German Shepherd puppy sitting on a gray textile- perfect for a new puppy checklist

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Congratulations on deciding to bring a new puppy. Whether you’ve already got them or are still in the planning stages, let’s talk about what you need to do to give them the best possible start.

We’re here to help you navigate this pet parenting journey. Our new puppy checklist covers everything you need to know as you welcome your new dog home.

New Puppy Checklist

1. Find the right Vet for your new puppy

Establishing a relationship with a reputable veterinarian is one of the most important things that should always be noted in your new puppy checklist.

Pick up an appointment with your preferred vet once every three or four weeks if you have a puppy aged between six – sixteen weeks.

Regular puppy wellness exams are very vital for their health and wellbeing. During these visits, a vet will administer the required vaccinations and check for early signs of illnesses.

Puppy at the vet
Image Credit: South Wairarapa from Instagram

The following are some of the factors that you should consider when looking for a reputable veterinarian:

  • Distance from your home: You’ll want a closer place that allows you to make a quick dash in case of emergencies and save time during routine visits. Ask about their operation hours to see if they fit your schedule.
  • The services offered: Ask around for pet hospitals that offer a wide range of services. Although not mandatory, you’ll want one place that offers services such as dental, nutrition counseling, and surgeries.
  • Qualification and experience: Depending on the services you want; you’ll be more comfortable working with a vet who specializes in your puppy’s breed. Ensure the vet is licensed to perform their services, before entrusting them with your new puppy.
  • Service culture: The service culture of pet hospitals can vary from center to center. Enquire such things as if they allow dog owners to accompany their pets into an examination room, or if they have separate waiting areas for dogs, cats, and other pets.

Don’t delay that first vet visit once your new puppy has arrived home. All puppies need core vaccines to strengthen their immunity for safe outdoor adventures and playdates with other canines.

Your vet will also screen the puppy for any external parasites and recommend an appropriate procedure for effective control.

Most qualified vets will emphasize the importance of preventive care over curative care. This means you have to take vaccinations seriously and keep your new puppy free from fleas and other parasites.

2. Choosing the Right Puppy Food

Prepare to invest in high-quality puppy food to keep your new dog properly nourished from day one. Puppies need good food with a mix of the essential nutrients for growth and development.

Your breeder should tell you what your new puppy was fed before you picked them, how much, and how often they ate. Maintain this diet at first as you transition to a new one to prevent tummy problems.

Ask your vet about the puppy’s nutritional needs. They will do an assessment and recommend foods that will fulfill your pup’s nutritional and energy needs.

Puppy sitting next to a pack of food
Image Credit: Gaolach Gundogs from Instagram

For the best start, you’ll need to ensure that your puppy consumes puppy-specific foods during their first year for optimal growth and development.

If you choose to go with a store-bought diet, we recommend choosing reputable brands with experience in packaging high-quality canine foods.

You’ll also need to decide between grain-free, raw, dry, or wet food, depending on your puppy’s immediate dietary needs and your vet’s advice.

3. Get Some Essential Puppy Supplies

Your new puppy should find a home that is already stocked up with necessities to make their lives easier from day one.

The following are some of the things you will need:

Food and water bowls: We have already talked about the importance of choosing the right puppy food, so don’t forget to match that with the right pet utensils.

Food and water bowls come in a variety of designs, but you’ll want the ones with a non-slip base to make your puppy comfortable while feeding.

Stainless steel or ceramic bowls are easy to clean and durable. Depending on your puppy’s eating habits, you might consider a slow feeder to prevent them from eating too quickly.

Leashed white puppy sitting on green grass
Image Credit: Kona Marie from Instagram

Collar and Leash: Your new puppy checklist should never miss an adjustable, reflective collar and leash for use during walking and training sessions.

4. Invest in Puppy Toys and Entertainment

Healthy puppies are full of high energy. You may need several toys to channel that energy into constructive activities.

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Besides eliminating boredom, toys can keep your puppy stimulated for their own physical and emotional well-being.

Get a few durable chew toys to soothe your dog’s teeth from discomfort when the adult teeth start to pop out.

Fetch toys like balls and frisbees can keep your young dog physically occupied while offering a great source of exercise and entertainment.

A person giving a stuffed Kong to a dog
Image Credit: Toffee from Instagram

For proper brain development and mental stimulation, you may need to get a few interactive dog toys such as puzzle feeders and a Kong.

A balanced mix of these activities will strengthen your bond with the new puppy and make them much happier and healthier.

5. New crate and bedding supplies for your puppy

With a sleep requirement of about 18 – 19 hours per day, you can easily see why you need to gather proper bedding supplies.

Select a durable dog bed that can withstand your puppy’s teeth. When choosing a blanket, make sure to go with the warmer ones to make the bed as comfortable as possible.

Select a puppy crate that comfortably fits your young dog. Dogs are naturally wired to avoid coiling their sleeping area, so this can help reduce potty accidents.

Talking of potty accidents, we recommend choosing a bed that can be wiped off with ease to maintain hygiene and aesthetics.

Brown puppy laying on a bed
Image Credit: FunnyFuzzy UK from Instagram

Choose a quiet corner as your puppy’s sleeping area. This will give them a sense of security and promote healthy sleep habits as they get used to being without you all the time.

Just like humans, puppies have their sleeping preferences too and you should pick a bed that aligns with what they love. Dog beds come in all manner of shapes and designs, so you’re sure to find a good fit.

If your puppy loves curling up in a ball as they sleep, then you should go for a donut bed to keep them comfy and satisfied.

A typical rectangular comfy bed might be a good option for dogs who love to stretch and sprawl out as they sleep.

6. Puppy Cleaning and Grooming Supplies

Your new puppy checklist is incomplete if it doesn’t include grooming and cleaning supplies. Washing your dog is more than aesthetics. It also improves the puppy’s hygiene and wellness.

The following are some of the grooming essentials that you should consider:

     I. Puppy pads

Training your dog on proper toileting habits can take a long time, and puppy pads can help a lot during this period.

Puppy training pads are made with a particular scent that attracts puppies and encourages them to eliminate.

Puppy pads are also very important for people living in apartments, who may not have enough time to take their dogs downstairs for a toilet break.

     II. Puppy shampoo

Add a gentle dog shampoo to your cart to keep your new puppy clean and smelling fresh after a quick bath.

Remember puppies have sensitive skins and delicate fur, so we recommend choosing hypoallergenic shampoo made with natural ingredients.

    III. Nail clippers

It is easy to forget your puppy’s nail care, but when you have the right tools for this job, everything becomes easy and enjoyable.

Get quality nail clippers and grinders to help trim those paws. Short nails are more comfortable on your dog and promote good walking habits.

   IV. Brush or comb

You will need a good brushing tool to keep your dog’s coat free from painful mats and control shedding. Regular brushing also helps spread the natural oils on your pup’s exterior for a smoother coat.

Brushing time can also be a great bonding session with your new puppy. The smooth glides over the puppy’s coat make for a smooth massage to help them relax.

    V. Enzymatic sprays

Expect potty accidents during training, but with a good enzymatic cleaner, you can restore the condition of your carpet or other furniture.

    VI. Canine Toothbrush and Toothpaste

The earlier you start brushing your puppy’s teeth, the more likely they are to get used to the procedure in the future.

Buy a canine-specific toothpaste and a soft toothbrush for effective dental care at home. However, you should wait until your puppy has all the adult teeth before you introduce this routine.

7. Puppy ID Tags and Microchipping

We don’t anticipate that your puppy will get loose, but it is a good idea to prepare for the worst-case scenario.

A simple ID tag that attaches to your puppy’s collar is one of the simplest identification marks you can leave on your new puppy.

For advanced protection, you can go for a GPS collar that gives you the real-time location update of your puppy.

The best part about GPS collars is their geofencing feature which sounds an alarm whenever your puppy leaves a safe zone.

A microchip is a very tiny electronic device with a unique identification number for your dog. Microchips are implanted under the dog’s skin. They can help reunite lost pups with their caring parents.

Your puppy’s microchip ID is linked to your personal contact information such as phone number, physical address, and official name.

In the unfortunate event that your puppy gets lost, a veterinarian can scan the implanted microchip and extract your details for easy identification.

Some rescue organizations and breeders microchip their puppies before they find forever homes. For this case, make sure the registration details have been updated to match yours.

If you’re unsure about microchipping your puppy, talk to your vet. They can explain the benefits and potential drawbacks to help you make the best decision.

8. Socialization needs for your puppy

Dogs are social animals. Introducing your new puppy to different settings and sounds will calm them and reduce the chances of fear and anxiety.

Consistent social training will mold your new puppy into a happy, well-mannered canine friend. It’s recommended to start socializing with your puppy as soon as possible.

The age bracket of 2 – 16 weeks forms a good foundation where your puppy can learn new things, improve memory, and create unforgettable experiences.

Do this by allowing your new puppy to explore all the family members and other furry friends before taking them out for outdoor exposure.

An australian shepherd puppy standing on a green field
Image Credit: aussietrinity from Instagram

Help your new puppy learn that meeting new people is exciting. See if the delivery person or mail carrier would be happy to give your young canine a treat to start a positive association.

You can expand your puppy’s social circle once they have had their first round of core vaccines. Do this by taking them outdoors to meet other vaccinated pets in different settings.

Be cautious about taking your new puppy to dog parks, until they have received their parvo vaccines. Rushing your young dog into social situations before they are ready can cause them to lose confidence.

9. Research on Pet insurance

It’s not easy to think about it, but your new puppy can fall ill or get injured as they explore the world.

Unexpected veterinary bills can leave a dent in your budget, and sometimes you may not have the means to care for your ailing pet.

A comprehensive pet insurance policy allows you to provide your puppy with the best care without breaking the bank.


Congratulations again on your new furry friend! Our new puppy checklist will help you navigate the pet parenting world with ease.

While raising a puppy can seem like a lot of work, the fruit that comes with investing in a canine companion is worth the effort.

Written By
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Justus Mogusu

Justus is the lead author at Furs'n'Paws. He is not only a passionate animal lover but also an experienced pet writer and editor with several years of expertise in the field. With a keen understanding of animal behavior and a talent for interpreting the puzzling body movements of pets, he has developed a deep passion for sharing his insights and experience with his readers. Justus is experienced in researching and reviewing pet products, and putting together product reviews and buying guides. He is dedicated to helping pet owners provide the best for their furry companions. His wealth of knowledge and love for animals make him a trusted resource in the pet community.

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