Along with making sure you have plenty of time to spend with them and what breed is right for your family, you need to make sure you have all the right equipment to keep them happy and healthy. There are also a few legal requirements to take into consideration as well.
From 6th April 2016 it became compulsory for owners to ensure their dog is microchipped by the age of 8 weeks. Although a lot of breeders or rescue centres will get this done, it is the owner’s responsibility to keep contact details up to date. Along with microchipping, when a dog is in a public place the Control of Dogs Order states that all dogs must wear a collar and identity tag. This tag must show the owner’s name and address (including postcode); your telephone number is optional, as is the dog’s name. If both of these requirements are not adhered to, you may be fined.
Other things you will need to think about are vaccinations (to keep your dog protected from certain diseases), flea and worm prevention and also pet insurance in case your dog falls ill or is involved in an accident.
Now For The Fun Stuff!
Many people consider crate training new puppies as it not only gives peace of mind that they are safe when they cannot be supervised, but crates also provide an area for pets to use as their own space for peace and quiet to relax and sleep. When getting a crate, it is worth considering the adult size of your dog to save buying multiple crates; ensure it is big enough for them to lie in stretched out and stand up in when fully grown. Make sure that you have suitable bedding to put in the crate for them to feel warm and secure – consider size, comfort and ability to clean. Puppy pads may be useful for toilet training and absorbing accidents in crates.
Collars, harnesses and leads will need to be bought a number of times until your puppy reaches their adult size. They should be comfortable and suitable for breed, size and age. It is essential that collars are checked regularly so they are not too loose that they could slip over their head, or too tight (you should be able
to fit two fingers underneath). Some breeds are more suited to harnesses so less pressure is put on their necks if they pull (e.g. toy breeds or dogs with, or prone to, respiratory problems). Also, don’t forget a supply of poo bags for walkies as you are required by law to clear up after your dog and dispose of it in an appropriate bin!
When choosing food and water bowls consider non-slip mats, raising bowls off the ground for larger breeds or slow-feeder bowls for those that are tempted to gobble food down very quickly. It is also worth thinking about the size and shape of the bowl in relation to the breed. Don’t forget travel water bowls for when you are out – it’s not only you that will need refreshments on a long walk! Then you will need appropriate food for your dog – this is often adapted depending on the age, size and breed of your dog. What food is right for your dog is often a real problem for new owners, but our nurses offer clinics to give you the right advice to have a happy and healthy dog.
Coats can be really beneficial when out on walks for keeping dogs warm and dry. They are useful especially
in short-coated/recently-clipped dogs, or older dogs that may have some arthritis that would benefit from keeping warm. High-visibility jackets are also available and should be used when out for a walk in the dark. As with collars, jackets also need to be regularly checked for fit.
Grooming will not only keep your dog looking smart and prevent matts in longer-haired breeds, but can be a way of forming a great bond between dog and owners. Different types of coats require different types of brushes and although it should not be necessary to bath your dog too much, always use a suitable pet shampoo. Toothpaste and brushes should be used to avoid dental disease, so getting your dog used to it is advisable.
Keeping Your Dog Safe
You should consider stair-gates to prevent your dog getting upstairs. Think about outdoor kennels/runs if they are going to be spending lots of time outside to ensure that they are protected. When travelling in the car, the Highway Code states dogs should be restrained and not able to distract you when driving. This can be achieved by a travel crate, dog guard or seatbelt harness.
Toys are important to provide mental stimulation, help with teething and tooth cleaning. Playing with interactive toys is again another way of forming a great bond with your dog. Toys can cause problems so you need to select them really carefully so they are not too small and could be swallowed or splinter if chewed (please don’t be tempted to throw sticks as these can cause major damage). Some toys, like Kongs or puzzle toys, are able to have treats hidden inside which can be a great way of keeping your dog entertained when you are out).
This is by no means and exhaustive list of what you may need or want for your new four-legged addition to the family but at Scarsdale Vets we are always available to help through nurse or vet consults. Or you can visit our retail area where our retail and client care team can help you find what you need for your new dog.