Thinking back on when I brought Pedro home, and him being my first pet that didn’t live in a bowl of water, there was a lot I wish I had known. Sure you think of the normal things like a bed, food, leashes…but below I will break down the TOP 5 THINGS A NEW DOG OWNER NEEDS now that I consider myself an experienced Chihuahua Mama.
- POP-UP TRAVEL FOOD BOWLS – As a baby Pedro was 2lbs so I could bring him along everywhere and even now at 3x the size he often comes along for a ride. I would always bring a plastic food container to pour some water for him to drink until I found these excellent pop-up dog bowls at one of our favorite online stores . They are compact (so they take up no room in a handbag) or you can hook it to your dog’s leash.
- A COMPASSIONATE VET – Before you bring your little guy or gal home, ask around to see what veterinarian your friends and family use. Sometimes the place where you get your dog will provide you with some “recommended” doctors. I followed this list and found out that their suggested doctor was not a good fit for me. After bringing Pedro there for a few months for his shots and puppy check-ups, I bumped into a neighbor who suggested their vet – who turned out to be excellent. Having a vet who is compassionate and willing to listen to worries of new dog/cat owners (which usually turn out to be nothing) is very important.
- HARNESS – Seriously..how can anyone walk a dog when their leash is attached to the collar around their neck? I mean physically, yes, we all know it is possible and popular…but I just think it can be cruel at times for our smaller furbabies. I recommend a good walking harness which will secure your dog lower around their neck and chest to prevent choking. If your dog is smaller (4lbs or below) one that velcros on the bottom is fine, but if your little guy is a chunker or if you want it to be more secure, find one that secures on the back with a D-ring (this one I use for Pedro).
- PLAN OF ACTION FOR A MISSING DOG – Have a plan in case your furbaby gets loose. Of course proper training and recall commands would be ideal, but sometimes dogs will pick up a scent that gets them in the zone and they ignore their owner. Know your local shelters and even not-so-local shelters and contact information. My favorite site to help get prepared is www.oliveralert.com (sounds like amber alert which is for missing kids). Facebook and other social media can also be a great tool in this stressful time. Oliver Alert has a great Facebook page where you can send in a picture and missing dog info and they will repost it to their 9k followers! Some other good sites are; www.lostdogsearch.com, www.missingpetpartnership.org and www.findtoto.com.
- DOG BELLY BAND (FOR BOYS) – When Pedro was little sometimes he would get excited when company would come over and make a few little drops of “tinkle”. A dog “Belly Band” is a little clothing contraption that looks like a cloth belt that velcros around your dogs “peen” area. Inside you put a folded paper towel (but I have some friends that use feminine pads) so that if he gets so excited he starts leaking that it does not go on the floor or your friends! A simple Google search for “Dog Belly Bands” will turn up numerous results.