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What to Buy A New Puppy: Your Ultimate Shopping List

Written By
16 min read

Updated - Mar 25th, 2022

Hooray! You’re getting a new puppy! Now it’s time to prep for their arrival – but where to start? A trip to the pet store can be overwhelming, leaving you wondering what your new dog actually needs. 

Of course you want to spoil your new puppy rotten, but before you break the bank, let’s cover the essentials. This list is filled with everything you need to give your precious pooch a happy and healthy life, no frills.

Puppy supplies: The essentials

These are products you’ll want handy the day you bring your puppy home and for the weeks to come. We’ve arranged them by category to help you check them off your list one aisle (or ‘add to cart’) at a time. 

Training

Food

Sleep/travel

Bathroom supplies

Grooming

Toys 

Tip: Choose one toy from each category. You’ll soon find your puppy’s favorite, eliminating the need to keep buying expensive toys that lay untouched.

Puppy services: The essentials

Some of these services are necessary, while others are for convenience and will depend on your unique needs. Regardless, you’ll want to start your research early on, so you’re not scrambling to find these services at the last minute.

Puppy Supply Buying Guide

Adjustable Collar

An adjustable collar with an easy-release clasp is for everyday use. Being adjustable is key, so your puppy can grow for a while before you need to buy a new one. This is especially true for large breeds that grow a lot in their first year.

Choose a collar that is snug yet loose enough that it isn’t constricting your puppy’s neck. Many puppies do well with standard, flat, nylon adjustable collars. They are lightweight and very affordable. 

Pro tip: When fitting a collar, you should be able to fit two fingers in between the collar and the puppy’s neck. Be prepared to check the fit frequently as your puppy grows and adjust it.

We recommend:

Blueberry Pet Essentials Nylon Adjustable Dog Collar

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Adjustable Harness

An adjustable harness is great for walks as it gives you more control when leash training, especially if your puppy likes to pull. They also protect your puppy’s neck and back if a squirrel appears and your puppy tries to bolt after it. 

Harnesses come in several designs for different purposes. Choose a flat, standard harness with the leash clip on the back. It should fit well through the chest and shoulders, but not tight enough to constrict or rub under your puppy’s legs. When you can fit two fingers in between the harness and the body, it’s a good fit.

Pro tip: Find a harness with chew-resistant material – you’ll thank us later!

We recommend:

BARKBAY No Pull Dog Harness

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Leash

When your puppy learns to walk on the leash and you trust them to wander, a retractable leash is okay, but while your puppy is young, you’ll want to keep them close and focused. For this reason, a standard 6-foot flat, nylon leash works best.

When choosing a leash, consider the size and weight of your dog. If you have a tiny dog like a Maltese or Yorkie, you don’t want a large thick leash and fastener, and if you have a large dog like a German Shepherd or Labrador Retriever, a small, thin leash won’t cut it.

Pro tip: Human hand comfort matters, too! Look for a leash with a comfy handle to spare your hands when your dog lunges or pulls.

We recommend:

PetSafe Nylon Dog Leash

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Dog ID Tags

Some breeders and shelters will include microchipping as part of the adoption process, but many do not. Having identification tags with your contact information and your dog’s name is essential in the event your pup escapes. Not only is it an adorable (and life-saving) accessory, but will give you peace of mind!

Pro tip: Dog ID Tags can be custom-made and engraved by most pet supply retailers such as your local Petco.

We reccommend:

Providence Engraving Pet ID Tags

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Puppy training treats

As you endure the highs and lows of potty training and crate training, a bag of puppy training treats will be your best friend! It’s important that you look for training treats specifically – they’re typically smaller and softer so your dog can gobble them up quickly, and move on to their next command without a hitch. Anything bigger or harder to chew, and your dog may get distracted and fall off course.

Look for healthy ingredients, soft texture, and stock up on a variety of flavors that will aid in positive reinforcement.

Pro tip: Too much of any treat will become boring after a while. Keep things fresh by mixing in different treats if you notice your dog getting bored/distracted.

We recommend:

Wellness Soft Puppy Bites

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Check out the rest of our favorite training treats!

Food and water bowls

From cute, colored plastic bowls to hand-painted ceramic bowls, there are a plethora of food and water bowls available at pet retailers.

Plastic bowls aren’t the best choice for a puppy’s food and water dishes, as you run the risk of a chewed-up bowl when they begin to teeth. Ceramic bowls are heavier and great for puppies who like to push their food bowls around. Plus, keeping them clean is a breeze since they’re dishwasher-safe. Many dog parents consider stainless steel bowls the best option. They are lightweight, easily cleaned, and pretty indestructible. They might not be as cute, but they get the job done!

Pro tip: Even with the most careful handling, ceramic bowls can chip or crack, making them unsafe for your puppy. Check them regularly and discard damaged bowls.

We recommend:

PEGGY11 Deep Stainless Steel Anti-Slip Dog Bowls

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Healthy puppy food

Healthy dog food that is age-appropriate is puppy essential. Most puppies come home with a small portion of the food they were eating. If you plan on changing to different food, make a slow transition to avoid any tummy upset. Your veterinarian is a great resource for helping you choose healthy food for your pup and making a safe food transition.

Pro Tip: In a multi-dog household, keeping adult dogs away from the puppy bowl can be a challenge. Puppy food has more fats than adult dog food, making it very appealing. Feeding your new pup an “All life stages” food can solve that problem. They have enough nutrients in them for puppies (even large breed puppies) and won’t cause excessive weight gain in adult dogs. 

We recommend:

Life’s Abundance Puppy Food

Check out the rest of our top puppy food picks!

Food storage container

Though you can just scoop puppy food straight out of the bag with a plastic cup, you may want to invest in a food storage container. You’d be surprised how quickly your pup can catch on and find their food’s hiding spot, which makes it easy for them to get into mischief and overeat. Not only does a food container prevent this from happening, but many pet owners say it keeps their food fresher for longer. 

Pro tip: This is especially useful if you live in a multi-dog household and buy kibble in bulk. Buy an XL container so you can store multiple bags of food at once.

We recommend:

GAMMA2 Vittles Vault Outback Airtight Pet Food Container

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Crate

While you can (and should!) puppy-proof your house, this will only do so much to protect your pup. A crate gives your puppy a place to sleep, calm down, and prevents them from getting into trouble. 

There are many types of crates available, however, a wire crate is best. Not only does it give your pup the best view of their surroundings, but they also can’t chew through it like they can with a plastic crate. A soft mat or a puppy blanket in the crate can enhance your pup’s comfort.

Pro tip: Crates should be large enough for your puppy to enter without crouching, stand up in, turn around, and lie down. If you have a large breed puppy who’s going to do a bit of growing, there are crates with dividers to increase the space as they grow.

We recommend:

MidWest Homes for Pets iCrate, Single Door & Double Door Dog Crates

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Playpen

These are a must-have for all puppy parents. Puppies need quiet time and a place they can be safe when unsupervised. Creating a play and sleep environment for daytime lets them take those all-important naps their little bodies need, eliminates potty accidents, and gives you peace of mind.

Pro tip: Playpens also come in handy for keeping puppies separate from any older pets in your household.

We recommend:

Dog Playpen Indoor/Outdoor Folding Pen

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Dog bed 

Dog beds come in all shapes and sizes and range in price. You can go as standard or as luxe as you’d like, but the most important thing is that your puppy fits in it! 

While your new puppy may sleep in their crate during the night, they’ll nap many times throughout the day and prefer to be near you. Having a dog bed where you spend most of your time will encourage puppy naps while allowing you to keep up with your day-to-day activities.

Pro tip: If your plan was to let your dog sleep on your bed, please reconsider. Your pup may pee or poop on the bed while you sleep. Young puppies or small dogs can also fall off the bed resulting in injury.

We recommend:

Furhaven Orthopedic, Cooling Gel, and Memory Foam Pet Beds

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Check out the rest of our favorite dog beds!

Travel kennel 

Which travel kennel you choose will depend on how you are traveling, but the most important factors are size and safety features. We recommend waiting a couple months to buy this item, as your pup will have some growing to do, and they shouldn’t be traveling too much as a young puppy anyway! 

Make sure you read reviews carefully, as the last thing you want to do is feel uneasy traveling with your pup. Some standout safety features to look for: sturdy, element-repelling exterior, strong carry handles, tie down straps, and back up safety latches.

Pro tip: If you plan on air travel, choose a crate that is airline-approved. If you’re planning to travel with your dog on the plane, the crate will need to fit under the seat during the flight.

We recommend:

Gunner Kennels Dog Crate

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Check out our favorite dog travel gear here!

Pee pads 

Your youngster may need to pee or poop every 30 minutes in the beginning, so pee pads will be a life-saver. Pee pads can keep feces and urine off the floor and carpet while you’re working on puppy training. Pads come with attractants on them, letting dogs know where to go when you aren’t around or miss their cue.

Pro tip: Try to move your puppy’s pee pad a foot or two closer to the door everyday. Eventually, move it outside to create a smooth transition for potty training.

We recommend:

Amazon Basics Dog and Puppy Pads

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Poop bags

Picking up puppy poop is not fun, but it’s necessary. Parasites are found in poop and the ground for a long time, leaving your puppy to reinfect itself if you don’t clean up that poop. No matter where you go with your puppy, you’re expected to clean up after them, so it’s a good idea to keep a roll of them at home, in your car, or in your bag on-the-go.

Pro tip: There are poop bag holders that connect to leashes, which is a great way to ensure you always have one on hand.

We recommend:

Earth Rated Dog Poop Bags

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Enzyme cleaner 

Even with pee pads aplenty, there’s bound to be lots of accidents in those first few weeks (and months!) Enzyme cleaners keep the urine smell out of the carpets, beds, and blankets when accidents happen. If the smell remains, your puppy will use that area again, so it’s extremely important to clean it as soon as possible. This stuff is magic!

Pro tip: Make sure you soak the stain with the enzyme cleaner, let it sit covered with a towel and a weight, and vacuum it up once it’s dried. For extra bad odors and stains, you may want to let it sit for up to an hour.

We recommend:

Rocco & Roxie Stain & Odor Eliminator

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Toothbrush and toothpaste (for puppies)

You may not have considered brushing your dog’s teeth, but it’s critical for preventing dental disease which is way more common than you think. Brushing your dog’s teeth is a daily, or at least twice per week, home dental care routine that’s best started from day one of your dog’s new life.

Choose a dog toothpaste over human toothpaste, and talk to your vet about which brush is best for your little one.

Pro tip: If you can’t carve out time to brush everyday, there are plenty of other healthy dental alternatives such as dental chews or chew toys designed specifically for dental health!

We recommend:

Virbac C.E.T. Enzymatic Oral Hygiene Poultry Flavor Dog Dental Kit

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Hair Brush

Depending on what breed of puppy you have, the type of brush you use and how often you brush your dog will vary. If your puppy has a thick coat or heavy undercoat, you might want a slicker brush for controlling shedding and matting, whereas if they have a thin coat, soft bristle brushes will eliminate loose hair and bring out the shine in your dog’s coat. You can purchase combo brushes to get the best of both worlds as well!

Pro tip: Combs will detangle hair and smaller mats. There are flea combs to remove fleas and flea eggs as well.

We recommend:

Hartz Groomer’s Best Combo Dog Brush

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Nail Clippers

Though it can be nerve-wracking at first, trimming your dog’s nails is an essential part of puppy care. You’ll want to keep your dog’s nails from overgrowing, as it can result in injured tendons or splayed feet. If you have a small puppy, you might only need scissor clippers whereas if you have a large dog, you might want strong guillotine clippers. If you still can’t get the hang of nail trimming or your dog is too erratic to do it safely, you can contact your groomer or vet to help.

Pro tip: Styptic powder can stop bleeding fast in the event you trim your dog’s nails too short!

We recommend:

BOSHEL Dog Nail Clippers With Safety Guard

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Puppy shampoo

Puppy shampoo is essential for bath time, but also when you notice your pup tracking mud through the house! You want your puppy’s shampoo to be gentle on their sensitive skin yet effective and thorough. It should be easy to shampoo in and rinse out and be free of any dyes, drying alcohol, or parabens. As your puppy grows and bath time becomes more routine, you might find you need more specialized shampoos such as flea shampoos or detangling shampoos, but start with something clean and simple, and when in doubt, consult your veterinarian and groomer!

Pro tip: Never use a human shampoo on your dog as it will strip the natural oils from your dog’s skin.

We recommend: 

Rocco and Roxie Dog Shampoo

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Chew toy

Puppies explore their world with their mouths, which means they chew everything! Getting chew toys will save your furniture, shoes, and carpets from those sharp little teeth. Just be sure to leave the heavy-duty, indestructible chew toys, for later in life when their puppy teeth have fallen out and permanent teeth have grown in.

Pro tip: Puppies that like to chew or are teething, can benefit from edible chews like bully sticks. Supervision is required as they may try to swallow it. Discard the chew when the length gets smaller than the width of your pup’s mouth. 

We recommend:

Nylabone Puppy Chew Toy

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Puzzle toys

Puzzle toys such as the Kong and snuffle mats provide busy activities that require little supervision. These toys provide lots of mental stimulation which is especially important for more active, high-energy breeds. These toys are not only fun to play with but help them burn off some of that boundless energy.

Pro tip: Once your pup establishes a feeding schedule, try putting their morning meal worth of kibble in the toy and let them play with it while you get ready for your day. Yay for multi-tasking!

We recommend:

StarMark Bob-A-Lot Interactive Dog Toy

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Plush comfort toys

Soft, plush toys can provide comfort for a puppy used to cuddling up with their mom and littermates. Beware: As your puppy gets older, they may insist on chewing it up and taking the squeakers out of the toy, making a mess, so we suggest getting one with a squeaker, and one without.

Pro tip: There are also comfort plush toys that include heartbeats for that young puppy that cries out for mom at night.

We recommend:

SmartPetLove Snuggle Puppy Heartbeat Stuffed Toy

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For more ideas, check out our list of puppy toys sure to keep your little one busy!

New puppy services guide

Veterinarian: You’ll need a local veterinarian to oversee you puppy’s health and development, routine care such as vaccinations, and of course, be there in the event of unexpected illness or injury. Your vet is an excellent resource for all of your puppy-raising questions too!

Pet Insurance: Getting pet insurance for your puppy can help you afford veterinary care when you need it most. Whether it be accidents or illnesses, when the unexpected happens (and believe me, it will!) pet insurance can help you pay for costly vet bills. Since pet insurance providers usually don’t cover pre-existing conditions, it’s a good idea to find a plan that works for you as soon as possible.

Trainer/training classes: Puppies are happier, healthier, and safer when they are trained. Whether you’re working on potty training, basic commands, or socialization, there are professional dog trainers and training classes available to help! You might not need one, but if you do, check out dog training resources in your area.

Pet sitter: If you need to leave your puppy for a few days or even overnight, a good pet sitter is a must. Check out the sitters available in your area, or better yet, have a designated family member come stay with your puppy when you have to travel. Your veterinarian and Yelp are excellent resources for finding reputable sitters. 

Groomer: Not everyone has the room or the time to bathe and groom their dogs on the regular, and some breeds require more maintenance than others. Check your area for reputable groomers if you aren’t planning on grooming your dog yourself. Some are mobile and will even come to you! 

Dog walker: If you have a busy schedule and can’t always get home in time for your new pup’s bathroom schedule, getting a dog walker can be a lifesaver. Some will come on an “on-call” basis or on a regularly scheduled walk.

Doggy day care: This is another option for busy adults who want to share their lives with a four-legged companion. Attending a daycare gives your dog plenty of socialization and exercise, leaving them happier and calmer when you get home from work. If your schedule is busy, doggy daycare may be the answer. 

What to buy a new puppy

As you can see, fur babies require almost as much stuff as human babies!

It might seem overwhelming at first, but knowing what you need ahead of time allows you to research and consider different products rather than buying in haste – which can help you shop smarter. 

Remember: The better prepared you are for your new puppy, the more time you can spend bonding with them – which is what matters most. We hope this helps you get organized and prepared to bring your new best friend home.

While toys and treats are great, nothing beats a healthy life. Pumpkin’s puppy insurance plans can help you afford the best care if your puppy gets hurt or sick, which out of everything on this list, is truly priceless.  

Writer, Mom of a Fab Fur Fam of Five
Lynn is a writer and long-time Learning & Development Manager at a large PNW retailer. She's also mom to 3 dogs & 2 cats!