Listen to This Article Using the Player Above
Getting your first dog can be extremely exciting, and also a nerve-wracking moment. It’s vital that your pup has everything needed to start their life off on the right paw. So what better way to know you got everything necessary than with a new puppy checklist?!
We’ve got your (and your pups) back! Here is the ultimate new puppy checklist of 21 items your pup can’t do without!
Feel free to print out this puppy checklist below and mark off each item as you get them 🙂
New Puppy Checklist Printable PDF
Click the image above or click here to print out the PDF version 🙂
Breakdown of New Puppy Checklist
Here’s more detail on the items. You can click the links below to go straight to the specific one you’re curious about or just scroll down the page to learn more.
- Dog Bed
- Chew Toys (3-5)
- Toys for Fetch (frisbee, tennis ball)
- Collar & Harness
- 4-6 Foot Leash
- Long Lead Leash for Training
- Kennel or Crate
- Dog ID Tags
- Bowl or Dispenser for Water
- Bowl for Food
- Carpet Cleaner (it’s bound to happen)
- Nail Clippers
- Poop Bags
- Poop Scooper
- Dog Toothbrush
- Dog Toothpaste
- Dog Brush or Comb
- Treat Pouch for Training
Your pup will love having a comfortable place to call their own within your home. We recommend finding a dog bed that is big enough for your pup to grow into. Support is also a huge factor, so make sure you find a bed with memory foam or other sturdy support.
To make your life easier (and your house smell cleaner), get a dog bed that has a removable cover. You’ll want to wash the bed at least every couple weeks or so. For a full breakdown on our 5 favorite dog beds, check out this article.
Puppies love chewing, especially during their teething stage. If you don’t want them chewing up your sandals (I’ve said RIP to about 3 pairs of my own) then you better get some high-quality chew and tug toys.
Chew toys are also great for keeping your puppy’s growing mind stimulated, and even helping to clean their teeth. The more you interact and play with your puppy, the happier they will be. On top of chew toys, you’ll want a good toy to use for a game of tug! This will be very helpful in training sessions.
Get a tug toy in our popular Training Starter Pack here.
Exercise is extremely important for a dog’s health, but shouldn’t be overdone for young puppies. Playing fetch can be the perfect amount of exercise for young puppies.
One of our most used toys for fetch is our Chuck It. Long throws for the win!
Other options include just a tennis ball, a frisbee, or anything easily retrievable by your pup.
Choosing the right dog food will affect your pup for years to come. It’s probably the single most important item on our new puppy checklist.
We recommend finding a food high in protein from quality sources. Check out our comparison of the 3 dog food types here.
We’ve also written an article with 39 different fruits and vegetables that are safe or not safe for your dog. Read it here.
Whether just as a loving snack or for use in training, you will need plenty of treats for your pup. We recommend finding a treat that is soft, easily digested by your pup, and an extremely “high-value” currency. Check out these freeze dried beef liver treats that dogs go crazy for.
It’s smart to have treats located around your home so you’re prepped and ready for any impromptu training sessions.
Just remember that treats should only make up 10-15% or less of your dog’s daily caloric intake. So, keep them healthy and don’t overdo it!
Just like with a dog bed, be sure to snag a collar that your pup can grow into (although you may have to buy multiple depending on how big your pup will get).
PRO tip: Get a collar with reflective material, because a safe pup is a happy pup.
What leash you get will depend on the size and energy of your dog. For our Yellow Lab puppies, we opted for a 6-foot leash that has a second handle at the 2-foot point of the leash. This allows for a more restricted grasp on our pups as we are teaching leash manners and in other situations where a closer touch is needed. Check it out here.
On the other hand, we have used regular 6-foot leashes as well as retractable leashes for our Puggle who is more calm and better on a leash. Again, just make sure you choose a leash that will last a long time and is safe for your pup.
In addition to your regular leash, you will want a long lead leash for training sessions and for places like parks and on hikes. Anything over 20 feet is great, just get enough to let your dog roam while still being in control!
Long lead training is an extremely important step in teaching your dog new skills and behaviors. Get yours here as part of our popular Training Starter Pack.
Crate training is a vital behavior for your pup to understand. Our personal recommendation is to get a crate with a divider so you can limit the usable space for your pup as they are in the growing stage. Dogs instinctively don’t want to dirty (poop or pee) their living area, so a smaller space can help with that! Also, as your dog grows, you can increase the space available for your pup so you don’t have to buy a brand new crate.
When trained correctly, your dog will learn to love and appreciate their time in a kennel or crate, it becomes their own personal little den! For help with training your new puppy to love their crate, check out our 100% free online dog training class. Sign up here.
Hopefully, it never happens to your pup, BUT dogs often run away or get lost.
You can make custom ID tags for under $10, a very worthwhile expense. It’s typically best to include your phone number, address, and an email address.
Don’t be afraid to throw some humor on your dog tags as well.
Another tip, talk to your vet and consider getting a microchip for your pup.
Depending on how big your dog is going to be, you may find yourself refilling your dog bowl what seems like every half hour. I’ve been in that situation, and because of that, we have purchased a 4-gallon dispenser that keeps our pups’ bowl filled for almost a week!
Water is a vital part of a dog’s health, so make sure to keep it fresh and available for your new puppy.
Also, keep in mind the size of your dog and how much you will be feeding your pup when you buy a food bowl and make sure there’s enough space for all their grub.
No matter how early you start potty training a puppy, you’re bound to have an accident or two in your house. Arming yourself with a quality carpet cleaner can ensure your living room doesn’t smell like a puddle of puppy pee forever.
You clip your own nails, so why wouldn’t you do the same for your pup? Keeping your dog’s nails trimmed keeps scratches on your skin to a minimum (it’s also bound to happen, even accidentally). Not only that but if a dog’s nails are too long it can cause pain over time.
So, keep your dog’s nails trimmed, and use a proper dog nail clipper. Just don’t clip them too short!
We all love a cuddly puppy, but one that smells bad, not so much. How often you wash your dog depends on their breed, but a general rule of thumb is to give them a good bath at least once a month.
Many dog shampoos help your pup to have a nice shiny coat and healthy skin.
Especially little puppies. So, get yourself a roll of poop bags for when you go on walks or to the park with your pup. You can even get poop bag holders that hook onto your leash, a must-have for every puppy parent!
If your dog gets to roam in your backyard, having a pooper scooper will save both your back and your lawn. Trust me, I have 3 dogs and used to clean up dog poop with either a poop bag or a shovel.
100 poop bags and about 47 divots in my yard later, I bought myself a poop scooper. Do yourself a favor and just get one right now.
No, you probably shouldn’t share your own toothbrush with your dog.
Yes, you 100% need to brush your dog’s teeth. Bad oral hygiene can cause painful and expensive problems down the road for your pup.
Brushing your puppy’s teeth is a simple task that you won’t regret, because who doesn’t love fresh puppy breath?
Just like your toothbrush, you shouldn’t share your toothpaste with your pupper. Actually, many human kinds of toothpaste include xylitol which is toxic for your pup.
So, go buy some toothpaste that’s just for your pup. My doggos love their poultry flavored dog toothpaste. I didn’t love the taste, but hey that’s just me! 😉
Whether you have a dog that sheds or doesn’t, you’ll want a nice comb or brush to keep up with their grooming. I’ve found it is often best to brush your dog right after a bath to remove all the loose hairs.
You should comb your dog’s hair every few days, especially if you want to minimize shedding in short-haired pups.
The more often you train your pup, the more you’ll realize how annoying it is to hold a treat bag in your hand while trying to teach your dog commands.
So, if you’re ready to commit to the full-on dog parent life (and look like a middle-aged dad from the 90’s), then get yourself a treat pouch. The one I’ve used can clip on your belt or go around your waist with the included adjustable band. Embrace the dog parent life, your life will be much better.
New Puppy Checklist Recap
Having a dog is one of the most rewarding and sometimes frustrating experiences. Hopefully, this new puppy checklist helps you feel a little bit more prepared for your new puppy or dog.
A healthy pup is a happy dog parent, and that’s why we started Pupford! Our whole goal is to empower dog parents, like you, to improve their relationship with their pup.
Your pup’s behavior will be shaped dramatically in these first few months, so be sure to get a healthy treat that will make your training easier!