Tips for Putting Together a New Puppy Gift Bag

The other day someone said to me, “you shop for other people’s new puppies the way most people shop for baby showers.”

Yup, I do.

And, why shouldn’t we?

Bringing a new puppy into your family is a big deal, and should be celebrated, especially nowadays when pets are treated just like another member of the family. Making the decision to become a pet parent is a big one. It means more responsibility and in many cases a new chapter in your life.

So, when my neighbors brought home a new puppy on Saturday, I knew the first thing I had to do after running over to meet him and snap some photos of the kids playing with the pup was go to the store and put a new puppy gift bag together. 

Here are some of the things I put in the bag.

It’s so simple to put one together, and your new pet parent friends will really appreciate it. Here are a few simple tips to putting together a new puppy gift bag:

Keep It Simple

The excitement of a new puppy may make you want to buy everything in the store, but refrain yourself from walking down the puppy aisle and grabbing one of everything. Think of the basics that will be most helpful to those new pet parents and also are most practical for the size and type of dog.


Think of a kid around the holidays, they want toys, toys, toys, right? Well, same goes for a puppy, and their pet parent. Puppies, especially if they they are chewers (like Toby), will go through a string of toys, so the more the pet parent has the better. Look for a combination of toys and make them the focal point of the gift bag — squeaker toys, rope toys and chew toys made specifically for puppies are always good finds.

If you can find something that matches the pet parent’s interest, like a baseball for MLB fans, that’s always fun. Include a toy that your pet likes, because chances are if they approve, the new puppy will like it, too.

Stay away from rawhide or plush related toys, because some pet parents may not want their new pets to have them. I made a conscious decision not to give Toby toys that looked like stuffed animals when he was a puppy, because I didn’t want him thinking it was OK to rip up anything that remotely looked like that.


Since the new addition to the family is just a puppy and still developing, go for treats marked specifically for puppies. There are a ton of puppy-treat options out there and if you’re in an area with limited options, like I was over the weekend, a box of good old fashioned Milk Bones for puppies will do just fine.

Don’t freak out about buying the most expensive organic, treat out there. Get something that’s practical and that you think the new pet parent will feel comfortable feeding their new addition. You’ll have plenty of time to buy fancy treats for the pup in the future.

What to Avoid

Stay away from pet advice books (it looks like you’re saying the pet parent needs help), dog food (unless you know the specific kind the pet parent is feeding), dog beds and collars (that’s more of a personal, special purchase) and medicines, carriers or crates.

When in doubt, play it safe and just pick up another toy.

Have Fun and Be Creative

Think back to when your dog was a puppy and some of the things you needed. If they weren’t house broken, that may have very well been more floor cleaner and paper towels. If that’s the case throw them in the gift bag.

Remember, having a puppy is fun and your gift bag should reflect that.

Even if you don’t have the time to put together a whole gift bag, a single toy will work just fine to acknowledge the family’s new addition!

6 thoughts on “Tips for Putting Together a New Puppy Gift Bag

  1. Great advice! I also like giving toys and stuff to new puppy parents. Foe my doggie clients last year I made Sweet Potato Chews and included a copy of the recipe in each gift bag. The dogs and pet parents loved it. 🙂

  2. Great advice…my cousin just got a rescue puppy. I sent her a box for stuff for her new puppy. I sent toys and the Milk Bones for puppies. Fluffy toy and toys to chew on…
    Melf – the sweet potato chews sound so delicious!! Can you share the recipe…Schooner and Skipper love Sweet Potatoes but I never made it into a chew. Great idea!!

    Sharon Gilbert sjgilbert@aol.com

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