Updated: Nov 17, 2021
When you are bringing a new member of the family home, you can certainly get by with the bare minimum of supplies, but life can be a lot easier when you are prepared for puppies and dogs to be, well, normal puppies and dogs. That could mean chewing baseboards, eating shoes, and going potty on your favorite rug. This list is comprehensive but of course, there might be things that specific dogs really like that have been missed and many of these things are certainly not essential, just nice to have on hand. Feel free to email Tanzi@DogCrazyLady.com with ideas!
Links are provided for some products for the sake of clarity; they are not affiliate links. Be sure to shop around to find the best prices and choose the appropriate size /type of items for your dog. There is an * next to items that are really must-haves.
Your Team of Experts
*A Fear Free Certified Veterinarian and close, reputable ER that your vet respects
A Groomer if needed – ask your trainer for a recommendation
A Dog walker /Dog sitter if needed – ask your trainer for a recommendation. My clients, click the link provided here
App called Dog Decoder to improve your knowledge of canine communication
*Reflective collar with embroidered ID or ID tags available at pet supply stores. Just use sharpie to write on the collar if the tags fall off. Rolled leather collars can cause less tangling for dogs with long, double coats. Tiny puppies might need teacup collars or cat collars. Martingale collars are a better fit for dogs with narrow heads. You can get those with name plates, too. No choke, prong, or shock collars, ever.
*5-6’ flat leash with comfortable handle (leather, Planet Dog fleece lined); avoid retractable leashes for various reasons and avoid thin nylon leashes which can tear your hands.
*Front attachment harness for walking as pup grows (Ruffwear Front Range, Freedom No pull, etc…). Collars are not for leash attachment except when pup is very young and if pup is not pulling. Remove harness during play with other puppies so no one's jaw gets stuck.
*A crate big enough to stand up and turn around with bedding – any bigger or pup might soil the crate, initially. Most crates have a divider you can use to adjust the size and you can also block off space with rolled towels. Soft crates are available that are lighter and more portable but they can be chewed through by some dogs. Check out weekend crate training tips here.
Snugglepuppy for crate when sleeping and on car rides if crated
Gate(s) for small rooms (free-standing with feet if you aren’t attaching firmly to walls) and/or exercise pen tall enough that full grown pup can’t jump out of; an ex-pen is more protective of your home. If you don't want these, plan to use the "umbilical method" where pup is attached to you with a long leash at all times when you are doing anything other than watching your puppy.
*Enzymatic cleaner for accidents, e.g. Woolite brands are pretty good
Black light flashlight to help find dried accidents
Pee pads ONLY if pup is left in ex-pen unattended for longer than pup can hold it. They tend to encourage dogs to use soft surfaces for potty trips (bath mats, area rugs, etc…)
Potty Bell- can wait to see if pup signals on own before purchasing
*Poop bag dispenser with poop bags (avoid Biobags, they sometimes break open easily)
*Keep training rewards in the home and at the potty location for housetraining (or have some other plan to keep them with you). Use lean meat or freeze-dried meat for best results. If you leave them out in the yard, be sure you use a raccoon/dog proof container.
Spotbot or similar carpet cleaner for accidents
*Dog bed, at least one per floor of your home unless you want to carry one around. It’s good to have a removable, washable cover. Orvis makes some quality beds with liquid-resistant liners if your dog has any inclination to soiling a bed and their beds are easy to re-stuff after washing the cover. L.L. Bean beds and Top Paw beds can be very difficult to re-stuff. For heavier chewers consider K9 Ballistics beds. Buy one that will be the right size when your pup is fully grown.
*Food/meal dispensing toys in lieu of (boring) bowls (e.g. Treat Ball, Kong wobbler, (3) Kong stuffables and/or West Paw Zogoflex Toppl toy(s) or West paw Zogoflex Tux toy, AKA puppy pacifiers.) Choose the right size and durability for your dog. If it’s too small, it can get lodged in the mouth or throat. If it’s too soft, it will get torn up; soft ones for puppies and seniors, red for average chewers, black for power chewers. Why 3? One to play, one in the fridge or freezer, one lost under the couch temporarily! Not sure how to stuff? Check out these ideas. Snuffle mats and Lickimats are fun for some dogs, particularly short nosed dogs like pugs or bulldogs, puppies, dogs who tend to be giver-uppers with more difficult feeding toys. Destructive dogs might tear the fleece so please supervise.
Chewing and Playing Supplies
Your vet may have strong feelings about appropriate chews so be sure to ask. Hard chews can microfracture or slab fracture a tooth and soft chews can be ingested and cause blockages. There are few perfect options.
Multiple dog toys with varied textures kept in rotation (fluffy/stuffed toy, long rope toy, harder rubber or nylon toy, Gorilla Chew if pup likes wood, squeaker or water bottle toy, flirt pole toy, etc.…) Toys are like martinis- a bit pricey, meant to be enjoyed, and gone far too quickly, sometimes!
*Bitter apple spray – for items that cannot be moved (electrical cords, baseboards). Grannick's is a tried and true brand. Not to be sprayed into your puppy’s or dog’s mouth!
*Good quality puppy or dog food; not grain-free and appropriate size for your pup (e.g. large breed puppy). Puppies usually eat 3 meals per day until 6-9 months. Check with your vet who will likely suggest Royal Canin, Purina Pro Plan, Iams, Eukanuba, or Hill's Science Diet. Chewy has a whole page of brands that are WSAVA approved.
*Soft, small training treats or just use lean meat /chicken
Bath mat for “place” training – fluffy, rubber back, blue or yellow or contrast to floor
Long line for recall training. The smaller your dog, the lighter this should be. Stay under 50’ or you might get pulled off your feet when your dog sees a squirrel and you don’t!
Training reference books by reputable, expert authors (Lauren VanArendonk Baugh, Pat Miller, Patricia McConnell, Jolanta Benal, ). Avoid: Cesar Milan, Monks of New Skete, anything that talks about packs, dominance, alpha, or using pain to train.
Whole Dog Journal subscription
Shampoo for pup, either bar style or a liquid shampoo bottled in a scent you like. Look for “easy rinsing.”
Towels – microfiber works well
Brush that’s appropriate for your dog’s coat (ask your breeder or groomer)
Nail clippers if not having this done at the vet or groomer.
Seatbelt or Pet Tube or plan to put a crate in your car for travel (place a towel in crate instead of bedding in case your pet vomits. If your pet gets car sick, ask your vet about trying Bonine or Cerenia.)
Sweater for dog with a thin fur coat, preferably one that is easy to put on without putting the legs through holes. Anxiety wraps can work nicely as sweaters.
Portable water bowl for long walks outside in hot weather or for travel
Cool gel mat for summer months if pup doesn’t chew beds
If the Budget Didn't Break Just Yet
Camera to watch pup while away that also dispenses treats, e.g. Furbo
You can see why the dog supply business is $86 billion and climbing; there's so much great stuff out there! New products hit the market every week. Be sure to email me about any new must haves /nice to haves you discover.