Puppy Essentials: The Ultimate Checklist for Your New Pup (2024 Guide!)

Puppy Essentials: The Ultimate Checklist for Your New Pup (2024 Guide!)

So, you've decided to adopt a puppy? How exciting! When it comes to new dogs, a little preparation can go a long way in setting you up for success. The truth is: taking care of a puppy is not always sunshine and roses, but it can bring so much joy and companionship to your life.

Whether you're a seasoned vet who's taken care of many puppies, or a total newbie, having a handy little checklist of puppy essentials never hurts. Here are all the things your new puppy will need:

Puppy Feeding Essentials

Puppy feeding essentials include: 

  • Puppy food
  • Puppy training treats
  • Food and water dishes/bowls
  • (Optional) Mats to place under the feeding bowls to contain messes

Puppy Food

It's best to select a brand of puppy food based on the breed and/or the size of your puppy. Your vet can also recommend the right food based on your puppy’s health and weight.
High-quality puppy food usually contains prebiotics, probiotics, and easy-to-digest proteins. If you opt to feed dry dog food, look for one with a small kibble size that is easy for your puppy to pick up and chew.

Puppy Training Treats

One of the most important puppy essentials is training treats. Your pup will likely undergo basic obedience and potty training in the first few months, so treats can be a great motivation during the process. 

If you'll be working with a dog trainer, they could recommend the right treats for your pet. Opt for high value, easy-to-digest, dog training treats that aren't too high in calories so they won’t fill up your puppy too much.

No-Spill No Skid Food and Water Bowls

Puppies need to eat at least 3-4 times a day and they also need fresh water to drink at all times. Look for no spill/no skid food dishes, and water bowls. 

You can choose from ceramic, stainless steel, or BPA-free, food-grade silicone bowls. Avoid plastic bowls, as they can develop tiny cracks over time that can accumulate bacteria. Some dog food bowls come with a mat underneath to contain messes and spills. Look for bowls that are long-lasting, sturdy, and most importantly, easy to clean.

Puppy Grooming Essentials

Young dog essentials include a basic grooming kit with the following items:

  • 2-in1 puppy shampoo
  • Soft puppy grooming brush (coat-appropriate)
  • Nail clippers/nail grinder
  • Scissors
  • General grooming pet wipes
  • Dog ear-cleansing wipes
  • Puppy toothbrush or dental wipes

Earth Rated Dog Wipes

Earth Rated offers plant-based dog grooming wipes that are thick, strong, and made with gentle ingredients for daily use. 
Earth Rated dog ear wipes are hypoallergenic and help remove wax-buildup and gunk easily to keep your puppy’s ears clean and healthy. Earth Rated eye wipes help remove tear stains and keep your pup’s eyes clean and healthy.

Puppy Grooming Brush 

Regular grooming with a soft puppy grooming brush can help give your puppy a shinier coat. It can also help you detangle your puppy’s coat gently and is a great way for you and your pet to bond. Use a brush with soft bristles according to your puppy’s coat type. 

Tear-Free Puppy Shampoo

Once your vet gives you the go-ahead to bathe your puppy, use a gentle, tear-free puppy shampoo. Look for a shampoo that is free from harsh chemicals like sulfates, alcohol, and parabens. Opt for a 2-in-1 shampoo + conditioner, or better yet: a 3-in-1 dog shampoo that cleans, hydrates, and deodorizes in one simple step.

Puppy Nail Clippers

If you have zero experience clipping dog's nails, it may be best to leave this task to your vet or a dog groomer. However, if you're more experienced, choose puppy nail clippers with a safety stop that prevents you from cutting your puppy’s nails too short.

Puppy Dental Care Kit - Toothbrush and Toothpaste

Getting your puppy used to oral care from a young age is one of the most important things you can do for their health and wellbeing. It's especially important to brush or wipe your puppy’s teeth daily if you feed them wet dog food.

Look for a vet-approved, scientifically formulated puppy toothpaste designed to remove tartar and plaque. Use a gentle toothbrush with soft bristles to brush your puppy’s teeth. Dental finger wipes are also a great alternative as they help give you better control while cleaning.

Comfort and Safety Accessories

New dog must-haves include

  • Puppy bed
  • Crate
  • Toys for enrichment and entertainment

Puppy Bed 

Young puppies can sometimes have anxiety as they miss their mom and littermates. Especially if you've adopted your puppy from a shelter/rescue.
A donut-shaped bed covered in faux fur can be a game-changer in calming anxiety as it mimics their mom’s womb and warmth. A puppy bed should ideally have a non-slip, water-resistant, backing to contain accidental liquid messes. Look for a bed that is easy to wash in the washer/dryer.


A dog crate is one of the most important puppy essentials before you bring your puppy home. It can give your new puppy some much-needed downtime and keep them safe and comfortable. 
Look for a wire crate with rounded corners to prevent injuries. It should ideally have several latches to prevent your curious puppy from escaping. 
Look for a crate that is easy to clean, preferably with a removable, leak-resistant pan. And ensure that the floor of the crate is gentle on your pup’s paws. Most importantly, go for an adjustable dog crate so you can adjust its length as your puppy grows. 

Puppy Toys 

Interactive Toys

Provide your puppy with plenty of toys, such as fetch, tug-of-war, and fly toys. You and your puppy can bond while playing with these toys and they are also a great way to get your pet to burn off that extra energy. Toys also mentally stimulate your puppy and help keep boredom at bay. Some puppy toys are soothing to the puppy’s gums and can reduce irritation and pain during the teething phase.
Earth Rated has a wonderful collection of interactive toys, including:
Earth Rated Tug Toy
This ergonomically designed toy features smooth edges that make it easy for young puppies to pick it up. The soft toy is also gentle on your pet’s delicate gums and teeth. Earth Rated’s Tug Toy is made using responsibly-sourced natural rubber.
Earth Rated Fly Toy
The yellow-colored frisbee-like Fly Toy is easy for your puppy to see in the green grass. It also features rolled edges that make it easy for the young one to pick it up. Earth Rated’s Fly Toy is lightweight and buoyant. You and your puppy will have a great time playing a game of fetch with it!
Earth Rated Fetch Toy

Earth Rated's Fetch Toy has a unique shape that results in erratic bouncing and unpredictable movements. This thoughtfully-designed Fetch Toy is yellow, which makes it easy for puppies to see in the grass. Its shape also allows maximum airflow when your puppy holds it in its mouth. You can also toss it in the dishwasher to clean it from time to time.


Treat and Chew Toys

Earth Rated has a wonderful collection of enrichment toys, such as:

Earth Rated Treat Toy
This Treat Toy has a wobbly shape and a small hole in which you can put your puppy’s favorite treats. Your pet will be engaged for hours trying to remove the treats from inside! It is a perfect toy to spend a rainy day indoors or when you are crate-training your young dog. It is made using natural rubber and is dishwasher and freezer-safe.
Earth Rated Chew Toy
This Chew Toy is designed to keep your pet engaged for hours. You can stuff it with peanut butter and freeze it, or stick a dental stick, pork bone, bully stick, or liver stick into its cavity. The toy’s shape makes it easy for your dog to grip it so they can hold it in their paws while chewing. 

Puppy Training Supplies 

Puppy parents: include the following new puppy essentials in your new puppy checklist:
  • Leashes
  • Collars
  • Puppy pads/ dog pee pads
  • Poop bags

Puppy Training Leash

Your puppy will need a leash that is sturdy, lightweight, and easy on your hands. Look for an adjustable collar that is padded with something like neoprene to keep it comfortable and breathable. Go for collars with reflective stitching to keep your pet visible in the dark.


Puppy Pee Pads

Puppy pads are a must-have during those crucial potty training phases. They're super absorbent and come with a plastic bottom lining that keeps your floors mess-free. Good puppy pads come with multiple layers and the top layer always remains dry. They also convert all of the liquid mess into a gel-like substance as soon as it comes into contact with the central layer so there are no spills or leaks to mop.

Enzyme Cleaners

During the potty training phase, it is natural for your puppy to have an accident indoors. When this happens, use a strong enzymatic cleaner to clean up the mess and remove the ammonia odor, so that history doesn't repeat itself.

Earth Rated Poop Bags With Dispenser

Earth Rated’s poop bags are made using 65% certified post-consumer recycled plastic - so they're not just convenient for you but also help give a second life to plastic. They're 100% leak-proof too! The dispenser has a click-and-lock closure to keep the bags secure. It also comes with a strap to attach to your dog’s leash, any style of leash! Once you clean up after your pet, you can hang the used bag on a hook attached to the dispenser. This keeps your hands free and clean until you find a bin.

FAQs - Puppy Essentials Checklist

What essential items do I need for a new puppy?

To prepare for your new pup, use the following checklist of essential items to keep handy:
  • Vet-approved or breeder-recommended puppy food (wet and dry)
  • Food and water dishes
  • An appropriately-sized crate
  • Puppy gates to restrict your pet’s entry in some rooms
  • Dog bed or crate pad
  • Grooming kit - puppy shampoo, bath towel, puppy grooming brush or comb, nail clippers, Earth Rated’s ear cleaner wipes, Earth Rated’s dog wipes, toothbrush/dental wipes, and toothpaste.
  • Training supplies - harness or leash, collar, training treats, poop bags, and pee pads.
  • A pouch to carry the treats 
  • Toys - interactive toys (fetch, tug, rope, ball, or fly toys), chew toys and teething toys, treat dispensing toys.
  • Chew bones and dental sticks
  • Old rags and blankets

What does a puppy really need?

A puppy needs healthy puppy food, food, and water bowls, a collar with ID tags, and a crate to rest in. It also needs plenty of enrichment and interactive toys to keep them busy and prevent boredom. Before your puppy arrives, stuff a lot of interactive toys in advance. Your puppy should quickly learn that there is always something available and appropriate to chew on. 
Make sure to keep the crates and enclosures comfortable- your puppy should have something fun to do in them. Sign up for a socialization or puppy class to ensure you have a spot. 


What are the most overlooked items in puppy care?

Experts state that most dog owners forget or overlook interactive toys when it comes to puppy care. They buy plenty of plush toys, balls, and ropes, but they forget the fact that their puppy needs their attention the most.

With Earth Rated’s treat toys and chew toys, new pet parents can keep their young pets engaged for hours and spend quality time bonding with them. These toys can also go a long way in teaching your puppy to enjoy its solitude.


Key Takeaways - Puppy Essentials

Puppy essentials and puppy checklists can help you make your little puppy feel more comfortable as it adjusts to its new environment. In addition to dog food, some puppy must-haves are food/water bowls, a bed, a crate, several interactive and chew toys, wipes, cleaners, and training treats. We hope the above guide helps you in shopping. Don’t forget to check out our other blog posts for some more info on puppy care!

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