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 7 basic items you will need on day one of your life with your new puppy. Some of these items will last for the lifetime of your dog, but some will need to be replaced as your pup grows.
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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.
Although not a necessity, food mats make feeding time easier. A good quality food mat will prevent your dog’s bowls from moving around and keep spills contained. When choosing a food mat pick one with a lip to keep spilled liquids from reaching your floor. There are many different types and sizes of food mats available. We like the American made Van Ness Dinner Mat available at Amazon.com
Tip: Although ceramic bowls are pretty, the ones with fancy rasied decorations 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 few days. 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. To learn more read Crate Training Made Easy
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.
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 Midwest Lifestages 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 stretch.
- Cloth crates are nice but metal crates are easier to clean and sanitize when you are potty training your pup. We suggest getting the highly rated Midwest Lifestages Crate available at Amazon.com
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.
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. 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.
The New Earth® Soy Adjustable Dog Collar is a great collar for a puppy. Made of natural soy fibers, these durable, earth-friendly collars have a soft feel perfect for puppies. Available in seven earth-friendly colors using all natural dyes. The New Earth® Soy Adjustable Dog Collar and the matching lead is available at Amazon.com.
Choosing a Dog Harness
Although I highly recommend using a collar to keep your puppy’s ID and Rabies tags, you may want to consider using a dog harness to walk your puppy. A dog harness has a number of benefits over dog collars:
- A collar can hurt the neck of a puppy that is pulling on the leash
- A harness distrubes the pressure causes by pulling along the chest instead of the neck
- It is much harder for a dog to wiggle their way out of a harness
- A harness will offer better control over a puppy that is pulling on their leash
There are a number of different types of harness on the market. We have a Earth Soy Dog Comfort Wrap Harness. Made from the same materials as the Earth Soy Collar. The soft harness is also a great choice for puppies. The Earth Soy Dog Comfort Wrap Harness can be found at Amazon.com.
Puppy ID Tag
To help find a lost puppy, every dog should have an ID Tag. The Road iD personalized tag which can be found on Amazon.com is jingle free. The low profile reduces the chance of the tag being snagged on a bush or by another dog. Great choice for a puppy that might be distracted by the sound and movement.
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.
It’s important to have a variety of toys available for your puppy to play with. The Rocket & Rex Puppy Chew Toys 6 pack is a great start to your puppy’s toy collection. These durable dog chew toys are made from natural rubber and cotton. Just remember no toy is indestructible. Puppies should be supervised when playing with any toys to prevent injury. The Rocket & Rex Puppy Chew Toys 6 pack can be found at Amazon.com
For more tips on caring for your new puppy, check out my other posts: