20 Things You Need for a New Puppy

You're getting a new puppy! Praise Wibblesniff! Life is good! Here are 20 things you need for your new teeny friend.

The day you bring a new puppy home, your life will change in a big way. You'll spend hours bonding with your new friend and at times the constant supervision may feel overwhelming. So get the whole family involved and take turns to look after him.

Everything in the house is new to your puppy. He'll chew on everything, explore every crevice, and make lots of mess on the floor. Here's my list of 20 things you need for a new puppy so you're prepared for the mischief that lies ahead.

1. A Water Bowl

Dogs need access to clean water day and night. Choose a basic but heavy bowl like this stainless steel water bowl so it doesn't skid or tip over when your puppy drinks. For added convenience, a gravity-fed water dispenser means you don't have to fill up as often, and the water stays fur-free for longer.

2. A Food Bowl

If you have more than one dog in the house, I recommend the Outward Hound Fun Feeder to prevent your dogs from competitively wolfing down their food too fast, resulting in hiccups, bloating, and indigestion. The slower eating also helps them focus on their own food and prevents resource guarding and fighting. A convenient option for a one-dog-home is an automatic dog food dispenser. These range from basic gravity-fed food bowls to timer-activated dispensers with on-board cameras.

3. Quality Puppy Kibble

Choose a high quality puppy kibble to give your dog all the nutrition he needs during the coming year of rapid growth and development. Ideally he's already eating a quality brand, so stick with that to minimize the risk of stomach upset (puppies have relatively weak gut biomes). Otherwise, I recommend Hill's Science Diet or Blue Buffalo, both of which offer high meat and low grain content.

4. Puppy Training Pads

Start housetraining your puppy from day one. Choose an area of the house that's easy to clean and put down either disposable puppy pads or a washable training pads. This protects your floors far better than newspaper, while teaching your puppy to pee and poop in the same place indoors before he learns to toilet outside. Use training pads indoors until he's around 4-5 months old, then his bowels and bladder are strong enough that he can hold it in until you let him outside.

5. Carpet Stain Remover

You will inevitably need a good carpet stain remover that's enzyme activated with good bacteria that feed on the ammonia crystals in dog urine until it's completely eliminated. This will be valuable throughout your dog's life, as there will always be sporadic pee, poop, and vomit stains to handle.

6. A Dog Bed

Your puppy needs his own safe place to which he can retreat for warmth, security, and comfort both day and night. For a greater sense of protection, choose an enclosed bed. Or for extra comfort and warmth, choose a plush snuggle-fest.

Ensure the bed is big enough for an adult Sheltie and keep it in your bedroom for companionship and security. To see more dog beds that cater to different needs (colder climates, arthritis, anxiety, and travel) see The Best Dog Beds for Shelties.

7. A Collar and ID Tag

Make sure you have a adjustable dog collar and personalized ID tag from day one. Even if you have a fenced yard and aren't taking your puppy out on walks until she's fully vaccinated, there will always be unforeseen opportunities for her to escape. An ID tag is the most likely way you'll be reunited with your puppy if or when she escapes. Most people have a name, phone number, and street address engraved.

An ID tag is essential because most young puppies aren't microchipped. The chip injectors are big so most people wait to get the insertion done under general anesthesia during de-sexing around 6-12 months; the ideal timing of de-sexing a puppy depends on whether you're spaying a girl or neutering a boy.

8. A Dog Leash

Take your puppy out for daily walks after she's had all her puppy vaccinations, usually at 14-16 weeks. Expect to do some leash training because being led around on a cord doesn't come naturally. I recommend a 5-foot nylon leash which simply hooks onto the collar. Once your Sheltie is leash trained and knows her wait/sit/recall commands, an extendable leash gives her move freedom to roam on your walks.

9. Chew Toys

When puppies are teething, they're compelled to chew. This encourages their tiny puppy teeth to fall out and the adult teeth to emerge. It's better your puppy chews on a dog toy than your TV remote, eyeglasses, or smartphone, so get a multi-pack selection of chew toys and he can choose ones with just the right size and bite.

As they grow older, Shelties chew a lot less. For mental stimulation, Howard used to chew on soft plush toys like Skinny Pelts. Since they're soft and fluffy, they do get a lot more gunked up with smelly dog drool—but that's probably half the fun.

10. Dog Toothbrush and Toothpaste

Take care of your puppy's oral health. Brush his teeth nightly with a puppy toothbrush and dog toothpaste. It's always awkward at first, but repeat exposure will get him used to the sensation of the brush in his mouth. And it's absolutely worth the fuss (just Google image search "dog tooth decay" and you'll see why).

11. Dental Chews

If you don't plan to brush your dog's teeth every day, brushless alternatives are designed to stop plaque and tartar before they start, while forming a protective layer on the teeth. Dental chews mechanically loosen existing tartar while stimulating saliva to protect against plaque forming. Be sure to choose the right size dental chews for your puppy and upsize as his jaw grows and he gets his adult teeth.

12. Plaque Remover

Besides toothbrushing and/or dental chews, consider using a water additive that serves as a natural mouthwash. Designed for your dog's water bowl, water additives are safe to drink and stay in the saliva for hours, fighting plaque and tartar. Extra measures like this can reduce the likelihood of painful cavities and tooth extractions down the line.

13. A Detangler or Undercoat Rake

Your Sheltie puppy will need serious weekly grooming from about 5-6 months old when the double coat starts to grow in. The main tool you'll need is a detangling comb or an undercoat rake, which serve to loosen the undercoat and tease out knots. If you don't remove the undercoat regularly, it will ultimately suffocate your Sheltie's skin and accumulate into painful mats. For step-by-step instructions see How to Groom a Sheltie.

14. A Fine-Toothed Comb

A fine-toothed comb is all you need for puppy grooming, and it's a very handy tool when grooming your adult Sheltie's nooks and crannies. Use it for precision combing those small, sensitive areas like behind the ears, under the collar, and under the armpits, which are prone to extra tangles.

15. A Slicker Brush

The final part of the grooming process requires a slicker brush to removes tangles and debris from the outercoat, distribute the coat's natural oils, and gently stimulate the skin for improved blood circulation.

16. Dog Nail Clippers

Once a month, use guillotine-style nail clippers or an electric nail grinder to reduce the length of your dog's claws. There's a bit of a science and an art to this so check out my grooming and nail clipping guide for detailed instructions: How to Groom a Sheltie.

17. Pet Scissors

You need a pair of scissors to trim out the inevitable knots that form on double coated breeds like Shelties. You should also trim out the excess fur that grows between the paw pads. You can use regular scissors or pet safety scissors—the main difference is that pet scissors have rounded ends to prevent sudden jabs if your dog gets twitchy.

18. Dog Shampoo

The most you need to bathe your Sheltie is once a month. Shetland Sheepdogs lick themselves clean, and tend to avoid rolling in animal poop which are the main culprits of bad smells. Use a shampoo for double-coated dogs to help exfoliate the skin and loosen the undercoat to reduce excess shedding.

19. De-Worming Tablets

De-worming your puppy prevents parasitic worms setting up home in his intestines and heart. Puppies are dewormed monthly, while adult dogs are treated quarterly. Set a reminder on your calendar as it's easily forgotten. There are liquid and tablet forms available; when giving tablets it helps to coat it in peanut butter and put it in the back of his mouth so he doesn't spit it straight out.

Check with your breeder for your puppy's de-worming schedule and what types of worms are prevalent in your part of the world (most need to treat for roundworm, tapeworm, hookworm, and heartworm).

20. Flea Treatment

Fleas are parasites that feed on the blood of mammals, living and breeding among hair and fur, as well as laying eggs in the carpet which can remain dormant for months. To be pro-active about fleas, give your puppy a routine topical liquid treatment, dropped directly onto your puppy's skin behind the neck where he can't lick it off. Use only the smallest dose needed to be effective per the packet instructions.

If you'd rather treat fleas as-and-when they arise, watch for the presence of fleas or eggs in your dogs fur and if he does start scratching, use a fast-acting oral treatment which enters the bloodstream and kills the fleas within hours. Then double down with a flea preventative dropped on his skin to stop re-infestation.