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What are some essential things I need before getting a dog?

Thread starter #1
I'm planning to adopt a dog in the near future, so I'm starting to gather some informations about properly taking care of a dog.
So, the first thing I'm wondering is: what are some essential things all dog owners should have? I'm referring to all kinds of supplies: food, toys, accessories, anything really.
This is a short list I had in mind:
  • Dog food
  • Harness
  • Squeaky toys (well, maybe not necessarily squeaky, but I always see dogs playing with these)
  • Dental sticks
Any other suggestions?
Yes. You'll need: Shampoo. A couple of awesome collars. T-shirts or jackets or something if you live in a cold place because even dogs feel the cold. Food bowls. Bedding - like a dog crate or dog sofa. If you live in a place where it rains a lot, you may want to get dog shoes as well. Oh and Vitamins so that he stays healthy all the time.

If you're getting a puppy, then you will need a cage too.


New Member
Of course first of all food, bowls and a place to sleep.
I think that second most important thing is a trip to the vet. They can really help you with the puppy food choices and the dental stick you mentioned.

Harness is equally important.And a mat in your car for the dog.
Find a local vet with great reputation, and start talking to them before you get the dog to find out the cost for vaccinations. You need to get a feel for this vet to see if the vet is sincere and caring for animals. Some will lie to you to just get more money out from you, and this happened to me.

I just want you to be aware about this! Other than this, your list and the suggestions from the previous commenters had covered everything else already.


New Member
Along with making sure that you've got the essentials as listed in the other replies on here already, before you get a dog you also have to make sure you can give it something money can't buy, and that's your time and affection.

A lot of people like the idea of having a dog, buy all the gear, but then realise they take a lot of looking after. It's not just the feeding them and exercising them, but they need your attention aswell, and an house full of toys is no substitute for human interaction so make sure you can give it that, and make it a member of the family rather than just a novelty.
Time - Will the dog need walked twice a day? Start taking those walks now to see if you can get into the habit. Also consider time for vet appointments, groomer trips, obedience classes, and training outside of classes.

Yard supplies (clean up bags or poop scooper), fence or exercise line

I personally wouldn't buy food until you know what brand the breeder or shelter is using. You'll want to get that food at first. You can transition the dog to whatever brand you prefer eventually but it helps at first to have what they were eating before.

Crate and bedding

Harness, Collar, and Leashes. You probably want a 4 to 6 foot leash for walks and use in public. You also might want a long-line of 20-30 feet or a flexi for use in areas that are large but not fenced. The long leash is also useful for training recall.

Information about a local vet (and prices), a local canine emergency clinic (where do you go after hours if the dog gets hurt or sick at midnight?), a groomer (even breeds that are not as high-maintenance as my doodle benefit from professional bathing and grooming a few times a year), and a trainer.

A couple of toys like a tug rope, a squeaky ball, and something for hard chewing. Puzzle toys are also great to give the dog something to think about. My dog loves his tug-a-jug, which is something you put dry kibble in. He has to play with it to get his meal and he seems to enjoy it.

Flea prevention and a doggie first aid kit, including a soft muzzle and dog-safe OTC medications.

Food bowl and water bowl. Something to store dry food in that the dog is not eating so it doesn't attract bugs/mice/pests.
The important thing is to have the basics in place like well constructed and ventilated kennels, access to a reliable vet, a plan for dog outing and exercise as well as a regular supply of food items to keep them going. You should also evaluate the family interests to know what type of dog to acquire since a dog is part of the family. If there are many kids for example, this should guide you to select a dog that is suitable for kids.


New Member
Seconding the time recommendation. Whether you bring home a puppy who isn't completely housebroken or an older dog, there's still an adjustment period that requires some patience and effort.

Pick up one of the enzymatic spray cleaners and a roll of paper towels, even if the dog you get isn't a young puppy. Accidents happen, especially in a new environment. My GSD got a little stressed out and vomited a few times during the first few days while he was settling in, so having the paper towels handy was helpful.

If you have any other pets in the home, make sure to set up an area where they can get used to each other without direct contact. Since I have cats, I set up baby gates before bringing each of my current dogs into the house. That gave the cats a place where they could go and be 100% free of nosy dog noses. It also let the dogs observe the cats at a safe distance and get used to seeing and smelling them.

I'd also look around and find out about training classes in your area before you bring your new dog home. Obedience classes can be really fun and a good way for you to bond with your new dog, plus a wall-mannered dog is infinitely more fun to be around. Ask for recommendations and meet the trainers ahead of time. Don't be shy, a good trainer wants you to be confident in their abilities and will be willing to answer your questions.

Good luck with your new dog!
If it's a short-haired dog and you live somewhere with harsh winters, you may need to invest in a dog jacket (and even booties) for winter walks. My tiny Jack Russel hates going outside in the winter and shivers throughout our walks unless I put a little sweater or jacket on her. She won't allow booties, but I can tell her paws are getting hurt by the snow, so I try to cut a lot of walks short or try to only walk in plowed areas.

I second training/obedience classes as well, especially if you don't think you'll have the time to invest in training the dog yourself. A well-trained dog is a pleasure (as are untrained dogs that unceremoniously swipe food when you are not looking, but YMMV). :)
A seat protector for your car, we got our at Bed, Bath & Beyond, it's huge and helps with if the kid spills anything too. Definitely some collars, food, bowls and a place to sleep. If it's a puppy, maybe those training pads. Honestly, I'm not sure how those work, I've only had older dogs who knew what they were doing so I haven't had to train a puppy to go outside or whatnot. Maybe some little treats as well that help with dental hygiene.