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10 Things You Need Before Getting a Dog

Written by: Scott H
Scott Haiduc is the Director of Publishing for iHeartDogs, iHeartCats and The Hero Company. When not working, Scott spends his time on the farm, taking care of his animals and crops.Read more
| Published on November 23, 2014

Adding a new dog or puppy to your family? Great! Whether it’s your first time around or an addition to the current pack, making sure you have all of the right stuff will start your journey off right. It doesn’t matter if you’re getting a new puppy or adopting an old soul from the shelter, dogs of all ages need the same basic things. Check out our list below to make sure you’ve got everything you need!

#1 – A Diet Plan


This seems obvious, but a lot of people wait to get their dog before they decide what kind of food to buy, but it makes life easier for everyone if you have a diet plan and food ready to go at your home before your new puppy or dog arrives. You may have your heart set on a raw diet, or cooking home cooked meals for your new pooch, but make sure that whatever you plan will fit realistically into your lifestyle. If you’re too busy to cook for yourself most nights, cooking up a meal for your new buddy might not work out.

Discuss your wishes and concerns with your vet. What you choose may depend on the dog you decide to bring home. Some diets, like raw diets, may not be the best choice for young pups, old dogs, and those with conditions that may make them more susceptible to catching things like salmonella.

Most new puppies are too young to go somewhere like the pet store, and newly adopted dogs might still be a little shy. Having the food at home already will help your new family member settle in comfortably.


#2 – Crate


You may not want to crate train, but a crate can have really great benefits for your dog. Don’t think of it as a cage, think of it as his new room! Dogs are naturally den animals, and having a space of his own where he can be alone and wind down can be very comforting to him. When he feels safe and comfortable inside it, a crate can also protect your furniture and carpets when you’re not around.

Even if you don’t want to use it in your home, a crate is a great way to keep your pup safe during car travel.

#3 – Toys & Chews


Make sure to get plenty of toys for your new furry companion! Your dog, regardless of age, will need some entertainment, and toys are a great way for you to build a relationship and have a happy life together. A variety of toys will keep your pup entertained for a long time, especially if you have them out on rotation. Playing with your dog is one of the best ways for you to bond and learn about each other – and it’s fun! Be sure to try a variety – some dogs like toys that hold up to tough chewing, others love squeaky toys, some love to cuddle plushies. You’ll quickly find out what your dog prefers and then you can spoil him rotten with his favorite kind!

#4 – Leash & Collar


A leash and collar are another obvious essential, but it’s always a good idea to have more than one of each available. Having extra leashes around the house and in your car ensures that you’ll always be able to corral your dog, even if something happens to the leash she was wearing. Trust me, losing a leash at the dog beach is something that happens more often than you think!

Collars with ID tags are a perfect way to make sure your pup always has proper identification available should she get lost. Collars can easily slip off and get lost, however, so it’s important to make sure you’ve got extras of those too!


#5 – A Veterinarian


While many might think they only need to see a veterinarian when their dog is sick, it’s always a good idea to meet with one even before you get your pup. Establishing a relationship with a veterinarian is a great way for you to set up an emergency plan should something happen when you do get your dog. Taking your new puppy or dog in while she’s feeling well will also make her more comfortable when she’s hurt or sick.

#6 – Treats


Treats really are essential! With every dog comes the need for training, and what better way to bond with your pup than to train him? House manners and tricks can easily be taught using your pup’s favorite snack, and using treats makes the experience enjoyable for everyone. If you’re ever not training and just feel like giving your pooch some extra love, treats are a tasty little gift!

#7 – Baby Gate or X-Pen


Baby gates and X-Pens are an excellent way to keep your dog out of trouble should he need the assistance. Dogs are curious animals, and they’re likely to venture into something they shouldn’t be around. If you want to keep your dog closed off from a certain area of the house but want more space than a crate can provide, these items are a great choice. They are not only wonderful training aids, they offer your dog a safe spot to feel comfortable when you’re busy or away from home.

#8 – Grooming Supplies


Whether your new dog has a long or short coat, she’s likely going to need some grooming. Even the shortest coated dogs benefit from the occasional bath and nail trim! Brushes, combs, shampoo, nail trimmers or grinders, and conditioner are the basic grooming tools most people have on hand. What you need will obviously depend on your dog’s unique characteristics, but preventing matting and keeping your pooch clean will allow her to stay happy and healthy.

#9 – Bed


While most of us share our beds with our dogs, some of us don’t. Even if you like to snuggle up to your dog, it’s nice to provide him with a spot of his own in case he feels the need to stretch out. In some cases we might have new dogs or young puppies that we just can’t trust outside of a crate yet! Whether your dog is on your bedroom floor or in a crate, providing him with a soft bed will certainly make him more comfortable. Just make sure he doesn’t decide to turn it into a snack! Choose carefully – all beds are not created equal!

#10 – Water & Food Bowls


Picking the right sized food and water bowls for your new dog is important, as a giant sized bowl of water might turn into a swimming pool for your tiny Chihuahua puppy! Having fresh water available at all times is important for the health of your dog, though feeding should typically be done on a schedule. Either way, you’ll need somewhere to put it, so having a few designated dog bowls helps a lot!

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