Preparation for a puppy | things to get for a new dog

What do you need for a new puppy? Full checklist 

17 things you'll need for a dog and why do you need them

New puppy parents tend to buy everything they see in a pet store. We advise against that as most of those things end up as a pile of unused stuff in your drawers. The following are our recommendations for both puppies and adult dogs. The most important things are marked with a *.

1. *Crate or a puppy pen. We recommend a metal crate or a metal puppy pen which later can be changed to a soft crate. Also, if you travel a lot, a travel crate would be a good item to have on this list, as it's annoying to fold and unfold a crate for every trip. Also, travel crates are usually sturdier than the ones we use at home.

2. Towel, blanket, or a dog bed. Some dogs like to sleep more comfortably. However, with young puppies, we recommend using a sturdier fabric bed, as they tend to chew the softer ones quickly. Also, it's better to use material without any padding, so your pup won't eat the stuffing. With young puppies, we recommend not using it at all, or using the ones made of waterproof material, as some pups are prone to urinate on anything that absorbs moisture well.

3. *Towel to maintain hygiene. Most probably your pup will come back home after a walk with some dirt on her paws. Even if you adopt your new family member when the weather is perfect and there's no drop of rain outside, still we advise you to show your pup that cleaning her paws is an everyday routine.

4. Paper towels. Well, you most probably have them already in your kitchen. Extremely useful to clean after the "accidents".

5. *Bowls for food and water. As you will read in our course, the bowl for water is mandatory. However, the bowl for food might not be necessary, especially if you follow our advice to give all the food from your hands or while training.

6. *Collar with a tag. Some owners think of collars and ID tags only as fashionable accessories. However, it's not only that – if your pup gets lost, the ID tag is also the first thing that people who have found her will look at. Sure, microchips help to identify a dog but to find them, you need to get the pup you have found to the vet. ID tags are the fastest way to bring the dog home. The most important thing there is to write your phone number. Most people end up writing only their dog's name, which is not useful at all when your pup gets lost. Keep a collar with an ID tag every time you go on a walk with your pup. 

7. *Short leash. We recommend a 2-3 meters long leash. It should be light and comfortable for you to hold. This will be the most used leash during everyday walks and training. Our favorites are rubber leashes, but feel free to find your favorite!

8. Long leash or a long line (around 10 meters). We use it in further training. This leash should not have any handle and is mostly used to be dropped on the ground when teaching your pup to come. The material depends on the dog – the smaller your pup is, the lighter the line should be. With young puppies and small adult dogs, we use a simple nylon rope. With bigger dogs, we use biothane leashes as they don't absorb any moisture and are slick. However, they are heavier than nylon rope.

9. *Toys for chewing, putting food, and tugging. As you see, there are several types of toys we need. 

The first type is meant to be used when your puppy is alone, or you want her to do something on her own. These toys usually are made of strong rubber. Dogs love chewing them. Some of these toys come with holes to put food inside. We use them to keep a pup entertained while alone. These toys encourage our dogs to stay calm while alone.

The next type is so-called intelligent dog toys, which require effort to take food out of them. These toys might be wooden or made of plastic, as well as rubber ones. Some of them are not safe to chew, so don't leave your pup unattended with these toys. These toys help to work on the dog's confidence and problem-solving skills. 

The third type is meant for tugging. These toys are the ones we use when going for a walk. They should be long enough (2-3 ft (50-100 cm) in length or even longer!) They teach a dog to engage in play with its owner. It's easy to maintain a correct game with this type of toy.

We don't recommend using balls (except the ones on a rope), as they encourage a dog to actively play without its owner. Some dogs get too excited playing with a ball and they end up not being able to calm down. Also, they end up playing alone instead of playing with their owner.

10. Chewy bones and other chews for dogs. They are used to keep your pup occupied while alone or in a crate. They help with teething and relaxing your pup. Be sure to ask your vet, so you buy the healthiest ones!

11. *Dog food. There are hundreds of options of dog food in the market. It's hard to choose and we'll go more into detail about dog food a little bit later. For the first one or two weeks of your puppy in her new home, we recommend using the same food she used to get while in the kennel (or in a shelter). If you don't know what she ate before getting to your place, simply buy a pack of high-quality food at your vet's. If you are aware of the food she ate during her first two months of life, we suggest using the same food for at least a couple of her first days at your home. Moving away from home, meeting new people and a new environment is stressful enough, so better not to make it even more complicated by also changing the food your pup knows.

12. *Waste disposal bags, also popularly known as poop bags. From the very first day of being a dog owner, you get to clean after your pet. Most owners forget this simple item and they struggle with cleaning because of that. Any plastic bag will work, although we recommend more eco-friendly bags, such as compostable ones. Depending on a dog, you'll need around 17 thousand of them during her whole life. That's a lot!

13. Grooming tools – brush, comb, nail clipper. Depending on your pup's coat type, you'll need some or all of them. A nail clipper is obligatory, as all dogs need to get their nails shortened regularly. Brush and comb depend on the coat type. It's advisable to brush even short-haired breeds as brushing stimulates skin and blood circulation. This way your pup gets used to grooming and her fur grows shinier. However, grooming tools are not so important at the very beginning, as usually young puppies don't have too much fur yet. Although nail clippers are essential from the very beginning.

14. Toothbrush, cotton, cloth, toothpaste. It's not necessary to start from a very young age, but when a puppy is 6 or 7 months old, you can start her teeth cleaning. It's hard to clean a very young pup's teeth as they tend to bite a lot. We recommend cleaning your dog's teeth only when she already has her adult teeth unless your pup doesn't mind you cleaning.

15. Wet wipes. Used to clean ears and eyes, they are necessary to keep your dog healthy. They might also be replaced by cotton swabs and cotton balls, depending on your preferences. We recommend using a special cleaning liquid, although some owners prefer using a natural chamomile tea instead.

16. Tick control. Depending on the area where you live and walk your pup, tick control might be necessary. Consult your vet about the most effective and least dangerous option for your pup. There are several types to choose from: collars, sprays, chewable tablets, and drops. 

17. Stain and odor remover. If you are lucky, this one won't be too necessary. Although from our experience with a variety of puppies, we recommend you buy a good quality spray, so it will be easier to clean up if an accident happens at home. Sure, if you prefer the homemade option, it's possible to remove stains and odor using a mix of vinegar, water, and baking soda.

This list can go on and on to hundreds of items as the dog owner market grows every day. However, we advise you to wait a little bit until your pup grows up and you'll see what items you need. As for now, buying a crate, a collar with an ID tag, proper toys, dog food, and a bowl for water are the essentials.