The Ultimate First Time Dog Parent Guide

There’s something about having a dog around that helps our mental health and overall well-being, especially during Covid-19 lockdowns. It can take a lot of responsibility to welcome a fur-baby into your home, but trust us, the excitement, love and laughter is well worth it.

If you’ve decided to get a puppy or adopt a rescue dog, we’ve compiled a useful list to help you navigate paw-renthood with ease.

First thing’s first: puppy-proof your home. You may want to rearrange furniture to make space for zoomies and play time; install a gate if you have stairs; consider placing a fence around your yard; and make sure your house plants are out of reach!


Your four-legged companion needs proper nutrition so be sure to consult your friendly kennel staff about the best products for their specific breed, size, age, and needs.

Dog Food – A good quality dog food will help maintain a soft & shiny coat, promote proper brain, eye, & joint development, and give your dog appropriate energy levels to keep them happy & healthy. Puppies need extra calories to support their rapid growth, so consider one of our puppy-specific dog foods such as the Now! Fresh Puppy Large Breed or Go! Carnivore Chicken Turkey & Duck Puppy Food.

Dog Treats – Puppies love dog treats! Our three most popular treats are:
1) Wild Weenies Game Bird
2) Chew! Premium Crunch Venison
3) Unbelievabulls Braided Sticks


Even if you plan to frequently take your fur-baby to the grooming salon, you should still consider having these basic grooming products at home:

Toothbrush and toothpaste – Regular brushing helps avoid bad breath, plaque buildup (which can build up on your dog’s teeth just like on ours) and generally promotes good oral hygiene. We recommend the Bristly Brushing Stick and Bristly Pre-Biotic Toothpaste to help keep up on the tooth-brushing!

Shampoo – Please only use shampoo that is designed specifically for your pet. Human shampoo is not appropriate and may cause adverse reactions!

Brush – Keep your dog’s coat looking healthy by regularly brushing their coat and undercoat.

Nail trimmer – Your dog’s nails grow just like yours and need regular maintenance. Be sure to get some basic training before doing your own trimmings otherwise you might accidentally cut the sensitive part of the nail. Ouch!

Pet Gear

Next is to stock up on the essentials pet gear items:

Collar – If you’re getting a puppy, make sure to get an adjustable collar. They grow up so fast and will quickly need a bigger collar!

Collar ID tag – Make sure to add your dog’s name and your contact information and attach the tag to your dog’s collar.

Leash and harness – We recommend leashes with at least 4 feet of length. They’re comfortable for you while still giving you good control while on a walk.

Bed – When choosing a bed, be sure to get one that can accommodate their size, is easy to vacuum, and is machine-washable. Our high-quality Tall Tails Bed is worth checking out!

Training crate – House training your new animal companion is important and requires lots of patience. A training crate is a huge part of this. It will serve as their safe space in your home and will definitely help decrease the number of accidents on the carpet or sofa.

Potty training pads – If you’re not able to regularly let your dog outside, consider setting up a dedicated potty training area in your house, away from where your dog sleeps, eats, or drinks.

Dog Toys – Toys are important to your dog’s well-being. They help manage anxiety, boredom, and potential behavior problems. Ensure that the toys are an appropriate size, won’t pose a choking hazard, and are not made from non-toxic material. The KONG Classic Red is our shop’s bestseller. It is made from durable rubber and is perfect for chew sessions. You can even stuff it with your dog’s favorite kibble to take the fun up a notch.

Stainless steel food and water bowls – Your dog should have dedicated and easy-to-clean bowls for food and water.

The Last Few

The last things for you to get done are:

Vaccinations – Vaccinations help protect your dog from serious illnesses like rabies, distemper, parvo, and canine hepatitis. Puppies can be given combination vaccines as early as six weeks old and will then need to revaccinated annually or every three years, depending on the vaccine. Check out our previous blog post on vaccinations here.

Pet insurance – Pet insurance is completely optional but it could come in handy because it has wide coverage — from regular visits to the vet, to unexpected medical emergencies. And with emergency veterinary bills being very costly, insurance could be a worthwhile investment from early on.

Microchip – Microchipping is a quick procedure that implants a microchip into your dog’s skin using a needle. This can be done in most veterinary clinics. The microchip will then serve as your dog’s permanent form of identification so you can be contacted in case they go missing. It’s like the ID tag, but internal and less likely to get lost. Make sure to register your dog’s microchip information to the Pet Chip Registry as well.

There you have it. You’re now on your way to becoming the most paw-some parent a dog can possibly have with our First Time Dog Parent Guide!

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