stain, it’s very important to remove it completely, including the odor. Otherwise your puppy will be drawn back to the spot to potty there again.
Some people don’t like crates because they think of them as “doggy jail.” This is not how your dog sees a crate. For dogs, crates are more like a wolf’s den. They are a safe, secure place. Puppies and dogs often like to have a quiet, snug place where they can get away from noise and people for a little while to nap and chill out. So, try to think of a crate the way your dog sees it.
Crates have lots of purposes from a human perspective. We use them when we travel with dogs to keep dogs safe, such as on airplanes. (Large dogs can’t fly in an airplane cabin.) Most people recommend using a crate when you travel with your dog in your personal vehicle for safety reasons. If you should be in an accident, if your dog is in a crate he may not be hurled around the car and injured. And, if you attend shows or events like obedience, rally, agility, or other competitions, you will need a crate so your dog can hang out and rest in between times when he’s active.
For your puppy and for many dogs at home, a crate is a place where he can rest and relax. You can set it up, place a comfortable mat inside, leave the door open, and let your dog go in and out as he chooses. Crates can also be used to help with house training a puppy.
There are several different kinds of crates such as wire crates, hard plastic airline crates, wicker crates, and mesh crates. Wicker crates are very pretty but puppies can be tempted to chew them. Mesh crates are lightweight and attractive, especially if you use one when you take your dog to places like obedience class, but they are usually best for well-trained dogs. Puppies can become unruly and rip through the mesh sometimes. The best home crates for puppies are usually wire crates or hard plastic crates. They can stand up to puppies. (Note that you may need one crate for use at home and a different crate for traveling with your dog since your dog’s needs are different at different times.)
Crate prices will vary, depending on the size of the crate. Contrary to what you might think, the biggest crate is not always the best one for a puppy or dog. If you are using a crate to help house train your puppy, the crate should be an appropriate size for your puppy but not gigantic. If your puppy has too much room in the crate, he may potty in the crate during the night instead of learning to wait until morning to potty (which is what you are hoping he will learn). At the same time, most people don’t want to buy a puppy-size crate that their puppy will outgrow in a few months. You can buy a crate that will be the right size for your puppy as an adult and use a crate divider to make it smaller while he’s a puppy. Midwest is a popular brand for crates.
The nice thing about wire crates is that they are open and let your puppy see out when he’s inside. If you want him to go to sleep, you can always place a sheet over part of the crate to let him know it’s time for bed and give him more privacy.
Leashes and Collars
You will probably need a collar and leash for your puppy as soon as you bring him home even if he’s not used to walking on a leash yet. There are lots of different kinds of collars. Some are good for training or other purposes. For a puppy who is growing fast, you probably don’t want to spend a lot of money on an expensive leather collar. We recommend a nice nylon collar, preferably a breakaway style collar like one from PetSafe. A breakaway collar is designed with a buckle that releases easily if your puppy gets caught on something. This can prevent him from strangling to death.
If you have a Toy or small breed puppy you may be better off using a harness. These small puppies can have delicate throats. Pulling against a collar and leash can lead to injuries in some cases.
Collars and harnesses use the same leashes. You can usually find matching leashes for collars and harnesses sold on the same web sites or in the same stores.
When your puppy is older your collar and harness options can expand more. He won’t be growing rapidly and you can invest in more decorative and expensive collars if you like. You can go for collars with bows, rhinestones, and other pretty things. But while your puppy is growing, he may outgrow 2-3 collars in the first year.
When it comes to fitting your puppy for a collar, the most common advice is that you should be able to comfortably fit two fingers between the collar and your puppy’s neck. If the collar is looser than this, he can slide it over his head. Tighter than this, and it’s too tight. The fit of the harness can depend on the breed or mix but, in general, the sizes are based on the width of the dog’s chest. Some harnesses will also have a neck measurement.
Bowls and Feeders
There are several kinds of bowls and feeders for dogs. The most common are made of plastic, ceramic, and stainless steel. We do not recommend plastic bowls for dogs or puppies. They are not durable. They tend to get scratched up. And it’s easy for bacteria to grow inside the scratches and crevices that develop. In addition, some dogs can be allergic to the plastic. Dogs fed from plastic bowls can lose pigment on their noses and have pink noses or “snow nose.” Plastic bowls aren’t the worst thing in the world but, if you have a choice, we recommend using some other kind of bowl for your puppy or dog.
Ceramic bowls or stoneware-type bowls can be a nice choice for feeding your dog as long as they are glazed. These bowls are heavy so puppies and dogs can’t tip them over easily. They don’t crack easily so they don’t harbor bacteria. And they can be dishwasher-safe (check the label). The main drawback with these bowls is that they are breakable and some of them are expensive.
Stainless steel bowls are the best choice for many homes. They are easy to clean, dishwasher safe, and they do not harbor bacteria. They are very sturdy and last forever. Some dogs push them around but you can find stainless steel bowls that are weighted or made so they won’t slide or tip over.
If you need a feeder for your puppy, you can find a simple feeder like the Petmate Pearl Replendish Feeder With Microban. With this kind of feeder, you simply fill it up and it continuously fills the feed bowl with kibble as your puppy or dog eats, even if you can’t be home.
If you would like to have a little more control over your puppy’s meals when you can’t be there, the PetSafe Eatwell 5-Meal Timed Pet Feeder has a timer.
We’ll start by saying that, to your puppy, your house is one giant toy box. If you are wise, you will hide your personal “stuff” and get him some stuff of his own as fast as possible. Otherwise, he’s going to run around the house with your underwear and chew on your shoes.
Seriously, puppies do need lots and lots of toys. Playing helps their mental development, encourages them to exercise, and it’s just plain fun. Ideally, you should provide your puppy with a variety of toys: chew toys, tug toys, balls, ropes, plush toys, things that make weird noises – the list goes on. Nylabones last a long time so your puppy will get lots of chewing from these bones. A Kong puppy toy is another good choice for many puppies, especially if you stuff them with treats. We also like the Multipet Chilly Bone. This is a great chew toy when your puppy is teething. You can wet this toy and freeze it so your puppy has something cool and soothing to chew on when his gums are hurting. Reusable. Great idea!
Most toys are fine for puppies to play with but we do encourage you to supervise your puppy when he’s playing. Even seemingly harmless toys can sometimes cause an unexpected problem. Don’t give your puppy toys that he could potentially swallow, for example. Make sure toys are too big to fit down his throat.
Fleas and Ticks
If you live in the most northern parts of the United States you may not have to deal with fleas and ticks. For the rest of us, however, they are a part of life. Fortunately there are lots of good options for coping with these pests today.
Flea and tick preventives should not be used on very young puppies. Most of these products state that puppies must be 6-8 weeks old before you can use them, so be sure to check the labels and warnings before purchasing them if you have a very young puppy. These products come in collars, topical applications (squeeze-tubes), shampoos, and oral tablets. The topical applications or “spot-on” treatments are probably the most popular products today. Flea shampoos get rid of the fleas on your puppy or dog and discourage new fleas from returning for a short time.
There are several options when it comes to where your new puppy will sleep. Should you or shouldn’t you let your puppy sleep in your bed? This is really a matter of preference. Some people like to let a puppy or dog sleep in their bed and some people don’t. If you have a spouse, this can be a source of disagreement. If the puppy is really your children’s dog, some parents don’t like the idea of a dog sleeping with young kids.
Whatever you decide about your puppy’s sleeping arrangements, he will probably need a bed of his own to use at least some of the time. You can find many comfortable, cozy dog beds for modest prices.
If your puppy spends much time outside or on an enclosed porch, he might enjoy a raised bed. These beds allow the air to circulate underneath the bed and keep the dog cool while he relaxes.
Naturally your puppy will need to be groomed. Grooming will vary, depending on your puppy’s breed or mix, but all puppies need to have some of the same basic care. Some of the things you’ll need include nail trimmers and dental care products for your puppy.
TropiClean Alcohol Free Ear Wash for Dogs has no alcohol so it doesn’t sting when you put a few drops in your puppy’s ear. A 4-ounce bottle is approximately $6.99.
Many people are squeamish about trimming their puppy’s nails. If you are nervous about doing it, you can ask your veterinarian to cut them or take your puppy to a pet groomer. If you want to trim them yourself, you can use a good nail grinder. You are much less likely to hurt your dog’s nails with a nail grinder and they are very easy to use. You just have to spend a little time helping your dog get used to the grinder at first because they do make a little noise. Most people (and dogs) like them a lot better than nail clippers.
At one time people would have thought you were crazy if you talked about brushing your puppy’s teeth but there are lots of dental products for dogs today. There’s even a doggy dental month. It is important to take care of your puppy’s teeth and continue when he becomes an adult. There are several different ways to care for his dental hygiene. You can brush his teeth; use a dental rinse in his mouth; or add a dental product to his drinking water, for example.
Your puppy will also need to be brushed regularly. For most dogs you can use a nice bristle brush. In general, the more hair your dog has, the more often he needs to be groomed, so you can count on spending many hours brushing that beautiful coat. However, it usually takes a while before puppies begin to resemble their adult selves. It takes a long time for hair to grow. If your puppy is supposed to have long hair or curly hair or dreadlocks when he grows up, just take care of it regularly while he’s young and eventually it will turn out the way it’s supposed to look.
Your puppy will also need an occasional bath – though not as often as some people might think. Unless you are showing your dog or someone in your home is dealing with pet allergies, it’s usually enough to bathe your puppy when he gets dirty. You can use gentle puppy shampoos for this purpose.
Be sure to dry your puppy thoroughly after a bath, taking care to dry his ears and get any moisture out. You can use a blow dryer to dry your puppy if you like. Use a warm, gentle setting – not too hot. After a bath, don’t be surprised if your puppy zooms around the house. Baths have a way of shaking dogs up!
We hope this puppy checklist helps you as you plan the things your puppy will need when you bring him home. The items mentioned here are only meant to be examples and suggestions. There are lots of great products for puppies online and in pet stores. We suggest that you browse them to see what would best suit you and your puppy. Good luck!