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New Puppy Checklist: Everything You Need To Know 

Rottweiler puppy holding a bowl in his mouth

First and foremost, congratulations on your new puppy! Bringing a puppy home is an exciting experience that will lead to a lifelong friendship with your furry bundle of joy!
However, there may also be some fear as you try to figure out how exactly you'll become a puppy owner. If you’re asking yourself, “What do I need for a new puppy?” don’t worry. We’re here to help with our new puppy checklist, which covers house prep and everything else you’ll need to know.
We'll help you ensure their health and safety, cover essential training and grooming tools, and all the other important stuff to make sure your new friend feels welcome and safe – so you can focus on enjoying the many, many hours of play ahead!
So, what do you need for a new puppy? It’s a great question … with a detailed answer. Even though figuring out what to get for a new puppy can feel daunting, all it takes is a little preparation.  

Let’s begin with a list of essential items for first-time puppy owners: 
  • Dog toys
  • Collar, ID tag and leash
  • Food and water bowls
  • Flea and tick management
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste 
  • Dog bed 
  • Car harness
  • Crate 
  • Puppy food 
  • Treats
  • Poop bags, puppy training pads, odor and stain neutralizer 
  • Shampoo, conditioner, brushes, combs and nail clippers. 


As you’d expect, the most important thing on the list from your puppy's viewpoint is … toys! Every puppy needs something to play with, so here are some of the best options to consider. Depending on your puppy, you will need to adjust the size and type of toys provided. At least initially, toys should be given under supervision, as some puppies and adult dogs can be destructive and ingesting a toy can lead to medical complications.

  • Puzzle Toys: These will entertain your curious pup for hours
  • Chew Toys: Your puppy's teeth are developing quickly, and with growth comes chewing. Chew toys help reduce boredom, while also creating a diversion from your shoe collection.
  • Chase Toys: Help your pup burn energy with the classic game of fetch
  • Interactive Toys: These exercise your puppy’s brain through problem-solving. For example, snuffle mats create a rewarding foraging game that leaves your pup satisfied.

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A comfortable (and stylish) collar with a name tag provides immediate visual identification of your pup if they’re ever lost. A standard flat collar with a buckle or clip should sit snugly around your puppy’s neck, allowing two fingers of space to ensure it isn't too tight. Your puppy grows quickly, so check this frequently!

For walks, we recommend a front-attaching harness. Avoid attaching the leash to the collar, which can strain your puppy's neck during exciting walks. A leash that hooks on the front makes it easier to teach your friend to walk next to you. Leashes are available in many different lengths and materials. Some people feel that retractable leashes may limit the handler’s control in difficult situations and that the dog can become easily entangled. On the other hand they provide the dog more freedom to explore during a walk. For more about leash training a puppy, read our article, A Guide to Teaching Your Puppy to Walk on a Lead.


With many sizes, materials, colors and shapes to choose from, separate food and water bowls are a necessity. The primary options for your puppy supply list include:
  • Plastic bowls: A cheap option, but not a great one if your pup loves to chew! Plastic can become a substrate for bacteria if the material is not strong enough and resistant to wear and tear
  • Stainless steel bowls: Easy to clean and more durable. Opt for a non-skid rubber bottom to prevent your puppy from traveling around the house during meals!
  • Stoneware or ceramic: For bigger dogs, you may opt for a heavier bowl but remember ceramic bowls are more easily broken
  • Slow-feeding bowls: These are great for dogs who gulp their food too quickly. Their maze-like ridges slow feeding time down.


This should be discussed with a veterinarian. Several parasites including fleas, ticks, intestinal worms and heartworm can affect puppies. Many types of preventive treatments exist. Your breeder may provide you with an initial dose of deworming medication and or flea/tick prevention, but you should discuss these treatments with your veterinarian at your first visit at 6-8 weeks of age.

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One of the trickier tasks of being a new puppy owner is learning how to brush their teeth. Yet because dental health is essential, we recommend learning … fast. Just like us, puppies/dogs have toothbrushes and toothpaste made specifically for them. Familiarizing your puppy with mouth checks makes it easier to brush their teeth as they age while ensuring future vet checks go smoothly.


Puppies love sleeping just as much as they love playing! Even though it’s tempting to have them in your bed, your puppy needs their own sleeping spot – so put a dog bed on your shopping checklist.

When choosing a bed, remember this puppy essentials list:
  • Your puppy should be able to lie completely stretched out without hanging over the edge. Given how quickly they grow, it's best to buy an adult bed from the beginning.
  • Buy a bed that’s easy to clean, with a removable and washable cover.
  • A bolster bed with cushioned raised sides is perfect for pups who love sleeping in a ball.


Whenever transported in a vehicle, dogs should be restrained, for their own safety and for the safety of other passengers. This can be achieved either by a crate in the rear of the car or by a car harness. Often resembling a walking harness, a dog car harness clips into your existing seatbelt buckles, keeping your pup and other passengers safe if you slam on the brakes.


We recommend crate training your puppy as early as above 7 weeks. Crate training is an effective method to help with behavior issues, anxiety and other behavioral problems a new puppy may experience in the first few months of a new environment3. The goal is to create a comfortable space for your pup in which they can learn various boundaries and commands, including potty training. Your puppy should be able to stand up, turn around and lie down in the crate.

Important note: A crate should never be used as a punishment tool. This not only negates the benefits of crate training but also confuses a young puppy, creating more significant problems than those you’re trying to solve.
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A puppy’s diet differs from an adult dog’s and therefore it is recommended to select a food dedicated to this life stage. Because a puppy's muscles and bones are forming and strengthening, they have sensitive digestive and immune systems. Eukanuba’s puppy food range offers a balanced and nutritional diet to help support “muscle and bone development” as well as high levels of DHA – a long-chain omega-3 fatty acid supporting healthy brain development.

Important note: It is important to remember if you are changing your puppies' food, do this over a gradual process. We suggest a 7 day transition, starting off with integrating 25% of the new food and 75% of the current food and over the 7 days work towards a 100% transition. 


Treats can be helpful in the training process, as they promote positive reinforcement and ensure that training is a fun and enriching experience for both of you.

Important note: Excessive treats can cause excessive weight gain, and they often are not complete and balanced, and so do not replace meals. As such, most nutritionists recommend that treats do not exceed 10% of a puppy's daily caloric intake. Another option is to give a puppy's normal dry kibbles as a treat during training.


A puppy's bladder is not fully developed, so it takes time for them to develop full control of urination. This is why it is essential to offer your puppy as many opportunities to eliminate as possible, and to understand that despite your best efforts, accidents are likely to happen, and are part of the training process.

The approach is to take your puppy directly outside to eliminate. It is important that you never punish your puppy for inappropriate elimination, as this can lead to anxiety and increased difficulties in potty training. Instead, take your puppy outside frequently and train them to potty outside by associating the cue with an action since a dog cannot just be encouraged to eliminate outside.

You’ll have to clean up after your pup when you’re out on a walk, so attach some poop bags to the leash before leaving the house. Odour and stain neutralizers help keep your home smelling fresh and remove scents that encourage bad indoor habits (such as creating regular ‘toilet spots’ around the house).


Regardless of the length of their coat, all puppies need brushing. Choosing the right brush type for your puppy supplies list depends on their coat, with the most common options including:
  • Rubber brush: Suitable for most dogs, but particularly used for short-haired or shedding breeds. The rubber makes it easy to remove loose fur.
  • Slicker brush: Made of rows of angled wire pins, the slicker brush suits dogs with long, thick, curly hair. These brushes remove tangles and knots but should be used carefully to avoid scratching your puppy’s skin.
  • Bristle brush: Bristle length should be chosen based on your dog's breed (short for short-hair, long for long-hair). These brushes create a smooth, shiny coat in all dogs.
  • Undercoat rake: Dogs with thick, heavy, or double coats (Huskies, Pomeranians etc.) will benefit from these widely set teeth, which pass through the topcoat to remove dead undercoat hair.
Your puppy also needs dog shampoo for bathtime (human shampoos can irritate their skin), as well as nail clippers. Take your dog to a vet or groomer if you’re not comfortable trimming their nails (particularly if they’re a colour that makes it hard to see which parts should be trimmed). Accidentally trimming nails too short can cause pain or even bleeding!
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What To Bring When Picking Up Your Puppy

It’s essential to be prepared before picking up your puppy to bring them home. The more ready you are, the more relaxed they’ll be.

At some stage, most first-time owners will find themselves frantically asking, “What do I need to bring to pick up my new puppy?” Don’t stress. Here are the puppy essentials to have on hand:
  • It is essential that your puppy is safe in the car (harness/cage). It might help to bring something from the previous owner that has the littermates/moms smell on them
  • Camera – It’s a momentous occasion, so don’t miss a thing!
  • Friend/Family member – Your puppy’s likely to be extremely excited (and maybe a little nervous) from the whole experience, so having backup’s a great idea.
  • Toy – Keeping a toy handy gives your new puppy something to focus on. A squeaky chew toy is ideal.
  • Blanket – Staying warm and cozy is essential
  • Towels – This goes with keeping dry, too! Make sure you have at least two dry towels handy for your puppy (because one is never enough).
  • Another set of clothes for you (accidents can happen).
  • Cleaning products (including carpet cleaner and brush) – To protect your car
  • Waste bags and accessories
  • Dog registration (paper or microchip) – Your pup could escape on Day 1, so don’t delay!

Healthcare And Services To Consider For Your Puppy

Keeping your puppy in tip-top condition is vital. Fortunately, there’s plenty of help available to make sure all’s well with your furry friend. And when the unexpected happens (in a bad way), having a plan in place is a godsend.

Luckily, there’s a range of things you can do to ensure all your little friend’s bases are covered. Here are some new puppy essentials when it comes to staying healthy.

Invest In Pet Insurance For Your Puppy

You may want to consider pet insurance for your puppy, as it can cover unexpected accidents. With insurance some (or most) of the financial burden is relieved, leaving you free to take care of them.

Puppies are energetic and curious, which, while fun, can sometimes lead to an injury. Pet insurance can provide peace of mind.

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Find A Veterinarian For Your Puppy

Just as you have a family doctor, you'll need a local veterinarian for your pup. From regular checkups to cleans and clips, locate a trusted veterinarian to provide valuable advice while keeping your best friend healthy and happy with regular checkups, cleans and clips.

Enroll Your Puppy In Puppy School

It may sound obvious, but a puppy school is an essential tool when teaching your little one how to behave in the world. It’s a great way to socialize your pup while learning valuable behavioral rules. They’ll be in class with lots of other pups with boundless energy, so they’ll feel right at home.

You’ll probably find an obedience school available in your local area. They’re held for dogs of all levels, so no matter how experienced or inexperienced your puppy is, there’s a class for them. If you take them along regularly, you’re bound to see an impressive change in their behavior in a surprisingly short time.

Find A Dog Trainer

For a more tailored approach, or if your schedule does not fit with obedience classes, you may want to consider a dog trainer.

A dog trainer may be able to more specifically develop a plan to help with your dog's unique traits (and behavioural issues), offering a tailored plan.

So, why would you opt for a trainer?
  • Behavioural issues – If your puppy’s struggling with undesired behaviour (house training, chewing on objects, puppy not being able to stay alone etc.) more than other dogs, a trainer may be the right path for you
  • Shyness – If your puppy’s a bit anxious by nature, a familiar setting could make all the difference. Being at home will take a load off your puppy’s mind, so they’re free to learn new information.
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Puppy Nutrition

When your dog’s a puppy, their body’s growing at an unprecedented rate. All that rapid change requires a premium mix of nutrients, as this is the most bodily demanding time of life. With such fast growth and development, you’ll want a dog food that caters to the insatiable demands of your puppy’s body – which is why Eukanuba for dogs is the natural choice.

So, what sets Eukanuba apart?

DHA levels in Eukanuba™ puppy diets have been clinically tested, resulting in smarter, more trainable puppies4. This omega-3 fatty acid aids learning and memory while also supporting healthy brain function. Puppies get DHA from their mothers' milk before they’re weaned, and including it in their meals is an important aspect of their brain development.

Eukanuba's quality puppy meals give your puppy a comprehensive and balanced diet that includes all of the vitamins and minerals they require. With a wide selection of premium quality ingredients, Eukanuba provides a genuinely balanced diet offering puppies all the nutrition they need for a healthy life.

Being adequately prepared before bringing your new puppy home makes everything significantly easier. By following the checklists above, you’re creating a welcoming environment for your new pup – so they’ll feel safe, loved, and excited about their new home.

Now that you have everything you need for a puppy, you’re at the very beginning of forming a valuable bond with your new best friend. Take your time and enjoy the ride!


Grandjean, D., Andre, C.,Bacque, H., Bedossa, T., Boogaerts, C., Clero D., Colliard, L., Grellet, A., Polack, B.,Rogalev, A and Haymann, F. 2020. The Dog Encyclopedia. Royal Canin SAS. 930 pp.

Scott, JP. and Fuller, J.L1965.Genetics and the Social Behaviour of the Dog. Chicago University Press. 508 pp.

Whelan, F., 2014. House Training. Veterinary Nursing Journal 21(3) 20-21.

Kelley, R., Lepine, A. J., & Morgan, D. (2005, May). Improving puppy trainability through nutrition. In Proccedings of Iams pediatric cares symposium, presented at the North American Veterinary Conference, Orlando, January (Vol. 11, pp. 43-56).

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