Puppy Checklist: Getting off to a Great Start

5 min read

Buying the Right Puppy Supplies

By Jessica Vogelsang, DVM

Few events are as exciting in life as the addition of a new furry friend. With a new pet comes great responsibility, and great mountains of puppy supplies. Preparation is the key to a successful transition — having some of the items you know you will need ready to go before Fido arrives will make the process go much more easily! Make sure you have these puppy checklist items on hand before you’re distracted by a licking, happy ball of fur in the house.

VIEW SLIDESHOW: 10 Puppy Supplies to Add to Your Checklist


Dog Toys

Teething puppies have an intrinsic need to chew. If you don’t have an adequate supply of chew toys on hand, you can kiss your shoes, purses, and furniture goodbye. Inappropriate chewing is annoying, expensive, and possibly even dangerous, so set your puppy up for success with dog-appropriate chew toys.

There are plenty of age-specific dog chew toys on the market. Those designated for puppies are a little smaller and softer than the adult toys, because puppy teeth are more prone to fracture. They are still durable enough to handle aggressive mouthing. Chew toys that are quickly ripped up may be ingested by a curious puppy, so monitor your dog during playtime and remove any destroyed toys immediately.

Dog Treats

Dog treats are the highlight of a puppy’s day. They can make dog training a snap and improve the human-puppy bond through a positive reinforcement program. Because it’s easy to overdo, make sure dog treats are small enough to be a tiny bite of flavor, not a meal replacement.

Dog Food

Growing dogs need a food that is appropriate for their developmental stage. Optimal nutrient profiles are especially important for large breed dogs, who can develop painful bone conditions when they are allowed to grow too quickly.

Puppy foods are designed to provide adequate nutrition for the rapid growth phase without overdoing it on the calorie count. These age-specific foods are found at all major pet food retailers; make sure to review diet recommendations with your veterinarian to ensure the food you’re using is the right choice for your dog. They’re only puppies once!


Dogs should have a safe, comfortable, clean spot to sleep in. Many owners find crate training an indispensable tool in the house training process, and this solves the problem of both house training and a designated slumber spot. A large crate with a soft cozy crate pad is just what puppy needs for a secure place to lay his busy head.

Cleaning Supplies

If there is one thing you want on hand BEFORE it becomes a necessity, it’s cleaning supplies. Puppies are messy, no two ways about it. They rip things up. They have accidents. They sometimes vomit on the rug. A good supply of cleaning supplies is indispensable.

There are plenty of cleaning supplies on the market depending on your flooring and your preferences. Cleansers designated “pet safe” are a good way to ensure that even if Fido sneaks a lick, it won’t be a problem for him or for you. Enzymatic cleaners, which specifically break down proteins such as the ones found in urine, are very helpful for those house training incidences.

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