New Puppy Checklist: What Do I Need?

Throwback to 25th June 2019 and I found myself asking those questions to my local pet store, but first let’s rewind…

That day I didn’t know it, but in the afternoon I was going to be surprised with the most loving and adorable border collie pup named Shep. Heck, I had no idea what I was doing or how to even begin to look after a puppy – I don’t think Henry had actually thought his plan through thoroughly either but that’s the way we live, spontaneously! I mean I’ve looked after older dogs and Henry and I spoke about owning a dog one day, but never did I imagine that 2019 was going to be the year one came into my life.

Nevertheless, Henry showed up at the house carrying Shep who was the perfect ball of fluff. Gobsmacked but totally smitten, I fell in love with him instantly. Apart from a cardboard box which we used as his bed for a few days and a bag of dry puppy food we had zero supplies. As I stood in Pets At Home eyeing up all the jazzy collars, brands of food, chews and beds it was very overwhelming as I didn’t know what the best products were for my pup, what is essential or what things to avoid.

My new puppy checklist can apply to all puppies, but keep in mind that some breeds require specialised needs/items which are not outlined in my list. Also everything listed below is what I recommend you have the day you bring your puppy home.

THE BASICS

COLLAR

I think as long as you buy an adjustable collar that is most important as your puppy will grow in no time! A simple collar with a buckle will do the trick just fine.

LEAD

Just like collars there are multiple options for types of leads too. Depending on the type of dog, the size of your dog, how well trained your dog will depend on what type of lead you buy. Find something that works for you and your puppy. Also you might not be able to take your puppy out for walks just yet but it’s always good to get them used to being on a lead even if it’s practicing in the house or garden.

NAMETAG

Nametags are an essential purchase for any new dog in your family whether young or old and they are now a legal requirement. You can buy them online or usually from your local pet store. Make sure it includes the puppy’s name, telephone number and even a postcode is sometimes helpful. Making sure your dog is also microchipped as they could lose their collar.

HARNESS (optional)

Some owners like their dogs to wear a harness as well as a collar. Ever since Shep was small he has worn a collar and then when we take him on walks he wears a harness. We love the Ezy Dog Express Harness and Ezy Dog Zero Shock Lead. As Shep joins Henry & I running, mountain biking and spends a lot of time outdoors the express harness and zero shock lead are the perfect combination. This has been one of the best purchases as Shep has a tendancy to pull on walks so these items work hand in hand to absorb any sudden shocks made by your dog.

The reason we like Shep to wear a harness is that should we ever need to grab him suddenly, I’d feel much more comfortable holding him by his harness rather than his collar. I fear that by grabbing him by his collar could force him to back away from us loosing the trust we’d already built.

NUTRITION

PUPPY FOOD

I find puppy food a difficult one. There are so many options out there and it did take us a while to find food that was nutricious, healthy, suits Sheps breed and lifestyle. He is loving Wainwright’s Dry Puppy Food and we find soaking his food in a little warm water helped/s him digest his food safely.

FOOD AND WATER BOWL

A simple stainless steel bowl will do the trick. I had been looking for a raised pet feeder for ages and found the perfect one at Homesense. It came with 2 stainless steel bowls and is great for travelling, prevents Shep from knocking his water bowl over and has helped slow down his speedy eating.

TREATS

I think treats are a really important part of your puppies upbringing. They are a great reward for good behaviour and also useful to implement when training your dog. Shep’s favourites are Wagg’s Training Bones and Wainwrights Treats.

COMFORT

DOG CRATE / BED

Personally Henry & I don’t like crates, however some owners prefer to crate train especially if you intend to travel a lot with your pup and keep them enclosed whilst on car journeys, it can also become a safe space for them to sleep in.

Dog beds are just as comforting and I think every puppy needs a cozy and warm place to sleep. Ever since owning Shep he has always slept on a soft, sofa style bed. Now, your puppy will most likely try to chew and eat his/her bed, so personally I don’t advice buying a really expensive bed to begin with. Now that Shep is 1 year old we are beginning to look at better quality, more durable and washable beds.

BEDDING

Whether it is blankets, towels or old bedsheets they are perfect for building a safe and cosy sleep spot for you dog. We’re still using the same blanket that Henry’s step sister donated on day 1 that Shep came home and he has slept perfectly ever since day 1.

TOYS

DOG TOYS

I recommend getting lots of different toys. Different shapes, sizes and textures to help your puppy with their teething/chewing and to keep them entertained. I also recommend getting toys that are non destructible, Henry & I found KONG toys to be great purchases as regardless of how much Shep chewedthem he couldn’t destroy or eat them.

CHEWS

I’ve always been quite particular about what food, treats and chews I give Shep so that he gets all the right nutrients, stays healthy and help shed his puppy teeth. Our favourite dog chews are Yakers and Antos Antler chews. They’re also great if you want to avoid unwanted chewing of furniture, clothes, shoes, hands or feet!

PLAYPEN

Until Shep was old enough to be left to roam freely outdoors we created a make shift playpen using windbreaks, you now, those things you take to the beach?! We cordoned off an area on the lawn to allow Shep to get used to being outdoors, it enabled us to keep an eye on him without him escaping, get him used to different smells and it became a great learning aid for potty training if he did any accidents indoors.

DON’T FORGET

POO BAGS

We always go for Earth Rated Poo Bags simply because they break down over time whilst still being tough and totally leak proof!

PUPPY PADS

We didn’t actually purchase any of these as Shep picked the whole I wee outside thing up quite quickly! However they are useful training aids, alternatively old newspapers or cardboard boxes also do the trick.

PET INSURANCE

This was organised within a matter a minutes of us owning Shep and ideally I think every pet should have insurance as you never know what may happen. Shop around food good deals as they are plenty out there.

You may discover that you need require other items that are not listed above such as grooming products and you will find that you need new items along the way. Every puppy and their needs/requirements are different, but as long as you prepare it will all be worth while as you will have given your new four-legged friend the best start in life. Find my printable New Puppy Checklist below.

Love, AR