New Dog Owner Guide: 21 Items to Put on Your Shopping List

Dog tag
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Retractable leash. These give your dog more freedom, but too many people give them so much freedom that the dog wanders into the road or up to strange dogs or under people’s feet. Retractable leashes should be retracted unless you’re in a safe place away from other people and dogs. They're an unpopular choice in veterinary waiting rooms.

Identification. Almost any large pet supply store sells identification tags you can make on the spot. Get one.

Cleaning supplies. For rug accidents, use an enzymatic carpet cleaner, which destroys the odor-causing molecules rather than simply covering them up.

Poop scoop. Scoops with a rake on one side are better for grass, and the flat-edge pusher varieties are better for cement surfaces. Two-part scoops are easier to use than hinged versions.

Poop bags. A variety of special doggy poop disposal bags are available, but you can also use a baby diaper disposal bag or a cheap sandwich bag.

Bowls. Stainless steel bowls are durable and easy to clean. Ceramic bowls can be put in the microwave. Plastic bowls hold germs, and a few dogs are allergic to them. Self-feeding or watering bowls are handy but must be cleaned just as often as regular bowls.

Brush. A soft-bristle brush is ideal for getting your puppy used to grooming. Later, you can buy more appropriate grooming tools for his adult coat.

Rinseless shampoo. When you can’t give your dog a real bath, just squirt some rinseless shampoo on him, rub it in and wipe the dirt away with a towel.

Dog brush
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Toothbrush. A doggy toothbrush and toothpaste is ideal, but a child's toothbrush will do. Don't use human toothpaste, though, which is not made to be swallowed.

Toenail clippers. Cat nail clippers work fine for tiny puppies. For adults, scissor-type or guillotine-type is a matter of choice. You can also use a grinder.

Plush toys. Puppies love soft fuzzy toys. Make sure no parts can come off and that your puppy can’t gut it and swallow any noisemakers. Avoid bean or Styrofoam stuffing.

Throw toys. Balls and other toys that encourage playing with people are especially good for social development.

Interactive toys. Toys that challenge your puppy to dislodge food treats can occupy him while you’re away. Rotate several interactive toys with different challenges to help prevent him from getting bored.

And that's just to get you started! Happy shopping!

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