Recently we noticed our eight-year-old pit mix was starting to slow down a bit. Following a surgery to remove his spleen, he’d lost a step and didn’t seem to be having quite as much fun on hikes or playing with toys. He’s perfectly healthy, just getting older, and the surgery didn’t help matters. To help offset these changes, we decided to get a puppy so he’d have another, more energetic dog around to pique his interest. This won’t work for every dog, but we felt confident that he would respond well.
We went to our local humane society one day, more just to look than anything else. (Isn’t that how it always goes?) There we found another pit mix, this one part husky. Chocolate brown with blue eyes, this was a fully grown puppy of about nine months. He’s bigger than our older dog, but for our purposes, full of puppy energy, and similarly lacking any kind of worthwhile training. We brought him home that evening.
Admittedly, a fully-grown, very young dog is a different experience than what most people think of when buying a puppy. When you picture a puppy, you envision a very small, uncoordinated fluff ball ambling around the house. Usually, when you bring a puppy home, they’re weeks old, not months, and this presents its own challenges when compared to my new husky knucklehead.
For one thing, very young puppies are not fully immunized and can’t be allowed to go outside to the same extent. While my new pup was more or less housebroken, a new puppy will not be, which means you’ll need pee pads in addition to a size-appropriate crate. Another thing to consider is that your puppy will be teething for some time, and while I’m still working on puppy biting with a year-old dog, he at least knows enough to listen when I correct him. To that end, you’ll need to supply plenty of things to chew, lest your cute new family member wreak havoc on your home.
All that being said, regardless of the age of your dog when you bring it home, you’re likely to need many of the same items. Bringing home a second dog — even when we’d had our older guy for five years — still meant buying an awful lot of doggie essentials. No matter what, you should be prepared to spend a lot when you get a dog so you can give them the best possible life.
As you’re shopping our list, you can use Amazon’s new Beginner Bundle shopping tool to combine products and get everything you need in one convenient package.
For those considering adoption, here’s our checklist of the top ten best puppy essentials to help your new companion settle in quickly.
1. Dog Crate: Petmate Sky Kennel
Crate training your dog offers innumerable benefits. The sooner your dog gets used to the idea of the crate as a safe place all their own, the easier it becomes to have an untrained dog. I’ve heard stories of people who were unable to crate train their dogs, and it led to a lot of heartbreak for the owner and the dog — destroyed personal items, doggie injury, and unhappy neighbors.
Dogs are den animals, which means two things. First, they don’t want to make a mess where they sleep. You can use this to your advantage by keeping them crated during certain times (including at night) and taking them directly to a designated spot to pee immediately after opening their crate. Second, the security afforded by the crate calms them, which helps control their behavior in a positive way. If your puppy is being disobedient or overactive, a timeout in the crate can teach them to relax in a safe setting.
As your dog grows, you’ll need to buy new crates to match their size. You want it to be large enough for them to comfortably stretch out and turn around, but not so large that they can treat one half of the crate as an area to pee and one half for sleeping. We recommend starting with the Petmate Sky Kennel pictured above, the solid sides of which offer the most security, but with a front door that allows your dog to see you when crated. These are also good for travel, so it serves two purposes. Later on, you can consider other types, like the MidWest iCrate, which is what I used for my new pup since he was older.
Need more options? See our post about the top five best dog crates here.
Price: $42.99 – $219.66
2. Dog Waste Supplies: All-Absorb Training Pads
Cleaning up after your dog is a fact of ownership. From potty training to every walk for the rest of their lives, you’ll have to pick up after them. For each stage of dog ownership, there are different products designed to make your life a little easier.
As I said above, very young puppies not yet totally immunized may not be able to safely go outside. They still need to be trained to do their business exactly where you want them to, a process which is usually achieved with training pads. The All-Absorb Training Pads are the best selling version on Amazon, and come in boxes of 100 to 400, priced $19.99 to $155.05. You can also buy a holder, which keeps them in place and makes clean up a little easier.
Another option is the PetSafe Pet Loo, which utilizes synthetic grass to give your puppy a dedicated place in the house to go. This is a bit of an investment and reviews on products like these are mixed, but the option exists.
There will be accidents, and it’s crucial to the success of your training to clean up after them. Always have some Nature’s Miracle on hand for removing the scent of accidents from any spot in your home. If you don’t do this part, your dog may associate that area with a safe place to go and be lax about waiting to go outside.
Finally, once your dog is going outside regularly, you’ll want to consider a couple of options for clean up. First is the good old-fashioned pet waste bag. I recommend Earth Rated waste bags for their quality and the EPI additive that helps them break down quickly. They offer a bag dispenser that attaches to your leash.
For cleanup in your yard, you could also consider a pooper scooper or rake and bin set. If you don’t want to have to use up a lot of trash bags cleaning up after your dog, there’s a doggie septic tank system called the Doggie Dooley, which uses a chemical digester to process the waste of four small dogs or two large dogs.
Need more options? Browse more dog waste products here.
Price: $19.99 – $155.05
3. Leash and Collar: LupinePet
This is a fairly obvious purchase, but exactly which leash and collar combination you choose will depend on your training style, dog breed, and various other factors. At first, you want to keep it simple. Keep in mind that the first things you buy for your puppy might get destroyed, so a basic collar and leash set is best. The LupinePet adjustable collar and matching leash will be perfect for a new dog. Keep the leash length around six feet during training so you can properly control your dog while still giving them room to explore.
When you move on to backyard training, you can graduate to something like the Leashboss, which comes in lengths of 20 to 100 feet and is perfect for working on heel and stay commands without risking their escape. Speaking of training, choke chain collars offer correction without hurting your dog, but should only be used during training, not for walks and are not a good choice for very small puppies. A slip lead, like this Mendota version works on the same principle, but can be used on walks for better-trained dogs. Not all dog trainers approve of slip-style restraint, so choose the one with which you feel most comfortable.
You might also look into purchasing a dog harness, which are great for puppies and small dogs. Tracheal collapse is not uncommon in smaller breeds, so moving the control surface to the chest will reduce the risk of injury. They may not always work on stronger working-type dogs, as pulling is in their genes. Talk to your veterinarian and choose the right combination of leash and collar for your specific puppy.
Need more options? See our post about the top ten best dog collars here.
Price: $8.03 – $9.49
4. Puppy Food: Canidae Grain Free Fresh Chicken for Puppies
Puppies have slightly different needs when it comes to nutrients. The combination of small stomach size, higher energy levels, and growth rate means that puppies need more of virtually everything compared to adult dogs. To begin with, puppies need to be fed about three times a day on a consistent schedule so they learn a pattern that reinforces the rest of their training.
When choosing a puppy food, first consult your vet. They can advise what will work best for your puppy’s breed and expected growth. By and large, in order to avoid unnecessary fillers that can lead to obesity, grain-free dog foods are preferable. These foods tend to have real meat as the primary ingredients. Using our top 15 best grain-free dog food brands post as a guide, you can choose the puppy formulations of the one you like best. The puppy versions contain more protein and generally more calories to match their energy output. Canidae’s limited ingredient puppy chicken recipe could be a perfect place to start.
By going with grain-free or limited ingredient options, you reduce the risk of causing an allergic reaction in your new puppy. To that end, do not feed your puppy human food. Save the homemade dog food recipes for when they are fully grown, as human food is not nutritionally balanced enough for growing puppies. Additionally, it could hinder training to teach your dog to eat some of the same things you eat.
Need more options? See our post about the top five best dry dog food brands here.
Price: $56.99 for 24 pounds
5. Dog Bowls: Neater Feeder Dog Bowl
Once you’ve selected the food, you’ll need a vessel to serve it in. If you’ve ever met a dog, you know that they’re pretty indiscriminate when it comes to where their food comes from. Most dogs will eat right out of the trash and drink out of the toilet if you let them. That means, then, that dog bowl selection largely comes down to the owner’s convenience and tastes, unless your puppy has special requirements.
The standard steel dog bowl will do the job, is cheap, and is easy to clean. It doesn’t look like much, though, and offers no additional features. Upgrading to something like the Neater Feeder contains the dog food and water mess a little and raises the bowls off of the floor for a more comfortable eating posture. Choose your food dish to match the needs of your dog and your decor.
As for water, I strongly recommend the Petmate Replendish Gravity Waterer. I use the one gallon size for my two 60-plus-pound mutts, which delivers fresh water for about three days before needing a refill.
Need more options? See our post about the top ten best dog bowls here.
Price: $27.71 – $57.99 (Up to 32 percent off MSRP)
6. Dog Training Guides: ‘Perfect Puppy in 7 Days: How to Start Your Puppy Off Right’
To be perfectly honest with you, training a puppy can be incredibly frustrating. Even with my new dog, who is a little older and has a shred more sense, it’s a struggle. In some respects, getting a “puppy” that’s approaching a year old may be harder, given that they’re nearly to full strength and tend to be a little more willful in ignoring you.
A tiny puppy may not be able to physically resist you, but they compensate for that by having short attention spans. Save yourself (and your puppy) the struggle by reading up on how to train a dog. Try a few different guides and contrast the styles until you find something you an comfortably stick with. A given approach will be completely worthless if you can’t apply it consistently, so make it something that feels good to you.
We have an entire post dedicated to dog training books to help you choose. To get started quickly, you might consider Dr. Sophie Yin’s Perfect Puppy in 7 Days: How to Start Your Puppy Off Right.
Price: $19.95 for paperback or $9.99 for Kindle
7. Chew Toys: Kong Wubba Ballistic Friends
In case it isn’t clear yet, my newly adopted puppy is a husky mix. This dog will chew my entire house apart if left unattended. The clerk at my local pet store told me a story about his husky, now five, who chewed a hole right in the middle of a wall — twice. Just gnawed on the flat surface of drywall for no apparent reason. But with dogs, there’s always a reason: they’re bored and have energy to burn.
In the case of very young puppies, they’ll also be teething. Around four months of age, the puppy teeth will start to fall out and the adult teeth will grow in. This is uncomfortable for your puppy and in addition to exploring the world with their mouths, they’ll be looking for something to chew for relief. Don’t let it be your shoes.
We have two posts dedicated to tough chew toys: Top 10 Best Durable Dog Toys and Top 10 Best Indestructible Dog Toys. Perusing both should give you a few options for your new puppy. My husky is absolutely bananas for the Kong Wubba toys.
Price: $10.69 (11 percent off MSRP)
8. Dog Bed: Furhaven Deluxe Orthopedic Mattress
Just as with cats, providing your puppy its own bed will help to keep them off the furniture. If you want to train your dog not to jump up on your couch or bed, you must give them a comfortable place of their own to sleep, either in conjunction with or in addition to their crate.
If you plan to buy a crate as we outlined above, you should also grab a liner meant to fit inside of it. The MidWest Deluxe Bolster Bed comes in sizes ranging from 18 inches to 54 inches to fit virtually any crate. The crate alone may be sufficient for your dog’s bed.
If the crate isn’t enough, providing a second bed in another area of the house gives your puppy more options and increases the likelihood that they’ll stay off your furniture. A good option here is the Furhaven Deluxe Orthopedic Mattress, which comes in four sizes in a range of colors and styles.
Need more options? Browse more dog beds here.
Price: $24.20 – $62.99, depending on size and color
9. Flea & Tick Prevention: Bayer K9 Advantix II Flea And Tick Control Treatment
Very young puppies are prime targets for fleas. While you are unlikely to be adopting a puppy under eight weeks of age, it’s still important to keep in mind that flea treatments are dependent on the weight of your dog, and should be used carefully. As with anything else, consult a vet before using anything in particular.
Dogs under the age of eight weeks cannot be treated with most medications. Fortunately, around this age is when it’s safe to be removed from the care of its mother, so most dog owners won’t need to worry. These very young pups can be treated with baths of warm water and flea combs, which you can browse here. Once they reach eight weeks, it’s okay to begin considering other prevention products, which we outline in our top five best flea and tick prevention post.
Alternatively, you could consider our post about the best flea sprays, again keeping in mind the recommendations for use and age. Anytime you’re treating a flea condition, frequent baths will be necessary, and for that you’ll need shampoo. See our post about the best dog shampoo brands here.
Most people go with one of the two best-known, once-a-month flea treatments: Frontline or Advantix. We compared the two brands here to help you make a decision.
10. Puppy First Aid Kits and Guides: Informed Pet Emergency Pocket Guide
Puppies get into everything, often to their own peril. They don’t know their own limits, and they certainly have no sense of danger. Unfortunately for you as the puppy owner, that means you not only have to be hyper-vigilant, it also means you have to know what to do when and if they injure themselves.
Step one should always be to get to a vet as soon as possible. Since that isn’t always an option, we’ve put together a list of first aid kits and emergency guides for dogs to help get you up to speed. You’ll have everything you need on hand in case of emergency until you can get your puppy to a vet. For starters, we recommend the Informed Pet Emergency Pocket Guide as a handy reference for those new to dog ownership.
Optional Puppy Supplies
To keep your puppy from chewing on things you don’t want them to destroy, a common option is apple bitter spray, which is totally harmless but makes biting that thing unpleasant. You might also want to consider some paw protection for your new little buddy if you live in a snowy area.