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The Definitive Guide to Puppy Essentials in one ‘Puppy Checklist’

What do Puppies Need?

You’ve decided on a new puppy. You have a rough idea of what date your new family member should be coming home. Now you’re asking yourself, what do puppies need, what are the puppy essentials and where do I start? Speaking from experience with Barney, I’m hoping this new puppy checklist will prove helpful.

Step One // Home Preparation

Is your home prepared for the new addition? A little like bringing home a newborn baby, there’s a lot to think about when you bring home a new puppy.


Currently the top priority on everyone’s list should be security. Making sure your property is secured both in terms of dog theft and the puppy making its own ‘great escape’ should be the first task on your list.

Is your garden secure? Check all your walls and fencing to ensure there are no holes or gaps where the puppy could escape.

Are your gates secure? Check all your gates are secure. If you have top bolts that can be accessed from the outside, consider putting additional lower-level bolts that can only be opened from the inside.

Puppy Proofing

In the case of Barney (and most breeds), puppies should not be allowed up or down stairs until they are at least 12-months old. If you do allow your puppy to go up and down the stairs regularly at a young age, this can affect their legs in later life. We recommend getting a pet gate to stop your dog making their own way upstairs (and also prevent any miss haps when out of sight).

We’ll touch on teething shortly, however a “keep off” spray is also handy to spray on anything you don’t wish for them to chew. This could be furniture legs, skirting boards and even the dog gate if you’re buying a wooden one.

Sleeping Arrangements

From our personal experience, we found it helpful to have Barney in a crate in the evening. We’ve started off with a medium sized crate, which is still just large enough for him to stand up and turn around in. Once this is getting a little hard for him to achieve, we will upgrade to the large crate which should be suitable for him during his early adult years.

When choosing a crate, don’t purchase one too big as you want them to feel cosy when inside and see it as their safe place. Consider your puppies dimensions and ensure they can stand up and turn around with ease. Too much bigger than this and you could end up with toilet issues inside the crate.

Using training and treats, Barney now sees his crate as his safe place and will happily take himself in there when he’s ready for bed in an evening.

Lets re-cap on this first section:

  • Have you secured your garden from theft and escape?
  • Purchased a stair gate to secure your stairs?
  • Protected anything that could be tasty to chew?
  • Purchased a suitable sized crate for your dogs breed?

Now the core tasks have been completed, we can move on to the nicer task of purchasing puppy toys, puppy treats and gifts for your new puppy.

Step Two // Puppy Essentials

There are so many new puppy gifts out there, but it’s important that first you buy the essentials. Here’s what we bought for Barney that we’ve found to be extremely useful:

  • Comfy Bed – key to a goodnights sleep is a comfy bed. Try and find a bed that is cozy and fits well inside the crate you’ve purchased.
  • Cozy Blankets – a snuggle blanket is always a winner. Ideally your breeder should send you home with one that has a smell of their mum. This will help with first night anxiety.
  • Little Buddy Heartbeat Sheep – this plush toy is perfect to relieve first night anxiety and aid sleep. We personally took the heartbeat inner out of ours as we were conscious he may get it out in the night. The toy itself however has worked really well and he still uses it to this day.
  • Pet Remedy Plug-in Diffuser – a natural de-stress and calming plug-in diffuser. This is a new and natural way of tacking stress and anxiety using slow-release technology. Featuring a unique treatment of Valerian oil, blended with Vetivert, Basil sweet and Sage, the potent de-stressing properties are slow released into the surrounding area. Slight word of warning here, the word “potent” is very relevant!
  • LickiMat - a great way to keep them entertained. You’ll see on our Instagram that we blend lots of healthy stuff for Barney and then freeze it. These are great when you need to leave your puppy alone for a short time and want a good distraction.

All of the above did the trick for us, as Barney has slept through every night without fail since his first night at home!

Let’s re-cap on this second section and check you have all the puppy essentials:

  • Food & water bowls?
  • Comfy bed?
  • Have you purchased a cosy blanket or confirmed this will be coming from your breeder?
  • Explored the options for a comforting soft toy?
  • Purchased a LickiMat, Kong or Similar?
  • Have you considered using a pet friendly diffuser?

Step Three // Puppy Teething

Puppies explore the world with their mouths. This is extremely cute, but it’s important to be prepared, both to protect your furniture and yourself.

These three teething toys have been Barneys favourites and so far minimized bitten hands and other items he shouldn’t be chewing:

  • Antos Natural Antler Dog Chew - Antler’s are a healthy chew, full of minerals and calcium. Naturally shed, these antlers are a long lasting chew. Unprocessed, they should not splinter and leave a minimum of mess. The Antos Antler satisfies a dog’s natural urge to chew, whilst also helping to strengthen and clean teeth.
  • Origins Olive Branch Dog Chew – these Olive Wood chews are hand crafted, eco-sustainable, gently harvested, air dried for many months and finally cleaned and cut to size. Another long lasting chew, these are suitable for all dogs including puppies and satisfy a dog’s natural urge to chew. Origins won’t splinter, are low in fat and contain no artificial additives or preservatives.

Let’s re-cap on this third section:

Step Four // Puppy Toys

Now on to the fun bit. The puppy toys! We all have a real urge to go out and buy a box full of super cute puppy toys when you see them in the store, but it’s important to think before you buy. Dependent on your breed, most puppies will shred soft toys in a matter of hours (or minutes in some cases). If you’re following Barney on Instagram @PetHamperBarney you will have seen his favourite toys. Here’s a summary:

  • Natural Pet Rope Cow Toy – this is without a doubt his favorite toy. Incorporating a rope element for fun tug of war time, the squeaker to keep him amused and a soft body this toy has it all. It’s also constructed using high quality, environmentally friendly natural and biodegradable materials with 100% natural cotton rope.
  • Smug Mutts Knot Twice Natural Hemp Rope Toy – along with the chews, Barney loves these Natural Hemp Rope toys. He also loves pulling all the strands out! The toughness of the rope allows for this toy to double up as both a toy for fun and teething.
  • Wainwright's Tuff Squirrel Dog Toy – this toy was our other dog Ted’s, however it’s turned in to one of Barneys favourites too. I think the mixture of the toughness, squeaker and crinkle effect make for hours of playtime fun.

Let’s re-cap on this final section:

  • Have you got enough puppy toys but not bought too many?

In Conclusion

I hope this post has provided you with a personal insight in to our journey with Barney and acts as a helpful checklist for your new puppy, allowing you to tick off all those puppy essentials.

Over the next few weeks we will be teaming up with the Innocent Pet to provide you with an insight in to their puppy food. This will include weaning off the food your puppy has been fed by the breeder and the benefits of wet, semi-moist and dry food. Barney loves his Wild Salmon Fishcakes and super tasty lamb with split pea training treats. Stay Tuned for the next edition.

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