In the weeks leading up to us bringing home Clifton, our mini goldendoodle puppy, I was like a mama nesting for her baby. I spent hours reading about the best treats, toys, gear for puppies so that we had everything for our little guy before he arrived. I remember being a first-time dog mom and wondering what things we really needed for our baby, and what we didn’t.
Since getting Clifton five years ago, I have had tons of clients, friends + family get puppies — many that got mini goldendoodles, and I always would send them a list of what they needed for their puppy. As we are gearing up for my sister-in-law and aunt to bring home their new goldendoodle puppies, I thought a little blog post about my favorite things would be helpful to all the puppy parents and the soon-to-be puppy parents out there.
Here is my must-have list for your goldendoodle puppy!
- Dog Crate | MidWest ICrate 30 Inch Folding Metal Dog Crate : This is a must-have for the first few weeks. We kept Clifton in here at night and when we would leave the house. We didn’t crate train him because we were home with him all day, but for some puppies, this becomes their safe place in your home.
- Dog Crate Mattress / Bed : You will want a little bed for your puppy to sleep on. This one fits perfectly with the crate.
- AutoClose Safety Baby Gate : If you are going to allow your puppy to have a spot in the house while you aren’t home or if you just don’t want them in a certain room, you will want a few of these. We used these to create a safe little area for Clifton once we stopped crate training him to be in.
- Dog Seat Belt : Clifton didn’t love his crate, so when we would take in him in the car, we would seat belt him in the back seat. This clips right into the seat belt and on to any harness.
Grannick’s Bitter Apple for Dogs Spray Bottle, : Order this BEFORE your puppy comes home. This spray helps prevent your dog from chewing on things like your furniture, shoes, etc. You just spray it on things you want
Nature’s Miracle Stain and Odor Remover Dog : Another must-have BEFORE your puppy comes home. You will be using this spray every time there is an accident in the house those first few weeks. It helps take the odor away so your dog or other pups don’t continue to pee / poop / vomit in that same spot. We still use this spray 5 years later.
- Leather Leash : Avoid getting a retractable leash with your pup which only encourages your pup to pull on the leash, and instead train him / her on a leather leash. We have this one, and as soon as we switched to this, Clifton walked so much better and stopped pulling.
Treat + food container : Get an airtight container to keep all the treats and dog food fresh and accessible.
Dog Poop Bags with Dispenser : We love these AmazonBasics poop bags. They last FOREVER, so just go ahead and buy them in bulk and you will always have poop bags on hand.
- Did You Feed the Dog? : This sign is so helpful and cute if you have one more than one person taking care of the dog.
- John Paul Pet Oatmeal Shampoo : We still use this shampoo when we bathe Clifton. I love the smell of it.
- John Paul Pet Lavender Mint Detangling Spray : Doodles get matted super easily, so we add this detangling spray into our grooming routine to help with the matting.
- Andis Pet Steel Comb : If you can keep your furbaby mat-free this comb is great for combing him or her out. Goldendoodles mat really easily, so we don’t use this a ton on Clifton now, but this is so much better than a brush.
- Safari Dematting Comb : You are going to need a de-matting comb to helpwith matting especially as your puppy gets older. It is the best thing we have bought, and we use it all the time.
- Toothbrush + toothpaste : Yes, your puppy needs his / her teeth brushed too. Start doing this when they are little. We love this little set that includes the toothpaste, brush and finger brush.
- Towel : We keep two of these pet towels in the bathroom where we give Clifton a bath. They are great at absorbing the water after a bath. We also pack these when we take him to the dog beach or Florida.
- Mushers Secret Paw Wax : If your pup lives in a cold climate, this is perfect for their dry, cracked paws that will come in winter. This stuff is amazing anytime your goldendoodle’s paws are cracked, so go ahead and have it on hand.
Shopping for toys was one of my favorite parts when I first started shopping for Clifton. There are SO many cute toys out there, especially at Homegoods / TJ Maxx. My advice is not to buy too many toys at first like I did. Your puppy is going to destroy those cute, stuffed animals quickly. Grab a few because they make for some cute photos and toys around the house, but also stock up on things that will help when they need to chew. One thing to keep in mind when getting toys is to avoid any rope toys. Pups can eat the strings and have them wrap around their intestines — which is NOT good. So just skip them altogether.
- SmartPetLove Snuggle Puppy Behavioral Aid Toy, Biscuit : We put this with Clifton in the crate for the first week. It is supposed to help transition them because it has a battery heartbeat and a pouch to make it warm. If you can, ask the breeder to rub it on his mom or the other puppies so it smells like them.
- Chuckit Indoor Ball Dog Toy
- KONG Air Dog Squeakair Dog Toy Tennis Balls
- Hartz Dura Play Ball Size:
- Jolly Pets Medium Soccer Ball Floating-Bouncing Dog Toy
- Stuffless toys: As a puppy, Clifton’s mission was get the squeaker and stuffing out ASAP. We loved these stuffless toys for him to play with. Crinkle Cow // Stuffless Giraffe
- Kong : A kong is a must! We used to fill it with peanut butter and leave it when we would leave him alone to avoid the separation and crying. Get at least one of these.
- Nylabone : They make great dog toys and chews for puppies. Order the puppy mix and then have a few others on hand as your dog gets older. Clifton did chew through these during the first year. anything from this company is a great toy for puppies who chew. Clifton loved the keys and the puppy bone starter kit. Or just order this whole puppy bundle. This brand saved us during the first year!
- Antlers : These are great for serious chewers and puppies. They last a really long time, and you don’t have to worry about them eating the whole thing. I suggest ordering two of these and keeping one in the rooms you and your puppy spend the most time. When they are in a chewing mood, give them one of these antlers and you will be all good.
- Frisbees : These dogs love to play fetch. Some of our favorite frisbees over the years are this one from West Paw. It floats in the water and is super durable. The Chuck It! Flying Squirrel because it is lightweight and easy to bring to a park. And our absolute favorite is Petzip Soft Frisbee Pet Fetch Toy.
- Bully Stick Holder : We started giving bully sticks to Clifton around 6 months, and the constant problem we had was him eating the last chunk of them. We found this bully stick holder, and it has been a total game-changer
- Hear Doggie Silent Squeak Dog Toys : These silent squeak toys are for the days when you can’t listen to one more squeak. Your dog hears it, but you don’t. AMAZING! Thank me later.
- Zuke’s Natural Training Dog Treats : These are great for training because they are little so you can reward your puppy for every good thing they do without feeling guilty. We still use these with Clifton 5 years later.
- Treat pouch : This little treat bag is great to clip on your leash so you always have treats with you for potty training and walks. This is one of those things that you might think you don’t need, but I promise you, you will be so happy to have. Otherwise you will end up with pockets full of old treats. :)
- GREENIES Originals : Check with your vet on when you give these to your puppy, but these are amazing. They are approved and recommended by vets and help with keeping your dogs teeth clean. We like to give Clifton (who is 32 pounds) the mini ones vs the regular ones because he likes to get one every night as part of his bedtime routine.
- Rachel Ray Treats : Our dog loves any soft treats over hard ones, so he loves the Rachael Ray treats. His favorites are the Hamburgers + Chicken Roasters. + meatballs. We have these shipped to us every two months so we always have a supply.
- Best Bully Sticks : These are great for dogs that love to chew. We didn’t give these to Clifton until he was about 6 months, but since then, he gets about 1-2 a week. Make sure you get a bully stick holder so you don’t have to watch them as they eat it.
Over the years, we have added a lot of dog products into our lives. These are items we really love. You might not need them right away.
- H2O4K9, Dog Water Bottle and Travel Bowl : This is THE best travel water / dish you can get. It keeps the water super cold, and it is amazing for car rides because you can simply twist off the lid and pour a little water into it. If your dog doesn’t drink it all, you can easily pour it back in. This was the best thing we had in our car for our road trip with Clifton.
- PawZ Color Dog Boots : These are great for winter or for the rain. They are like little balloons that you can slip on your puppy’s feet to protect them from the salt + snow. Clifton hates boots, but he lets us put these on especially in the winter.
- Top Dog Travel Bag Airline Approved : If you will be doing any travel with your furbaby, save yourself the stress of trying to pack a bag and get this. It is approved to fly with and was amazing for our road trip. It also makes a great bag if someone will be watching your dog overnight. It includes two pop up bowls, tons of space for toys, brushes, etc, and two containers for food + treats. It is like a diaper bag for dogs. And it is amazing. After using this, I will never go back to a tote bag. This is also an amazing gift for any dog parents.
- Outward Hound Granby Splash Ripstop Dog Life Jacket : This is great for pups that will be at the beach, on a boat or near a pool. We love this jacket and even ordered an extra one to keep at our parents’ in FL.
- JW Pet Company Rockin Treat Ball for Dogs : We *just* got this toy for Clifton in preparation for our first baby arriving to keep his attention. We load it up with his dog food + Zuke’s and let him run around. This has become a new favorite in our house and part of his night time routine. It is also great if your pup is eating too fast and you want to slow them down.
Did I miss something on the list for a new puppy?! Tell me your puppy essentials below.
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First time to the blog? Hi, I am Brittany, and I am a fine art film photographer specializing in lifestyle wedding and family photography. I travel worldwide photographing beautiful weddings, engagements, and families, and most of the time you can find me in Chicago, Naples (Southwest Florida), and Las Vegas. My light and airy editing style and candid, joyful photos are what I am best known for. Interested in working together? Contact the studio for more information.