New puppy checklist

Since the COVID-19 restrictions went into place, pet adoptions from shelters have increased nationwide. If you’re among the many who’ve made the choice to welcome a new puppy into your home and family, thank you! You’re not only providing a forever home to a loving pet in need—you’re also helping to relieve already overburdened animal shelters and decrease the number of pets euthanized each year.

If you’re a first-time puppy parent, there are some must-have items you should have in stock before you bring your new pup home. Here’s a handy checklist to help you get organized.

Indoor Life For Your Puppy

If your pup is like most, it will be spending lots of time indoors, so prepping your home for a new pup is essential.

Bedding. There’s no substitute for a warm comfortable bed. Be sure your pup has soft dry place to curl up at the end of a busy day. You can buy a dog bed at a store or make one from old sweatshirts and blankets. Just be sure it stays clean and accessible.

A Dog Crate. Dogs are den animals by nature, and they’re unlikely to soil the place where they sleep. So many puppy owners choose to crate their pets overnight, especially during house training. Crating also gives your pup a sense of safety. You can line the crate with your pup’s favorite blanket and provide a chew toy for added comfort. Your crate should always be large enough for your animal to stand and turn around comfortably.

Food & Water Bowls. While this one seems obvious, the type of feeding device you choose may not be. Pups that eat or drink too quickly can sometimes have digestive issues. A slow feeder can help you control portion size, reduce vomiting, and even build your pet’s problem-solving skills.

Dog Toys. It’s no secret that puppies love to play. A sturdy chew toy can keep your pup entertained and away from your slippers!

Training Pads. Until your pup is housebroken, there will probably be a few accidents. Don’t worry, it’s part of being a puppy parent. Pee pads can help you train your pet (ad minimize mess) until your new arrival learns house manners.

Training Treats. Most puppies are very food-motivated. And rewarding good behavior with a treat is a great way to develop your puppy’s house manners.

Outdoor Life For Your Puppy

The outdoors provide a great opportunity fir your puppy to discover and explore the world—but safety is important too. Here are some outdoor items you’ll need.

Collar or Harness. Training your pup to walk on a lead is essential. Your pet should have a collar that fits snugly but allows freedom of movement. Your pup should be able to breathe and swallow easily.  If your new arrival is a leash-biter, you may want to go with a training harness. This will also give you more control over your animal without the discomfort of a choke.

Retractable Leash. These days, there are many leash options, but a retractable leash gives you some added options when you’re at the park or on a puppy play date.

Poop Bags. If you have a dog, you’re going to need poop bags. Your local pet supply store will likely stock a range of options (some even include a bag caddy so you’re never caught short).

Reflective Wear. If your pet is going to be accompanying you on walks in the woods or after dark, you may want to consider some reflective wear (collar, harness, or vest) that makes your pet more visible.

Overall Puppy Health And Wellness

Your pup’s overall health depends a lot on the care you provide. Let’s look at a few items you’ll want to consider.

Grooming. Whether your pup has long or short fur, regular grooming is essential to a healthy skin and fur. Grooming removes mats, helps shed dead fur and skin, and alerts you to the presence of any parasites like fleas or ticks. Most pups also love the attention. A brush and a flea comb ought to do the trick. Your vet or a local groomer can recommend any additional brushes and shampoos for shaggier breeds.

A Good Vet. Finding the right vet is essential to your pet’s health. Basic immunizations, parasite prevention, and regular wellness checkups should all be part of your pet’s veterinary care.

Vaccines. There are several vaccines that are considered core vaccines for dogs. These include inoculations against rabies, distemper, parvovirus, and adenovirus. There are also several important (but non-core) vaccines that guard against canine influenza, parainfluenza, Bordetella (a bacterial illness), leptospirosis (a rodent-borne disease), and Lyme disease. Your vet can answer any questions you may have about the timing and cost of all vaccines.

Puppy-Proofing. Puppies are as curious and mischievous as toddlers, and because of that you need to make your house a safe place for your puppy to grow and thrive. So, take time to puppy-proof your home with these tips.

Nutrition. These days, the array of puppy food options can be confusing. Don’t panic. A kibble that’s high in protein and low in carbohydrates and fillers is recommended for healthy growth. Can’t select a brand? Ask your vet to recommend one!

Puppy Training. To help your new puppy become a good canine citizen, obedience training is a necessity. To help you with training, here are a few of the basic obedience training tasks facing a new puppy parent.

Pet Health Insurance. Even the healthiest pet can become ill or injured—and the veterinary expenses of vital treatments can quickly overwhelm your household budget. Investing in puppy healthcare coverage for your pet can help you prepare for an emergency, while giving you the peace of mind you deserve.  

We hope you find this checklist helpful. If you have any questions about FIGO pet insurance options, contact us today!


Cecily Kellogg is a pet lover who definitely has crazy cat lady leanings. Her pets are all shelter rescues, including the dog, who is scared of the cats. She spent eight years working as a Veterinary Technician before becoming a writer. Today she writes all over the web, including here at Figo.

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