I'v grown up around dogs my whole life, but I just recently became a pup parent myself. And I'm ashamed to admit how little I knew of the most basic things I'd need when I adopted my two-year-old pup, Benji. As a New Yorker who lives in a small apartment and commutes on the subway, you'd think I'd be better pawpared for this fuzzy bundle of love bombs and lickety kisses.
So in order to spread my newfound knowledge, I compiled a list of the best (and most important) things I discovered I needed. Here are 11 essentials that all first-time pup parents need.
1. A warm coat to pawtect your pup from riotous nature.
I did NOT think about this until the day I took Benji home and realized that he was shivering while we waited for the train. Not a good sign! I immediately ordered a cheap jacket, but soon realized that skimping on price was not the best idea. I then went ahead and invested in good, hardy, long-lasting coats.
[caption id="attachment_28619" align="alignnone" width="650"] Image via PetSwag
2. Pet toothpaste and dental chews to keep those canines' canines shiny and strong.
This didn't cross my mind till my first vet visit. I figured a once-a-week type deal would suffice. But turns out that modern domesticated dogs have a diet that requires regular (think daily) teeth care to make sure your dog doesn't lose all his chompers in his/her golden years.
[caption id="attachment_28621" align="alignnone" width="640"] Image via N-Bone and Virbac
3. A solid harness for doge strollin'.
The collar Benji came wasn't the best for walking him without hurting his neck. A good harness that he found sturdy but comfortable made a world of a difference when it came to a fun walk for both of us. I was be able to see a spring in his step instantaneously! And the one below is awesome! It's strong and has a soft fleece lining on the inside for added snugness.
[caption id="attachment_28623" align="alignnone" width="640"] Image via Best Pet Supplies Inc.
4. A pawesome pet carrier.
Boy oh boy, I had the absolute worst time trying to find a carrier that a) didn't kill my shoulders and b) my dog could ride in. He's a 20-lb pooch, so it was not an easy task. I tried and tested multiple carriers and found that the wheelie bag is the most hassle free way to travel with Benji. The bag below is puptastic: it's a roller bag, backpack, car seat and tote all rolled into one! #DaEasyPeasyLife
[caption id="attachment_28625" align="alignnone" width="619"] Image via The Uncommon Dog[/caption]
5. Pee-pads for those inevitable accidents.
Maybe you adopted an older rescue that is already house-broken, like I did. Still, these were extremely helpful for the first couple of weeks when I was still getting used to Benji's go-schedule and he was getting used to my apartment. Even well-trained dogs may have accidents in new environments. They truly were my best investment yet. Plus, these also come in handy when traveling long-distance with your pet.
[caption id="attachment_28626" align="alignnone" width="640"] Image via Wee-Wee
6. A security gate to keep thieving paws off hooman treasures.
I regret not getting a security gate sooner. We all have spaces in our home we don't want our dog getting into. For me, it's my roommates' areas. As I was reading up on pooch parenting, I learned it's important to set boundaries for your dog, so they learn from the start what's off limits. And since I didn't have a security gate, I blocked off the off-limits areas with suitcases (which my pup promptly learned to get around). Womp womp.
[caption id="attachment_28630" align="alignnone" width="640"] Image via North States Industries
7. A dog bed AND a crate.
These are two separate and equally important things to have. I've found that a crate is great for when I'm not home and he needs a place to feel secure. It also keeps him from messing up my room. When I'm home, for the most part, he chills in his bed unless he's been naughty. Then, he goes straight into his crate on his own! I hate the caged look of a crate, so throw on a cover to make it more cave-like and cozy!
[caption id="attachment_28629" align="alignnone" width="640"] Image via PetSwag and Sofantex Inc.
8. A lint roller to save your sanity when it comes to your clothes. And furniture. And blankets.
There is no such thing as a completely non-shedding pup (another thing I learned when I adopted my "non-shedding" pooch. Isn't that an oxymoron.). There's always going to be some shedding here and there. A lint roller helps solve the stray fur pawblem.
[caption id="attachment_28632" align="alignnone" width="640"] Image via 3M
9. Poop bags for well. You know.
Rolls and rolls and rolls of them. No joke. I used plastic store bags for the first week (which was annoying) until I bought specific poop bags and placed a roll in all my coats! For added whimsy (and cause I'm a sucker for poop puns) I got these awesome Poop Pun Poop Bags
from BARK. #NoMatchForPoop.
10. A real good grooming brush and some grooming spray to keep 'em pretty.
The Furminator is a wonderful device for dogs with any fur length. I also added the grooming spray to my purchase, since dogs shouldn't be bathed too often. This way, you get the freshly groomed smell minus the visits to the pet salon.
[caption id="attachment_28639" align="alignnone" width="851"] Image via EarthBath and Furminator
11. A badass bandana for street cred.
Ok, I admit this isn't a must-have but OMG it's so cute, it should be! I mean it's stylish and functional, so why not?
[caption id="attachment_28618" align="alignnone" width="650"] Image via PetSwag
Have any other tips for me as a first-time pupper? Let me know in the comments below!