MUST HAVE ITEMS FOR YOUR PUPPY

We've put together the following checklist to make sure you have everything you'll need to welcome your puppy home. Next week, we'll dive deeper into crates to make sure you know how to choose the right size and type. Stay tuned!

Collar and/or harness: There are many different options to choose from here. Puppies have very little heads, so we recommend starting with a harness so they can’t wiggle out of it when you’re on walks. We’ve outlined different options for you below! Regardless of what you opt for, always make sure that leash connections/ hooks are never made of plastic. 

Harnesses:

  • Easy walk harness: This is a great option for flat faced dogs because it protects their necks from any pressure. 
  • Regular harness: The traditional harness will go over a dog’s head and work well. The caveat is not all dogs like wearing a regular harness and will shy away from letting you put it on. If that’s the case, opt for the easy walk harness. If you have a large breed dog, you can get an adjustable harness so you can loosen it as your pup grows. 

Collars:

  • Regular collars: There are tons of amazing options out there. The trick is to make sure you find one that fits your dog well so it’s just right. Puppies tend to wiggle as they learn to walk on a leash so take extra care that your leash is not too loose (2 fingers is all that should fit under the collar).
  • Martingale collars: These are designed for dogs with narrow heads, like a Greyhound. When the dog pulls, the collar will tighten around their neck without choking them. This is a great option for dogs with anxiety that might try to slip out of their collar if they are triggered.
  • Gentle leader: This is a good option for dogs that like to pull on leashes. It loops around the dog’s nose to prevent pulling, but puts pressure on the back of the neck rather than their throat to prevent any choking. 
  • Smart collars: We love smart collars for their GPS component. It’s great peace of mind when your dog is off leash. We’ve tried the Fi-collar ourselves and absolutely love it. The collars tend to be a bit heavy, so wait a few months until your puppy is older before getting one of these. 

ID tag: We recommend having two ID tags so that you have a spare. If you have two collars or harnesses you use regularly, have a tag on each. You can get ID tags at many different locations, such as Chewy, Fish and Bone, and Etsy shops. Add your dog’s name and your cell phone number. If they are microchipped, you can also add a tag with your dog’s microchip number. 

Leash: Once again there are many different options here, we recommend getting two different ones: a 6ft non-retractable leash and a longer non-retractable ~20ft leash for the park, beach, hiking, etc. We don’t recommend retractable leashes as they can teach your dog to pull on the leash since they’ll realize that pulling extends the leash. Retractable leashes also make grooming and other services more difficult for providers.

Potty pads: If you’re planning to potty train with potty pads, make sure you have them from day one. It’s highly unlikely that your puppy has come to you fully house trained and even less likely that they know how to go on the potty pad so if you’re hoping to use a potty pad, make sure you have them available from day one. Stay tuned for our potty training guide coming in week 2! 

Bowls/feeders: We recommend stainless steel or ceramic bowls. One for water and one for food. A water feeder works well, but we don’t recommend a food feeder. It makes it hard to control your puppy’s daily caloric intake. 

Crate: You’ll likely want to crate train your puppy so it’s important to choose the right size crate. Read our guide on choosing the right one during week 2!


Gates (if needed)
: If you have stairs or want to keep your puppy confined to a certain part of your home, a gate is a great option. Puppies don’t know how to use stairs and it is easy for them to topple down if the stairs are available to them without supervision. You can also use gates to potty train on potty pads. 

Toys: Your puppy will be needing toys! Make sure you get toys that are appropriate for their size (a 10lb puppy will not be able to carry around a huge stuffed animal!). Additionally, make sure the toys you purchase are puppy friendly. Toys that have small pieces can become a choking hazard. Some popular options: 

  • Kong: These are durable, rubber based toys that will be great for master chewers. You can fill them with layers of treats to keep your pup occupied for longer periods of time. 
  • Chuck-It!: Puppies don’t come knowing how to fetch so don’t be discouraged if you throw the ball the first time and your puppy didn’t go get it. Once you teach your puppy to fetch, a Chuck-It will be your new best friend. It helps you throw the ball a longer distance so your puppy exercises more. 
  • Dura-play: They have a collection of bacon scented toys that are really popular with dogs. 

Treats: You’ll need two types of treats, training and what we call “high value” treats. Training treats are labeled as such, and they are much smaller and have less calories (usually only ~2-5 calories per treat). High value treats are everything else and the ones your pup will like more. You should get a variety of treats to begin to learn what your pup likes! There’s tons of flavors to choose from! Bacon, cheese and peanut butter are the most widely found. We also recommend staying away from any treats that have rawhide. Rawhide can irritate your puppy’s stomach and pieces can easily break off as your puppy is chewing the toy leaving you with a choking hazard.  

Bed: Puppies can sleep up to 20 hours a day so you’ll want your pup to be resting comfortably. Don’t worry about getting a bed that is fits your small pup. Puppies grow quickly and they will grow out of their bed before you know it, especially if you have a large breed. If you are crate training and want the bed inside the crate, make sure you get a bed that is waterproof and chew proof. 

Food: When you first bring your puppy home, you should continue feeding them the food they’ve been eating. Their stomachs are used to it and any dramatic changes can result in an upset stomach. If you want to switch their food to a new brand, do it gradually. That means you’ll want to have at least a few days' supply of their old food.

Stain remover: Accidents will happen so make sure you have a stain remover handy. If you’re using a general stain remover that is not geared toward pet stains, make sure it is safe to use around your puppy. We recommend getting one that is for pet specific stains such as Nature’s Miracle

Poop bags & holder: You’ll need more of these than you think. We recommend one holder for each leash you regularly use. You can now get biodegradable ones as well!