Top 15 Essentials for Dogs You Need Before Bringing Your New Dog Home
Step 3 of 15 in the Dogly New Pet Channel
with Ruby Leslie of WelfareForAnimals, Training Advocate

In all the excitement of getting ready to bring your new dog home, it's easy to forget key dog supplies and other necessities you'll wish you had on hand when your pup arrives and is settling into your family life.

If you're a soon-to-be pet parent - or even if you've had dogs before or have dogs now, here's a quick checklist - with recommendations from a certified trainer - to make sure you're all set before the big day (and beyond) when you'll want to spend your time focusing on loving and enjoying your new dog.

Here are 15 essentials all dog owners should have ready for your new dog:


#1: Stainless steel food bowls & water bowls

Of course, you'll want food and water bowls to suit your dog's size. The material matters too. Studies show that stainless steel is the healthiest, naturally sanitary choice.

Be sure your bowls are grade 304 (18/8) stainless which doesn't corrode or rust, and doesn't release chemicals into food or water as plastics, lower quality steel/metal mixes, and other materials can. I like these bowls that meet all the requirements, have no-slip bottoms, and have flat edges for your dog's tongue safety. (+ they're dishwasher-safe!)

#2: Elevated bowls for dogs who are likely to find it easier to eat or drink on their level

If your new family member is on the leggy side or has physical issues that make it easier not to lean down for meals and water, then raised bowls are a great solution. This is one of my favorites to help dogs reach their bowls with no strain on neck or joints.

#3: Your dog's recommended food & treats

In addition to your dog's food (and if you'd like advice from certified nutritionists on best choices for your dog, jump into Dogly's Basic Nutrition Channel here), it's important to remember to stock up on treats since you'll be doing lots of positive reinforcement with your new dog as you build your communication and trust!

I recommend with new dogs, and all dogs actually, to keep small, easily breakable treats on hand/in your pocket/in a treat pouch at all times, including when you're around the house, so you can reward your dogs whenever you catch them being good and showing good behaviors you were hoping for.

For all my positive training and reinforcement, I choose softer treats dogs love that can be broken into small pieces for frequent, repetitive rewarding without overloading on calories. (Also look for solid nutrition - treats are food too!). A couple favorites:


#4: At least 2 dog beds

You'll want to have a dog bed placed in certain rooms around your home where your dog can feel comfortable, secure - and most of the time close to you. Dogs spend a ton of time on their beds, so we want to make sure that along with being super comfy, they're also durable, washable, and made of good fabrics with no allergy-triggering chemicals.

Lots of choices, but denim is always a good bet for all those reasons - and one of my go-tos is here on Dogly whether your dog is a circle-sleeper or a chin-rester. And for an on-the-go rest spot or a cozy pad for a crate, you might want to have a chill pad for your dog as well.

Some dogs feel safer when they’re on an elevated platform when they sleep; it makes them feel more secure when they can see all their surroundings. This is why your dog loves to sleep on your couch. If your dog shows that he or she wants to sleep on an elevated bed, a Kuranda dog bed is a good choice, with a nice blanket on top. Or a couch will do!

Dogs are also social sleepers - they feel more at home sleeping in their social group, which is why your dog loves to sleep with you on your bed. It’s elevated and with you! (All of this is totally fine from a certified trainer/behaviorist perspective, btw. It's a complete myth that allowing dogs on your bed or the couch in addition to their own beds somehow contributes to separation anxiety or gives them some kind of "power" over you.)

#5: Covers for your couches

Everyone's happier when couches are covered. Why worry unnecessarily about furnishings when you have a new dog to love! Here's a cover that looks like it's from a human design store, and, trust me, anything liquid literally rolls right off.

#6: Enrichment such as fillable treat dispensing toys, snuffle mats, interactive toys

Enrichment to keep your dogs engaged mentally and comforted is a good idea anytime but especially as your new dog is getting settled and is working out extra energy and maybe anxiety. A few of my favorites...

For treat-dispensing, interactive toys:

Recommended for fun, slow-down eating at meal time, as a positive distraction for grooming, or just satisfying enrichment:

  • "Taco" snuffle mat - combines dogs' natural instincts and love of foraging and sniffing with added rewards of finding hidden food or treats
  • Lick pad/mat - perfect for occupying your dog with the naturally calming action of licking as he/she gets every last bit of peanut butter, yogurt, pumpkin, etc from the lick pad. BPA free, food-grade silicone so it's safe for your dogs, dishwasher safe, with suction cups to keep it securely in place.

Note for any "stuffable" chew toy: always size up for your dog for safety reasons, to make sure your pup doesn't ingest it!


#7: Dog poop bags

Many pet parents see poop-picking-up dog supplies as the least glamorous of their dog-owner purchases, but you can enjoy some form-follows-function style with your poop paraphernalia choices and always have them at the ready.

If you're like many dog owners (and me), you've scuffled with poop bags that are almost impossible to get open just when you need to get the job done and focus back on your dog.

  • I love these poop bags that open with no effort
  • To keep them handy, my favorite poop bag holder for style and sustainability: made of leather-like cork in a range of colors from turquoise to tan.

#8: Dog collar & identification tags

Many rescues and shelters microchip their dogs before they're adopted, a great service getting more lost pets happily returned to their families. You'll want to be sure to update your dog's registration with your contact info.

You don't want to rely on a microchip alone though; you'll still want to have physical tags since microchips require a special reader (usually found at rescues, animal control, vets). Your wandering dog is most likely to be found by a neighbor or other private citizen who won't have a chip reader but can get in touch with you quickly if your contact info is easily visible on an ID tag.

Small thing, big favor for your dog

Pet tag silencers are often overlooked but dogs have highly acute hearing and the non-stop jingle jangle of the tags near their ears can affect their emotions and hearing. You can find a number of tag silencers such as Quiet Spot that fit all dog tags and are a kind way to support your dog.

When it comes to dog collars, the one kind of dog collar you never want for your dog is a collar that is in any way aversive. That means chain collars, choke collars, "pinch" or prong collars, shock collars. All collars you would never find on Dogly. They are all painful and punitive and counter-productive for building trust and a good behavioral foundation with your dog. Good choices are endless in regular flat collars as well as martingale collars; for walks, you always want a harness (see #9!).

#9: Y-shaped harness

For leash walking, we always recommend a harness. And always a Y-shaped harness to avoid any eye, trachea or spinal injuries and behavioral problems. The even distribution you get with a harness (vs any and all pressure on the neck with a collar + leash) is so much healthier for your dog's neck and body, and really the only way to teach proper leash-walking skills.

When choosing a harness, always make sure your dog has a full range of motion in the forelegs, is not restricted in his/her gait or movement, and that the harness doesn’t pinch at the chest or irritate your dog's elbows.

As noted under collars and worth underscoring: we never recommend any punishment or aversive training equipment such as choke chains, prong collars or shock collars due to how inhumane they are, how they create pain, leading to increased aggression and serious behavioral fallout.

Effective, successful training never involves pain. Training and walks should be your joyful and positive-learning time together!


My recommended harnesses are:

  • Mighty Paw Sport Harness, which also has the useful benefit of dual option leash attachments - front (chest) or back
  • More options include: Haqihana, TTouch, Perfect Fit, Ruffwear


For safety, it's also a good idea to have a sturdy, designed-for-dogs seat belt that attaches to your dog's harness. You'll be keeping your dog secure in the car - starting with the first car ride home!


#10: Dog leash (NO retractable leashes!)

When choosing a leash, any trainer will tell you one absolute "no": retractable leashes. They're not effective for good control and training and they are dangerous for both you and your dog. Too many sad incidents have occurred with burns and deep cuts on dogs' bodies and humans' legs, as well as malfunctioning handles that end up clunking along behind a loose dog, frightened and running into dangerous situations.

Otherwise, you have plenty of great options in regular, usually 6-foot leashes. You might also want an extra-long leash for safe retrieving in an open space or for training. Look for a leash in a weight that matches your dog's size; you don't want big, heavy hardware clasp hooks that weigh down a little dog.

#11: Baby gate, ex-pen and/or crate for management

Depending on your dog, you'll want to have some type of management equipment to create a contained space that can be a secure haven while separating your new pup from potential trouble. Management equipment helps you set your pup up for success.

Management tools include:

  • Baby gates
  • Playpens (also called an ex-pen or exercise pen)
  • Crate


Your crate choice depends on your purpose. There are lots of choices from fabric, plastic to metal, but make sure it is lightweight, portable and collapsible so you can use it in the car or to the vet if needed. You want to make sure your dog can stand up, turn around and lie down comfortably.

However, if you close the crate door for long periods of time then a crate becomes a cage, so be mindful to not have your dog in your crate longer than 2 hours - at that point your dog's welfare becomes compromised.

Ideally you would not be closing the crate door, and have your crate in your dog’s playpen. If you need to leave, ideally place your dog in a playpen so he or she has room to walk around.


#12: Grooming and daily care supplies

Start your new dog off right by getting comfortable with grooming and handling early on.

Dental care is now known to have an enormous impact on our dogs' longevity, so it's important to make it a routine, everyday thing, to be no big deal for your dog and you. Thankfully for all new dog owners, there are more options for keeping your dog's teeth clean easily on a daily basis:

Or a dog toothbrush or "fingerbrush" with dog toothpaste (NOT human toothpaste) or coconut oil which dogs love and cleans teeth naturally!

For more on how to brush your dog's teeth and easily keep up with dental hygiene, jump over to the Dental Health Channel here on Dogly.

For your dog's skin and coat, be sure your dog shampoo and conditioner are all natural and chemical free to avoid allergy issues:

For grip and cutting your dog's nails, taking a tip from my fear-free certified groomer friends for recommendations:

#13: Calming essences & diffusers

Natural calmers are incredibly useful to have around your house when you first bring home your dog to decrease stress as your pup adapts to this all-new environment.

What they are

Natural calmers are holistic pheromones or flower/herb essences, in either spray, liquid essence, or diffuser form, that help your dog naturally calm down. They're also helpful to spray in your car for the car ride home which can be very stressful as well and useful in crates, on beds, wherever and whenever your pup could use some calm:

#14: Warm coat if winter, cooling vest if summer

Depending on the season, your pup will need some protection for walks and outdoor play. These thoughtfully-fitted, handmade (& reasonably priced from a woman-owned company we love) coats are a Dogly favorite that move well with your dog and are soft on the inside next to your dog's body as well as on the outside.

#15: Endless love, patience, & appropriate positive training

The first part is all you. Enjoy every minute of it! As for positive training, we're here for you in the Dogly New Pet Channel after your new dog's arrival whenever you're ready to jump in!

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Next up in the New Pet Channel on Dogly

Now that you know the essentials for dogs, continue on to the next guide on what to think about before adopting or fostering a dog.

If you have any questions about bringing a new dog into your family, just ask in the community discussion in the New Pet Channel.

Or if you ever need more personalized dog training guidance, please reach out!

Ruby Leslie of WelfareForAnimals

Training Advocate
Dogly loves Ruby because she brings her rescue experiences to our dogs - to increase our bond, decrease behavior issues.

Ruby guides you

New Dogs - Manners - Enrichment - Reactivity - Barking - Walking

Ruby is certified

Low Stress Handling - Fear Free Veterinary Professional - Fear Free Shelters - Shelter Welfare - Enrichment - & Canine Behaviour