So you are here because you are thinking of getting a puppy, congratulations! We have a two and half-year-old male toy cavoodle, Ollie and an 8-week old beautiful girl cavoodle, Winks. So I had the opportunity to think about what exactly all new dog parents will need and put together a puppy-checklist that will be useful for all new dog parents. Every dog owner is different, certain things depend on what kind of puppy you get, and whether you have the space or the budget for it. So I’ve added my comments and given a few options that may suit everyone.
Scroll down to the end of the article to download the checklist image!
Documents and essential services
First, let’s talk about all the paperwork and important things you have to have/do before and during the first few months of having the puppy. We live in Melbourne, Australia so some of these might not be relevant if you live in another state/country. Some of these may not apply if you are adopting a puppy.
- Microchipping – Usually done by the breeder before 12 weeks and this document should be transferred to the new owner at no cost usually via central animal records (CARs) if in Australia.
- DNA checks – Make sure that the breeder has done DNA checks on the parents. Typically your breeder should show you these documents on the day of puppy collection.
- Vaccinations/worming/ and other medication – Puppies need to be vaccinated by the breeder at 6 weeks to prevent serious health conditions. Depending on the vaccine breeder gives you will have to do booster shots at 10-12 weeks and then yearly or every 3 years. After collecting the puppy, you will have to do worming, heartworm, and tick medication. Your breeder should give this information.
- Council registration – Depending on where you live you will have to register the dog with the council every year. Council will have certain guidelines such as restricted breeds, the number of pets that can be raised in a household etc. Your council will have access to microchip data and registration is necessary for the safety of other pets and humans in your neighbourhood.
- Pet Insurance – is not essential but we like to have it as vet bills in case of injury or illness can be really high. If taking insurance after an incident preexisting conditions won’t be covered. More on best insurance options in a later blog post, stay tuned!
- Vet access – Find a good vet in your area and do a vet check after picking up the puppy for peace of mind. You will need to consult the vet for vaccinations, and desexing, amongst other things.
- Puppy classes/ obedience training / daycare – puppy classes are ok if you can’t train a puppy at home and need socialising. There are dog trainers who come to your home and give you instructions on how to prepare your house for a puppy and what to do and what to avoid. They can be expensive but will be amazing for first-time dog owners. Dog daycare is good for socialising but keep in mind your puppy can pick up bad behaviours from other dogs and some diseases like kennel cough. There are also obedience classes available after 4 months which is great because if the obedience trainers are certified, you will get certain benefits during the council registration process.
- Dog groomer – While grooming such as nail clipping and ear cleaning can be done at the vet, for dogs with long hair, especially hair susceptible to matts (poodle mixes), it’s recommended to go for grooming every 6-8 weeks. Let us know if you like to know more about grooming in the comments!
List of things to buy
Below is a comprehensive list of things you will need when welcoming a puppy home. All these are subjective and will depend on the type of puppy, your home, budget, and personal preferences. Here we summarise why we think each item is important and give our picks for your reference. When purchasing items know that,
- Puppies grow up fast so most things are temporary
- Second hand, Facebook marketplace, Kmart etc. have great budget-friendly options
- You can almost always price match items at pet shops
- You don’t have to buy everything at first. You can get a feel for how things go in the first week and make purchases accordingly
- Please make sure that what you buy for your pup is safe for them
Please use your web browser for better readability of the tables below, alternatively, scroll to the end of the article to download an image of the summarised checklist.
Disclaimer: While we partner with some of the brands listed, nothing listed here was sponsored for this article's purpose. All opinions are personal, please look into things before purchasing or following any advice.
Prepare your home pre arrival
|Playpen||Puppies can be messy, separating an area in the house for them to spend time will make everything run seamless. I chose an area that has access to the backyard so it’ll be easier to potty train. Make sure to measure the pen so the puppy can’t sneak through the gaps. Check for safety as some playpen parts can be harmful to puppies.||Dreambaby playpen as it can be used as a babygate to seperte an area as well as a pen|
|Crate and Cover||Crate training is a personal preference. It is immensely beneficial, helps to stop puppies from developing separation anxiety, gives them independence, and a safe space. Especially helpful in a multiple dog household. Ollie (our first dog) did not like the crate at all and we couldn’t crate train him but Winky (our second dog) loves it. |
The crate cover helps to create den-like feeling and blocks unwanted light creating an ideal sleep environment
|Petscene crate which is quite large but we like that. It also looks nice, sturdy, and easy to clean|
Coverall makes custom crate covers. Stylish Hound also has multiple cover options
|Play mat||Dogs are very tactile, so it is essential to distinguish home surfaces from the area separated from the puppy. If the puppy senses it is ok to pee on the floor/carpet and becomes familiar with the surface it’ll continue to do so. So make sure to line the surface with a material that’s different to the rest of your house. This could be a gym mat, kids’ play mat or even a large rubber mat.||1500mm X 0.3mm clear rubber mat to cover the entire surface sperated by the playpen.|
|Pee pads / grass pallets||Puppies before toilet training can be accident-prone, so pee pads are great to protect surfaces. You can get washable pee pads or temporary ones. There are also temporary potty training stations (grass pallets) that can be used indoors and outdoors which can be great alternatives if you don’t have a backyard. We recommend using real grass as fake grass can be unhygienic and smell bad over time.||Pawz resuable pee pads|
Kmart mattress protector
Paws for life pee pads
|Dog door||This is not essential but if the pup has access to a fenced safe backyard it can help with toilet training. If you are renting there are dog doors that fit sliding doors that don’t need permanent fixing. Alternatively, you can train them to ring the bell to go out when needed or use other methods to signal that they need to go out.||Custom petdoor by affinity glazing, or pet door that aligns to the sliding door.|
|Urine and stain remover||Accidents happen, it is important to remove any traces of those accidents as soon as possible. Dogs are creatures of habit and depend highly on their sensory perception. It is important to use a floor and surface cleaner that is strong enough but also not toxic to your pup. You can also use a fabric protector to make surface such as couches water repellant so it is easier to clean.||Urine free Australia stain and odour remover|
GoodScruff dog-friendly cleaning products
Scotchguard fabric protector
|Petwipes||These are wonderful to clean your puppy for tear stains, their hygenic areas and giving an overall wipe.||Absorb plus pet wipes|
|Food bowl||Depending on your pup’s feeding habit you can use a normal bowl or a slow feeder. Make sure the material is safe for the dogs. Ceramic or stainless steel is recommended as they are easy to clean and prevents bacterial growth.||Custom ceramic bowls by susabella gifts|
Slow feeder by Stylish.hound
|Water bowl||Puppies have small bladders, they drink water often and tend to pee immediately after closing to the water bowl. During the puppy stage, we tend to use a temporary water bowl near the dog door or right outside the door to direct the puppy to where to pee. If inside we use pee pads near the water bowl to prevent unwanted accidents. Once grown up we use a water filter as it needs less frequent changes, safer, and cleaner for the dog.||PetKit Water filteration system or this one we currently use that helps to keep long years from getting wet|
|Dog bed||Puppies need small cosy beds, as they grow up their needs change and bed requirements may change according to their health needs. So don’t spend much on the beds. Look for qualities such as how easy it is to wash and how comfortable it’ll be for your puppy.||Plush donut bed.|
Stylish mid century style bed by apupment
|Blanket / thermal mat||This is not essential. But depending on the climate conditions of where you live, your puppy’s ability to regulate body temperature, a blanket or a thermal mat can be used. Some breeders may provide you with a blanket that smells like the mother and/or the rest of the litre so that your new puppy can sleep with it.||Tartan blanket co makes beautiful custom pet blankets|
|Food and medication||Make sure to inquire your breeder about the food and medication such as tick prevention that they used on puppies. Helps to have a dog first aid kit at home and take first aid classes at your local dog trainer. Do not buy large portions of food items as puppies might not prefer the food after some time. If you are changing the food make sure to follow the instructions in the packets and slowly transition your puppy as sudden changes can cause unwanted reactions.||We use Nextguard spectra monthly. Dose depends on the weight.|
|Toys||A heartbeat toy can help a puppy to sleep well (alternatively use a ticking clock). A snuggle buddy can be a lifetime friend for your puppy. It is important to buy toys that suit your puppy’s size. Puppies chew and tear everything so get durable toys. Enrichment toys are a great option as they will keep your puppy busy for a long time and will help to develop their brains. Toys that are different textures, and make different noises will help with their sensory perceptions.||Heart beat toy|
|Treats||Treats are great to train your puppy and to be used as rewards to encourage good behaviour. Make sure to buy healthy treats, look for certifications from food regulators, ingredients, expiry date, consumption instructions etc. Buy small treats for training purposes and treats that last a while (goat horns, gummy chews, Sharkie sticks) to help with chewing and the health of teeth and gum.||Refer to our homemade treat recipes|
Accessories for the pup
|Leash||I like to use a safe locking system lead for both Ollie and the pup. Especially helpful if the pup is pulling and helps to have a hands-free option too.||Foundmy animal handsfree leash|
|Harness||Puppies have fragile necks so we prefer to attach our leash/car seat belts to a harness instead. A lot of brands don’t make small harnesses and puppies grow up fast so recommend using a cheap harness at first and then migrating to a nice one later. I prefer a functional harness that is easy to put on.||Step in harness|
No pull harness
|Collar and tag||It is good to carry your name and contact details incase if the puppy goes missing.||Letter tag|
|Poo bags and poo bag holder||As responsible dog owners, It is essential to pick up after your dogs. So always carry your poo bags with you. We recommend using biodegradable poo bags when possible. You can attach a hands-free poo bag holder to the leash so you don’t have to carry the bag yourself.||Poo bags|
|Recall traning lead||If your puppy doesn’t have a good recall it is important to use a long lead to train them on their recall.||Labwolf long lead|
Everything needed for grooming
|Puppy shampoo and Conditioner||Buy small as you might have to change the shampoo as puppies grow.||My cavoodle, Melanie newman saloon essentials puppy collection, Chris Christensen Conditioning treatment|
|Conditionning spray||Helps to have a shiny and healthy coat. Makes the daily brushing process smooth.||Cowboy magic detangler|
|Dry shampoo/ waterless shampoo||Helps when puppies get dirty and you cant bathe them often.||Bondi wash dry wash|
|Grooming brushes||A slicker brush, and mat breaker help with unruly poodle hair.||My cavoodle grooming brush set has all the essentials. Artero brushes are also highly recommended|
|Paw and nose balm||Prevent dryness and cracks.||The doggie balm co paw and nose balm|
|Scented spritz/ dog cologne||Helps to keep your puppy smelling nice.||Doggie balm co lavender spritz|
|Nail clipper||Can be done at the vet or the groomer as well.||Grooming brush sets recommended above will come with nail clipper|
|Scissors/ hair trimmer||Helps to maintain hair in between grooms.||Pet Scissor pack|
|Dog towel/ dry coat||Microfiber towel helps with the initial drying|
A dry Coat will help to keep the hair from matting during the drying process and keep your house and car clean after a wash/ swim.
|Microfibre towel, Stylish hound dog towel, Personalised dog dry coats|
|Pet hair drier||Can use a human hair dryer but a pet hair drier will be amazing if you have a poodle or a poodle mix puppy.||SheLandy Pet hair dryer|
|Car seat / Car seat cover (purchase with caution)||It’s helpful if you are planning to take your pup on long trips. And if your dog is small and loves to put its head out on a drive(check legal requirements) and feel the air, we recommend a booster seat. However almost all booster seats are not safety tested. Make sure to have a safety lock car seat belt attached to a harness as you don’t want accidents with an excited pup.||We currently own icansee booster seat. But it is so expensive. Lately there are other great options that can be very similar, less expensive and more functional than ours, |
Single booster seat
|Water bottle||Travel water bottle is a must-have as puppies and adult dogs alike tend to get really thirsty||Portable water bottle, Slurp water bowl|
|Travel mat||Helps with the place training, keeps your car or the surface safe, gives space for your puppy to stay at a cafe/restaurant etc.||Lambwolf water resistant mat, Made for hounds waterproof couch pads, Hendeer rugs, Tartan blanket co picnic blankets|
|Carrier bag||Helps when you dont want to take the puppy out before fully vaccinated. Helpful for airtravels (check airline requirments). Also can use a back pack for travevls and bike rides even when the puppy is fully grown.||Maxbone carrier bags, St argo carrier bag, Lambwolf carrier bag, K9sportsack back packs|
|Lint roller/ mini vaccume||If your puppy is shedding this will be an essential||Your local supermarket or other shops should have lint rollers|
Miscellaneous things that are nice to have
|AirTag||Apple AirTag is great for peace of mind in case your puppy goes missing. You can get airtag specific dog collars and accessories|
|Puppy camera||We use the Furbo dog camera since Ollie was a little pup, there are other great options out there too|
|Food supplements||These can be wonderful for your pet’s health but be mindful and follow your vet’s instructions|
|Dog ramp or dog stairs||Helps with small or older dogs. especially to avoid jumping which can cause accidents. Certain breeds like dachshundsunds need a ramp as they have shorter legs|
|Clicker||Some likes to use this for training|
|Clothes||Some amazing small businesses make dog clothes, our favourite is Made for hounds. They are not only stylish but also useful if your puppy tends to get cold|
|Cloth/ accessories storage||Dogs are like kids, things can accumulate over time so it’s great to have space and storage solutions for their items. Follow us on Instagram to see our custom dog wardrobe and storage solutions|
|No-chew spray||There are a lot of different types of no-chew sprays but so far none has worked for us. Some people do recommend it though|
|Dog sunscreen||Helpful if you are living in a sunny area, and your dog is prone to sun-burns. Human sunscreens won’t suit them|
|Night light||Some use this around the pup’s collar especially if they are leash-free and walking at the night. Helps with visibility|
|Food mat||Helps to protect surfaces from messy eaters|
|Treat pouch||Immensely helpful to carry around with you when travelling, out-door training and walks|
|Ball thrower||If your dog is addicted to fetch like ours you will find this to be helpful|
|Outdoor bed||If your dog loves sunbathing in your garden it’ll be nice to have a weatherproof outdoor bed|
|Swim jacket||Most dogs are natural swimmers and don’t need a jacket. But it is safer to use when swimming or doing water activities in unknown areas|
|Rain coat||Helpful if you don’t want to ruin your pup’s fresh groom on rainy days, don’t want to get dirt all over them during walks on wet days|
|Food/ treat storage||It is important to store food or treat items in containers that are non-toxic. Be careful as plastic containers can cause toxicity over time|
|Dehydrator||We use the dehydrator to make our treats. Read our recipes to find out more about this|
|Wash station/ Paw washer||Helpful to clean paws after a walk|
|Pooper scooper||Some find this useful to collect poo|
|Pram||We don’t personally use one but many of our friends who have small dogs or multiple dogs, especially the ones who cannot walk for a long time like to use prams|
Download the summarised Puppy-Checklist below for your reference
I hope you found this post helpful. You can download the summarised checklist above to take shopping with you to make sure that you have everything. Let us know if we missed anything, your thoughts, and your recommendations. We’d love to hear from you.