When you bring home a rescue dog or a new puppy from a shelter, it is an exciting occasion. Most people regard this as adding a new member to the family, the same as you would if you were bringing home a new baby. And as with a new baby, your canine companion needs special gear to keep him content, comfortable, and well-behaved in his new home. Here are some things you should already have by the time your pup is ready to come home.
A Cool Place To Rest
Dogs do not sweat as human beings do, so they are even more susceptible to overheating, especially because of their furry coats. Your dog should have a cool place to lie down, both indoors and out. This shouldn't be an issue indoors, especially if you have a solar power system that keeps your air conditioner running efficiently. However, it may be more of a challenge outside. If your dog spends a lot of time outdoors, she should have a doghouse or at least a shady place to rest when it gets too hot and sunny.
A Crate and Baby Gates
Any healthy relationship requires boundaries, and your relationship with your dog is no exception. If there are areas of your house where you do not want your dog to go under any circumstances, you can use baby gates to block them off. Otherwise, if you just need to contain your dog temporarily, such as when you go to work or run to the store, a crate provides a place where you can keep him contained so that he will not get into mischief while you are gone.
Bowls for Food and Water
Food and water are essential for life, and your dog must be able to access them with ease. There are lots of fancy dog bowls on the market, but you don't necessarily need the most expensive model. You should choose bowls that are wider on the bottom than they are at the top to prevent your dog from tipping them over and making a mess. Ideally, they should be made of a material that is safe to put in the dishwasher. This makes no difference to your dog but can save you a lot of trouble later.
A Sturdy Leash
A leash not only prevents your dog from running wild when on a walk, but it is also a tool used in training your dog. There are many different varieties of leashes. Some are better than others, and a higher price doesn't always mean better quality. The most important consideration is that the leash is made from a strong material so that it does not break and let your dog get loose. Dog leashes come in different lengths, and trainers usually recommend a leash between three and six feet long. A longer leash may be a little better for training purposes.
A Well-Fitting Collar
Unless there's a harness involved, getting a leash won't do you much good if you don't have a collar to attach it to. A collar also allows you to keep identification and vaccination tags on your dog, which is required in many places and helpful if your dog gets lost. You should choose a collar based on your dog's size, and certain breeds require certain types of collars as well. For example, if you adopt a retired racing greyhound, you have to get a special collar that accommodates her long, powerful neck without choking her.
Basic Grooming Supplies
Unlike cats that can keep themselves clean, dogs need to be bathed every once in a while. Some breeds also need to have their coats brushed or clipped, and it is helpful to have their toenails trimmed as well so they don't hit on the ground as your dog walks around. The exact grooming tools you need depend on your dog's breed, but at baseline, you should have special dog shampoo, a comb or brush, and a nail trimmer.
Over the first year that your dog comes to live with you, you can expect to pay approximately $1,500 for supplies. You don't necessarily have to buy everything at once, but you should have these essentials right away.