Hello again, friends!
I know a lot of you are well-established pet-lovers like me, but I thought that it would be nice to write a post for people who don’t already own pets, but are ready to take the plunge. If you’re in that category, I know from personal experience that you’re going to be absolutely overwhelmed with people telling you what to buy, what not to buy, what they saw on the news, etc. So from one experienced doggie companion to a newcomer, here are all my must-haves for any new canine friend you’re welcoming into your home!
No, not just for fashion, silly. In fact, most dogs don’t like to wear extra clothes around unless they absolutely need to. They have fur coats for a reason, and their bodies can’t keep temperature properly if they’ve got a mystery outer layer on! But I like to keep a few key clothing items on hand when the weather gets extreme. When it’s hot, it’s a really good idea to have a cooling band or bandana that you can soak in the refrigerator or freeze to help your pooch cool down. They have a heat center on their necks just like we do, so helping them out there is super effective. I also have a warm blanket/jacket thing for the winter, when it’s absolutely freezing, and if you’re getting a puppy or a bigger dog that doesn’t have furry paws, booties can be good in sub-zero weather!
Baby gates are the easiest way to keep dogs from going where they’re not supposed to if you don’t have a door to work with. So, stairs, connected rooms, all those kinds of spaces where it’s hard to find an effective barrier. I find that having just two of these around the house is enough to either keep the pooches in one room, or to block off a zone when there’s work being done on the house or something like that.
No dog’s home is complete without a bed! Even if you have deep, fluffy carpets, Fido needs his own nest to love and cherish. Make sure each of your dogs has a bed they can call their own! I personally tend to start them off in different areas of the house when I replace beds, otherwise everyone tries to claim the new one for themselves. My basic rule of thumb would be to get anything that’s comfortable and big enough for them to sleep on curled up or spread out, and rough or tough enough to handle pawing, because if you know anything about dogs, they like to scratch their sleeping spot before they bed down. I would also definitely suggest dog beds that are easy to vacuum and wash when you need to, even if it’s just the cover. You never know when a mess might happen, especially with puppies or older dogs, and the smell in general can get a bit pungent!
-collar and leash
A collar and leash are probably the most obvious things to get, but I thought I’d put them on this list just as a reminder! You want a tough, go-anywhere collar that dries easily and stays relatively clean. I think nylon is best, because they tend to chew on leather collars, and I think metal is so cruel. I also make sure any collar has some reflective bits, and I would definitely urge you to get a reflective collar if you live anywhere with busy traffic at night or with hunters in the woods near your house. Nylon is the best option for leashes as well, since it doesn’t break easily, even when dogs yank suddenly. P.S. if you get a dog that likes to pull, like a beagle, get a harness for walks! That way they won’t choke themselves when they catch a scent and get excited!
-a comfy crate
I know, I know. You never want to put your canine friends in a crate. But the truth is, they often like having somewhere to retreat from thunder and other scary things, and they might need to use a crate to travel someday, so it’s much better to have a good one around the house that they can bond with rather than making them get into a strange and foreign box sometime when you move! I have a few crates around the house, and my dogs love them. They’re big, airy, and have lots of holes for light.
-food and water bowls
Need I say more? They’re pretty self-explanatory. But I would just say that it’s important to make sure your pooches don’t have bowls they’ll decide are frisbees, so skip the plastic and go for stainless. They’ll be easier to clean, too.
Last but certainly not least, I would take a stroll around the hygiene/cleanliness part of the pet shop, and pick up a good brush, nail trimmers, and a hair roller for clothes. This is also the time to upgrade your home cleaning machine if you don’t already have a great one. If you have carpets, you absolutely need an upright pet vacuum! I’m putting together a post about which vacuums I’ve had success with, so look out for that!
Oh, and always make sure your pooch is registered and tagged properly wherever you live! You want to make sure your phone number and address are on the tag, in case someone finds your furry friend wandering far from home!