Puppy Care 101: How to Take Care of a Puppy

Oh Hi Doggy

So you’ve decided to get a puppy—congrats! Get ready for sweet snuggles, a new best friend, a loyal protector, and a source of entertainment. There truly is nothing like bringing home a new family member and unlimited source of love. 

Of course, getting a puppy is a big responsibility that shouldn’t be taken lightly. There’s no question about it, knowing how to take care of a puppy isn’t easy. It takes a lot of work and commitment. It’s not always easy, but it’s always worth it.

What to do When you First Get a Puppy

If you’ve already thought through how your finances, schedule, and daily responsibilities will change, you’re one step ahead. But you’ll also want to spend some time preparing for bringing your puppy home. This includes having the right puppy supplies on hand. After all, you don’t want to be running over to the pet store for last-minute items… you’ll want all the time you can get with your pup during those first few days! 

Keep reading and we’ll run through some of the key items to have on hand before picking up your pup. Here is Pet Plate’s guide for puppy care 101:

House Training

Exercise & Play


Diet & Nutrition

How to House Train a Puppy

We’ll say it again: puppy care is a LOT of work! Even if your breeder or adoption agency spent time training your pup, a new environment can sometimes be overwhelming, sending them back to square one. Don’t worry, we’ll give you a puppy supply list of must-have items you’ll want to have for training.

What Do I Need for a New Puppy?

  • Small, soft training treats
  • Puppy pads for potty training
  • Clicker (if you plan to click-train)
  • Portable mat or a soft towel (for teaching him to settle)
  • Collar, harness, and leash

You may also want to get a puppy or baby gate, to keep them out of off-limit areas of the house. And if you’ll be crate training, you’ll need a sturdy crate sized correctly for your pup. It should be big enough to allow them to move around a bit and stretch out without feeling cramped, but not too big, either. Consider how big your pup will get as an adult, and purchase your crate based on that—then, just use a divider to reduce the size while they’re still small. 

Finally, remember that puppies are a lot like babies… they love to get into things they shouldn’t! Before you bring your pup home, do a walk-through and move everything out of the way that may be a temptation for your pup.

How Much Exercise Does a Puppy Need 

Puppies love to play, and you’ll have so much fun watching them explore, chase, pounce, and fetch! Playtime and physical exercise is an important part of their development, and it’s also a great way to tire them out—as the saying goes, “a tired dog is a good dog!”

In addition to being a must-have for training, a collar, harness, and leash are essential for walk-time as well. Keep in mind that most puppies aren’t used to wearing things, so it may take some time for them to get used to having these items on. Make sure to purchase a collar and harness that fits for their current size, and consider investing in an adjustable option so it can grow with them. We’ve gathered a list of toys and supplies for you to consider, all perfect for providing mental and physical stimulation.

Best Chew Toys for Puppies

  • Tennis balls or rubber balls
  • Frisbees
  • Chew toys and rope toys
  • Kong toy or similar puzzle
  • Soft toys or stuffed animals

How to Groom Your New Puppy

All puppies will need a grooming routine, whether you plan to bring them to a professional groomer, or go the DIY route! Depending on your pup’s breed, they may need regular haircuts. All dogs will need regular baths and nail trims, as well as daily brushing to ensure their coat stays shiny and healthy. 

Here are the supplies you’ll likely need, depending on what you’ll be handling yourself and what you’ll have the professionals cover:

Grooming Supplies for Puppies

  • Brush or comb
  • Nail trimmer or grinder
  • Shampoo (make sure to find one specifically for dogs!)
  • Soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste (again, should be made for dogs)

Healthy and High-Quality Food

Finally, your puppy will need fresh-cooked, healthy meals so they stay happy for years to come! Your breeder or adoption agency may send you home with the food that they’ve been currently eating, and it’s important to make the transition to the food you’ve purchased slowly and gradually

But with so many options out there, how do you choose the right dog food for your pup? At this early age, you’re setting the foundation for their nutrition—why not select the best? A fresh-cooked, preservative-free option will ensure they’re getting the right nutrients without any by-products or artificial ingredients. 

Want to make life with your puppy a little easier? With Pet Plate, you can get fresh dog food delivered right to your doorstep. Plus, we’ll help you determine the right portion size that’s perfect for your new best friend. With delicious flavor options like Chompin’ Chicken and Barkin’ Beef (not to mention tons of superfoods, too), your puppy will be in dog-chow heaven. Get started now! 

Got more puppy-related questions? 

For a puppy feeding chart and advice on how to feed a puppy, check out our guide!