Opinion

Dog Ownership for Newbies: Choosing the Right Dog Gear and Supplies

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New pet owners want to do everything right. Who can blame them? Floppy ears and happily wagging tails are irresistible. Dogs provide constant companionship. They are always happy to see us and provide an unmeasurable amount of love in return for a little attention. Stocking up on supplies and gear before bringing Fido home is essential. This list covers the basics of what to buy and why.

 

Crate

A sturdy crate is more than a training necessity. It forms a secure environment where the dog can feel safe. This is the place where the dog can go to relax, sleep or quietly play with a chew toy. They come in different sizes ranging from small to very large. A mistake that new pet owners often make is to choose a crate that is the wrong size. The thing is that puppies grow quickly. Sturdiness and durability aside, pet owners should consider crates based on the size the dog will become. Buying the right size the first time will eliminate the need for another trip to the pet store.

 

Training System

Dogs that will be involved in off-leash training and tracking need a specially designed system like the Garmin PRO 550+ Dog Training System. With the PRO 550 Plus, you’ll be able to work with up to 3 dogs from a distance of more than 2 miles. Dogs can easily be tracked at a glance. Stimulation is controlled by the flick of a switch. This is a must for dogs that will be trained for outdoor work, tracking, search and rescues, or for those who will go hiking.

 

Harnesses and Collars

These come in many varieties. Gone are the days of red, black or blue. Collars these days can be any colour of the rainbow. There are light up varieties, reflective, and glow in the dark. You will find a style of collar that will reflect your personality and that of the dog. Size and strength are also considerations. Improperly fitted collars can and do fail. The package will say what size dog the product is designed for. It is important to read the package instead of being lured by cute styles and colours.

Harnesses are specially designed to fit around the body of the dog. They fit over the dog’s head and around the shoulders to leave the neck free. Harnesses can be more comfortable for the dog and provide greater control when walking. However, they may not completely replace a dog collar. Local ordinances may require rabies tags to be placed on a collar instead of a harness.

 

Dog Bowls

Two dog bowls are needed to keep food and water separate. Large dogs need skid resistant bowls that won’t slide. People who are on the go would do well to consider collapsible silicone bowls that clip easily onto the dog’s leash. Specially designed water bottles that come with an attached bowl is another option to consider. The bowl fits over the bottle for easy storage and flips out for use. Metal bowls are not easily broken, but are subject to fluctuations in hot or cold weather.

 

Containment Systems

Choosing the right containment system is essential to keeping the dog safe. A good system should allow for freedom of movement while keeping the dog away from traffic or pests. Varieties to choose from include both buried in-ground containment systems and above ground fences. Renters will always need to check with their landlords before installing a device or structure. Homeowners should check local ordinances and restrictions that may be in place from home ownership associations.

 

To Rescue or Buy

Pet owners have to decide whether to choose a rescue dog or buy one. Rescue dogs offer a lifetime of love instead of a pedigree and can be much less expensive. However, their purebred counterparts often come with a health warranty and temperament information that rescue owners will not have. The decision on whether to rescue or buy is an individual choice.

 

Laws

Pet owners will also need to look into local laws before choosing a dog. Some communities may place restrictions on types of breeds and vaccination requirements. The United States Department of Agriculture is a good place to check for online information. Other sources of information about laws and ordinances include health departments, veterinarians and the local humane society.

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