Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Pooches: New Dog Essentials

 It's funny thinking back about how clueless I was when I first adopted Miss M. The night before she came to live with me, I stopped by the pet store to get some things I thought she would like. Looking down the endless rows, I really had no idea what I should get. What I ended up with: A rope animal toy that would painfully whip me when she played with it. And the tennis ball head that was destroyed in a day. A little green stuffed frog that was destuffed that same day. And a dog bed that met the same fate.
As I've been meeting more people who have recently adopted dogs, they've been asking the short list of what I would recommend when they bring home their pooch. I'm definitely not an expert, but these are the top things that come to mind:

1)Kongs & Nylabones:
These are good toys that won't be destroyed instantly, and they are good to have on hand for misplaced chewing behavior. We live my our kongs and we love that they double as a mental stimulation 'puzzle' that will be sure to tire out your pooch. We still put peanut butter in our kongs, and freeze them, and the dogs actually look forward to us leaving. We also learned from Love & a Leash that you can put the pooches' food in the kong as an extra challenge, or a decoy if your dog is on a diet.

2) Pet Insurance:
 We don't work for the company, but I always feel an extra obligation to tell people about pet insurance. Both of our pooches have pet insurance, and we have literally saved thousands of dollars. The most important thing is to get the insurance almost immediately after getting your dog; this way your dog won't have any pre-existing conditions that the insurance won't cover. E has researched several of the companies, and the one we like the most is Trupanion. Most pet insurance, like the kind I irresponsibly got Miss M, won't cover breed-specific ailments. So things like allergies will never be covered. We like that Trupanion covers all of the ailments regardless of breed, plus they don't have a huge bump in premiums when your dog becomes an Elderbull. (Mr. B was on Embrace pet insurance and his premium increased 40% when he turned 7!)

3) Crate
Growing up we just used to have our new dogs in a gated portion of the house, though I think crating is the more accepted thing now (or at least for those of us who have smaller spaces). The good thing about the crate is the new dog will have their own private space. Plus, having a crate trained dog is a definite benefit so they have options of staying with friends if you have to go out of town.

4) Nature's Miracle:
This was the main thing I had forgotten, and even with our dogs now it's the first thing to go into their overnight bag. Even the most housetrained pooch is bound to have an accident when their schedule is disrupted.This is the short list, and once you get to know more about your pooch and their needs, you can start picking up some of the more specific things.
I'm sure there are several important things I left out. What does everyone else recommend?

Fun Fact: That top photo is of Mr. B when he was new to us. We had been corresponding for several weeks with his foster mom, and we went out to Michigan to meet him. That same night, we all went camping together before driving back to Chicago.


Ali said...

This is a great post, I have been asked this before and, on the spot, couldn't think of the bare essentials. But you guys nailed it.

Anonymous said...

MayzieMom here. The nylabones are a MUST. Dogs that are stressed like to chew more than usual, and coming into a new home HAS to be stressful.

I'm glad to hear you like Trupanion. We just switched over to them not long ago.

The only thing I would add is a collar with a tag (or a collar embroidered with your phone number on it) in case the new dog bolts the door or somehow gets away from you and pretends that they've never seen you before in their life. :)

Poodles to Pit Bulls Clicker Training said...

I would add a martingale collar for a new dog, to make sure they can't back out of it.

And some bully sticks.

And a clicker.

OK that's it.

=-) Great list!

Unknown said...

Well that explains the look on Ms. M's face in that camping picture. He was brand new and she still was not sure about him lol

kasia077 said...

I think Musher's Wax is a must for anyone who has a pooch in the city during the winter time. The salt is horrible on their paws and I often end up carrying Max for blocks at a time before we get to the safe unsalted dog park (I lost the doggie bootie battle with him a long time ago and decided to move on). Musher's Wax protects his paws from the cold and salt and is great on my chapped hands as well. I sometimes use it in the summer to protect his paw pads from the hot sidewalks.

Although it doesn't work as well as booties, it certainly makes a difference.

SherBear said...

The most essential thing to have with a new dog is a sense of humor!! And no emotional connection to any material object left on the floor.

Trupanion is by far the best pet insurance out there!! I work in the human insurance industry so I had a better idea than the average pet owner on what to look for in a policy. What attracted me the most was that the deductible is per condition, not per policy year. Perfect if Nala were to get an ongoing ailment - I would only have to pay the $1,000 once and not once a year. Also since I adopted Nala when she was 11 months old I was able to buy back hip dysplasia coverage for only like $2.50 more a month. Her premium would only increase as she gets older if I lower the deductible.

I'd also recommend puppy training pads, especially if you have carpeting. Nala is housebroken but since she is only one and I've only had her for 3 months she will still occassionally have accients - especially when my schedule is off. Now I can leave her out of her crate when I'm gone and not worry about having a mess to clean up.

Kristine said...

Isn't it crazy when you think back to how little you actually knew before bringing home a dog. And i had actually done a ton of reading for months beforehand. I thought I was an expert. Ha!

I would add a soft leather leash, as opposed to a rough nylon one. I made that mistake and it cost me the use of my hands for several months. :-P Those leash calluses were a sight, let me tell you!

Trissi_V said...

I forgot about the crate...the crate is a must. Also, defining boundaries is a must...I think having blankets down on the floor for them to lay on helped emphasize where their boundary was. It was a great training tool for us.

Patty said...

great list! I usually suggest finding out what food the new dog is being fed so you can make sure to have the same brand on hand. Then you can slowly wean to a new one if desired. But at least it helps their tummies cope with all the new changes

Anonymous said...

For us, we always have brown rice on hand.

I make some and freeze it so that I can heat it up for a minute or two and have it on hand when we need it. Our one dog has a sensitive stomach and we will give him rice when he's not feeling well or if he's nervous.

And, go for the stuffed animal that is meant for tough play. You may pay around $15-$20 for it, but it will last a thousand times longer than the cheaper toys.

Unknown said...

I have not bought the Kong toys yet, I just havent been sure if that was going to be effective. Through this post, I now know what kind of toys we will be investing in. Our pit tears his toys up so quickly, we have resorted to only buying toys from the dollar tree. :) thanks for the post. We love hearing from you guys. And these two pitties are the cutest, Ive ever seen.

Froggy said...

For pibbles a good winter coat if you live in cooler weather

Unknown said...

Great list and comments. I put "If alone I'm lost" on my dog tags so her finder knows she belongs to a person. then I microchip, too...Love Ms M's expression at Mr. B in the first photo - who the heck are YOU? LOL

Kate said...

Great list. It really hard when you don't have the dog yet - especially with toys. I've spent so much money on toys that the dogs don't like because I bought them before I really knew what their preferences are. I've found that every dog enjoys a good peanut butter stuffed Kong though!

Two French Bulldogs said...

Great ideas. One thing mom should have Horton for my Lily was insurance. Anything with peanut butter is a winner too
Benny & Lily

Tucker The Crestie said...

Great suggestions!

brooke said...

We love Trupanion too!
We've learned to always have canned pumpkin stocked for those times when Darwin has soft serve poops.

Felicity said...

Is it just me, or is Miss M going "who the hell is this guy" in the first photo? She looks kind of annoyed/confused ;)

Rachel said...

Excellent list! My pups love nylabones (our lab didn't like them so much at first, but since our pitbull can't live without them he has taken to chewing on them as well- if for no other reason than to not be left out!). Stuffed toys don't work at our place... if only we could teach our pups to be gentle like Mr. B!!

And I agree with SherBear... a sense of humor is vital!!

jet said...

The top photo of Mr B and Ms M is a great one, I love how Mr B is gazing at the camera and Miss M is gazing at him.... I wish I had done the crating thing with Barbie as soon as we bought her home - would have saved our carpet a little!

Anonymous said...

Excellent short list! I would add FOOD to the list too ;) Heh heh

Waggin at ya,

Rebelwerewolf said...

We have a little mutt that looks innocent but can disembowel a stuffed toy in a couple of minutes. His favorite toys (other than food) are deer antlers, which are durable and don't splinter like a bone. They average around $8 apiece, but they last about two months for our dog.

Unknown said...

Valuable information and excellent design you got here! I would like to thank you for sharing your thoughts about cheap pet insurance into the stuff you post!!

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