New Puppy Essentials

So, you have taken the leap and decided to add a member to your family. A furry member that is. Adding a companion animal to your family can be a rewarding experience but one of the most important parts is to make sure that you are ready for them! It is not as simple as picking a puppy and bringing them home, there are a lot of things you and your family need to do to prepare yourselves for this exciting endeavour. Whether you are an experienced pet owner or a first-time owner, this guide will go through everything you need to be successful in welcoming a brand-new four-legged family member.

Puppy Food

No matter where you get your puppy from, they will already be weaned off mom’s milk and onto puppy food. Depending on where you got your puppy, they may be on a raw, cooked, canned, or most likely, kibble diet. Our suggestion is that you discuss with the rescue or breeder beforehand what food they are currently feeding the puppy so you have a plan in place. 9 times out of 10 you will be sent with a bag of puppy food, but in the rare case that you are not given a small bag of puppy food you may need to grab a small bag of what they are already on and then a large bag of what you plan to switch them to, so you can properly wean without causing too much stomach upset. We always suggest doing your own research when it comes to choosing a food. If you are getting a puppy from a breeder or a rescue, the chances are the food that they have been on is not great and the breeder or rescue is only recommending it because they get a kickback from or are sponsored by the company. Not to say all rescue or breeders feed unhealthy food or receive kickbacks, but it is highly likely that they will suggest low-quality food and the reality is that you can do a lot better for the health of the new addition to your family. Here are a few of our top suggestions in various categories.

What To Look For In A Puppy Food

When choosing puppy food, you want to pick a food that is meat first always. It is also helpful if the food contains fish oils for omega 3’s, taurine as one of the amino acids as well as glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy joints, especially for large breed puppies.

What To Avoid

Avoid foods that contain fillers, or that are high on the glycemic index. Especially stay away from foods that do not have meat protein listed as a first ingredient.

What We Suggest

Raw Feeding  

If you choose to go the raw feeding route (which is always our first suggestion as it is the healthiest diet) we suggest you try:

Healthy Paws Raw Food Puppy's DinnerHealthy Paws Puppy’s Dinner
  • Healthy Paws is one of our favorite suggestions for puppies because of its specific puppy composition. It features two proteins (chicken and beef) and has whole eggs added to the formula containing the essential amino acids your puppy needs to develop healthy brain function.
  • Formula breakdown: Meat 70% / Bone 10% / Organ 10% / Fruit & Veg 10%
Bold by Nature Variety Boxes

Bold by Nature is an amazing raw food company and like most raw food companies we carry in our stores, they do not have a specific puppy formulation – but that does not mean that you cannot feed their formulas to your puppy. Bold suggests starting your puppy off on the Turkey Mega Blend for two weeks, then adding a different protein every week until you have tried them all. These diets are complete, meant for all life stages and have everything that your puppy needs.

Kibble Feeding

Petcurean Go!

Go! is a great Canadian kibble company. The Carnivore Puppy Kibble is grain-free, and 87% of the protein is sourced from animal ingredients. The puppy food is made with multiple animal proteins including chicken, turkey, duck, salmon, and trout.

Open Farm PuppyOpen Farm

Open Farm is another good kibble company focusing on sustainable sourcing. They have a grain-free and grain-inclusive puppy recipe. Both recipes are made with chicken, salmon, and whitefish.


Farmina is an Italian kibble company. They make several types of puppy kibbles. Today we will highlight the pumpkin formulas available in either chicken or lamb and in small breed or med & max breed. The pumpkin formulas have 96% protein sourced from animal ingredients, which is fantastic.

Other Options

  • Orijen Puppy Kibble
  • Raised Right Gently Cooked Puppy Food
  • Stella and Chewy’s Raw Coated Puppy Kibble

Puppy Sleeping
Puppy Supplements

What to look for in a puppy supplement

When you are choosing a puppy supplement you would want to look for something with calcium for healthy bone development, colostrum for immune boosting properties and to decrease chances of allergy development as well as omega 3’s for brain and eye development.

What To Avoid

We suggest avoiding supplements that contain fillers or sugars. Make sure you read the ingredient list of the supplement. Sometimes the packaging looks great, but it could be filled with unnecessary ingredients.

What We Suggest

Powdered Supplements

Welly Tails Puppy Smart Start

Includes: Marine algae, fish oils (omega 3), bovine colostrum and green lipped mussels (for healthy joint development).

Missing Link Puppy Health

Includes: Ground beef bone (for a calcium boost), bovine colostrum, and yucca (which is an amazing supplement for structural development of bones, joints, and muscles).

Whole Food Supplements

Goat Milk for PuppiesGoat’s Milk

Goat’s milk is a fantastic addition to a puppy’s diet as it will assist in digestion and immune system boosting.


Raw bones should ALWAYS be part of a puppy’s diet. The benefits of recreational chewing bones and meal replacement bones outweigh any risks tenfold. Puppies fed raw bones can exercise their entire body, whereas dogs not fed bones are underdeveloped. There are many other benefits to feeding bones – check out our Raw Bone Guide for more information.


Raw eggs are a healthy addition to any diet, in moderation. Chicken, quail, and duck eggs are all great options. Eggs include all the essential amino acids dogs need for optimal health, muscle development and tissue repair.


Fish oils are an extremely important addition to a puppy’s diet. Fish oils that are high in omega 3 fatty acids support a puppy’s brain and body development while also maintaining a beautiful coat and building a healthy immune system.

Puppy Training TreatTreats

What To Look For In A Training Treat

When you are looking for training treats you want to look for something that is okay to feed an abundance of, while also looking for something that is going to keep your dog’s attention. You might want to try to find low calorie treats, as well as trying to keep the ingredient list on the shorter side. Single ingredient treats like beef liver are great training treat options.

What To Avoid In A Training Treat

  • You want to avoid treats high in calories. Trying to keep each treat under 10 calories is important.
  • You will also want to avoid treats that contain sugar or smoke flavour. While smoke flavour is a popular ingredient to entice your pet’s sniffer, it has been studied and has shown traces of carcinogenic substances.
  • Try to keep training treats soft so that your dogs do not have to chew much. Dry treats for training can lead to coughing/choking.

Top Suggestions For Training Treats

Benny Bullies
  • Less than 5 calories per treat
  • Easy to break into smaller pieces
  • Canadian company
Tricky Trainers
  • 3 calories per treats
  • Variety of flavours
  • Available in crunchy or soft
  • Little to no mess
Crumps Mini TrainersCrumps Mini Trainers + Semi Moist Trainers
  • 3 calories per treats
  • Available in a variety of animal proteins
  • Canadian company

What To Look For In A Chew Treat

When looking for a chewing treat the most important thing to look for is something that is 100% digestible.

What To Avoid In A Chew Treat

Rawhides, nylon, or chews that should not be ‘ingested.’

Our Top Suggestions For Chew Treats

Puppy Love Bully Sticks
  • 100% digestible
  • Softens with saliva
  • Super safe for puppies – no teeth chipping
Nothin’ to Hide Natural Chew Sticks
  • Highly digestible
  • Safe chew option
Crumps Sweet Potatoes
  • 100% digestible
  • Single ingredient
  • Meat free alternative

What To Look For In A Special Treat

Something crunchy and delicious that lets your dog know they did something amazing to deserve this treat. These treats are given when your dog has done something great. Maybe they just pee’d or poo’d outside after warning you, or they completed a training session, and you are releasing them. This treat says, “what a good dog.”

What To Avoid In A Special Treat

Sugars, corn, colours, or anything that requires too much work to chew – this treat should not take too long to eat.

Our Top Suggestions For Special Treats

Chicken Hearts by Vital Essentials
  • Single ingredient
  • Crunchy
Beef Lung by Crumps
  • Single ingredient
  • Crunchy
  • Quick
Rabbit Ears by Hero
  • Single ingredient
  • Crunchy
  • Source of fiber
  • Protein variety
Biscuits by Northern Biscuit
  • Crunchy
  • Flavour variety
  • Quick chomp

Puppy Eating Food Out of Stainless Steel BowlPuppy Accessories


Grab a bed for anywhere your dog will be sleeping. This will discourage sleeping on furniture. Usual places would be the living room, bedroom, or your dog’s own room or crate. Crate mats are a great option for the crate or floor and travelling. We would suggest one comfortable bed and one crate mat.


Pick a crate that your pet can grow into. There is no point in getting one for your pet’s size now because they will grow out of it. If the crate is too big for your puppy now, then use a crate divider and only use half of the crate until they are large enough to use the entire crate.

  • The dishes that you choose depend on the size of your new puppy and what you decide to feed them. If you are feeding kibble, then glass and stainless steel are great options. Plastic dishes can be hard to clean, and bacteria can get trapped in the porous surfaces. If you are feeding raw, stainless steel is best as it is the easiest to clean.
  • You may also consider getting a grow with me elevated feeder. Food elevation is helpful for many things including digestion, and comfort. Messy Mutts has great options for elevated pet dishes.
  • Grab a gentle shampoo, face wipes for eyes and ears or ear cleaner, toothbrush and toothpaste, nail trimmers, and a nail grinder.
  • Based on the breed of your dog you will need specific brushes and even trimmers. Talk to a Tail Blazers team member to find the right fit for your dog.
Name Tag

You should get an engraved name tag for your pet. There are also many tag options for lost pets including QR scanner and Air Tag holders. Choose an option that suits your needs best.

Puppy Toys

Puppy With ToySoothing

A stuffed toy from Tuffy (long lasting) or the Heartbeat Toy from Snuggle Puppy are great options for soothing toys. These toys are something to cuddle with.


Something ‘indestructible’ like Ruff Dawg toys or Kongs. Try to stay away from hard toys that can cause tooth damage.


FETCH, FRISBEE, TUG. Chuckit! and Kong have great play toy options.


Interactive toys are toys that can keep your puppy busy. Stuffing a Kong with pet safe peanut butter or cottage cheese is a great interactive toy. Also, snuffle mats or puzzle toys from PawzNDogz are great options. You can even put your pet’s meal in the toys if they are eating their meals too quickly. For raw meals use silicone lick mats.

Puppy Training Essentials


It is difficult to purchase a harness for a puppy because they will out grow it so quickly. If you want to start with a harness early, we suggest the ThunderLeash. This harness is a grow with me option and is suitable for adult dogs as well.

  • You will need a 6ft leash for walking – RC Pets is great.
  • You will also need a 15-30ft leash for recall training.
  • Do not use retractable leashes. They are dangerous and create bad training habits on leash.
  • Start with a larger collar on the smallest setting so you do not have to purchase a new collar every time your puppy hits a growth spurt.
  • Martingale collars are great for puppies and are perfect for them to grow into.
Potty Training
  • Pee pads
  • Doorbells like Poochie Bells. Poochie Bells also come with a “how to guide” on housebreaking your puppy.
Treat Holder

A treat holder is not necessary but can be helpful for training and keeping your pockets clean from dog treat residue. We would suggest these quick open pouches from RC Pets.


Earth Rated Compostable Poop BagsPoop Bags

Poop bags are essential! Bring your poop bags with you on every walk and ensure you are picking up your dog’s messes as you go. We carry earth-friendly compostable and degradable poop bag options such as Pawsitive Solutions and Earth Rated.

Stain Remover

Stain removers like Skout’s Honor Stain & Odour removers are a great cleaning solution to have on hand in messy situations. Use this cleaner to clean up pee, poo, vomit, blood, or any other lovely mess your new puppy decides to leave for you!

Tie Out

A tie out is a great option for those who have a yard that is not fenced in. You can get tie outs that wrap around to secure or tie outs that are secured in the ground. Make sure that you get the correct tie out based on your puppy’s adult weight so that you do not have to purchase more than one.

Chew Deterrent

A chew deterrent like Tropiclean’s Chew Deterrent is a great option for puppy’s that have a habit of chewing on things they should not. This deterrent can be sprayed on leashes, clothing, furniture and more. The deterrent is made to taste sour and not appealing to your puppy. If you are worried about the product staining your furniture or clothes, do a spot check first.

Pet Insurance

Pet Insurance is a new option for pet owners and can be of great assistance in emergency situations. For an agreed upon monthly fee, you can ensure that your pet will always have the veterinary care that they need, whenever they need it.


Socialization is a lifelong process, but once you get your puppy at around 8 weeks, your important job begins. For the next month it is time to socialize! Your dog should be getting introduced to anything and everything possible. Try to enroll them in a puppy class to socialize with other puppies. Introducing them to as many new sounds like fireworks, vacuums and thunderstorms, sights like a busy street, playing with mirrors or water and experiences like walking through a pet friendly store, setting up a play pen at a dog park or walking through a farm. These are all extremely important to help your pet feel confident. Also introducing them to as many new people as possible. Try to introduce them to people of all ages, gender, ethnicity, and sizes. It is also important to try to introduce them to people wearing glasses and hats and people in wheelchairs or with other physical aids. Socializing is the best way to create a happy dog that has very little triggers and anxiety. For more in-depth information on socializing check out this article.


We hope that you enjoyed this blog and that we have given you a better understanding of what you need to be prepared if you are bringing a new puppy home.

A new puppy is a lot of work, but it is so fulfilling to watch them grow into happy healthy dogs. Your puppy is counting on you to help them live their best life, so visit a Tail Blazers location near you and experience the benefits of your puppy being “Tail Blazers healthy”!