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Checklist For Owning A Dog

Updated: May 20, 2021

Are you counting down the days until you can bring your new dog home? It’s always exciting to think about adding a furry family member into your household.

But there might be a little stress along with that excitement. Are you sure that you have everything you need? What kind of food should you get? What about grooming tools? What sort of toys will they like?

Well, don’t fret! We’re here to save the day with the essential checklist for owning a dog.

  • Food — puppy or dog food

  • Food dish

  • Water dish

  • Travel dishes

  • Training treats

  • Rawhides, Greenies, or other chewing bones

  • Collar

  • Name tag

  • Microchip

  • Leash

  • Halter

  • Dog bed

  • Crate or carrier

  • Puppy training pads

  • Baby gate

  • Chew toys

  • Tug of war toys

  • Ball or other fetch toys

  • Puzzle toys

  • Flea comb

  • Brush

  • Dog shampoo

  • Scrub brush

  • Outside doggie bathtub

  • Towel

  • Flea and tick medicine or collar

  • Pay annual license fee

  • Establish veterinary care

  • Set up a budget

  • Establish boarding

  • Fence in area

  • Dog proof your home

  • Invest in training

What Kind Of Food Should I Get?

The type of food you get will depend on the age and breed of dog. If you’re bringing home a puppy, make sure you get a vet-recommended complete nutrition puppy food.

Many brands formulate foods according to size. This will be denoted on the package by weight.

It’s also a good idea to check with the shelter or breeder beforehand and ask what food the dog has been fed up until now. Even if you plan to switch your new dog over to a different food, have some of the original food on hand in case the new food causes an upset stomach.

There’s also a chance that your dog may have some sensitivity to certain ingredients in commercial dog food. If that’s the case, you might have to look for a food that doesn’t include that ingredient.

What Tools And Accessories Will My Dog Need?

Most of the things on our list are necessities, not options — but the specific details will depend on the breed.

For instance, you’ll need a different type of grooming brush for a Chihuahua than you will for a Great Pyrenees!

You may not need a halter, crate, or baby gate for your pup, depending on your home environment and the type of training that you opt for.

What Are The Best Toys For My Dog?

Your dog will play with just about anything — including items that he’s not supposed to play with! To avoid having your possessions chewed up as much as possible, invest in some entertaining toys for your dog. We recommend interactive toys — such as tug-of-war ropes and tennis balls — that will allow you to play with your dog. (Read about the best puppy toy options here: The Best Chew Toys for Puppies)

It’s also a great idea to get a puzzle toy or two. Puzzle toys dispense treats or other rewards to the dog as they figure out how they work. There are excellent ways to keep your dog engaged, especially if you’ll be away from the house for a time.

Planning Ahead

Being prepared for a new dog is about more than just the things you buy for them: it’s also about having a plan in place.

You’ll want to make sure that you have a vet lined up. If you will be traveling without your pet, you’ll need boarding or a pet sitter. If you do choose to travel with your pet, you may need a signed letter from your vet, a travel crate, and other necessities. You don’t have to have all of these in place before you get your dog, but it’s wise to have them planned out for when they’re needed.

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