Tom&Sawyer’s Ultimate New Puppy Checklist

Everything you need to know about bringing home your new puppy

Did someone say puppy!? There aren’t too many things more exciting than bringing home a new fur-baby, but at Tom&Sawyer, we know how overwhelming it can be, too.

New puppy on rug

.                            Photo by hannah grace on Unsplash

That's why we’re here to help you start off on the right paw! We’ve put together our best new puppy tips, complete with a handy shopping list, puppy food recommendations, and how to find the right vet for you.

Let's get started! 
New Puppy Shopping List:

1) Leash and Collar

Choosing a leash and collar can be fun — there are so many different patterns and colours to choose from. Make sure you choose a leash and collar made with durable material, and if your puppy is tiny, ensure that the leash clip isn’t too heavy. You should be able to fit two fingers in between your pup’s collar and neck — any smaller is too tight, and any looser could mean that your pup could wiggle out and run free.

We don’t recommend retractable leashes as they can be unreliable and may encourage bad walking habits. For large breeds they are also not durable enough. Choose a strong, sturdy leash that will be comfortable for you and your pup.

You may also want to consider the use of a harness. Harnesses can reduce tension around the neck, which is especially important when training a new puppy who is still learning not to pull. Harnesses can also be more beneficial for large breeds and large-chested breeds. Choose a harness with both a front and back clip so you can figure out what is most comfortable and effective for you and your puppy.

Pug puppy in a harness

                             Photo by Ryan Antooa on Unsplash

2) ID Tag

ID tags come in many adorable shapes and colours, and are used to ensure that if your puppy were to ever get loose, someone can identify and return them to you. Consider adding your pet’s name and your phone number to the ID tag. Most pet stores have an in-house ID tag machine that can help you create your puppy’s tag on the spot. In addition, adding a rabies vaccination tag can reassure someone that your pet is safe to approach. Many cities and municipalities require you to register your puppy as well. Make sure you know your area’s by-laws and get the appropriate tags for your pup.

3) A Puppy Bed

Choosing the right bed for your new puppy can be hard with so many options out there. Think about your pup’s breed and size and choose accordingly. Make sure it is durable (puppies love to chew!), washable and waterproof so you’re ahead of the inevitable potty accidents.

puppy surrounded in blankets                               Photo by Vlad Tchompalov on Unsplash

4) Crate

The crate will be your puppy’s safe haven! While your pup may not love the crate at first, make sure you research how to crate train your pup and what you can expect. If you don’t give in to your puppy’s initial cries, over time the crate will become your puppy’s favourite cozy place. Training your puppy to sleep in a crate will also give you peace of mind — after all, there will be times when you need to leave your puppy home alone or unattended, and knowing your puppy is safe and happy in their crate will make your outings without your pup more enjoyable.

When choosing a crate, remember that it should be large enough for your puppy to have room to stand up and move around, lie down, and stretch out! These requirements should continue to be met as your puppy grows.

5) Food and Water Bowls

Food and water bowls are always fun to pick out. For larger breeds, bowls that are raised can reduce stress and tension on their necks while eating. Stainless steel bowls are easily to clean, whereas plastic bowls can wear out easily (especially if your puppy chews!) and may hold onto pathogens and bacteria more readily.

6) Toys

Be sure to have lots of toys ready for your puppy! Toys encourage mental stimulation and can be used to help curb behaviour and provide comfort during the teething process. It’s a good idea to have toys with different materials available to get an idea of what toys your puppy prefers. Always supervise your puppy when they are playing with a toy — puppies can chew excessively and swallow pieces they shouldn’t.

puppy with toy

                              Photo by Lucrezia Carnelos on Unsplash

7) Grooming Supplies

Be sure to have a brush, comb, and/or grooming mitt ready for your puppy. Choose a brush that is well suited for your puppy’s fur type. Don’t forget nail trimmers, shampoo and a wash towel, and a toothbrush and toothpaste. It’s good to get your puppy used to handling for nail trimmings, grooming, and teeth brushing early on!

8) Puppy Food!

At Tom&Sawyer, we think that choosing the best puppy food for your new fur-baby is so important, we’re giving it its own section!

What to Feed Your New Puppy

Starting off on the right paw with good quality, fresh and nutritious dog food will ensure that your puppy will be healthy for years to come.

Puppies need diets high in protein, with moderate fats (especially those omega-3 fatty acids), and adequate calcium and phosphorus.

When choosing the best food to feed your new puppy, our fresh pet meals can be a great option – just add our Puppy Booster to make our meals puppy-friendly!

To see fresh and healthy meals for your pup, click here

Transitioning to Your Puppy Food of Choice

To start, it’s a good idea to bring home a bag of the food your puppy is currently eating when you adopt them. Then, transition slowly to your food of choice – you can always use our Transition Guide to help!

How Often to Feed Your Puppy

Small breeds up to the age of 4 months should be fed approximately 3 meals a day. From 4 to 10 months of age, frequency can be reduced to 2 meals a day. For larger dog breeds, feed 3 meals a day until the age of 6 months. From 6 to 12 months of age these large breed puppies can be reduced to 2 meals per day.

A Last Step: Find a Veterinarian

When choosing a veterinarian, consider location and the services that they offer. We highly recommend checking a place out before making a final decision. Ask Questions – it's the best way to see if you will communicate well with this person. You need to feel confident and comfortable with whoever you choose.

Additional Considerations:

1) Puppy training classes can be a great way to get the basic training down. There are lots of options out there, so look for a training class that works best for you.

Puppy getting brushed

                             Photo by Ayla Verschueren on Unsplash

2) Daily routines are vital for you and your puppy. Regular feeding times, walks, and bathroom breaks can actually limit stress for your pup and may also be good for their gut (think regular poop schedules).

3) Due to the COVID pandemic, there has been a rise in dogs with separation anxiety. Routines can help reduce this, but it’s also important to train your new puppy to being home when you aren’t. Simple crate training tricks can help with this!

Congratulations on your new Loyal Companion! To get more tips and tricks delivered to your inbox, join our newsletter here

Written by: Hannah Godfrey
Animal Nutritionist
BSc.H. | MSc. Animal Nutrition