There’s nothing more heartwarming than meeting your new furry friend for the first time. After you’ve locked eyes, greeted one another with a sniff and a pat and decided to start your new journey together, your brain starts spinning … there’s just so much you need to do to prepare for your puppy!
Let’s make it easy. Here is the ultimate new puppy checklist:
1. Crate & Playpen
Our first essentials help train your puppy and provide them with a safe exploring space. Your crate should be large enough to accommodate growth—consider buying one that will allow them to stand and turn around when they’re fully grown. We also recommend a playpen with a step-through door so your pet can easily enter and exit. Playpens are essential as they give your pet the space they need to be comfortable while you aren’t available to give them your full attention.
2. Puppy Food
There are so many things that puppies get tail-waggy for, but the clanking of their food bowl and crinkling of food bags are both near the top of that list. For your growing puppy, a raw diet for dogs is great for all stages of life (read more on that here), so here are our top picks for new puppy food:
- Freeze-Dried Grain Free Toppers: Great for introducing your newly adopted puppy to raw food, use our versatile Toppers. Simply sprinkle the Topper onto your pup’s kibble, mix with water or broth to make a pour over gravy or, if you’re ready for a full raw diet, mix with water or broth to make prepare a complete and balanced meal.
- Mini Nibs Freeze-Dried Grain Free Dog Food: Available in beef, chicken, duck, rabbit, salmon and turkey, these mini nibs offer the essential diet your puppy needs in a package that’s easy for you to serve and them to enjoy. Because they’re crunchy, they’re a great choice for pups transitioning from a shelter or potentially kibble-based diet.
- Mini Patties Freeze-Dried Grain Free Dog Food: These soft and juicy patties are easy on puppy teeth and gums and are Better Wetter—just crumble and add water for a super satisfying, moist meal. Mini Patties also come in beef, chicken, duck, rabbit, salmon and turkey.
Watch the video below to learn more about our Grain Free Toppers!
Your puppy’s collar is an essential as it holds a leash and ID tag. We suggest something reflective and wide to provide the utmost security and comfort. And, of course, it should be representative of their personality!
Many trainers suggest that new puppy owners choose a flat lead-style leash for training and walking. Leash laws are present in many cities, so you’ll be following the law in addition to helping your pet learn to walk near you and stay safe.
5. ID Tag
Though we hope it never happens, sometimes puppies wander from their owners. That’s where a detailed ID tag complete with your name, phone number and address comes in very handy. You can order them online or create one at most pet stores.
6. Food & Water Bowls
You’ll need a place to serve your pup their delicious raw food and fresh water, so stock up on a few sets of bowls as well as a feeding mat to keep your floors clean. Look for sturdy, easy-to-clean and non-porous bowls in stainless steel. A platform is a great idea, too, as it will help your puppy eat comfortably without crouching as they grow.
7. Play, Chew and Cuddle Toys
It may take a while to figure out which kind of player your puppy is (Do you have a tugger or a fetcher? Or, has a tough chewer joined your family?) Until then, make sure you have a few toys in the play, chew and cuddle categories. Play toys may have ropes and other dangles, chew toys are typically hearty and tough and cuddle toys are soft and plush. Make sure to supervise your puppy as they play to ensure they don’t swallow parts of their toys.
Treats are essential for many reasons. They help you bond with your dog, provide motivation during training, offer comfort to teething puppies and deliver key nutrients for pups as they grow.
Check out our favorite treats for puppies that are easy on the tummy:
- Beef Nibs Freeze-Dried Treats
- Rabbit Bites Freeze-Dried Treats
- Duck Nibs Freeze-Dried Treats
- VE RAW BAR Freeze-Dried Bully Sticks
- Minnows Freeze-Dried Treats
9. Health Supplies
Don’t forget about these essential first-aid and health care items for your puppy! The ideal kit includes their paperwork, grooming wipes, medications, brush, shampoo and nail clippers. Keep your groomer’s information handy for regular trims and pampering.
10. Cleaning Supplies
As your pup explores your home and yard, you’ll need to have some cleaning supplies on-hand. Stock up on poop bags and an enzymatic cleaner to remove pesky pet stains from carpet and furniture.
Bonus! Your new puppy will likely have lots of appointments, whether it’s vet visits, training classes or playdates at the dog park. Set up a written or digital calendar so you can keep track of everything related to your puppy.
Once you have these pupper essentials in-hand, it’s time to puppy-proof your home and garden for maximum safety as they get to know your home. And, once you’re ready to start serious puppy training, this list of training items will be an essential resource.
Cheers to you and your new furry friend!