In the rush of excitement of getting a new puppy, you might find yourself overwhelmed with choices for puppy gear and supplies, and wondering what you really need for your new dog.
With the cost of a new Labrador puppy typically starting from around $400 for a rescue dog to over $2000 for specialty breeders in the US, you’re already looking at a significant financial investment when you choose to get a new puppy.
In addition to that initial commitment, there are several important must-have supplies for Lab puppies that you need to have ready to prepare for life with your new little angel.
But navigating all the gear available to buy can be confusing, time-consuming, and a waste of money.
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While there are hundreds of different puppy items that you could fill inside a cart at the pet store (or your online cart), we’re here to tell you that you don’t need to spend a ton of time and money shopping for pet items before you adopt or bring home your new dog.
At first, you just need the essentials. But what are the must-have items for new dog owners?
We’re going to cover the 6 Must-Have Puppy Supplies for you to grab before the day you pick up or adopt your new dog, along with where to buy them, and how much they should cost.
Make sure you have these 6 important items ready and you’ll be all set for your new Lab puppy’s arrival from the start!
A Dog Crate or Bed: $40-$80
Your Labrador puppy needs a place to sleep, and you have a few different choices of where you want that to be. We’ve spent thousands of dollars on many types of crates over the years, and we have some helpful advice for you.
The best dog crate we’ve ever used is this one, and it’s available on Amazon here in a 42″ size for large Labs, or a 36″ size if you have a puppy or smaller Labrador. We love it because it cozy yet still allows for a ton of airflow and visibility inside and out. It collapses when you need it to and has a handle for carrying it.
We also love that it can be collapsed for transportation in a car, or a hotel room, and that you can even just move it from room to room in your house if you need to have your puppy move to different rooms in your home. It’s much easier to move around then a traditional wire crate.
You have a few different options overall for types of crates for your dog. You can have your Lab puppy sleep in a crate made of wire metal that is see-through, or one made of fabric with mesh sides and zippers.
If your Lab is going through a chewing phase, you’ll want to keep an eye on how they handle the materials in and around their crate. Sometimes Labs will destroy their bedding in a wire crate, or the materials in a canvas crate, and other times they will leave it completely alone. It depends so much on the age and temperament of your beautiful pup!
You can also have more expensive custom crates made for your home that look like furniture pieces, but we suggest waiting until your puppy is fully-grown and past the Lab biting and chewing phase that most go through!
You can also have your new puppy sleep on a dog bed that’s not a confined space, but be aware that tiny puppies will often wander off their designated sleeping area and roam around (frequently having potty accidents, until they are housetrained). They may also cry or whine to sleep with you, which is something we completely understand if you allow!
Remember that Labrador Retrievers are fast-learning, intelligent dogs who will pick up on new habits and a puppy routine very quickly.
If you want them to sleep in a certain place, such as a dog bed (instead of on your bed) it’s better to start there from the beginning rather than trying to change it later on.
We recommend you purchase a wire puppy crate for your Labrador Retriever puppy from the start. You can adjust the sides to make the area for your puppy larger as they grow larger (which will happen very quickly in a few short months).
Look for a crate that has a door on the end and also on the side, which will allow you to position it in multiple places in your house and allow your dog to enter and exit through either the end or the side.
The crate you purchase should have a tray that slides out (underneath the dog mat) that will allow for cleaning up any accidents or messes you might encounter.
You’ll find excellent dog crates sold online on Amazon or in pet supply stores, ranging in price from about $40-$80 or more, mainly depending on the size and features. Some of them come with a mat already made to fit the inside of the bottom tray liner, while others require a separate bed purchase.
Note: Don’t spend a fortune on a fancy bed or mattress for your dog, unless you really want to, and only if you don’t mind if it gets destroyed.
Lab puppies are notorious chewers and may likely destroy multiple beds or mattresses out of fun, boredom, or entertainment. Get a nice mat but nothing elaborate until your baby Lab has passed the puppy craziness phase!
For Lab puppies, the sizes you’ll want to look for are the 36” crate and the 42” crate. The 36” crate is a very popular size and should be easy to find. You can find our favorite one here that we use for both home and travel!
While those crate sizes can seem HUGE at first, compared to how small your new Lab puppy is, you’ll be surprised how fast a healthy Lab puppy will grow to take up more room in their crate.
We usually purchase a 36” crate as the first size for our Labrador puppies, as they come with an inside additional divider that you can add to make the space seem a bit smaller and more comfortable for your dog.
As your dog grows over the first few months, you can remove the divider (if you chose to use it) and continue to use the crate.
By the time your Lab gets further through their first year of life, you’ll likely need to up the size of their crate and purchase the 42” crate, with the corresponding dog bed or mat to fit inside.
If you’re getting rid of the old 36” crate your Lab has outgrown, consider donating it to your local Labrador Rescue group who can use it to help transport smaller Labs to foster homes and vet appointments. They’ll love you for it!
Leash/Collar with ID tags: $25-$40
You will need a leash and collar system for your Labrador puppy from the day you pick them up. You can find these awesome ones right here on Amazon or in a pet store in plenty of colors and styles to suit you and your new puppy.
You’ll want to start with a puppy collar that’s smaller in size and a leash that’s about 5 feet long. Don’t get a retractable leash until later on when your dog is a little bit older.
(Save any specialty collars like the Gentle Leader for Labradors for older dogs at first, rather than young puppies.)
We love these collars and leashes you can buy at Target from the Boots & Barkley pet line. Their leashes are fantastic, durable, and cheaper than typical pet store prices.
Remember that most puppy items are temporary and you’ll have to size up every couple of months (or more frequently, depending on your particular dog) as your Lab grows out of them, so don’t go crazy on something unless you really want to.
Attached to the collar, you’ll also want to have an ID tag made with up-to-date contact information for you and other family members in the event your new Lab is lost, goes missing, or runs away to Buffalo Wild Wings (like one of our Labs).
Because dog microchipping isn’t usually done by puppy breeders but is most often done later by veterinarians in their offices, your dog probably won’t have a microchip yet, so having an ID tag will be critical. It will be the only way for someone to reach you in the event your dog goes missing.
Some people in the Labrador community have also been using tools such as Apple AirTags to attach to a collar to track their pets, but we recommend you research this to see if it would make sense for you.
Puppies are very mouthy and often try to chew or bite their collars (and also their leashes) so an AirTag might get destroyed, or be a potential hazard for your young puppy.
If you’re at a local pet store picking up a collar and leash combination, you can get an ID tag made usually at the front of the store by the checkout in just a few minutes for about $5-$10.
We’ve also used Amazon to make our Lab’s ID tags as well, and they have been fantastic! You just enter your information to have them personalized, and they’ll be shipped to you. We have had them delivered to us in about a week after being custom-made. You can find custom ID tags for pets right here to ship to your home quickly.
Puppy Food: $30-$50
Don’t change them to a different food when you pick them up. Dogs can become sick with vomiting and diarrhea if you change them to a different food, especially suddenly, so you won’t want to do this with your tiny new puppy.
You can make any food changes later on once your puppy is settled in and doing well at home if you’d like, though you should ask your veterinarian first before doing so.
For more on what to look for in a good dog food, check out this guide to How to Find the Right Food for Your Labrador.
Food/Water Bowls: $20-$40
In addition to food, you’ll need a food and water bowl system for your new puppy. Puppies usually eat three times a day in smaller quantities, so you can get a smaller bowl at first.
You can find stainless steel bowls that go in the dishwasher or plastic ones that are usually hand-wash.
You might want to start with a small food and water bowl and then later on get a bigger size for hungrier Labradors as they grow, like these. So many cute colors for your new canine baby and you can size up to a larger bowl as they grow older.
Get a basic bowl at first (not a puzzle feeder or anything complicated) and you don’t want your puppy frustrated or stressed out by mealtimes.
As your Labrador gets larger throughout their first year, you might find months later they wolf down their food without chewing or seemingly even tasting it!
If you find this happening later on in the first year, check out this guide for our pick of the best slow-feeder dog bowl to make mealtimes a bit longer: The Best Dog Bowl for Your Lab.
Clean-Up Bags: $7-$17
Puppy waste disposal bags aren’t the most exciting must-have puppy supply to purchase, but trust us when we tell you if you don’t have them, at some point you’re going to wish you did.
If you plan to take your puppy anywhere on walks, through neighborhood parks, or off your own private property, you’ll need puppy clean-up bags.
Our favorites are these lavender-scented bags made of recycled materials from Earth Rated brand, which you can find here. Over many years with Labs we’ve used a terrifying amount of poop bags for cleanup, and these bags do not fail! They have been reliable and consistent buying them for many years. It makes a yucky job in pet ownership just a little bit easier!
You can usually purchase them online here on Amazon, in brick-and-mortar pet stores, or stores like Walmart, Target, etc. They typically come in packages of 120-300 and sometimes include an attachment that clips to the end of your leash (or you can buy a separate carrier if you prefer).
We’ve used these bags thousands of times (frightening, isn’t it, how much poop these Labradors create!) and never had one rip or fall apart on us, even in lots of different weather conditions.
If you don’t want lavender-scented bags, you can also buy the same bag in unscented, which is found here.
This same brand also makes a compostable bag in slightly smaller packages for a few dollars more, if you prefer, which you can find here.
Puppy Toys: $20-$50
Labrador Retrievers love to play and are adventurous, athletic dogs.
While your Lab puppy will most often be entertained by you and the rest of your household, it’s good to have a few puppy toys on hand from the beginning to give your puppy a bit of play and mental stimulation.
Keep it simple in the beginning. Start with a few puppy chews and a couple of smaller-sized tennis balls. Our Labs have always loved these balls by Kong, which squeak and are made in sizes from puppy to big Labrador size!
The puppy sizes of Kong balls can be found here, and will last your Lab for at least the first few months. Make sure you don’t leave your dog alone with one without supervision though, because they may be tempted to chew and eat it!
As you figure out what your particular dog likes over time, you can invest in more toys and bones, and more complicated things like puzzle feeders and retrieving toys.
You can also get a subscription service to a program like BarkBox, but you don’t have to have it right away. It can be a fun way to try out new toys a little later on once your Lab gets adjusted to their new environment and you start seeing their personality and temperament in more detail.
Summary: 6 Must-Have Supplies for Lab Puppies
In the excitement of getting your new Labrador puppy, it’s easy to get lost in the overwhelming amount of puppy gear you might be unsure if you need for your new dog.
By making sure you’re stocked up with a few essential puppy supplies to get ready for your puppy’s first day home with you, you’ll be all set for your new Lab puppy’s arrival from the start!