How exciting! You're getting ready for a new dog to join your family. But are you sure you have everything prepared? You'll have more time to cuddle if you're ready for your new addition well before the big day arrives. 

Becoming a new pet mom or dad is super rewarding, but there's a lot of responsibility, too. Learn more in this new dog owner checklist.

Four Important Categories

We're going to cover 4 major categories important to consider before dog adoption. These categories are time, budget, size & age, and relationship. Before you go new puppy shopping, consider:

1. Time

Topping your new dog checklist is the fact that dogs need some of your time each day. These include 2-3 feedings, at least 1 walk, and at least 1 hour of direct attention (cuddling counts).

Yearly "well dog" checkups, baths, nail trimming, and brushing are important. Will you be taking him/her to a groomer or do you have the time to do this yourself? Tip: Behaviorally, puppies who are groomed regularly are easier to groom into adulthood.

2. Budget

The most proactive approach is to make a budget to prepare for your furry friend's arrival. Here's your dog essentials list:

  • Adoption fee ($0-$14,000)
  • Spay/neuter appointment ($50-$200)
  • Water and food bowls ($10-$20)
  • Bed ($10-$1,000)
  • Pen ($10-$2,000)
  • Leash ($5-$25)
  • Microchip/collar/tag ($10-$50)
  • Grooming supplies ($25-$50)
  • Dog daycare ($140-$700 for 5-7 day package)
  • Dog training classes ($30-$120 per class)


  • Well dog checkups ($45-$55)
  • Food & treats ($250-$700 depending on size, etc.)
  • Dog toothbrush & toothpaste ($25-$50)
  • Plastic baggies for waste ($10-$20)
  • Toys ($25-$75)
  • Indoor puppy pads ($25-$75 until trained)

You may have noticed all the gizmos for dogs, like automatic treat machines activated by your smartphone, and nanny cams to keep an eye on your pup from afar. Add some to your new puppy checklist!

3. Size & Age

Dog size is important when it comes to space, strength, cleanup, food budget, etc. Puppies take more time and training, and although they're cute as buttons, they'll make not-so-cute messes in your home (especially big puppies).

Before you began reading this new dog owner guide, you probably considered the size/growth factor and whether your home/apartment is good for the type of dog you chose. Fenced-in yards are great for medium to large dogs who live in a more modestly sized home.

4. Relationship

Bonding is important for any group of mammals. It's no different when your new dog joins the family. Will your dog be joining you on road trips? If you anticipate a few dog-less vacations, consider dog daycare so they can have fun while you're away.

Stock up on healthy treats to reward your new companion for good behavior. This will help nurture your relationship. 

Last Thoughts on Your New Dog Owner Checklist 

Learn their moods and develop routines they can count on. Use this new dog owner checklist as a general guide, and add to it as you learn more about your specific dog's breed, personality, and health. Lastly, be diligent about letting them in from outdoors during extreme temperatures, because they can easily suffer from heat stroke and frostbite.

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