Now that you have decided on welcoming a new dog to your pack, it is time to prepare your home. Before heading into dog homecoming (part 3), here’s a quickly recap of the four stages. The need, rationalisation, preparation and settling before bringing a dog home.
Having the right things and environment in place, goes a long way to settle your new pack member quickly in your home. So, let us jump paws first into the preparation step of dog homecoming (part 3).
We bring you a 10-point check list of products to make sure that nothing gets missed out in all the anticipation and excitement of welcoming your new pack member.
Since each of these areas need quite a bit of detailing, we will look at the first five items in the dog homecoming (part 3) article with more articles to follow!
Foods and treats
Just like humans, proper nutrition is the cornerstone of dog’s wellbeing. Consider the below few factors when selecting food and treats for your dog:
- Life stage: Is your new pack member a puppy, adult or a senior dog? Having the right nutritional balance to cater to the life stage is critical.
- Breed / size: Nutritional needs may also vary by breed and size of your dog. While some brands do have different foods for different breed / size, others cater to all.
- Quality: We are spoilt for choice in the pet foods and treats departments – from corner grocery stores to specialised food brands. We must be careful of the ingredients (we will talk more about this in our extensive dog food series soon)
- Type: Here again, there are so many choices. In foods you can go for kibble (dry), wet (canned), commercial raw, homemade raw, homemade cooked and a mix of one or more. For treats there are raw hides, sticks and jerkies, as well as raw. While each have their pros and cons, your dog’s preference also needs to be considered.
- Special note on treats: While excess of treat is not recommended at any life stage as they may deliver unnecessary calories, we can agree that our ‘good doggos’ do deserve a treat here and there. Mr. Popo for example gets a couple of boiled chicken heart every day as a treat. While giving treats to puppies (and even adults) make sure that there is no hazard like bone splinters etc.
Stay tuned for our dog food series that will explore all these aspects and much more.
Have a minute for a quick survey?
Also, tell us about your dog’s food choices in our very first survey to kick off the dog food series – click here to participate in The 2 min PNR Dog Food Survey
Feeding equipment includes water and food bowls. We also consider a water bottle as part of the feeding equipment. These come in handy when walking your dog in the UAE summer months. Below are some considerations while choosing:
- Material: Dog bowl materials come in plastic, steel, glass, stoneware and ceramics. While plastic bowls are typically cheaper than the rest, they are also more prone to wear and tear, especially if your dog is a chewer or is teething. For plastics, be careful of such wear and tear and get new ones to prevent ingestion of chipped parts. Further, cleaning plastic bowls, especially older ones can also be a challenge. Same as humans, one should also select safer forms of plastic. Glass, stoneware and ceramics offer greater stability but can be more expensive. For Mr. Popo, after a lot of trial and error we have settled on steel which is more durable and easier to clean. However, since steel is lighter, such bowls need to be coupled with a frame for stability.
- Slow feeding: In case your dog has a habit of going through the food too quickly, a slow-feeding bowl may be a good option to slow down your puppy during mealtime.
- Feeding stand: Last but not the least, if you are bringing home a large breed dog or even senior dogs who have issues with leaning down while eating you could consider stands that increase the height of the bowls to a comfortable level.
As mentioned, it is always a good option to have a carry around water bottle for walks. This is key during the hot summer months to make sure that your dog is well hydrated during their walks.
There are two main components for walking a dog – the lead and the collar (or harness). Let us look at the options under each.
- Leads: There are two common categories, the standard lead and the retractable lead. A retractable lead allows you the flexibility of extending and shortening the amount of lead available. This is a good option for the dog to explore and exercise freely, while still on the lead. However, this works best for smaller dogs and for dogs that are well behaved during walks. While selecting a lead, be careful of the material in case your dog is of a larger bread and needs a strong lead (typically ones made from rope or nylon)
- Collars and Harnesses: Standard collars (we do not recommend the use of choke collars), in general should not be used for dogs with respiratory issues (brachycephalic breeds) and dogs that pull very hard. Harnesses are becoming more popular now as they are good for training puppies and allow walkers more control. For both collars and harness, make sure that it is the right fit for your pup, as a tight one can cause distress and injury whereas a loose one can lead to the dog wriggling out.
Beds and blankets
While Mr Popo wants to snuggle on our bed in the early hours of the morning, he likes his own bed at night. Given that adult dogs sleep 12-14 hours and puppies 18-20 hours, the importance of beds cannot be overemphasised. So here are a few things you should consider:
- Right size: A comfy bed is which allows them to stretch out fully without any part of their body going out of the bed. Here we recommend buying a bed keeping in mind the future size of the puppy. Beds are typically sturdy and last long, hence this tip can help you the costs of getting multiple new beds as the puppy grows up. Further, getting beds with raised cushioned sides, can help the dog in comfortably curling up when they sleep.
- Ease of cleaning: The material should be machine washable, and it should be easy to take the cover off the bed.
- Special needs: While puppies and adult dogs do well with fluffy beds, you should consider orthopedic bed or beds with memory foam for senior dogs.
We love to include blankets in all for Mr Popo’s beds and this may even more important for people living in colder climates.
Toilet training aids
These become important if you are bringing hope a puppy who required toilet training. While patience and routine are the key ingredients for toilet training a puppy, the below products can help you during the process.
- Pee pads: These are absorbent pads that need to be placed in area separate from sleeping and play areas for the puppy. The idea is to slowly move them away and out of the house. You can also go for artificial or natural potty box as an alternative.
- NOTE: It is important that your pup does not become too reliant pee pads or potty boxes and feels that it is ok to relieve themselves indoor. Typically, a puppy can hold their bladder an hour for every month of age, eg. a 4-month-old puppy will need to go every 4 hours. Fixing a routine around this schedule can help in toilet training.
So, there you have it folks, our recommendations and tips on the first five areas of the dog homecoming checklist.
Our next article, homecoming (part 4), will include more helpful tips but also give you a practical guide about the costs of the key products in the UAE. So, stay pawsome and stay tuned!
Note: The above article is based on our experience and talking to other dog humans. Any part of the article should not be considered medical advice. Also, it is important that you consider and abide by the municipal / government guidelines when welcoming a dog in your home.