It's official — you're going to be a parent. A dog parent, that is. You've been dreaming about this day for some time and all the fun you'll have with your canine companion, but now it's time to be practical and think about all the items you'll need to keep your dog safe, happy, and healthy.
Some items are absolute essentials, while others your dog will appreciate but aren't must-haves. Go though our checklist and pick out the best products for your new dog.
Sometimes the most basic items are the easiest to forget. In order to bring your dog home, you'll need a collar or harness and a leash. You'll need to buy a tag to attach to the collar or harness with your name and contact information, should your dog get lost. This is a legal requirement in some areas, even if your canine companion is microchipped. Your new pooch will also need food and water bowls, plus you might consider an elevated feeder for larger dogs. Of course, you'll need food, too. It's usually best to start your dog on whatever food they're used to, then gradually switch to a new brand if you choose to change their diet. Sleep is another basic need, and your four-legged friend will need somewhere to lay their head for the night. A cozy and comfy dog bed is essential.
You need to keep your dog clean and clean up after them. For the former, you'll need a brush or two plus some canine shampoo. A set of nail clippers or a nail grinder will help keep those claws under control. You should also start a toothbrushing routine as soon as possible, so pick out a doggy toothbrush and toothpaste. It's vital that you clean up after your dog on walks, so invest in a multipack of poop bags and/or a dog pooper scooper.
Since you don't know what kinds of toys your new dog will like, it's best to have a selection. Balls, chew toys, tug toys, interactive toys, and feeder toys are all excellent choices. It's important to play with your dog when they arrive home to encourage bonding. If you're bringing an older rescue dog home, take playing at their speed as they might feel unsettled at first and won't be quite as playful as a puppy, anyway.
Here are some of our favorites when it comes to some specific product recommendations.
Collar: We'd recommend starting out with a comfortable lightweight collar, especially if you're bringing home a puppy. We love the Blueberry Pet Classic Solid Color Dog Collar, as it's soft yet strong and is available in a wide range of colors and sizes.
Harness: A harness is better for a dog who pulls on the lead, because it won't injure their neck. The Ruffwear Front Range Harness is our favorite harness on the market right now.
Leash: The Downtown Pet Supply Strong Durable Dog Leash is another strong yet lightweight choice that's ideal as a first leash.
Tags: Have these Stainless Steel Pet ID Tags personalized with your information so your pooch can easily be returned to you should they go astray.
Food and water bowls: We'd recommend this two pack of AmazonBasics Stainless Steel Dog Bowls as they're easy to clean and do the job.
Bed: If you want your dog to sleep well at night, you can't beat the Big Barker 7" Pillow Top Orthopedic Dog Bed.
Brushes: The best type of brush will depend on your dog's coat, but the KONG ZoomGroom is a great all-around choice.
Shampoo: The Perfect Coat Natural Oatmeal Shampoo is a gentle yet affordable canine shampoo that's suitable for the majority of skin and coat types.
Poop bags: It's hard to understand getting excited about poop bags until you're a dog owner, but we love Pogi’s Poop Bags. Not only are they large and totally leak-proof, they biodegrade significantly faster than standard plastic poop bags.
Chew toy: We'd highly recommend providing your new dog with some chew toys since it will direct their natural desire to chew onto something appropriate, rather than your favorite pair of shoes. The Nylabone Dura Chew Textured Dog Chew is great for adult dogs and you can find softer varieties for puppies, too.
Treat dispensing toy: Our top choice is the KONG Wobbler, which is much like a Weeble — your dog can knock it to make it dispense treats, but it won't fall down.
Interactive toy: If you want a toy your dog can interact with, the ZippyPaws Woodland Burrow is a great choice. Your dog must work to find the little plush animals hidden inside the log.
Ball: If your dog likes to chase, they'll love running after the balls you throw from the Chuckit! Dog Ball Launcher.
Lauren Corona is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.