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Adopting a New Dog Checklist

Updated Dec 10, 2022
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Adopting a dog doesn’t simply involve picking a pooch, filling out paperwork, and knowing where the closest dog parks are. You also have to prepare your home to be their home—and to get them home safely. Having just a few essentials ready before they arrive—such as a harness, a leash, and bowls for food and water—can go a long way toward easing the adjustment period for both pet and pet owner.

Sherpa Original Deluxe Carrier, the best pet carrier

Sherpa Original Deluxe Carrier

The best pet carrier
This durable carrier comes in three sizes, for pets up to 22 pounds, and it has a flexible wire frame that can compress down to fit into tight spaces.
We recommend
Sleepypod ClickIt Sport, the best car harness

Sleepypod ClickIt Sport

The best car harness
The only crash-tested harness with certification from the Center for Pet Safety, this model comes in four sizes, for dogs with chest sizes up to 40 inches. It’s not suitable for whippets, greyhounds, borzois, or similar dogs.
We recommend
Orvis Reflective Dog Collar, the best dog collar

Orvis Reflective Dog Collar

The best dog collar
Available in seven colors and several sizes, the Orvis collar is reflective. And it can be embroidered with your pet’s name and your phone number, so your dog is identifiable even if their tags fall off.
We recommend
Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Dog Walking Harness, the best walking harness

Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Dog Walking Harness

The best walking harness
The Tru-Fit is easy to put on, has chest and back leash attachments, comes in sizes that fit most dogs (from 5 to 80 pounds), and has a lifetime warranty.
We recommend
Max and Neo Double Handle Heavy Duty Reflective Leash, an everyday leash

Max and Neo Double Handle Heavy Duty Reflective Leash

An everyday leash
This tough, sturdy leash has a second handle closer to the clasp, to give you more control over your dog's movements when it counts. The leash also comes with a lifetime warranty.
We recommend
Four Paws Magic Coat Curry Brush, for dogs with smooth coats

Four Paws Magic Coat Curry Brush

For dogs with smooth coats
This rubber curry brush is comfortable to hold and feels soft against a pet’s skin.
We recommend
Hertzko Self Cleaning Slicker Brush, for detangling mats

Hertzko Self Cleaning Slicker Brush

For detangling mats
The slicker brush gently removes loose dirt and detangles fur without hurting your pet, and the retractable bristles make pulling hairballs off the brush a breeze.
We recommend
FURminator Undercoat deShedding Tool, for double-coated breeds

FURminator Undercoat deShedding Tool

For double-coated breeds
The stainless steel teeth make quick work of brushing out a dog’s undercoat, and the skin guard ensures the teeth won’t dig into a pet’s skin.
We recommend
Millers Forge Professional Nail Clip, the best nail clipper

Millers Forge Professional Nail Clip

The best nail clipper
This clipper is sharp, affordable, and the right size for most dogs.
We recommend
AmazonBasics Dog Waste Bags with Dispenser and Leash Clip, the best poop bags

AmazonBasics Dog Waste Bags with Dispenser and Leash Clip

The best poop bags
These bags are low-cost, easy to use, and durable, and they come in huge quantities.
We recommend
Loving Pets Bella Bowls Pet Bowl, a bowl for dogs of all sizes

Loving Pets Bella Bowls Pet Bowl

A bowl for dogs of all sizes
The Bella Bowl comes in three sizes, to accommodate dogs large and small. It has a stainless steel interior, a plastic exterior, and a nonskid base. And it’s dishwasher-safe.
We recommend
Pioneer Pet Raindrop Drinking Fountain, a metal fountain

Pioneer Pet Raindrop Drinking Fountain

A metal fountain
This metal fountain is big enough to accommodate multi-pet households, so it requires less refilling—but it’s also more expensive.
We recommend
Majestic Pet Suede Bagel Dog Bed, the best basic dog bed

Majestic Pet Suede Bagel Dog Bed

The best basic dog bed
Nice and cozy, easy to wash, and a snap to restuff, this cuddler-style bed cradles your dog no matter how weirdly they sleep.
We recommend
Iris Neat 'n Dry, the best pee pads

Iris Neat 'n Dry

The best pee pads
For house-training or incontinent dogs, these are the best pee pads of the eight we tested. They’re cheap and quick-drying, and each pad can contain up to ⅔ quart of liquid.
We recommend
MidWest Ultima Pro Double Door Folding Dog Crate, the best dog crate

MidWest Ultima Pro Double Door Folding Dog Crate

The best dog crate
The sturdiest and most escape-resistant crate we found, this model folds and transports easily and comes in several sizes for dogs up to 90 pounds.
We recommend
Cardinal Gates SS-30 Stairway Special, the best dog gate

Cardinal Gates SS-30 Stairway Special

The best dog gate
Our top pick for babies is also great for containing pets. This sturdy, hardware-mounted gate is easy to install (even where you don’t have studs directly across from each other). And it’s easy for humans to open, but impossible for dogs.
We recommend
Puracy Natural Multi-Surface Cleaner, the best all-purpose cleaner

Puracy Natural Multi-Surface Cleaner

The best all-purpose cleaner
Accidents happen, and our all-purpose cleaner pick helps you clean them up quickly.
We recommend
Bounty Select-A-Size, paper towels to absorb liquid

Bounty Select-A-Size

Paper towels to absorb liquid
Our favorite paper towels are absorbent and strong enough to scrub carpet with. And they have more tear-off points, so you don't have to use a full sheet every time.
We recommend

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