First Time Dog Owners Checklist: Everything Your New Puppy Needs

First Time Dog Owners Checklist: Everything Your New Puppy Needs

Are you about to welcome a new furry friend into your home?

Whether it’s your first time owning a dog or you’ve been through this before, it’s important to be prepared with the right supplies.

This comprehensive new dog checklist will help make sure your pooch is happy and comfortable in its new surroundings.

From food and water dishes to bedding and toys, we’ve got you covered on all the basic essentials your puppy will need! Let us help take some of the guesswork out of getting ready for your new best friend.

You can also download the checklist as a printable PDF

Important Notes to New Dog Parents

  • Choose the right breed for you and your lifestyle: Not all breeds are created equal and some may be better suited for your lifestyle than others. Do your research to find the right fit for you.
  • Get your home ready: Dogs need their own space in the house where they can feel safe and comfortable. This could be a crate, exercise pen, or even just a corner of a room that's all their own.
  • Puppy-proof your home: Dogs are curious creatures and will put their noses (and teeth) into just about anything. Go through your house and remove anything that could be harmful to your pup, such as electric cords, poisonous plants, etc.
  • Buy the essentials: This includes things like dog towels, dog beds, collars and leashes, food and water bowls, dog drying bags, toys, etc.
  • Find a reputable vet: This is someone you'll be trusting with your dog's health so it's important to find someone you're comfortable with. Ask around for recommendations or look for online reviews.
  • Get pet insurance: This may not be something you need right away but it's always good to have in case of an emergency.
  • Schedule a welcome home visit: This is when you'll actually bring your new dog home. Choose a time when you'll be able to spend several hours at home with your pup to help them settle in.  


Basic Essentials Checklist

  • Water and food bowl
  • Collar (preferably snap-release adjustable nylon for a puppy, buckle nylon, or leather for an adult dog)
  • 4-6 foot leather leash (NOT retractable)
  • Toys acceptable for their age (puppy-specific toys)
  • Bag of food acceptable for their age (puppy food)
  • Bedding (lambskin or soft blanket for a crate, or an actual bed from the pet store)
  • Name tag (you can get one at your local pet store, put your phone number on it and the dog's name, or whatever you like)
  • Treats (for training, soft treats are best)
  • Potty pads
  • Enzymatic stain cleaners
  • Harness
  • Crate
  •  Baby camera

Grooming Essentials Checklist

  • Dog towels
  • Toothpaste
  • Flea comb
  • Nail clippers
  • Brushes that fits your breed's coat type
  • Puppy shampoo or adult dog shampoo depending on their age

Training Essentials Checklist

  • Harness (Easy Walk Harness or two-step harness for pullers)
  • Training Rewards Treats
  • Chew Deterrent (e.g., Bitter Apple or Yuck)
  • Treat Pouch (often recommended for obedience classes)

Bedding and Travel Essentials Checklist

  • Dog Bed
  • Crate Mat or Liner
  • Pet Carrier (for smaller dogs)
  • Dog Seatbelt Harness
  • Car Seat Covers or Doggie Hammock (protect seats, catch dirt and fur)
  • Travel Collapsible Food and Water Bowls
  • All Purpose Dog Blanket

Pet Proofing Essentials Checklist

  • Make the yard secure if your pet will be allowed outdoorsKeep your trash under wraps.
  • Ensure that all electrical cords are out of your pet's reach
  • Properly stow bags.
  • Create a drug-free zone.
  • Watch out for poisonous house plants.
  • Give them space.
  • Pack your poisons.
  • Set limits.
  • Heights: keep your pup grounded.
  • Batteries are not remotely safe.

Safety Essentials Checklist

  • Microchipping, including how to maintain the microchip registration with current contact information
  •  Potential hazards
  • Transportation advice, including how to safely restrain your puppy in the car, motion
  • sickness, and anxiety
  •  How to safely clean up after your puppy

Socialization and Behavior Checklist

  • Socialization and regular handling, including puppy classes
  • Use positive reinforcement methods to train your puppy
  • Identify signs of fear, stress, and anxiety in dogs
  • Read a dog’s body language and prevent dog bites
  • Provide mental stimulation and enrichment to avoid common behavioral problems

Veterinarian & Health Care Checklist

  • Find a local vet
  • Schedule first time and regular check in
  • Heartworm medicine
  • Flea and tick control

Daily Routine

  • Always have fresh water out
  • Schedule playtime for 15 – 30 minutes at least 3-4 times/day
  • Wash food and water bowls regularly
  • Provide bathroom breaks 30-40mins after break

Weekly Routine

  • Brush your pet’s teeth at least 3x/week
  • Brush your pet’s coat at least 2x/week
  • Clean pet’s bedding at least 1x/week
  • Clean your pet’s toys at least 1x/week

Monthly Routine

  • Trim your pet’s nails (or get them professionally done)
  • Protect your pet from fleas, ticks, heartworms, and intestinal parasites. (Year-round protection is recommended)
  • If recommended for your breed, get professionally groomed

Yearly Routine

  • Schedule a regular veterinary wellness exam
  • Get an annual dental cleaning
  • Get necessary preventative testing


You should now be armed and ready with everything you need to welcome your new furry friend home. From leashes and collars to food bowls, beds, toys, and ID tags - you're all set! For more tips on pet parenthood, keep reading our blog.