New Puppy Checklist

by Irene Hislop

09 August 2019



A new puppy brings a lot to your home – joy, love, playfulness, mischief and fun to name a few. But you also need to get a lot of things to welcome your new puppy. Before you bring that pup home, you need to ensure your home is ready for that furry bundle of joyful energy. We’ve put the essentials into handy new puppy checklist for you so you can focus on your puppy instead of running to the pet shop as you discover each new need.

Walking & Playing

You need to wait until your puppy is fully vaccinated before taking him out for walks or visits to the park, but before that time, you can play with him at home and get him used to walking on a lead.

Collar – It’s important to get the size right, and he’ll need an adjustable puppy collar to start. If it is too loose, he can get a paw stuck in it or worse get it caught on something, which can put him at extreme risk of strangulation.

Harness – A harness is an excellent piece of equipment for any size dog because when he pulls as he learns to walk on the lead, he won’t hurt his throat. Ensure the harness is comfortable but snug enough that he can’t wiggle out of it. He will need some time to get used to it.

Lead – So many kinds of leads! For a puppy, you want the lead to be long enough that you can hold it comfortably without stooping but short enough that you have good control over your rambunctious new friend.

ID Tags – Tags to identify your dog are more than just an adorable accessory, they are required by law. Your name and address must be on the tag, and it is also helpful to you have your phone number.

Chew Toys – Puppies have a strong drive to chew, especially when they are teething. Having several safe, hard chew toys on hand will save your shoes and furniture.

Balls – Pups pack an enormous amount of energy into a relatively little bundle of fur, and one of the best things about getting a puppy is all the play. Balls and other dog toys are essential. Balls should be large enough not to slip down a dog’s throat, and all toys should be sturdy enough to withstand those sharp puppy teeth.


All that high-energy play does tire pups out. Nothing is more adorable than a snoozing puppy. While your new little pal might fall asleep anywhere, he does need this own special spot to sleep.

Bed – Every dog needs their own bed, even if they prefer your bed or the couch. When choosing your pup’s bed remember that he will grow. Invest in a good bed that he can grow into. Look for one with a removable, machine-washable cover. Beds with raised sides protect them from any draughts.

Crate or Pen – While pups are being house-trained, it helps to keep them confined when you aren’t supervising them. Many owners find setting up a crate for their dog to sleep in helps. The crate should be secure and large enough for your dog to stand up and turn around at the absolute minimum.  Remember – he is growing! Bigger is better. It should also be large enough to hold a water dish, and it should have comfy bedding for overnight. A pen is better, and of course you can simply confine him to specific room with an easy to clean floor such as the bathroom, kitchen or utility room overnight. You can use a dog or toddler gate to confine him in one room while being able to see him easily.


Your puppy’s diet is crucial for healthy growth. He needs to eat on a predictable schedule appropriate for his age, and he will be more relaxed if he eats undisturbed in the same place. He should always have access to clean water at all times.

Food and Water Dishes –  Pick whatever style appeals to you in an appropriate size. Dishes should be easy to wash and hard to tip over. If your dog is one of the large breeds prone to bloat, you might consider one of the new dishes designed to help prevent dogs from gulping their food too quickly.

Food – Your dog’s early food is the foundation for his lifelong health. Good nutrition now is extremely important. Choose a high quality puppy food formulated for the size of dog he will be, such as the Leader range of puppy foods for small, medium and large breed dogs. If your pup has trouble digesting grains, our Go Native line of food includes a salmon and spinach puppy feed.

Treats – Pups have a lot to learn, and healthy rewards such as the Go Native treats are excellent motivation for them. When they finish growing or if they are putting on weight, our Train Me treats are tasty, low-calorie option.

Mats – Young dogs are typically messy eaters. A wipeable mat under the food and water dishes can protect your floors.


Starting regular grooming early will make this task relaxing for both of you for life. Sure, your pup will take some time to learn the brush is not a toy but making grooming part of your routine now  will pay off. Pick a time when he is likely to be sleepy.

Brush – Pick a type of brush suitable for your dog’s type of coat.

Drying Mitt and Towels – Any dog in Ireland will get wet and mucky. Having a drying mitt or some old towels to hand will prevent him from making the whole house wet and mucky too.

Nail Clippers – This is one item it is better not to get too big. Choose one suitable for your pup now and get a larger one later if necessary.

Dog Shampoo – Most dogs do not need frequent baths, but they all need dog shampoo. Shampoo for humans can hurt their skin and coat.

Learning & Safety

Puppies have little awareness of danger. It’s important to puppy proof your home by placing medications, electric cords and other hazards where they can’t get them. You might need to put toddler proof latches on the lower kitchen presses if you store food or household cleaners there.

Puppy Pads/ Newspaper– Housetraining your puppy is a process. While he’s learning, some owners prefer to give him an acceptable place to go indoors overnight and when they aren’t home.

Seatbelt Harness or Travel Crate – Car safety is important for dogs. Not only can your pup be injured if you are in an accident or have to jam on the brakes, he can be thrown and strike the driver or passenger, further injuring them. Always use a seatbelt harness or a travel crate when he goes in the car.

Microchip – An ethical, legitimate dog breeder will microchip all of their pups before selling them, as will most rescues. It is up to the owner, however, to ensure that their correct, current details are registered.

Licence – It’s the law. In all the excitement of bringing your pup home, don’t forget to get a licence for him!

Some of the most important things your new pup needs can’t be bought at any pet shop. The things on a new puppy checklist that will really shape his life with you are time and patience. He’s going to pee in the wrong place and chew something he shouldn’t. Be firm but gentle and patient when he makes mistakes. Show him lots of love and praise him lavishly when he does right. With those things, he will grow up to be the best friend you could ever have.

Irene Hislop

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