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So, you’ve decided to get your first dog? But what dog essential items do you REALLY need?
We recently took the decision to adopt a dog. An ex racing greyhound, since you asked. He’s an absolute lump of an animal but it’s the best decision we’ve made. The kids love him, we love him and he’s encouraged us all to become more active.
Before we adopted Vader (yes that really is his name, his race name was Darth Vader but in reality he’s less Sith Lord and more Sloth Lord, a real couch potato!) I did a lot of research. What would he eat? Where would he sleep? Do we need to get rid of EVERYTHING so he doesn’t chew it and so on.
We’ve had Vader for six weeks now so I think I am just about in a qualified position to let you know what you really need for those first few weeks and what was a waste of time and money:
Dog Essential Collar & ID Tag
It’s a legal requirement that all dogs wear a collar with the name and address of their owner. I got my phone number on Vader’s too as I had room. You can get them made up at your local pet store, ours was from Pets at Home. There are different shapes and sizes to choose from and a selection of fonts.
Dog Walking Essentials
Our dog has a particular walking collar which is thick which is suited to his breed as they have long delicate necks, I am sure many other breeds are the same. We bought our lead and collar from the greyhound rescue – they sell a lot of the items you need so it’s worth checking yours as it helps them too. Harnesses are another way of safely walking your dog. Even dogs that have perfect recall have to wear a lead at times.
Poo bags! I cannot stress this enough… POO BAGS! Take twice as many as you think you’ll need. On a fifteen minute walk we usually need two, I kid you not! You can buy them from your supermarket with your weekly shop or pet stores.
Dog Essentials – Food
OK, so this is obviously an essential. When we first got Vader we were fostering him and we were given the food that he had been eating at the kennel. If you want to change a dogs diet you need to do it gradually by giving them a little bit of their new food with their old food so they become accustomed to it. You can expect there to be a bit of a change in their poo while they get used to it.
All food is not made the same, a lot of popular brands have a lot of sugar in them so do a bit of research. Just because something is popular or expensive does not make it better. Also check it is suitable for the breed of dog you have.
We’re currently trying Tails.com as I have heard good things and got a good deal. You answer questions about your dog, which breed, age, weight, dietary requirements and so on and the food is tailor made for them and delivered once a month. If you want to try it for your own dog you get one month free by clicking this link. You have to pay £1 for delivery and I get £10 store credit.
Another very popular food for dogs is raw food which is available in pet shops but can also be bought online from shops such as Bella & Duke. A lot of people swear by raw dog food but you need to do your research and also have room to store it in your fridge/freezer.
You’ll need a bowl to put their food in. A lot of greyhounds use a feeding stand, this means they don’t have to stoop down to get their food – we use this one which we got from Amazon. It washes up really well too.
Whether you buy bespoke treats, make your own or give them a carrot, treats are a great way to train your dog. We carry a pouch of treats when on a walk. We were sent these from Skinners which have proved popular with Vader
Dog Essentials: Health & Grooming
You will need some bits and pieces to keep your dog in tip top condition.
A decent brush is essential. My absolute favourite is the bamboo moulting masage palm brush from Mikki it is fab at removing hair. Speaking of hair you’ll need shampoo. Don’t go over the top with washing as it’s not great for your dog’s skin but you’ll need a shampoo, especially if they like rolling in, um poo.
Vader has dry skin so I am topping his food up with salmon oil which I bought from Amazon. There are several available but we have this one xxx
You want your new best friend to be comfortable and in fact an old duvet is perfectly adequate as a bed but it doesn’t look as nice as a proper dog bed. Make sure it is washable though, trust me!
When you first bring home a rescue it can be overwhelming to have too many toys for them but having something (other than your shoes and furniture) to chew is a good idea. Toys that keep a dog occupied are great too. We were sent these from Nylabone, they taste like meat (apparently) and you can hide treats and other food in the rhino which keeps him occupied for a few minutes.
Keeping your home clean
This is something that is very important for us as we have allergies in our house. The main issue for allergy sufferers is the pet dander which is basically their dry skin cells, like dandruff. If that is a problem for you then as well as anti histamines a daily vacuum around is essential.
Hoover sent us one of their cordless Hoovers, an H-FREE 300 PETS, which I have found brilliant for a quick whip round each day. It is much quieter than most vacuum cleaners, which is good as Vader is nervous of loud noises, and has several attachments so it can be used to clean stairs etc too. The main head is lovely and slim which makes going under furniture a breeze. It also features a light so you can see all the crumbs and hair you might otherwise miss. To buy your own H-FREE 300 PETS, currently on offer for £159.99, click here
There will no doubt be a lot more dog related posts – my Instagram is already full of Vader, I have become THAT person!Follow me on social media for more!
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