New Puppy Checklist
11 essential items for when you first bring puppy home
There are so many products on the market. As a new dog owner, it can be quite overwhelming and difficult to know which items to buy your new puppy and what they actually need. All of the items on this list serve a purpose and will help to make managing puppy life enjoyable and more manageable for all involved.
You will need:
- Food and water bowl
- Dog food
- Well-fitting Collar and lead (or harness)
- Dog tag
- Puppy shampoo and a brush or comb
- Chews and training treats
- Treat pouch
- Tug toys – the longer the better
- Enrichment toys
Food and Water Bowl
It goes without saying that your puppy will, of course, need food and water to survive. It’s actually one of the five freedoms of animal welfare that all animals must have freedom from hunger and first.
Your puppy should have free access to water at all times. You may hear from well-meaning pet owners that you should restrict your puppy’s access to water at night to help with toilet training, but don’t! There are other methods that can help your pup master dry nights, and denying them the opportunity to drink when they’re thirsty really isn’t the answer.
When your puppy first comes home from their breeder or rescue, you should be told which food they have been weaned onto. Some breeders will give you a supply of this food, or you may need to buy some yourself, but it’s important to keep their diet the same when they first come home.
Puppies’ digestive systems are sensitive, and with the upheaval of leaving their siblings and mother, they need as little added upset as possible to aid their transition. When your puppy first comes home, you may find she doesn’t have much of an appetite. With a kind and gentle approach, your puppy will relax and begin to feel settled enough to eat. If your puppy is not drinking or doesn’t eat at all, then please contact your vet for advice.
Puppies need to be fed a diet specially formulated for puppies until they are one year old. They grow at 20 times the rate of adult dogs, and their food needs to support this and ensure all their nutritional needs are met.
Your puppy will start on at least three meals a day until they are at least six months old. Take up any uneaten food after a short period rather than leaving it down so they can graze throughout the day.
Well-fitting collar and lead (or harness)
Your dog will need a collar and lead that fits well. As a rule of thumb, you should be able to slip two fingers between your puppy’s collar and their neck, ensuring that it’s not too snug, but they also cannot wriggle out of it!
When your puppy is at home, it’s a good idea to remove his collar, as it could be a strangulation risk if your curious pup gets themselves in a tangle.
Your puppy won’t be able to go out for walks in the big wide world until his vaccinations are complete due to the risks of parvo, distemper, and leptospirosis.
While your puppy can’t yet go outside, it’s a perfect time to introduce a collar and lead and help your puppy get used to the feel of walking on the lead for short sessions at home in an environment they already feel comfortable in.
In the UK, all dogs must wear a dog tag by law when they are in a public place. Legally your dog’s tag should be inscribed with the owner’s name and address of their home. We’d also recommend putting your telephone number on the tag since this is the quickest and easiest way for you to be reunited with your dog should they ever get lost.
In addition to your dog’s ID tag, all dogs must be microchipped. Contact your puppy’s chip provider and make sure your information is accurate and up to date. Don’t forget if you move house or change your telephone number to update your dog’s microchip records.
You can find our full range of dog tag’s here.
Regardless of where you intend for your puppy to sleep, they will need a comfortable bed. You may want your puppy to sleep in a crate or in your bed, but all dogs need a space of their own and a comfortable place to relax.
Puppies need an inordinate amount of sleep, between 18-20 hours a day! And if your puppy doesn’t get the sleep, she needs you will quickly find she becomes a bit of a bitey Tasmanian devil!
Having a dog bed of an appropriate size that is comfortable and accessible is an essential part of being able to encourage your puppy to get the sleep she needs each day.
It’s a good idea to opt for a dog bed with a removable cover which you can pop in the wash, like this one.
Whether it’s toilet training accidents, mud, or dare we say it… fox poo, there will be times when your puppy’s bed could do with a freshen up. Choosing a machine washable dog bed makes life a lot easier.
A crate is such a useful tool for your puppy if introduced with patience and positivity. Your puppy will need a quiet and safe space to relax and to get their much-needed sleep. There will also be times in your puppy’s life where they will have to spend time in a crate, such as at the vets, so it pays to help your puppy to feel relaxed and at ease in one.
You may not choose to crate your puppy at night, but a crate will prove a really valuable tool for you and your puppy, so we highly recommend investing in one.
A crate should never be a place of punishment, frustration, or fear for your puppy. The intention is to provide a comfortable and safe space for your pup – so aim for no crying. You can buy metal crates from numerous place, or if you’re looking for a little budget stretching luxury for your pup then we these quality wooden crates can be made to measure and coloured to complement your decor.
Chews and training treats
Chews and treats for training are absolute essentials for any puppy or dog owner. Chews help your puppy relieve the pain of teething, calm down when they’ve become overexcited, and to relax and unwind. Chewing releases endorphins, which naturally help your puppy to settle and calm down.
Not all chews are created equal, avoid rawhide and big brand dental sticks, and instead opt for natural chews that are chemical-free and a healthy alternative. Your puppy should always be supervised with a chew, and make sure to check the guidance to ensure your chew is age-appropriate.
Treats will be your friend when training your puppy; there are so many new skills your puppy will be mastering over the coming months. Rewarding your puppy for the behaviours you want to see will result in a higher likelihood of those behaviours being repeated. Which leads nicely onto…..
Especially in the early days of training, you will need to have treats accessible at all times so you can quickly capture and reward those puppy successes! A treat pouch can easily be clipped to your waistband ensuring that you always have treats at hand to reward your pup.
Tug toys – the longer the better
Playing with your puppy is a wonderful bonding experience, and tug is a favourite game for many. Tug games can be used to teach impulse control, will allow your puppy to release pent up energy, and can be a fantastic way to redirect puppy biting.
Puppies’ teeth are sharp. Razor-sharp. And so when choosing a tug toy for your puppy, we would recommend choosing a longer tug toy like this one to put more distance between your hand and your puppy’s teeth and to stop them accidentally practicing teeth on skin!
Puppy shampoo, a brush and comb
Did we mention toilet training accidents? That’s not just puppy pees and poops where we’d rather they didn’t, but also while your pup masters their peeing stance, there are, shall we say, ‘leg sprinklings.’
As well as the smell and hygiene factor, it’s also really important to get your puppy used to grooming from a young age. Your puppy’s grooming needs will vary according to their breed and coat, but all pups will benefit from being gradually and gently introduced to bathes and brushing.
Our puppy shampoo is specially formulated to be gentle on your puppy’s skin and coat and smells beautifully puppy fresh.
Mental stimulation is as important as physical exercise. When your puppy is small, they should be walked for short stints rather than going on huge hikes to prevent excess pressure on their soft and growing joints. This is especially true for large and giant dog breeds.
Enrichment toys are an excellent way to encourage your puppy to engage their brains, use their nose, and keep out of mischief! If your puppy is busy solving a puzzle or snuffling for treats, then he’s not chewing your shoes or nipping at your ankles!
Snuffle mats, puzzle toys, Kongs, and slow feeders are all popular choices and really help when starting to get your puppy used to settling without your attention.
We stock snuffle mats and wooden puzzle toys here at Not From The Pet Shop of different difficulty levels to help enrich your puppy’s life and keep them occupied!
For more tips, advice, and support with your new puppy, please join the free Facebook group, which will give you access to a community of puppy owners and three wonderfully helpful dog trainers to help you on your journey!