You've been thinking about it for years, and you've finally come to the conclusion that you're ready to bring a dog into your life. Whether you're set on a specific breed that you want to buy as a puppy, or you're keen to adopt from a rescue centre, there's a few things you'll need to prepare for before you pick up your pup.
Although it can be a really exciting time, having a new dog in the home can also be a little nerve wracking for first time dog owners. You'll want to know that you're equipped with everything you'll need to take care of them, and that they'll feel calm and comfortable in your space.
We've put together our list of must-have products for all first time dog owners, as well as the other practicalities you'll need to think about ahead of the big day when they move in to their forever home.
The must-have products for first time dog owners
Essentials for all dogs
- A comfy dog bed
- Food and water bowls
- A lead
- An appropriately sized collar
- A tag for your dogs collar - it's now a legal requirement for all UK dogs to have their owners details engraved on their collar tag.
- Some toys for keeping them amused
- Dog poo bags
- Dog towels - you'll need an old towel or dog towel to wipe mucky paws after walks.
Things you need if you're getting a puppy
- Baby gates to block of stairs or certain rooms while they're still getting toilet trained.
- Puppy pads to absorb any accidents.
- A crate is a great idea for new puppies to help them get settled into their new surroundings. You might also want to crate train your pup too!
- Teething toys
Extras you might also want
- A kong toy to put treats in
- A harness - these are particularly a good idea for little puppies and smaller dogs.
- Doggie water bottle for long walks
- Dog brush and any other grooming tools
- Dog shampoo
- A durable ball to play with
- Some treats - especially if you're trying to train your dog
- A mat to put your dogs food bowls on
Choosing a vet
Before you get your dog, you'll also want to register them at a local vets as it'll give you peace of mind that if your dog needed any medical help, you have a vet there to help. It's a good idea to research your options here before you register.
If you're adopting a dog without a vaccination history, or if you're getting a puppy, the first appointment you'll need to take them for is to get their first immunisation injections a few weeks after they get home.
Settling your puppy into their new home
If you've ever spoke to someone who has a new pup or dog, they'll probably tell you their first few weeks are like having a new born baby. It's unlikely you'll get much sleep, as they might be crying a bit and they'll also need to be let out a lot for the toilet.
If you work full time, it might be worth taking a week or two off work, or seeing if you can work from home until your dog gets into a good routine and you think they're ready to be left alone for short periods.
It might also be a good idea to find a reliable pet sitter to sit with your dog on those occasions you can't be there.
If your pup isn't trained, or you're hoping to get your older rescue dog better trained, it might be a good idea to find a good trainer in your local area once you've got your pet.
Training is a great way to build the bond between you and your dog, and we recommend going to a professional for the best results.
When doing your research, look for a friendly trainer who maintains a calm environment in their classes. Pups shouldn't be allowed to play around uncontrollably, and the trainer should be able to keep control of the number of dogs in the class. All training should be rewards based, making sure the dogs aren't punished in anyway.