17 Essentials For New Pup Parents To Keep Your Dog Smiling

Written by: Dr. Katy Nelson

May 18, 2015

I’ve been there: big puppy eyes staring at you looking for their fur-ever home, while you ask yourself,  “How can I raise a dog when I don’t know the first thing about what he or she needs?” Plus, there are endless supplies out there, making it difficult to know where to start. I feel you! Here’s the ultimate list of pup essentials for new dog parents to get you started, once you’ve gotten all the must-have medicines and recommendations from your vet. The key is to focus on the bare essentials and don’t forget to throw in lots of ruv.

1. Collar:

Now that your pet has a fur-ever home make sure everyone knows it with a collar. There are vintage-inspired leather collars like the Trailblazer Collar  Found My Animal’s Prismatic collar. Make sure you can fit two fingers side-by-side when the colors on to be sure it fits your pup comfortably.

Found-My Animal

2. Harness:

Walking your new best friend is one of the fastest ways to bond. There are a few different combinations of gear available to walk your dog like Kurgo’s strength harnesses, Wildebeest’s front leading harnesses, KONG’s reflective harnesses – the list goes on. Do some research to find the best harness for your dog and consider things like your pup’s size, energy level and experience on a leash.


3. Leash:

Attach a leash to the harness to complete the setup. The best leashes are 4-6 feet with an adjustable loop. Feel free to mix and match your leash to create a unique style for your pup.

Funston outoors

4. Food:

Doctor knows best, so be sure to consult your vet as to what type of food your pup needs (wet food, dry food or a combo!) and how much they should be eating. Be upfront about any budget restraints and know that healthy food doesn’t have to be expensive and not all food branded as “healthy” may be good for your pet. Also, there are lots of local companies, e-tailers (Amazon Prime Now will even deliver within an hour for some cities!) and pet stores that offer pet food delivery, which is great for those city-dwellers who don’t want to lug 60 lb. bags up to their apartment.

Sleepy dog

5. Food Storage:

Once you score a food your dog likes, stash the grub in a plastic container bin with a cup measurer to perfectly portion food. Make sure it has a tight seal because your pup doesn’t like stale food any more than you do. I like these simple and sleek ones from Harry Barker.


6. Water and Food Bowls: There are hundreds of different styles to choose from when it comes to your pet’s dinnerware. There are designer bowls that will match the most modern decor, and even raised options that are ideal for bigger dogs. A really great non-breakable and affordable option is this ASPCA stainless steel bowl. If you find that your pup is inhaling their food too quickly, consider using a bowl like the FunFeeder which slows down mealtime.


@ronniethefrenchie via Outward Hound

7. A Leash Holder:

I discovered this very important essential by accident. The small dresser drawer located by my front door was originally intended to stash all the hooman gear I needed on the way out, but it quickly converted to my pup’s bin that housed leashes and more. If you don’t have space for drawers by the front door, these cute leash holders are colorful and great for keeping leashes and harnesses confined to one area and easily accessible.

Leash Holder

8. Chews:

Chances are, your pup will be a little anxious about moving into a new home. A great way to make them feel welcome is to give them plenty of chews like the Benebone in Bacon Flavor. It’s made with real bacon and no artificial flavors and will serve up a delicious experience for the dog who is serious about chewing.


9. Treats: 

There are lots of all-natural, grain- and preservative-free treats on the market and every pup has his preferences. Trial and error is a great way to find your favorite brand, but also consider using different treats for different occasions! For example, get some training treats like Zukes Mini Natural Treats for obedience, potty training and more and also get some ‘just-because-I-ruv-you’ treats for the occasional snack. I love Etta Says because they are made from high quality ingredients, come in fun packaging and are always greeted with lots of tail wags.


10. Basic Toys: 

Don’t forget to snag your pup a few basic toys like squeaker mats, stuffing-less toys and a durable ball like the Romp n’ Roll to keep them entertained with items other than your shoes!

Romp n Roll

11. Brain Toys:

Brain toys, like the new Odin puzzle treat toy, are a good option for active pups and this one gets points for being as beautiful for your home as it is fun for your dog.


12. Furniture and Car Covers:

The fur can add up. Stay ahead of the game with a blanket or even a standard bed sheet that you keep in the car and home. The Cloud7 tweed blanket is perfect for the car since it rolls up and can be tucked away, while the Toile Dog Blanket is ideal for adding some springtime French décor to the home.

Cloud 7 Blanket

13. An ID Tag or Tracker:

One of the first things you should do is I.D. your pet in some way other than his or her microchip — an implanted scannable chip that stores your information. (If your pup doesn’t already have a microchip talk to your vet ASAP!) That way if they wander off, they’re traceable to you. This is especially important for a dog moving to a new home and the good news is, there are tons of options! Minimally, snag your pooch a simple collar I.D. tag with your phone number engraved on it. Most pet stores can do this for you in minutes, and you can also order fun and colorful custom I.D. tags online to give your pup some personality! If you want to take additional steps towards tracking your pet, you can get a fancy schmancy tracker which has GPS functionality and more.


14. A Bed:

Even if you’ve given your fuzzbutt carte blanche to lay on the furniture, they still need a pad of their own. If you decide to crate your dog, be sure to make it as cozy as possible with a bed like the Love thy Beast Flip Stitch Bed. For dogs who want to snuggle while you’re away, there’s the Snuggle Bed that is made with dirt resistant canvas on one side and luxurious faux fur on the other. It can be customized to suit your pup’s preference, whether he or she likes a pod to nestle in, a flat mat to cool off on, or a cave to burrow in.

Snuggle Bed

15. A Dog Park Bag:

Repurpose an old beach bag, grocery bag or a snag a fun tote to build your very own dog park grab-and-go bag. Fill it with a bottle of water, a collapsible bowl, a leash, a few treats and a tennis ball so you can spend less time looking for gear and more time fetching. Stash it in your car or hang it in your doggy storage area so you always know where it is.


16. Poop Bags:

The fastest way to get your neighbors excited about your new pup is to be a good hooman and pick up after them! Never be caught empty-handed with BarkBox’s Poop Pun Poop Bags. These are totally hilarious, eco-friendly and all-around essential.

17. Bark Box Subscription: Playtime is the best thing to give your new pup. Try new treats and toys every month while checking out the new finds together. Your pup will feel the ruv over and over each month and will know they are truly home!

pitbull barkbox

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Written by: Dr. Katy Nelson

May 18, 2015

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