What your dog Needs

Your dog doesn’t need a wardrobe full of designer togs and toys. But there are some accessories that he really should have, for his good health, good behavior, and all-around good feeling about life. In addition to his crate or bed, the other little essentials include dishes, toys grooming equipment, a form of identification, and at least one collar and leash. Depending on his breed and the climate where you live, he may also need a warm jacket or coat, a rain slicker and even boots. And as a good dog owner, you shouldn’t forget a pooper-scooper or some other means of cleaning up after him.

Designer Dishes:
Your dog will need at least two bowls, one for food and one of water. Separate dishes are more convenient than partitioned bowls, advises Susan Stronberg, owner of Noah’s Bark pet store in Kalispell, Montana. It’s much easier to change the water if you don’t have to cope with food in the other half of the bowl. “And if your dog tends to tip his bowls, weighted dishes will keep his dinner and water where they belong,” she adds. These dishes are wider at the bottom than the top and come in plastic or stainless steel.

If your dog has long, floppy ears, they may dangle in his food and water. “A dish with an inner rim that allows his mouth to get into the bowl but keeps his ears out will solve the problem,” says Stronberg.

A Comfy Bed:
Your dog is going to need somewhere to lay his weary head at the end of a long day. You might decide on a crate, especially if he’s only a pup and you want some help with house-training. Cover the bottom of the crate with newspaper for easy cleaning while he’s still learning the rules. He can graduate to a crate pad or a piece of carpet in the bottom when his bladder control gets more reliable. Make sure that you put a chew toy and a blanket or towel in the crate, to make it a cozy place for sleeping, where he’ll also be happy to take a nap sometimes during the day.
A basket with a cushion or blanket might be more his sleeping style or a comfy dog bed that you can buy at your local pet supply store. When it comes to bedding, it really depends on what works for your dog and you.

Grooming Gear:
Every dog needs some sort of a brush, a toenail trimmer, shampoo and a soft tooth-brush, although the type of grooming implements will depend on your dog’s coat. Ask the people at the pet supply store what type of grooming implements your dog needs, advises Penny Zorn, professional groomer and co-owner of the Poodle Parlor in Kalispell, Montana. The same combs and brushes simply won’t work on every type of coat. You should also match the size of the brush to the size of your dog.

Don’t hesitate to wash your dog if he needs a bath, says Zorn. Use a quality shampoo that is pH balanced for dogs. Do not use a shampoo that is formulated for humans, because it will remove too much oil from his coat. A conditioning, detangling rinse is helpful for most long-coated dogs, but Zorn advises against a rinse if your dog has extremely oily hair.

Toothbrushes made especially for dogs come in a range of sizes. There are some with large ends for big dogs or little end for small dogs. Some fit on your finger like a thimble to make brushing easier. Dog toothpaste comes in both chicken and beefy flavors that dogs like – he won’t appreciate the human variety.