A young man holding 5 puppies in his arms.

New Puppy Checklist

It’s an unforgettable moment when you bring your puppy home for the first time. A new puppy offers unconditional love, companionship, and a lifetime of memories.

And, of course, you want to give your pet the best life possible. That means being prepared from the beginning.

Read on for a comprehensive new puppy checklist that every new dog owner must have to ensure the proper transition from their former home to yours.



A small brown labrador puppy being held in owner's arms.


Essential New Puppy Checklist


If you think that getting a new puppy is an overwhelming endeavor, well, you’re right. But it’s time to think about how they feel. Your puppy will be your new best friend but in the beginning the changes, separation from their mother and siblings, and new environment will be stressful for your new furry friend. That’s why it’s important to have all of the essentials prior to bringing your puppy home so they are comfortable and easily transitioned. Here is a breakdown of what you need.


Puppy Dog Treats

Getting your new puppy is very exciting and we know you want all the cuddles and kisses that they give, but it’s important to set boundaries and begin training the moment they enter your home. You have to establish that you’re the alpha and that means training from day one.

Using yummy training treats is a great tool for positive reinforcement.


Grooming Tools

Some essentials are a brush, comb, dog toothpaste and toothbrush, nail clippers, and puppy shampoo. Do some research into the grooming needs of particular breeds. Some puppies need a bath once a month, while others may have a silky coat and need weekly baths.

All dogs should be brushed daily to distribute the natural oils in their fur and it also gets them used to grooming.

And yes, we said toothbrush and toothpaste. A lot of people don’t know this but dogs need their teeth brushed just like humans. Their food gets stuck in their teeth and forms plaque just like any other species of animal. Starting when they’re puppies ensures that dogs maintain their healthy smile for years to come.


Dog Food

Whether you got your puppy from a reputable breeder or rescued them from an organization, chances are they would have been weaned off of their mother’s milk. You’ll want to ask which type of kibble they’ve been on so that you can transition them to your food of choice. It’s ok to want to switch but it’s best to introduce new food slowly so they don’t experience an upset tummy (and don’t feed them cat food!).

We recommend taking the prior kibble and slowly mixing in the food that you prefer over a few weeks. Each week slowly incorporate more of your food rather than the previous food, and eventually they’ll be transitioned to the food you choose.


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Food and Water Bowls

You can’t feed your puppy without food bowls and water bowls. You can choose to feed on a schedule but puppies need to eat several times per day. If you don’t want a puppy to graze on their food all day, set meal times and then take the bowls up when you’re finished. Puppies should have access to clean water at all times as they can dehydrate quickly.


Dog Crate

A dog crate is an essential tool for making your puppy feel safe, comfortable, and like they have an escape if they’re overwhelmed. Puppies are small, and being small in a new, big world is frightening.

The puppy’s crate should never be used as punishment. Think of it as a wolf has a cave, and this is your puppy’s cave.


Puppy Gate

If you fear the puppy will run around the house, chew on all things electric, and have accidents everywhere, we’d say welcome to puppy life. However, a great alternative to allowing them to run the house is to invest in a puppy gate (or a child’s gate) to keep the puppy in a “safe” place.

This place could be a large bathroom, kitchen, or anywhere else you’d like to give your puppy a longer leash, while still maintaining some type of order in the home.


Dog Bed

Full disclosure, some puppies will chew their bed. Others will happily lie on a cushioned bed. And still others will completely ignore the bed and opt for a place on the rug. We like to give puppies the option.

Make sure that if you supply a puppy bed, that you keep a sharp eye for any chewing because fabric can become lodged in their intestines and cause a whole heap of trouble you don’t want to have to deal with.


Puppy Leash and Harness

While collars are an OK choice, we don’t really recommend using a collar for leash training. A harness allows you to gently guide your puppy while not putting strain on their throat. No matter which option you choose, make sure that you have their dog tags with your name, number, and address secured to it.

A leash is essential to your puppy’s safety as it keeps them close to you and away from cars, other dogs, or other unwanted contacts with people.


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Puppy Toys

Of course you’ll want puppy toys! That’s the joy of having a puppy right? Be weary of dog toys that rip or tear easily, as these can be hazardous. Look for chewing toys that are durable for those little razor sharp puppy teeth. Things that make noise are always fun, but just make sure they are for puppies and that they can’t chew off tiny pieces.


Waste Bags

Whether you’re in your backyard or strolling along a walking path, you’ll want to bring waste bags for your puppy’s messes. Pet waste can attract other animals, flies, and is just gross to leave lying around. You may even find neighborhood ordinances where you can get into trouble if you’re caught leaving your dog’s messes around.


Cleaning Supplies

Accidents are unavoidable when it comes to bringing your new puppy home. Whether it’s number 1 or number 2, it’s bound to happen at some point so it’s best to be prepared.

Make sure to invest in a stain and odor combination spray that won’t damage your flooring (we recommend testing on a small spot first).


Beautiful Little Puppy On Inspection By Veterinarian On Blue Bac


Veterinarian Appointment

Perhaps the most important part of your essential puppy checklist is an appointment with your veterinarian. Establishing a relationship early with your vet creates a trusting bond with your puppy and ensures that they are comfortable when it’s time for a check up.

You’ll want to know the schedule for their next set of vaccinations, any yearly exams to get on the calendar, and bring up any questions you may have regarding bringing your new puppy home.

Additionally, keeping up with puppy appointments helps your vet get to know your puppy. That way, they know your puppy and can determine if something is ‘off’ versus normal for your dog.


A New Puppy Is A Joy With The Proper Puppy Checklist

Getting a new puppy is one of the most exciting (and rewarding) experiences a pet owner can have.

Bringing them home can be overwhelming (for them and you) but it doesn’t have to be.

Preparing with a new puppy checklist can make the transition much easier for you and your new best friend.

If you have any questions or need to make your new puppy their first appointment, don’t hesitate to call us. Remember, we treat your furry friends like they’re our own so we will be thrilled to meet your new bundle of puppy joy.