The No. 1 thing your dog needs is love. Of course, that won't keep him warm and well-fed! To make sure your dog is healthy and happy, you'll need to ensure his physical needs are being met. Give him shelter, keep his belly full and make sure he's getting enough exercise. If you keep those three things in mind, you'll remember which must-have dog supplies to stock up on.
A dog's got to eat, and that means food, bowls and treats. With so many brands and types of food on store shelves, picking something your new pup will like and that's good for him can seem intimidating. The trick lies in checking the first ingredients on the label. Federal law requires pet food manufacturers to list ingredients in descending order according to weight. A quality meat source should be in the top three ingredients.
Even dogs need a little pampering now and then, particularly if your pup is prone to shedding. Regular grooming will keep him looking and feeling his best. You'll need a brush to remove excess hair and a flea comb to make sure the dog is flea-free. For extra protection, use monthly flea and heartworm preventatives.
Ear-cleaning solution and cotton pads, especially for dogs with floppy ears, will keep infections at bay. Grooming doesn't stop with combing and cleaning -- it also requires clipping! For that, you'll need nail clippers specially designed for dogs. Finally, buy and use a doggy toothbrush and toothpaste to preserve your pup's teeth.
Dogs are pack animals who benefit from a good daily walk or two. You'll need a comfortable leash that won't chafe your hand. The ASPCA suggests choosing a leash made of leather. Avoid leashes that automatically extend and retract since they do not provide the same control and safety of your dog that traditional leashes do. You'll also need a well-fitted collar or harness to attach the leash, as well as identification tags that comply with local laws and help identify your dog should he become lost.
Set up your dog's living space where he can be close to you. You'll need a crate that allows your pup to stand up fully and also turn around. Inside the crate, place some bedding -- towels, a pillow, a blanket, or anything else that's soft and comfy -- and a few toys. Set up baby or pet gates to keep your dog away from stairs or areas of the house with fragile items.
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