New Puppy Checklist 2022: Everything You Need for Your New Puppy
If you’re ready for the challenges and rewards that come along with getting a new puppy, read on to find out what your new puppy needs in this guide!
We heard through the grapevine that you’re welcoming a new four-legged friend into your home.
There are so many exciting things about getting a new puppy. But, while becoming a new puppy parent can be very exciting, raising a dog is quite the challenge, but a rewarding one at that.
Lucky for you and your pup, Finn is here with a checklist of all the things that a new pet parent needs upon the arrival of their furry friend.
Essentials for Your Pup
From the start, some things are more important than others. Here’s a list of the essentials for your new pup.
A Comfortable Dog Crate
Crate training your pup is going to be an important part of raising your puppy.
Invest in a good quality, durable crate. Your puppy is going to want a warm, comfortable place to sleep (and they will sleep a lot), so make sure you’re ready with a snug crate for bedtime (and even resting/relaxing time).
Since your puppy is just a baby, they’re going to want to play all the time. Be ready with a handful of sturdy toys that your pup will fall in love with. Make sure you’re choosing toys that are safe-for-pooch and aren’t choking hazards.
Generally, toys that can fit entirely inside your dog’s mouth are too small. Rubber and nylon chew toys are durable and good for sensitive puppy teeth. If you want to give your new pup some mental stimulation, puzzle toys will have your pup thinking outside the box (but be aware that these can be too hard for younger pups, so save it for around the six-month mark or so!).
Chews and dental snacks are essential for new puppies.
While there are unlimited options for chews, having various options on hand can help your pooch discover what they like the best.
Puppy chews are great for teething and fresh breath. They can reduce the chances of your pup exhibiting destructive behavior like chewing the legs of your kitchen stools.
Need to keep your puppy busy? Give them a puppy chew and let them have at it — just make sure you always monitor anytime you give your fur baby treats.
Have an abundance of tiny, soft treats stored in your cabinet. Not only are puppy treats great for surprising your pet throughout the day, but they also can serve as a reward when training begins. The training process starts pretty much as soon as your pup walks through your door. Make sure your treats of choice are made with high-quality ingredients like whole proteins (beef, chicken, liver, salmon); bonus points if they incorporate healthy fats like coconut oil and nourishing veggies like carrots and peas.
A Proper Leash
Your dog’s leash is going to be necessary for teaching them how to behave. Not only that, but you’ll be using their leash when taking your pup on walks, bathroom breaks, to meet other dogs and people.
Generally speaking, a six-foot slip-leash is a great option for a puppy. As your dog gets older, stronger, and grows into its adult size, you can invest in a normal leash with the metal clip that attaches to a collar.
If you want to be extra prepared, look for a leash that has a compartment for poop bags. This will be handy when walking your new pup.
An Adjustable Collar
You’ll want to have an adjustable collar ready when you bring your new puppy home. Choosing the right collar for your new four-legged friend will lead to safer, more enjoyable walks and training sessions.
As you’re well aware, your puppy will grow, so make sure you purchase an adjustable collar so you can change its size accordingly.
If you have a larger breed or working dog, it might be useful to also invest in a harness.
Dog Foods and Supplements
There is a chance that you’ll need to try out a few different food brands before landing on the perfect choice for your new puppy. Regardless, you should have food ready for when your dog arrives. Your pup’s first year of life is critical to their development, so it’s important to invest in a nutritional plan that will promote strong bones, teeth, and a thick and healthy coat.
Supplements can be a great addition to any healthy whole meal. Starting around 6 months old, you can offer your pup a multivitamin that combines vitamins, probiotics, and healthy omegas to support digestion and the absorption of essential nutrients for everyday vitality.
Supplement intake will vary depending on the age, size, and breed of your puppy, so make sure to check the instructions on your specific supplement’s packaging.
Feeding and Drinking Bowls
The right-sized food and water bowls will depend on how big your puppy is. Some puppies need special food bowls (like stainless steel bowls) based on their eating style or medical needs.
A Comfortable Bed
A soft bed for napping is vital for any new puppy entering a home.
Since puppies have accidents, make sure you get a bed that is machine washable. They also like to scratch, play, and chew in their beds, so it’s important that it’s relatively durable. The more comfortable the bed, the more your pooch will want to be in it. Keep in mind that your pup is going to grow, so don’t skimp on the size.
As one can imagine, having identification tags ready for your pet when they arrive home is essential.
Puppies are super squirmy and always on the go. On the off chance that your pup escapes you within the first few days, you’ll want to have them geared up with tags that include their name and your contact information. Attach the ID tag to their collar and you'll be good to go!
For even more safety, you can always look into getting a microchip for your pup. Microchips can help track your pup if they run away by accident — many modern breeders and rescues will take care of the microchip before your pup goes home with you.
Bath time! Your pup will either love or hate it. Puppies have delicate skin, so make sure you invest in puppy shampoo that is gentle on your puppy's coat.
Also make sure to have your other grooming supplies handy if you plan on taking care of grooming needs yourself versus taking your pup to a groomer — nail clippers are essential, and brushes/combs will depend on your breed’s hair.
Potty Pads (Optional)
Okay, this one has some controversy — some people strongly believe in potty pads as an aid for potty training, while others believe it just primes your pup to pee indoors.
If you do choose to use potty pads, puppies have to go to the bathroom between 10 to 20 minutes after eating — practice putting them on the potty pad around that time. Potty pads act as a way of potty training your pup so there aren't any accidents when they are indoors.
Use the same potty pad more than once so your puppy can associate the smell with going to the bathroom.
Conversely, instead of using a potty pad, after that 10-20 minute mark, take your pup outside and verbally encourage them to potty. When they go, give them a lot of praise and even a treat or two, and verbally reinforce that they’ve just done a “good potty.”
Essentials For Puppy Owners
Now, onto pet parent essentials — these aren’t all physical items for you to pick up, but rather a checklist of things to make sure you have or have done!
The Right Mindset
Get excited, you are about to be a puppy parent! Having a puppy is a full-time job, especially in the first few months.
Understand and accept that there will be a lot of ups and plenty of downs, and that having a new dog can feel overwhelming at times. Just remember to be patient while your pup is learning and growing.
Just like babies, puppies are curious creatures who like to wander around and look for that next shiny object. Puppy proofing is essential for every soon-to-be pet parent.
It’ll prevent your puppy from getting into something dangerous like a loose-hanging wire or a potted plant. Make sure tiny objects aren’t on the floor, cleaning supplies are locked away, electrical cords are out of reach, and shoes are kept in the closet.
Set your puppy up for success by leaving the temptations behind closed doors.
Part of proofing for a puppy is making sure boundaries are set. If you have an ungated outdoor space, train them from the start to abide by an invisible fence.
Having an invisible fence is a good way to keep your new furry friend contained while also giving them the freedom to roam your outdoor space.
Accidents are bound to happen. Make sure you are prepared with pet-friendly cleaning supplies. Paper towels, enzyme spray, a vacuum for shedding, and a pooper scooper will be helpful in the process of cleaning up after your new buddy.
A Proper Routine
Determine your puppy’s routine before they arrive. What time will you wake up with them? How often will you take them out for a potty break? Are they allowed on the furniture? Are you going to crate train them? Where are they going to sleep?
Have some structure before your pup’s arrival. Make sure all of your household members are on board as well. By establishing a routine, your puppy will know exactly what to expect.
A Trusted Veterinarian
It’s always better to have your dog’s vet’s contact information on hand rather than scrambling when there is an emergency.
It’s also smart to take your dog to their new vet within the first two weeks of their arrival for a wellness check. Make sure they are up-to-date with their vaccinations and are all set with their preventative flea and tick medication.
Additional Options To Consider
While not must-haves, the below can come in handy for some pups more than others.
A Puppy Training Course
After your puppy has settled in a bit, it’s a good idea to start thinking about a puppy training course if you’re a new pup parent.
Teaching your canine companion simple behaviors like sit, stay, come, and lie down will encourage good manners from the start. Remember to stick with positive reinforcement training and avoid scolding and punishment.
It’s smart to enroll in a pet insurance plan initially, as most insurance companies do not accept pets with pre-existing conditions. Get your healthy pup set up for success with an insurance plan that helps cover vaccinations, illnesses, bloodwork, and accidents. Down the line, you’ll be happy that you have the coverage.
For day trips and weekend getaways, invest in a comfortable travel kennel that will allow you to bring your new puppy from point A to point B.
Traveling can be stressful for dogs, especially young ones, so make sure you’re investing in a kennel that’s best suited for your dog based on their breed, size, temperament, and personality traits.
Dog Toothbrush and Toothpaste
Let’s face it. Dog dental care can get expensive. That’s why it’s a good idea to maintain their dental health from the very beginning. Aside from giving your puppy dental chews, consider brushing their teeth regularly — a few times per week is recommended. It’s a great way to prevent plaque buildup and promote fresh breath.
New Dog Parents To the Rescue!
So… do you feel ready for your new puppy? You are well on your way to final preparation. What an exciting time! By going through the checklist above, you’ll be more than prepared for your new four-legged friend.
If you want to learn more about dogs and how you can help them live their best lives, check out the Finn blog, Sidekick, for a wide variety of resources that can help any dog parent through the stages of puppyhood and beyond!