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Becoming a dog parent is one of the most memorable moments of life. But before bringing your new best friend home, it’s vital to have all the right things to make sure the adoption is really smooth and makes them feel right. 

You may feel overwhelmed by tons of puppy products on sale and not sure what items your puppy actually needs. That’s why I’ve compiled this minimalist puppy checklist to help you get started. Let’s dive right in!

Puppy checklist video version

Minimalist puppy checklist

1. Collar

One of the first things we want to think about is a good collar for your puppy. It’s very important to choose a well fit item that is nice and flat around their neck to ensure you have great control, but your dog is still safe.

I recommend choosing a buckle collar rather than a snap or chain collar as it is a bit safer. Buckle type is quick release, less likely to become undone unexpectedly or choking hazard. 

Something adjustable will save you money so that as your puppy gets bigger, it still fits them well. Your pup will grow like a weed, so you should often check the collar’s fit with your hands to keep them comfortable.

A handy tip when you have a collar around their neck is that you want it to be snug enough that you can fit two fingers between their neck and collar.

2. Leash

Next, we’ll talk about leashes. The two different types of leashes that I suggest you should have are the standard leash and the long leash.

Standard leash:

I would choose something like nylon or rope leashes with a well designed clip at the end. Five to six feet is a good length because it will give you more control. For example, if you need quick control, you can simply reach down and grab hold of it.

Long leash:

The favorite length of a long leash is 30 feet because it provides plenty of freedom but still provides control. You can use it for training or playing outside. And you can switch between your standard and long leash as you go in and out.

3. Treat

What you need for a new puppy checklist

We have a couple of different types of treats out there. First, we would use crunchier treats for specific situations like going in their crate, going outside to potty, or something like that.

So your puppy deserves to be rewarded for all the good things they do. For training treats, you may want something that is very low calorie, so you don’t need to worry if you’re doing a bunch of training sessions.

A tip when choosing training treats for your puppy is to pick one that is small in size as a raisin or something super moist that you can easily tear off. We don’t choose the large one because it’s too hard to break or chew with a puppy.

It’s a good idea to get a bunch of different flavors so you can figure out what’s your puppy’s favorite. That way, you can optimize your training sessions.

4. Treat pouch

A treat pouch that can hold your treats while you’re training your dog is gonna be really important.

Here’s why. You have one hand holding your puppy and a handful of treats. Is it easy? Absolutely not! You want the other hand to be able to reach in and grab their favorite treat one at a time and then reward them.

5. Crate

Make sure you put a crate on your shopping list when you bring your puppy home to keep them safe when you can’t watch them. You want to keep your dog in a place where they won’t get in trouble while you’re sleeping, hanging out, or commuting to work.

There are a couple of things you need to know about the crate. First, you need to ensure you get a size that your puppy can stand up, lie down, turn around, or stretch out easily and comfortably.

But you don’t want it much bigger than that because if puppies have a space that’s too big, they’re more likely to have accidents. So size really matters.

The most common crates for dogs are plastic and metal. We’re going to cover both advantages and disadvantages of each below.

Plastic crate:

Dogs seem to prefer the plastic crate a little bit more because it’s cozier and gives them a nice den feeling. This type also has a small carrier thing on top, making it easy for us to move it from our bedroom to the downstairs, in and out of the car.

The downside of getting a plastic crate is that you may have to size up and get a new one as they get bigger.

Metal crate:

The most important thing I want you to remember if you’re getting a metal crate is to get one with the divider. It’s crucial because you want something to be the right size for your puppy, not too big.

Now get one that suits you the best.

6. Bed

Put at least a good bed for your puppy so they can lie down and relax outside of the crate. Just by using a bit of treats, you can start using it from the very first day you bring your dog home. 

When they get older, you can gradually wean them off of the crate and teach them to lie comfortably by your side while watching Netflix or having dinner.

I really like the washable stuff that you can remove the lining. You just need to pull it out and throw it in the washing machine. Some puppies will actually chew and ingest their bed if it has a ton of soft and squishy fillers, so you have to be careful when choosing. 

7. Bowl

What types of bowls to use will make life a little more convenient? Read on to find out!

Food bowl:

There are many different bowls on the market, from metal, ceramic to plastic. Make sure you get the right kind of bowl for your puppy. I recommend you get a bowl that can slow down their eating to prevent them from eating too fast.

The dividers in slow feeder dog bowls will help prevent your puppy from gulping down the food when you put it in the bowl. That is much better for their digestion.

Water bowl:

Make sure you get a water bowl that your dog can have access to water all the time but still can’t use as a little swimming pool inside their crate. Using something like a coop cup is a super handy trick. You attach it to your dog’s crate door, and your naughty puppy can’t get it out. Perfect!

8. Food

FRESH DOG FOOD: The Farmer’s Dog 

minimalist puppy checklist

One of the most frequently asked questions by new pup parents is: What should I feed my dog? We definitely want to provide a good quality diet for our dogs to ensure they can be as healthy as possible. 

The first year of a puppy’s life is a time of tremendous growth and development, so it’s vital to choose food that can support them well.

There are tons of dog food on the market right now, but keep in mind that the amount of protein and crude fat in the food you choose for your puppy has to align with your dog’s breed and energy level. We definitely don’t feed a Chihuahua the same thing we give an Akita.

9. Toys

Basically, we can divide dog toys into two main categories: interactive toys and chew toys. 

There are so many great dog toys to choose from, but I want you to think about your puppy’s current stage, teething, and chewing style. Make sure the toys you choose are durable, not easily destroyed, eaten, ingested, and cause blockages that need to be surgically removed. 

Keep reading to find out what are the safest toys for your puppy!

Interactive toys: 

When it comes to interactive toys, your puppy shouldn’t have access to them unless you’re supervising. So get some fun things, allow your dog to play with them, but then put them away. Here’re some of the most basic interactive toys for your puppy:


KONG toys have a little hole in them that you can pack all sorts of delicious treats, a great way to keep your dog busy and give them something interesting to do, also stimulates mental exercise for your dog’s mind.


When choosing a ball for your dog, make sure the ball is slightly larger than their mouth to avoid the risk of a choking hazard. If you toss the ball up and your puppy jumps up to grab it, we don’t want it going down their throat and stuck there.

Plush toys

You probably want to avoid plush toys with tons of fillers because dogs tend to eat them. It’s dangerous for your puppy! I like something fun, engaging, and easy for puppies to grab onto because it really ignites their play drive.

Chew toys:

When it comes to chew toys, we can leave them out for puppies all the time so they can grab them whenever they want to. Nylabone bone is my favorite because it lasts a really long time. They also have many great options to pick out.

10. Poop bags

Here’s another item you’ll want to have on hand, poop bags. Your puppy will poop a lot, and you’ll need a poop pad ready to clean it up as quickly as possible to avoid them eating poop.

11. Pee pads

Taking your dog outside is ideal, but pee pads can be helpful for potty training sometimes. They provide an absorbent, safe spot for your puppy to relieve indoors without ruining your floor or carpet.

12. Order remover

Your puppy may have one or more accidents in the house. It’s totally normal. An order remover will help mask dog smells to make the environment more pleasing. In addition, your dog will naturally return to the same spot where they urinated/defecated if you clean up just a little. So this is essential.

13. Shampoo & conditioner

Make sure you don’t over-bathe your puppy because it will strip the essential oils from their skin, mess up their pH balance, and cause them to become more scratchy and itchy. That also leads to some other health problems that we want to avoid.

Get something that will loosen up potential mats and allow you to brush all the way without tangling. Choosing a good puppy shampoo or shampoo and conditioner combo will really benefit both you and your dog.

TropiClean is a good option for your dog. This one actually has shampoo and conditioner in one.

14. Brushing tools 

Whether you groom your dog yourself or take them to a professional groomer, you’ll want them to be comfortable with the grooming process. It all starts at home! Therefore, it’s crucial that you brush your puppy regularly with positive reinforcement. 

Brush first, then provide a treat, and so on. Eventually, you get to the point where you’re brushing for longer, and your puppy gets used to it because you’ve made it a positive experience. 

Slicker, smoothing, and deshedding brushes are the three essential brushes you should have.

I like using a slicker brush to get the stuff out of their hair like leaves, branches, and all kinds of small debris. Then use a smoothing brush to finish the process. A good deshedding tool will help get the undercoat out when necessary.

In order to prevent matting, make sure that you comb all the way down to the skin and lift up to release that hair because all mattes occur close to the skin.

15. Nail clipper

It’s essential to begin nail trimming your dog at a young age. Just be careful never to reach the vein when you look at it sideways. It’s actually easier than it sounds, so the more you do it, the more confident you’ll get, and your puppy will get more confident too. 

16. Toothbrush & toothpaste

Proper oral hygiene is essential for healthy teeth and gums, so you should start brushing your dog’s teeth as soon as possible. Start with getting them used to having something in their mouth, a finger, or a toothbrush.

17. Dog wipes

Dog wipes are essential for safely wiping your dog’s face, stained ears, mouth, paws, etc.

18. Eye cleaner

Dogs may be more susceptible to ear problems than people. Ear cleaning is crucial in keeping ear infections at bay, especially if your puppy has floppy ears. You have to start at a young age to let them get used to inserting things into their ears. 

Last but not least…

Training is one of the most important parts of any dog’s life. Learning how to teach your puppy to become an obedient and well-behaved dog may be the most beneficial investment for both you and your four-legged friend.

Dog training is a proven way to help keeping your dog happy and healthy as can be, while also strengthening your relationship! But you need to know how to do it right.

Compared to hiring a trainer, I prefer learning through an online course because it’s much more convenient and cost-effective but still guarantees success. 

The thing that makes online training courses stand out is that it allows us to access highly skilled trainers and stay up to date with the latest methods without having to travel thousands of miles. 

So I think you’ll not regret accessing, learning, and training your puppy to become a good family member.

I highly recommend SpiritDog Training programs.

Their proven statistic:

puppy essentials

The creator and head trainer of SpiritDog Training is Steffi Trott. She has been training dogs locally and remotely since 2013 and regularly appears in reputable publications such as Reader’s Digest, Fitbark, Rachael Ray, etc.

She provides modern, positive, science-based and effective training methods. There are 20 different courses to choose from, plus the lifetime access, clear and concise videos, and personalized Q&A make it worth checking out!

Go ahead and visit their website and look for a program that’s right for you.

That’s all the items you need for your new puppy. Click HERE to access a PDF (and printable) version of the minimalist puppy checklist!

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