Your Ultimate New Puppy ChecklistApril 8, 2021
Going on a shopping spree to spoil your new fur baby is (almost) as much fun as actually bringing home your puppy!
Trust us, we know it’s extremely tempting to run through the store, loading up your shopping cart. But, in the long run, it helps if you slow down and do your research first, because getting the right gear will save time, energy, and money!
We’ve jotted down a list of the must-have items that you’ll need before bringing your little one home.
Choose a crate based not on the size of your puppy now, but the size they will reach when they are fully grown. This depends greatly on the breed of dog you have. The best travel crate for a little Miniature Poodle (likely a small folding dog crate) isn’t going to work for a big Golden Retriever who would need a large-sized dog crate. Have more questions about how to find the right crate size based on your dog’s breed? Check out our in-depth crate sizing guide here.
There is a lot to consider when looking for the perfect crate for your new puppy, such as:
1. How safe is it? Was pet safety considered in the design?
2. Is the crate easy to use? Many traditional crates can be difficult to set up, breakdown, and use.
3. How versatile is the crate? Does it have several access points and is it customizable?
4. How human-friendly is it? If you have children, it’s important to consider if the crate is child-safe.
5. Does it fit in with your home decor? Your puppy's crate doesn’t have to be an eyesore!
The best dog crates for puppies often come with a central divider panel (also known as a puppy divider), to allow you to reduce the size of the crate while your pup is small, and then expand it as they grow. The puppy divider is crucial to use when your pup is small and still getting the hang of potty training! If the crate space is too big, your pup may outsmart you and use one side of the crate to potty and the other side to sleep. If you use a puppy divider, they won’t have the opportunity to do so! Puppies rarely ever go potty in the same space that they are resting or sleeping, so the perfect sized crate will be a “safe zone” for no potty accidents!
The good news is that we thought of all of the above when we designed our Revol dog crate.
Dog Crate Cover
Dogs are den animals, so they love having a safe spot in your home that’s just for them! For some dogs, an uncovered crate is plenty comfortable. Other dogs get excited or even anxious from seeing things outside the crate while they're in it. A crate cover can reduce this stimulation and help your dog stay cozy and calm.
A covered crate can also be helpful to teach your dog their daily routine! A covered crate is a good way to indicate it’s quiet bedtime, while an open crate means playtime!
Here are a few things to consider when purchasing the perfect crate cover for your pup…
1. How functional is it?
2. How does it look on your crate?
3. Is it modular? Are you able to cover and uncover any side or panel that your pup prefers?
4. Is it easy to use? Does it seamlessly attach to your crate, creating the perfect “den”?
5. How durable is it?
Lucky for you, we’ve checked off all the requirements above when we designed our Revol Crate Cover!
Dog Bed/Crate Pad
Just like us humans, your pup needs their beauty sleep! It’s important to find a cozy and comfy bed that your pup loves. Crate pads are a great way to make your pup’s crate more comfortable. Our Snooz crate pad was designed specifically for our Revol dog crate to be the perfect, cozy home. Snooz can also be used outside of the crate and its small footprint makes it easy to use on furniture or in small spaces. Many pet parents buy a crate pad and a separate dog bed so their pup has multiple comfy places to snuggle down in.
Let’s take a look at some of the most frequently desired traits for a dog bed or crate pad.
Your dog’s bed or crate pad will be where they snuggle up after a busy day of fetch or take a nap after a long walk. Just like your bed or the couch, it should be soft and comfortable so that your pup can feel cozy and well-rested. One tip is to see what surfaces your pup seems to prefer in your house. Do they love the super-plush rug? Or do they prefer a cool, flat surface? Crate pads and beds are available in a wide array of materials and levels of firmness, so try to find one that suits your pup’s preferences.
Easy To Wash
Specific dog cushions, which are generally flat on one side and made of easy wash material, are a great choice. Your puppy can pick up all sorts of bacteria, so frequently washing their bed is a must. Our Snooz pad has a removable cover that is water-resistant and easy to wash.
Another consideration is whether the material is chew-resistant. No dog bed will be 100% chew-proof, but choosing one that is resistant to your pup’s teeth will help your purchase last longer.
A very popular choice in dog bedding is foam that is CertiPur-US® approved. This certification guarantees that the materials don’t contain many harmful chemicals and are tested for durability.
Toys and Training Aids
Now, let’s get into the fun part...toys! Whether you purchase a box full of goodies or hand pick each toy and training aid, it’s easy to feel like a kid in a candy store. Dog toys can be a great way to keep a new puppy with sharp teeth distracted from chewing things they shouldn’t.
You might be thinking, “What is a training aid? I’m not a dog trainer.” You don’t have to be! With our newest product Groov, we’ve made crate training easier than ever before. Groov holds a spreadable treat (peanut butter, greek yogurt, bone broth, cottage cheese...your imagination is the limit!) and secures to the mesh on your dog crate. It helps create a positive association between your pup and their crate. Plus, it promotes licking, which has been scientifically proven to have a calming effect on dogs.
Water and Food Bowls
There are a lot of factors to consider when selecting food and water bowls. From style, to shape, to materials, different pups will prefer different options. Each breed has a unique snout size and shape, so you’ll need to take into consideration the depth and width of the bowl.
As an owner, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your dog’s bowls are safe and easy to clean. Having a non-slip base is a huge plus (that way, your pup won’t have to chase their bowl all over the house!). Stainless steel is a popular choice because it is easy to clean and looks pretty stylish, too. Plastic is popular due to the fact that it is lightweight, but it can accumulate bacteria easily, isn’t quite as easy to clean, and can crack or break easily.
A nice addition to any water and food bowl set is an elevated dog bowl stand. This also ensures that the bowls stay in one place, while providing more comfort for your pup and improving their posture.
We’ve all heard the phrase, ‘You are what you eat.’ Well, for a developing puppy, this is especially true.
High-quality nutrition is vital during a puppy’s important developmental phase, and whether you choose dry food, canned food, freeze-dried raw, or homemade human grade food, it’s important that you ensure your puppy gets what they need.
Our sister company, Open Farm, makes ethically and sustainably sourced pet food. They started their company with a similar mission to ours: to improve the happiness and health of our pets. They have a great “Puppy Essentials Pack” that includes Puppy Dry Food, Surf & Turf Freeze Dried Raw, Dehydrated Chicken Treats and Dehydrated Turkey Treats.
Rosie, Marketing Associate at Diggs, stands by Open Farm and says that everything made by Open Farm is picky puppy approved! Her 11 month-old double doodle, named Teddy, is known to be an extremely picky eater, but he absolutely loves Open Farm! Teddy’s family has fed him the Ancient Grains High-Protein Puppy Food mixed in with the Farmer’s Table Pork Recipe (freeze dried raw) since day 1. Since then, they’ve tried almost everything Open Farm has to offer!
If you notice that your puppy isn’t thriving on their food, alternative diets can be discussed with your veterinarian to ensure your puppy receives all the nutrients he needs.
Some popular alternative diets include:
- Human Grade
If you do switch your puppy’s diet, it’s very important to know that this should be done gradually, as otherwise, it can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration.
Most experts recommend that you switch to a new food gradually over 3-7 days, using a 75% regular to 25% new ratio on day one, then working your way up. If your pup has a particularly sensitive belly, you might need to extend this transition period. Be sure to consult with your vet if you have any questions or concerns.
Collar and Leash
Another daily essential: your pups collar, harness, and leash! It may be tempting to rush out and purchase the prettiest collar in the store, but before you do, remember that your little one has a ton of growing to do! Keep in mind that you will most likely purchase two or three different sizes before they stop growing and reach their adult size.
Cushioned collars tend to be comfortable and rolled collars are recommended for pups that are prone to matted fur (non shedding pups in particular). Another option is a harness. We recommend a front clipping harness for pups who are learning leash manners.
ID tags are engraved with your phone number and your puppy’s name. Depending on where you live, some areas will require that your dog has a medical tag confirming that their vaccinations are up to date. Be sure to always keep your pup’s ID tag up to date!
Microchipping your pup is also important. It’s generally done either before your pup gets home (with the breeder or shelter), at their first wellness checkup, or when they get spayed/neutered. Having a microchipped pup gives you a little extra peace of mind knowing that if your pup should ever get lost without their collar, they are able to get scanned by a veterinarian when found. That way, you should be able to welcome them back home safely!
For puppies, we generally recommend lightweight leashes to begin with. You want the leash to be as light and unnoticeable as possible, as they will be tempted to chew on it. A long leash is also beneficial when training your pup to learn recall. Recall refers to the act of calling your pup to come and being confident that they will respond and listen to your command! Some people use the command word “come” and others use words like “check in” and “touch”! Teaching recall takes a lot of patience and practice, but is extremely important and beneficial for both you and your pup.
It might not be the most glamorous aspect of being a dog parent...but someone has to do it! Don’t worry though, it’ll get easier with time and practice.
You’re bound to purchase poop bags constantly, so why not choose biodegradable ones? You can pick up your pups poop while being kind to the environment! Pro tip: Either purchase a poop bag that comes with a little dispenser to clip to your pups leash, or purchase a dispenser separately! This will make it easier as you will always have some handy.
Welcome to the new world of “puppy”-proofing! You can choose between plastic or metal safety gates; both are easy to fit and easy to keep clean, so it’s completely up to your personal preference! Some might leave a large gap near the wall that a curious puppy can get their head stuck in, so be sure to measure properly before making your decision.
You’ll also want to take into consideration the height of your pooch; if you have a small breed you can get away with a shorter gate (provided that they’re not a good jumper!) and if you have a home with larger dogs and cats, some pet gates offer a hatch door to allow your cat to have free roam of the house!
A swinging gate is a better long-term solution for high-traffic areas, versus a more basic gate that you will need to move or step over every time you pass.
After fun romps in the park, muddy walks, and rainy days, you’re bound to have to groom your pup! Grooming may not be your pup’s most favorite thing to do, but don’t get discouraged! Take small steps and use these tips and tricks to help them enjoy bath time.
Here are some tips you can follow for an easy at home grooming experience…
1. Take baby steps! Start off by simply hanging in the bathtub together with your pup and associating the tub with positive things (i.e treats and praise). You can fill the tub a tiny bit and let your pup dip their paws to get a feel for it before their big first bath.
2. Expose your pups to the different things they will be encountering when they get professionally groomed. Turn on the blow dryer and give them a treat, make sure they are comfortable with having their face and paws touched, and ensure that they are comfortable getting their nails cut and grinded down!
3. You might consider purchasing a bath mat. A lot of pups don’t enjoy slipping and sliding around the bathtub and get nervous from the strange new surface. Purchasing a bath mat can help ensure that they feel stable.
4. Use some bath friendly training aids. You can find some with suction cups on the back, so it sticks right onto the side of your bathtub. Fill the training aid with the yummy stuff like peanut butter, plain greek yogurt, cottage cheese, goat milk...basically anything your puppy loves! This will help them focus on the yummy treat and take their mind off being scared of the bath.
5. Make sure the water is the perfect temperature. Try and figure out whether your pup prefers warmer or colder water before the bath and make sure they are comfortable with the temperature before putting them in the tub!
Follow these tips and you’ll have no problem making sure your pup looks their best! Remember, grooming isn’t just for long-haired breeds. To keep their skin and coat healthy, regular brushing is crucial! This will stop tangles from forming and prevent any skin irritation and infections. It also removes surface dirt and dead hair.
We hope this has helped you create the ultimate shopping list. If you have any questions about how to find the right products for your pup, feel free to reach out! We would love to hear from you.
The Diggs Team
We believe our dogs deserve safer, better designed pet products.