Before you bring your new dog home, you will need some supplies. It's much easier if you already have all the basic supplies at home. This way you can focus on your dog, instead of shopping.
So what essential supplies do you need? This dog owner checklist is a good start for essential supplies your dog will need:
1. Food—There are three ways to feed your new dog. Raw, home-cooked or kibble. You must do your research and decide what diet is best for your dog and your budget. If you can do raw, then great! If not, do the best you can. There are lots of recipes online for home-cooked dog food. If you choose bagged kibble, do your research and read the labels to stay clear of unhealthy ingredients.
2. Bowls for food and water—Stainless steel bowls are easy to clean and sterilize and healthier for your dog. Plastic bowls can emit BPA which can cause cancer.
3. Collar and leash—A plain leather collar and a four to six-foot leash are adequate to start with. For some breeds, especially the brachycephalic breeds like Boston Terriers or Frenchies, a harness is better. The harness prevents damage to the dog’s trachea if he pulls too hard.
4. ID tag/microchip/tattoo—It’s essential to have your contact information on your dog in case he gets lost or stolen. An ID tag on the collar is a good first step, but the collar can be removed. Many veterinarians and pet owners now use microchips or tattoos on dogs. That way if the dog shows up at a dog pound or someone finds them, they can have a vet scan the chip giving your dog a better chance of being returned to you.
5. Crate and dog bed—There are hard plastic crates and foldable metal crates. Get a dog bed or small pad to place in the bottom of the crate to make it comfortable for him to sleep on.
6. Grooming supplies—Nail clippers, toothbrush, toothpaste, brush or comb. Gently touch your dog’s feet often, so that you can clip his nails when needed. Some dogs just don’t like their nails done and if it is hard for you to handle him, then you can pay a vet or groomer to do this. A soft toothbrush and a toothpaste made just for dogs are essential to keep his gums healthy. Start slow and do a little at a time until he gets used to you brushing his teeth. Depending on his coat, you will need a brush or comb for removing dirt and tangles. Dogs love to be brushed and it can be a good relaxing time for both of you.
7. Toys—Buy toys that are appropriate for your dog’s size and breed. Balls, stuffed toys, ropes, tires, and frisbees are all toys that dogs love to play with. Make sure stuffed toys do not have small parts, like eyes that can be pulled off and swallowed. Also, many dogs can rip a stuffed toy apart in a short time, so don’t buy any with squeakers inside that they can swallow.
8. Treats for teething and training—There are many treats on the market but you want to be careful here too. Just like the dog food kibble, there are many brands that contain questionable additives and preservatives that have recently made pets sick. Do your research on brand recalls before buying. You can also make homemade treats for your dog that are safer and healthier. Be careful with teething chew toys. Many of these are proving dangerous, causing intestinal blockages because they are not digestible. Choose bully sticks or other digestible treats your dog can chew on to relieve the need to chew.
9. Baby gate—A baby gate (maybe even two!) is essential in the house. You never know when you need to keep your dog confined in one area of the house so that he won’t get into trouble.
10. First aid supplies—Just like you have a first aid kit for you, you need a basic kit for your dog in case of emergencies. Some items to add to a kit would be a digital thermometer, eye dropper, activated charcoal, Milk of Magnesia, gauze and nonstick bandages. You can also buy first aid kits for your dog online. Keep your veterinarian’s contact number with the kit and also on your phone.
This new dog owner checklist covers the basic supplies you need before bringing your new dog home. Now you can relax and enjoy your new life together.