What do I need for a puppy?

Are you about to welcome a puppy into your home? Get ready for the big day by shopping for the essentials for your new family member!

Get ahead

In the weeks leading up to your puppy’s arrival, it’s a great time to get organised before the whirlwind of puppy care begins. It's also time to do some further research about the specifics of your puppy’s breed, puppy care in general, and to think about how you may need to adapt your home and routine to help your puppy settle in.

What do I need to buy before I bring my puppy home?

You can buy a lot of your puppy’s equipment in advance. Here is a checklist of some of the essential items that you’ll need:

1. Bowls. Your puppy will need appropriately sized bowls for their food and water that are also heavy enough not to be easily tipped over. Bowls with a non-slip base make it easier for a hungry puppy to eat without the bowl sliding around – you can also use a non-slip mat which also makes clearing up much easier. 

2. Food. Your breeder should give you enough of your puppy’s food to start you off, and it’s best to stick to this to avoid any stomach upsets. If you decide to change your puppy’s diet, do so by gradually mixing the old and new foods over several days while your puppy adjusts. Read more about puppy food.

3. Crate. Have your puppy’s crate ready right from the beginning, so you can immediately start to teach them that this is their safe, relaxing space. To make the crate feel extra-cosy for your puppy, cover sides, back and roof with some blankets or sheets to make it like a den. The addition of some soft bedding and a cloth smelling of the mother dog and littermates will help make this an enticing space to rest. Find out about crate training

4. Bed. Choose an appropriate size for your breed of puppy, and the size they will grow to. If you want to put the bed inside your puppy’s crate, you’ll need to allow some space for a newspaper area at the front.

5. Toys. Not only are toys a lot of fun, they will really help with your puppy’s learning and training. Playing with your puppy will help stop them from becoming bored, and it’s a lovely way to spend time bonding.

Make sure you buy toys specially made for dogs and according to your breed size. Throw away any toys that become damaged, as if a toy starts to fall apart, it can easily become a choking hazard.

6. ID tag and collar. Although your puppy must be microchipped, it’s also a legal requirement that all dogs wear ID. When choosing your puppy’s first collar, go for something lightweight so that it’s comfortable for your puppy to wear. You’ll probably need to replace the collar quite frequently as your puppy grows, so check it regularly to ensure it’s not becoming too tight.

7. Lead and harness. As with the collar, lightweight is best at this stage while your puppy gets used to a lead. You can buy adjustable harnesses which will last a bit longer at this stage of rapid growth!

8. Grooming equipment. It’s easiest to get your puppy used to grooming if you start straightaway, so stock up on some brushes, shampoo, and puppy toothpaste.

9. Treats. Invaluable when training your puppy! Have a selection of small treats to use during training and as reward for good puppy behaviour. Follow the guidelines on the packaging to make sure your puppy doesn’t over-indulge! Read about puppy treats here

As well as the essentials, there are plenty of other products that you may like to buy for your puppy – you will see from a quick look online or in any pet shop that there is a vast array available. Have a think about your puppy’s breed, your home, and your lifestyle when thinking about what else might be useful to buy... 

10. Car safety. If your puppy will be travelling by car, it’s a legal requirement that they have some form of restraint. Various options include a travel crate, a car harness, or a dog guard for the boot.

11. Play pen. A pet pen or play pen can be handy if you need a safe space for your puppy while you get on with other jobs at home. You can use a pen to extend the area of your puppy’s crate, giving them plenty of space to play. Some pens can also be unfolded to use as a room divider or barrier.

12. Poo bags. You won’t be going out for walks in the very early days, but poo bags are invaluable for clean-up jobs at home, and are a requirement once your puppy is old enough to go out.

13. Puppy-safe cleaning products. You’ll need some products to clean up after those inevitable little accidents, but it’s also important to use non-toxic products to clean floors or other surfaces your puppy will be in contact with.

With a Kennel Club Pet Insurance policy, you can access the free Pet Health Helpline, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The veterinary-trained team will advise on any concerns or queries that you may have over your pet’s health – much like the NHS 111 service for people. Call free on 03333 32 19 47.