Welcome to puppy parenthood! Your essential new puppy checklist and free printable are here
If you’re searching for a new puppy checklist printable or a new puppy shopping list, that can only mean one thing…you’re getting prepped for some of the happiest, dog-loving days ahead. And puppy love is coming your way!
First of all, congratulations! Happy-Go-Doodle Chloe and I couldn’t be more excited for you! And we couldn’t be happier to share our new puppy checklist and puppy prep tips with you!
Recently, our own family welcomed a new puppy into our extended family pack. Every time I think about Little Bear’s gotcha day, it gives me all the feels.
We want your puppy’s gotcha day (the day your pup arrives home) to have all the feels too. To help you and your puppy get started off on the right paw, we’ve created a printable puppy checklist as a small welcome gift for you and your furry new friend.
A few notes about what you’ll find on this printable new puppy checklist:
We’ve seen new puppy checklist printables so lengthy that it would have any puppy doing zoomies trying to round up everything on the list! The list you’ll find below is specific to the essentials for your puppy’s first few days. Then, as you and your puppy get to know each other, you’ll have a better feel for what additional puppy supplies you need.
When to shop for your new puppy
It may seem obvious, but it’s worth mentioning that picking up new puppy supplies before bringing your puppy home can make the first days at home easier. That way you can spend your days bonding with your puppy!
How to download your FREE printable new puppy checklist!
Please click on the image below to download your FREE printable checklist. We’ve organized it into categories for you. Then, read on for more detailed information.
Getting organized: Things to buy before you welcome your new puppy home
1. Puppy food
First, you’re going to need puppy food. Before your puppy’s arrival, ask the shelter or the reputable breeder for the exact brand and formula of food your puppy is eating so you can continue feeding the same food, at least temporarily. Then, at your puppy’s first vet visit, speak with your vet about which puppy food best meets your pup’s needs. If your puppy needs to transition away from the current puppy food to another formula, your vet will outline how to transition slowly to avoid tummy upset.
2. Food and water bowls
There are literally thousands of food and water bowls on the market. Don’t get overwhelmed. In my opinion, stainless steel bowls are a good choice since they resist bacteria. Also, ceramic bowls can break, especially if a curious puppy thinks the bowl doubles as a plaything.
3. Measuring cup
While we’re on the subject of food, let’s talk measuring cups. This common kitchen item might not be top-of-mind when shopping for puppy supplies. However, it’s become an important staple at our home and sits next to the puppy food. Why? Using a measuring cup takes the guesswork out of measuring out the appropriate amount of food and reduces the chance that I inadvertently overfeed.
4. Nature’s Miracle
Now that we’ve covered what goes in, let’s talk about what comes out! Even the smartest puppies have potty accidents. We think Little Bear is pretty brilliant and a quick learner, but there was a time when we were certain that he was part sprinkler…or garden hose…or fire hydrant.
That’s why an enzymatic cleaner for potty accidents is part of our new puppy shopping list. We use Nature’s Miracle for its enzymatic properties that eliminate odors. (This is important because it makes it less likely that your puppy will sniff out the urine smell and want to return to the same spot in the house.)
5. Clean-up cloths or paper towels
Pairs well with point number 4 above. Enough said.
Have some bath towels on hand. If a car ride is part of your puppy’s gotcha day, remember to bring a towel or two along with you—in case your new pal happens to get car sick. Also, it may be rainy or snowy outside, so have a towel handy to wipe those cute little puppy paws.
7. Dog travel safety gear
Planning ahead for how you’re going to travel with your new puppy is critical. Both distraction prevention devices and crash protection devices are available on the market. Our motto? Safety first and happiness will follow.
For safety reasons, I’m a believer in crates and crate training a new puppy. The benefits of crating go beyond puppyhood into adulthood and even the senior years. Here are just a few examples of when crate training is beneficial:
- Your puppy has an accident or gets sick and needs to stay in a crate at the vet’s office overnight.
- Your adult dog has surgery and needs “strict crate rest” as prescribed by your veterinarian.
- There is a natural disaster—fire, flood, hurricane— and you need a safe place to keep your dog in the hours following the event.
9. Adjustable collar
Your new puppy will need an adjustable collar that easily attaches to a dog leash. Since you’re making this purchase before your puppy’s arrival, it’s a bit of a guesstimate to know what size you’ll need. To help you, here are two points of comparison:
- Chloe’s first collar was 9″ long and she weighed about eight pounds.
- Little Bear’s first collar was 12″ long and he weighed 13 pounds. He wore his adjustable collar for just over two months before he outgrew it.
I like a simple leash that clips to the collar. There are many lengths to choose from, but I like to stick to a 4′ to 6′ length.
I’ve seen some new puppy checklists that recommend purchasing a dog bed for your puppy. We bought one for Chloe when she was a puppy, but it was a waste of money. What looked like a comfy place to sleep to us, looked like a giant chew toy to her. She was well over two years old before a dog bed was a dog bed again. A blanket to toss on the couch, my lap, or on the floor sufficed for her. (Even then, a puppy can chew a blanket. Please supervise your puppy.)
12. Puppy shampoo
On Little Bear’s first day home we didn’t expect him to quickly sniff out something stinky in the yard…and roll in it. We could see the pure joy in his eyes! Your new puppy may need a bath. Have puppy shampoo handy.
13. ID Tag
Squirmy little puppies could wriggle right out of your arms and away from you. That’s why we didn’t take a chance. We purchased an ID tag and secured it on the collar before the gotcha day. Plus, the act of selecting a tag adds to the anticipation! Since final names hadn’t been chosen, we simply inscribed the word “Puppy” along with contact information on the ID tag. Now the tags are a happy reminder of the first day home.
14. Baby gate
When we realized that we’d be puppy sitting Little Bear regularly, we wished we’d kept the baby gate from Chloe’s puppy days! Baby gates are such an easy way to keep a curious puppy contained in one area of the house.
15. Chew toys
Your new fur baby will need a chew toy or two to satisfy the need to gnaw. Chloe and Bear both enjoy Kong chew toys. I like them because they are gentle on the teeth yet hold up to heavy chewing.
Things to do on or before your puppy’s gotcha day
16. Take your puppy to the vet
When you know the date for your puppy’s gotcha day, get in touch with your veterinarian. From our experience, scheduling a vet appointment on the first day home is ideal because it gives us peace of mind. In addition to the physical exam, our vet took the time to visit with us and share resources about daily care including feeding schedules, puppy food, potty training, puppy safety, training resources, dog nail trimming, safe chew toys, brushing your dog’s teeth, and more. (Yes, our vet is stellar!)
17. Research pet insurance
Pet insurance makes our new puppy checklist because there are financial advantages to purchasing it while your puppy is young.
We talked with our vet about pet insurance at the first vet visit. I’ve read so many harrowing stories of Goldendoodles who ate socks and needed surgery for intestinal blockage. Not only is this incredibly scary, but surgery can rack up into the thousands of dollars. Insurance was simply part of our financial plan, part of the cost of caring for a Goldendoodle, and peace of mind that we could give our dog quality care.
18. Start gathering puppy name ideas
The pursuit of the perfect name for your puppy is both fun and challenging. As you come up with name ideas that you like, keep a running list of them on your phone. Once your puppy is in your arms, try them out!
We absolutely love coming up with lists of puppy names and have thousands of ideas. If you’re searching for a name for your puppy, please check out our lists:
- 101 old-fashioned girl puppy names
- 101 old-fashioned boy puppy names
- 250 names that end in y, ie
- 101 Goldendoodle puppy names
19. Add important phone numbers to your contacts list
Finally, the last thing on our new puppy checklist is quick, easy, and important. Please consider adding important phone numbers to your contacts list including your vet, a vet emergency facility near you, and the hotline for animal poison control.
Lists and supplies will help you prepare, but the most important gift you can give your puppy is your love, time, and attention.
Enjoy every moment with your new friend! And if you’re ready for more ways to enjoy pet parenthood, we invite you to join our happy pack!
Congrats! You can check one more to-do off your list! Now that you’ve found your new puppy checklist printable and new puppy shopping list, you’re one step closer to preparing for your new pup’s arrival. Most importantly, you’re one step closer to happy times with your new puppy beside you!
What would you include on a new puppy checklist?