What to Buy Before Adopting a Dog: The Complete Guide


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Being a pet parent is more than just wet nose kisses — though that is one of the best perks. Before bringing your new dog home, gather essential supplies, such as food and water bowls, a crate, collar, leash, identification tags, toys, and poop bags. Prepare your home by securing furniture, hiding tempting hazards, and adding area rugs to protect floors. You’ll also want to establish a safe space for your dog with a crate, blankets, and toys. Needless to say, the to-do list can get long and the costs can add up, so here’s everything in one comprehensive guide.

What should I consider before bringing home my new dog?

Prior to those eager paws setting foot in your home, there’s a lot to consider. The importance of preparing your home for a new dog can’t be stressed enough. If your home isn’t safe, your pup won’t be either. Here’s a quick list of things to do before bringing home your new dog.

  • Secure hazardous items: Remove any potentially harmful items from your dog’s reach, including small objects, electrical cords, and toxic plants. Puppy-proofing your space is crucial for their safety.
  • Designate a safe space: Create a cozy corner or a designated area with your dog’s bed, crate, toys, and water bowl. This becomes their sanctuary, helping them feel secure in their new environment.
  • Hide or secure cables: Puppies are notorious chewers. Tape down or hide cables to prevent any unintended electrical incidents or disruptions to your favorite gadgets.
  • Check for escape routes: Ensure all doors and windows are secure. A curious dog might see an open door as an invitation for exploration, leading to potential escapes.
  • Set up a schedule: Establish a consistent schedule for feeding, walks, training, and potty time. This may need to be adjusted based on your dog’s specific needs, but keeping a strict routine not only aids in-house training but also provides stability.
  • Plan for vet visits: Choose a vet and schedule a visit for vaccinations, a health check, and to discuss diet and nutrition. Keeping up with regular vet appointments is crucial for your dog’s health and happiness.

The advantages of setting up your home for your dog before they arrive are endless. Being prepared can reduce stress for both you and your dog and it creates a welcoming and secure environment for your new companion to thrive.

What do you need to buy when bringing home a new puppy?

As excited as you may be to jump right into pet parenthood, there are some necessary supplies for a new puppy that you’ll need to purchase before they come home. Follow this checklist for puppy supplies so you’re prepared for all the woes and joys of puppyhood.

Food and water bowls

Invest in sturdy, non-tip bowls to keep your pup fueled and hydrated. Stainless steel or ceramic bowls are easy to clean and discourage chewing. Regular mealtimes and access to fresh water are essential for your puppy’s health and well-being, making these bowls a must-have.


Choosing the right food for your dog is a significant step in ensuring their well-being. When adopting from a rescue, ask whoever was caring for them previously about their current diet to maintain consistency initially. If you decide to transition to a different food, do so gradually to prevent digestive issues. A slow transition allows your dog’s system to adjust smoothly. Consulting with a veterinarian is key in selecting the most suitable food based on factors such as breed, age, and health condition. Vets can provide tailored advice, ensuring your dog receives the proper nutrients for optimal health.


A crate serves as a safe haven for your dog and helps with house training. Choose a size that allows your puppy to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably. This cozy den provides security and helps establish a routine, making it an invaluable tool for a smooth transition into your home.

Collar, harness, and leash

Essentials for walks and outings, a comfortable collar or harness and a reliable leash ensure both safety and control. Opt for an adjustable collar to accommodate your puppy’s growth. The harness distributes pressure more evenly, making it a comfortable choice, especially for small breeds prone to tracheal issues.

Identification tags

Keep your puppy’s identification tags updated with their name and your contact information. This small accessory could be a lifesaver if your adventurous pup decides to explore beyond the backyard. It’s a simple yet crucial step in ensuring a swift reunion if they ever wander off.


Puppies are bundles of energy, and toys are essential for mental stimulation and play. Choose a variety, including chew toys for teething, interactive toys for bonding, and plush toys for comfort. Toys not only keep your dog entertained, but also assist in teething relief and behavior training.

Poop bags

For the outdoor adventures that come with potty training, be armed with biodegradable poop bags. Responsible waste disposal is a must, ensuring you leave no trace during walks. These bags make clean-up a breeze and contribute to a cleaner environment, making them a practical and eco-friendly addition to your puppy supplies.

How do I choose the right items for my dog?

Choosing the right items for your dog boils down to understanding their unique needs, and considering factors, such as age, size, breed, and individual preferences can make all the difference. For smaller breeds, opt for appropriately sized collars, harnesses, and leashes to ensure a comfortable fit.

Larger breeds may benefit from sturdier, heavy-duty options. Regardless of size, breeds have varying exercise requirements, which may influence your choice of leashes and collars for daily walks. When it comes to your dog’s crate, the size should allow them to stand and turn around comfortably. Ultimately, observing your dog’s behavior, consulting with your vet, and experimenting with a variety of products will help you tailor their belongings to suit their unique needs and personality.

How do I know what toys to buy for my new dog?

Choosing the right toys for your new dog is like curating a playtime paradise tailored to their preferences. Consider your dog’s size, age, and play style when selecting toys.

  • Durable chew toys can provide relief for teething puppies and prevent unwanted chewing on furniture.
  • Interactive toys — such as puzzle feeders — engage your dog’s mind and keep them entertained.
  • Plush toys offer comfort and companionship, while squeaky toys add an extra layer of excitement.
  • For the active pup, fetch-friendly toys or tug-of-war ropes can turn playtime into a workout.

Keep safety in mind by avoiding small parts that are easy for your pup to ingest and toys made with toxic chemicals. By observing your dog’s reactions and experimenting with different textures and types of toys, you’ll soon discover the perfect playmates to keep their tails wagging.

From essential supplies, such as food bowls, crates, and identification tags to creating a safe and welcoming space, being well-prepared is the key to a smooth transition. Every detail contributes to a positive and enjoyable experience for both you and your new companion.

FAQs (People also ask):

Is it recommended to consult with a veterinarian before bringing home a new dog?

Yes — consulting with a veterinarian before bringing home a new dog is a crucial step in ensuring a healthy start. Your vet can provide valuable insights into the specific needs of your chosen breed, recommend vaccinations, and offer advice on nutrition and preventive care. This early consultation sets the foundation for a happy and healthy life for your new family member.

How can I prepare my home to make it safe and comfortable for my new dog?

Preparing your home for a new dog involves creating a safe and welcoming environment. Remove potential hazards, designate a cozy space with essentials such as a bed and toys, secure cables, and establish a regular feeding schedule. A lot goes into dog-proofing your home, so make sure you check every nook and cranny before your new dog arrives.

Where can I find guidance on training and caring for my new dog?

Navigating the ins and outs of training and caring for your new dog is made easier with expert guidance. From basic commands to grooming tips, reputable sources such as training classes, online resources, and vet recommendations can provide valuable insights. Consistency, patience, and a willingness to learn will set you and your dog up for a successful and rewarding journey together.

Courtney Elliott, a proud Cleveland native living in Manhattan, blends her decade of writing and editing expertise with her unshakable devotion as a pet parent to her French Bulldog, Gus. When she’s not at her desk, you’ll find her frolicking in Central Park or engrossed in a good book at a local coffee shop.

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