Bringing a new four-legged family member home is an exciting time in anyone’s life - and also a bit of a madhouse getting everything prepared.
While most focus on getting the home set by buying beds, kennels, and puppy proofing, it’s common to forget that the day you bring the puppy home requires supplies too.
You should have a car-safe kennel, collar or harness, leash, toys, treats, poop bags, car water bowl, and a blanket when picking your puppy up from the breeder. If you have an existing dog you wish to bring with you, you can usually bring them along based on their temperament.
In this article, I hope to help you out during the exciting and wild time of bringing a new puppy home with a helpful checklist of what you need for every part of the coming home journey.
Ready? Let’s dive in.
With everything prepped at home, there are a few key supplies that you’ll need to bring with you when picking up a new puppy.
These supplies will likely stay in your car throughout your puppy’s life (other than changing the crate size to accommodate your puppy’s growth into adulthood).
To quickly get that checklist in front of you, here is what you need:
As a bonus, it could be a good idea to bring a camera with you too to document your puppy’s first car ride home!
Depending on whether you are picking your puppy up from a breeder, a rescue, or an animal shelter, some supplies may not be necessary to bring as they will be supplied to you.
Responsible breeders often have care packages that go home with the puppy, including a blanket with the momma dog’s scent on it (to help ease the transition into a new home), a toy, a collar, a leash, and some other fun stuff.
Some animal rescues may offer the same, but not all. Animal shelters do not typically give you anything, so you must have everything beforehand.
If the breeder doesn’t offer a package, it is suggested to bring along a collar (or alternatively a harness) and leash, as well as some treats and a toy, to get your puppy ready for a new adventure with you.
If a blanket isn’t being provided to you, you can bring in a blanket and let it soak up some familiar scent for an hour or two while you work out the adoption or sale contract.
Next comes the most stressful part of the trip: the ride back home!
As tempting as it may be to let your puppy run loose in the car, it’s really not safe. As such, a car-safe crate is part of the mandatory supplies you should be bringing with you.
What is meant by a car-safe crate is a kennel that will contain your puppy and be safer in a car accident than the alternative. Some brands that are known as the best car-safe kennels include Ruff Land and Dakota, both of which have been crash-tested.
But, since these two options can be expensive and require a custom order (which is extremely difficult for a puppy who will rapidly change size throughout growth), a regular wire crate or vet travel crate can do just fine in the meantime!
Just make sure that the crate is the correct size for your puppy and is adjusted as the puppy grows.
Inside the crate lay the blanket you brought or the blanket given to you by the breeder or rescue. This will provide comfort and support to your little one on the journey home. It is a good idea to offer some soft treats or a crate-safe toy while in the crate so that the puppy has something to occupy them during the journey.
Depending on the length of the drive, you will need to make stops to let the puppy out to use the bathroom. As such, have poop bags on you! You’ll also want to ensure the puppy is hydrated, so using a collapsible water bowl with a nice cool bottle of water is a great idea.
If the puppy is your second dog, you might be wondering whether or not you should bring your first dog with you during pick-up. In all honesty, this entirely depends upon the temperament of your first dog.
If you have a dog that loves puppies, is very friendly, and welcomes newcomers into their life - it can be a good idea to bring the dog with you. Make sure both the dog and the puppy are in separate kennels in the car. However, you don’t want any sort of potential issues to arise by keeping them together while driving.
Remember, they are still strangers to each other, and it can take time for them to build a relationship. But, generally speaking, having a friendly dog in the same car as a puppy can also help make that transition a bit easier.
If you have a dog that is not super open to a new family member, then it is best to leave Fido at home.
You will want the dog and the puppy to meet in a controlled environment on neutral territory and follow the steps necessary for a positive introduction.
Have the two meet, leashed, outside the home (where your first dog has already established territory). Walk them together and let little sniffs and hellos happen between them. Then, let the two walk inside the home together.