What To Expect When You're Expecting (A Dog) - Part 2 - A List of Items You Need
Hi Everyone! As you may have gotten here from my Part 1 of Series, here is a comprehensive list of stuff that I recommend getting for your new dog. There's so much stuff available out there, and through trial and a lot of error, here are the items that are essentials I recommend getting to prepare your home for your first dog.
For Your Dog
I recommend getting a 6 foot leash that is not retractible. Retractible leashes can be good for well trained dogs in wide open spaces, but if your dog is interacting with other dogs, it's really easy for them to get tangled up. I really like these Mendota leashes. I've been using one from them for the last 3-4 years, and it hasn't shown much wear and tear, even through Tibby is a puller.
I recommend getting a harness style collar for your dog over a traditional collar that only goes around their neck. This is because a traditional collar puts a lot of strain on your dog's trachea (windpipe) and neck, especially if they are a puller (OMG and Tibby is a massive puller!). They essentially choke your dog and can cause reverse sneezing or a choking sound :(. I've used the Puppia harness in the past, and now that Tibby is fully grown, we've transitioned to a leather harness called a Buddy Belt (cuz Tibby's a bougie betch okay). Buddy Belts are really good for sausage shaped dogs (you know who you are out there), and very durable. It's also made in Canada which is a nice bonus.
3. Dog Bowls (For Water and Food)
For dog bowls, I recommend getting some sort of stainless steel bowl. I find that it's just a lot easier to handle and clean because you can just toss them in the dishwasher for a through cleaning. I also recommend that the water bowl be a lot bigger (or double/triple the size even!) then the food bowl. The food bowl should be comfortable sizes for their snouts. If they are not vertically challenged, an elevated food bowl can help with their neck. A silicon non-slip mat can also help with containing the mess to the mat and prevent your dog from tipping their bowls over.
4. Dog Crate
I highly recommend crate training your dog. Not only does it give your dog their own "room" in your house, help with potty training; it also provides a safe space where your dog feels secure. Whenever I travel with Tibby and she feels nervous about her new settling, she likes to feel the security and familiarity of her crate there. She knows that there is a "safe" space for her to go if she feels nervous. If you have to leave your dog for extended periods of time and want them to have more space, consider getting a dog pen. This way, they won't get into mishap while you are out.
5. A Place To Sleep
Depending on your sleeping arrangements with your dog, you might need a bed for them to sleep on. I find that dogs tend to favour a bed that wraps around them and makes them feel secure, or hugged by the bed. Or you know, they could be like Tibby and prefer to sleep on cold, hard tile (I think probably because Tibby thinks that her body is basically a pillow. She's not wrong).
6. A High Quality Food
In Part 1, I talked about my recommendations for a high quality dog food. I don't have anything against going raw, just make sure that it is handled properly! If you are looking for a good kibble, I think checking dogfoodadvisor.com is a great way to start. Unless your dog has a real dietary need, there is no reason they need to be on the low quality "science diet" kibble your vet is selling. Also - make sure you get the right kind of kibble for your dog's life stage! Puppies have different nutritional requirements than adult or senior dogs.
7. High Quality Treats
As with the food that your dog gets, the treats that you give them should also be high quality and free from fillers such as corns, grains, and byproducts. I tend to feed Tibby single ingredient treats (her favourites are pork liver and beef tender sticks). They're really easy to break into small pieces which helps when you need to feed your dog a lot for training and praising.
8. Toys For Their Stage in Life
Some toys I recommend getting puppies are teething toys which help your puppy when their gums hurt and they are getting their adult teeth. This way, they'll be less likely to chew the things you don't want them to chew (your laptop cables, your flooring XD) and focus on chewing their toys. I like the ones which have a hole where you can stuff peanut butter or freeze ice in it so it can occupy your puppy for longer. Another word of caution is that tug toys might not be the best toy for your puppy who is teething. Playing with these toys while they are a puppy can cause their puppy teeth to be yanked out! I've included some of Tibby's favourite tried and true toys below.
For Caring For Your Dog
Depending on your dog's different hair type, you will need different grooming products. I've written on how to groom a double coat dog. The link can be found here :)
2. Nail Clippers or A Dremel
Clip those claws! Keeping your dog's nails neat and trim is For the brave ones among you, you might might to try your hand at nail clippers. But after using both, I actually recommend using the Dremel, especially if you are getting a puppy and they aren't scared of getting their nails done yet. Start off really slowly and reward them for progress. The earlier you start with the Dremel, the better they will tolerate it. Even Tibby, who HATES getting her nails clipped begrudgingly tolerates the Dremel.
Brushing your dog's teeth is no easy task. Apparently you are suppose to brush your dog's teeth twice a day. I'm the first to admit that I am not able to accomplish this...like at all. But I try my best. Using an dog formulated enzyme toothpaste helps. Let me know in the comments if you have any tips for keeping your dog's teeth clean!!!
4. Poop Bags
Having a dog means you have to pick up their doo doos. I recommend this brand called earth rated. Their bags feel a lot thicker than the regular generic poo bags. Though the green bags may suggest they are compostable, they are not and if you want to get bio degradable poo bags, they make a high quality poo bag that is white. See below :)
5. Potty Training Pads
If you are potty training your dog and you don't live in a space with access to grass, you should get some potty training pads.
6. Cleaning Supplies
Speaking of potties and accidents, you need the right cleaning supplies for your dog. Make sure you get an enzyme cleaner for the part where your dog has an accident!
7. Anti-Nipping Spray
For those things that cannot be moved away, I recommend using bitter apple spray. This is the brand I used and it works pretty well!
An ID is super important for your new dog. Put your information on your dog's ID and any very important information on your dog in the rare instance that they get lost and can't find their way back to you.
Hopefully my list has helped relieve some of the stress that comes with preparing for your fluffy bundle of joy :) If you have any other suggestions for things that you should prepare for your new dog, add them to the comments!