What do I need for a puppy?

Welcoming a new puppy into your home is a hugely exciting time. But before your puppy even comes home with you, you can take the first steps of becoming a puppy owner by beginning to prepare and shop for your new arrival.

Be prepared

Getting organised in the weeks before your puppy joins your family will help you feel ready to welcome your new friend. It’s a great time to do plenty of research on the breed you have chosen, and to think in practical terms about how your new puppy will need to adapt to your home and lifestyle.

What should I buy before I bring my puppy home?

There’s plenty you can do to prepare for your puppy’s arrival. Here are some of the essentials that you can purchase in advance:

1. Crate. If you are planning to crate-train your puppy, have this ready for the very start of your puppy’s time with you. The crate will give your puppy a safe area when they need to relax or for times when you aren’t able to directly supervise them. You can make the crate feel even more cosy and secure by covering the top and three sides with an extra blanket, and adding soft bedding and a cloth smelling of your puppy’s littermates. See our blog for more on crate training.

2. Bed. The size bed you will need to buy depends on whether you will be putting the bed inside the crate, as you will need also to allow space for newspaper or training pads. You’ll also need to think about the size your puppy will grow to.

3. Bowls for food and water. Many food bowls will have a non-slip rubber base to stop the bowls slipping around during enthusiastic eating, or you can use a mat underneath to stop slipping and contain any mess. Make sure the bowls are heavy enough that your puppy won’t easily tip them over.

4. Food. It is always best to begin with the food that your puppy is already used to; most breeders will give you a small amount to start you off. If you do want to change your puppy’s diet, it’s best to do this gradually over a week, to reduce the risk of any upset tummies.

5. Treats. Small treats are excellent to help with training your puppy and for rewarding good behaviour – just keep track of how much your puppy is having so that you don’t overdo it! Read more about treats

6. Collar and ID tag. Choose a lightweight collar to begin with so that your puppy doesn’t feel uncomfortable wearing it. Puppies grow so quickly that you will probably need to replace the collar frequently – you should be able to fit two fingers underneath it so that it’s comfortable without being too loose to slip over your puppy’s head. The ID tag is essential – it’s a legal requirement that your dog has one.

7. Lead and adjustable harness. As with collars, your puppy is growing fast, so an adjustable harness will last you a little longer! A lightweight lead is a great option in the early days.

8. Toys. Toys are so important! They are fun for you and your puppy, helping you to bond, they stop your puppy from getting bored, and they are a useful diversion to help stop your puppy chewing everything in the house! Always buy toys specifically made for dogs, and inspect them regularly, discarding any that have become damaged as these could be a choking hazard.

9. Grooming supplies. It’s best to get your puppy used to grooming right from the outset. Depending on the breed, and how much you plan on using a dog groomer, you will probably want to invest in brushes, shampoo, and a toothbrush and toothpaste.

 You will see from looking around any pet shop or website, that there is a vast amount of products that you can buy for your puppy. Depending on your home, lifestyle and the size of your dog, you will need to think about what else will make life easier for you and your puppy.

10. Will your puppy be going in the car? If so, it is now a legal requirement that they are safely restrained in your car. Car harnesses, travel crates and dog guards are all options, depending on your vehicle and the size of your puppy.

11. In the early days, if you need to have some time getting on with things around the house and can’t directly supervise your puppy, a pet pen can be very useful. You can use this to extend the safe area of your puppy’s crate so they have room to play, and many of them can also be reconfigured to create a room divider if necessary.

12. Poo bags. These may be useful for clean-ups in your home and garden, but once your puppy is old enough to go out these are essential!

13. Cleaning supplies. There’s bound to be quite a few accidents in the first few months – there are plenty of puppy-safe cleaning products available that not only deal with stains and odours, but are also non-toxic.

With an Agria 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.