What Do You Need for a New Puppy?

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what do you need for a new puppy

Of course, bringing home a puppy is a big commitment. But at the same time, it’s also full of excitement, and if you’re smart, careful preparation.

Yet, there seems to be a lot of confusion about the things you should (and shouldn’t) buy for your new pet. This is naturally the area where most people tend to splurge, sometimes unnecessarily.

In fact, if I’ve learned anything from having a puppy, it’s that you need to find a balance between being properly prepared, and spending money on unnecessary items.

As a general rule of thumb, the best products to start with are those that will make the transition from being a part of the litter to a part of your home as easy as possible. Others can be put off until you actually need them, or skipped altogether.

In this post, I’ll talk about the thing that many first-time owners wonder about, “What, exactly, do you need for a new puppy?”

But before that, let’s start with some items you should probably cross off your list.

Here’s What You Probably Don’t Need

Bitter Spray

When puppies are in their teething stage, they’re notorious for chewing upon everything from shoes to books to furniture. The theory is that spraying surfaces with an unpleasant tasting, bitter spray will help to discourage your puppy from chewing on things.

The reality, however, it that this spray more often than not doesn’t work as it’s supposed to. This is because your puppy is likely to simply get used to the bitter taste, to the point where it won’t discourage him anymore.

A better way to deal with this issue is to use a proper chew toy. This will satisfy his chewing needs, while also keeping him distracted in the meantime.

Grooming Wipes

No matter what the advertisements tell you, there’s really no need to go out and buy special pet wipes. Instead, look for regular baby wipes that are fragrance-free and hypoallergenic, as these can wipe dirty paws just as effectively.

Save your money for more important things.

Nail Clippers

To tell the truth, I haven’t used my dog’s nail clippers more than a few times.

Dogs’ nails contain blood vessels and nerves, so you have to be very careful not to cut them too short. While you can do this at home if you’re absolutely sure you know what you’re doing, I prefer to leave this task to a professional groomer or my local vet.

Retractable Leash

There are a few reasons why you shouldn’t use a retractable leash, but the main issue is the lack of control you have over your puppy when you’re using a 16-foot-long leash.

In addition, an extendable leash teaches puppies to pull while on walks, which is a bad habit. You are better off sticking to classic nylon or leather leashes.

Squeaky Toys

Most (but not all) squeaky toys for dogs just aren’t durable enough for aggressive chewers, and they can even be dangerous, as a puppy who will get to the small squeaker inside the toy can easily swallow it and choke.

Want my advice? Get a sturdy chew toy instead.

Treat Pouches

No matter how I wear it, I always look ridiculous with a treat pouch, and to tell the truth, it isn’t that comfortable either. Alternatively, grab a few of your dog’s favorite treats and put them in one of these small pill cases.

Waste Bags

Of course, you should always pick up after your puppy, there’s no question about that. But do you need a special poop bag for that? In most cases, probably not.

A plastic bag from the grocery store will work just as well as any kind of specialized pet waste bag. Also, today there are dog waste stations in nearly every city park and public area throughout the United States.

Again, save your money for the stuff you really need.

So now that we’ve talked about the things you don’t need, let’s discuss what you actually need to have for a new puppy.

Top 15 Items You Need for a New Puppy

1. Chew Toys

Every puppy needs to have something to play with to relieve boredom and anxiety. These toys will keep him occupied while you’re out, and help him to avoid chewing other things that he shouldn’t.

Chew toys can also soothe hurting gums caused by teething. But keep in mind that they need to be durable and should fit your pup size to prevent suffocation.

What I Recommend

Puppy KONG X-Small

KONG toys are very strong and safe, even for heavy chewers!

But what I love most about is that you can stuff them with dog food, treats, and even peanut butter and put the whole thing in the freezer.

Truth is, this is one of the easiest ways to keep your puppy busy for a long period of time, while also helping him get rid of his excess energy in a healthy way.

2. Dental Care Products

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

Since more than 80% of dogs over the age of 3 have some sort of dental problems, you should start keeping an eye on your pup’s teeth as soon as possible.

What I Recommend

Pura Naturals Pet Puppy Dental Kit - Ultra Soft Bristle Toothbrush & Organic Dental Gel (0.8 oz)

You’ll need a toothbrush with soft bristles and a xylitol-free toothpaste. You can also use coconut oil, as well as a dental water additive, and one dental treat a day to cover all of your bases.

Dental treats are usually intended for consumption by adult dogs, but there are also ones for puppies, so make sure you’re buying the right kind.

3. Dispensing Toy

If your puppy eats super fast or refuses to eat his food at all, a dispensing toy can help slow things down, while also combating picky eating habits.

As an added bonus, it’s an easy way to keep your pup busy while you’re away, and even provide him with extra exercise.

What I Recommend

Wobbler Large

The KONG Wobbler is one of the most durable toys for dogs, and a great little game for mental stimulation. You can try a rubber treat ball instead, but not plastic, which is more likely to break, and may also contain BPA or other chemicals.

While not necessary, there are a few more items you may want to keep around.

4. Dog Bed

Buying a dog bed is one of the most important, basic things you need to do for a small puppy. The reason for this is that puppies nap a lot, and having a comfy bed is a vital part of getting quality and long sleep.

What I Recommend

For 4 Paws Canvas Waterproof Tear and Stain Resistant Dog Bed with Removable and Washable Cover for Outdoor Indoor Dogs Crate (Small(20"), Blue)

Orthopedic beds are best, but look for one that’s also waterproof or water-resistant, which will help prevent any potty accidents from reaching the padding or your floors. Also, make sure the cover is removable and machine washable.

5. Flea Treatment

No one likes fleas. These parasites not only irritate your puppy’s skin, but they may even lead to tapeworms if swallowed. Ticks and mosquitos aren’t a treat either, since they can transmit Lyme’s disease and other ailments.

While you should use some sort of flea treatment all year long, be aware that during the summer, your puppy can catch fleas very easily.

What I Recommend

Bayer Animal Health K9 Advantix II Small Dog 4-Pack

Personally, I prefer to use natural fleas repellents. However, if that doesn’t work, I’ll probably go with a product that spreads throughout the skin, glands, and hair follicles instead of entering the bloodstream.

6. Food and Water Bowls

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

What I Recommend

DII Bone Dry Paw Patch & Stripes Ceramic Pet Bowl for Food & Water with Non-Skid Silicone Rim for Dogs and Cats (Small - 4.25" Dia x 2"H) Gray - Set of 2

You don’t really need a fancy set, slow feeder bowl, or a water fountain, except in special cases. Stainless steel dog bowls, or better yet, ceramic bowls, are just fine. They’re definitely better than plastic bowls, which your puppy can chew on.

Additionally, plastic may contain harmful chemicals, and it tends to absorb odors and colors, which makes it harder to clean.

7. Grooming Brush

A good grooming brush is one of the best investments you can make for your puppy’s coat. Tangles and knots can irritate your puppy’s skin, and dander and dirt building up on the fur can also make him smell.

Besides, rooming is a great time for bonding with your new friend.

What I Recommend

Hertzko Self Cleaning Slicker Brush - Gently Removes Loose Undercoat, Mats and Tangled Hair - Your Dog or Cat Will Love Being Brushed with The Grooming Brush

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

To get the most bang for your buck, look for a brush that’s easy to clean after use, too.

8. Harness/Collar

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

What I Recommend

Voyager Step-In Flex Dog Harness - All Weather Mesh, Step In Adjustable Harness for Small and Medium Dogs by Best Pet Supplies - Baby Blue, X-Small

For puppies, I prefer a breathable mesh 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 beforehand to make sure it won’t be too tight or too loose.

9. Nylon/Leather Leash

A leash is a must-have to keep your puppy safe outdoors. On top of that, it will help you keep him under control and close to you while you training.

What I Recommend

TAIDA Strong Durable Nylon Dog Training Leash, 6 Feet Long, 1 Inch Wide, for Small and Medium Dog (Black)

A leather leash is a good option, and it should last you for a while as long as your puppy doesn’t get wet. You can also get a thick nylon leash, as it’s a bit more versatile and lightweight, along with being easier to wash.

10. Pee Pads

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

Unvaccinated puppies shouldn’t walk outside, or meet up with unfamiliar dogs until at least two weeks after receiving the second set of vaccinations. In the meantime, your pooch can use a pee pad to do his business indoors.

What I Recommend

Gridlock Housebreaking Pet Training Pads - 100 Pack

You can either go with standard dog pee pads, which are lightweight and very affordable, or opt for an all-natural grass pad, an eco-friendly alternative that’s also very convenient.

11. Pet ID Tag

Perhaps one of the most important things that people tend to overlook when they bring a new puppy home is the identification tag. This tag sits on your pup’s collar and has all of your contact information in case he’s ever goes missing.

What I Recommend

YiXiEr Cute Custom Pet ID Tags, Dog Tag and Cat Tag Personalized Engraved Double Sided - Round Stainless Steel

Any personalized pet tag will do the trick, just make sure it’s well-built and proportionate to your puppy’s size. One quick tip though, don’t stuff in too much text when adding your contact details. That way, it will be easier to read.

12. Pet Urine Remover

Dogs have an amazing sense of smell, which is why they can detect urine odors, even after you washed away any accidents using your standard household cleaning products.

What that means is that if your puppy pee on the floor or carpet during his house training, which isn’t at all uncommon, chances are he will still be drawn to the same spot for his next potty break.

What I Recommend

Rocco & Roxie Professional Strength Stain & Odor Eliminator - Enzyme-Powered Pet Odor & Stain Remover for Dog and Cats Urine (1 Gallon)

A high-quality, enzyme-based pet urine remover is an excellent tool for eliminating urine scents, and it can even help remove pee stains. Plus, unlike many commercial cleaners, these products are considered to be safe for pets.

13. Playpen or Pet Gate

Always confine your new puppy while you’re away from home. Not just for safety reasons, but also because it’s necessary for successful housebreaking.

Additionally, setting boundaries will give your pup a sense of security and belonging, which may help to prevent separation anxiety and other behavioral problems.

What I Recommend

MidWest Foldable Metal Exercise Pen / Pet Playpen, 24"W x 24"H

Back in the day, I had a metal exercise pen. I was happy with it, my dog loved it, and most importantly, it was simple to fold flat or install within seconds and without any tools.

To be fair, I don’t have much experience with pet gates, but if you have limited space, then you can consider it as an option.

14. Puppy Food

During puppyhood, you have to feed your dog high-quality food, since 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. That said, you usually can’t go wrong with puppy formulas.

What I Recommend

Natural Balance Puppy Formula L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Dry Dog Food, Lamb & Brown Rice Formula, 4.5-Pound

Look for high protein content and avoid ingredients and additives that have low to no nutritional value. You should also make sure the food can fit your puppy’s little mouth.

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

15. Training Treats

Since many canines are food motivated, high-value treats are an important part of positive reinforcement training. However, you should use them mostly for training purposes, right when your pup is working hard.

What I Recommend

Wellness Soft Puppy Bites Natural Grain Free Puppy Training Treats, Lamb & Salmon, 3-Ounce Bag

While homemade treats have their place, store-bought treats are less messy, and they won’t spoil outside. For training, always choose soft, yummy dog treats that have the least amount of ingredients and calories.

Other Products You May Find Useful

16. Couch Cover

I wish I had thought of this product a long time ago, so I could protect my couch from dirty paws and other messes. Sure, you can stop your puppy from going on the couch, but not everyone wants to.

Yet, puppies who haven’t yet finished their housebreaking may have an accident on your couch, and cleaning it afterward can be a hassle. To avoid it, get a machine washable couch cover. Believe me, it will save you a lot of time and money.

17. Dog Crate

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

If you like, you can also use the crate to confine your puppy during potty training.

18. Door Scratch Protector

Scratching is a common destructive behavior in puppies. This can be a symptom of separation anxiety, but it can also mean that your puppy enjoys it.

If your pup has this nasty habit, a good way to stop him from destroying your door is to use a plastic scratch shield over it. This will provide basic protection against clawing, while also discouraging him from doing this again.

19. Pet Camera

In the first few months of owning a pet, you may find yourself a bit overprotective, especially if it’s your first dog. When leaving your puppy at home, a camera is an excellent way to see what he’s up to and whether he’s okay.

If you already have a webcam, you can use it along with some webcam viewer, but for simplicity’s sake, an IP camera is probably best.

20. Shampoo & Conditioner

Bathing your puppy once in a while is required to keep his fur clean and smelling fresh. Some people do this at home, while others prefer to leave this task to a professional groomer.

In any case, dogs need their own shampoo and conditioner, since their pH levels are different than humans. In addition, they produce natural oils that protect their skin and coat, so using the wrong products may cause them dry and itchy skin.

Always use both products, as the purpose of dog shampoo is to remove unwanted buildup in the fur without irritating, while a dog conditioner is meant to restore moisture and softness to the coat, as well as help open knots and tangles.

21. Sweater/Jacket

A sweater or a jacket can come in handy during the cold seasons, as puppies don’t have a full coat or fully developed immune system yet. So, when it’s a bit chilly outside, get your pup something to wear, or at least cover him in some other way.

22. Dry Shampoo/Pet Deodorizer

Ideally, you shouldn’t wash your dog very often, since this will also remove the oils that protect and nourish his skin and coat.

Dry shampoo or odor neutralizing spray are both tricky little ways to space out your puppy’s showers, while keeping his hair and paws clean after walking outside or playing in the park.

Did we miss something? Let us know in the comments.

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