Dog Supplies

You”ll have to purchase a few items before your dog comes home. Dog food, dog treats, grooming supplies and a dog bed are all essential pet supplies. Don”t forget the toys, doggy shampoo, collar and lead. They”re important to the overall well-being of your new dog. Here are the basic dog supplies you”ll need, along with one or two not-so-essential (but fun) suggestions.

Puppy and Dog Food

Puppy food differs from adult dog food: It contains a higher protein and fat content, which is necessary for the development of healthy bones and muscles. Small to medium dogs should be fed puppy food until they”re about a year old and the larger breeds should be fed puppy food until they”re eighteen months old. Regular dog food simply doesn”t give a puppy the nutrients she needs.

Food Bowls

Food bowls are usually plastic, metal or ceramic. You can buy automatic feeders and many water bowls come with reservoirs so your dog has a constant supply of water. Larger breeds can benefit from bowls set on raised benches so the dog doesn”t have to strain to reach the food or water.

Dog Treats

Dog treats should be used sparingly. Your pet should get most of her nutrients from her food. Most dogs enjoy the occasional treat, however, and reinforcing training with treats often gives your puppy an added motivation to please. You can buy biscuits, rawhide chews and doggie cookies at most pet stores. Freeze-dried liver is an especially effective treat for training.

Choosing a Dog Bed

A dog bed should be comfortable, warm, and the right size for your pet. Most are simple cushioned baskets, but you can get some high-tech beds. Some have battery-operated heaters and removable covers that you can toss in the laundry.

Tick and Flea Control

Exercising some pre-emptive tick and flea control can make life easier for both you and your dog. Periodically examine your pet for ticks and fleas. Ticks prefer to hide in ears, under the “armpits,” between toes, and at the base of the tail. Combing through your dog”s fur will allow you to spot fleas.

Tick and flea control products are available in most pet stores. Special shampoos, sprays and flea collars are all easy to find. You can also purchase flea combs and tick-removing tweezers. Be sure to ask your vet to show you how to remove ticks without hurting your dog.

Pet Flaps

Pet flaps allow your dogs to go from the house to the yard whenever they want. Pet flaps are especially handy if you don”t want to miss the last five minutes of your favorite TV show to let your terrier out. Most pet flaps are installed in doors, but can also be built into walls. Pet flaps come in a variety of sizes appropriate for most small to medium canines. If you want to confine your dog to the house or the yard, a solid panel can be quickly inserted to prevent him from coming through. This is especially useful when strangers come to your home.

Grooming Supplies

Grooming and brushing can be a bonding experience for you and your pet and dog brushes are designed for both longhaired and shorthaired breeds. Bath time isn”t always pleasurable, although it can be fun. Shampoos specifically designed and pH balanced for canine fur and skin are available. Human shampoos are not recommended for dogs of any age.

Collars and Leads

Take the time to purchase a good quality collar and lead. Options range from the old-fashioned “choke chain” collar to retractable leads that allow curious dogs to roam a bit farther and still remain under your control. Have fun with your selection, too: Many collars are great fashion statements!

Toys

You”re the best playmate your dog could have, but when you”re not around, he needs something to play with. This can include squeaky toys, soft toys, old blankets and thick rope toys. Some playthings even dispense treats! Make sure that any toys you provide are not so small that they could get caught in your dog”s throat and not so big that they outweigh him.