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12 Essential Things You Need Before Getting A Puppy – 2021 Checklist

Updated: Aug 9, 2022

You’re on the brink of completing one of the most rewarding and exciting things you can do in your life, and that is to bring a puppy home and raise it for the next decade or so!

These are very exciting times ahead and who doesn’t love a puppy? Well for a start they are tiny, adorable, playful affectionate little fluffy creatures. Puppies are certainly hard to resist and perhaps this is one of the reasons why many people end up getting a puppy before they are ready or before they know how to properly prepare for one. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to raise a puppy and speaking from experience, you need to have all the essentials in place to ensure the first couple of months go as smoothly as possible.

This article only covers the essentials things you need for your pup once he/she arrives home and is written from the point of view where you know what to expect in raising a dog and are fully prepared for the commitment and sacrifices needed to make.

Let’s get started with the essential list:


1. Crate

Crates are important in keeping puppies safe when you are not able to supervise them properly. The crate helps puppies learn to hold and strengthen their bladder and bowel muscles, making housebreaking less of a chore for you and your dog. It is also important for your pup to have a safe place and a distinguished area for them to sleep.

2. Pet Insurance

This is a given as you would expect. I would highly recommend using a price comparison site to scout out the best deal for the level of protection you would be willing to pay towards.

3. Puppy Food & Water Bowl

Puppies are notorious for being greedy, gobbling their food down very quickly, causing indigestion issues and bloating. To counter this issue, here at HWL Pet Supplies we endorse slow feeder dog bowls.

They typically reduce the dogs speed of eating up to half, making it more difficult for dogs to eat by placing prongs in the bowl, ensuring your pup eats around the prongs to get to their kibble.

A simple water bowl will do for your puppy, but when going on walks during the summer, I would highly recommend buying a portal travel water bottle to keep your pup hydrated!

Buy your puppy a slow feed dog bowl from HWL Pet Supplies for less than £10!

4. Collar & Lead Harness

Your puppy will find it strange wearing a collar at first so it is important to look for a soft, adjustable one that won’t irritate their sensitive neck, as at first, there may be a bit of tugging and pulling as they learn the wonders of walking on a leash.

Keep in mind that you will likely go through many collars and harnesses over the years so do not go for an expensive one right off the bat. One final point on the topic of collars and leads is: during these cold winter months, it may be a good investment buying a glow in the dark collar and lead when you are going out for late or early morning dog walkies to improve your visibility to traffic and other road users

5. Puppy Gate (if applicable)

A pet gate teaches your puppy which areas of the home are off limits to him and helps prevent any unwanted slobber in your bed! It familiarises pets with the rooms they are free to roam in and rooms which may be dangerous or not dog proof e.g., basement or loft.

6. Puppy Bed and Blankets

Puppies love being warm and snugly during nap and bedtime. Their bedding needs to be soft and gentle yet withstand a lot of washing! Again, I wouldn’t buy an expensive bed off the bat as your pup may possibly outgrow the bed or even damage it. Beds under £20 is typically the price point I would go with.

7. Puppy Shampoo

It is important to buy a puppy shampoo which is super gentle on their skin and one which can help protect your pup’s skin from drying out, whilst containing no harsh ingredients and chemicals.

We personally recommend Oatmeal based shampoos for puppies as they well known to be sensitive and soothing, extremely beneficial for dogs with dry sensitive skin.

We have our range of Oatmeal based dog shampoo which are perfect for puppies.

Our Oatmeal Puppy Shampoo is available to buy now! Use code SHAMPOO10 for 10% OFF!

8. Toys/ Dental Chews & Puppy Early Development Toys

Dog Toys:


Tennis balls have always been popular low-cost toy for your pup, only issue with tennis balls is dogs can easily puncher them and could potential swallow some of the contents of the tennis ball, potentially causing a trip to the vet. We would recommend purchasing a soft plush ball for your teething pup to mitigate the risk.

Rope Toys:

These toys feature a rope that your dog can bite. You can hold the other end of the toy and begin a tug of war. Dogs love these toys they suit their natural way of playing and you can be a little more rough if your dog prefers this type of play!

Dental Chews:

It is natural for your dog to want to chew, even after he has teethed. Chew toys for dogs ensure they chew something safe, and not your sofa or bed! These toys come in a variety of shapes: such as sticks, ropes, bones, as animal shapes, food shapes etc. These toys have different levels of durability to match your dog’s chewing power.

Early Development Toys:

Treat-Dispensing Toys:

These are toys that contain treats for your dog. They can be filled and refilled with your dog’s favourite treat. The premise is your dog then must figure out how to use the toy to get to the treat. It ensures hours of fun for him as he twists and turns and chews the toy to get to his kibble. Your pup will feel satisfied they have solved the puzzle and can chomp on their treats as a reward!

Puzzle Toys:

These are toys that challenge your dog’s brainpower and help stimulate it. They can be physical toys for dogs or electronic games. They teach your dog coordination, as well as help develop his instincts and patience. We would highly recommended toys of this nature for your puppy!

9. Puppy Food

There is a clear difference between puppy dog food and adult dog food.

A puppy’s nutritional needs are much more expansive than an adult dog.

Puppies needs more nutrients and calories than an adult dog, which is why puppy foods have higher levels of protein and fat to support growth, as well as nutrients like DHA, an omega fatty acid found in mother's milk.

The reason there is such a difference between adult dog food and puppy food is because puppies need calories for all the energy they have, plus they need extra calories to support their growing bodies and bones. Each calorie they consume should be packed with nutrition. No empty calories allowed. A puppy’s stomach is only so big and cannot hold as much food as a grown-up dog, so feeding them in small chunks, but often, is a good idea.

10. Puppy Joint Supplements

Joint supplements for dogs work by giving large amounts of specific ingredients that can have a positive effect on the joint. Just like vitamins for people, giving supplements like this ensures your pet is getting enough of what they need to make sure the joint is as healthy as it can be.

Most importantly, puppies can take joint supplements as a preventative measure if they are predisposed to certain joint disease. Ultimately, you should give your dog joint and hip care supplements to strengthen their joints and cartilage when they are younger, and whilst their joints are still developing to prevent damage.

11. Poo Bags

Don’t be that person who doesn’t pick up their dogs faeces however smelly it may be! I would recommend buying poo bags which are super strong and are scented. I always buy black bags for discretion!

12. Vets

I would normally choose a veterinary practice based on a personal recommendation from a family member or friend as they will be able to give you a true insight and can advise you on things to look out for.

God forbid if anything did happen to your special little friend, it is practical to find a vet close to home so you don’t have to travel far in case of an emergency.


Thank you for reading our 12 Essential Things You Need Before Getting A Puppy guide!

Article written by Hayden Lloyd, Founder of HWL Pet Supplies

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1 Comment

Janet Daniel
Janet Daniel
Dec 20, 2022

I’ll be getting a mini American shepherd at the end of next month!! Love your methods. I’ll be using a lot of the skills you guys teach, hopefully! Also gonna try.

In addition, I want to share with you a link that clarifies the particular nutritional needs of French Bulldogs : 😊

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