What equipment do I need to get started with a dog?

Welcoming a dog into your family is an exciting occasion. Our loving protectors, dogs are forever devoted to their humans, so it goes without saying that they deserve the very best care that we can offer them.

It can be tempting when you get a new dog to buy everything and anything you can get your hands on. Especially lots of treats! But what do you really need to get ready to welcome your new furry friend?

Here at Me & My Pets we are firm believers that our animals deserve the very best life - but there are so many ways to give your pet the best without breaking the bank. So, we’ve put together this handy guide, covering all the essentials – and a few luxury items of course – that you need to get ready before bringing home your new companion.

 

Little girl hugging pupper

 

Bed

Dogs vary in the type of bed they prefer. Some love a soft, comfy cushion, others like a basket – and some even prefer the floor! Whatever your dog ends up choosing as their bed, it’s important to provide them with somewhere to sleep from day one. It’ll help them to feel secure, and give them a safe haven in case they feel nervous while they’re settling in.

Dogs are naturally territorial animals, so never use a second-hand bed. Even with a bed that has been washed, your dog will be able to detect the scent of the previous inhabitant, which may make them nervous or angry.

Me & My Pets Pro Tip: Always go for a lower cost option to start with, as you may end up trying out a few different types of bed before you find your dog’s favourite! This super soft grey & black bed comes in a range of sizes and is a great starter bed.

me and my pets black and grey dog bed

 

Feeding area

Just like any other mammal, dogs need to have access to clean, fresh water at all times. Your dog will need feeding twice a day – and up to four times a day when they are puppies. They like regular feeding times, so try to keep them consistent and they will soon learn when it’s time for some food. In fact – dogs love consistency. It helps them to feel secure and confident. We recommend having a designated feeding area so that your dog knows where to go when it’s dinner time!

There’s a huge variety of bowls on the market, but we recommend starting with a pair of these large food or water bowls. A twin bowl is brilliant for a smaller space, but not so good for messy eaters, as they can flick food into their water if the bowls are too close.

You may discover that your dog is a gulper, and eats food too fast. This can cause lots of problems with digestion – resulting in tummy aches and the infamous doggy flatulence! A slow feed bowl is often the answer, as your dog will need to eat around the ridges.

black slow feed dog bowl

Me & My Pets Pro Tip: Invest in an inexpensive rubber non-slip placemat for your dogs’ bowls to stop them from being whizzed around a hard floor at meal times. It also keeps the feeding area contained and easier to clean!

 

Collar, tag and lead

Let’s face it – one of the most exciting reasons for getting a dog is, of course, walkies! Taking your dog out and about can be so much fun, especially when they have been trained to walk to heel or return to you on a long lead. You should never allow your dog off the lead until you have trained them to reliably return to you when you call them back - and then it should only be in designated off-lead areas or private land (with permission from the owner). It’s important to be aware that certain breeds are not safe on extendable leads. Greyhounds should never be walked on an extendable lead, as they can accelerate so fast that it can cause serious, or even fatal, injury.

In the UK, the law stats that every dog must be microchipped and registered, as well as wearing a dog tag when out in public. Some people mistakenly believe that if their dog is microchipped that they do not need a tag. This is not the case, and it means that a quality, durable collar is absolutely essential for your dog. We recommend a leather collar as these tend to last a lot longer than fabric, and are less likely to cause irritation or allergy, especially in hot weather.

Me & My Pets dark brown collar and lead set

My & My Pets Pro Tip: When you first start taking your dog out for walks, keep them on a close control lead so they get used to walking next to you. This lead and collar set is a great starter set!

 

Travel

Travelling with a dog can be a great experience, provided it is done safely and with the correct equipment. You should never take a dog in the car without restraint – not only is it dangerous and could result in very serious consequences for you or the dog – but it’s also a breach of the Highway Code and can invalidate your insurance.

The first thing to decide is whereabouts in the car your dog will sit. If you have a saloon car or a car with a small boot, your dog will need to travel on a seat. If you have a large hatchback or estate car then you have the option of putting your dog in the boot (without parcel shelf, of course).

Boxer dog in a car

Harness

If your dog will be travelling on a car seat, then the simplest option is to get a low-cost seat belt harness – this one is just £1.95 and clips safely onto your dog’s collar. Don’t forget to team it with a car seat protector as well!

Booster seat

If you have a small dog who loves to look out of the window, a booster seat can be a perfect way to allow them to feel the breeze safely! Just don’t forget the harness and window vent.

Dog crate

If you have a small dog or puppy, then a crate is a fantastic option for your boot. Not only is it a great safety choice, but it also protects the car from hair, mud or any little accidents! Make sure you choose a heavy duty one with a coated steel frame.

Boot protector

If your dog likes to have some more space while travelling, the boot will need protecting from scratches, scuffs and dirt. Not to mention providing a more comfortable environment for your hound! This heavy duty floor protector is ideal for an estate car or 4x4/SUV.

Car seat cushion

A car seat cushion is one of the most effective ways to transport a small or medium-sized dog. It’s not advisable to use a normal cushion, as you won’t be able to secure this safely to the car. Instead, go for one which is designed especially for transporting dogs, as it will come with hoops that a seat belt can be threaded through. This water-resistant, fully washable car seat cushion also comes with a harness built in, so it’s the perfect way to keep your precious friend safe.

Window vent

We all know that dogs love to stick their heads out of the window of a moving car. It’s an exciting way to get a flood of smells all at once, and can even stir up strong emotional feelings! But it can be dangerous too. Not just because of the risk of injury from obstacles striking them, but some dogs can get so excited there is a risk they will jump from the window - especially if they see an animal such as a cat or another dog. The safest way to allow your dog to take in the smells of a car ride without the risk, is to combine a safety harness with a window vent.

Me & My Pets Pro Tip: Using a window vent does not mean that it’s safe to leave your dog in a parked car when the weather is warm. Cars can become unbearably hot when parked, even with the windows left open. At Me & My Pets we advise against leaving any animal in a parked car, no matter what the weather.

 

Toys

Dogs are intelligent, sociable animals who love to play. It helps them to learn about the world, and to bond with humans. When dogs are not stimulated they can become bored, lethargic, badly-behaved and even depressed. So it’s essential to provide them ample opportunities to have fun! You don’t need to spend a fortune on expensive toys – often the best fun is had with a tennis ball! But if you would like to get your dog some toys then you can’t go wrong with a squeaky duck!

Just make sure that anything you give to your dog is safe – has no rips or splinters, no stuffing coming out or sharp edges. Dogs love to chew, so you must presume that anything you give them will end up in their mouths!

Me & My Pets Pro Tip: If you fancy trying your hand at some agility training, then you can treat your pet to some exciting agility equipment. Hoops, hurdles and poles all offer great opportunities for your dog to get some exercise. It can be very beneficial when behaviour training too. And if your dog is feeling adventurous then an agility tunnel can be an exciting addition to your home assault course!

 

Disclaimer: This content in this article is intended for information or entertainment purposes only, it is not intended to replace the advice of a vet or animal health professional. Your use of the information is entirely at your own risk and Me & My Pets assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of the information found on this site. If you have any questions or concerns over your pet's wellbeing you should consult your vet immediately.  

dachshund and beagle dogs playing together