Bringing a New Dog Home: 10 Must-Have Items

Whether it’s a playful puppy or an adorable adoption, it can be daunting bringing a new dog home.

Oct 26, 2023By Shannon Whitlock
bringing new dog home must have items

However, the addition of a new dog in your home can be made easier by having the items listed in this blog post ready and waiting. From bowls and bedding to toys and treats, this handy dog checklist will explain what you need and why you need it.

Dog Crate

dog sleeping crate

All dogs enjoy having their own space, away from the noisiness of a household. Get one that’s size-appropriate and set it up in a quiet area of the home. Cover the top and sides with a blanket, leaving the door area clear, and fill it with a comfortable bed, toys, and even some of your old clothes that have your scent on. This will help the dog settle in and become accustomed to you.

Crate training a dog isn’t approved by everyone, but in my personal experience, it’s really helped my rescue dog, Eddie. He has separation anxiety, and he used to howl when I left him alone. I’ve started putting him in a crate when I must go out, and he’s less anxious now.

A Second Bed

dog sleeping

I mentioned above that having a bed in the crate is a good idea. Having a second bed in another area of the home, such as the living room or bedroom, is advisable. Once your dog starts to settle in, they might want to explore their new surroundings. That extra bed will allow the dog to bond with the family and feel at home.

Food and Water Bowls

puppy in bowl

Obviously, your dog will need to be fed and watered every day. Choose non-slip ones and always get a bigger water bowl, as dogs drink more than they eat. I personally prefer stainless steel bowls, as they’re less likely to get broken and they’re easier to clean.

Always make sure that fresh water is available for your dog, especially in the warmer seasons.

Dog Food

dog food in bowl

It doesn’t matter if you buy your puppy from a breeder or adopt a dog from a shelter, you need to ask which brand of food they’ve been eating. It’s fine for you to switch their food, but it’s important that you make the swap gradually. If you make a straight swap, you could upset their tummy, and it could result in an unnecessary vet trip.

Harness and Leash

german shepherd on leash

Getting a harness is preferable as your dog won’t hurt itself when you take it out for a walk. Make sure you choose one that fits your dog snugly but isn’t uncomfortable. There are so many colors and patterns available, it’s a good opportunity to show off your personality.

When deciding on a dog’s leash, go for one that isn’t too long or short. The type is a personal choice, so whether it’s rope, chain, or nylon, comfort is key for both you and your dog.


dalmatian wearing collar

This doesn’t have to be waiting in your house when you bring your dog home, but it does have to be purchased soon after. The fit is important here. Just like the harness, you want to make sure that it fits snugly and that they are not able to wriggle free. If you can fit two fingers between your dog and the collar, that’s a perfect fit. You can even get a collar that tracks your dog!

Dog Tags and Toys

dog toys

Alongside the collar, a priority should also be getting a dog tag. I would advise against putting your dog’s name on there as this can make them easier to steal, but the family name, as well as a contact number, is perfect.

Toys are essential. Whether they’re a puppy or a rescue, they will provide your dog with mental and physical stimulation. This should stop them from chewing your furniture or being generally destructive. Buy a variety; some cuddly, some squeaky, and even some which can have treats hidden inside them. You’ll soon figure out the type that your dog prefers.

Poop Bags

dog poop sign

We’ve all seen messages on our local neighborhood site or printed flyers stating that someone hasn’t bothered to pick up their dog’s mess and that they’ve stood in it.

Be a responsible dog owner and always have poop bags whenever you take them out. Either have a bag dispenser attached to their harness (take it off when they’re wearing it, it’s simply there so you don’t leave them at home) or shove a handful of bags into various coat pockets.

Grooming Equipment

dog nail clipping

All dogs benefit from being brushed at least once a week, even more, if you have a long-haired dog breed. There are brushes for all kinds of fur types, so make sure you get the right one.

Dog shampoo is also good to have, but it’s not necessary to wash your dog regularly. A lot of dog owners prefer their dogs to be groomed every three months so they get their nails clipped and their fur washed and trimmed.

Dog Toothbrush and Toothpaste

dog teeth

Getting a dog used to a toothbrush is important. Canines can suffer from dental issues just like humans, so dog dental care is vital. There are several guides online on how to brush a dog's teeth, and it’ll soon be second nature to you both.

Dogs make a wonderful addition to any family, and by having these items ready before you bring your dog home, you’ll settle into a life of happiness together with ease.

Shannon Whitlock
By Shannon Whitlock

Shannon has grown up with dogs and recently entered the world of dog ownership by adopting a Terrier cross, Eddie. She has been a freelance writer for five years, finally turning her hobby into a career. As well as Eddie, she also has three children who keep her busy. One day, she aspires to own a menagerie of animals, including a Highland cow and some chickens.