Get rates for your pet:

See My Rates »
Retrieve a Saved Quote

Your Shopping Checklist for Your Newly Adopted Dog or Cat

By Colleen Williams
April 19, 2016 • 3 min. read
be prepared for a newly adopted pet

You’ve done it. You’ve gone to an adoption group, a humane society or an animal shelter and walked out with a new dog or cat or puppy or kitten. Now what?

Give yourself and your new pet a great big hug! You’ve just saved a life! To make sure you and your new best friend stay happy and healthy together for a long time, here’s our list of the top ten things you should get for a newly-adopted dog or cat:

  • Quality Food – Get a bag of food that’s the same as the food your new pet ate at the shelter, and then also get a bag (or cans) of that you want to transition your pet to for the long-term.
  • Food & Water Bowls – Stick to steel or anti-microbial food and water dishes that can be cleaned in a dishwasher.
  • Pet Bed – Everyone loves to curl up and sleep somewhere comfortable. Making sure your pet has somewhere comfortable to lay down and relax is essential.
  • Crate or Carrier – These are helpful in transporting your pet to the vet’s or housebreaking a new puppy. Make sure that your pet has enough room in the crate or carrier to stand up and move around comfortably.
  • Collar with ID Tag – For dogs and cats alike, make sure they have a comfortably fitted (you should be able to stick two of your fingers between their neck and their collar) collar on with ID tag at all times. If you want to be truly responsible, get your pet microchipped. It often costs about $20 through your adoption group or shelter (if they haven’t already done it), and helps immensely if your pet is ever lost or stolen. If you got a dog or puppy, make sure you get a 6-foot leash as well.
  • First Aid Supplies – See our previous blog post about creating your own pet first aid kit or buying one through a local pet store.
  • Poop Supplies – If you’ve gotten a dog, make sure you have poop bags. And if you have a cat, make sure to pick up a litter box, kitty litter (the eco-option here is Feline Pine), and a scooper. And if you now have a puppy or kitten throw a bottle of stain & odor remover into your shopping basket!
  • Training Toys & Treats – Whether your newest family member is 6 months old or 6 years old, you can still teach them new tricks and work on developing a stronger bond between the two of you. Make sure to pick up a couple of fun toys and a couple different flavors of treats. We always like the people who feed us the most, right?!
  • Grooming Supplies – Definitely buy a pair of nail clippers for your pet, since they don’t tend to wear down their nails as much in our homes these days. And then depending on your dog or cat’s grooming needs, buy some shampoo (my favorite is oatmeal-based because it’s conditioning) and a brush. Ask your adoption group coordinator if they have any grooming suggestions for the breed or mix you’ve picked up.
  • Pet Insurance – Sign up today! Really. This will cost you less than a bag of pet food every month, and could save you thousands in the future. We just reimbursed a kitty parent over $11,000! That’s how much all her blood work, surgeries, and a few other treatments cost. And dogs love those tennis balls ($$). Pet Insurance is ESSENTIAL to being able to keep your new best friend healthy and happy in your home. And, you’ll feel great signing up with the top customer rated dog and cat insurance company out there with Healthy Paws Pet Insurance.

BONUS: Containers – A container for your dog food. Another for your training treats. A container/basket for leashes, brushes and toys. A couple containers to keep your pet supplies organized make it easier to find what you’re looking for. And a dog or cat care book. You can usually borrow one from a friend. If this is your first pet, a book and some sound advice from your more pet savvy friends can help a lot.

Also, don’t forget to check in with the adoption group you picked your new pet up from! They typically have blogs and want to hear how the dogs and cats from their shelters and foster homes are doing with their new families. If you have any questions about how your pet is transitioning, just call them up! They’d rather answer a couple questions than have you worry about your pet.

Good luck with your new dog or cat (or puppy or kitten)! We’re sure this is just the beginning of a very beautiful friendship to come…

colleen williams
By Colleen Williams

Over the past decade, Colleen has written about health, wellness, beauty, and even pets for The New York Times, The Cut, Refinery29, xoVain, Healthy Paws Pet Insurance, and Seattle Met Magazine, as well as many beauty brands. She has a BFA in Art History from the University of New Mexico and an AAS in Fashion Design from Parsons School of Design in New York.

Show more