I’ve grown up with spaniels all of my life. However, before adopting Woody, I wanted to make sure I had all of the new dog essentials to hand so he felt welcomed and comfortable in his new home. We’ve had Woody for four months now and he’s really settled in. Today I thought I would share with you all of the things I have found useful since adopting Woody!
If you’re looking to adopt or bring home a new furry friend, I wouldn’t recommend buying everything all at once. Firstly, it’s expensive but also it’s hard to know what your dog likes and dislikes ahead of time. Everything featured in this post has been purchased or aquired slowly over the course of the last month, as and when we have needed them.
*indicates an affiliate link, though I only include products I’ve trailled, tested and highly recommend myself!
New Dog Essentials
Food, Water and Bowls
There are so many different types of dog food, it’s crazy! It’s also tricky to figure out which one is best for your new four legged friend. With such a vast range in flavours, ingredients and price it can be a little bit confusing to say the least! Woody was originally fed on Chappie* wet and dry food however, after a little experimentation we have now settled for Wainwrights Salmon and Potato.
Woody has two bowls at home. A metal one for fresh water, which he has access to 24/7. The other is made of bamboo and I use it for his food. Though the bowl is down all the time, I fill it with food twice a day. One thing I would recommend is sourcing a food measuring cup. You can pick one up for free from Pets at Home and they’re so useful!
Dog Bed and Cushion
We let Woody sleep in our bed at night, partly because we live in a shared house so there’s not a lot of space. For this reason, I didn’t think he’d need a bed of his own. However, one weekend when we were home alone, I noticed Woody couldn’t settle. In fact, he managed to scramble into our dirty laundry basket to take a nap. A quick trip to the shops and I bought him a Ruffer and Tuffer dog basket* and an Oval Cushion. The basket is made of hard plastic, quite similar to a laundry basket in fact! Once I brought it home, Woody hopped right in and settled straight away! I’ve since bought a second one for when we are at work. It fits nicely under my desk and Woody chills out there throughout the day.
Collar, ID, Harness and Lead
By law you should ensure your dog has the correct identification. This means your four legged friend should be microchipped, with the correct details and he/she must wear a collar with an up to date ID tag when out and about. You can purchase an engraved ID tag inexpensively from pet shops or your local cobbler or engravers.
Woody came to us with a collar, harness and lead. He still uses the same lead but for one reason or another, I’ve upgraded his collar and harness. If you own a dark/black coated dog, I couldn’t recommend a light up LED collar* enough! It’s helped me feel so much more confident while out walking in the woods or in low light, knowing I can see Woody even if he’s running around. There are three different settings, however we stick to the continuous light!
After Woody chewed through his previous harness, I went out to replace it straight away. My family never used harnesses with out previous dogs, however I’ve found it super helpful for Woody. Not only does it help lessen his tugging but the 3 Peaks Fleece Harness is florescent and reflective, helping me to see Woody when we’re out and about! The fleece lining ensures a comfortable fit, which is useful as Woody wears his harness the majority of the day, particularly when I’m at work.
Dog Toys and Balls
Once again, when I went to pick up Woody, his previous owners kindly gifted us some of his favourite toys. The blue ball is his favourite and he goes crazy for it! I have picked up a few extra balls* here and there, as they’re easy to lose on a walk! Generally, for our sanity, we have a no squeaky toy rule in our house, however somehow this football from Pets at Home slipped through the net!
Woody is rarely left on his own, he comes out dog walking with me most days. However, when I really need to focus and spend time at my desk one thing I have found super useful is his Kong. It’s particularly handy between walks, when Woody is a little agitated. Stuffing the Kong with kibble and treats keeps him occupied, stimulated and out of trouble for a little while at least!
Reference and Breed Specific Books
If you’re welcoming your first ever dog into your home, or perhaps a brand new breed, I would recommend doing some research beforehand! My mum kindly sent me some recommendations of books to read shortly after getting Woody. I’m currently reading this book* by Jan Fennell, which is what my parents used while training Millie. It’s a really interesting read, as it breaks down common behaviours and explains them from a dogs perspective.
In addition to reading books, blogs and websites, I’ve found it really useful to connect with likeminded individuals on Facebook. I found a Cocker Spaniel specific Facebook Group, which is a hive of activity and cuteness as everyone shares photos of their fur babies! It’s a great resource when you have a burning question and I’m finding it a great little community to be involved with.
Grooming and Health Supplies
It’s important to maintain your dogs health, for obvious reasons and there’s plenty you can do at home to help. Flea and worm treatments are a must, which you can purchase in your local pet shop, or prescribed by your vet. At the moment I am using shop bought treatments, however once they have run out I will definitely be transitioning to a prescription. Shop bought treatments do not always cover every variety of worm, flea or tick – it’s better to be safe than sorry!
In addition to general health, it’s important to keep good maintenance of your dog’s coat. The correct diet for your breed is a must but there’s plenty else you can do at home. Spaniels are notorious for having ear and eye trouble, particularly as they’re constantly sniffing about. Therefore some pet wipes are a must! I’ve also got Woody some pet shampoo, for when he jumps in particularly smelly bogs, or decides to roll in fox poo (eww!)
I’ve also got a set of scissors and a variety of brushes, which help me maintain Woody’s coat at home. Fortunately there’s not too much to do, apart from check for fleas and trim between his toes every so often! I keep all his grooming things in a washing up bowl, which I fill with water if he needs a clean. Towels are also incredibly useful for drying him off, cleaning up spills and just general use. They’re easily picked up in charity shops, supermarkets or found lying around the house!
Woody’s Equafleece has been revolutionary. Though it’s a little pricey (ranging from £30 to £40 depending on the size of your dog) it’s been totally worth the investment. I bought Woody a full body suit, to dry him and keep the house clean – boy has it delivered! Instead of using a dog towel to dry him off, I simply pop on his Equafleece after a muddy walk and he dries off in his own time, without the mess!
While planning this post, there were so many new dog essentials that I have found useful! There have also been purchases I’ve made that aren’t always necessary for everyone. Of course, every dog and owner are different so by all means take this post with a grain of salt. At the end of the day, you know your dog best and as long as he/she is healthy, happy safe and well, you’re doing a great job!
Living by the sea and owning a rowing dinghy, we enjoy spending time by the sea. When I first brought Woody home, I was excited by the idea of taking him out for trips in Marge the Barge. So far, he’s only been for a ride once and it’s still a work in progress. However, this doggie life jacket not only ensures he’s buoyant if he falls overboard but is also a great way for him to associate wearing it with going in the boat!
Living in a shared house, Woody is not allowed upstairs. Therefore a stair gate was at the top of our shopping list before we took him home. Crating your dog is another option, however a stair gate suits us fine!
Toothbrush and Toothpaste
I’ve never brushed our dogs’ teeth before, however I was intrigued by the process. I bought this doggie toothbrush and toothpaste on a whim, not expecting too much from it. At first, Woody was not a fan but overtime I won his trust. Now, in the evenings, he’ll excitedly sit and wait his turn to brush his teeth (after us, of course!) Brushing your dog’s teeth is not a necessity and there are many ways to keep plaque at bay. However, Woody is now used to being handled around his mouth, which will prove very useful for future vet check ups!
I’ve really enjoyed writing about our new dog essentials and I hope you’ve found this post useful! What do you think every new dog owner should have? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
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