When you go to the animal shelter and see those big brown puppy-dog eyes staring at you, it’s easy to fall in love. But when you get a new puppy or dog, you should be prepared. If you can’t afford the basic supplies you need to take good care of your pet, you should reconsider getting a dog. Don’t forget about the cost of regular veterinary care either. Shots and exams cost money, so budget for them. It’s not fair to your new pet to skimp on the basic necessities.
However, with that said, when you visit the pet section of your favorite store or start perusing pet catalogs, you’ll quickly see that you could spend a small fortune on your new furry friend if you’re not careful. So here’s a list of the basics you need for your new dog:
1. Dog bowls. You need at least one bowl for water and one for food. Stainless steel bowls are easy to clean and don’t get scratched easily. Scratches in plastic can harbor germs. Plus, some dogs have been known to chew their bowls. If your dog has a predisposition to play with his tableware, you also might want to consider a weighted bowl, so he doesn’t throw food or water everywhere.
2. Food. Consult with your veterinarian on recommended food for your pet. Puppies, older dogs and dogs with various health issues may require special foods.
3. A bed, crate, or both. If you are house-breaking a puppy, you may want to get a "sky kennel" to help with housebreaking. It also can be used as a carrier for trips to the vet and as a bed. Many dogs love having a their own special "den" to call their own. If your dog is older, you may want to consider getting a dog bed. Floors are hard on arthritic joints.
4. A leash. Contrary to popular belief, North Idaho has leash laws. Keep your dog on a leash and keep the neighbors happy.
5. Toys. Your dog’s age and chewing prowess determine the safest toys for him. Some dogs can decimate standard rawhide and plastic chewies in seconds. Hyper-enthusiastic chewing can result in blockages if the dog gulps down big chunks of toy. In this case, look for heavy duty toys like Kongs and Nylabones.
6. A collar and ID. A collar with identification is THE MOST important thing you can buy for your dog. I’ll be blunt: not keeping identification on your dog is stupid and irresponsible. No good reason exists for your dog to be without a collar and ID, ever.
It’s good to get your shopping done before you get the dog, but your dog will forgive you if everything isn’t just "perfect" before you bring him home. Just be sure to get the ID on him ASAP.