Dog Supplies: What Do I Need to Buy for My New Puppy or Dog?
What to Buy for a New Puppy
Soon you will be bringing home your new puppy or dog and it is time to get prepared. While you don't need a lot of expensive dog toys or designer dog clothing, there are several items that are necessary, as well as a few that are nice to have as they will provide entertainment for your dog and/or make your life easier. Caring for a dog is a big responsibility, and caring for a new puppy is just plain hard work! Food and water, shelter, entertainment and training items are things you will need when you are bringing a new puppy home. Add a whole lot of love and you will be all set!
Dog Food and Dog Feeding Supplies
One of the first things you will need for your new dog or puppy is dog food. There are many, many decisions to make between canned dog food versus dry dog food, homemade dog food or store bought, store brand dog food or specialty dog food, table scraps or gourmet food. Ask your veterinarian or other dog owners you know - but beware that often vets will encourage you to purchase dog food that they sell in their offices. While these are usually very nutritious and wholesome types of food for your dog, they can also be expensive. Other dog food supplies you will need include the following:
- Dog food bowl for each dog you have.
- Water bowl.
- Storage container for your dog food that can be sealed. We once found our 12 week Labrador Retriever puppy eating his way through a 30 pound bag of dry dog food....the bag was on it's side in our laundry room and he literally walked right into it!
- A scoop that can be used to measure out the dog food. We feed our puppies three times a day until they are about 16 months old, then switch to twice a day. We do NOT free feed as our dogs have all been gluttons.
- Training treats. We use small chunks of cheddar cheese, small pieces of apple, and bite-sized Rollover training treats. We use these to reward behavior during organized training exercises and also as spot rewards when our dog responds to a command we have been working on during the week.
Your dog collar is a very important purchase. You will need to choose from one of the following:
- nylon collar
- leather collar
- chain choke collar
You will also need to decide whether the clasp will be a metal buckle or a plastic clasp. We have had all three types of collars (including a chain choke collar for a Staffordshire Terrier) and my preference is for a nylon or leather collar with a metal buckle. The plastic clasps break too easily. Nylon is easy to clean, leather looks nice. There are many styles to choose from.
Fitting your dog collar is important. It shouldn't be so tight that it hampers your dog's breathing, and it shouldn't be loose enough to slip off his head. You should be able to get two fingers under the collar comfortably. If you have a leather collar you can always add an extra hole with a hammer and nail if you need to tighten it.
Be prepared to have to buy two or three different sized collars if you buy a large breed puppy....they grow fast and need a size appropriate collar at each stage!
Walking Your Dog: Choose a Leash or Lead
- Nylon leash with metal clasp
- Chain leash with leather grip and metal clasp
- Leather leash with metap clasp
- The best retractable dog leash you can afford (I have a nylon one in a pastic case with a button to extend and retract the leash)
- Body Harness
- A Halti or Gentle-Leader for dogs who like to pull while on leash
Dog Leash or Dog Lead
Walking your puppy or dog should be one of the most pleasant aspects of having a canine companion. While it does take some time to train your puppy to walk well on lead, having a good leash or lead is half the battle. Leashes can be made from nylon, leather, chain, or rope, and can be a standard loop and clasp leash or a retractable "extend-a-leash". I have found that a traditional nylon leash with a metal clasp works well for walking, and I use a leather lead with a metal clasp for obedience class and training. Leather dog collars and leashes have slightly more "give" or elasticity, and the puppy is better able to respond to gentle tugs or direction. Depending on the size of your dog, you will need to choose a suitable length. I use a 60 inch leash for our full grown Labrador Retriever. We also use a retractable leash occasionally, though it can be hard to control a large,excited dog on the end of one of these! For dogs who tend to pull hard on walks, consider a body harness, Gentle-Leader or Halti. These contraptions make it easier to control your dog and your leash clips onto them. Note: our current yellow Labrador, Leo, hates his Halti so much that I don't even have to put it on him -all I have to do is show it to him and he stops pulling right away!
Dog Crate Sizing, Crate Training Puppies,
Where will your dog sleep? If you plan to have an outdoor dog, take a look at buying or building a dog house. If you have a house dog, will it be crated? Crate training puppies from 8 -10 weeks is much easier than waiting until they are older. There are a wide variety of metal and hard plastic dog crates on the market. Consider the size carefully - dog crate sizing can be tricky. Your dog will want to be cozy; a crate or dog house should mimic the den that a wild dog would live in, so don't put a small dog in a large crate. Metal crates with removable trays work well; I have found that plastic crates tend to smell after using them for a while.
Dog beds are another option. They come in molded foam with fleecy covers, cushion types with zip off covers (great for throwing in the wash), and baskets with washable bedding. Many dog owners complain about dog beds being too small for their puppies. If you can sew, it is easy to make your own extra large dog beds; just remember that some dogs (especially when they are puppies) are heavy duty chewers and may make short work of the filling! Use your imagination if you are looking for cheap dog beds for large dogs. One idea is to use a large old suitcase, and fill it with soft old blankets that can be replaced when chewed or soiled.
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Trick for a Large-Breed-Puppy Crate
If you are bringing home a young large-breed puppy, there is no need to buy several sizes of crates. Buy the size that is appropriate for the full grown dog. Place a small Rubbermaid storage container on it's side just inside the opening of the crate, with a comfy blanket or sheet in it. Your puppy should fit cozily. As he grows, move the container back, and as he gets taller, switch it for a larger container. If you put the small puppy in a large crate, he will be tempted to use part of it as his washroom, but he won't mess where he sleeps, so keep the sleeping area small.
Toys for Your New Puppy
While you shouldn't need to spend hundreds of dollars on toys for your new dog, you should have at least a few. Keep three or four out at a time, and rotate them so she doesn't get bored. Monitor their playing habits, especially puppies. In addition to the suggestions below, many dogs really love empty water bottles as a toy - they are crunchy and feel good on puppy teeth, they roll around, and there may be a few drops of water available on a hot day. But be careful - the screw tops are tiny and can be a choking hazard.
- Tug Toy - puppies and dogs love to play tug with almost anything - better a specific toy than your favourite shoes or your kids' socks. Watch for signs of aggressiveness during play - some dogs are better off playing fetch than tug.
- Squeaky Toy - a toy with a squeaker may drive you crazy, but your dog will love it! It should occupy him for hours...or until he tears it apart.
- Kong - a fantastic line of toys, these hard rubber cone-like toys have a hollow centre which can be filled with peanut butter and dog kibble, treats, or cheese. Our pups have played with these for hours - great to put in a crate when your dog will be there for an hour or two.
- Nylabone - nylabones are nylon bones which help clean a dog's teeth. As they chew, tiny little bristles are raised and the friction against their teeth help remove tartar. Recently they have been criticized as being potentially unsafe when they are chewed down, resulting in a sharp edged choking hazard. As with all toys, please monitor your dog when they have an object to play with.
- Rawhide Bones - these bones have also fallen in and out of favour. Rawhide may be purchased formed into bones of varying sizes, sheets, or even balls. All of our dogs have loved rawhide, but it can cause stomach upsets and gas in young puppies.
- Soft cuddly toy - much like a baby will, puppies and dogs get comfort from a cuddly toy or blanket. Be careful though - monitor your dog as some like to chew, and swallowing shredded soft toys or blankets can result in a costly trip to the vet or even prove to be fatal to your pup.
- Nail clippers
- Earcleaner solution
Other Useful Items for Your New Puppy or Dog
- Baby gate - if you want to keep your dog restricted to one part of your home.
- Towel - keep it on a hook by the door to wipe off muddy paws
- Booties -for city dogs who will walk on salted pavement in winter
- Winter coat - for small dogs
- Travel crate or carrier - for small dogs
- Travel seatbelt, or harness
- Pee pads -for housetraining
- Sour apple non-toxic spray to spray on furniture or items you don't want your puppy to chew.
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