Here’s a checklist of puppy supplies to have on hand on the exciting day when your new pup comes home. The images take you to Amazon.com.
Further down the page, there’s a list of things you may want to add later. Books and DVDs puppies are described on other pages of the site– use the menu to find them. The very best DVD is the wonderful Sirius Puppy Training, in my opinion! The link takes you to my review of it.
Puppy Supplies to Have at First
If you are about to bring home an older puppy or dog, this list will also be useful.
____ Puppy food: If you get no other puppy supplies beforehand, be sure you have some food! Buy some of what you are planning to use, and also ask whoever you are getting the puppy from if you can bring some of their kind home. Ideally, get yourself a bag to start with of whatever they use. Puppies’ stomachs can get upset by a switch, so when you do switch, it’s best to do it over several days to a week, gradually using less of the old and more of the new. This is also a good idea for any switch of dog food.
____ A piece of cloth that the breeder, shelter worker, or other person you are getting the puppy from has rubbed on the puppy’s mother, littermates, or the person too, so that it will have their smells on it. This can be very comforting to the puppy as it goes to a new life!
____ A flat collar that will fit with about 2 inches of room to spare, not enough that the puppy can wiggle out of it. I used to use leather but I do prefer cloth now… easier to rinse off if it gets dirty.
It could be four, five, or six feet, something in that range/ While I use Flexileads a lot when my dogs get older, at first the message that comes from a simple lead is better for the puppy and easier on its young body.
Besides, you will have occasions later when this is a handy thing to have around!
____ An enzyme cleaner to neutralize any urine that gets onto floors or carpets. The enzymes greatly reduce or eliminate the odor that would draw the pup back to the same place for the same purpose. I’ve had good results with Nature’s Miracle and with AntiIckyPoo.
____ A crate (see my page about crates) or some baby gates or other way to create a small area the puppy will be in when you are not able to watch the puppy.
____ Bedding for the crate, something easily washable. You can start out with old towels. There are examples of crate beds on my crate page.)
____ There are puppy pads that can be used to help with potty-training. (See my page on potty training dogs for how to train your puppy.)
____ A puppy Kong (I have a page about this versatile toy) and maybe a few other toys. Be sure the toys don’t have buttons are other things that could be a hazard if the puppy chews the toy to shreds. Of all the puppy supplies on this list, I would guess that people tend to overdo here. You don’t need twenty-five toys!
____ A hot-water bottle filled with warm water and wrapped in old towels can keep the puppy happier at bedtime, as can a ticking clock. These are time-honored methods for soothing a new puppy… not only puppy supplies!
____ One or more ways to clean up the poop that your puppy will producing regularly. If you will be walking your puppy in neighborhoods,you can use a little waist pack and some plastic bags from the grocery store (my habit when I am in a city).
Also, for yard use, a long-handled pooper scooper is very useful. I’ve had mine through six dogs and several repairs by my husband… I can’t even tell any more what brand it was to start with.
____ Some kind of flea control product approved for puppies if you live in a flea-ridden area and it’s flea season. Ask your veterinarian.
Puppy Supplies You Can Add as Needed
____ A longer retractable leash, a Flexi or other brand.
____ A halter-type collar… Halti and Gentle Leader are the two brands I’ve used. I liked them both. A halter is useful to help your puppy learn not to pull when on leash, and to give your arms some help if the puppy does pull.
Do not use a halter-type collar together with a retractable leash, though. It really isn’t safe.
We’ve used halters with several of our dogs. Sunbeam, our little Basenji, pulled like a sled dog for a long stretch of her puppyhood. We lived in a city at the time, and it was a bit embarrassing to be towed down the street by such a small dog! The halter helped a lot. We got used to people asking if it was a muzzle, but when I said, no, it was a halter, like a horse would wear, they could understand that right away.
Because we used to raise llamas, it made perfect sense to me to use a halter on a dog.
____ Clickers for clicker-training.
____ Dog toothbrush and toothpaste. Those sharp little pearly whites won’t suffer if they aren’t brushed for a little while, but it’s an excellent habit for later. I like the kind of little toothbrushy thing that fits over my finger.
____ Ear cleaner
____ Dog shampoo, a gentle one good for puppies
____ A bed for use outside the crate. Beds that contain cedar chips are nice, as the chips smell good and tend to repel fleas. Look for a bed with a removable outer liner that you can throw in the washing machine. It’s also nice to have a way to get into the chips part of the bed, so you can add fresh cedar later. Small dogs often like the type of bed often sold for cats, that wrap around them.
____ A way to confine the puppy while it is in your vehicle. This can be its crate, if the crate fits in the back. It can be a smaller crate — I use my cat crate for my small dog. Just holding a dog in a passenger’s lap isn’t safe. There are barriers and other devices.
____ A Doggie Dooley is nice if you have a yard. It’s kind of like a mini-septic tank. You dig a hole, insert the thing, and then you put your dog’s poop into it. We had one in Olympia, Washington, and it worked nicely despite the clay soil and heavy rains. I think we used an enzyme to help the poop break down.
____ A storage bin for the dog food that comes in big bags. We have used large Rubbermaid bins and we once had a nifty bin that attached to a wall.
____ Microchip, tattoo, or other permanent ID — ask your veterinarian.
Sometimes it makes sense to get the best… which may or may not cost any more than the so-so. Other times, I may happily make do with something we have around the house.
When it comes to puppy supplies… Well, Kelly and I have had dogs continuously for over twenty years. We have crates in three sizes around the house, and pet beds in several rooms. There’s a box of outgrown dog collars and various leashes. Kongs and Nylabones can turn up anywhere, as Larry moves them around. Our battered old pooper scooper is outside.
We wouldn’t need much in the way of puppy supplies to be ready for a new puppy.