Skip to main content

Pet Insurance policies are underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company.

New Puppy Checklist

By: Cecily Kellogg

When you add a new dog or puppy to your family, you’ll need to go shopping for pet supplies and services on your new puppy checklist. Learn more here.

New Puppy Checklist

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, or if it’s been a while since you’ve had a young dog in the house, there are some must-have items you should keep in stock before you bring your new pup home. Here’s a handy new puppy checklist to help you get organized for your new best friend’s arrival.

Indoor life for your puppy

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

  • Bedding. Every new puppy shopping list should include a new dog bed. 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. For easy care, you will want the bed to be machine washable, so check the labels before purchasing. Your dog’s bed is where he or she will go when they want to feel safe and secure, so remind your kids that the dog’s bed is only for the dog and not a play place for young humans. Just be sure it stays clean and accessible.

  • 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 favorite chew toy for added comfort. The crate should always be associated with security and comfort, never punishment. Its size should be large enough for your animal to stand and turn around comfortably, which means you might need to purchase a second crate as your puppy grows. Like your dog’s bed, the crate is where your dog will go when he or she needs a quiet place to rest. Make sure children in the house know the crate is especially for the dog and not a new fort.

  • Food and water bowls. 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. If you don’t need a puzzle feeder for a fast eater, use metal bowls as opposed to glass or ceramic bowls. Metal dishes clean up well in the dishwasher and there’s no risk of breakage.

  • Dog toys. It’s no secret that puppies love to play and chew. Chewing and sniffing are how puppies investigate and learn about their surroundings. A sturdy chew toy can keep your pup entertained and away from your slippers! On those occasions when your new pup destroys a shoe or two, learn the important lesson of putting your shoes away, and don’t blame your dog.

  • 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 (and minimize mess) until your new arrival learns house manners. For best results, take your puppy outside to potty as soon as they wake from their naps. Praise and reward them when they eliminate outdoors and don’t punish them if they have an accident inside.

  • 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. Check with your veterinarian for the best type of training treat for your puppy.

  • Puppy gates. You want your pup to be safe and comfortable, and you also want to keep your important belongings from getting damaged by your curious new pal. If you like having bedroom doors open but need to keep your puppy from wandering off to investigate, set up puppy gates in the open doors.

Outdoor life for your puppy

The outdoors provide a great opportunity for 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. Remember, puppies grow quickly, so expect to purchase new collars when your pup needs them. If your new arrival is a leash-biter, you may want to go with a training harness.

  • Reliable Leash. These days, there are many leash options. Find a sturdy option that's comfortable in your hand and strong enough to withstand pulling.

  • Poop bags. If you have a dog, you’re going to need poop bags. Picking up what your dog leaves behind is probably mandated in your city’s municipal ordinances. Your local pet supply store will likely stock a range of options. Some even include a refillable bag caddy that you can attach to your dog’s leash, 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, consider reflective wear (collar, harness, or vest) that makes your pet more visible.

  • Identification. Make sure your puppy is always wearing an ID tag with your current contact information. Additionally, have your pet microchipped at your veterinarian’s office. Microchips are permanent forms of identification that are read by hand-held electronic scanning devices. If your dog were to lose his or her collar and tags, a scanned microchip can help identify your dog as belonging to you.

  • GPS Tracking. Pet tracking services use GPS locators that are typically attached to your pet’s collar and communicate your pet’s location to your phone. There are more than a dozen rechargeable trackers on the market that use Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and other technologies. If you opt for a GPS tracker, do your research to find the technology and service that is best suited to your location and needs.

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 healthy skin and fur. Grooming removes mats, helps shed dead fur and skin, and alerts you to the presence of any parasites, such as fleas or ticks. Grooming is also an opportunity to spot any health issues, such as lipomas, which are fatty tumors that can appear on older dogs. Giving your dog a bath is a perfect way to bond with your new best friend because many pups 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. Ask your family and friends who they recommend and read online reviews.

  • 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. Most groomers, pet boarding facilities and pet sitters require your dog be current on vaccinations. 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, so you need to make your house a safe place for your puppy to grow and thrive. Take time to puppy-proof your home with these tips.

  • Nutrition. 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! There are also prescription formula pet foods available in case your new pup has certain health issues.

  • Puppy training. Training your puppy is one of the absolute new puppy essentials. To help your new pup become a well-socialized canine citizen, puppy obedience classes — where pups can meet and interact with other dogs in a controlled and safe environment — are especially helpful. To help you with training, here are a few of the basic obedience training tasks facing a new puppy parent.

  • Pet health insurance. Your new puppy supply list should include pet health insurance because 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.

Congratulations on your new best friend! We hope you find the suggestions for pet services and doggy products in this new puppy checklist helpful.

New puppy checklist

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.

Pattern Blue

by you

Design your pet’s plan in less than 60 seconds!

medium sized cat illustration
medium sized cat illustration
Cat illustration
Cat illustration
Cat illustration
Your Pet's Type