So you’ve decided to add to your family and bring home a new puppy! It’s exciting, scary, and definitely a happy time. So you chose the perfect puppy, the perfect name, and now you need some gear. There are a few new puppy essentials that you’ll want before you bring home your new fluffy ball of love.
I’ve read a few puppy essentials posts that would make me think twice before making the decision to bring home a puppy. Of course, there are expenses involved, but that’s part of what you hopefully learned before getting a new puppy.
But don’t get overwhelmed with the basics. You don’t need to buy out the pet store.
It’s similar to what I remember when I was having a baby. If I talked to any experienced mama, they were quick to tell me not to worry about all the extra stuff. Get what you need and what the baby needs and you’ll be just fine.
Not that a baby and a puppy are the same, but the concept is. You don’t have to go into thousands of dollars of debt just to get what you need for a new puppy.
New Puppy Essentials – What you Really Need!
This list could be a mile long depending on how you roll. I know some people that go all-in and anything less than everything isn’t good enough. I’m kind of basic in that I like to get what I need and add the fluff later if necessary.
Think of this as your bare-bones puppy essentials list! And of course, remember to make sure you get appropriate sizes for your puppy whether it’s a crate, beds, collars, or even bowls.
And FYI – the bigger the dog, the more expensive the supplies.
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There are two different schools of thought when it comes to using a crate for a puppy. One side thinks they are beneficial, the other thinks you’re trapping them in a cage and they view it as cruel. You’ll have to make the decision that’s best for you and your puppy.
I happen to live on the positive side of crate training. Our dog loved his crate. It was his special place and he voluntarily slept there even with the door open until he was around 12 years old. We eventually had children and if you know children, they get loud. Charlie would retreat to his crate when it was too noisy or there were too many kids around. It was his way of saying, “I’m done with this noisy s*&%”.
If you want the crate to be a positive experience, never use it for punishment. Ever.
If you want your puppy to think of the crate as a safe haven, it can’t also be the place you put them when they do something bad.
Puppies sleep a lot! If you plan to find your new baby a safe haven that belongs only to them, a crate will be your new best friend. Or if you need to leave the house for a few hours and your new baby isn’t quite trained to not destroy your house, a crate will be extremely useful.
Tips About Using a Crate
- It’s not punishment and shouldn’t be used as such.
- Always take your puppy to potty before putting them in the crate.
- Don’t leave your new puppy or any dog in a crate for exceptionally long periods of time. If you work long shifts, plan to have someone come let them out and play for a while.
- Decide if you’ll use a reward system for the crate when starting out. We did this and it worked like a charm. For example, they get a treat when going in the crate.
- Come up with a saying to repeat every time you need your puppy to get in the crate. Ours was “let’s go to bed”. When Charlie heard that phrase coupled with the treat in our hand, he knew exactly where to go.
- Get the right sized crate. Consider one with a divider. You don’t want your puppy to have so much room that they pee and poop in part of the crate and sleep in the other. But, it’s equally important that your puppy has plenty of room. They need enough room to stand and turn around. Depending on the breed of dog, you may have to size up as they grow.
This is one of my favorite crate options because it comes in a wide variety of sizes, it has a cover, a mat, and dog bowls that attach to the crate.
New puppies sleep a lot! You’ll need a cozy place for them to snuggle and a good dog bed is a puppy must-have. If you’re going the crate route, you’ll want a bed for the crate and likely a bed in another part of the house where your puppy will be hanging out with you.
Unless of course, your dog ends up like ours did and he turned into an 85-pound lap dog that sat on the couch and smushed us out of our bed every night!
One of the most important things when choosing a dog bed is getting one that’s either entirely machine washable, or at the very least has a removable, washable cover. It’s guaranteed to get something on it – poop, pee, vomit. All those fun things that’ll need to be cleaned up.
I’m pretty sure over the years we tried every affordable brand of dog bed under the sun. Some were great. Some were terrible.
Favorite Dog Beds
- Crate mat – this is what we used in his crate for years until our dog needed a little more cushion to help his aging bones and joints. It’s machine washable, comes in sizes from XS to XL, and doesn’t have excessive stuffing that would encourage avid chewers!
- Memory Foam Bed – We found as our dog aged, the memory foam beds were a must.
- Donut Cuddler Bed – I want one of these for myself! Cozy, warm, and a removable, washable cover. These are perfect for dogs that curl up as they sleep.
- Waterproof Cover Bed – These are amazing for containing accidents. They also dry super quick.
There is no shortage of styles, colors, materials, and price ranges for dog beds. It’s not a one time purchase. Dog beds wear out, get chewed, and get pee, poop, and vomit on them at some point.
Also, it may take a couple of different styles to figure out which one your dog prefers. Some dogs like to curl up, some will hang halfway off the bed, other dogs like bolstered sides – it all depends on your puppy and what they like the most.
Please make sure you get a collar and tag for your new baby. If something happens and they run away or get off the leash, you’ll want a way for someone to contact you. Ideally, you’ll leave their collar on all the time, but at the very least, any time your puppy is out of your house.
You can sign up with Home Again to register your puppy’s microchip to your address. They will give you an identification number so your puppy can be connected to you in the event that someone finds them. Then you can add the special tag to their collar that has the Home Again info.
Collars are another item puppy essential that comes in every size, shape, color, and design that you can dream of. If you’re unsure of what size to get, check with your vet.
Toys are one of the most fun parts of shopping for new puppy essentials! The world of dog toys has no limits. Just walk into any pet store and you can find toys in every shape, size, and texture imaginable. Be prepared to watch your pet promptly destroy whatever you bring home. There’s something about those elusive squeakers that turn the quietest puppy into Godzilla.
Our dog had a yellow bear that he slept with for months. It was the only thing he didn’t destroy and rip out all the stuffing. It lasted for over a year, but then one day we came home to find yellow bear in shreds. It’ll happen. And you’ll be attached to those first toys more than you think you will be!
Get a mix of stuffed toys, squeaky toys, and toys that challenge your puppy such as the kind you can hide a treat or peanut butter in and watch them work for the reward.
- Treat/Food Toys – these provide entertainment and will keep your new puppy occupied
- Squeaky Plush Toys – again, don’t get too attached to any of the toys. Puppies can destroy toys in 2 seconds, but you just can’t resist.
- Kong Toys – these are some of my faves. From my experience, they hold up to years of use. Fill it with peanut butter and watch your dog be entertained for what seems like forever!
- Chuck It – One of the best toys we ever had. Hands down. Of course, a teeny puppy might not be chasing tennis balls at first, but when they do, this is a dream toy!
Food and Dog Bowls
Puppies have to have something to eat and something to eat the food from. Good dog bowls and possibly a dog bowl stand are important. We always used stainless steel bowls and they lasted for years.
The type of food you buy will depend on your new puppy. Age, size, and food sensitivities are all factors to consider when buying dog food. Discuss with your vet which brand is best for your new puppy.
Depending on the height of your dog, you might want a dog food bowl stand to help them eat easier.
If you plan on walking your new puppy, a leash and/or harness is a good idea. Plenty of people never use a leash and it works just fine for them. You’ll have to determine this since every dog is different. You could end up with a flight risk as we did, or you can have a dog that never leaves your side.
Even if you get lucky with a dog that doesn’t stray from you, it’s a good idea to have a leash on hand for vet visits and trips to places where you need to make sure they don’t run away from you.
Make sure you get the appropriate size/length leash for your new puppy. There are some brands of leashes that are only intended for medium/large dogs.
- Nylon, reflective leash (and a bonus – for every leash purchase, this company donates a leash to a dog rescue group!)
- Padded leash with two handles that helps with training
- Rope Leash
- Harness – A harness can be extremely effective when you have a dog that tends to pull when walking on a leash.
Do yourself a favor and go ahead and get some cleaner before you bring your new puppy home. There are bound to be a few accidents here and there and if you have carpet or rugs, you’re going to want to get those cleaned up as soon as possible.
I’m pretty certain I’ve tried every brand under the sun over the last 13&1/2 years. Accidents happen, but they aren’t the end of the world. The quicker you can get it cleaned up of course, the better you’ll be. But don’t despair or freak out. The three below are my absolute tried and true favorites for removing stains and getting out smells.
And the most important item on the list of new puppy essentials is a trip to the vet to make sure your new baby is happy and healthy. You’ll want to establish a relationship with a good vet to help with vaccines, well checks, and sick visits.
New puppies are so exciting. They’ll quickly become your family member that is always happy to see you and gives you unconditional love. Of course, new puppies come with a ton of responsibility and work, but it’s 100% worth it!