Bringing home a new dog takes a lot of hard work and preparation. Don’t you just wish there was a “New Dog Checklist” that would tell you everything you need to buy and do to get your home ready for its newest resident?
Well, new dog owners (and prospective future new dog owners), you’re in luck. We thought a resource just like that would be really useful for people who are getting ready to adopt a dog, so we set out to create it.
Now for the bad news: There’s so much you have to do to get ready to give your new pup their best possible life, we couldn’t fit it all on just one checklist. So we made three of them. Keep reading to learn:
- Everything you need to buy for your new dog
- Every way you can prepare your home for your new dog’s arrival
- Everything you need to do to help your new dog settle in
There’s a downloadable and printable version of each checklist to help you keep track of everything — we recommend adding them to a binder along with things like receipts, adoption paperwork, and all of your new dog’s medical and vet records.
Ready to get started? Here’s the new dog checklist you’ve been looking for — and everything you’ll need to make sure you’re ready for your new best friend to arrive.
Supplies Checklist: Everything You Need to Buy for Your New Dog
First things first: Before your new dog comes home, you have some shopping to do. Dogs require a lot of supplies. Here’s your shopping list to take with you to your local pet store.
- A collar or harness
- An ID tag with your contact information engraved on it
- A leash
- A Huan Smart Dog Tag, so you can track your new pet if they ever get lost
- A size-appropriate crate
- A carrier, if you’re getting a puppy or a small dog
- A bed
- High-quality dog food
- Special treats, like biscuits or pig ears
- Food and water bowls
- Training treats
- Baby gates if any parts of your home will be off limits
- Training resources, like books or videos
- Dog shampoo
- Nail clippers
- Grooming supplies, like brushes or combs
- A toothbrush and dog-safe toothpaste
- Any vitamins or dietary supplements your dog might need
Play Time Supplies
- Chew toys
- Puzzle toys
- A play pen or kennel
- Foldable food and water bowls
- Flea and tick medication
- Poop bags
Preparing Your Home Checklist
Once you’re done shopping for all the supplies your new dog will need, the next steps involve getting your home ready for its new family member. These are all things that should be done before your new dog comes home, so keep that in mind.
Preparing Members of Your Household
- Make sure everyone else in the house (roommates, family members, tenants, etc.) is on board with the idea of having a dog join the household.
- Make sure everyone is clear about what their responsibilities will be — who feeds the dog? Who walks them? Who cleans up the yard?
- If you have another dog already, take it to the shelter with you to introduce it to your new dog before it comes home. If you have other pets, make a plan for how you will carefully and deliberately introduce them to your new dog.
Dog-Proofing Your Home
Carefully check over your home for:
- Cleaning supplies that are within a dog’s reach
- Pest control (like mouse traps or insect repellant) that could be harmful to a dog
- Houseplants that are toxic to pets
- Exposed wires for electronics that a dog might be able to chew
- Holes in or under your fence that could allow a dog to get loose
Use a critical eye to look for any potential hazard and remove it before your new dog arrives at your home.
Getting Your Dog’s Space Ready
Finally, before your dog arrives, decide on a space in your home that will be designated and prepared as the dog’s own area.
- Set up your dog’s crate, bed, toys, and food and water bowls in this area
- Make sure it’s somewhere quiet and secure, and completely dog-proofed so your new pup can safely be there alone
- Let everyone in the household know about respecting the dog’s space, so it becomes a safe place where he or she can relax while getting used to your home
Taking Care of Your Dog Checklist
Finally, the day has come and your new dog is coming home! But your work is not done yet. There are still many things you need to do to help your dog settle into your home, and set yourselves up for a long and happy life together.
Address Your Dog’s Health Needs
- Find a vet who is accepting new patients
- Take your dog for a checkup to meet their new vet
- At that time, get your dog any vaccines they’re missing, get them a microchip, and have them spayed or neutered
Start Training Your Dog
- Use educational resources like books or videos to start training your dog in basic obedience
- Sign up for sessions with a trainer, or a training class near you
- Use positive reinforcement to praise good behaviors and build trust with your dog
Help Your Dog Settle In At Home
- Make a daily routine and stick to it
- Make sure your dog knows when to expect feeding times, play times, and rest times
- Give your new dog lots of love and praise to help them transition to a new living arrangement
- Give your dog quiet time, too. They’ll need to rest a lot while they get used to all the excitement of a new home
Make Plans for Your Dog’s Future
- Start an emergency account for unexpected vet bills
- Consider pet health insurance
- Find a reputable kennel or dog sitter for when you need to leave town
At the End of the Day, Every Dog Is Different — With Different Needs
As you work through these checklists, there’s one really important thing to keep in mind: Every dog is different, and will end up having different needs.
Treat these checklists like what they are: A starting point. You can remove items or add to them as needed, and as you get to know your dog — and his or her individual wants, needs, and preferences — you will definitely add and remove things from these lists.
The important thing is just doing whatever you can to take care of your new family member, and that means looking out for their health, their safety, and their happiness. Adopting a dog is no easy feat, but in our experience, the rewards far outweigh the amount of work you have to put into it.