New Puppy Checklist

Kishi and me

I was very excited when I decided to get Kishi. I also felt some worry about whether or not she and Tag would get along. Tag was 16 and recently diagnosed with Canine Cognitive Dysfunction – something I’ll write about in a future post. Understandably, I was extremely protective of him.

Setting aside the combination of excitement and nervousness, I channeled my energy into getting everything ready for my new baby girl. (I didn’t have to prepare as much when I got Miko 8 months later.)

Here is a list I compiled in hopes of helping you get set-up for your new Shiba puppy, or any puppy.

The list:

Crate. I bought a new crate that was the size for a 20-25 lb dog. I didn’t cut-corners as I knew the crate would last Kishi’s lifetime and longer. I did get one that could be partitioned, allowing me to make a smaller space for when Kishi was tiny. Easy to assemble crates can be found at your local pet supply store. I recommend at least seeing them in person before buying online where you may find better prices.

Puppy pads. Walmart has good prices on puppy pads. Get them! I used these to cover the foam pad in the crate. My guess is you may not change them often since Shibas are very clean, even as puppies.

Blankets/Towels. I had old towels and picked up inexpensive baby blankets to put on top of the puppy pad. I admit I spent a little money on soft baby blankets; it was too much fun. And, I stopped at the local GCF and found two fleece blankets. Even today, the girls love their $2.00 Dora the Explorer blanket.

Water bowls. One for the crate. One for the house. One for the backyard. Metal or ceramic bowls are my preference. I’m never sure if the chemicals in plastic bowls have harmful health effects.

Food bowl. Again, I prefer metal or ceramic.

Puppy food. First! Ask the breeder what your new puppy is eating. Buy that food. If you choose to switch to another brand then make sure to buy what you plan to feed your puppy after s/he is slowly transitioned to your preferred brand. For example, Kishi was on Eukanuba Puppy and I transitioned her to Hills Science Diet. Please research any fad diets, raw diets, and grain free foods and talk to your vet to learn as much as you can about the quality, and health and nutrition value of what you feed.

Baby gates. Ask friends if they have baby gates they no longer use or need. Big box stores have baby gates for very reasonable prices.

Toys. I had baskets of Tag’s toys. Still, I bought Kishi her own toys. I also bought toys she could sink her baby teeth into for when she started teething.

Collar/Harness. I prefer a harness for my Shibas. Collars can easily slip off a puppy. Prepare to buy more than one harness as the puppy grows.

Leash. I recommend an 8ft leash. Retractable leashes seem great until you and the puppy are tangled up it, and you can easily get a “rope burn” from a retractable leash. Plus, they can be very dangerous if they break.

Dog Tag. Small dog tags with your puppy’s name on it can be quickly made at your local pet supply store.

Brush. Any soft brush will work. You may be tempted to buy a “puppy” brush. It’s not necessary if you don’t want to spend the extra money. You can upgrade to a brush that you like when the puppy is older.

Toenail clippers. A Shiba puppy’s nails are small enough for you to use a cat nail clipper. You can upgrade to a nail grinder or other safe dog nail clipper when your puppy is bigger.

Shampoo. Have a gentle puppy shampoo on-hand for when your puppy needs a bath. I still use Burt’s Bees Puppy Shampoo on Kishi and Miko. Choose what works for your puppy and your budget. Please remember that puppies and dogs need shampoos just for them. Human shampoos do not have the ph balance puppies require.

Poop bags. Get them. You can buy them in bulk on Amazon.

Tooth brush. You want to acclimate your puppy to having you touch and brush his/her mouth. You can start with a small baby tooth brush. You won’t need dog toothpaste until his/her adult teeth start showing.

Treats. Small training treats and puppy treats are perfect.

Veterinary appointment. Schedule an appointment with your vet for a puppy wellness check. Doing this serves two purposes: 1) Your puppy is examined by the veterinarian you trust to make sure the puppy is healthy and not harboring an illnesses you are unable to detect. You will be able to get heart worm medicine, set up a vaccination schedule and pick up valuable puppy information from the clinic. 2) Reputable breeders provide a health guarantee for up to a set number of days. Make sure you have your puppy examined according to the purchase agreement you sign.

Charge your smartphone and prep your camera. A Shiba puppy’s cuteness is nonstop!

Please do not take your puppy to a pet store or dog park
until s/he is properly vaccinated. Talk to your veterinarian
about when you can take your new puppy to these places.


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