Pick out these pet store pick-ups before picking out your new pup.
What does it take to care for a dog? Prospective pet owners may scratch their heads and wonder how many different products and supplies they must purchase before bringing home a canine as a pet. How much stuff does a dog really need?
Basically, domesticated dogs need food and water, exercise, grooming, shelter and plenty of loving attention.
Here’s a simple shopping list (arranged alphabetically) of the 20 essential items that may be needed for basic dog care in the home.
- Bowls for food and water – A dog of any age and size will need sturdy, tip-resistant bowls to hold his or her food and water. Pet feeding bowls come in many sizes and shapes. The key features are durability and size-appropriateness for the particular breed of dog. For example, a tiny Yorkie might be fine with small bowls, while a St. Bernard would require much larger ones.
- Dog bed or mat – Eventually, if allowed, most dogs will prefer the family sofa or a special person’s bed over his or her dog bed or mat. However, many pet owners and trainers insist that a dog must have a spot to call his own. An outside dog generally requires a weather-proof dog house, set within an enclosure for added protection from the elements and predators.
- Dog carrier or crate – A sturdy dog crate, cage or carrier can be an excellent training and restraining tool for a brand-new pet. Used properly and compassionately, this item may also serve as a safe spot of retreat for an anxious animal in the home. The dog crate or carrier is useful for outings and errands as well. Large dogs may be safely transported inside a vehicle, while smaller breeds are often more secure inside a pet carrier.
- Dog chew toys – Dogs of all ages, and particularly young pups, tend to love to chew on things. Chewing is also a healthy habit for maintaining a dog’s teeth. By having suitable and safe chew toys on hand, dog owners may minimize damage to household possessions, furniture and structures.
- Dog collar – A properly fitting dog collar is an essential for any canine pet. The best varieties are adjustable. For larger dogs (or high-spirited ones), a pet harness may be a more suitable choice.
- Dog treats – Yummy, crunchy dog treats are ideal for training a dog and rewarding good behavior. Of course, only dog-appropriate treats should be offered, as many human-friendly goodies are downright dangerous for dogs. How many well-meaning pet owners have offered unhealthy items to their dogs in take-home doggie bags, for example?
- Dog vitamins – Pet supply stores offer a myriad of choices of pet vitamins. Some are helpful, although many are not actually needed for healthy dogs. A veterinarian can provide individual insights.
- Flea and tick collar – A flea and tick collar is a prudent choice for a pet owner, even if the dog is to be bathed and dipped regularly. Especially in warmer months, this easy accessory can provide excellent pest prevention for the pet and the home.
- Food – At the pet store or the grocery store, dog owners may choose from dry dog food, semi-moist dog food or moist canned dog food. The choice of dog foods is essentially a matter of personal preference, although many veterinarians recommend dogs consume at least some dry dog food daily. The crunching is healthy for a dog’s teeth.
- Specific dog food formulations are offered for puppies, active dogs, less active dogs, senior dogs and other special needs diets.
- Leash – Pets must be leashed on many occasions, particularly in public places, so this purchase is a necessity. A proper leash should be at least five feet long. Handy retractable leashes are available, which many dog walkers find extra convenient.
- Pet first-aid kit – A simple first-aid kit usually includes suitable items for treating human and canine emergencies. Even so, prudent pet owners keep separate kids for people and animals, perhaps for added hygiene. Basically, a dog-care kit should include adhesive tape (or vet wrap), eye dropper, gauze pads, hydrogen peroxide, oral syringe, rectal thermometer and tongue depressors. Adhesive bandages (such as band-aids) should never be applied to pets, as these may be a choking hazard.
- Pet housetraining pads – These waterproof-lined pads are ideal for housetraining young dogs and even for older pets that may have accidents for any reason.
- Pet identification tag – Although pets are often microchipped or tattooed for identification, a simple pet ID tag may be attached to a dog’s collar for simple security. No special expertise or technology is needed to read a dog tag, so neighbors and others can quickly return a lost or errant dog. Ideally, this tag will include the dog’s name and the owner’s telephone number.
- Pet nail clippers – Safety clippers are available for trimming a dog’s nails at home, unless the pet is professionally groomed quite often.
- Pet odor cleaner – Even the best trained dogs occasionally have accidents inside the home, especially during the initial adjustment time. Special pet stain and odor removers can make cleanups much easier.
- Pet shampoo – Gentle and safe pet shampoos are super for at-home bathing of dogs. Certain formulations do not irritate the skin or eyes.
- Pet toothbrush and toothpaste – Many people do not realize that a dog’s teeth need to be brushed regularly for oral health. An old soft toothbrush can do the trick, after a cycle through the dishwasher. In addition, annual dental scaling (by a veterinarian) is important.
- Pooper scooper – Unless a pet owner lives on acres of private land, he or she will need a pooper scooper (or tons of plastic baggies) to pick up after the pooch.
- Safety gate – A child-safety gate can be handy for keeping a dog confined to the kitchen, laundry room or another area during initial training or when company comes to call.
- Veterinarian’s telephone number (and appointment) – The single most important item for a new pet owner to possess is the telephone number of a qualified veterinarian. Ideally, the new dog owner will make an initial appointment immediately as well for an examination and the administration of any needed vaccinations.
What other items might a new dog owner need?
Certain pet owners opt to purchase apparel for their dogs, particularly for cold-weather months. This is optional, of course, making the most sense for dogs with frequent clipping and grooming.
Many additional dog-related products may be available as well, including dog seatbelts, dog shoes or boots, dog strollers, dog holiday costumes and a host of dog toys.
Graphic adapted by this user from public domain artwork/s