Wednesday, January 27, 2010
By Ruthie Bently
Bringing home a new dog, whether it’s a puppy or an adult, is like bringing home a new baby – you need to be prepared, and you need supplies. You should have a collar with an identification tag on it in case your dog gets lost. Even if you have a fenced yard for your dog to play in, you should have a leash for those trips to the vet or walks around the neighborhood. I suggest a six foot nylon leash unless your dog is an adult and not chewing anymore. Nylon is a sturdy material and stands up to most things except a determined chewer. Six feet is a good length, as it gives your dog enough room to step away from you to go potty and still gives you enough control. It will also keep your dog from tripping you up by accident.
You will need a supply of dog food of course (I use the CANIDAE Grain Free, four meat meal formula) and you will probably want dog treats too (I use both CANIDAE Snap-Biscuit® and Snap-Bits™ treats). You’ll want to get a set of bowls for their food and water; I prefer stainless steel because they are easy to keep clean and resist rusting. I’ve had the same set of bowls for over twenty years now and have never had an issue with rust. When I got my first puppy I bought bowls for the adult size dog that I knew my puppy would be when full grown. This way you only have to make the purchase once. I have a set of three quart bowls, which are a good size for any medium to large sized breed.
When you need to confine your new puppy or dog, such as when they need a time out or you just need a break, a dog crate is nice to have on hand. Dogs, like their wolf cousins, have an instinct to “den” and a crate is a good place they can call their own. If you have an aversion to crating your dog but aren’t quite ready to give them the run of the house, a pair of dog gates is a good way to confine them to a specific room. A washable fleece pad is a perfect choice for a teething puppy, and if your dog is past the chewing stage you can get them a regular bed so they have their own place to sleep.
Don’t forget to buy some toys to keep your new dog occupied. I like to have an assortment of chewing and interactive toys, and Skye also has a flying disc and a 10” ball she can chase in the yard, as well as sterilized and nylon bones for when she is on her own. She also has a cotton rope tug but isn’t allowed to play with that herself. If you choose a stuffed toy for your dog, don’t leave them alone with it and keep an eye on them when they are playing with it to prevent them from tearing it to shreds.
Dog shampoo is good to have on hand for a bath or spot cleaning if your dog rolls in something. I have an oatmeal based shampoo and a dry shampoo for Skye because I like the ease of giving her a spot bath if she gets her feet dirty after a walk in the mud. Make sure you get a shampoo made specifically for dogs though. The ph of a dog’s hair is different than ours, and you could harm their skin and coat by using shampoo made for people. You can also find tearless dog shampoos that won’t burn their eyes.
If you plan to groom your dog yourself, you will need a brush and comb suitable for your dog’s coat. You’ll also need a set of nail clippers and styptic powder for when their toenails need clipping. Grooming your dog is a great way to bond with them. Other items you may want to consider are a scooper for the yard and biodegradable poop bags for walks. Natural cleaners and deodorizers are handy to have for those unforeseen accidents, and an anti-chew product is a good idea for a new puppy.
Read more articles by Ruthie Bently