Home Service Dog Top Ten Puppy Checklist Must-Haves

Top Ten Puppy Checklist Must-Haves

written by familyadhd

This post includes a mix of press samples and products purchased by us. This post may include affiliate links, which help support our blog and our family.

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Top Ten Puppy Checklist Must-Haves to Buy Before Your Puppy Comes Home

As many of you know, we’ll be bringing our new fur baby home in just a few days (check out the pupdate video on Zim’s training at the very bottom!). While he is a service dog candidate and many aspects will be different than they were raising our golden years ago, he’ll still be a puppy when he first comes home and a good portion of the products needed remain the same!

We’ve spent the last few months researching puppy products because it’s been quite a while since we’ve had a puppy in the house (our golden is 8). We’ve come across some great stuff and thought it might be helpful to share our pre-arrival puppy checklist with you guys in case any of you are in a similar position. We didn’t include food and treats because those are very personal choices based on your puppy’s needs, size, your dog food preferences, etc. We tend to prefer super natural, grain-free formulas and we’re happy to share what we use in a later post if people are curious.

These are the actual products we currently have waiting for Zim (our service dog candidate puppy) and I’m sure you’ll see some of them in other future posts and pics!

Don’t forget, you can follow us on our major road trip to bring Zim home on our instagram this weekend. You can also learn more about and support our service dog journey here. Thank you to everyone for your amazing and generous support thus far!

 

1. Dog Crate

We will be picking up where Zim’s trainer left off with crate train (which is what we did with our golden), but even if you don’t plan to crate train, it’s important to have a safe place for your puppy to sleep at night and resBest Cheap Double-Door Dog Crate t if you have to go out for a bit and can’t take him/her with you. We found this double-door crate (single-door can be a bit of a pain in our opinions) for under $30 on Amazon–an amazing price! When it arrived we checked the quality and it was just as solid as the super expensive one we purchased for our golden years ago. We chose to purchase it in the size needed for Zim based on an estimate of his adult weight because it came with a divider that allowed you to adjust the space your puppy can use as he/she grows. So much easier than having to purchase multiple crates as your puppy grows!

Note: Because we’re crate training we have never used puppy pads they aren’t included on our list, though we know someone people prefer to use them.

 

2. Dog Crate Bed or Mat

To make sure Zim’s crate was super comfy and cozy, we looked for a bed or mat for the inside of his crate. In the end, we went with this double-sided crate mat from Best Pet Supplies because it was double-sided with 2 cozy fabrics, was compact enough to travel and it was easily washable. We purchased a size that was priced below $20, which was fantastic! Beware of the ones with the rubber nubbies on the bottom in Best Cheap Dog Crate Bed Matyour washer and dryer. We’ve read so many reports of those coming off and destroying appliances! We purchased one that was a bit smaller than the full size of Zim’s crate because we have the barrier installed to make the useable space fit his current size. When he grows into the full size of the crate we’ll purchase a mat that fills out the entire crate.

 

3. Puppy Gates

If it’s been a while, you may have forgotten just how much a little pup can get into! It’s very important for puppies to be watched constantly. Since I homeschool the boys we spend the morning in the kitchen and while I’ll be available to Zim, I’ll also have to split my attention between him and the boys during school. As a rBest Cheap Puppy Gate for Uneven Doorwayesult, we’ve installed gates in our kitchen doorways so that Zim can roam freely around us in the kitchen without us having to worry about him wandering off and getting into things since the kitchen has been totally puppy-proofed. The difficult thing for us was finding a baby gate that could go in an awkward, uneven entryway since one of our doorways is at an angle. While not the most attractive gates, these Evenflo Expension Swing Gates were by far the easiest to install at this price-point for a doorway of this type–we payed under $30 for each. Since we won’t need these gates forever, we didn’t want to invest hundreds, though there are more attractive options available at much higher prices.

 

4. Dog Water Bow & Food Bowl

When looking for a food and water bowl for Zim, we knew we wanted something that was dishwasher safe. I fell in love with these Winifred & Lily “Hungry” dog food bowls and loved the rubber guard on the bottomWinifred Lily Hungry Ceramic Non-Skid Dog Food Bowl Dishwasher Safe to prevent slipping. We use a foot mat under our dog bowls, but it’s still nice to prevent them from slipping around on the mat itself—especially if you have an enthusiastic eater! These are nice and heavy and super cute.

I wish I’d seen the “Thirsty” bowls when I shopped because I would have grabbed that, too! If you want one of each here’s the “Thirsty” bowl so you can get the full set.

 

5. Pet Feeding Mat or Tray

Perhaps not everyone will feel this is necessary, but we’ve always used feeding mats or traBest Dog Feeding Mat Trayys under our pet bowls because it keeps the mess confined and prevents slipper pools of water from getting everywhere if a bowl gets bumped. While Zim will inherit one of our golden’s (our golden has elevated bowls and now uses a different one), this is the newer version of what we use and we find works best! The lip around the edge is nice and wide and really does prevent messes from spreading all over the floor. We use the biggest size.

 

6. Collar

Finding the right collar may or may not be a priority for you. We personally invest a bit in collars and leashes because they get used every day and take so much wear and tear. Lupine is a brand we’ve used for our golden consistently Lupine Collar Lifetime Guaranteebecause their products are well-constructed and they offer a lifetime replacement guarantee if their products break down or get chewed. We have had to replace our golden’s leash in the past and the process was simple. We found a store that carried the one we needed and simply went in and swapped it. I believe you can do it online as well through their site, though we haven’t personally gone about it this way.

We were recently introduced to Mighty Paw’s Sport Collar, which we actually really like! It has soft, squishy neoprene padding on the inside, a sturdy D-ring and another plastic ring that we’re assuming is for dog tags. It feels very well-constructed and we look forward to seeing how Zim feels about it!

Mighty Paw Sport Collar

 

7. Leash or Lead

We are not fans of retractable leashes for several reasons (the biggest one being that it often teaches dogs to always expect a taut leash), so we’ve only got traditional leads for Zim. Lupine, our tried and true brand, is one and Mighty Paw is the second! Lupine’s is very sturdy and our golden’s lasted us about 4 years before we had to replace it. His current one is 4 years old and still in great shape. Mighty Paw’s lead is actually fairly lightweight (great for a puppy), but the handle and clip are very sturdy feeling. We also love that the handle is padded with that same squishy neoprene. If you go on long walks or hikes, traditional handles can get scratchy, so that’s a nice touch!

Mighty Paw Reflective Leash

 

8. Vehicle Harness & Tether

Our golden has always been so large he’s been most comfortable in the very back of our SUV, but Zim will ride in the middle so we started exploring dog vehicle safety gear for the first time recently. Mighty Paw has an incredibly sturdy harness and vehicle tether that feels super well-constructed and we love that the tether uses the same latch system that baby car seats do (attaching to the latch bar anchor points) rather than plugging into a seatbelt buckle or looping around a buckled-in seatbelt. This feels much safer and we look forward to using it on our upcoming road trip up the east coast with Zim!

Dog Car Harness Seatbelt Tether

 

9. Puppy Shampoo & Conditioner

We are super picky about what we put in/on our pets, which is why we love brands like Earth Bath that use super natural ingredients. Their Ultra-Mild Puppy Shampoo is naturally tearless and pH-balanced for sensitive puppEarth Bath Natural Organic Puppy Shampoo Conditionery skin. While I hope they eventually add new scents in this formula (oatmeal and honey would be fantastic or maybe blueberry?), the wild cherry isn’t bad even though I’m generally not a fan of cherry. If you like cherry then you’ll love this as it’s a very non-chemically cherry smell—our youngest’s favorite scent!

Earth Bath’s Fragrance-Free Oatmeal & Aloe Conditioner uses colloidal oatmeal and aloe to help hydrate dry, itchy skin. It is meant for dogs with super sensitive skin, which we find is the case with puppies. This formula is meant to leave skin and hair looking super healthy and since Zim is a goldendoodle, it’s very important we take care of his skin and coat (which is more like hair).

 

10. Puppy Toys

There are so many dog toys out there, but it’s important to make sure they’re well-constructed so that little pups don’t choke on tiny pieces. Kong has been one of our favorite brands of dog toys since we first got our golden. We find that their products last a super long time and that they come out with some really cute, really fun toys that keep pups busy!

We highly recommend getting a variety of Kongs (we use the classic style and one of the Stuff-a-Ball Treat dispensers for our golden). We have a brand new Classic Kong and some other Kong chew toys ready and waiting for Zim!

Kong also offers puzzle and slow-feeders that keep pups occupied and prevent them from eating too quickly. While we are going to wait and see if Zim needs a slow-feeder before getting one, we do have the Kong Tiltz as a food puzzle toy for him that we look forward to trying with him.

Kong also does stuffed toys, but I think one of their most unique is the Kong Wild Knots Bear. It’s a mix of a plush and a rope toy as the toy has a knotted-rope skeleton inside its plush body, so pups get the satisfaction of cuddling with a plush and chewing on the firmer bits inside. Our golden was never much of a chewer, but he absolutely loves his plush (he takes such good care of them), so we’re very interested to see what Zim does with this one!

Best of Kong Toys

 

Bonus Item: Dremel Pet Grooming Kit

Yes, I know, this is technically the 11th product, but it’s something we’re so excited about we wanted to mention it before doing a fully feature on it later on with Zim. Dremel released an updated version of their original DremDremel Pet Grooming Kit Safe Nail Clippingel for pet nail grinding and this one includes a really handy paw guide to ensure you hold your pup’s paw at the correct angle for grinding. We’ve given it a whirl with our golden and let’s just say … we’re impressed! We’ll go into detail on it later in a full feature, but this is definitely worth checking out if you have a dog or plan to bring a new puppy into your family. It is so much easier than using traditional dog nail clippers–especially if you have a dog with dark nails as both our golden and Zim do!

 

Of course there are plenty of other things you can and likely will get for your puppy, but these are the basic must-haves on our puppy product list for now. As Zim grows we’ll definitely continue to share what works and doesn’t work for him with you guys!

If you have any puppy product recommendations, please share them with us! We’d love to hear what your fur baby loves.

If you’re curious to see what Zim is up to while in training, here’s a video of one of his first big-store public training sessions! At only 11.5 weeks he and his sister did phenomenally! Normally a dog at their age would be petrified of such a large, loud environment, but they did beautifully and even managed to focus to boot.

Note: Some of the products in this post were provided by PR. All opinions are our own.

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38 comments

Liz @ Yes/No Detroit August 2, 2017 at 2:58 pm

Sounds like you are well prepared. I don’t own pets but this is a good list.

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familyadhd August 2, 2017 at 5:36 pm

Thank you!

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Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle August 2, 2017 at 3:00 pm

This is such great information. You have to make sure you have all of your ducks in a row before you bring home a puppy. They require a surprising amount of gear!

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familyadhd August 2, 2017 at 5:36 pm

So true! Just like babies lol

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Mommy Moment August 2, 2017 at 5:35 pm

My kids have been begging for a dog for ages! It’s good to have a list of things that a puppy needs. For some reason I never thought that puppies would need special shampoo.

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Amber Myers August 2, 2017 at 7:17 pm

This sounds like a great list. I only have cats, but this applies to them as well for the most part.

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familyadhd August 2, 2017 at 8:00 pm

Yeah, there’s definitely some crossover!

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Jennifer Van Huss August 2, 2017 at 7:45 pm

This is a great list! Bring a new puppy home can be a lot of work! It looks like you are going to be well prepared to welcome Zim into your home!

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familyadhd August 2, 2017 at 8:00 pm

Thanks so much!

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Marysa August 2, 2017 at 10:37 pm

Our relatives just got a puppy, and they got most of these for their dog. Good list of essentials for new dog owners!

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familyadhd August 3, 2017 at 1:40 pm

That’s awesome! Thanks 😉

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Dogvills August 2, 2017 at 10:45 pm

These are cute items. I need a few dog bowls for my babies. Thanks for sharing this list.

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familyadhd August 3, 2017 at 1:40 pm

Welcome! I love those bowls, they crack me up 🙂

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Karlyn Cruz August 2, 2017 at 10:51 pm

Those stuff for dogs are so cute! I think I need the puppy gates and mat, my puppies will surely love it.

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familyadhd August 3, 2017 at 1:41 pm

That mat is seriously the best one we’ve ever used! So many of the other have a tiny lip that does basically nothing lol

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Ruth I. August 3, 2017 at 4:11 am

What a great list! This is helpful for people who have puppy. I can also use this in the near future, I hope the parents would finally approve a pet.

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familyadhd August 3, 2017 at 1:41 pm

Good luck! Our fingers are crossed for you 😉

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Victoria Heckstall August 3, 2017 at 9:11 am

Those stuff are must have for every pet owner. One of my friend have a new puppy and she has a few stuff for her puppy.

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familyadhd August 3, 2017 at 1:43 pm

Thanks!

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AnnMarie John August 3, 2017 at 11:27 am

This reminds me of the time wherein we first had our dog! I think it’s awesome when you’re prepared and have everything you need. It makes taking care of your new pup so much easier.

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familyadhd August 3, 2017 at 1:43 pm

So, so true! You’re already so busy with a new puppy, last thing you want to do is run all over trying to get what you need 😉

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uprunforlife August 3, 2017 at 4:38 pm

I hope that you are enjoying your new pup. If you are short on cash, I suggest finding a crate online because it is the best way to potty train. Get the smallest size that your dog will fit comfortably in. Dogs like to have a “den”. Plus, they don’t like pottying where they lay so it helps with that part too.

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familyadhd August 3, 2017 at 5:10 pm

We linked the crate we already purchased, which we got for a great price 😉 We agree, crate training is the way to go!

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Cherri Megasko August 3, 2017 at 4:46 pm

When I saw your puppy gate I had to laugh. We had one similar when we first got Winston. But he climbed it! We actually went through three different gates before we realized it had to have vertical rungs with no cross bars.

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familyadhd August 3, 2017 at 5:11 pm

Hahahaha I totally believe it! Our golden got so big so fast back in the day he could literally stand and look over it by the time he was 6 months. This little guy won’t be left along with the gates so I don’t think we’ll have too much trouble with him climbing, but time will tell!

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Farrah Less G. August 4, 2017 at 9:27 am

This a second post I’ve seen today about dog. I miss having one I lost my best friend few years ago I had a hard time replacing my buddy. I’m not good dealing with losing the one I love. But the good side of it I can watch my friends dog while she is away. away. I will forward this list to her for sure she will appreciate it.

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familyadhd August 9, 2017 at 6:20 pm

I’m so sorry to hear that 🙁 I hope you’re able to get a new fur baby at some point soon!

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Lynndee August 4, 2017 at 9:59 am

Perfect timing! We are planning to get our son a puppy soon so thanks so much for this list. Will sure keep this list in mind.

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familyadhd August 9, 2017 at 6:20 pm

That’s awesome! Best of luck with your new pup!

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ricci August 4, 2017 at 11:22 am

This sounds like a great list for a first time puppy parent! I will have to pass this along to one of my friends who is getting a dog soon!!

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familyadhd August 9, 2017 at 6:21 pm

Thank you! Fabulous, I hope it’s helpful!

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Katherine August 4, 2017 at 12:45 pm

Love this list! We’re brining home a new member of the family next week.

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familyadhd August 9, 2017 at 6:21 pm

Aw how exciting!

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Marielle Altenor August 4, 2017 at 3:31 pm

A puppy cage makes a lot of sense. Both my son and hubby won’t stop begging for a puppy.

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familyadhd August 9, 2017 at 6:23 pm

The crate really makes a difference in house training and it’s great for keeping the puppy safe if you can’t take him/her with you! Good luck with all of that begging 😉

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Cosmopolitan Companion Dogs December 28, 2017 at 7:23 pm

Great list! Thanks for putting it together!

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familyadhd January 21, 2018 at 11:50 am

Thanks!:)

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Rob Alder August 23, 2019 at 2:26 pm

Hey – I’m working with a company that is looking for sites that have content relating to pets and I came across yours.

Any chance you’d be open to hearing about a way you could link to a merchant and make money in the case someone clicks on the link and purchases something?

Just wanted to see if it’s something you’d be interested in hearing about! If not, I hope you have a great day!

Reply

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