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The Ultimate Checklist for New Dog Owners in Baltimore

Welcome to dog parenthood in the best hood! We are so excited that you made the decision to add a furry little friend to your family and our neighborhood! We can’t promise that every step of caring for a dog will be a walk in the park (pun intended) or that your camera roll won’t become shamelessly full of pictures of your dog being cute/eating/sleeping/breathing, but we can promise that we are here to help guide you along the way and that this will be one of the best decisions of your life.

As Baltimore's #1 Pet Care Professionals and self-proclaimed crazy dog moms, we know a thing or two about raising dogs in Baltimore. Read on for our professional and personal recommendations around supplies you’ll need, Baltimore City Laws and Regulations around owning a dog, our favorite pet services in Baltimore, and tons of information not only useful for puppies but also applicable if you adopt a senior dog (we’re not crying). Every dog is different and will require individualized care, but by using this checklist as a baseline, you're sure to be headed in the right direction!

Visit Baltimore Sign
Poppy @themarvelousmisspoppy in front of New 'Visit Baltimore' Sculpture in Baltimore's Inner Harbor

The Basics

Things to pick up before your dog comes home:

Leash + Adjustable Collar

Skip the retractable leash and go for a 6-ft durable nylon or biothane leash. We are big fans of leashes with traffic handles (a second handle close to where the leash attaches to your dog's collar) for more control, especially for city living where distractions are high. Go for an adjustable collar to give your pup room to grow.

Poop Bags

Biodegradable and eco-friendly options are encouraged! Also, always remember to take multiple bags on walks, just in case. It’s the law to pick up after your dog in Baltimore City and you could be fined for not picking up after your dog, not to mention publicly shamed on the Facebook neighborhood pages. Don't be a Karen. *City Etiquette: hold onto your dog's poop until you find a public trashcan or your own! Do not throw poop bags into neighbors' trashcans.*

Dog Food

Our fav dry food brands? Orijen, Wellness, Instinct, Royal Canin, Stella and Chewy's and Taste of the Wild. (Pssst. typically has the lowest rates on food). If you’re going the raw feeding route, K-9 Kravings (made here in Baltimore). Discuss any special nutritional needs for your breed or breed mix with your veterinarian.

Training Treats

Treats are key for training and keeping a walk moving along. Small, pea-sized treats will do the trick, even for larger breeds. Worried about giving too many treats? Use your dog’s regular food as training treats. Put your dog’s dinner in a bag and use it as a training opportunity. We recommend using your dog's food as a training opportunity as much as possible!

Enrichment Toys

The secret to a relaxed, well-behaved dog? Enrichment! Just like physical exercise, it’s important for your dog to get a mental workout and challenge their senses through enrichment toys like Kongs, snuffle mats, food dispensers, and treat puzzles. Here are some of our favorites.


If you have a small dog or puppy, Five Below has $5 beds so you don't have to feel bad about buying one for every room in your home. If you have a larger breed, Costco dog beds are the way to go!