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Bringing a dog home for the first time - what things do I need?

little girl in pet shop with pug shopping for supplies

So, you're planning on adding a new dog to your family – we don't blame you! There's really nothing quite like the companionship and love you get from "man's best friend".

Whether this is your first dog, or you're a seasoned pet owner, there are likely to be a few things you'll need to pick up in preparation for your new pooch. Here are a few things to help you get started:

It's All About the Bed

Especially in the first few days, your dog is likely to want their own space where they can feel safe and comfortable. When picking out a bed, it's important to select one that will be big enough for your dog and that will be easy to keep clean. We like dog beds with removable covers that are easy to launder (like the LaiFug Memory Foam Dog Bed).

What's for dinner?

Selecting the right dog food for your pup is extremely important. We actually aren't fond of giving our dogs too much human food, as it can be nutritionally deficient and lead to other issues such as obesity and heart disease. Instead, we recommend selecting a quality dog food formulated for your dog's size and age. Looking at ingredient labels will allow you to find one that is low on fillers (such as corn products) and high in nutritional content, such as meat and meat meal.

Setting the table

Once dinner time rolls around, you're going to need something to serve it up in, right? In our experience, one of the most common mistakes pet owners make is selecting the wrong size food & water bowls. When selecting the right dog bowl for your pet, keep in mind their size. Large dogs will be able to eat more comfortably with an elevated food dish, while smaller dogs will prefer a dish set on the floor. We prefer the Pet Zone Adjustable Elevated Dog Bowl set.

Going for a walk

Taking your dog for a walk is great for both of you; your dog gets to take in some smells, and both of you get some exercise! It's a win - win! Before taking a tour of the neighborhood however, you're going to need to pick out the right leash. We know that it can be tempting to pick up a cheap leash, but these often have weak clasps that can allow your pet to get loose. We really like the iYoShop Dog Leash Pet Rope Leash - and it's even comfortable on your hands!

Getting Licensed

Many states and municipalities do require dogs to be licensed and may impose steep fines on pet owners that fail to abide by state/local dog licensing laws. Check with your state and local municipality to determine their requirements and ensure that your dog is properly licensed. As an added benefit to licensing, many states and municipalities use this program to get your pooch home to you if they get lost.

Set up barriers

Will there be rooms that your dog isn't allowed to go into? If there are rooms cannot be closed off by a door, it's always a good idea to set up gates or barriers to keep your dog out. We have tried a lot of gates and we like the Regalo Walk Thru Gate for its convenient latch system.

Is your home "dog proof"?

We have a saying in our house: "if you leave something on the coffee table, the dog is going to knock it off". As a result, we've gotten very good about keeping a clean coffee table, but it's important to take a moment to go through your house and move things that may get damaged or chewed on (especially important for puppies). They probably won't mean it, but those tails have a life of their own!


As dog lovers ourselves, we know how easy it is to forget something when you're getting your home ready for your new family member. Hopefully, this list will help you get started!

We hope you and your pooch have a wonderful time getting to know each other and many years of memories to come!