So, you have decided that you were ready for a puppy. At this point you may have chosen the perfect puppy to call your own. Now it is time to get ready to bring him home. You know that a new puppy needs stuff. But exactly what do you need for your new pup?
Below we will review the basic supplies that you will need to have before bringing home for your new pup. Along with this we will offer suggestions of products that we have researched and tested with our own pup. However not all puppies are the same or have the same needs. Because of this we included tips on how to decide what is best for your puppy.
What You Need for Your New Puppy
There are 6 basic items you will need on day one of your life with your new puppy. Some of these items will last you the lifetime of your dog, but some will need to be replaced as your pup grows.
1. Food And Water Bowls
These items fall into the need to be replaced as they grow category. When your puppy is small they will eat less food then a full grown dog. They will also be too small to eat from a large bowl. If you try to feed your 10 pound Berniedoodle pup with a bowl that he can use when he is a 120 pounds adult dog it will be impossible for him to reach the food.
The Early Stages
When your puppy is still small you will need to have bowls that are also small so they can get the food out. For our little 6 pound, 2 month old Bella we used bowls we had from when the kids were younger. This worked great for her and us. They were small enough for her to get her little nose down to the bottom of the bowl and they are dishwasher safe. If you don’t have small bowls lying around, I recommend getting stainless steel bowls with a rubber ring to help prevent the bowls from moving. Just check to make sure they can easily reach the bottom of the bowl.
Once she was older we moved to stainless steel angled bowls again with rubber bottoms to prevent the bowls from moving. They work great for pups with long ears or long hair. The smaller opening and angled sides help prevent their ears from going into the bowl. A must if you have a long haired dog and don’t want your their ears a matted mess.
Tip: Stay away from ceramic bowls with fancy rasied decorations. They are harder to clean.
2. High Quality Puppy Food
It’s important to feed your pup a high quality dog food from the beginning. Just like with humans, what they consume makes a big difference in how healthy they will be as they grow. Since changes in dog food can upset your puppy’s stomach you should feed them the same food as the breeder or shelter gave them before they came to live with you. If you want to change the food do so by mixing the new food with the old food for a while. Each day increase the amount of new food while decreasing the amount of old food until they are eating mostly all new food.
3. A Place To Sleep
Where your puppy sleeps is a personal preference. We prefer that our pup sleeps in her own bed inside her crate. Some people might want to have their pups closer to them. The most important thing for you to do, is to make sure they are safe when you are not watching them.
Based on my experiences (which you can read about in Deciding To Crate Train). I strongly recommend that you train your pup to sleep in their crate for their own safety.
Crates are one of those items you don’t need to replace as they grow up.
In our case we used the same crate we originally purchased for our Springer Spaniel Molly 19 years ago. It is a large 27″ x 36″ collapsible crate with a black coating and the opening on the short end. It also has a smooth solid tray on the bottom to protect her from the grating.
Tip: Keep the crate in area need where the family is but in a corner. This will help your pup feel connected with the family even when it is nap time.
We keep our crate in the living room with the door propped open so Bella can go in and out of it as she pleases during the day when we are home. She has become so used to it that she goes in it at night all on her own.
Crate training has many advantages. It provides a quiet place for your pup to retreat to when they are scared, tired or over stimulated. It keeps your puppy safe and out of trouble when you can’t keep an eye on them. Learn more at Crate Training Made Easy
How to select a crate
As you are deciding which crate to purchase, think about the size your pup will be when they are full grown.
- The general guideline is that crates should be at least 4 inches higher and longer then what your pup is expected to become.
- If your pup is full grown measure their length from their nose to their tail and add 4 inches to get the minimum length of the crate you need then measure from the floor to the top of their head while they are sitting and add four inches to determine the minimumheight needed.
- If you have a small pup that is expected to turn into an extra large dog consider purchasing a crate with a divider panel so you can reduce the size of the crate while they are potty training.
- It is better to get a crate that is too big then one that is too small. Our crate is much bigger then our small pup but it gives her space to move around and strech out
- Cloth crates are nice but metal crates are easier to clean and sanitize when you are potty training your pup.
Still not sure which size to get. Go to Midwest Home for Pets and select a breed or size to get a recommendation on which size to get.
When puppies are young and potty training you are better off using blankets or towels in the crates as bedding. That way if they have an accident, it is easy to switch out and clean up.
When they get older I recommend going with a bed that fits in their crate and has a washable cover. You can see our Bella here in her 27” x 36” crate with a large shredded natural latex core pillow bed with a washable organic cotton flannel cover.
Read The Best Bed For Your Dog to get tips on how to choose a bed for your pup.
5. Safety Gates And Other Stuff
Just like baby’s, puppies are born with an inherent desire to explore their surroundings. This can lead them to get into a lot of trouble. Puppies should never be left alone unless they are secured in a baby proof place.
To puppy proof your home you will need gates to limit where they can roam and you need to carefully inspect every inch of that space for hazards like electrical cords and poisonous plants.
Tip: Read Puppy Proofing Your Home – 10 Silent Dangers to get tips on what you need to look for.
6. Collar And Leash
When you first bring your puppy home you will need a collar and leash. If you have a large breed pup you will most likely need to replace these items before they grow up. A simple collar and 6 foot leash is all you need to begin training your pup to walk on a leash and to start potty train. If you go longer than a 6’ leash you may find that the puppy will get tangled in it.
Determining the right size collar
It important to have the right sized collar for your pup. To small and it will be uncomfortable. Too big and they can slip out of it, possibly running off. Follow these next steps to determine the correct sized collar.
- Using a flexible measuring tape, measure around your pup’s neck. The measuring tape should be snug against their skin but not tight. You can also use a piece of string or ribbon and then measure the length by using a ruler.
- Next add two inches to the length. This should allow enough room to be comfortable for your pup without them being able to slip out of their collar.
- Once you get the collar, you need to try it on your pup. See if you can slip two fingers under the collar. With the width of your two fingers between the collar and neck, the collar should feel snug, but not tight.
- Now check to see if you can slide your pup’s collar off his head. Unless it is a coke chain you should not be able to slide the collar off. If you can, so can your pup.
Other considerations when selecting a collar:
- The width of your dog’s collar is just as important as the length. A collar that is too wide may rub and cause discomfort. While a collar that is too narrow may cause too much pressure on one area of your pups neck. Especailly when they are on a leash. Typically the width of a collar is determined by the length, but this might not always be the case. Watch your pup. If they continue trying to get the collar off it could be because it is uncomfortable.
- Lastly check the fit of the collar at least once a month. More if they are growing quickly. Continue to do monthly checks until your pup is fully grown to make sure it fits properly. Even after that you should check the collar periodically to ensure it is not worn or damaged and still fits correctly.
Although you don’t need a lot of puppy toys, having a few toys for your puppy to play with is very helpful. Toys can be used as training aids. They can be used to tire your puppy. Puppy chew toys are a great way to deal with puppy teething pain. Playing with your puppy and their toys is also a good way to bond with your puppy.
When selecting a toy for your puppy, look for one that is soft and flexible. Hard toys can hurt your puppy’s gums and possibly damage new teeth. Also make sure the toy is not too small for your puppy. Small toys can be a choking hazard.
Toys that roll or bounce tend to entice your puppy to play. When our pup was a puppy her favorite toy was a soft chicken that she could chew and tugged on. It had different textures and sounds all in one toy so it also helped with her socialization training.
For more tips on caring for your new puppy, check out my other posts: