Let’s set the scene. You’ve just signed the papers, paid the fee, and now you’re walking into Rucker Pet with a snoring bundle of floppy ears and big paws.

Maybe you (or your kids!) have been longing for a puppy for a while and you finally got around to heading down to the shelter to pick one out. Or maybe you just happened upon an adoption event while out shopping. Maybe a friend’s dog had puppies, and they gave you one, or maybe you researched and bought one from a reputable breeder.

Regardless of the circumstances under which you got your puppy, the next question is: so, you have a new puppy…now what?

Let’s Go Shopping For Essentials!

Doc Holliday. Photo; Gabriella Nicholas

Leashes and Collars:

Generally, when you get a new puppy, the first thing you buy is a leash and collar. This is because, while shelters, Humane Societies, and breeders may give you a temporary one to take Puppy home, you’re going to want something that either fits better, isn’t worn out, or is more your style. Now, while there are some very cute collars out there, you have to remember that Puppy is most likely going to get much bigger. So, pick something that can grow with him (at least for the first few months), or something that you won’t mind replacing a few times as he gets older.

Time Flies When You Have a Puppy!

Harnesses are very good for dogs that tend to have problems with their tracheas, but it isn’t recommended to get one until the puppy is a little older. This is because they grow quickly, and replacing harnesses every few weeks to a month can get expensive!

Food and Dishes:

The second thing you’re going to need is food and dishes. Picking a puppy food might sound overwhelming with all the choices we have, but it becomes very easy once you narrow it down to specifics. For example, if you have a large breed puppy, you’re probably going to want a big bag of large breed puppy food! Small breed puppies need small kibble. Dishes should also be easily replaceable because Puppy will grow! You should only need to replace those once.


For any size puppy, it is recommended that you start off with at least one soft toy and one hard toy. That way, Puppy had something to chew up and something to snuggle. Soft toys can be any size and density, but be prepared for it to be torn to shreds! Not all puppies like to snuggle with their soft toys. As for hard toys, anything from a Benebone to a Kong toy should work. And you can freeze most hard toys, which will help with teething, or fill them with fun treats like peanut butter, which should keep Puppy’s interest in the toy and away from your fingers!


Warning: Choking Hazard!

Anything you give your puppy to chew on is a supervised toy, no matter how soft or hard it is. It’s like a baby—puppies are not to be left alone with anything they are chewing on…just in case!

Mowgli. Photo; Julie Nicholson


Humans live busy lives, and between work and school, sometimes it’s unavoidable…you have to leave Puppy at home. Crate-training a new puppy is always a good idea, especially if you do it alongside potty-training. To do this, you’re going to need a crate that is just big enough for the puppy to turn around and lay down. That way, there is less of a chance they’ll use it as their bathroom! Since crates are rather expensive, the best way to accomplish this is to get a bigger crate that comes with a divider, so the crate can grow with the puppy!

Time to Go Home and Love on the New Baby!

Of course, as the years go by, you’ll acquire more things as your puppy grows up. But this list of the basics should ensure your newest addition lives happily ever after in their fur-ever home! And, as always, don’t be afraid to ask questions! Adopting a puppy is a big responsibility, and all of us at Rucker Pet are here to help you out from their first day to their last.