Bringing home a puppy is a very exciting time, and just like introducing any new family member, you need to make sure you have everything you need to provide your puppy with the perfect home.
It’s a good idea to buy all your puppy essentials before you bring your fur-baby home so that you don’t have to worry about hurrying to buy them, and you can introduce everything to your puppy during their socialisation period.
COLLAR & TAGS
Your pup will need a collar to attach a lead and tags to. It is a legal requirement for dogs to wear ID tags.
Your puppy will grow out of their collar quickly, so an adjustable flat collar with a buckle is good enough.
Make sure the collar fits perfectly:
- Not too loose. It should be impossible to slip over your puppy’s head.
- Not too tight. You should be able to fit two fingers under their collar.
Their tag must include:
- You name
- Your address
Most owners also include their phone number, but it is not a legal requirement.
The tag does not need your puppy’s name on, and it is generally advised not to add your puppy’s name to their tag to help prevent theft. We've got more information about what to put on your dog's tag, so check it out to find out more.
Although your puppy won’t be going for walkies until they’re fully vaccinated, having the lead means your puppy can get used to wearing it and you can start lead training.
You should get a solid lead of about 2m long for lead training and general use. This is your main lead so it should be strong, comfortable to hold, and not too heavy. Solid leads are best for offering you control of your puppy and preventing injury to you or your pup.
You can also buy a long-line lead to use later when you and your puppy begin recall training. These are usually several metres long.
Do not use bungee or extendable leads as these encourage pulling and give you little control of your puppy. Plus a puppy’s neck is not strong enough to support a collar and extendable lead so if they pull it can injure their neck and hurt your arm. The wire can also cause friction burns to you or your pooch.
Ideally, your puppy will have a crate to go in the car with which will keep them restrained and safe while giving them freedom of movement and space to lie down and relax.
If your car isn’t big enough for a cage, you can buy car restraints that attach to a harness and plug into the seatbelt. These restraints stop your puppy from wandering and distracting you while driving and also keep them safely tethered if you have an accident.
All puppies need a bed, preferably a padded one made from comfortable material so your pup can get cosy. Many beds are made with machine-washable material so they’re easy to clean.
Just be warned, your puppy will probably chew their bed so maybe don’t buy them the most expensive bed out there!
Puppy’s bed checklist:
- It must be big enough for your puppy to stretch out.
- Padded and comfy material.
- Flat beds are great for pups who like to stretch.
- Round, raised beds are good for nestling and curling up.
- Getting two beds is a great idea. One for in your main living space, and one for their crate or a quiet room.
- Vetfleece is synthetic sheepskin that’s cosy, soft, and warm but versatile and easy to wash. It’s great for crates.
Remember to get a blanket or a toy that you can rub on your puppy’s mum and littermates so they have a familiar, soothing smell to take to their new home.
Crates are an important safe space for your dog, just like how you have your own bedroom. Dogs, especially puppies, instinctively seek small enclosed spaces to relax in and feel secure.
Proper crate training helps a puppy to self-soothe and prevent anxiety, and gives them a quiet place to go if they need to chill out away from everyone. It increases their security and confidence, and it aids with housetraining.
Crate training will also mean your puppy is used to being in their crate and doesn’t find it stressful, which is super useful for when you travel together or any time your pup must be crated, e.g when boarding or if recovering from surgery.
When buying a crate, you need to make sure that:
- It’s tall enough for your dog to stand in as an adult.
- It’s long enough for your dog to lie down and stretch.
- The mesh and structure are sturdy.
- The mesh is not close together and they won’t get caught on it.
When you are crate training, remember:
- Introduce the crate from your puppy’s first day so they can recognise it as their safe space.
- Keep the crate door open most of the time so your pup knows they’re free to come and go.
- Put toys in the far end of the crate to encourage puppies to go inside and play.
- If your puppy struggles to settle, try putting a Kong stuffed with Pure or another soothing toy in with them to help them relax.
- Gradually introduce crate time to your puppy, starting with a few seconds and increasing the duration over time.
- Keep crate time short and don’t overuse the crate.
- Never use the crate as a punishment.
If you overuse the crate or use it as punishment, your puppy will start to hate their crate and not want to be in it, making them likely to vocalise and get distressed in future situations where you want to crate them.
If you don’t crate train your dog, you might want to buy a baby gate and provide a quiet, accessible room where your dog can go for some personal space.
Putting a baby gate into a doorway or hallway to prevent your puppy from being able to reach the front door gives you extra peace of mind and security because you know they can’t escape.
Baby gates also help to prevent your puppy from accessing areas while they are still learning boundaries. You should not rely on them though and need to teach your puppy house rules and boundaries still. EG: not going in the kitchen while someone is cooking.
If you aren’t crate training your dog, you can use a baby gate in a room they go into at night or when they need to be kept out the way.
All puppies need toys to play with to prevent boredom, aid training and encourage learning. Get your pup a mixture of toys with different uses, shapes, and textures so that they are interesting and varied to provide your fur-baby with lots of enrichment and stimulation.
Chew toys are important for puppies because they explore the world with their mouths and chew to strengthen their jaw muscles and to soothe themselves while teething. Having plenty of chews should prevent your pup from sinking their teeth into anything they shouldn’t, like the furniture or your feet.
Avoid toys that are breakable or small because they can be a choking risk. Toys should always be longer than the length of your dog’s muzzle and must not splinter. They should be tough, but not so strong they risk damaging your puppy’s teeth. To test if the toy is just right, you should be able to hit it against your knee without causing pain.
Your pup needs one bowl for water and one for food. They should be heavy enough that they can’t be knocked over, and have a non-slip bottom so they don’t slide around. If you’ve got a tall breed, you should buy raised bowls or a stand too.
You may be given a bag of food when you got your puppy, which you can use to gradually transition them onto the diet you plan to feed them. Otherwise, remember to check the type of food your puppy eats so you can buy some.
Any changes to your puppies diet must be gradual to prevent upsetting their stomach. You can check out our transition tips here.
TREATS & POUCH
A treat pouch means you can take treats on the go and always have them ready to reward good behaviour or to distract your puppy if they get up to mischief.
As for treats, you can buy healthy dog treats or use dog-safe food cut into tiny pieces. Varying treats and making sure your puppy works for them means that they should retain their high value, so your puppy will be willing to co-operate to get their paws on one!
Anything you can use to pick up poop and tie it shut is fine, be it poo bags, nappy bags, or anything similar. Just make sure they’re strong enough that they won’t tear because a poop bag splitting open is the last thing you want!
You’ll need to get your grooming tools early so that you can introduce them to your puppy during their socialisation period. This makes grooming less stressful for you and your pooch for the rest of their lives.
- A short-toothed brush for short fur
- A de-shedding brush
- A comb for long fur
- A toothbrush (and doggy toothpaste!)
- Nail clippers
- Doggy shampoo
Remember puppies and dogs don’t need frequent bathing. Your pup should only be bathed if they have gotten dirty and smelly (Like if they’ve rolled in poo) otherwise just bathe them every few months.
You need to make sure your puppy is registered with a local vet. You will also need:
- Contact details for your emergency 24-hour vet
- Worming medication
- Pet insurance
- Any other medication your puppy needs