What does my puppy need? Here’s a shopping list for the new arrival

  • So, you’ve decided to get a puppy, joining the 31% of UK households owning a dog, and aside from bringing your new puppy home, working out what you need to buy  and ordering everything are two of the most exciting parts of the process.

    Before the exciting day when the fluffy bundle arrives in your own home, you need to work out exactly what to buy for a puppy, so that he can settle in quickly and comfortably. The last thing you want to be doing is rushing out to buy essential items, such as crates or beds, while your new pup is left stranded on the kitchen floor. No, you are likely to want to devote all your available time to cooing over him, keeping your puppy entertained – and, yes, even watching him sleep!

    Even for those experienced dog owners who have either had dogs before or for whom the pup is an addition to their existing canine pack, it’s worth assessing whether you have what the newest member requires. A puppy’s needs are so different from an adult dog’s – and just like when parents throw out the highchairs, nappies and buggies once their baby grows out of them, dog owners might find they no longer have what puppy needs.

    It’s also considering what to get for when the pup grows up. For the first few weeks, he’ll be largely confined to the home, but his needs will change as he starts to go out and about.

    Shopping list: what to buy for a puppy

    Large items for the home


    Puppies spend up to 20 hours a day sleeping, so they need something super-comfy. Bear in mind he will probably chew his bed, and almost certainly grow out of it. You can get them a bed they will grow into, but fresh out of leaving their litter, they are typically soothed by a soft, cosy bed designed for puppies that envelops them and mimics the sensation of being in a litter.

    Hooded Puppy Bed | Amazon
    This snuggly bed is available in a wide range of sizes and gives your pup somewhere to feel cosy and safe.

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    Crate-training is a popular training method to give puppies a safe space where they can retreat, as well as somewhere they can be left unattended for brief periods. They can also be used to keep them safe in the car, for which one of the best soft dog crates is usually more practical. While a soft crate may also seem appealing in the home, they are very inviting for a puppy to chew.

    The best puppy crates tend to be metal, as they are more robust, and you can cover them with soft blankets if that helps your pup feel more like he’s in his own cosy den. Puppies grow so fast, that it makes sense to get a crate that will last him for life, and you can get a divider if you feel he needs a smaller space temporarily.


    Of course you want to play with your puppy all day long, but sometimes you do need to turn your back. A playpen is ideal for when you want to keep your pup in a specific space, but not confined to his crate, or teach him about boundaries. You can get on with household chores, or control interactions between children and other pets. The best playpens are easy to fold up and store, as they take up a lot of space in the home. But you might also want a large outdoor playpen (like this one on Amazon), whether your pup is too young to go out for walks, or because your garden isn’t 100% dog-safe.

    Pop-up Playpen | Amazon
    Available in three sizes, this play pen is just what you need what you have to leave your puppy unattended.

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    Adjustable collar: dogs should always have a collar with tag when out and about, so it’s worth getting an adjustable one which you can expand as the neck grows.

    ID tag: it’s a legal requirement for your pup to wear a tag with your address and phone number when in public places. The fine is up to £2,000, so take a moment to brush up on dog owner laws for the UK. And if you’ve not picked a name, check out our suggestions for dog names for girls and dog names for boys.

    Personalised Dog Tag | Amazon
    Chosen your name? Now you need a tag with all your info. This one is available in two shapes and a range of colours.

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    Harness: while a collar is an essential legally, you may prefer to train lead-walking using one of the best harnesses, which are really helpful to stop a dog pulling on a lead. As these need to fit well around the dog’s body, it’s likely you’ll need to start small and buy a bigger one as time goes by.

    Lead: owners vary on what sort of lead they like, but whatever your preference, a training lead is a vital piece of kit.

    Puppy pads: house-training a puppy is a key step in their education, but luckily it shouldn’t last long. However, they do pee over a dozen times a day, so you’ll want to stock up with puppy pads, whether gel-filled (like these on Amazon) or resuable (like these ones), both of these available on Amazon.

    Poo bags: while your pup won’t be heading straight out to the local park until all the vaccinations are completed, it’s best never to be caught short without poo bags in your pocket. Fines can be up to £1,000.

    Puppy sling: this isn’t an essential item for all puppy owners, but carrying your new arrival in one of the best puppy slings is the ideal way to take them out and about when they’re too young (or not vaccinated) to walk very far.

    Reversible Puppy Sling | Amazon
    This sling is just what you need to take your puppy out when they’re small.

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    Chew toys: puppies are likely to seek out something to chew to relieve their gums while they are teething – as well as distracting them from destructive chewing. Specific puppy teething toys are ideal – sometimes they can be put in the freezer to give cold relief, and they are designed for little teeth and mouths.

    Puppy toys: besides relieving teething pain, the best puppy toys are simply fun to play with and do a good job preventing destructive chewing, while  providing mental stimulation and helping your pup to relax. The best snuffle mats are also great for entertaining pups.

    Labrador puppy chewing chair

    It’s best to ensure your pup has specific chew toys to ward off destructive tendencies developing, which can be dangerous as well as annoying


    Puppy food: the best puppy food is specially formulated for a young dog’s needs in this rapid growth phase. There are also specific foods according to whether you have a small breed or large breed, as their requirements are different due to their rate of growth. Here’s some advice on what to feed a puppy if you need it.

    Teething chews: some puppy chews are designed to be chomped on and digested, rather than being a satisfying toy as such. These should be as natural as possible so as not to irritate a young dog’s sensitive digestion. They provide satisfaction, encourage calm behaviour – and an edible reward. You can also get teething toys for puppies.

    Nylabone Teething Chill & Chew | Amazon
    Perfect for the youngest pups, you can soak and freeze the this peanut-butter flavoured bone and cloth for added cooling relief.

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    Nylabone Chill & Chew | Amazon
    This flavoured teething chew bone changes colour when it’s frozen and ready. It also has tiny bristles that act like a mini toothbrush to help keep teeth clean.

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    Training treats: most puppies are food-orientated, so treats are a useful tool when it comes to teaching them how to behave. Learning how to be a respectable canine citizen starts young, and so the best training treats for puppies should be accordingly small, natural and healthy as per their age requirements.

    Food and water bowls: of course, you can use an ordinary bowl to feed your dog or even feed from the floor, but it’s best – not to mention most hygienic – to have a specific one designed for pups. If your pup wolfs his food down, you may want a slow-feeder bowl to encourage him to savour his food.

    Food storage: the best dog food containers are handy for keeping kibble fresh, and out of the way of any unwanted scavenging visitors.

    And now you’ll need a new cupboard for all your canine stash! As the pup grows up, his needs will change and you may need to size up and recycle or pass on old kit. However, this should keep you going for the first few months.

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