If you’ve just come into possession of a dog, then you might wonder which items to pick up in order to make life easier. Let’s take a short tour of some of the ones which simply cannot be dispensed with:
A dog will need a collar, consisting of a strap around the dog’s neck, along with a hanging pendant which carries his name, along with the address to which he should be returned or a number to contact you on. This will allow them to be easily identified in the event that they should become lost.
If you want to take this a stage further, you can have the dog chipped – this is a quick, painless procedure which will enable the dog to be much more easily identified. The chip itself is a small pellet which is injected just beneath the dog’s skin, carrying a digital barcode which can be referenced against a database in order to identify it. This allows whichever vet or animal shelter has come across the dog to discern exactly where they should be returned to.
Dogs are not, by nature, sedentary animals. Those who do not get sufficient exercise will quickly become fat and therefore at greater risk of high-blood pressure, diabetes and osteoarthritis in later life. By taking your dog for regular walks, you can ensure that they get the required amount of exertion into their day.
You will need to get them a lead in order to walk them without losing control or getting told off. The sight of other dogs, people and flashing lights might be too much for an excitable dog; they may run off at a moment’s notice, to pursue whatever distraction has caught their attention. If this is another dog, the result can be extremely stressful.
Keeping new dogs on leads can also help to assert your authority and thereby reduce the problem of dominance aggression. When you become more familiar with the dog and their habits, or when the dog becomes more disciplined after a prolonged spell of ownership, you can take a more relaxed approach to the lead.
Some dogs are more difficult to control than others. If yours is of the boisterous variety, then a harness might be just the thing to keep him in check. It distributes the tug of the lead over a dog’s entire body, rather than just the neck – thereby helping to reduce the strain placed on the lead. With a harness, you’ll be able to walk the dog without fear of it running amok at the slightest provocation.
If you get into the habit of taking your dog for long walks, the chances are that your travels will take you out into the countryside. Britain remains home to a wealth of green and pleasant land and so offers plenty of scope for dog walkers to stretch their legs. However, some of these walks will take you off the beaten path. In autumn and winter, the trail may become muddy. Sometimes you may come across streams and puddles which your dog will delight in pouncing into. The result, when you return to the car, will be a happily filthy dog. This is bad news for your car, which may never be the same again unless precautionary measures are taken.
Car boot protectors are an increasingly popular means of protecting clean car boots from dirty dogs. Boot liners for dogs are inexpensive and can be removed, washed and replaced easily, while ensuring that you can exercise your dog without sacrificing your car cleanliness.
The chances are that at some point during your dog’s life, they are going to need to visit the vet. But there is a problem with this – the waiting room of a vet is going to be packed with other animals, with whom your dog might not get along so spectacularly. In such an environment, it is important to keep your dog under especially tight control – and this is where the carriers come in.
Carriers come in different varieties – some are rugged plastic boxes with cage doors on the front but some basically amount to glorified rucksacks. We suggest opting for the most robust variety. Ensure that you buy a carrier large enough that your dog can fit comfortably inside. Unfortunately, in the case of larger dogs like Mastifs and Great Danes, a carrier won’t really work – there is no way such a dog can be carried anywhere!