Pre-Puppy Shopping List

It can be a bit nerve-wracking not knowing where to start when bringing home a new puppy. A lot is going to change and you need to have the right tools and cleaning products to deal with the onslaught of potty training accidents.

We've gone ahead and created a starting place for you. Below is a shopping list for prospective new puppy owners.

Hopefully this helps!

Basic Puppy Supplies


  • A crate that matches your puppy's expected adult size and preferably comes with a divider

  • Something to cover the crate to make it seem more like a den

  • Portable wire playpen - makes a safe place for the puppy, and can also be used on the deck or in the yard or driveway

  • Baby gates to block the puppy into allowed rooms

  • Travel crate, car harness or buckle-in leash for traveling

Water and Food Bowls

  • Shallow bowls for young pups and short-nosed dogs; deep dishes for long-nosed adult dogs; raised dishes for tall dogs

  • Metal or porcelain bowls are best because they are durable and easy to clean. Plastic can get gouged and scratched, hold old food smells, and harbor bacteria.


  • 4-6 foot nylon, leather, tough fabric or biothane

  • No retractable leashes - they make loose-leash training very difficult and are hazardous to puppy and owner if the puppy runs full speed to the end of the leash

  • 20-30 foot lightweight, flat training line for recall training or playtime - also called a lunge line

Collar and Harness

  • The collar can be buckle or clip (buckle is more durable, the clip is faster especially in case of emergency removal) and made of nylon, leather or fabric - consider one with reflective qualities if possible

  • Harness - should be worn only on walks or while riding under restraint in a car. Remove the harness after the walk and during playtime at the park. Here is some good advice on possible detrimental physical effects of improper fit/use as well as some reviews. Also, it's best to let the puppy gradually get used to having the harness put on - use lots of treats!

  • Identification tag for each collar/harness with the puppy's name, your address, and cell phone number. Or use removable tag holders to switch tag set between different collars.


  • Old towels, sheets, and fleece blankets are perfectly suited for this purpose. Cheap, easy to wash, no big deal if they get ruined.

  • A real dog bed is great for some puppies, but others chew their beds, get overheated on a plush bed, or just don't like them. Stuffed beds are also more difficult to wash. It's probably better to stick to a less-expensive version at first.

Enzymatic Stain Cleaner

  • This product is sold in most pet stores, Target and home improvement stores

  • The enzymes will destroy the scent of pet accidents much better than any other product, thereby discouraging the puppy from having another accident or re-marking in that same spot

  • Be sure to follow label instructions. Do not use any other product on the stain prior to the enzymatic cleaner.

Potty Pads (if you choose to use them)

  • Be sure you understand the downfalls of using potty pads! It can be very difficult to train the puppy later than it's not acceptable to potty inside.

Food and Treats

Food appropriate for your puppy

  • Ask to be provided with several days' worth of the food the puppy is currently eating. Or get the brand and type in advance so you can have it already at home. Changes in diet should be made gradually over at least three to four days to avoid GI upset.

  • When choosing the food you will feed for the first year, do your research. Ask your vet, ask your breeder, ask friends that have healthy dogs of similar size and breed, ask the puppy owners here.

  • Choose a food that is labeled specifically for puppies, since most experts believe that this will provide the optimal balance of calories, vitamins, and minerals. Strongly consider Large Breed Puppy Food for those puppies, as well as Corgis, Basset Hounds, and similar breeds that are large-boned but short in stature.

  • You don't have to choose the most expensive food out there. But do choose a food that your puppy will thrive on, with good growth rates, a healthy coat, bright eyes, and good energy.

Treats for fun

  • Silly biscuits, crunchy treats, puppy treats for whenever you feel like handing them out!

Treats for training - choose one soft and one crunchy style until you see what your puppy prefers

  • Soft small treats, soft treat sticks that can be cut up, or dog food rolls cut into small pieces

  • Crunchy small treats

  • Remember that all treats don't need to come from the pet store. Bits of fruit like strawberries, bananas, blueberries, or apple; bits of veggies like carrots, peas, green beans or zucchini; bits of unseasoned leftover dinner meats like chicken, beef or salmon; bits of string cheese - all can be used as training treats.


  • Buy a few appropriately-sized Kongs for stuffing and freezing

  • Sterilized, empty marrow bones can also be used for stuffing and freezing

Grooming Supplies

Fleas, Ticks, Heartworms

  • Flea and Tick Prevention - Use this year-round unless you live a climate that is very cold in winter. Oral and topical medications are recommended over collars, which can give dangerously high insecticide doses to puppies and are generally ineffective anyway. Oral and topical medications can also have side effects, so ask your vet for product recommendations. Also, ask whether heartworm prevention is required in your area. Be sure to closely follow instructions for dosage and application, as well as recommendations for when to bathe before or after topical applications.

  • Flea Comb - useful when checking for fleas and for combing back long hair around puppy's eyes

Dental care

  • Enzymatic pet toothpaste

  • Finger brush, dog-safe toothbrush, an old rag or disposable gauze pads for applying toothpaste

Nail care

  • Guillotine-style clippers or a Dremel for trimming nails

  • Quik-Stop or other anticoagulant powder in case of bleeding


  • Short-haired dogs - curry brush, bristle brush

  • Long-haired dogs - wire/slicker brush, undercoat rake, metal straight comb

  • Extreme shedders with thick coats - de-shedding brush like Furminator (use with care), Zoom Groom, heavy-duty slicker brush or de-shedding gloves. Most puppies will not require these types of brushes until their adult coats come in.

Shampoo and conditioner (or detangler)

  • There are many choices so pick something gentle that is made for pets and smells good to you.

  • Using a Zoom Groom at bathtime can make it an awesome spa massage for the puppy and cut down on loose hair.

  • Dry Shampoo or Leave-In Shampoo spray - great option for a quick wipe-down on a muddy day.


  • Good quality poop bags - trust us, you don't want those suckers to split open.... And a box of latex gloves can be handy too, for accident clean-up in the house or when having to pick up really runny stools

  • Wet Wipes - unscented and made for pets. Great for a quick wipe-down, especially for foot pads and bums.

  • Paw wax or lotion - keeps paws soft and helps out during hot summers and cold winters.

  • Grooming clipper if you are interested in doing this at home

  • First Aid Kit - yeah, we know, it's not a grooming item. But do you have one?

Toys! (All toys have potential dangers associated with them, and owner supervision is key.)

Rope toys - do not leave rope toys with an unattended puppy

  • Great for tug of war and enticing a new puppy to walk alongside the owner.

  • Watch out for loose strings that can be sheared off and ingested.

Balls - do not leave balls with an unattended puppy

  • Rubber, Kong brand, Chuck-It brand - be sure the ball is small enough that your puppy can carry it but large enough that it doesn't fit all the way in his mouth, or it can be a choking hazard.

  • Tennis balls - use only under close supervision. Do not allow the puppy to chew on the ball. This compresses it and makes it a much greater choking hazard because it can then re-inflate in the back of the puppy's mouth and block airflow. Also, the fuzz on the outside of tennis balls is very abrasive to teeth over time.

Stuffed Toys

  • Safe for puppies who do not rip them up and eat them outside, stuffing, or squeaker. Use your judgment on the proper supervision level required.

Chew and Tug Toys

  • Kongs, GoughNuts, JollyPets and similar - these are heavy-duty dense rubber and safe to leave with most puppies when unattended

  • Avoid thin rubber toys because pieces are very easily chewed off and swallowed.

  • Frisbees may be fun for some puppies. Choose a rubber variety rather than hard plastic. Do not throw the frisbee in a way that encourages jumping in the air - that's not good for puppy joints.

Puzzle Toys

  • It can be a lifesaver when you need to keep a puppy busy while you focus on you.

  • Start off with easy puzzle toys that dispense food at a rapid rate, in order to keep puppy interested. You may have to help at first.

For YOU, to make your life easier - ideas from our puppy owners

  • A supply of frozen meals, phone number to food delivery service, and easy slow cooker recipes to make dinner prep easy when you are tired in those first few weeks

  • Hit the grocery store, gas up the car, clean the house and get the laundry done before puppy's arrival

  • A dehydrator can be handy for making inexpensive training treats at home

  • Do your research on (and visit) puppy classes, puppy socialization places, and daycare before the puppy arrives. Get signed up for classes right away, since many fill quickly.

  • Have a gift card on hand to your favorite cafe or ice cream parlor so you can give yourself a break

  • Pull out some old clothes that you can wear when playing on the floor with your puppy. Puppies bite and clothes get holes as a result.

  • Have appropriate rain gear for walks on wet days. Puppies have to be walked regardless.

  • Rainboots are great for rainy days AND for walking through damp fields or muddy trails.

  • Bringing home a new puppy is one of the most exciting things to wait for! But preparing yourself and your home for a puppy can be an entirely different, nerve racking experience, know more about puppy proofing your home on

  • Make sure you have a trusted vet to consult with. Especially in the first year of the puppy's life. MaxCare's virtual care service is perfect for new dog owners because it lets you have unlimited consultations in a year for $179 -