Getting a dog for the first time is exciting, but it’s important to be well-prepared beforehand. While you probably have the basics, such as food and water bowls and a leash and collar, there are other items you’ll also need. Make sure you have the following items before, so you’ll be all set to adapt to life as a dog owner.
Dogs need their own place where they can relax and feel secure, which a dog bed or crate can provide. A dog bed gives your pet somewhere comfortable to sleep at night or rest during the day, while a crate provides a more secure setting for a puppy who hasn’t been house trained yet. You can also use a crate as a safe place to have your dog stay when you’re not at home for a few hours or so. For tips on how to crate train your dog read our Crate Training 101.
Having a leash and collar give you the basics you need in order to walk your dog, but you might benefit from getting a harness also. Harnesses give you more control over excitable dogs who like to pull on the leash. They also prevent dogs from pulling their collar too tight around their neck when they try to dash after a squirrel or something else that catches their attention. Having a harness on can make walks more pleasant and less stressful for you until your dog learns how to behave on a leash.
For help training your dog to heel, check out our Simple, Quick, and Fun How To Teach Your Dog To Heel blog.
Dogs love to play with toys, but some of those toys can be hazardous for vigorous dogs. For example, dogs can tear open toys that have a squeaker or other small item inside, which can be a choking hazard. Choose tough toys for your dog instead, so you’ll have more peace of mind during playtime. Tough toys are much more durable and provide your dog with hours of enjoyment without falling apart. They also give dogs a great way to ease the anxiety of frustration by chewing.
Whether you plan on taking your dog on trips or just for the occasional ride to the vet or other places, have a seat belt restraint in your vehicle. These items are designed to keep dogs from sliding around inside vehicles, which helps keep them safer. Some dogs have a hard time staying in one place as vehicles stop, turn or make other movements, and a seat belt restraint helps give them a sense of stability. Seat belt restraints can also keep your dog safe if you’re in an accident.
Car seat covers help protect your car’s interior from mud and dirt while also cutting down on the amount of dog hair inside your vehicle. You can place these covers over your car seats anytime you plan on bringing your dog for a ride. They provide your dog with a more comfortable place to lie down and reduce the risk of stains.
Your dog will need to be groomed regularly with brushing and bathing. Pick up grooming supplies, such as brushes and dog shampoo, so you’ll have these items handy. Choose a brush that’s suitable for your dog’s coat, depending on the length and texture, and consider getting a scented dog shampoo for a pleasant scent.
You'll want to have training treats on hand, even for a well-behaved dog who has had some previous training.Training with your dog helps build a trusted bond between you and your new family member and leads to more tail-wags and smiles.
Once you have all of these items, you’ll be ready to welcome your new dog into your home. Keep in mind that the most important things for your dog to have, though, are plenty of affection and quality time with you.