It's fun and exciting to bring an adorable little puppy home. Here are some essential items to help you take great care of your furry new friend.

 Premium-brand puppy food

Stock up on high-quality brand-name puppy food. It's the best way to give your growing puppy the nutrition he or she needs. Try to limit “people food.” It can cause vitamin and mineral imbalances as well as bone and teeth problems. It can also turn your pet into a picky eater and lead to obesity.

Food dish and water bowl

Or course, you'll need a nice, clean dish for all that yummy puppy food. You'll also want to leave out a bowl of fresh, clean water for your thirsty friend. Remember to clean the food dish and water bowl often.

Chew toys

Puppies love to chew on everything. Invest in a few good chew toys to help make sure your shoes don't become your puppy's favorite “chewwies.”


Brush your puppy frequently to help keep him or her clean and cut down on shedding. When you brush your puppy, you can also look for fleas and ticks, which you should do at least once a day during the warmer months.

Collar, leash, and ID tag

Don't forget a sturdy collar and leash so you can take your puppy for nice long walks. To help keep your puppy safe, attach an ID tag to his or her collar, and consider signing up for a lost pet recovery service.

Training crate or dog bed

Make sure your puppy has a warm and quiet place to rest, like a training crate. You may also want to get a dog bed or make one from a wooden box. Put a clean blanket or pillow in the bed and wash it often.


You should choose a veterinarian as soon as possible. You'll need to visit your vet to get your puppy vaccinated. You should also have him or her neutered or spayed before six months of age (see Why Spay or Neuter to learn more). A pet health insurance plan can help you afford vaccinations as well as spaying or neutering. Explore our pet insurance coverage for details.

Pet health insurance

Check-ups, vaccinations, spaying or neutering all add up. Plus, you never know when your puppy might get hurt or sick. Luckily, you can help cover the costs of veterinary care with pet health insurance. Learn moreabout our pet insurance or get a free quote now.

Enjoy your new puppy! 
For more information on caring for your new pet, take a look at our General Dog Care article.

© 2006 ASPCA®

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