Dog Adoption Checklist: All You Need for New Family Member

Does your dog adoption checklist cover everything you need? Let’s find out. 

After visits to rescue homes, you have probably already found your forever companion. While there, you must have seen other pet parents pick up their new dogs, and it is almost ever clear how joyful the occasion is.

With the joy the other families have, you cannot help but ask yourself:

  • How do I become a responsible dog parent?
  • How do I ensure a wonderful and rewarding relationship between my new adopted dog and the rest of the family?
  • How do I ensure a smooth and comfortable transition for the dog and the rest of the family?

 The answer is pretty straightforward: The first and the most crucial step would be to get all the necessary equipment and items. And just to get the point straight, you may need to get more items than you had planned for. This is to say that if you are not as keen, you may end up forgetting the new dog's needs that are necessary from day one. For that reason, we have composed a comprehensive dog adoption checklist to help make the welcoming smoother for you.

Shall we get right in?

Factors To Consider before bringing Your Dog Home

woman holding a newfoundland puppy in her arms

You want to ensure both you and the dog are happy and comfortable. Before you go out shopping for the big welcome, ask yourself the following questions.

  • Do you have any other pets in your house? How will they welcome the new addition to the family?
  • Do you have time to take care of the dog? How often do you plan to take them for walks and exercises?
  • Is your residence dog-friendly?
  • Are the people in your household comfortable with the new addition? Are there people who are allergic to dog hair and drool?
  • What breed are you bringing home?

Before you get anything, ask yourself these questions. These will help you get items suitable for both you and the new dog. The result of this is a happy dog.

And a happy dog = happy and fun household.

 Here is the new dog checklist you need to fulfill before the arrival.

infographics about dog adoption checklist

 Full Dog Adoption Checklist for You

Let's take a closer look at each point.

Collar and Leash

collar and leash

You need a collar and leash to walk your dog. However, you need to remember that your dog will be pulling on its collar and leash as you walk it. This is why you need to choose the right leash for your dog; you don't want it hurting during walks.

A collar and leash are also necessary for dog training.

 We recommend that you get at least two collars and leashes; sometimes, they tear part when you least expect it. You want to have a spare on standby.

 Identification Tags and Microchip

microchip for large dogs

A lot of new dog parents overlook getting ID tags and microchips on day one. It is very risky to put this off as another day's business. If your dog is new in your household and neighborhood, it can quickly get on the loose and disappear; it is not used to the new home yet.

Get your identification tags from day one. Have your name, address, and contact number displayed on the identification tag.

However, tag hanging on your dog's collar is not enough. The collar can get loose when your dog escapes. In such a case, it won't be easy to find your dog again. This is a nightmare you can easily avoid by getting a microchip. A microchip will help you track your dog if it escapes. Getting it before bringing home a rescue dog.

 Dog Crate or Carrier

dane is sitting in the dog crate

First, a dog crate is suitable for dog training. Many dog owners overlook this and never get one. With a dog crate, you can train your canine buddy to spend their time in the crate, especially if you are not in the house. This may reduce separation anxiety, mainly because your dog will feel like the crate is their safety zone.

Secondly, while traveling, especially by plane, you need to have a dog crate.

 Ensure the dog crate is of an appropriate size, not too large or too small for your dog.  Tip: Ensure your dog can stand comfortably in the crate.

Dog Food

dog food

Often, dog parents walk into pet stores and ask for the best food for their dog breed. Well, most of the time, you will get healthy food choices for your dog breed by doing this.

But what if your new dog is not used to the food you will get from the pet store? What if it causes problems, diarrhea, constipation and gastrointestinal issues? Yes, there is a risk of such problems if there is a sudden change of diet.

So what do you do to avoid risking these issues? Always ask your rescue home or breeder what they fed the dog with. So, there two things you will do here;

  • get the same food your dog was previously fed with
  • Consult your vet on the best and high-quality nutritious food for your dog breed

Start by feeding your dog with the rescue home's food. Then gradually start mixing it with the vet's recommendation. You can do this and finally have your dog eating what your vet recommends.

And that is how you will avoid any tummy issues which may need costly emergency veterinary care. 

Food and Water bowls

food and water bowls for dog

Food and water bowls are some of the must-haves from day one.

But you cannot just get any bowl. What are your pet's feeding needs? How often will you be traveling with your dog? What is your dog's size?

The bigger the dog, the bigger the food and water bowls. Also, if you will be traveling a lot with your dog, you need to find portable food and water bowls.

Also, you can choose for your dog a clever pet feeder. Having a smart automatic pet feeder is an excellent way of making sure your pet’s nutritional needs are taken care of while you are away from home.

Dog Treats

bones cookies dog treats

Dog treats are essential for positive reinforcement. Training and formation can be boring for your new pet. However, if you make it a reward-based training makes it more interesting for the pet. Take them as a crucial part of your dog's training.

Careful, though; don't give your dog too many dog treats. Too much of it could result in loss of appetite in his dog food. Also, too much of it may make your dog obese.

Dog bed

grey dane in the dog bed

It would be best if you acquired a proper dog bed before you pick up your new dog.

When getting a dog bed, ensure it's of the correct size. It needs to be big enough for your dog to sleep comfortably. Besides, ensure it is warm and cozy.

Tip: If you are getting a puppy, it would be ideal to get a bigger bed. It would accommodate your dog for longer as it grows.

Hygiene Supplies

A lot of dog owners often overlook hygiene supplies for their dog. Yes, you will have professional grooming visits, but you will need additional grooming supplies to take care of your dog between the visits to professionals.

Here are some hygiene supplies that you need.

Shampoo and Conditioner

dog in foam shampoo and conditioner

It would be ideal if you gave your dog regular baths. That calls for a gentle shampoo and conditioner. Do not wait until your dog is covered in dirt for you to start shopping for the perfect shampoo.

Get a dog shampoo before the arrival to avoid the temptation of using human shampoo to clean your dog. Human shampoo is aggressive to dogs. If worse gets to worse, better consider baby shampoos. They will be less aggressive. 

We, however, recommend that you get dog shampoo in advance to avoid any irritations.

Dog Toothbrush and Toothpaste

dog toothbrush and toothpaste

When we talk of dog grooming, people quickly think of cleaning dog fur. Many people overlook the oral hygiene and dental health of their dogs. If you fail to take care of your dog's oral hygiene, you will have to deal with health problems such as tooth decay.

There are some speculations that some dog foods can help clean your dog's food. Yes, some of them will help clear plaque on the surface of the dog's teeth. However, that is not enough. Get a dog toothbrush and toothpaste to properly clean your dog's teeth.

We recommend that you brush your dog's teeth more than thrice a week.

Brush and Nail Clippers

nail clippers for dogs

What do you consider while getting a dog's brush? The most important thing would be to consider your dog's coat length. If your new dog is long and curly-haired, then slicker brushes with short and fine wires will work perfectly for you.

However, bristle brushes work excellently with short-haired dogs that are frequent shedders. 

 For nail clippers, you can go for nail clippers or grinders used to trim the nails rather than cut them.


Good grooming will help your dog look and feel his best. Routine grooming sessions also allow you to examine your dog’s coat, teeth, eyes, ears, and nails for signs of problems. How often you need to groom your dog depends on his size, breed, and type of coat (1).

If your dog needs a trim and a tidy up, you could book him an appointment at the local dog-grooming salon. But what if you want to save some money and attempt the job yourself at home? 

It's quite simple to groom your dog at home, but it's important to have some basic knowledge of dog grooming best practices. 

Also, you can choose personal grooming for your dog.

Absorbent House-training Pads

absorbent house training pads for dogs

This may fall and training and hygiene items.

You need to cater for peeing and pooping from day one. Absorbent house-training pads will serve as a designated space for your dog to pee or poop in the house. They are an essential part of training classes.

You will use these pads until your dog is potty trained. After they are well potty trained, you can start using plastic poop bags.

Plastic Poop bags

plastic poop bags

Plastic poop bags will help you collect your dog's droppings from the yard or while on walks. It is a bonus to the environment if you get biodegradable poop bags.

Dog Toys 

dog is playing with dog toy

Dog toys are essential from day one, mainly because your new dog has not built companionship with you or family members yet.

When your dog is still shy to be around your family, it will find relaxation in a dog toy. To create a stronger bond and friendship with your new dog, you can take advantage play with it and the toys on the dog's first days.

 If you welcome a puppy home, you need to get chew toys to help ease teething problems. Chewable bones will excite your new puppy. Your new adult dog will also appreciate chew toys, especially if you have to leave them alone at home while you step out. You don't want to get back to find it chewing on your furniture.

Dog Car Seat Covers

dog car seat covers

Have you ever had to clean the dog's fur from your car seats? Never? Then get Made in USA car seat covers; they will save yourself the tiresome job.

Sometimes, it becomes difficult to shop for dog car seat covers for trucks due to the large seat size. However, you do not want to go dog's fur all over your truck's seat. Ensure you get one before ever having your canine companion riding in your truck.

Getting the right car seat covers will make travelling safer, and effortless for you and your dog.

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Veterinary Appointment

a woman with dog at veterinary clinic

You need a veterinary appointment sooner for your adopted dogs.

get your veterinary appointment to ensure the dog is

  • not having any pests on it
  • up to date with its vaccines
  • to be put under specialized professional support

Note: Dogs with health and behavior problems require specialized professional support.

While adopting a new dog, you need to know its health status too. This will help you manage the dog's diet well too. For instance, on your first vet appointment, pet parents need to find out whether their dog is diabetic or not. That will help manage the diet well.

 Are There any Other Costs You Should be Aware of in Your New Dog Adoption Process?

woman is hugging a mastiff

When you are preparing your new dog adoption checklist, you need to get ready to use some money on services often overlooked by new pet parents.

If you are getting ready to adopt a dog, set aside money for:

  • Adoption fee. You may need to pay some money as you fill your dog adoption form. The money mostly goes to cover the costs of taking care of animals in the rescue home. Why not just buy a dog then? No need to breed new dogs when lots of dogs in rescue homes need a new family.
  • Neuteration fees. You may have to pay to have your dog spayed before you bring it home. You may need to pay for your adopted dog to be spayed or neutered before bringing them home.
  • Dog license fees according to where you live

It is good to have this planned beforehand.

What To Know before Adopting a Dog

grey mastiff puppy sleeping

Whether you are still looking for the perfect breed to adopt or have already found the best match for you, ask yourself the following questions. It will help you reconsider and get what is suitable for you and your lifestyle. It will also help you shop for the best dog care items.

  • What do you expect to get from your dog? Are you looking for a cuddling buddy or a running and hiking buddy?
  • Are you a first-time dog owner? First-time dog owners need to work very closely with their vets.
  • Are your house rules suitable and friendly to your new dog? Will you need to create new house rules to accommodate other family members and the dog?
  • How often will you be taking housebreaking?
  • Are you going for crate training or booking training classes?

This dog checklist and these questions will help you give your dog the best welcome and a perfect long-life blending into the household.

Final Thoughts

Getting a new rescue dog can be life-changing for both the dog owner and the dog. No lies; the process can be intensive, mainly because you want to ensure a comfortable transition for your family and the new dog. Yes, it is more than just covering your seats with pet car seat covers and picking up the dog. Check out every item you acquire from this dog adoption checklist; it doesn't matter whether it is a younger or older dog. This will ensure you do not forget any essentials.

 Acquiring all  items from this new dog checklist beforehand will ensure the most comfortable welcome to your household.

Et Voila, you are now ready to welcome home your new dog.

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