You're getting ready to bring your new dog home, and you walk into the nearest pet store to gather up a few necessities before your furry friend joins your family, only to find yourself totally overwhelmed with all the options for bedding, toys, food, and even cleaning products.
Don't worry; it has happened to all of us first-time dog owners. The most important thing to remember is to use your common sense and know that, as long as you have the absolute necessities, the rest can wait.
One of the most important decisions you can make is where your dog is going to sleep. Will you put it in a crate at night and while you are gone? Will you gate off an area of your house and put a doggie bed in there?
These decisions will dictate what you need to purchase in terms of bedding. If you are going with a crate, you will need one just big enough for the dog to stand up, turn around, and lay down. If it's bigger than that, you could have a problem with the dog using part of the crate as its own personal bathroom.
If you're gating off a portion of your house, you'll need to measure the doorways you want to gate and purchase gates to fit. Many dog gates are very similar to baby gates, and there are a lot of gate options out there, so do your research and choose the one that's best for you. You will only need gates or a crate, not both, so plan accordingly.
See what your dog likes to play with first, then go back and buy more similar toys. Dogs are just like babies in that respect: they have a favorite toy and tend to ignore the rest. Watch your dog closely with toys at first, especially those that have stuffing in them. Dogs tend to like to tear toys apart and eat the stuffing, which can make them sick.
Suddenly switching foods can cause dogs' stomachs to become upset. If you can't ask anyone, get some dry food first. Dry food is usually best for the dog's digestive system. Make sure you buy a good brand, though, because cheaper, off-name brands contain fillers that could make your dog sick.
One of the biggest fears people have about bringing home a new dog is what to do if the dog relieves itself on the carpet or fabric couch. That's why you'll find a huge array of cleaning products for your pet at the local pet store.
Your best bet is to choose one cleaning product that eliminates stains and odors from carpets and fabric. Be sure to test it out on an unseen corner of fabric first, though, because it might cause discoloration. Also, make sure the bottle says it's safe to use around pets.
Another must-have cleaning product is a container that attaches to your dog's leash that holds plastic bags. These bags are used to pick up after your dog when you're out on walks, and are often scented to mask any unwelcome odors as well as treated with antibacterial agents to help prevent the spread of disease.