10 Products For A Dog’s First Year All New Pup Parents Need

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There's nothing quite like being a pup parent. Dogs offer unconditional love, they're always excited to see you, and they're happy to do whatever you want to do. If you're adopting your first pup, there are some products for your dog's first year that will ensure Fido feels safe and secure. Because a happy dog equals a happy human. The first thing you want to do is learn everything you can about the breed of dog you're adopting. Each breed is different, and the more you know up front, the easier it will be for both you and your pup.

Obviously, you want to feed Fido a healthy and balanced diet. There are lot of options, so make sure you do your research. My dogs have allergies, and I've found that Grandma Lucy's freeze-dried dog food keeps them super healthy and allergy free. It's also human grade, and my roommate and I joke that it's what we'll be eating come the zombie apocalypse. One of my dogs is a picky eater, but he loves this food so much that he starts singing for his supper hours before meal time.

When it comes to beds, toys, leashes and more, you don't have to drain your bank account to keep your pup happy. Fido just wants a soft place to sleep, a ball and toys to chase, a super-fly collar, and unlimited belly rubs. If you're shopping for your dog's first year, these products that all new pup parents need will help your new four-legged friend make a smooth transition into your home.

1. Collar, ID Tags & Leash

The first thing you want to do when you bring your new pup home is get them a collar, leash, and identification tags. Make sure the tags have your contact information so you can be reunited with your pup in the event they get lost.

2. Crate

Most pup experts recommend crate training your dog. If you're adopting a puppy, start crate training right away. A crate is basically your dog's apartment. It's where they feel safe and secure, and it also ensures they're not chewing on furniture when you're not home.

3. Baby Gates

If you're adopting an older dog who's not keen on crate training, baby gates are the next best thing. In fact, baby gates are a must for all pup parents. You can use them to control which rooms your dog has access to. These are a staple in my pup-parent toolkit.

4. Puppy Pee Pads

Whether you're adopting a puppy or an adult dog from your local shelter, you're going to need some pee pads. While your pup will eventually get on board with the whole potty training thing, it's definitely a process that requires patience and a lot of pee pads.

5. Training Treats

When you adopt a dog, it's important to establish yourself as the leader of the pack. This means teaching your dog basic commands. You should only use positive reinforcement to train your pup, and training treats are a great way to reward Fido for a job well done.

6. A Kong

Puppies and some adult dogs have a lot of nervous energy, and it's important to keep them busy and focused on a task. Kong toys are a great way to do this. You can fill them with peanut butter, give one to Fido, and relax knowing that he'll be busy for quite a bit as he focuses on getting the peanut butter out of the Kong into into his mouth.

7. Toys

Every dog needs toys. Dogs love balls, toys that squeak, and toys for chasing and tugging. It's important to spend a lot of time playing with your pup because a tired dog is a happy dog. Make sure you get toys made for dogs that don't contain small parts your dog could accidentally swallow.

8. A Comfy Bed

Whether or not you let your pup snuggle in bed with you, it's important to make sure Fido has his own bed. Dogs like to have a safe space to retreat. I have a dog bed in every room.

9. Food & Water Bowls

It goes without saying that Fido is going to need a feeding station. Elevated food and water bowls are best because they keep your pup's head up while eating, which prevents them from potentially aspirating their food.

10. A Veterinarian

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OK, this isn't a product, but you're definitely going to need a good veterinarian. Use Yelp or ask other pup parents for advice. During the first year, your dog will need vaccines. If you're adopting a puppy, your pup will need to be spayed or neutered. In addition, your vet can advise you about safe and effective options for grooming, dental care, and flea and tick prevention.

Optionally, you can purchase pet insurance. While this may seem unnecessary, if your dog needs major surgery or gets cancer, it can save you thousands of dollars. My dog has a chronic health condition, and all of the trips to the vet over the years have drained my savings. If I could do it over, I'd definitely insure her.

The most important thing all new pup parents need is an abundance of love and patience. While the first year may be difficult, the long-term rewards are 100-percent worth it.