22 things I wish I had when I brought my new puppy home

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  • Before bringing your new puppy home, it's important to understand the responsibility you're furever committing to. 
  • They'll need basic supplies like a bed, collar, and leash, as well as specific things like dog toothpaste and shampoo to stay healthy. 
  • As someone who's had a dog for 15 years, here are 22 things I'd recommend having when you're ready to bring your pup home.
  • And if you need more suggestions, check out our guide to the best puppy gear

My good friend was recently inducted into the puppy parenthood society when she brought home a spunky Aussie doodle named Maggie (pictured above).

Meeting Maggie reminded me of my own dog Max, who was a mere pup 15 years ago. One time, he pooped on the hardwood floors while my parents were out frantically buying supplies at the last minute, so I scooped him up and kept him in the bathtub while I cleaned up the mess with paper towels.

How hypocritical of me to preach about preparedness while I'm sticking my puppy in the bathtub, right? Well, I learned from my mistakes so you won't repeat them.

Making the decision to get a puppy — or any pet — shouldn't be taken lightly. They're living, breathing creatures that rely on us to take care of them, and that could be a lot of work. If you've done your research and come to the conclusion that your heart, home, and wallet are ready for the life-long commitment, then your next steps are to puppy-fy your home with all the proper supplies. 

Here are 22 essentials like crates, training tools, and toys you should have before bringing your new puppy home:

A dog bed as comfortable as yours
Casper Dog Bed

Casper Dog Bed, from $135, available at Casper

Casper is known for its mattresses for humans, but it also makes a durable and comfortable dog bed that we love.

A crate that also matches your furniture
Casual Home Wooden Dog Crate

Casual Home Wooden Crate, from $122, available at Lowe's

Crate-training your puppy allows them to have their own space where they can feel safe and comfortable. You can opt for a standard metal crate, or choose a crate that also blends well with your furniture, like our freelance reporter did.  

A food and water bowl
 AmazonBasics Stainless Steel Dog Bowl

AmazonBasics Stainless Steel Dog Bow (2-pack), $18.71, available at Amazon

Food and water bowls don't always need to be fancy, but they should definitely be functional. Many puppies will be confused or intrigued when they first encounter bowls, so rubber bottoms will help keep them in place (or at least attempt to) while your new puppy gets acquainted to them.

An ID with pertinent contact information
Personalized Engraved Pet ID Tag

Personalized Engraved Pet ID Tag, $11.24, available at Petco

At the very least, your puppy should have identification tags attached to their collar or harness when they're outside in case they get loose or lost. List all important information like their name and your contact information on it so someone can actually find you and return your pup.

If you want to get fancy, places like Petco can even engrave your tag if you stop by the store. 

A harness to wear during walks
Puppia RiteFit Harness

Puppia RiteFit Dog Harness, from $19.99, available at PetSmart

Depending on the size and breed of your puppy, you might want to opt for a harness instead of a collar. Harnesses are a great alternative for dogs like pugs and Boston terriers with sensitive tracheas. This harness is both breathable and weather resistant. Learn more about dog harnesses here and also check out our guide to the best dog harnesses.

Absorbent pads to help potty train
Wee Wee Housebreaking Pads

Wee-Wee Housebreaking Pads, from $6.10, available at Chewy

Depending on the size of your puppy, many new dog-parents will opt to potty train their new puppies on a potty pad, or because they can't walk their dog often. No matter the situation, these can be helpful during the first several months with your new puppy.

A training leash for walks
Four Paws Cotton Web Training Dog Lead

Four Paws Cotton Web Training Dog Lead (10 feet), from $16.92, available at Chewy and Walmart

Once your new puppy is ready, you can start leash training. A long leash will give your pup just the right amount of slack, and keeps you from buying multiple leashes while training. 

A clicker to help train your puppy

Good2Go Soft Dog Training Clicker, $2.49, available at Petco

Clickers are simple and painless tools that can be used when training your new puppy. The sound of the click followed by a treat helps your puppy learn to associate positive actions with rewards.

A package of treats specifically for training
Wellness Core Pure Rewards Natural Grain Free Dog Treats

Wellness Core Pure Rewards Natural Grain Free Dog Treats, $8.92, available at Petco and Chewy

Treats can be good to have on hand when teaching your new puppy basic commands like sit and stay, or tackling a larger task like walking on a leash. Pure Rewards are small and soft, so they're easy to eat and won't fill up your puppy during training sessions.

A simple neck collar
Railroad Stripe Dog Collar

Boots & Barkley Railroad Stripe Dog Collar, from $4.99, available at Target

A cute collar just makes your pup look even more adorable in photos.  

A puppy play pen
 Midwest Foldable Metal Exercise Pen

Midwest Foldable Metal Exercise Pen, from $46.99, available on Amazon

Play pens can be used inside or outside to create a designated space for your puppy. Pens still allow your puppy freedom to move around, while also giving you to control over where they go.

They're also great if you're introducing them to grass or bringing guests into your home for the first time, so they can get used to new humans.

Dog food designed for puppies
Purina Pro Plan Focus Puppy Lamb & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food

Purina Pro Plan Focus Puppy Lamb & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food, from $13.76, available at Petco and Chewy

Once puppies are old enough to consume dry food, they should be eating a formula designed for growth like Purina Pro Plan.

Depending on the breed of your dog, they should consume puppy formula until anywhere from 9 months to 24 months old. Check out our best dog food guide for more suggestions.

A teething toy
Nylabone Puppy Chew Teething Pacifier

Nylabone Puppy Chew Teething Pacifier, $3.61, available at Petco

Just like newborn babies, puppies will teeth while their adult canines grow in. The ridges and bumps on this toy will help soothe growing pains and simultaneously clean plaque and tartar.

A pet gate to block off doorways
Carlson Extra Wide Walk Through Pet Gate copy

Carlson Extra Wide Walk Through Pet Gate, $43.99, available at Amazon

It's not uncommon for new pet owners to want to keep certain rooms off-limits like kitchens or bathrooms, especially if you have a little thief on your hands. Simple pet gates can block off doorways while still allowing easy entrance and exits for us humans. 

A squeaky toy to stimulate natural instincts
Leaps & Bounds Little Loves Plush Puppy Toy

Leaps & Bounds Little Loves Plush Puppy Toy, $2.99, available at Petco

Plush toys can help encourage a more active playtime. This one features a squeaky center that stimulates natural instincts and can grab dogs' attention quickly and easily. For more ideas, see our guide to the best dog toys.

A gentle shampoo for washing
Burt's Bees Tearless Puppy Shampoo

Burt's Bees Tearless Puppy Shampoo, $7.99, available at Target 

Just like babies, puppies should be washed with a gentle formula shampoo that won't irritate their skin or damage their coat. This Burt's Bees puppy shampoo has buttermilk to help soothe and soften skin, honey to help retain moisture, and a pH-balanced formula to help avoid dry skin.

A versatile brush that won't damage your puppy's coat
Up & Up Combo Brush Dog Grooming Tool

Up & Up Combo Brush Dog Grooming Tool, $7.99, available at Target

A puppy's coat can be finer and more delicate than when they're full grown. The type of hair or fur your puppy has also greatly depends on the breed of dog they are, so short-haired dogs like pugs will need a bristle brush while long-haired dogs like golden retrievers will need a pin brush. Learn more about the different types of dog brushes here.

A pet-safe stain and odor remover
rocco roxie pet odor eliminator

Rocco & Roxie Professional Strength Stain & Odor Eliminator, $19.97, available at Walmart and Chewy

Accidents happen, and they're going to happen a lot when you bring home a new puppy. This stain and odor remover can help keep your floors, carpets, and couches fresh, while discouraging further accidents in the house.

A disposable and easy-to-use toothbrush
Vet's Best Dental Finger Dog Toothbrush

Vet's Best Dental Finger Dog Toothbrush, $6.17, available at Chewy

Using these finger brushes instead of traditional soft bristle toothbrushes allow you to have more control when attempting to brush a squirming puppy's teeth. 

Dog toothpaste
dog toothpaste

Petrodex Enzymatic Toothpaste for Dogs, $10.46, available at Chewy

When brushing your puppy's teeth, you should use toothpaste formulated specifically for dogs. Human toothpaste can contain ingredients that might be harmful to your pet if they accidentally ingest it. Plus, the toothpaste is often flavored like beef or chicken, which is far more enticing than mint. Check out our buying guide to the best dog toothpaste, toothbrushes, and chews for more products.

A full stock of scented waste bags
Earth Rated Dog Poop Bags

Earth Rated Dog Poop Bags (scented or unscented), $6.85, available at Walmart and Chewy

Once your puppy is potty trained, you'll need a large stack of waste bags to clean up after them. These specific bags are scented with lavender to help shield nature's smell. 

A waste bag holder that can be attached to their leash
Tuff Mutt Poop Bag Holder

Tuff Mutt Poop Bag Holder, $12.99, at Chewy

This waste bag holder can be attached to any leash so you'll always have bags on hand during walks and outdoor events.

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