The inevitable question that follows the decision to buy a dog is, “What will he need?” From blankets, to toys, chews, guides and leashes, it seems as if the list is endless. Below we have compiled both the things your pet can’t live without, as well as items that will make his life more comfortable, though they may not be urgently required the day you bring him home.

Necessary Items

Water Bowl/Food Bowl: Finding food bowls can be as easy as visiting a furniture and appliances store, or as ornate as painting personal bowls with your puppy’s name at a craft shop. Sometimes energetic young dogs will accidently tip their water bowl, and make a mess in your home, so be sure to choose the feeding area wisely, or even lay a mat below the bowls. Also bear in mind that the puppy is just learning; be careful not to punish your new dog for elementary mistakes. Keeping the placement for your food bowl consistent is important when you are training the pooch, so he will know where to find food when he is hungry.

Dog Food: Not many pet owners take this part of the pet-owning process as seriously as they should. Understanding the breed of dog and its specific nutritional needs will help inform you about what brand to go with. The first step is to educate yourself about quality food available, and the needs of your pet. Some dogs struggle to digest grains, while other function best with vegan products or hypoallergenic foods. Like humans, dogs thrive with balance, and usually need a range of dry foods combined with canned dog food, raw food diets, and even some supplements to give them the greatest variety of nutrients. [Could potentially link out to]

Treats: Though it might not seem necessary to have treats on hand for your new dog, incentivizing good behavior is an important element of training.  When you are teaching your dog about where he is allowed to go, or what behaviors are accepted, reinforcing his obedience with a tasty treat is an efficient way to communicate that he is on the right track. Since training begins the moment you walk through the door with your new puppy, it will be wise to keep a pocket full of treats at hand, so he can start learning right away!

Collar: Many dogs have been known to escape their yards and embark on expeditions whenever given the chance. Guard yourself from the possibility of losing your new puppy, by adorning him with the proper identification tags. By putting a collar on a dog, with his name and your contact number, your little runaway could be safely sent home if he gets lost. This will also protect your dog from being picked up and disposed of at a pound with other street dogs that are roaming unidentified.

Leash: Your new canine companion is under training and will need to learn to heel and walk close by, even when tempting squirrels cross his path. All dogs require consistent and rigorous exercise, and walking will become an important daily routine for you both. Consider what kind of leash will best suit your dog breed, whether they will need a short leash, extendable leash, chain leash, a harness, or a muzzle leash, etc.

Sleeping Blanket/Sleeping Pad: Your dog needs his own designated space where he can snooze uninterrupted. Whether that is a large fleece pillow, or simply a blanket by the fire place, your dog needs to know he has a safe spot to retreat and recharge where he can leave his toys and bones without challenge. Note: If your dog is an outdoor pet, you will need to provide an area of shelter for him, such as a dog house or covered pen. This will be a necessary alternative to spending relentless hours in the hot sun or on cold wet days. This basic courtesy will not only keep your dog’s spirits lively, but will also protect him against any illness caused by exposure to extreme temperatures.
A Veterinarian: Your pet will need vaccinations and potentially operations if they still need to be neutered or spayed. Ask friends with pets if they can recommend a good vet near you, or read reviews of a vet in your community to make sure that your pet will get reliable medical care he needs.

Additional Items

Chew Toys / Bones / Rawhides: When young dogs teethe, they do well with object to chew, to help keep them away from your table legs, shoes, and other tempting household items. Teething can be an achy, painful process that is alleviated when given something to soothe the agitation. Chew toys, bones, or rawhide also help dogs keep their teeth clean, and can help increase their intake of calcium.

Dog Brush: Most dogs shed their coats depending on the season, and can tend to leave little tuffs of fur trailing behind them if they are not brushed on a regular schedule.  Brushing your dog will help get rid of this excess hair, and will keep his coat looking sleek. Even hypoallergenic dogs that do not shed benefit from this practice, since the motion helps blood flow and circulation.
Shampoo: Dogs do not require weekly washing, since heavily scented shampoos can dry out their coat and irritate skin if they are bathed too frequently. However a soothing bath with gentle products will help your pup stay fresh and clean, and should be done regularly.

Dog Cleansing Chews (or a toothbrush): An important aspect of oral hygiene will be to help your dog keep his gums and teeth strong through cleansing chews, or regular tooth brushing.   While this is not an immediate necessity, the practice should occur on a routine basis.

Dog Carrier: Travel-size dogs would benefit from using a dog carrier, so that whether you are off on a long road trip, or you plan to take your pet on a weekend camping trip, he can travel comfortably with you.  There are also larger crates of plastic or metal that make traveling with larger dogs another possibility. When on the road, these carriers can also double as a doggy bed where your pooch can sleep safely.

Dog Indoor Grass Patch (for potty time): This popular option allows for dogs to utilize indoor reusable or disposable patches of grass to do their business. This saves city-dwelling owners from having to take those cold morning treks to the nearest park, or from worrying about the pooch making a mess in their absence. Puppy patches can be anything from synthetic carpet that can be washed, to enclosed spaces growing actual grass plots for your convenience.

While these items may not be immediately required for the well-being of your pet, they certainly promise to make their life and yours more manageable.