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New Puppy Checklist: Everything You Need To Know (2023) 

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 that begins straight away!
However, there may also be a little trepidation as you try to figure out how exactly you'll become a puppy parent. Fear not, we’re here to help with our new puppy checklist that will cover house prep and all the things you need for a puppy.

We'll help you ensure their health and safety, cover the training and grooming tools you'll need, and all of the other important stuff to make sure your new friend feels welcome and safe, and you can focus on enjoying the many, many hours of playtime ahead!

Let’s begin with a list of essentials that are part of the bringing a puppy home checklist:


Let's start with the most important thing on the list from your puppy's point of view; toys! Every puppy needs something to play with (and essentially destroy). Here are some of the best options to consider:

  • Calming Toys: Life may be overwhelming for your puppy initially, especially on the first night, and calming toys are designed to reduce anxiety. They are often plush toys that include elements like a heat pack or pulsing heartbeat.
  • Puzzle Toys: Entertain your curious pup for hours with puzzle toys which can also lessen separation anxiety by giving your new friend something to do while you’re working, occupied or heading out for the night.
  • Chew Toys: Your puppy's teeth are developing quickly, and with growth comes chewing. Chew toys help to reduce boredom, as well as create a diversion from your shoe collection getting destroyed. They’re also been known to help relieve any pain your puppy may be experiencing as their teeth develop.
  • Chase Toys: Help your pup burn some energy with the classic game of fetch, but save your energy with toys such as a petsafe ball launcher that does the hard work for you, and keeps your puppy entertained for hours!
  • Interactive Toys: Interactive toys, such as snuffle mats create a game for your puppy that requires them to problem solve and exercise their brain during the process. Snuffle mats create a rewarding foraging game for your pup that leaves them feeling quite satisfied by the end.
  • Plush Toys: They may not survive for long, but plush toys are perfect for puppies who love to cuddle. They are comforting and super fun when they feature a squeaker.


A comfortable (and stylish) collar with a nametag is strongly recommended for immediate visual identification of your pup should they ever get lost. A standard flat collar with a buckle or clip should sit snug around your puppy’s neck, allowing two fingers of space to ensure it isn't too tight. Your puppy will be growing quickly, so be sure to check this frequently!

For walks, we recommend a harness that is front-attaching. Avoid attaching the lead to the collar, as this can put a strain on your puppy's neck when going for exciting walks. If the leash hooks on the front, it makes it easier to teach your friend to heel next to you. Leashes are available in many different lengths and materials. A retractable leash is an option, but these are better suited for older dogs who have already been trained. Also, unlike a standard leash, it can be harder to retract the leash during a dangerous situation. If you’d like to learn more about lead training a puppy, have a read of our article: A Guide To Teaching Your Puppy To Walk on a Lead.


Separate food and water bowls are a necessity, and there are many sizes, materials, colours, and shapes to choose from. The primary options include:
  • Plastic bowls: A cheap option, but not a great one if your pup loves to chew! This option is fine, but expect to replace them frequently with younger dogs.
  • Stainless steel bowls: Easy to clean and more durable; opt for a non-skid rubber bottom to avoid a dining puppy who tours the house!
  • Stoneware or ceramic: For something far more stable, opt for a heavier bowl that cannot be flipped (best for bigger dogs).
  • Slow-feeding bowls: These are great for dogs who gulp down their food too quickly. They contain maze-like ridges that will slow feeding time right down.
  • An elevated feeder:Best for bigger (or adult) dogs, these bowls can reduce stress on the neck when feeding.


All new pups should be covered for the four main parasites:
  • Fleas
  • Ticks
  • Heartworm
  • Intestinal worms
It is important to note that not all parasite preventatives cover the above four parasites, so you may require a combination of products. These will also likely have varying treatment frequencies. Always make sure the preventative dosage is appropriate for your pup's weight range and speak to your vet to confirm which products and amounts are best suited before giving your puppy a shot of any kind.

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One of the trickier tasks of being a new puppy owner is learning how to brush their teeth - despite this, dental health is essential so we recommend learning & fast. Just like us, puppies/dogs have toothbrushes and toothpaste made specifically for them. You can also find a range of dental chews (much easier to administer) that will help in conjunction with regular brushing. It is best to get your puppy familiar with mouth checks at a younger age, this then make it easier to brush their teeth as they get older, but also ensure any future vet checks will go smoothly.


Puppies love sleeping just as much as they love playing! As tempting as it may be to have them in your bed, your puppy will also need their own sleeping spot. For this reason, you should have a dog bed on your new puppy shopping checklist.

When choosing a bed, keep the following in mind:
  • Your puppy should be able to lay completely stretched out and flat in the bed without hanging over the edge. Anything smaller is too small. Keep in mind how quickly they will grow, so it's best to buy an adult bed from the very beginning.
  • Future you will be grateful if you buy a bed that is easy to clean. Look for a removable and washable cover.
  • A bolster bed with cushioned raised sides is perfect for pups who love sleeping in a little ball.
  • Larger breeds are best suited to flat cushion beds that resemble a mini-mattress.


An effective car harness is vital to keep your pup safe and restrained when going for a drive. This also keeps you safe as you won't be distracted by an excited dog while driving. A dog car harness often resembles a walking harness and clips into your existing seat belt buckles, keeping your pup and other riders safe should you need to slam on the brakes.


We recommend crate training your puppy as soon as they’re through the front door, essentially from as early as eight weeks old. This gives your pup an appropriate amount of time to familiarise themselves with their new crate, aka sleeping quarters. Crate training is an effective method to help with behaviour issues, anxiety, and other behavioural related problems that a new puppy may experience in their first few months of living in a new environment. The goal with a crate is to create a comfortable and safe space for your pup, in which they can learn various boundaries and commands, including toilet training. Under no circumstances should a crate be used as a punishment tool. This not only negates the benefits of crate training but also confuses a young puppy, creating more stress and more significant problems than the ones you are trying to solve. Your puppy should be able to stand up, turn around and lie down in the crate.

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The diet for a puppy is a little different to that of an adult dog. This is because a puppy's muscles and bones are forming and strengthening, and they have sensitive digestive and immune systems. For these reasons, the Eukanuba puppy food range offers a balanced and nutritional diet to help strengthen your puppy’s bones, as well as high levels of DHA a long chain omega-3 fatty acid that helps support healthy brain function and promotes learning and memory.


Treats should also be nutritious and easy for your puppy to chew and digest. They serve as a form of reward and are crucial to your training method. Treats are the driver to showing your puppy how they should behave, as they are the number one incentive! It is important however to remember that too many treats can lead to weight issues, so always ensure they are within your puppies daily calorie count.


Toilet training your puppy is easily one of the first things you want to master with your new puppy (mainly for the sake of your carpets). A puppy’s bladder is extremely weak as a newborn which means it can usually take a while before your puppy learns to fully control their bladder. The sooner you get started on house training your puppy, the better the results.

Pee pads offer a targeted toileting area, but be wary that extended use will teach your dog that it's ok to go to the toilet inside. Instead, slowly move the pee pads towards outdoor areas to help them understand that going to the toilet indoors isn’t encouraged. Positive reinforcement and rewards are the keys to successful toilet training!

Poo bags will be a necessity to clean up when you are out on a walk (attach some to the lead before you leave the house), and odour and stain neutralisers will help keep your home smelling fresh. These can also remove scents that teach your pup bad habits indoors, such as regular toilet spots around the house.

Shampoo & Conditioner, Brushes, Combs & Nail Clippers

Regardless of the length of their coat, all puppies need a brush and some other important grooming tools. The right type of brush will depend on your puppy’s coat. The most common options include:
  • Rubber brush: Suitable for most dogs but particularly used for short-haired breeds or dogs that shed. The rubber will make it easy to remove loose fur.
  • Slicker brush: Made of rows of angled wire pins, the slicker brush is suitable for dogs with long, thick, curly hair. These brushes will remove tangles and knots but should be used with care to avoid scratching your puppy’s skin.
  • Bristle brush: The length of the bristles should be chosen based on the length of hair for your dog's breed (short for short-hair and long for long-hair). These brushes will create a smooth and shiny coat suitable for all dogs.
  • Undercoat rake: Dogs with thick, heavy coats or double coats (Huskies, Pomeranians etc.) will benefit from these widely set teeth that pass through the topcoat to pull out dead undercoat hair.
Your puppy will also need dog shampoo and conditioner for bath time (don't use human shampoos as these can irritate their skin), and clippers to have their nails trimmed. Take your dog to a vet or groomer if you do not feel comfortable trimming your dog's nails (particularly if they are a colour that makes it hard to see which parts should be trimmed). Trimming too close to the skin can cause pain or bleeding, and it can sometimes be hard to secure a fidgety pup for trimming. If in doubt, trust the professionals!

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The first night with a new puppy is exciting for everybody, especially your pup, to whom everything is new. They may be shy, excited, or even just sleep but it’s important to confine them to one or two rooms in the beginning, so as to not overwhelm them right away. It’s best if this area is in the centre of activity in the house so your puppy doesn't feel isolated (it would also help if it had easy-to-clean floors, not carpet).

It is also an excellent idea to puppy-proof your home keeping medicines, chemicals, expensive items and certain plants out of reach. This can also include:
  • Rearranging furniture
  • Using gates to keep them from wandering off
  • Fencing your backyard
  • Hide shoes, socks, valuables from your puppy’s reach
  • Remove electrical cords and wires out of sight
  • Move houseplants as some can be poisonous to dogs, also check the plants in your backyard
  • Purchase bins with lids
  • Locking cabinets that might contain harmful substances, including medication


Toilet training should begin immediately, but it is important to remember that your home is an unfamiliar environment for your puppy. Everything is new, and they need to get used to the location, including sights, smells, and noises.
Toilet training takes time and patience. Watch out for signs such as sniffing around, fidgeting, and circling before squatting. Choose an area for the toilet and take your pup to this area when these signs appear. Remember that accidents will happen (a lot at the beginning), and it is vital that you do not get angry. Puppies do not have complete control over their bladder, and teaching them how to hold or where to go is part of the developmental process.

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The sooner you set boundaries, the easier life with your dog will be. Teach your puppy where you would like them to sleep, where they can and cannot go and what furniture is out of bounds.


Pet insurance covers you if an unexpected accident occurs. Some or most of the financial burden is relieved so you can get the best care for your pet.
Puppies are energetic and fearless, which, while fun, can sometimes lead to an injury. Pet insurance will provide peace of mind and be useful as your dog gets older.


Just as you have a family GP, you'll need a local vet for your pup. From regular checkups to cleans and clips, find a trusted vet that can provide valuable advice in your life as a dog owner while keeping your best friend healthy and happy. . From regular checkups to cleans and clips, find a trusted vet that can provide valuable advice in your life as a dog owner while keeping your best friend healthy and happy.

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To make sure both you and your puppy make it through the first night together, consider these key tips before bringing your puppy home:
  • Place your chosen crate in an enclosed space so that your puppy does not get overwhelmed by large spaces and no matter what, avoid having the puppy sleep in your bed on the first night (as hard as it may be to resist).
  • Make your puppy’s bed comfortable and include toys and soft blankets. If possible, include something with the mother's scent on it to reduce anxiety.
  • Be prepared for constant toilet breaks, and remember the bladder capability rule above.
  • Give constant supervision to your puppy, who is in a completely new place in their mind.
  • Exercise patience, persistence and consistency and never get angry at your pup; they are trying their best!
Being adequately prepared before bringing your new puppy home makes everything easier. Following the bringing a puppy home checklist above, creates a welcoming environment for your new pup, so they know they are safe, and above all, loved and excited about their new home! You are at the very beginning of a new bond with your new best friend, and it is a lot of fun.

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