New Puppy Checklist: A Practical Guide on What to Buy

Updated February 9, 2021
cute new puppy

Pet parents need a new puppy checklist before your dog joins the family. The puppy shopping list ranges from everyday supplies to practical items pups use each day. For example, one of the essential items is a crate, and there are many different types.

New Puppy Checklist

A checklist keeps pet lovers organized, as the local pet store's puppy section is typically overwhelming. It is important to stick to your budget and what you need to set your pup up for success. Get out your planner and schedule a vet appointment as there are always questions after a shopping trip you want to remember during the first exam.

New Puppy Checklist

If you need help downloading the printable list, check out these helpful tips.


It is best to feed the same brand the breeder fed the pups for the first few months, since an abrupt change may cause stomach upset. If the puppy is from a shelter, you may inquire what kibble the dog ate for his first few months. If you want to switch to a different brand of dog food, a gradual transition is necessary.


There are a wide variety of dog dishes on the market. However, tip-proof stainless steel bowls offer the most durability and value. Puzzle toys are also excellent tools for mealtime.

Leash, Harness, Collar, and Tags

Choose a leash that's about six-feet long for the best training results. There are many rules to follow when you choose gear for your pup.

  • Martingale collars work well
  • Consider a gentle leader or harness for daily walks
  • Every collar or harness needs identification tags
  • An I.D. tag needs the puppy's name and your address and phone number
  • Retractable leashes are dangerous, so stick to a regular leash

Poop Bags

Buy poop bags in bulk and put rolls in every coat pocket and on the kitchen counter for easy access.

Odor and Accident Eliminators

Accidents are inevitable, and every pet parent needs a stain and odor removal spray. Buy a few bottles!

Crate and X-Pen

Crate training is one of the most effective ways to house train your new puppy. A crate protects your furniture, as well as your puppy, while you are away from home. Trainers recommend setting up an exercise pen around the crate, so your puppy is managed in a small area with pee pads.

Washable Dog Bed

Every puppy needs a safe, cozy place to snuggle up. Look for a fully washable bed and crate pad.

Coats and Paw Protection

Cold-weather loving pups may need dog boots, so check your puppy's paws to see if chemicals like salt are used in the neighborhood. Protection from the elements is necessary if a dog's thick, double coat is not yet grown in by the time winter comes around. Consider a nice, fleecy extra layer for your puppy.

Chew Toys

Puppies are natural chewers, and the only way to prevent slippers, shoes, or furniture from being destroyed is to provide different chew toys.

Chocolate Labrador Retriever

Interactive Puzzle Toys

Interactive toys keep puppies busy. Try puzzle toys for your pup for all meals as the food stuff-able toys are the best interactive toys to burn energy.

High-Value Treats

Treats offer a great way to reward positive behavior. The treats also need to be small enough to fit in the puzzle toys for canine enrichment.

Training Pee Pads

Puppy pads are excellent house training aids. Training pads may be essential tools as your pup masters crate training and keeps the mess to a minimum.

Grooming Supplies Checklist

Even a dog with a short coat needs some grooming. Basic supplies help you manage most of your pet's grooming at home, but dogs with more demanding coats may need to visit the groomer occasionally.

Pin Brush

This type of brush comes with individual pins topped with a protective coating, so you do not scratch your dog's skin. Regular brushing removes loose fur, tangles, and any debris stuck in the coat. Always use treats when you first introduce the brush.

Dog Shampoo

An essential shampoo is usually sufficient, but you may need to purchase special shampoo if your pet winds up with fleas. Just make sure the flea shampoo is labeled safe for use on puppies. Talk to your vet about the best course of action and shampoo.

Nail Clippers

Nails need trimming about every two weeks. Scissors-style trimmers generally cut better than guillotine-style trimmers.

Veterinary Care for Pups

Take your puppy to the veterinarian of your choice for a basic health assessment. The vet will give your pup a thorough checkup, including listening to his heart. The vet gives your pet the first set of vaccinations at the initial wellness exam.

Cute puppy at veterinarian

Puppy vaccinations are a series of three shots spaced two to three weeks apart to help the pup develop immunity. Make sure your pet goes back to the clinic for his boosters according to the set schedule. Work with your vet to schedule annual exams and recheck appointments. Also, ask your vet to show you how to use a finger brush and brush your pup's teeth.


The last thing you want is for your puppy to get loose with no identification. Ask your vet about a microchip.

Spay or Neuter

The decision to have a pet spayed or neutered is a personal one. If you decide in favor of the procedure, most vets recommend having it done around six months of age.

Basic Training

A well-behaved dog requires training and patience. It takes socialization and training to help a puppy develop into a well-adjusted and obedient adult dog.

House Training

House training begins the very first day you bring your new puppy home. Be consistent, so your puppy doesn't become confused about what you expect from him.

Socialization at Puppy Kindergarten

Puppy kindergarten classes help socialize pups to accept new people, places, and other pets in stride. This space place is also where puppies learn some basic manners. You can enroll your puppy as soon as he has the first two vaccinations, usually around eight weeks old.

Books and Video Resources

There are many resources for new dog owners, and it is a good idea to invest in a few books. There are lovely videos available to help teach canine enrichment you need to bookmark.

  • Reading dog language is essential when you raise a pup. Try Lili Chin's latest book.
  • Victoria Stillwell is a thought influencer when it comes to training so subscribe to her YouTube channel.
  • When it comes to puppy tips, the master was behaviorist Sophia Yin. Check out one of her books or blogs.

New Puppy Checklist Printable

Printable checklists are helpful for new pet parents. Check off items as you go so you don't forget anything. That first year is going to go quickly, and you don't want to miss anything!

What to Buy for a New Puppy

A puppy is a commitment for life, and hopefully, your new best friend is around for another 15 to 20 years. Puppy essentials may feel like a large investment at first, but socialization, grooming, and crate training create a strong bond with your pup.

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New Puppy Checklist: A Practical Guide on What to Buy