What to Get Before Getting your Dog:
There are many necessary things to have on hand before you bring home your new dog. Bringing home a new pet is always an exciting time, but there are also stresses that come with a new dog. Having certain tools and equipment can help make the process as smooth as possible for both you and your new friend.
Here is a checklist of things that are very helpful if not absolutely needed when bringing home your new buddy. Below it are reasons to have certain items that may not seem like obvious buys.
- Food and water bowls
- Collar and leash
- Book(s) on dog care
- Way to confine your dog, whether it be a crate, playpen, or baby gates
- Fence or tie out
- Safe form of car transport
- Grooming tools
Why do I need all of this stuff?
Certain things, such as food and bowls are obvious necessities when bringing home a pet. But you may be wondering why you need something such as a crate or a book about dog care when your new pet moves in. Here are some reasons why these items are very practical and useful.
Collar and Leash:
Many owners with lots of property or people with small dogs that are easily picked up don’t see a need for a collar and leash. Every dog will likely hit a point in his life where he needs to be restrained with a collar and leash, whether for his own protection or the protection of others. It makes sense to be prepared in the first place and have both of these items, not only so they are at hand, but also so you can thoroughly make sure your pet is comfortable with them. Teaching a dog to accept a collar and leash when he is required to be on leash rest because of a surgery or injury would be unnecessary stress for both owner and dog, so make sure from day one you teach your dog to accept both. With this thought, also assure that your dog is comfortable going potty while on leash. Some people don’t leash their pets when housebreaking them, only to discover that their dog is unwilling later to eliminate while leashed.
Book on dog care:
Having a good book that covers all the basics of caring for a dog can be extremely helpful, especially if you have never owned a dog, if you have never been the primary caregiver of a dog, or if it has been a long time since you have had a dog. A good book can provide you with information on how to groom, exercise, and provide everyday care. Many books also contain information on how to prevent common diseases in your pet. Two good books that will give you a great foundation on how to care for your pet are Dog Bible: The Definitive Source of all Things Dog and Dogs the Ultimate Care Guide. Another excellent book for any dog lover is Bruce Fogle’s Dog: The Definitive Guide for Dog Owners. One of the books above, or a different book on dog care along these lines will serve you throughout the life of your pet. I don’t agree with all of these on all points, but they are still excellent reads.
Crate, Playpen, and/or baby gates:
I remember when bringing home dogs in the past I ignored the need of a way keep my dog restricted from certain areas in my home. Pretty quickly, I learned that it isn’t practical to give a pet that isn’t housebroken free reign of the house! A crate, playpen, and/or some baby gates will help you keep your pet and your house safe. Even if your new friend is housebroken, there is no guarantee he won’t chew through your new set of furniture. If a crate isn’t an option, use a play pen with sides high enough that your buddy can’t hop the walls, or have a room that is adequately dog proofed that can be closed off with doors or baby gates. If your new dog is a puppy, a crate is a good option, and many adult dogs are also well suited to being crated, but some dogs are greatly stressed by this form of confinement. If you are adopting an adult dog, inquire about whether or not the dog does well be crated. If he doesn’t, a playpen or baby gates are a good choice.
Fence or tie out:
If you have a yard, it is really convenient to be able to put your dog outside on his own to do his business. Leaving your dog unattended outside without assuring he stays on your property is irresponsible. Fences or tie out keep other people and animals safe from your dog. Even if your new buddy is friendly, it is important to remember that many people don’t like dogs, and won’t appreciate your dog running to them to say hi. Also, your dog may try to greet another dog that isn’t dog friendly and may get attacked. Fences have the additional benefit of keeping your dog safe from people and animals who might try to come on your property and hurt your pet.
Unless your dog is completely under voice control (and this training takes considerable amounts of time), he should never be outside without a being on a leash, tie out, or within a fence that he can’t jump or dig under. Even if your dog is friendly, he needs to be restrained in some way unless his recall command is perfect. This is really for his own protection, as a friendly dog can easily be killed by a car if he decides to cross the street at the wrong moment.
Safe form of car transport:
While little dogs love sitting on their owner’s lap when going for a car ride, this isn’t safe for the dog. A small dog will be crushed by the airbag if there is an accident. It is important to have a way to keep your dog in the back of the vehicle when going for car rides, and that the dog isn’t able to fall off the seat if you have to stop abruptly. This is really important for dogs that won’t sit or lay down nicely in the car to prevent them from getting hurt.
If it fits in your vehicle, a crate can be a great way to transport your dog. If your dog is too big or won’t accept being put into a crate, a harness and something to restrain him to the seat will work well. Just make sure your keep your dog in the back seat, especially if you are going on a long car ride, as the back seat is the safest place for him.
For dogs with long coats and coats that shed, you will want to buy some good brushes and combs. It is also good to have shampoo on hand even if the dog you are adopting has extremely short fur, so if he decides to role in something questionable you can bathe him. In a pinch, you can always use Dawn dish soap if no shampoo is on hand and your dog finds a way to get good and dirty.
Individual dogs will all come with their own sets of needs, but this list is a good starting point so you can be as prepared as possible to share your home with your new dog.