Puppy essentials checklist (with free downloadable)

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Cindy Feng
fluffy white puppy playing with ball on floorboards

Are you a new puppy parent? Want some help getting prepped for their arrival? We’ve got you covered.

At Lyka, we believe in a holistic approach to canine health and wellbeing, and we’re here to support you and your pup as you start your new life together.

Our puppy essentials list explains everything you’ll need and comes with a handy downloadable checklist for when you’re browsing the pet shop aisles.

Household must-haves

Crate

Many dog owners swear by crate training because it provides their dogs with their own designated den, and it can help with toilet training in the early stages of puppyhood.

There are three main types of crates:

  1. Wire crate — A robust crate for everyday use.

  2. Plastic crate — Often used for transporting pets.

  3. Soft crate — Lightweight and portable for travelling and holidays.

Choose a crate that will fit their fully grown size. Dogs don’t like to soil their sleeping areas but may do so if the crate is too large, so use a divider when they’re little.

Dog bed

There’s an overwhelming number of dog beds to choose from and it is your choice here. Remember, puppies don’t stay small for long, so buy a size that will fit them as adults.

Consider the practicalities of keeping a dog bed clean; many come with machine-washable covers and cushioning, but they’re often a bit more expensive.

Blankets

An effective way to keep their bed or your furniture fur-free is to use a blanket. Most dogs find the feeling of fleece or faux fur comforting but make sure they’re machine washable.

Blankets are also a source of warmth in the winter months, and you might find that your pupper loves nothing better than to snuggle under the covers.

Toys

When it comes to toys, it’s easy to get carried away! To save the dollars, we recommend starting with just three different types of toys: teething toys, comforting toys and interactive toys.

Teething toys: Did you know that dogs lose their juvenile teeth, like humans? Puppy teeth are affectionately referred to as shark teeth because they’re needle-sharp! A teething toy gives your pup something to chew that isn’t your new running shoes — you’ll thank us later!

Stuffed toys: Plush toys look very cute on the shelves and can offer comfort to your puppy. Alternatively, you might find that their prey instincts are strong, and they’re shredded within seconds! Every dog is different, so it’s a case of trial and error here.

Interactive toys: Puzzle feeders, treat stuffing or dispensing toys, and snuffle mats are excellent occupiers that prevent boredom, which can lead to destructive behaviours.

Choose high-quality products that will withstand the odd chomp or two and won’t break into small pieces that might be dangerous for your little furball.

Play pen or baby gate

Puppies are curious creatures by nature and love to explore their surroundings. If you want to limit your pup’s access to different parts of your home, use a playpen or a baby gate.

Puppy pads

Your puppy is bound to have a few accidents before they’re fully toilet trained — it’s completely normal. Choose high-quality pads that are more absorbent than cheaper ones.

Pet-friendly stain and odour remover

The scent of their urine can encourage pups to keep using the same area as their toilet, so always use a pet-friendly stain and odour remover and persist with your training.

Car seat and harness

Did you know that it’s illegal in most states and territories to have an unrestrained dog in the car? When it comes to car journeys, safety comes first for both you and your puppy.

A specifically designed dog car seat, harness or seat belt clip can provide some security while travelling and prevent your pup from interrupting your focus on the road (a fineable offence).

Walking with your puppy

Collar

Puppies grow quickly, so choose a collar that’s easy to adjust, durable, and comfortable to wear. You may wish to consider the fastening too; although a buckle looks nice, a quick-release clasp may be more practical.

We don’t recommend choke collars that can seriously injure your puppy’s neck. If you want to train your puppy to walk with a loose leash, start by using a front clip harness and a short lead instead.

ID tag

In most states and territories of Australia, it’s a legal requirement for your dog to wear an ID tag with their name and your telephone number, as a minimum. An alternative is a personalised collar embroidered with the ID details.

Lead

Choose a lead that is comfortable for you to hold and has an easy swivel clip to connect to your pup’s collar or harness. Avoid leads that are too long; at first, you’ll want to use a short length to maintain control as you walk.

Retractable leads offer the least control and can injure your pup’s neck when they reach the maximum length — we don’t recommend this type of lead.

Harness

Until your puppy masters loose leash walking, they’ll probably pull against their collar. A well-fitting harness distributes the pressure evenly, minimising the risk of injury. For greater control, opt for one with a front chest lead attachment point.

Poop bags and dispenser

The best bags are made from compostable, plant-based materials, like bamboo. Remember, all compostable bags are biodegradable, but not all biodegradable bags are compostable.

Jumper or jacket

If your dog is a small breed, doesn’t have a double coat or may feel the cold during the winter months you may want to get them a warm jumper, a jacket or even some pyjamas. If you happen to get matching ones for yourself, we approve!

Eating and drinking essentials

High-quality dog food

Give your puppy the best start in life by feeding them a diet that will nourish their growing body, support their developing immune and digestive systems and sustain their energy levels. Research reveals that humans and dogs live healthier lives on wholefood diets.

Lyka’s recipes are made from fresh, human-grade ingredients, minimally processed to retain their natural nutrients.

Each recipe contains an abundance of macro and micronutrients to support your puppy’s early development through to their senior years.

Food and water bowls

Stainless steel bowls are easy to clean and don’t harbour nasty bacteria as much as other materials do.  Wash both bowls regularly and replace your pup’s fresh water every day.

Long-lasting treats

Keep your puppy entertained with long-lasting treats like Lyka’s Pig Twigs.

Avoid rawhide. The process to create this ‘chew’ uses chemicals, bleach and glues — elements that shouldn’t go anywhere near your pup’s digestive system.

Training treats

The best training treats are from single protein sources with nothing added; they’re double-delish and nutritious too.

Our Sardine Snaps, Mussel Munchies and Chicky Chews are easy to snap into smaller pieces for a bite-size reward.

Try to go easy on the treats — no more than 10% of their daily calories.

Feeding mat

Dogs aren’t known for their table manners! From dinnertime drool to guzzling with gusto, they can create quite a mess. A wipe-clean feeding mat will catch stray morsels and the odd splash of water.

Grooming and healthcare — tips, tricks, and tools of the trade

Shampoo

Dog-friendly shampoo is a must. It’s always best to choose one that’ll be sensitive on their skin.

Brush

Regular brushing keeps your dog’s coat in tip-top condition and gives you a chance to check their skin health and for parasites.

There are four main types of dog-grooming brushes:

Slicker brush: The most commonly used brush for de-matting and removing loose undercoats.

Pin brush: For basic detangling and grooming.

Bristle brush: For grooming short-haired dogs and removing surface dirt and debris.

Rubber brush: For washing and massaging short-haired dogs.

Toothpaste and toothbrush

Keep those gnashers pearly white with regular brushing with a dog-friendly toothbrush. Never use human toothpaste, instead we recommend Shy Tiger for its all-natural ingredients.

Anti-slip bathmat

Trust us, you’ll need this when it comes to bath time!

Towels

Have a stock of old towels, including one in the car.

Lick mat

If your pup is not a fan of grooming, spread some of their favourite food on a lick mat to distract them.

Flea, tick, and worm prevention

Speak to your vet about parasite prevention and make an informed decision about which approach suits you and your pup the best, as one size does not fit all dogs.

Admin advice — the nitty-gritty of insurance and registrations

Find a vet you’re comfortable with

Choosing the right vet is as important as finding the right doctor: it’s based on trust. Ask fellow pupper parents at the dog park and get a few recommendations based on their experiences.

Pet insurance

Your dog will incur vet bills, it’s an unavoidable cost. Weigh up the pros and cons of getting pet insurance or setting up a savings account. Although insurance is optional, good policies will often cover large unforeseen expenses.

Registration

It’s compulsory to register your dog’s details and microchip number with your local council.

Microchipping

All dogs must be microchipped at the point of sale or adoption. The microchip number is unique to your dog and enables quick identification if they become lost.

Vaccinations

Speak to your vet about core and non-core vaccinations for your puppy.

Before getting booster shots in subsequent years, you may wish to find out about titre testing to check the existing levels of antibodies present in your pup’s blood. It’s an added expense, but many dog owners choose this approach so their pups aren’t over-vaccinated.

Give your puppy the best start with Lyka

There’s nothing more exciting than welcoming a new puppy to your home — the special bond you’ll develop with your dog is like no other.

It’s our mission to help our puppers live long and healthy lives, nourished from the inside out by fresh, wholefood meals. It’s more than just our philosophy: it’s our way of life.

We’re also here to help you every step of the way, from puppyhood to the golden years. Check out our articles for more guidance or give our Customer Care line a call for advice. Better yet, give your puppy the best start in life with a Starter Box.

This article was reviewed by Lyka's veterinary and nutrition experts

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