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Essentials for First Time Puppy Raisers

Everything you need for when your SDIT arrives!

Essentials for First Time Puppy Raisers

Getting your first puppy is an exciting time as you’re just beginning your puppy raising journey. With all of that excitement comes fretting over making sure you have all the supplies that you need! We’ve created a list that contains the items we think are most important to have for when your puppy arrives.


The Essentials

  • A food and a water bowl

  • Having two separate bowls reduces the amount of times you accidentally dump the food in a full water bowl (yes we've had this happen to us).

  • Crate

  • A safe place for your pup to sleep at night or when you're gone. Most labs and goldens need a 36" or 42".

  • Treat pouch

  • Most assistance dog orgs train through positive reinforcement so this is a must.

  • Poop bags

  • We recommend buying the big 900+ bags pack because yes, you will need all of them.

  • Alternatively, you can re-use plastic shopping bags!

  • Collars

  • Plural because your puppy will grow :/ Make sure to have at least a puppy sized collar ready and you can always purchase their "adult" collar later.

  • Leash(es)

  • It's always a good idea for first-time raisers to have a cheaper leash they don't care about. Puppies are infamous for chewing things they're not supposed to so until they get over that phase pay close attention or have them on a leash you're ok with losing.

  • Brush

  • Depending on the breed of dog you get the type of brush that's most effective on them will differ so do some research once you know.

  • Nail Clippers or Dremel

  • Keeping your dog's nails trimmed is essential to their health and important for their appearance out in public. If you are not comfortable using these tools, talk to your point of contact about some other options.

  • Ear Cleaner

  • A lot of the breeds used by assistance dog organizations have floppy ears and floppy eared dogs are more likely to have dirty ears. In order to avoid ear infections you should use ear cleaner regularly.

  • You may also need to purchase cotton rounds/pads to help clean out the ears.

  • Toys

  • Ensure that these are age appropriate and approved by your organization. Puppies should have at least five toys to keep them occupied.

  • Dog Food

  • Your organization probably has a list of approved foods. We recommend getting one bag to start just in case it doesn't agree with your puppy.

  • Carpet cleaner

  • Accidents happen and even if you're on top of the relieving schedule at any age these dogs could throw up and leave a stain on your carpet.

  • Shampoo

  • You don't have to get a huge bottle because you shouldn't be bathing your dog that often, but there's a good chance you'll need to bathe them when they first come home. Some organizations have restrictions for this like avoiding Flea & Tick shampoo.

  • Travel Bag

  • This could be as simple as a drawstring bag or back pack. You'll need it to hold supplies like water, wipes, paper towels, extra kibble, and toys when out in public.


Optional but very useful!

  • Travel Bowl

  • This is great for giving your pup water or meals on the go. It's more compact than carrying around your food bowl - remember baby puppies need lunch!

  • Container for dog food

  • The easiest way to keep dog food from getting stale or attracting bugs is a container. If you can find another way to keep the bag closed, you can avoid this extra expense.

  • A tag

  • It's always a good idea to have a dog tag with your name and phone number on it in case your pup gets lost. You may not need one though if your organization provides you one with their number on it.

Be sure to check in with your point of contact for your puppy raising organization to see what items your puppy will be coming with. Often times organizations provide some of the essentials.


Pawsible offers puppy raiser starter kits for those who need help getting started.

If you’re interested in our starter kits or need financial support obtaining other supplies, please visit our financial support tab to learn more and apply.