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The Ultimate Puppy Checklist (Updated 2020)

Golden Retriever puppy

Trying to figure out everything you need for your new puppy? The first thing you need is this list!

Bringing home a new puppy is a super exciting time! A puppy is cute, cuddly, funny, and it provides unconditional love and a lot of entertainment too. The little bundle of furry joy is also a lot of work and responsibility and requires a list of items akin to that of what new parents would need if they were expecting a baby. Why and how can one little ball of adorable fluff possibly need so much stuff? 

Well, it’s because when it comes to taking care of a puppy, there are a lot of things that you need to do -- and that is why we’ve put together the ultimate puppy checklist, so you can make sure you have everything you need to care for your brand new family addition. 

Your Perfect Puppy Checklist

Ready to get set for your new arrival? Check out this list of all the must-haves for your puppy, broken down into categories so you can find what you are looking for in no time! The more prepared you are before your puppy moves in, the less stressful those first few days, and even weeks, will be because you will have what you need when you need it.  

puppy licking ice cream cone

Feeding and Nutrition

Food and Water Bowls

    There are seemingly endless options for where to put your dog’s food and water; bowls, slow feeders, bottles, and more! Unless your puppy has been prematurely taken from its mother, in which case you would need to feed your pup with a bottle or syringe, you need some good dishware for your puppy pal. You may think a dish is a dish, but not all dog food bowls are created equal. Choose a bowl that sits low to the ground so your pup can reach, and consider that puppies can be messy eaters. Therefore, you might want to look at options like the Double Diner which helps pace your puppy while she eats, or the Neater Feeder Deluxe, which features stainless steel bowls for easy cleaning and raised sides to block splashes.

    Dog Food

      Take a look at the different puppy food options on the market and choose one that you feel is a good fit for your pet. There is a wide selection available, and you want to make sure to go with a food that your pup will enjoy but will also give her all of the necessary nutrients that she needs since she is still growing and developing.


        Select a few brands of treats that are suitable for puppies; they will be appropriately sized and feature a texture that is easy for little mouths to handle. Treats are a great way to reward good behavior.

        person holding puppy training

        Training, Behavior, and Play


          You need an appropriately sized crate, or kennel, for your puppy. Although the crate should be big enough for your pup to be able to stand up and turn in a circle, you really don’t want it to be much bigger than that. Your pup’s crate should mimic a safe and cozy den; if it’s too large, it only encourages her to go to the potty in her crate. 

          Training Treats

            Training is essential to the ultimate safety and happiness of your pup, as well as the success of your relationship. Positive reinforcement training is very effective, and training treats are a great way to reward your pooch for a job well done.

            Dog Toys

              Purchase a few fun toys for your new pup to play with, and make sure to include a variety of types; a toy for cuddling, a toy for stimulation, a toy that encourages exercise (the classic ball), and teething toys. 


                  Speaking of teething, when you get chews for your puppy, make sure you get the right chews for the right time during your pup’s teething period. 

                  Leash and Collar

                    A comfortable leash and collar is a must. You might want to consider a harness in place of a collar if your dog is a breed that is prone to collapsing trachea. This is a genetic condition in which the rings of cartilage in the trachea begin to collapse and cause airway obstruction. Whether you opt for a collar or a harness, make sure to have the appropriate identification tags for your pet. 

                    Bitter Apple Spray

                      When it comes to training your puppy, what checklist would be complete without something to prevent unwanted chewing? This spray has an unpleasant odor that humans can’t smell, yet it’s a big turn off to dogs, so the yucky scent is a deterrent to curious pups (and their teeth). 

                      Potty Pads

                        You also can’t have a complete checklist without including potty training supplies. Sure, you can lay some newspaper down on the floor, but puppy potty training pads (say that three times fast) offer a few extra benefits. First, training pads are very absorbent, making clean up easy for you, and many pads feature a built-in scent that attracts your puppy to pee in that spot.    

                        golden retriever puppy getting bath

                        Health and Grooming


                          Make sure to find a good puppy shampoo, preferably one that is specifically designed just for puppies since your young dog’s skin is much more sensitive than the skin of an adult dog. 

                          Grooming Supplies

                            Even if you don’t plan to groom your dog yourself, you’ll still want some basic supplies like a comb and brush, some soft washcloths, small blunt-tipped scissors,  nail clippers, a finger toothbrush and some puppy toothpaste (yes, brushing your pup’s teeth is important)!

                            Heartworm/Flea Prevention Medicine

                              Talk with your vet about the best medicine for your pup, there are several that work double duty, preventing heartworms and other parasites, as well as fleas. Heartworm medication is usually given once a month and can be given to puppies that are under 7 months old without the need for a test, but they must be prescribed by your veterinarian. 

                              brown dog in it's bed

                              Home and Lifestyle

                              Puppy Gate

                                Not only do you probably have places in your house that you just don’t want your pup to go, limiting your puppy’s access to your whole house is essential to her safety. Get a baby gate or puppy gate for wherever you want to block entry, it could be a certain room, the bottom of the stairs, or you may want to get a playpen style barrier that keeps your puppy within a small area of space.

                                Dog Bed

                                Obviously, you want to get your puppy a comfortable place to sleep. A cozy dog bed, or even a warm blanket, is a must. Place your pup’s bed in an area that is her own special spot, ideally, inside of her dog crate, so that she can begin to associate the area as her own personal safe zone. To help your pup get used to you, or other animals or people in the house, include some fabric that carries the scents of other family members, such as a piece of your other pet’s blanket, your kid’s T-shirt, or your handkerchief.

                                Pet Carrier

                                  When you need to bring your puppy somewhere, for example, the vet, placing her in a carrier can help her feel secure and keep her calm and safe. Your puppy’s carrier should be big enough to hold her comfortably, without being big enough for her to walk around inside of it. You can place a blanket inside of the carrier to help keep her warm, and to prevent her from slipping and sliding when the carrier is on the move. 

                                  Stain/Odor Remover

                                    When you consider a checklist for your puppy, don’t forget about the things that you’ll need on hand to handle the aftermath of having a pup in your home. Puppies tend to make a mess, especially when it comes to potty training, and accidents are pretty much inevitable. Grab a powerful, enzyme cleaner to specifically target unwanted pet odors. Avoid cleaners that contain ammonia as the scent can be confusing for pups, it resembles the smell of urine to dogs and they end up going potty in the same spot.

                                    FurDozer Pet Hair Remover

                                      Animal hair ends up on everything. That's why the FurDozer X6 is perfect for all household fabrics! The FurDozer grips onto pet hair and remove it from every surface, including carpet, clothing, and even your car. This incredible tool is also reusable, making them eco-friendly and reducing waste. In addition to being the solution to your pet shedding problem, the FurDozer is easy to clean. No more sticky lint roller sheets or emptying yucky hair catchers. Simply rinse it off in the sink and let it dry. 

                                      puppy running on sidewalk

                                      What Should You Do Before Bringing a New Puppy Home?

                                      In addition to all of the stuff you need for your new puppy, there are also several tasks you should do before bringing your new family member home. These are actions that will make life much easier if you have them taken care of pre-puppy, instead of scrambling to figure them out once your pup is already at home. Therefore, here’s another checklist on things to do before bringing home your furry baby:

                                      Vet Care

                                        If you don’t already have a vet, make sure to find one before you get your pooch. You can ask trusted friends or family for recommendations, or look at reviews of veterinarians in your area. Then, contact the vet hospital to let them know you want to establish a relationship with them since you will be getting a new puppy. 

                                        Schedule an Appointment

                                          Make an appointment for your new pup. If you wait until your pet is at home with you, depending on availability at your vet’s office, you might not be able to get an appointment on the day and time that you want. Since it’s essential to have your new canine companion checked out and established as a patient as soon as possible, having an appointment in place ahead of time is a great idea. This is especially true if your puppy has not yet had any of her series of vaccinations since her immune system is still developing.

                                          Get a Pet’s Perspective on Your Neighborhood

                                            Learn about the dog-friendly places in your neighborhood. Familiarize yourself ahead of time with the location of the nearest animal emergency hospital; this is not something you want to waste time on when you are actually in the midst of an emergency with your pup.

                                            Get Organized

                                              Gather all of your supplies and set up your house for your new puppy. When you bring your new pal home, everything will be ready to go, and it will also be a lot less stressful for you and your dog. 

                                              It might seem like a lot to think about, but if you take things a step at a time and follow this handy guide, you’ll be ready to welcome your puppy pal in no time! A new puppy is a special part of the family, and you naturally want to make sure she has everything she needs to thrive. Let the team at Neater Pets help you check some items off of your list so that you can spend more time loving on your tiny-but-mighty, four-legged wonder.

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