You see that perfect puppy, and you just want to pick her up and bring her home right now. How can you resist? She is just so cute and fuzzy. It is best if you do resist, at least until you can prepare. Part of being a responsible dog owner is making sure you have everything on hand for your puppy when you bring her home. Whether you order online or head to your local pet store, you will be able to gather what is needed in no time.

Food and Water

A food and water bowl that is the right size for your puppy will be essential. They can be made of plastic, ceramic or stainless steel. I have found that the stainless steel ones can be a little loud when the puppy starts playing with them as they often do. Our dog thinks it is fun to kick it around and make a bunch of noise which really does make us laugh.

You will also want a sturdy bin to keep your dog food in. One that the puppy cannot open or chew through as overindulging in their food is not good for the puppy, and they are very good at getting into everything. We found a metal garbage can with a lid that works great. They come in many sizes and protect the food you’re your puppy and any other critters, like insects, that are attracted to food. Make sure you choose puppy food of good quality and the proper size and nutrition for your particular puppy. Ask the person you are getting your puppy from what they have been eating as introducing a new food can upset their tummy. You can check with your veterinarian for food suggestions.

Treats are another important item to have on hand. Again, make sure you are getting the right size and that they are healthy for your puppy. You will want to start training your puppy right away, and positive reinforcement with treats is a great way to get started.

Collars and Training Equipment

A properly fitting collar and leash are essential. There are many, many options, and the American Kennel Club explains the different types of collars, harnesses, and leashes and which ones are best for the breed and size of your puppy.

It is important to add a pet ID tag to your puppy’s collar. Make sure his name and your phone number are easily seen. You can even get collars with trackers, and health monitors called smart collars. Puppies can be little escape artists, so you want to be sure that if they escape, anyone who finds them can get them back home to you, or you can track them yourself.

It is generally recommended that your crate train your puppy. Your puppy has a natural instinct to want a safe, quiet place to go if things get loud or they are tired. It is their refuge like a den. This will also help with housetraining and help keep your puppy safe and out of trouble when you cannot watch them. A puppy roaming the house at night alone can be hard on your furniture and dangerous for them as they can chew or eat something dangerous.  

The Humane Society recommends that the crate has enough room for the puppy to sit down, turn around, and lay down with a little room to spare. Some crates have inserts, so the space inside the crate can grow with your puppy. If the crate is too large, your puppy may use it as a place to go potty. It is important not to leave your puppy in the crate for three hours or more. They will need to go potty, and being in a crate too long can cause anxiety.

You may also want to consider dog gates. Keeping your mischievous puppy corralled in one area will be a comfort to you. It is amazing what they can get into when you turn your head for a minute.

Fun and Comfort

Toys, toys, toys! While toys are for fun, they also have a few more uses. There are snuggly toys that comfort your puppy and chewy toys that will hopefully save your shoes and socks from those puppy teeth. Around four months (depending on breed etc.), your puppy will begin teething, and you will want some good toys for them to sink those new teeth into. You will want to be sure these are safe teething toys so no bits will come off that the puppy can choke on or ingest. There are also puzzle toys that will keep a curious and active puppy busy and stimulate their brains.

Bedding is important for your puppy’s comfort. There are a ton of options. You can purchase a fancy dog bed, or you can put down a nice fluffy blanket. As long as your puppy has somewhere to snuggle in, they will be happy. Just make sure it is easy to wash and dry as puppies do have accidents, and their bedding needs to be clean.

Grooming and Safety

Bath time will certainly bring you some laughs. Puppies have a knack for getting dirty. Some puppies will love the bath while others not so much. It is important to help them feel safe for their bath time.

First, gather everything you need for the bath.

  • Proper puppy shampoo and conditioner that won’t sting their eyes or irritate their skin.
  • A non-skid rubber mat or towel, so your puppy isn’t slip-sliding around in the bath.
  • A towel to thoroughly dry your pup after his bath.
  • A full tub as running water can spook some puppies.
  • A great sense of humor

You will also want to have a dog brush that is appropriate for your dog’s coat and nail clippers to complete your puppy grooming. If you have not trimmed a puppy’s nails before, be sure to ask your veterinarian or a veterinary technician to teach you how to do this. It is a good idea to rub your puppy’s feet often to make them comfortable with that feeling, so they are not afraid when you go to clip their nails. Some breeds are more sensitive about their paws than others, so start right away.

First aid supplies are also important to have on hand. Check out the AKC First Aid Kit sheet. From bandages to tweezers, this list will show you exactly what to have on hand. You can also add your veterinarian’s phone number, emergency clinic number, and the pet poison hotline. Keep a copy of all your puppy’s papers with your kid. You will then have everything at your fingertips in case of an emergency.