Where would we be without a list? That’s a real question. I looked up SO many lists of what I needed when I was looking to adopt a dog and I remember scoffing when articles would say that you would spend between $1k-3k in the first year of having them. It really makes me sick to think of what I spent on Riley’s first year. So I am here to tell you the top things I recommend when adopting a dog so you can buy these things and not worry about it! (I tried to avoid the obvious like bowls and only gave recs on essentials that I felt passionate about, but get your dog bowls to eat out of!)
Keep in mind this list was built from my experience owning a 2 year old, medium sized dog.
I’m not sure how but I managed, but I wrote an entire blog post JUST about leashes. So if you don’t want to work your way through that then here is the short list:
- This extendable lead from Amazon. It’s thick and bright! It’s a little heavier to hold but it never gets tangled!
- A 4ft thick leash. I got mine from Petsmart but this one is the same! My trainer said the thicker the better and that’s true for a lot of reasons. Mainly it doesn’t hurt your hand and if they chew it it’s harder to get through.
**BONUS: I like to take Riley hiking and I like this leash. Not necessary!
This was 100% necessary in the early days when Riley didn’t really understand walking on a leash and she would jump and tug everywhere. Now that she’s a little better on a leash and has a few more manners I usually will walk her on collar for the most part. BUT I 10/10 recommend the easy walk harness. It is attached to their front and I have way better control with this one than a back attached one.
**BONUS: A light up collar. This keeps your pup safe if you are walking on roads or if you’re like me – it helps you keep track of them if you let them run around at night!
3. Hardy Toys
This may seem dumb BUT I didn’t really understand why it’s important to buy the “expensive” dog toys in the beginning. Although the cute stuffed toys are fun on occasion, it’s good to invest in toys that will last. I have loved everything we have ever gotten from Starmark! Riley’s favorites are the bop-a-lot treat dispenser (we use it with food) and the flex grip bone (even when it doesn’t have treats in it she loves to chew on it).
4. Pee Pads, Pet Block & Febreze
These were something I avoided buying for a long time but eventually came to terms with…accidents happen. The pee pads were pretty crucial in the beginning because she would pee inside on them, then I would take the pee pad outside and she would then know where to pee and helped with our potty training! Pet block is perfect to avoid having your dog pee in the same spot but also helps to keep them off other areas you might not want them on. Also, a pet safe febreze because…dogs smell.
5. Car Seat Cover
One of the many purchases I got early on. I’m now on my second one as the first one broke (got it from Home Goods, do not recommend) but my second one has been awesome and it’s from Costco! I don’t have a link but here is a similar one on Amazon! This shield helped me train Riley to stay in the backseat while I drove instead of trying to drive the car herself.
This might be special to my dog but it isn’t something I read on any lists. But, as it turns out, dogs can get seasonal allergies like humans! So it’s good to have eye and body wipes that you can use when you bring them inside after a walk. I also stock children’s Benadryl to give her when allergens are high.
Even if you’ve adopted a puppy or a full grown dog I think training is beneficial to all! We did the PetSmart training classes and loved them. In fact we did ALL of them and you can read a more in-depth review here.
In the first few months you’ll probably figure out what your dog takes best to but the best advice I got was to get treats for training. What does this mean? Well it means two things, either jerky treats that you can tear apart or small training treats like these (hint: the ones I linked don’t dry out as fast as others!). You’ll need small, easy to chew treats to give to them when training but we also still use them for little rewards now and again. On the other end it’s also good to have ‘high value’ treats (for us, those were doggy hot dogs you can buy in the fridge section).
**BONUS: Get a treat pouch. This was something I skimped on for a while but it’s so worth it for training classes and if you take your dog anywhere where you might need a treat handy (farmers markets, to get coffee, walking in a crowd, etc.).
Overall, you will determine what is a necessity for your dog! These are just a few things I felt passionate enough to write a blog post about. If you have any questions or want any recs on anything else I have purchased for Riley let me know on my Instagram!