The ultimate New puppy checklist: Bringing home your new puppy from the breeder

Getting a new puppy is an exciting time, but it can also be a bit overwhelming, especially for new owners. How to prepare? What do you need to buy? How to puppy-proof your home? What to bring when you pick up the puppy from the breeder?

I know, it can be stressful. But don’t worry, I’m here to help 🙂 Here’s a comprehensive guide on what to buy and how to get ready for your new family member.

It’s important to make sure you have what you need before picking up your new puppy from the breeder. You also need to be prepared for the ride home.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see my full disclosure for further information.

cute puppy sleeping

How to choose a reputable breeder

When buying a new dog, it’s crucial to ensure that the breeder from whom you are getting your pup is responsible and ethical.

Research what to look for in responsible breeders before making any commitments or payments. This should include asking questions about their breeding practices, health clearances, and vaccination records of the puppies they produce.

Do your research. Make sure that your pup comes from healthy parents and has received proper medical care prior to being taken home by its new family.

Most puppies are given away at 8 weeks of age. Some breeders let you visit the puppies sooner and will even help you pick the right puppy for you.

Make sure you have all the necessary documents before leaving (pedigree certificate, medical documentation…).

How to find a responsible breeder/owner:

→ Do your research:

A good idea is to research the current owner before you make an appointment. Go on Google. Could you find anything online? Is the puppy’s breeder registered at a kennel club? Some breeders have an established online presence, and some do not. Now, this doesn’t mean a lot. However, sometimes you can find other people’s experiences and reviews on different forums. 

Google the contact number – puppy dealers often use the same contact for multiple ads. 

→ Make an appointment to inspect all puppies and their mum:

How did you feel when you hung up the phone after talking to the breeder?  If something seems off, trust your instincts.

Does the breeder have a problem with you coming over to see the whole litter AND the adult dogs? Did he insist on bringing the puppy to you? If at least one of the answers is a yes, I would highly recommend finding someone else. 

A responsible breeder/owner doesn’t have a problem with you seeing all his puppies and the mum in their home environment.

Most puppy dealers will try to sell you a puppy online without inspection or they will try to bring it to your home. They will tell you that it’s just for your convenience (they live too far so you don’t have to travel, they will spare you the time and travel costs…), they’ll try to persuade you that it’s normal and ok. It’s not. If the breeder has a problem with you seeing the puppies and adult dogs in their home, your best option is to walk away.

Ask questions about their breeding practices, health clearances, and medical records.

→ Inspect the space where the puppies and their mum live:

You should be able to see where the puppies spend most of their days. Now, I don’t mean the garden, I mean the actual space where the puppies live with their mum.  

Is the space big enough to comfortably accommodate all puppies and the mum? Is the space clean? Is there fresh water available? 

→ Ask about the father:

If the father is closely related to the mother, there is a high risk of inbreeding and hereditary defects. 

→ Ask him to sign a Contract of sale:

You should always have a signed detailed Puppy contract when buying a puppy. Mostly, breeders already have their own agreement you need to sign before you buy their puppy.

If you feel uncomfortable or pressured at any time, remember it’s ok to walk away.

You can learn more about how to find a responsible dog breeder and how to spot a puppy dealer in my article How to pick a healthy puppy from a litter.

Here is another checklist you can use to pick a healthy puppy:

Buying a puppy is a big step not just for you, but for everyone in your household. Make sure everyone is ready for your new family member.

To paraphrase a famous movie quote – with a small puppy comes great responsibility 🙂 Do your research before you decide to add a furry friend to your family.

Do your research before you buy a puppy:

  • Research veterinary clinics and make an appointment
  • Start an emergency account for unexpected bills
  • Research pet insurance (always read the detailed insurance policy!)
  • Find a dog sitter or a nice reputable kennel
  • Find educational training resources on potty training
  • Find educational training resources for basic obedience
  • Sign up for puppy training classes

Make sure everyone in your family is on board:

  • Make sure everyone understands their responsibilities
  • Make sure everyone understands and respects that a dog needs a safe space where he can be alone and relax
  • If you have an older dog or other pets make plans how to introduce them slowly and deliberately to your new puppy
small puppy lying on the floor

Puppy-proof your home and set up your puppy’s private space

Before you pick up your puppy, it is important to ensure your home is ready for your new furry friend. Puppy-proofing can include things such as covering cords and outlets, putting away any hazardous materials or objects, and providing a safe space for the pup to sleep.

Puppy-proof your home – checklist:

  • Check for cleaning supplies and pet control that are within your dog’s reach
  • Check your home for exposed wires for electronics
  • Research which plants are toxic to pets and remove them from your dog’s reach
  • Check if there are any holes in or under your fence
  • Install baby gates if any part of your home will be off-limits

Your puppy will need a private space where he can relax. This is especially important when you have young children. Your puppy needs a space that will be off-limits to kids and other pets.

It should be somewhere quiet and safe. A dog crate is an excellent idea. It might sound harsh at first, but most dogs love their crate. It’s their safe space where they can relax.

Pet Pro Supplies has a large collection of dog crates you can choose from – from furniture crates to foldable travel crates. These are perfect if you plan to travel with your pup, he will love to have his own space in an unfamiliar environment 😎

Just find a good tutorial about crate training.

Set up your new puppy’s space:

  • Buy everything your puppy will need to make him feel comfortable
  • Find a quiet and secure space, and make sure it’s dog-proofed
  • Set up the crate, dog bed, toys, water, and food bowl…
  • If you will be leaving your puppy alone for a longer time, set up a space with puppy pee pads where he can go do his business
cute puppy

Buy all necessary supplies before bringing your puppy home

You will also need to buy some essentials for the pup before bringing it home. A new puppy shopping list should include things such as a collar and leash, food and water bowls, treats, toys, a bed or crate, and grooming supplies. Here is a New puppy essentials shopping list for you ☺️

It is also important to have a first aid kit for your pup in case of any emergencies.

And don’t forget to buy an ID TAG for your new furry friend! Your puppy should have an ID Tag even if he has a microchip. People recognize tags immediately and can call you if they find your puppy, while a chip needs to be scanned by special equipment (usually at a vet clinic or in a rescue shelter).

There are so many options on the market, and it can take a while to choose what works for you.

It’s really up to you, just please get an ID Tag for your puppy ☺️

New puppy essentials:

  • ID tags with your contact details in case your pup gets lost  
  • Adjustable collar and/or harness
  • Leash
  • Puppy food: Talk to the breeder about which food is your puppy currently eating. If you want to make a switch to a new food, do it slowly over a period of at least 7 days. Puppies have very sensitive digestive tracts and abrupt changes in diet often lead to diarrhea.
  • Food storage bin: Be careful how you store your puppy’s food. Always read the manufacturer’s guidelines on how to store it properly.
  • Food bowl and water bowl + travel bowl
  • Special treats: Make sure they are puppy-friendly. Don’t feed your new puppy too many treats as this can also cause diarrhea.
  • Size appropriate crate
  • Travel crate or car harness to transport the puppy safely home
  • Dog bed: Make sure it’s washable
  • Blankets or towels for the puppy’s bedding

Hygiene and grooming essentials:

  • Poop bags + poop bags holder
  • Paper towels 
  • Pee pads 
  • A few old towels
  • Enzymatic stain remover (accidents will happen, you need to be prepared for that)
  • Brush and/or comb
  • Nail clippers
  • Puppy shampoo
  • First aid kit

Essentials for playtime and training:

  • Chew toys: this is a must-have, otherwise, your puppy will chew on your furniture
  • Play toys (balls, rope…)
  • Training treats
  • Baby gates if you plan on using them
  • Training resources (books…)

This is a list of essential things your puppy will need when he gets to his new home. You can always buy more things later if you want to 🙂

What do you need for the ride home after you pick up your puppy from the breeder?

When picking up a puppy from the breeder, it is important to be prepared for the ride home.

The first thing you should do is ask the breeder what he recommends. A good breeder is an invaluable source of information. Use it!

Plan ahead for any potty breaks during the drive home

If you are traveling for a longer time, plan enough potty breaks. Even if your pup doesn’t have to pee, he needs breaks. It’s your puppy’s first car ride! It’s stressful, he’s without his mum for the first time, with people he doesn’t know, constrained in a weird moving thing… He needs breaks, trust me.

Some puppies get really sick when they travel for the first time (just like babies). So I would also recommend bringing a towel, wet wipes, pee pads, and some sickness travel bags.

Bring a suitable crate or carrier for the puppy

First of all, you need a suitable crate or dog carrier for your new pup. Safety during travel should be a priority. In most countries, restraining your dog during car travel is required by law.

If you plan on traveling with your dog in the future, you can invest in a proper safe travel crate right from the beginning. This is the safest option, however, it’s heavy and you need to have space for it.

Alternatively, you can use a crate that has been anchored to the vehicle with a seat belt or other secure means.

Or you can buy a car seat harness. In this case, your puppy should be sitting in the back seat of your car. The front seat of the car has airbags, which can seriously injure your puppy if you have a car crash.

Bring a travel bowl for food and water

If you have a long drive ahead of you, make sure to bring enough food and water.

Most breeders will give you some of the food the doggie is used to. This will make the transition to his next diet smooth. But you can bring puppy-safe treats for the ride home 🙂

Bring a few dog toys

Your new best friend might get bored if you have to travel long distances. It’s always better to be prepared and bring a chew toy or other play toys 🙂

Provide a blanket for comfort during the car ride

My best tip is to bring a clean old t-shirt, towel, or a blanket and rub it on the mother and his litter mates. This way your puppy will have something that smells like his mum and siblings for the ride home. Put that t-shirt in his dog bed when you get home, a familiar scent will help him adjust to a new environment. However, be prepared that the first night and probably the whole first week will be tough for the small guy.

What to bring when you pick up a puppy from the breeder – checklist:

  • A suitable crate or carrier for the puppy
  • Harness/Collar and dog leash if the puppy is already accustomed to wearing a leash
  • Travel bowl for food and water
  • Treats
  • Water and puppy food if you are traveling long-distance
  • Chew toys
  • Pee pads
  • Poop bags + poop bags holder
  • Paper towels 
  • An old towel, t-shirt, or blanket: Rub it on his mum and litter mates
  • Sickness travel bags or plastic bags, wet wipes, and paper towels in case your puppy gets sick

Most importantly, bring lots of love and patience!

Puppy planner pink ad 2

I hope I helped you get everything ready for your new furry family member. Here’s a free new puppy checklist you can download 🙂

I also have a cute New puppy planner in my shop with everything you need to get ready for your new best friend. Have a look!

Keeping these tips in mind when picking up a new puppy will help ensure that you and your pup have what you need to make the transition process as smooth and stress-free as possible.

You and your new puppy will have a long journey ahead of you. Remember, he’s s baby who’s without his mum for the first time in his life. Be patient. He needs all the love he can get!

Good luck! 🥰

PS: If you are as crazy about animals as I am, subscribe to my newsletter! Now you will get a cute printable pet planner as a bonus 

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