New Puppy Checklist: What You Need Before You Bring Him Home

Amy Tokic
by Amy Tokic
Got what you need? Go through this new puppy checklist for all the essentials

You can’t wait until you bring home your adorable puppy. But do you have everything you need? Your puppy is going to need a few things to keep him happy, healthy… and occupied! Wouldn’t it be awesome if you had a new puppy checklist that told you exactly what you needed? Good news! To make it easier for you, we put together a new puppy checklist of items you should have in your home before your furry addition arrives.

Puppy Food

Wherever you’re bringing your puppy home from, find out what kind of food they are giving the puppies. A sudden change in diet can cause tummy troubles.

Our choice: Purina Pro Plan Dry Puppy Food

Formulated to support your puppy’s immune system and promote proper brain development, this antioxidant-rich food is offered in chicken and rice, lamb and rice, and chicken shred version. Suitable for puppies up to 1 year old.

Crate and dog bed

You’ll need both, especially if you’re planning on crate training your puppy (which helps with housetraining). Make sure to outfit the crate with a comfy blanket, as crates are a safe den for dogs. And it’s always nice to have a dog bed for an extra sleeping option.

Our choice: Aspen Pet Puppy 2-Door Training Crate

With front and side-door access, secure latches, and a removable plastic pan for easier cleaning, this crate has everything a puppy owner needs to make their life easier. Pick between blue or pink – this 24” crate is designed for puppies that weigh up to 30 pounds.

Our choice: Friends Forever Donut Bed

Ideal for puppies that weigh under 25 pounds, this fluffy donut bed is just the thing for those long puppy naps after a long day of playing. The cozy design offers the proper support for your growing puppy’s neck and joints, and the plush faux fur material will make him feel like he’s still with his mom and littermates. To boot, this bed is machine washable and dryable- no need to worry if an “accident” happens while your puppy is sleeping.

Food and water bowls

They can be made from ceramic, metal, plastic, but make you have one for water and one for food. These bowls should be heavy enough that your puppy won’t be able to knock them over. You may want to pick up a placemat – this feeding area tends to get messy often and a placemat helps you to keep it clean.

Our choice: Vivaglory Dog Bowls

Combining functionality and style into one design, these durable water and food bowls already come with their own placemat included. Made from stainless steel and silicone, these bowls are both safe for your puppy to use and incredibly long-lasting.

Collar, leash and tags

Collars should be comfortable and give your puppy room to grow. Along with the collar, be sure to get ID tags that are engraved all your home information… just in case your puppy goes missing (even if your puppy will be mircochipped). And finally, a strong, durable leash is a necessity because puppies love to pull.

Our choice: azuza Leash and Collar Set

For those first puppy walks, you want something secure and comfortable enough for your pooch. This padded collar and leash set feels pleasant and not too restricting, and the reflective stitching adds another layer of security during nighttime walks.

Pee Pads

Accidents happen – especially when you have a puppy. You’ll want to place one in a convenient location and make sure your puppy knows where it is. When Oscar came home, I opted for the washable pee pads instead of the disposable ones. This is because puppies like to rip them up and may eat the pads.

Our choice: Ruff ‘n Ruffus Washable Puppy Pee Pads

Highly absorbent with a waterproof backing that keeps all the liquids trapped in the pad (and your floors) safe, these washable pee pads are ideal for potty training. Available in small and large sizes.

Poop bags

You can never have too many poop bags. You’ll need them for walks and for around the house. I like the biodegradable ones that come with a delightful fresh scent like lavender or lemon- but you might prefer unscented if you are bothered by strong fragrances.

Our choice: PLANET POOP Compostable Dog Poop Bags

Not only that these poop bags are made from fully biodegradable, plant-based materials, but they also have nifty handles that make the “poop-packing” process so much easier and mess-free.

Training treats

Puppy training should start as soon as possible and you’ll get the best results from your dog using positive rewards such as training treats. You’ll be surprised what your puppy will do for a treat!

Our choice: Zuke’s Natural Training Dog Treats

Tiny, soft, and chewy- ideal for puppies! These low-calorie treats are great for training and come in various flavors to suit any pooch’s preference.


Don’t go overboard on toys until you learn which ones you puppy prefers. Your puppy may need more durable toys, but don’t expect them to last too long. Kongs are great to have on hand for treat stuffing, as are balls, teething toys, tug rope toys and squeaky soft toys.

Our choice: Petstages Puppy Cuddle Pal

If you want to make your young puppy feel welcome and safe in his new home, this plush microwavable toy will be just the thing. And since it’s machine washable, it will last your pet for years to come.

Brush, comb and shampoo

Depending on the breed, your dog will need a few grooming products to keep him looking his best. Brush and combs help keep shedding to a minimum and remove dead hair. And even though you’re not going to be bathing your puppy daily, you should have a quality puppy shampoo for monthly baths and dirty situations.

Our choice: Burt’s Bees Bristle Brush for Puppies

This natural hemp brush will gently remove tangles and debris from your pet’s coat and gently massage them in the process. Perfect for getting used to grooming!

Our choice: Alpha Dog Series Shampoo & Conditioner for Puppies

With a 2-in-1 formula, this shampoo both deeply cleanses your puppy’s fur and conditions it both. The formula is gentle, pH balanced, and tear-free which makes it suitable for puppies- and the fresh powder scent is just an added bonus.

Puppy care and training book

I picked up the “ Puppies For Dummies” book before Oscar came home and it came in real handy. Whichever book you choose, make sure it covers the basics of care, training and what to do in emergencies.

List of emergency numbers

Before your puppy comes home, you should have a list of emergency numbers and locations. This would include your veterinarian, a 24 hour pet hospital and poison control.

This new puppy checklist will help get you started during the first days and weeks together. You’ll need to add to it as time goes on, but it’s important to get the essential before you go on a shopping spree. Once you get to know what your puppy needs, you’ll find shopping for him so much easier – and then you have our permission to spoil him (in moderation, of course!).

We are committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products. We earn commissions from purchases you make using the retail links in our product reviews. Learn more about how this works.

Amy Tokic
Amy Tokic

Amy Tokic, Editor of, is a passionate animal lover and proud pet parent of Oscar, a Shih Tzu/Chihuahua cross, and Zed, a Japanese Chin. Her love of animals began in kindergarten, when she brought her stuffed dog Snoopy into class with her every day. Now, she writes about her adventures in pet ownership and tirelessly researches products, news and health related issues she can share with other animal enthusiasts. In her free time, Amy loves perusing used book and record stores, obsessing over the latest pet products available and chasing squirrels with wild abandon (a habit attributed to spending too much time with her pooches).

More by Amy Tokic