Bringing home a new four-legged member of your family is exciting
— and a lot of work. So it helps to be prepared before the big day arrives.
We’ve pulled together a helpful cheat sheet of a few of the items
you’ll want to have on hand when you welcome your new dog,
whether he’s a puppy, a senior or any age in between. Take a look through the
photo gallery below to make sure you’re ready.
Food, Treats and Bowls
The fastest way to a dog’s heart? Through his stomach, of course! Before he comes home, be sure you have plenty of food on hand, as well as bowls for kibble and fresh water. Ask your veterinarian about the best healthy diet for your dog. And don’t forget the treats! You don’t want
to give your dog too many, but you’ll want to spoil him a little — and they can
help you with training.
If you have a crate ready, you can help ensure your dog has a place where he can feel safe and
comfortable, and where he can stay out of trouble. Many dogs like the calm and familiar
feeling they have when they’re in their crates. Trainer Mikkel Becker has a handy step-by-step
video guide to crate-training your dog and expert tips on finding the right
type of crate for your pooch. While you're at it, it’s also a good idea to have some baby gates
to keep your dog contained in a certain part of your home.
Collar and Leash
We know you’ll want to get outside and go
for walks with your new friend. So you’ll need a collar and a leash. There
are more collar choices and styles available than you may be expecting. In this video, Mikkel Becker walks you through how to fit a collar around your pup's neck, as well the different options that are available. As for leashes, Becker recommends using a six-foot nylon or leather leash for walks, and a 15-to-30-foot long line for teaching distance commands like come when called. While retractable leashes are popular with many dog
owners, they are often not a great idea and can
be dangerous, particularly for an untrained dog.
ID Tag and Microchip
Your new dog needs proper
identification so he can be found quickly if he somehow gets lost. That
includes an ID tag on his collar with his name and your contact information, and
a microchip. A microchip is a tiny electronic device that’s implanted under the
dog’s skin and has a unique identification number. Be sure the microchip company always has your updated contact information.
Toys, toys, toys! If your pup is busy with toys he loves, he’s less likely
to get into mischief — and he’ll have fun, too. It’s important to consider
safety when you’re picking out dog toys. Make sure they’re
large enough that they can’t be swallowed and they’re not stuffed with beans or
other safety hazards. You may also want to give him some food puzzles,
which can help your pet stay entertained and active, and help keep his weight under
With new dogs comes lots of joy... and the potential for lots of accidents. Luckily, we have plenty of
tips for fighting carpet stains. You’ll want to have supplies
on hand to clean up after your pet quickly, before stains can set. One of our
readers suggests having a
kit on each floor of your home with a cleaning
solution and rags or paper towels and a trash bag. An enzymatic cleaner is your best bet for getting rid of smells and discouraging him from going to the bathroom on the spot again.
Toothbrush and Toothpaste
You can protect your
dog’s dental health by getting into the habit of brushing his teeth regularly from the get-go. You’ll need a baby or pet toothbrush
that’s the right size for your dog, pet toothpaste (not
human toothpaste) and a reward for training your dog, so he’ll learn to be willing to let
you to do this. While you’re thinking of brushes, you may also want to pick up grooming supplies like a hairbrush and
some dog shampoo.
Accidents can happen,
and as a responsible dog owner, it helps to have a pet
first-aid kit on hand. For some accidents, your pet will need to see a
veterinarian. But there may be times when your vet can give you guidance
regarding your dog’s treatment. Your kit should include an instant cold
compress, a self-adhesive bandage and antiseptic skin ointment, along with several other items you can
find in our handy