The Essential Review-Based Checklist For Bringing Home A New Dog

Bringing home a new furry friend is such an exciting and special moment for you and your family. It can also be somewhat stressful acclimating to having a pet and making sure they feel comfortable in their new home. But with all the right supplies, moving in your pet can be easy-breezy.

After adopting a dog, it may take up to six months for your pet to totally settle into their new home. Research shows that while shelter dogs initially may exhibit some problem behaviors like separation anxiety or nervousness, 93.7 percent of owners rated their dog’s overall behavior as excellent or good, and 100 percent reported that their pet adjusted moderately or extremely well to their new home.

To make that transition a little bit easier for both of you, we have scoured our highly popular product review section for the top selections across all of our dog supply lists. Every product below has been ranked as number one in our research that we conducted across multiple expert reviews. We take what products are mentioned most to come away with the consensus “Best of the Best.” Below, we’ve compiled them all for a one-stop shop for everything you need for your new fuzzy family member based on our research. I also sprinkled in some personal insight as the proud owner of two rescue Pit Bulls. The list is broken up into two parts: no-question essentials and extra supplies that are fun and helpful as a pet owner. Let us know if we missed anything in the comments below!

Essentials:

Dog Food

Hill's Science Adult Dry Formula
Hill’s Science Adult Dry Formula Chicken and Barley Recipe (hillspet.com)

Our top pick from our list of the best dog foods is Hill’s Science! Of course, you’ll definitely want to check with your vet before choosing food for you dog, but many dog owners rave about this brand! The Hill’s Science Adult Dry Formula is a great choice for any dog ages one to six. However, if you adopt a puppy or a senior pet, they have specific formulas for them too! The adult kibble comes in a few different flavors with a mixture of proteins and veggies, so you can tailor your dog’s diet to their taste preferences (which may come through trial and error). Across, our research, reviewers like this brand because it is easy to digest, pleases picky eaters, and supports brain and eye development with the addition of natural DHA from fish oil. 

Leash

PetSafe Premier Nylon Dog Leash
PetSafe Premier Nylon Dog Leash (petsafe.com)

The PetSafe Nylon Leash is an affordable, basic leash that is really all you need for bringing your furry friend home. One you learn a bit more about their walking habits, you may want to invest in a heavy-duty or retractable leash. But, to get from the shelter to your house, this leash will do the trick and may even continue to be a staple in your pet supplies. HiConsumption reviewers say it is sturdy enough to last for years. They also come in a range of sizes to cater to different sized dogs.

Collar

Black Rhino’s Comfort Collar
Black Rhino’s Comfort Collar (target.com)

This Comfort Collar from Black Rhino come out on top on our list of the best dog collars? Why? In our research, pet owners say this collar is ultra-durable yet lightweight, comfortable, and the reflective stitching makes it easy to see at night. Plus, it works for any breed! All you have to do is measure you dog’s neck and select the right size. With all the color options, you can deck out your pooch in a style both of you will love, too!

Harness

Ruffwear Front Range Dog Harness
Ruffwear Front Range Dog Harness (ruffwear.com)

In our ranking, seven out of ten experts recommended the Ruffwear Front Range Harness. Reviewers like how it is durable, easy-to-clean, and keeps your dog secure and visible at all times. The brand’s website says it features two leash attachments: an aluminum V-ring on the back and a front clip.

Pro tip: My dog, Terrance, pulls like it’s his job on walks. We clipped his leash in the front instead of the back and it made a huge difference! Try it out if you have a tugboat on your hands like I do.

Dog Bed

Casper is a mattress brand for humans. It turns out they actually make doggie beds too! The Casper Dog Bed made number one on our list of best dog beds due to its comfortability (memory foam!), durability, and washability. The experts at Casper took what they know about human comfort in mattresses and designed this bed around dog behavior with the same sleep comfort in mind. Pressure-relieving memory foam keeps it cozy while the durable microfiber cover can withstand even the most aggressive chewing! Fido will be in the lap of luxury with this one!

Treats

Luke's Mini Naturals Treats
Luke’s Mini Naturals Treats (zukes.com)

Zuke’s Mini Naturals are the perfect dog treats for dogs of all shapes and sizes. Even little pups can handle their small size. Plus, because they are so small, you can easily carry them in your pocket for training on-the-go. Good Housekeeping reviewers say the strong scent is the secret behind what makes these treats so irresistible to dogs. Plus, they are low in calories and do not contain corn, wheat, or soy. So, not only are they tasty, but they are a healthy pick, too!

Toys

Chuckit! Ultra
Chuckit! Ultra (chewy.com)

Bond with your new best friend by playing a game of fetch. Regardless of what type of dog you adopt or rescue, they are sure to love chasing down this ball. The top selection from our list of the best dog toys was the Chuckit! Ultra ball. Reviewers say this even outplays the classic tennis ball due to its rubber construction. Why? Newsweek says the average tennis ball is easily ripped to shreds by your pet, but this one will deter even the most aggressive chewers. Plus, it floats in water and stays almost brand-new in any weather.

Flea Treatments

Frontline Plus
Frontline Plus for Dogs (frontline.com)

Most shelters will preemptively make sure your new dog does not have fleas, but for extra precaution, purchasing a flea treatment is a great option. Frontline Plus is rated as the best overall flea treatment from our researchers. That means it was recommended the most across the web! The brand’s reputation speaks for itself: for over 20 years, Frontline has been a top choice for keeping pooches safe from fleas and ticks. It’s safe for dogs of all sizes, waterproof after 24 hours, and easy to use.

Brush

Chris Christensen Original Series Oval Brush
Chris Christensen Original Series Oval Brush (chrischristensen.com)

Not everyone has the extra mullah to fork over to the groomers every so often. Luckily, most of your basic grooming needs can be done right at home. It also may be a welcome scratch session for your furry friend. To keep your dog’s coat smooth and manageable, a brush is the most important tool to have on hand! Experts recommended the Chris Christensen Original Series Oval Brush most in our research. Its made with polished stainless steel pins that glide through your pet’s coat. People magazine testers find it to be excellent at detangling and collecting excess loose hair. This will help to keep your dog’s coat in good condition and reduce the amount of hair that sheds around your home.

Crate

Diggs Revol Crate
Diggs Revol Crate (diggs.pet)

Even if your dog comes potty trained, according to their breeder or shelter, that isn’t always the case once you get home. Puppies are always prone to accidents and any dog can take a moment to become acquainted to their bathroom routine in their new home. Plus, you never know if your new pet will chew your couch to shreds when you leave them alone for the first time. That’s why having a crate is a great way to keep them contained when you’re gone, at least while they are adjusting. The top model that pet owners recommend is the Diggs Revol CrateForbes says this crate sets up in mere seconds and is super easy to clean. It’s also made with sturdy, high-quality aluminum and steel mesh wire.

Dog Shampoo

Earthbath's Oatmeal and Aloe Shampoo
Earthbath’s Oatmeal and Aloe Shampoo (earthbath.com)

Unfortunately, whether you are picking up Fido from a litter of puppies or a shelter, they are likely to come stinking of dog pee and who knows what else! You will definitely want to scrub your pooch down as soon as you get them home. While the shampoo in your shower may be fine to use, dog shampoos are specifically designed for your dog. They are formulated to be sensitive to their skin, hair, and eyes. Our top pick is Earthbath’s Oatmeal and Aloe Shampoo. Not only does it leave your puppy smelling sweet like vanilla, the colloidal oatmeal and organic aloe vera combat dry skin and irritation, all while softening and cleaning their coat. 

Extras:

If you are a dog owner, let us know if you have any tips you have that make your dog’s transition to their new home that much easier. Did we forget any products that are must-haves? Leave them in the comments below!

Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This article may contain affiliate links in which we receive a commission if you make a purchase.


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About the Author

Sophia Naughton

Meet StudyFinds’ Associate Editor, Sophia Naughton. Sophia graduated Magna Cum Laude from Towson University with a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication directly focused in journalism and advertising. She is also a freelance writer for Baltimore Magazine. Outside of writing, her best buddy is her spotted Pit Bull, Terrance.

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