An unexpected side effect of the pandemic and ensuing stay at home orders, were the number of people bringing puppies into their homes. And why not, right? If you’re going to be home all day every day, you might as well have a companion with you! But puppies are way more than just snuggles. They are a ton of work! And while you can certainly adopt a puppy on a budget, we think there are certain supplies that are essentials, and others that will just make your life easier! Read on for our new puppy essentials!
Wendy joined this trend with her pandemic puppy, Roxie!
What to Expect When You’re Bringing a Puppy Home
I found myself wishing I had a weekly puppy calendar, much like I did with my pregnancies and infants. And such a thing exists! Sign up for the free AKC Pupdate to get weekly emails about what’s happening with your puppy and how to handle issues that might be arising, along with regular recommendations for puppy essentials from the experts.
Before we brought our puppy home, I went into a phase that can only be described as puppy nesting. I watched YouTube dog videos until our entire YouTube home page was filled with puppy-related content. I browsed until every single ad that was served to me was puppy related. As far as all of the online algorithms were concerned, it was about to be puppy central over here and I was a prime target.
For months, MONTHS! I was fed sponsored content for puppies and the vast majority of was nice, cute, definitely tempting, but unnecessary. Let’s dive in to what I think you need and some things that are nice to have.
Where Should I Shop for My Puppy Essentials?
This is not an ad, but I have to shout our love for Chewy.com from the rooftops. We started using Chewy several years ago when our senior dog was on several medications. We found their prices to be far lower than we were paying through our vet, their shipping times were fast and their customer service was stellar. When we finally had to say goodbye to Charlie, we received a handwritten sympathy note from Chewy.
If you have products that you are regularly rebuying, like food or medications, you can put those items on autoship, and you never have to remember to run out for dog food!
This post contains affiliate links.
Sleep and Containment for Puppies
You’ll have to make your own decisions about crate training, but I will tell you that I would never bring a new dog into our house without a crate. This is a great article from the AKC about why crate training is a good idea, and tips for crate training success. It’s a nice, safe, contained space for the dog to go at night and when you need to leave the house. Plus the small space will help with potty training. Do a little research to decide on the size of the crate that’s best for you.
We also used a play yard when Bailey was little. It was nice to have a contained space to put him that wasn’t the crate. We kept his bed and some toys in there and always fed him in there. Puppies are in to EVERYTHING and they’re sneaky pee-ers when they’re still learning. Our rule was you need to be actively watching him, have him on a leash, or he needs to be contained. We weaned ourselves off of the play yard within six months.
As for a bed, it’s nice for your dog to have their own place to curl up. Bailey definitely prefers our laps, but his second favorite spot is his bed. Hot tip: Home Goods has great prices on dog supplies like beds and toys! We have one bed upstairs and one downstairs and they’re both from there!
Puppy Feeding Supplies
Okay, really all you need are bowls. You might want a set of two so you can toss one set into the dishwasher and still have one available. We have several water bowls throughout the house – one downstairs, one upstairs and one outside.
But, feeding can be more than just a necessity. Especially with puppies, feeding can be a way to keep them entertained and to work their brains. Puppies shouldn’t be taken on outside walks until they’re fully vaccinated, so keeping them entertained and getting out all of their energy without being able to go for a walk takes a little work.
We loved using feeding toys like the ones below, which were as entertaining for us as they were for Bailey. Other feeding items that are nice to have, but are not a necessity, is a travel water bottle that includes an attached bowl, a mat for food trays (dogs are drippy!), a food storage container for the pantry.
Puppy Essentials: Toys and Chews
For the most part, toys are up to you. Your dog may prefer stuffed animal style toys, rope tug toys, rubbery chew toys, balls, or they might just not be a big fan of toys in general. Again, having toys to play with will help exercise your dog in those early days before their vaccines, and are a great way to spend time with your pup down the line. I would advise buying a variety of toys to start with to see what’s interesting to your puppy.
You will want to have a lot of things on hand for your puppy to chew, so they don’t chew on you or your furniture. There are a lot of thoughts out there about the best chews for dogs, so I’ll let you come to your own conclusions on that one. For us, we avoid rawhide and our dog loves bully sticks and Himalayan chews (which are basically…hard cheese?)
Leash and Collar for your Puppy
I can guarantee you that if you have searched for anything puppy related recently, you will start receiving multiple targeted ads for cute matching leash and collar sets. And tempting though they may be, you can definitely get by with a more utilitarian option.
For Bailey, we prefer a harness to a leash – it’s not recommended to use a collar with brachiocephalic (flat faced) dogs. For a leash, we prefer the braided leashes because they won’t end up knotted!
Cleaning Up After Your Puppy
Nature’s Miracle. Just trust me. Unless you have the world’s greatest puppy, your puppy will have an accident and Nature’s Miracle will remove the stain and the scent.
I also highly recommend having wipes on hand for wiping paws and faces. Puppies get dirty and when you’re in and out of the house one million times for potty training, it will help keep your floors clean if you wipe their feet. (We’ve totally stopped doing this unless it’s super muddy outside, but we were diligent when Bailey was tiny!)