New Puppy Checklist: 39 Must-Have Items for Your Pet

cute brown and white puppy lying on its back, looking up at camera

Meraki Dogs blog may earn a small commission when you buy through links on this site at no cost to you. See my disclaimer here.

Bringing a new puppy home?


Adding a new furry member to your family is always an exciting time.

However, many responsibilities await you as a new puppy parent amidst the cuddles and playtime.

The initial weeks can be a whirlwind, from selecting the perfect puppy supplies to scheduling those first vet visits. You’ll need to prepare for a smooth transition.

Wouldn’t having a guide that simplifies this for you would be great?

Look no further.

Based on my experience as a puppy raiser and professional dog trainer, I’ve crafted this ultimate New Puppy Checklist containing everything your puppy will need.

Dive in and ensure you’re well-prepared for this adventure with your new best friend!

New Puppy Checklist: Everything You Need

This new puppy checklist will ensure you have everything you need before you welcome your new puppy home. 

New puppy checklist with all the essentials listed

Puppy Food and Storage

Puppy Food

Many breeders and rescues provide initial food recommendations and often supply a starter pack for your new pup. However, as a new puppy owner, it’s essential to ensure the food meets specific criteria: high protein content, no artificial additives, and ingredients suited for puppy growth. If you’re considering a different diet, ensure it aligns with these standards. 

bag of wellness complete health puppy food

Wellness Puppy Food

Dog Food Storage Container

Storing your puppy’s food safely is paramount. I recommend BPA-free containers, which ensure the food remains uncontaminated. A tight seal is essential for freshness and to keep pests out. 

clear dog food storage bin with wheels

IRIS Airtight Container

Food and Water Bowl

The suitable bowl ensures a pleasant eating and drinking experience for your puppy. Material and size matter, with stainless steel being a durable choice. 

two stainless steel nonslip dog bowls

Peggy11 Stainless Steel Nonslip Bowls

Essential Puppy Home Management

Dog Crate

Selecting the right crate is pivotal for your puppy’s comfort and training. The ideal crate size allows your puppy to stand, turn, and lie down without feeling cramped. Avoid oversized crates; they might tempt your pup to designate a corner for potty, hindering house training.

Proper crate training ensures safety and provides a personal space for your puppy, making them feel secure. Additionally, crates with easy-to-clean materials and adequate ventilation are a plus. Remember, a well-chosen crate paired with consistent training can be a sanctuary for your puppy.

australian shepherd puppy lying down comfortably in Diggs dog crate

Diggs Dog Crate

Exercise Pen / Playpen

Puppies, much like toddlers, are bundles of energy and curiosity. An exercise pen or playpen provides a safe space for them to play and explore, especially when you can’t supervise them directly. These pens are designed to offer ample space for movement while ensuring they’re contained.

Opt for playpens with sturdy materials, easy-to-clean surfaces, and adequate height to prevent escape attempts. When setting up your puppy’s playpen, be sure to avoid using puppy pads as your puppy may be inclined to start pottying indoors and develop an indoor potty habit.

one dog sitting inside living room dog playpen and the other leaves playpen through dog door

North States MyPet Play Yard

Puppy Gates

Certain areas in your home, like the kitchen or office, might be off-limits for your playful pup. Baby gates are a lifesaver in such scenarios. They act as barriers, ensuring your puppy stays safe and doesn’t wander into potentially hazardous zones. When choosing a baby gate, consider its height, the spacing between bars, and its ease of installation. 

golden retriever dog jumping on white baby gate

Cumbor Pet Gate

Puppy Cam

Peace of mind is invaluable, especially when you’re away from your furry friend. A puppy cam allows you to monitor your pup’s activities, ensuring they’re safe and not getting into mischief. Modern puppy cams often have features like two-way audio, night vision, and even treat dispensers. 

furbo tossing treat, corgi dog displayed on phone

Furbo Dog Camera

Puppy Bed

A comfortable bed is a haven for your puppy. It’s where they’ll retreat after a day full of adventures. When choosing a bed, consider factors like size, material, and whether it’s machine washable. A bed slightly larger than your puppy allows them to stretch out comfortably. Additionally, having a few soft blankets can provide added warmth and comfort. 

frenchie lying in fluffy dark blue-grey dog bed

Round Calming Puppy Bed

Puppy Training and Outdoor Adventures

Dog Training Treats

Training treats play a pivotal role in your puppy’s training regimen. While a diverse range of treats keeps your puppy engaged, it’s essential to have soft and chewy treats on hand, especially when training in environments with numerous distractions. These treats are often more enticing and can grab your pup’s attention quickly. It’s also worth noting that treats should be small to avoid overfeeding, and always ensure they don’t contain harmful additives. 

bag of dog treat brand, fruitables

Fruitables Dog Treats

Treat Pouch

A treat pouch is an indispensable tool for trainers. It keeps treats accessible, allowing for timely rewards. When selecting a pouch, consider its capacity, ease of opening, and whether it has compartments for different types of treats. A pouch that can be easily attached to your belt or waistband ensures you have hands-free access during training. 

gray paw lifestyles dog treat pouch

Paw Lifestyles Treat Pouch

Adjustable Collar

An adjustable collar is essential for your growing puppy. As they grow, you’ll need a collar that can adapt to their increasing size while ensuring comfort. The collar should be snug but not too tight, allowing two fingers to fit between the collar and your pup’s neck. Additionally, a reflective or brightly colored collar can increase visibility during evening walks.

close up of joytale teal dog collar and assorted colors collars below that

Joytale Reflective Dog Collar

Name ID Tag

A name ID tag is more than just an accessory; it’s a safety measure. If your puppy gets lost, this tag can be instrumental in reuniting you two. Ensure the tag is made of durable material, resistant to wear and tear, and the engraved details remain legible over time. Some tags even offer QR codes that link to a digital profile with more detailed information about your pup.

close up of custom dog tags on the collar

Slide-On Custom Pet Tags

Training Harness

When it comes to harnesses, it’s vital to prioritize your puppy’s safety and comfort. No-pull harnesses, although popular, can pull sideways and potentially harm a puppy’s developing gait. Instead, opt for Y-shaped harnesses. They distribute pressure more evenly and don’t interfere with your puppy’s natural movement. When selecting a harness, ensure it’s adjustable, easy to put on, and made of soft yet durable material.

white frenchie wearing plaid-tan harness

PupTeck Soft Puppy Harness


A microchip is a small investment with significant returns, especially if your pup goes missing. This tiny device, implanted under the skin, stores vital information that can help identify your dog and reunite them with you. While many breeders and rescues already microchip their dogs, if your puppy isn’t chipped, it’s a straightforward procedure that can be done during a vet visit.

6 Foot Leash

A 6-foot leash strikes the perfect balance between control and freedom. It’s long enough to let your puppy explore during walks but short enough to ensure you can quickly reign them in when needed. When selecting a leash, consider its material. Nylon leashes are durable and weather-resistant, while leather leashes, though pricier, offer a comfortable grip and age gracefully. A leash with a reflective strip is also beneficial for nighttime walks. 

black 6 foot leash bundled up

MayPaw Rope Dog Leash

15 Foot Long Line

Training your puppy, especially in the recall, requires a different kind of leash: the long line. Typically 15 feet long, it allows your pup to wander further while still under control. It’s instrumental in open spaces where your puppy can practice coming back to you without the risk of running off. Ensure the long line is lightweight, so it doesn’t hinder your pup’s movement, but sturdy enough to withstand tugs. As you progress in training, consider longer lines. 

black biothane long line leash wrapped up

Viper Biothane Long Line

Poop Bags and Holder

Being a responsible dog owner means cleaning up after your pup. Always have poop bags on hand during walks. Opt for biodegradable bags, which are better for the environment. A holder can be attached to your leash, ensuring you’re never caught without a bag. It’s a small step that speaks volumes about your commitment to keeping public spaces clean. 

close up of eco friendly biodegradable green dog poop bags

Biodegradable Dog Poop Bags

Puppy Essentials Toys and Chews

Puppy Chew Toys

Chew toys are a must-have for every new teething puppy. They relieve teething discomfort and divert the puppy’s attention from chewing on household items.

When selecting chew toys, ensure they’re made of non-toxic, durable materials that can withstand rigorous chewing. It’s also beneficial to have toys of different textures and shapes to keep your pup engaged. Some chew toys even have grooves that help clean your puppy’s teeth, promoting dental health.

close up of blue puppy kong

Kong Puppy Toy

Enrichment Puppy Toys

Mental stimulation is just as crucial as physical exercise for puppies. Enrichment toys, often interactive, challenge your puppy’s mind, keeping them engaged for extended periods. Puzzle toys, treat-dispensing toys, and toys that make intriguing sounds can be particularly captivating. These toys provide entertainment and enhance your pup’s problem-solving skills.

dog sniffing brown and green snuffle mat, resembling grass

Pet Snuffle Mat

Exercise Toys

Building a bond with your new puppy is essential – and exercise toys often facilitate such a bond. Toys like tug ropes, fetch balls, and frisbees encourage interactive play between you and your pup. These toys help expel your puppy’s energy and teach them essential commands like “drop it” or “fetch.” Always ensure these toys are of appropriate size and material for your puppy’s breed and age.

close up of blue and orange chuck it soft frisbee

ChuckIt! Paraflight Soft Frisbee

Calming Toy

Calming toys are designed to soothe and comfort your puppy, especially during stressful situations like thunderstorms or when left alone. These toys often come with features like the ability to emit a heartbeat sound or can be warmed to mimic the comfort of another being. They’re beneficial for puppies adjusting to a new home environment.

close up of snuggle puppy plush dog toy

Snuggle Puppy Heartbeat Toy

Soft Puppy Plush Toy

Every puppy loves a soft plush toy to cuddle with. These toys often become a puppy’s favorite, providing comfort during naps. However, ensure the plush toy is durable and doesn’t have small parts that can be easily chewed off and ingested. Regularly inspect plush toys for signs of wear and replace them if they fall apart.

close up of outward hound hedgehog dog toy

Outward Hound Hedgehog Plush Toy

Grooming Supplies

Puppy Shampoo and Conditioner

Bathing your puppy is an essential part of their grooming routine. While they don’t need frequent baths, it’s crucial to use products specifically designed for puppies when they do. Puppy shampoos are milder, ensuring their sensitive skin isn’t irritated. Additionally, a good conditioner can help detangle fur and leave it soft and shiny. Always opt for products free from harsh chemicals and artificial fragrances. 

close up of tropiclean puppy shampoo

TropiClean Hypoallergenic Puppy Shampoo

TropiClean Pet Conditioner

close up of tropiclean conditioner bottle


Regular brushing keeps your puppy’s coat looking pristine and helps manage shedding and maintain skin health. The brush you need largely depends on your puppy’s coat type. For short-haired breeds, a bristle brush works well. A slicker brush or pin brush might be more suitable for long-haired breeds. Remember, your puppy’s coat will change as they grow, so be prepared to adjust your grooming tools accordingly.

Nail Clippers

Trimming your puppy’s nails is vital for their comfort and health. Overgrown nails can cause pain and even lead to posture issues. When selecting nail clippers, ensure they’re sharp and of appropriate size for your puppy. Some clippers come with safety guards to prevent over-trimming. 

close up of pink and white puppy nail clippers

WePet Puppy Nail Clippers

Puppy Cleaning Wipes

For those in between bath times or after outdoor adventures, cleaning wipes are a lifesaver. They help remove dirt, pollen, and other allergens from your puppy’s fur. Opt for hypoallergenic and fragrance-free wipes to ensure they’re gentle on your pup’s skin.

close up of hypoallergenic puppy wipes

Pogi’s Pet Wipes

Toothbrush and Toothpaste

Dental health is paramount, even from a young age. Starting early with brushing can prevent dental issues down the line. Use a toothbrush designed for puppies, and always opt for dog-specific toothpaste (human toothpaste can be toxic for dogs). Regular brushing not only keeps their teeth clean but also freshens their breath.

close up of toothbrush and toothpaste from Vet's best

Vet’s Best Toothbrush & Toothpaste

Dog Dental Chews

Dog dental chews are essential for maintaining your puppy’s oral health, helping to reduce plaque and tartar buildup. When choosing these chews, consider the size and hardness appropriate for your puppy’s breed and chewing ability. While beneficial, remember that dental chews should complement, not replace, regular dental care routines like brushing and vet check-ups.

close up of Greenies best dog dental chews

Greenies Dental Treats

Nail Grinder

For those who prefer an alternative to traditional clippers, nail grinders are an option. They work by gradually grinding down the nail, which can be less stressful for some puppies. Introducing a grinder slowly to your pup, ensuring they’re comfortable with the sound and sensation.

close up of dremel nail grinder and accessories

Dremel PawControl Nail Grinder

Ear Wipes

Puppy ears can be a magnet for dirt, wax, and debris. Regular cleaning is essential to prevent infections and maintain overall ear health. Ear wipes are a convenient solution for this. These pre-moistened wipes are designed to gently clean the ear’s delicate area without irritating it. When selecting ear wipes, look for ones that are alcohol-free, hypoallergenic, and contain natural ingredients like aloe vera or witch hazel. 

close up of Pet MD ear wipes

Pet MD Ear Wipes

Cleaning Supplies

Pooper Scooper

Maintaining a clean yard is aesthetically pleasing and essential for your puppy’s health. A pooper scooper is a tool designed to pick up dog waste effortlessly, ensuring you don’t have to bend down repeatedly, which can be a strain on the back. When selecting a scooper, consider its durability, the length of the handle, and whether it has a one-handed operation feature. Some models even come with spade sets for easier cleanup on grassy areas. 

close up of pooper scooper with rake

Pawler Heavy Duty Pooper Scooper

Stain and Odor Remover

Puppies are bound to have accidents, especially during the early stages of potty training. A good stain and odor remover is essential to ensure these accidents don’t leave lasting marks or smells. Look for enzyme-based removers, which break down the organic matter in pet stains, effectively eliminating odors. It’s also beneficial if the product is safe for carpets and upholstery. 

close up of stain and odor remover

Rocco & Roxie Stain & Odor Eliminator


You’ll deal with more than just the usual dirt with a puppy around. There’s pet hair, dander, and the occasional spilled kibble. A good vacuum, preferably one designed to handle pet hair, becomes indispensable.

Consider features like strong suction, a HEPA filter to trap allergens, and attachments designed for upholstery and tight spaces to reach those pesky new dog dust bunnies. Cordless vacuums offer flexibility, while robots can be scheduled to clean even when you’re not home. 

bissell vacuum cleaner

BISSELL 2252 CleanView 

Puppy Services


Choosing the right veterinarian is one of the first and most crucial decisions you’ll make for your puppy’s well-being. A veterinarian will guide you through vaccinations, regular health check-ups, nutritional advice, and any health concerns that may arise.

It’s essential to find a vet who is knowledgeable and has a good rapport with animals. Consider factors like the clinic’s proximity to your home, the availability of emergency services, and reviews from other pet owners. Regular vet visits ensure your puppy grows into a healthy, happy adult dog.

A Dog Trainer

Training is foundational to a well-behaved and well-adjusted dog. Early on, engaging a professional dog trainer will give your puppy foundational obedience, socialization, and a head-start on manners.

It’s essential to understand that puppy training is about laying the groundwork. Just as you wouldn’t expect advanced academic knowledge from a kindergartener, it’s unrealistic to expect a puppy to master advanced commands immediately.

The goal is to set the stage and help your puppy learn and grow. There are many options for foundational training, from puppy board and train programs to day training and private lessons.

new puppy essentials bundle ebook and worksheets for potty training, socialization and training

Raise a Happy, Healthy Puppy!

Unlock the secrets to puppy care with our New Puppy Essentials Bundle. Everything you need in one place!

Pet Insurance

Unexpected health issues or accidents can lead to hefty veterinary bills. Pet insurance is a safety net, covering a significant portion of these costs. Many policies cover both routine check-ups and unforeseen emergencies. Consider the coverage extent, deductibles, and breed-specific exclusions when selecting insurance. Some top-rated pet insurance providers include:

Dog Groomer

Regular grooming is not just about keeping your puppy looking good; it’s also about their health and comfort. You can groom your puppy at home if you have a low-maintenance breed. However, a groomer is essential if you have a puppy with a coat that needs regular maintenance.

A professional dog groomer will trim nails, clean ears, bathe, and style your puppy’s fur, ensuring they’re free from mats and tangles. When choosing a groomer, look for one with experience, especially with puppies, and always check reviews or ask for recommendations.

Pet Sitter

There might be times when you need to leave your puppy for an extended period. A pet sitter provides care in your absence, ensuring your pup’s routine remains uninterrupted. When selecting a sitter, ensure they’re experienced and have positive reviews, and conduct a meet-and-greet to see how they interact with your puppy.

Dog Walker

Daily walks are essential for your puppy’s physical and mental well-being. A dog walker can step in if your schedule doesn’t allow for regular walks. They provide exercise and an opportunity for your puppy to socialize and explore new environments. When hiring a dog walker, ensure they’re experienced, reliable, and come with positive references.

Dog Daycare

Dog daycares have become increasingly popular as a solution for pet owners away from home during the day. These facilities offer a safe and stimulating environment where dogs can play, socialize, and receive care when their owners can’t be with them.

Frequently Asked Questions

For the initial nights, your puppy should sleep in a crate. This provides a safe, cozy space and helps prevent unwanted behaviors like accidents or chewing. As they mature and demonstrate responsible behavior, let them sleep outside the crate.

It’s natural for puppies to vocalize their discomfort or loneliness, especially during their first nights in a new environment. While it’s okay to let them cry briefly, persistent crying might indicate a need for a bathroom break or discomfort.

Consistency is vital for puppies. Establish a routine that includes scheduled potty breaks, crate naps, training sessions, playtimes, and relaxation in their playpen. Pay attention to their natural rhythms, like when they’re most active or sleepy, and adjust the routine accordingly.

Bottom Line

Preparing for a new puppy involves more than just gathering supplies; it’s about creating a nurturing environment and establishing routines. Being proactive and informed sets the stage for a happy, healthy relationship with your new furry friend. With the insights provided, you’re on the path to becoming an exemplary pet parent.

Similar Posts