What Do You Need for a New Puppy?

Getting a puppy is a big commitment, but it’s also full of excitement and preparation.

However, there’s a lot of misconception about the things you should get when you bring home a new pet, and this is usually the part where most people tend to splurge.

But in fact:

If I learned anything from having a puppy is that while being prepared have a lot of benefits, some items can be skipped or put off until you actually need them.

Moreover, the best products to start with are those that will make the switch from the litter to your home as easy as possible.

In this post, I’ll answer a question that many first-time owners wonder about and tell you what do you need for a new puppy?

I’ll also mention the non-essential goodies, and what you should cross out from your list.

What Would I Skip Today?

1. Bitter Spray

Puppies, especially in their teething stage, can be quite the chewers and bitter spray should discourage your puppy from biting away your furniture. However, in reality, this doesn’t tend to work as expected as some dogs get used to the bitter taste or they just enjoy the act.

Chewing is a natural way for puppies to explore the world. On the other hand, destructive chewing is a behavioral problem caused by either lack of exercise, anxiety or boredom and can last past the teething stage. Also, some breeds are more prone to chewing than others.

That being said, the best way to deal with this issue is to give your puppy a proper chew toy which will satisfy his chewing needs and also keep him distracted for a while.

2. Grooming Wipes

There’s no need to get special pet wipes. You can find many cheap baby wipes that are fragrance-free and hypoallergenic as well and can wipe dirty paws as effectively.

Save your money for more essential items.

3. Nail Clippers

I haven’t used my dog’s nail clippers more than once or twice.

Dogs nails actually contain blood vessels and nerves, so you have to be very careful not to cut them too short, I prefer to leave this task to a professional groomer or my local vet.

4. Waste Bags

You should pick up after your puppy, no question there. But do you really need a special waste bag? Unless you’re going on camping, probably not.

In most cases, a cheaper produce bag will do the same job. Also, you can find plenty of dog waste station in city parks throughout the United States.

5. Squeaky Toys

Most (not all) squeaky toys for dogs aren’t durable enough for aggressive chewers. A puppy who can get to the small squeaker inside the toy can easily swallow it and may choke.

Get a sturdy chew toy instead.

6. Retractable Leash

There are some reasons why you shouldn’t use a retractable leash, but the main problem is the lack of control you have on your puppy using a 16ft dog leash.

Additionally, these extendable leashes teach puppies how to pull on walks, which is a bad habit.

7. Treat Pouch

No matter how I wear it, I look ridiculous with a treat pouch (to tell the truth, I don’t even find it comfortable).

Alternatively, grab a few treats and put it in a little pill box.

What Do You Need For A New Puppy (Really)?

1. Chew Toys

Why it’s important

Every puppy needs something to play with to relieve boredom and anxiety, keep him occupied while you’re out, and avoid chewing other things such as your furniture.

Puppies will benefit most from a chew toy since it can sooth hurting gums caused by teething, but bear in mind that it needs to be indestructible by your puppy and should fit his size to prevent suffocation.

What should you get

I find the KONG Puppy very durable and safe, even for strong chewers, but what I like most about this toy is that you can fill it with puppy food, treats, and even peanut butter.

This is one of the best ways to keep your puppy busy for a long time and also to manage his excess energy in a healthy way.

2. Dental Care Products

Why it’s important

A good dental routine isn’t just for keeping your puppy’s bad breath at bay. Dental issues can eventually lead to damage to the heart and cause infection in the blood.

That being said, more than 80% of dogs over the age of three have some dental problems so make sure to watch out for yours.

What should you get

Obviously, you should have a dog toothbrush and toothpaste (preferably enzymatic), but you can also use a dental water additive and one dental treat a day to cover all the bases.

Dental treats are usually intended for consumption by adult dogs, but there are also ones for puppies.

3. Dog Bed

Why it’s important

In my opinion, getting a dog bed is one of the most basic things for a small puppy.

The reason is puppies tend to nap a lot, and a comfy bed is a key to quality and long sleep, even while you’re away from home.

What should you get

Orthopedic beds are best but look for one that has a water-resistant bottom to avoid potty accidents from reaching your floors and make sure the product is also machine washable.

4. Flea Treatment

Why it’s important

No one likes their dog to spread fleas inside their house, these insects can irritate your puppy’s skin and may lead to tapeworms if swallowed.

Ticks and mosquitos aren’t a treat either since these can transmit diseases, such as Lyme disease.

While you should use flea treatment all year long, be aware that during the summer, your puppy can catch fleas very easily and you’ll have to be consistent with the treatment.

What should you get

Personally, I’m satisfied with K9 Advantix, and unlike some treatments, this one spreads throughout the skin, glands and hair follicles instead of entering the bloodstream.

5. Food & Water Bowls

Why it’s important

Your puppy should have his own food and water dishes. After all, you don’t want Fido to think that eating from your plate is allowed.

What should you get

You don’t really need a fancy set, a slow feeder bowl, or a water fountain (except for special cases).

Basic stainless steel dog bowls are usually enough, and they’re surely better than plastic ones which your puppy can chew on and tend to be harder to clean.

6. Grooming Brush

Why it’s important

A grooming brush is a good little investment you can make to take care of your puppy’s coat, but it’s also a great time for bonding with your new friend.

Plus, tangles and knots can irritate the skin, and your puppy’s leg can get stuck in them when he’s scratching. While dander and dirt can make your puppy smell.

What should you get

A Slicker Brush is a gentle solution for everyday brushing, but you can even use it for untangling matted hair without hurting your puppy or scratch his skin.

This brush from Hertzko is also extremely easy to clean after you’re done using it.

7. Harness / Collar

Why it’s important

This is one of the essential items that every puppy owner should have. Not only a harness or a collar is necessary for connecting the leash, but it’s also where you attach your pet ID (more on that later).

What should you get

For puppies, I prefer a breathable mess harness since it creates less pressure on their delicate neck when they pull the leash or resist walking.

Be sure to measure your puppy’s neck and chest so the harness won’t be too tight or somewhat loose.

8. Nylon / Leather Leash

Why it’s important

A leash is the best way to keep your puppy safe outdoors, and it will also help you keep Fido under control and teach him some of the basic commands.

What should you get

A leather leash is a good option and will last you a long time if your puppy doesn’t get wet, but I rather have a thick nylon leash as it’s more versatile and lightweight, and also because it’s easier to wash.

9. Odor Neutralizer

Why it’s important

Dogs have an amazing sense of smell, which is why they can detect urine odors even after you cleaned the spot using standard household cleaning products.

That means that if your puppy has pee accidents during his house training (not uncommon), chances are he will be drawn to these places for his next potty break.

Related: What To Do When Your Whole House Smells Like Dog Urine?

What should you get

high-quality pet odor neutralizer based on enzymes is an excellent tool for eliminating urine scents and even remove pee stains from soaked up carpets. Plus, these products are considered to be safe for pets.

10. Training Pads

Why it’s important

In the first year of a puppy’s life, he needs to go through a series of vaccinations which will protect him from various diseases.

Unvaccinated puppies shouldn’t walk outside or meet with unfamiliar dogs until at least two weeks after the second set of vaccinations.

In the meantime, your furry friend can use a potty solution to do his business inside the house.

What should you get

In my best pee pads for dogs post, I talked about how puppy pads work and shared some of my favorite ones. If you like, you can also look into real grass pads which are sometimes easier to train on.

11. Pet ID Tag

Why it’s important

Perhaps one of the most important things that people tend to overlook is the identification tag. The ID tag sits on your puppy’s collar and has your contact information in your puppy goes missing.

What should you get

Any personalized pet tag will do the trick, just make sure it’s strong and durable, and also proportionate to your puppy size. Lastly, when adding your contact details, make sure you’re not stuffing too much text so it will be easy to read.

12. Playpen / Pet Gate

Why it’s important

It’s advisable that you confine your puppy while you’re out of the house. Not just for safety reasons, but also because it’s necessary for successful housebreaking.

Additionally, boundaries will give your puppy a sense of security and belonging, which can prevent behavioral problems and separation anxiety.

What should you get

My dog loved to spend time in his metal exercise pen when he was a puppy (and even after that), and I happen to like the fact that it folds flat to save some space. But most importantly, you can set up this pen within seconds without any tools.

To be fair, I’ve never used a pet gate, but if you have limited space issue, then you should consider it as an option.

13. Puppy Food

Why it’s important

While your dog is in his puppyhood, you have to give him a high-quality food as this will affect his development into an adult.

In general, puppies can eat whatever adult dogs are eating, as long as it’s a nourishing and healthy recipe that can support their growth.

What should you get

Look for a good amount of protein, avoid ingredients and additives that have no nutritional value, and make sure the food can fit your puppy’s little mouth.

A good example is grain free dog food for small breeds, which usually comes in tiny kibbles and should be easier to digest for young puppies.

14. Training Treats

Why it’s important

Since canines considered to be food motivated, treats tend to work well in positive dog training. Training treats should be used mostly for training sessions so that they will drive your puppy each and every time.

What should you get

While homemade treats have their place, store-bought treats are less messy, last longer, and won’t spoil without refrigeration. Always prefer natural dog treats that have the least ingredients.

15. Dispensing Toy

Why it’s important

If your puppy tends to eat super fast (not recommended) or refuses to eat his food, a dispensing toy can help slow things down and make mealtimes fun for dogs who refuse to eat their kibbles.

Other than that, this toy is an easy way to keep your puppy busy while you’re away and provide him with extra exercise.

What should you get

I recommend getting the KONG Wobbler as it’s one of the most durable toys for dogs and a great one for mental stimulation.

You can also try a rubber treat ball, but not the plastic one, which is more likely to break. And besides, rubber doesn’t contain BPA, and that alone is a good enough reason to prefer it over the alternative.

Products To Consider

1. Sweater / Jacket

A sweater or jacket can come in handy during the cold seasons as puppies don’t have a fully developed immune system yet nor a full coat. So if it’s a bit chilly outside, get your puppy some clothes or cover him in some other way.

I don’t have any specific recommendation because my mother used to knit my dog his clothes, but you can find a bunch of dog sweaters on Amazon.

2. Shampoo & Conditioner

Bathing your puppy from time to time is required to keep him looking clean and smelling fresh, but some people prefer to leave this task to a groomer.

Dogs need their own shampoo and conditioner since their pH level are different than ours. Also, dogs produce natural oils that protect their skin and coat so using the wrong products can cause dryness and itchiness.

The purpose of a dog shampoo is to remove unwanted buildup in the fur without irritating, while a dog conditioner is made to restore moisture and softness to the coat, and also help open knots and tangles. For my dog, I use Fresh ‘n Clean products.

3. Deodorant Spray

Ideally, you shouldn’t wash your dog very often since you don’t want to remove the oils that protect and nourish his coat. However, there are owners who like their dog squeaky clean all the time.

An odor neutralizing spray is a tricky little way to space out your puppy’s showers while keeping him smelling nice after walking or playing in the park.

4. Dog Crate

A crate can be a safe place for your puppy, and it also doubles as a bed to sleep in. Puppies with separation anxiety will surely appreciate the sense of security a good kennel provides.

You can also use a crate to confine your puppy during potty training, although I’m not a fan of this method.

5. Door Scratch Protector

A common behavior in puppies is scratching, especially walls and doors. Separation anxiety and an attempt to escape is one reason, but there are others as well, such as satisfaction.

If your puppy has this destructive habit, a good way to stop him from destroying your door is to use a plastic scratch shield over it to provide basic protection against clawing.

6. Furniture Cover

I wish I had known about this product a long time ago so I could protect my couch from dirty paws and pee accidents. Sure, you can forbid your puppy from going up on the couch, but I happen to enjoy my dog’s company when I chill.

Yet, puppies who haven’t yet finished their housebreaking may soil your fancy couch and cleaning it can be a hassle. In that case, a machine washable cover can come in handy and save you a lot of time and money.

7. Pet Camera

In the first few months of owning a puppy, you may be a bit overprotective, especially if it’s your first dog. When leaving your puppy at home, having a camera in place is a great way to see what he’s up to and whether he’s okay.

Installing a webcam was one of the first things I did, but you decide what works for you. No need for fancy equipment, a 720P wireless camera is all you need.

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