The 10 Things a First Time Dog Owner Should Get

A first time dog owner should get ten basic items before they bring their dog home.

  • A bed
  • A Lead and Harness
  • Food and Water Bowl
  • A Collar
  • Brush or Comb
  • First Aid Supplies
  • Food
  • Dog Toys
  • Cleaning Products and Poop Bags
  • Don’t Forget the Vet

There are other things, but this is a start.

Getting your first dog is an exciting time. If you’ve never owned a dog before, you could be forgiven for being confused about what supplies you need. The options are many, and the expense can soon build up.

You want to make sure you have what you need, but at the same time, you don’t want to buy things that won’t get used.

What you buy depends on the dog you bring home. You may be getting a puppy, a rescue dog, or an old dog that is trained and used to sleeping on their own bed.

There are some general things you need before you bring your dog home, and I want you to be ready for that first night with your new best friend. After that, you can determine what you need for your dog and circumstances because everyone will be different.


Things to Get For Your First Time Dog

There are basics that you will need, both for your dog, and to make owning a pet easier for you.


1. A Bed:

Your dog will need somewhere to sleep. Providing them with a quality bed will not only keep them warm and comfy, it also gives your dog a space of their own to feel safe.

Later on, you may choose to let them sleep elsewhere like a sofa or your bed, but let them settle in first and get used to living with you.

There is a huge range available, and the best advice I can give is to buy one for how big your dog will grow, not their current size if you’re getting a puppy.

Otherwise you will end up buying five beds before they get to their adult size.

Choose one that supports your dog’s head, and is washable. (I take my dog bed to the local Laundromat who has an animal specific washing machine to use.)

You’ll be surprised how often the dog bed needs washing.


2. A Lead and Harness:

Training your dog to walk with you properly is very important, no matter what dog you get. Puppies need to start young, and older dogs may need to be retrained, depending on how they have been taught.

Using a harness instead of a collar, allows your dog the chance to learn without putting pressure on their neck.

Choose one that is adjustable, but you may need a small one for a puppy, and a larger one when they grow.


3. Food and Water Bowl:

This may seem obvious, but a lot of new owners suddenly realize when they get their new dog home, the dog needs two bowls of their own.  One for the food and another for water.

There are so many designs and styles available;get one that is non-toxic, tough, and washable.

Aim for bowls that have a rubber trim or similar to stop them sliding all over the floor. Also, get bowls that suit dogs of all sizes, so you don’t have to replace them as your dog grows and eats and drinks more.


4. A Collar:

Most jurisdictions require dogs to have a tag or similar with details identifying you as the owner. If your dog isn’t chipped, you want everyone to know where they come from if they get lost.

Collars adjust for size, but you will need to buy another one if your dog grows bigger than what the collar is designed for.

I prefer nylon buckles that have a secure clip, instead of a belt buckle because they are easier to get off and on.


A New Dog Needs Food and Toiletries

The initial cost of getting supplies for your new dog can be reasonably high, but you won’t need to replace everything at the same time as you move forward.

Other importantitems a new dog needs that aren’t covered by the basics above include cleaning and nutrition.

It’s a good idea to make a checklist before your dog comes home.


5. Brush or Comb:

All dogs need a brush. Their type of coat will determine what you need.  I use a double sided brush which covers long and short hair. I use it for general brushing, detangling, and when my dog molts.

Some dogs molt a lot, especially in the spring and fall seasons.

Even if you intend to use a dog grooming service, you will probably need to brush your dog in between visits.


6. First Aid Supplies:

You don’t need too many supplies here. If anything serious happens, you will need to take your dog to the vet.

These first aid supplies are for minor cuts, scrapes, and tick removal.


7. Food:

Food is important for your new dog, not just because it is a basic need, but because all breeds and ages may require different nutrition.

If your new dog has dietary issues like allergies to histamines or grain, you need to source suitable food to avoid constant trips to the vet.

Ask your vet about the best food for your dog. At the same time, you can find about the frequency of feeding for your dog because a lot of dogs are different and require less or more feeding than others.

8. Dog Toys:

If you get a puppy, they will want to chew things, including your shoes. Give them something to chew instead.

Your dog needs to be entertained and be able to do natural things like chew when it feels the need, without getting into trouble for damaging the table legs.

I prefer rope toys because there are a lot of plastic chew toys that don’t last two minutes once a puppy gets their sharp teeth stuck in. Non-toxic chew toys are best.


Other Things to Consider for a New Dog

If you’ve never owned a dog before, you may not know what is about to happen when you get home with your pooch.

Be patient and give both yourself and your dog some slack. You are getting used to new living arrangements. Don’t forget your dog might be very nervous about its new home, new noises, and strange smells.


9. Cleaning Products and Poop Bags:

If your new dog isn’t house trained, there will be a few accidents. This is something you have to expect.

Stay calm, and if necessary, seek the help of a dog trainer for this. House training can be stressful for new dog owners, but it doesn’t need to be.

Keep a supply of dog waste bags handy, and get cleaning products to suit your flooring because a carpet is very different to clean than a polished wood floor. You will also need them for when you go on walks, to pick up and dispose of their poop.

Get a natural soap or shampoo for bathing. You never know when your dog will come in with a mystery substance on their fur.


10. Don’t Forget the Vet:

Take your dog to the vet within the first week if you haven’t done so before bringing them home.

This can be for a variety of reasons including:

  • A general health check
  • A complete physical
  • Spay or neuter
  • To discuss diet requirements
  • Vaccinations


Mistakes First-Time Dog Owners May Make

If you’re a first time dog owner, you will be excited about the prospect of getting a new dog, and all that goes with it.

There are some other things to consider apart from the above ten things.

To make sure you have the best experience possible, I’ll talk about of few of the mistakes some first-time owners make.


Don’t Feed Your Dog Human Food

Many of our foods contain excessive calories, spices and ingredients not good for dogs. Some human food, some of the time is okay, but you should do your research on what you can and can’t feed your dog.

As I’ve said above, plan ahead and buy good quality dog food. Buy the best that you can afford, and your dog will be thankful.


A High Energy Dog Needs Lots of Exercise

Some dog breeds, including puppies have very high energy levels and require robust activity to satisfy them. If you get the wrong dog, life may become difficult trying to deal with a dog that is frustrated and restless because you haven’t been able to exercise them enough.

Don’t Insist on a PuppyDon’t discount getting an older dog. If you don’t want the hassle of house-training a dog, dealing with the mess and destruction often associated with puppies, a mature dog may be perfect for you.

Adopting an older dog is a good introduction to keeping dogs as pets because they are already house-trained and many have basic discipline and obedience knowledge.

Whoever your chosen dog is, you will have a loyal companion for years to come.


Writer: Craig Taylor

Read about me