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Pre-Puppy Shopping List

It can be a bit nerve-wracking not knowing where to start when bringing home a new puppy. A lot is going to change and you need to have the right tools and cleaning products to deal with the onslaught of potty training accidents.

We've gone ahead and created a starting place for you. Below is a shopping list for prospective new puppy owners.

Hopefully this helps!

Basic Puppy Supplies


  • A crate that matches your puppy's expected adult size and preferably comes with a divider

  • Something to cover the crate to make it seem more like a den

  • Portable wire playpen - makes a safe place for the puppy, and can also be used on the deck or in the yard or driveway

  • Baby gates to block the puppy into allowed rooms

  • Travel crate, car harness or buckle-in leash for traveling

Water and Food Bowls

  • Shallow bowls for young pups and short-nosed dogs; deep dishes for long-nosed adult dogs; raised dishes for tall dogs

  • Metal or porcelain bowls are best because they are durable and easy to clean. Plastic can get gouged and scratched, hold old food smells, and harbor bacteria.


  • 4-6 foot nylon, leather, tough fabric or biothane

  • No retractable leashes - they make loose-leash training very difficult and are hazardous to puppy and owner if the puppy runs full speed to the end of the leash

  • 20-30 foot lightweight, flat training line for recall training or playtime - also called a lunge line

Collar and Harness

  • The collar can be buckle or clip (buckle is more durable, the clip is faster especially in case of emergency removal) and made of nylon, leather or fabric - consider one with reflective qualities if possible

  • Harness - should be worn only on walks or while riding under restraint in a car. Remove the harness after the walk and during playtime at the park. Here is some good advice on possible detrimental physical effects of improper fit/use as well as some reviews. Also, it's best to let the puppy gradually get used to having the harness put on - use lots of treats!

  • Identification tag for each collar/harness with the puppy's name, your address, and cell phone number. Or use removable tag holders to switch tag set between different collars.


  • Old towels, sheets, and fleece blankets are perfectly suited for this purpose. Cheap, easy to wash, no big deal if they get ruined.

  • A real dog bed is great for some puppies, but others chew their beds, get overheated on a plush bed, or just don't like them. Stuffed beds are also more difficult to wash. It's probably better to stick to a less-expensive version at first.

Enzymatic Stain Cleaner

  • This product is sold in most pet stores, Target and home improvement stores

  • The enzymes will destroy the scent of pet accidents much better than any other product, thereby discouraging the puppy from having another accident or re-marking in that same spot

  • Be sure to follow label instructions. Do not use any other product on the stain prior to the enzymatic cleaner.

Potty Pads (if you choose to use them)

  • Be sure you understand the downfalls of using potty pads! It can be very difficult to train the puppy later than it's not acceptable to potty inside.

Food and Treats

Food appropriate for your puppy

  • Ask to be provided with several days' worth of the food the puppy is currently eating. Or get the brand and type in advance so you can have it already at home. Changes in diet should be made gradually over at least three to four days to avoid GI upset.

  • When choosing the food you will feed for the first year, do your research. Ask your vet, ask your breeder, ask friends that have healthy dogs of similar size and breed, ask the puppy owners here.

  • Choose a food that is labeled specifically for puppies, since most experts believe that this will provide the optimal balance of calories, vitamins, and minerals. Strongly consider Large Breed Puppy Food for those puppies, as well as Corgis, Basset Hounds, and similar breeds that are large-boned but short in stature.

  • You don't have to choose the most expensive food out there. But do choose a food that your puppy will thrive on, with good growth rates, a healthy coat, bright eyes, and good energy.

Treats for fun

  • Silly biscuits, crunchy treats, puppy treats for whenever you feel like handing them out!

Treats for training - choose one soft and one crunchy style until you see what your puppy prefers

  • Soft small treats, soft treat sticks that can be cut up, or dog food rolls cut into small pieces

  • Crunchy small treats

  • Remember that all treats don't need to come from the pet store. Bits of fruit like strawberries, bananas, blueberries, or apple; bits of veggies like carrots, peas, green beans or zucchini; bits of unseasoned leftover dinner meats like chicken, beef or salmon; bits of string cheese - all can be used as training treats.


  • Buy a few appropriately-sized Kongs for stuffing and freezing

  • Sterilized, empty marrow bones can also be used for stuffing and freezing

Grooming Supplies

Fleas, Ticks, Heartworms

  • Flea and Tick Prevention - Use this year-round unless you live a climate that is very cold in winter. Oral and topical medications are recommended over collars, which can give dangerously high insecticide doses to puppies and are generally ineffective anyway. Oral and topical medications can also have side effects, so ask your vet for product recommendations. Also, ask whether heartworm prevention is required in your area. Be sure to closely follow instructions for dosage and application, as well as recommendations for when to bathe before or after topical applications.

  • Flea Comb - useful when checking for fleas and for combing back long hair around puppy's eyes

Dental care

  • Enzymatic pet toothpaste

  • Finger brush, dog-safe toothbrush, an old rag or disposable gauze pads for applying toothpaste

How to approach an injured animal

1. First and foremost protect yourself! If you become injured it will be harder to help the injured animal. Injured animals often become defensive and may become aggressive.

2. Approach the animal slowly and talk in a calm, soothing voice.

3. Always muzzle an animal in pain or have some one restrain the head before examining the injured area. This is important even with your own pet as all animals can bite when injured. Place a commercial muzzle or a fabric muzzle (gauze/nylons) before trying to move an injured dog. A can can be wrapped in a large towel or blanket for transport. Do not place a muzzle on an animal that is having difficulty breathing or vomiting.

Try to assess the nature of the emergency as quickly as possible. MaxCare's team of vets is standing by.