- Food & Water Bowls
Fresh water should always be available to dogs and bowls cleaned regularly to avoid bacteria. There are many options from which to choose: plastic, glass, ceramic, and stainless steel in a variety of styles.
- PLASTIC: The least expensive and can be cleaned and sanitized in the dishwasher. However, it has the potential of harboring bacteria if the surface is dented or scratched.
- CERAMIC and GLASS: More expensive and are heavy and breakable. If you buy ceramic, make sure it’s dishwasher safe and lead-free.
- STAINLESS STEEL: The most expensive, but the best choice. They’re strong; easy to clean and sanitize; and are too bulky to become a toy.
- Collar / ID Tag / Leash
Always keep your dog on a leash when outside of your home or fenced yard. A leash is a good way to keep track of your pet and to make sure that you are always in control.
- COLLAR: Look for an adjustable, nylon collar with a buckle that can grow with your dog. It should fit snuggly (a two-finger gap between collar and neck), but not too tight.
- Identification Tags: Are metal or plastic tags that hang from your dog’s collar that contains contact information in case your dog gets lost. You can also have your veterinarian inject a microchip, which is tiny device containing a code (stored on a database) that is associated with your contact information.
- Leash: A leash attaches to the collar and gives you control during walks or obedience training. It should be strong and well made. For your comfort, the leash should have a loop that is easy to grip. A 6-foot lead provides the best control for obedience training, but use a shorter 4-foot leash with a puppy at first.
- Dog Food & Treats
Whether canned or dry, choose a food and treats that fit your dog’s individual needs and your budget. There’s no one ‘best’ food. It depends on your dog’s breed, activity level, taste, and any special needs (weight management, joint health, life stage, etc.). Read guidelines on package directions for correct servings. Do not overfeed your dog including treats, which should be reserved for training. If you’re not sure about which diet to feed your puppy or dog, talk to your veterinarian, breeder or knowledgeable pet store associate.
- Crates / Carrier / Enclosures
Dogs are den animals. Most dogs enjoy their own area and “feel safe” in a crate. You should crate train your dog for his safety and your peace of mind. A crate provides security for your dog when you can’t be with him and an area where you can monitor him.
- dog crate / travel carriers: These are constructed in variety of materials, including stainless steel, plastic, and fiberglass. Although stainless steel is the most durable, the lighter weight plastic and fiberglass varieties are cozier and provide security while driving. Be sure the crate is an appropriate size for your dog when full grown and that your dog can stand up, lie down, turn around, and stretch inside.
- PLAYPEN: Playpens and portable gates are useful to provide a confined area for you to monitor your dog, but allow her a chance to exercise and play.
- Dog Bed
Dog beds have many benefits, providing insulation, a private place, and cushioning for joints and bones. They also help prevent the spread of hair and dander. While housetraining your dog, use a smaller bed or bumper bed inside the crate. If your pup tends to chew her bedding, remove it from the crate and offer a blanket or towel to sleep on until she gets over her chewing phase.
After your dog is housetrained, you can choose from a wide range of dog beds, including pillows, cushions, dog-sized couches and even memory-foam mattresses. Select a small- to medium-sized bed will help make your dog feel cozy and secure and make sure it has a removable, washable cover.
These are essential. There are a lot of choices, but for puppies, makes sure they are strong and durable and appropriate for their size. Buy “safe” toys for your dog. Avoid toys that have strings, ribbons, or parts that can be chewed off and ingested. Watch for squeakers! Dogs often find them and can ingest them. Supervise your dog’s play with items that could break into pieces or tear.
- plush squeaky toys: Dogs love these especially large ones that can become comfort toy.
- Treat dispensing toys: These are great critical thinking toys and good at keeping energetic dogs busy or slow down eaters who “gulp “ their food.
- fetching/TUGING toys: Balls, flying discs, rope and tug toys help to floss teeth while the dog plays.
- Grooming Supplies
Your dog will need a variety of grooming supplies. His coat will need regular washing, combing and brushing. Regular bathing and grooming are activities that can be enjoyable for you and your dog and make living together more tolerable for all. There are shampoos, brushes, nail clippers, as well as specialty grooming items available for every size dog and type of hair.
How do I find a good vet?
Start by asking friends and people in your community about their vets. You are likely to get information you won’t see on individual vet websites. Call local animal shelters and humane societies to see what vets they recommend as well.
How can I be proactive with my dog’s health?
Take your dog to the vet as soon as you get him for a checkup and all the recommended shots. After that, a healthy dog should be seen at least once a year. Any other concerns can be addressed as they arise.
Be vigilant about preventing fleas and ticks. They are not only annoying and can make your dog miserable, but they can also carry diseases. Give your dog his heartworm medicine and flea treatments every month at the same time.
How do I keep my dog healthy and active?
Exercise and play are crucial to keep your dog healthy and active. The amount of exercise depends on their individual size, breed and temperament. Generally you should walk your dog at least twice a day for about thirty minutes. You may have to work up to that with a puppy. Dog parks are a great way for your dog to get exercise and learn to socialize with other dogs.
If you have a yard you can also play fetch. Take cues from your dog in regard to exercise. You can usually tell if your dog is done fetching the ball. Also, be aware of the weather. Extreme temperatures are not good for animals so limit exposure.