Those first few weeks with a brand-new puppy can stir up a lot of emotions. Plenty of stress, worry and joy are to be expected. But having the right set of supplies can help make the early days a little bit easier so the focus remains on what matters most — showering the new addition with slobbery love. If someone in your life is getting ready to bring home a furry friend, consider surprising them with some of the practical and thoughtful gifts below. It’s a great way to show any new pet parent how much you love them and welcome their new family member with open arms!
Tip: Know What They Need
It’s tempting to go crazy buying fun accessories at the pet store — who can resist a mini bow tie or a donut dog harness? — but try your best to prioritize buying items you know they need. There’s nothing wrong with outright asking what gear they could use. And if you still aren’t sure but want to knock it out of the park, give them a gift card to a pet boutique so they can get exactly what they need. If you’d rather pick something out, any one of the items below would make an awesome puppy parent present.
- A Leash and Collar — If the new puppy parent doesn’t already have dogs, a leash and collar should be two of the first things they buy. It’s best to start pups off with a standard flat collar and a fixed-length nylon leash. Puppies can be erratic and adventurous, so hold off on the retractable leashes for at least the first few months. Webbed polyester or nylon are a safe bet for active chewers.
- A Harness — A comfortable no-pull harness is an absolute necessity for a new puppy parent. Puppies are prone to pulling and lunging, but the right harness can keep them close by without hurting them. Plus, harnesses can add style to any pup’s wardrobe, especially if you pick a reversible dog harness that has two designs in one.
- Training Treats — Treats are imperative to puppy life because they serve as yummy rewards while training. The American Kennel Club (AKC) recommends choosing small, fast-eating treats as rewards during training so that owners can reinforce good behavior without loading up on too many calories. Pick out some tasty, healthy treats for your new puppy friend for an awesome present.
- Food and Water Bowls — Food and water bowls are a pet parent must-have, and they come in a wide range of styles and designs to help you capture any puppy’s personality. Consider giving the gift of dishwasher-safe bowls made of stainless steel, as these make cleaning a total breeze for new pet parents with a lot on their plate.
- Lots of Toys — Playful pups can never have too many toys, especially if they’re like most puppies — high-energy and prone to chewing! Consider gifting your new four-legged friend a variety of different toy types, including balls, frisbees and durable chew toys. We recommend steering clear of any stuffed animals or toys filled with fluff, as these will undoubtedly get ripped to shreds by mouthy pups.
- A Dog Bed — Any happy puppy would love a place to cuddle up, so a comfy dog bed makes a sweet gift for the newest member of the family. If you’re able to predict the puppy’s size when full-grown, consider giving them a larger dog bed so they don’t have to replace it when the puppy is a puppy no more.
- A Personalized Tag — In all the excitement of adopting a special friend, it can be easy to forget one of the most important items on the puppy essentials list —a personalized pet tag. You can get an engraved metal name tag at any pet store or order a quiet silicone one online. Make sure to get all the pet parents’ contact info correct!
- An AirTag or Tile Tracker — Puppies have an especially high flight risk, and can you blame them? They just want to explore! Adding a small tracker to your pup’s collar is a simple, affordable way to keep tabs on them so you don’t have to worry about them getting lost. However, it’s important to note that most trackers of this nature don’t have GPS, but instead use Bluetooth to track pets and objects. This means they can only track things that are about 30 to 100 feet from your phone at any given time.
- A Grooming Kit — Pet care products are a category your new pet parent might overlook when stocking up on goods for those first few months with their new pup. But pet owners know that a good-quality dog shampoo, conditioner, nail clippers and grooming shears are essential, especially for active pups who love to swim and hike.
- A ‘Gotcha Day’ Cake —Since rescues and even breeders often don’t know a pet’s precise birthday, it’s fun to celebrate their “gotcha day” each year instead. This is the day they officially arrived home to be with their forever family. Surprise your new pet parent with a gotcha day cake that’s pet and people safe!
- Safe Chew Treats — Puppies love to chew and allowing them to do so in a safe way is crucial to helping them release energy and get some much-needed stimulation. This ensures that they don’t go for your nicest pair of leather shoes. Plus, chewing helps clean their teeth and keep their breath fresh. Choose safe, long-lasting chews, such as bully sticks rather than bones or rawhides, which can be hard for dogs to digest.
These tangible gifts will always be cherished, but the best thing you can give someone who just got a puppy is your support and love! It takes a village, as they say, and any pet parent will appreciate your willingness to serve as an honorary aunt or uncle to their sweet new addition.