New Puppy Essentials Checklist - Everything to get you through the first Night, Week and Month
Congratulations on becoming a new fur Mama/Papa! Getting your first dog is a big deal (for both you and your new puppy) and it's just like bringing a new baby home, except this one has four paws and can get themselves stuck in small spaces... great!
Assuming that you've been planning this for a little while and have already 'puppy-proofed' your home (covered up all those small spaces that they can get stuck in or escape from, removed any toxic plants and secured all electrical wires away from sharp puppy teeth), now you'll need to stock up on the essentials to give your new furbaby a safe, comfortable and healthy welcome to their new forever home.
Personally, we think some puppy essentials checklists you'll find on the internet go a little OTT on extensive (and expensive) lists, so we've narrowed it down to everything we think is essential to get you through those first few milestones with your new baby.
FOR THE FIRST NIGHT
Essential: A Calming Bed
Your puppy has just been removed from their fur-mama and all their siblings and been introduced to an entirely new family (that's you!) in a brand new environment (that's your house) with a new routine to get used to... all in the space of a day. You'd be a little overwhelmed too if that was you! To make their puppy naps and that first night as comfortable as possible, you need a good quality Calming Bed. Calming beds with good quality faux fur are a familiar feeling for your puppy, simulating the same feeling as snuggling up to their siblings and helping to reduce any first-night anxiety.
Your Choice: A Crate
It's your decision whether you'd like to crate train your puppy or not, but we are big advocates for crate training which can start right from the first night they're at home with you. Read this for our top tips on why crate training is good and how to do it with your furbaby.
Essential: Food and Water Bowls
You want your new puppy to be rating their new accommodation 5-stars as soon as possible, so make sure they have access to water at all times and their food bowl should be close by. We recommend food-safe, non-toxic ceramic dog bowls as these are heavier than stainless steel bowls and can't be moved around the floor as easily as your puppy eats.
To make the transition as easy as possible, we recommend stocking up on the same food that your puppy's breeder has been feeding. Introducing a brand new food on the first night will be a shock to your puppy and their digestive system, likely causing an upset tummy and a sad puppy. No matter what diet you choose to feed in the long run, you can transition to that slowly after your puppy has adjusted to their new life with you first.
Your Choice: Toys
Your puppy will likely spend their first day exploring their surroundings and taking puppy naps so won't have much time for anything else, but a few toys (one for snuggling, one for playing) will help to make them think this new life is a pretty fun one and they might just like it here! Our choice is for these non-toxic toys made with organic cotton and natural dyes.
Essential: Collar, Lead, Harness
It might seem too early to need all the accessories for walking, but it's essential that you have these on hand for car travel or transporting your puppy from the breeder. We also recommend to new puppy parents to get them used to putting on and taking off their new harness so that they're ready to wear them on their walks after they've received all their vaccinations. Choose a comfy, secure, step-in harness without mesh inside that can cause irritation on sensitive puppy skin. The step-in style means you are not squishing a harness over their head or ears which can put too much pressure on growing puppy bones and their oesophagus. Choose a collar that comes with an attached ID Tag that can be engraved with your details in case of any puppy escapes.
Essential: Puppy Pads
Puppies are still learning the rules of toilet training when they arrive to you and will likely have a few accidents inside. Having some puppy pads on hand to lay on the floor in their designated puppy area will catch any accidents before they ruin your floors.
FOR THE FIRST WEEK
The first 6 weeks are the best time for your puppy to learn new skills, so make sure you have some small, bite-sized training treats on hand to reward them when they learn new things. We recommend air dried or dehydrated, natural, no-salt-added treats as you will be giving your puppy a lot of rewards and don't want to be filling them with 'junk food'.
Essential: Grooming Products
It's very important that your puppy starts getting used to being bathed and brushed to look after their fur and skin. Use a natural shampoo and conditioner for their first bath, followed by a brush to remove any knots or matted fur. If your puppy is particularly curly, you will need to be brushing your puppy every second day to ensure their curls don't get stuck together, causing painful matts.
Your Choice: Teething toys
Just like human babies, fur-babies are teething and need lots of different textures to sink their teeth into. We love these crochet toys which help to keep their teeth clean as their teeth sink into the crochet holes. Mix these up with some rubber toys or stronger balls.
Essential: Stain Remover
Let's be frank. Your puppy will wee on your carpet, or your favourite throw rug, or your partner's football uniform and you will need a stain remover FAST. Never scold your puppy for their mistake while they are still learning, just take it as a sign that you need to practice more toilet training in the right place and make sure you have a good stain remover spray on hand to get the stain and smell out of your favourite things.
Your Choice: Pooper Scooper
Depending on your setup and where you are training your puppy to do their business, you may need a pooper scooper to collect all the Number 2's from your garden before you step on them. You could also use gloves, but our preference is for a pooper scooper to deposit straight into the outside bin.
FOR THE FIRST MONTH
Your Choice: Recall Lead
Another of the 'good to have' things on hand during your puppy training is a long lead, also known as a recall lead or even a horse lead. These leads can be anywhere from 15m - 40m length and are used to teach your puppy to come back to you when called. Simply attach them to the long lead, let them move as far away from you as you want, then use your 'come back' command and pull on the lead to make sure they come back. Then reward them with your training treats. Do this over and over and over and you will hopefully end up with a dog who listens to you when called and comes straight back to you!
Esssential: Poop Bags and Poop Bag Holder
Now that you're out walking with your puppy, did you know that it is illegal in most states to walk your dog without adequate means of picking up after them? Yep! If the police choose to pull you over whilst walking your dog and you are not properly equipped with a poop bag, you may receive a fine. So make sure you have some good quality, biodegradable poop bags on hand to collect the doo doo's, but also a stylish poop bag holder that matches your style and hides the fact you're just a giant walking dog poop collector!
Essential: Car Seatbelt
Another one that you might not have known is that it's illegal in many states to travel with your dog in the car without having them properly restrained. Our pick is a Car Headrest Restraint that clips onto their harness for car travel, allowing them to move around the car without being totally loose, and also leaves all those car seat buckles free for humans.
Your Choice: Dog Groomer
If your puppy is a longer haired breed or has curly fur, they will eventually need a groomer, however the first month home is a great time to book in for a 'puppy groom'. A puppy groom doesn't do much other than help your puppy to familiarise themselves with the groomer and all the utensils they will use on them in future (like scissors near their eyes, nail clippers, being on the grooming table). Anything that makes your puppy a happy dog in the future is a yes from us!
Anything we've missed? Did you get value from this checklist? Let us know in the comments below!