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What You’ll Need For Your Adoptive Dog

Adopting a puppy · What you’ll need · Behavior Issues · Grooming · Related articles
Woman hugging dog  

What You’ll Need When Adopting A Dog

The day you adopt, rescue, or purchase a new dog you’ll need to prepare just as though you are bringing home a baby. Food is the first item on the list because it is the most important thing you can do for your dog’s heath.

Love and attention is also very necessary in the first few days. Remember that your pet may feel ill at ease in a new place and a little scared. Make sure to comfort and reassure your new dog as much as possible during this adjustment time.

Adopting a new pet is a 10-15+ year committment to a new family member. Read more about this special relationship.



Use a premium kibble. Your pet will be healthier, and you will save money in the long run. Taste Of The Wild makes excellent dog food that suits dogs of all ages. Choose Lifestyle Lamb or Classic Beef.
Tips on how, when, and what to feed are in the Nutrition Section.


Filtered water is best. Change daily. Heavy ceramic crock pot liners make good water bowls because they keep water cool, are easy to clean, and are too heavy to knock over.

Please don’t let your dog drink from the toilet.


Stainless bowls and unbreakable glass bowls are superior to plastic. Plastic bowls cause some dogs to develop skin allergies and acne on their faces.


The 3 medications you want for your new dog are for fleas, heartworms and anxiety. Struggling with fleas after they invade is a nuisance. Treating your dog after it develops a heartworm infection is difficult and expensive. Avoid these problems. Your dog will be happier if it begins its life with you on medications it needs to prevent physical and emotional problems.

Flea medications
No prescription required
Use a topical flea medication, such as Advantage II and Frontline Top Spot, which is applied to your dog’s skin every month to kill and repel fleas. If both ticks and fleas are a problem where your new dog will be playing, use topical Frontline Plus or Advantix. If your dog needs extra flea protection for a few days, it can take an oral flea medication, Capstar.
Prescription required
There are also prescription flea medications. Sentinel (Rx) is an oral prescription flea medication that prevents fleas from multiplying and also prevents heartworm and intestinal worms. Revolution (Rx) is a topical prescription medication that prevents fleas from multiplying and also prevents heartworm infections.

For more information, visit the Flea and Tick section.

Heartworm medications
Prescription required
Heartworms are worms that live in your dog’s heart and lungs. They are transmitted by mosquitoes. All heartworm medications require a prescription from your veterinarian. For more information visit Heartworm Disease section.

Among the heartworm medications you can choose from are Heartgard Chewables (Rx) or Heartgard Tabs (Rx). If you want a heartworm medication to offer added protection so that it is also be effective against intestinal worms, ask for a prescription to Heartgard Plus or Iverhart Plus. For a heartworm medication that helps prevent fleas and intestinal worms, use Sentinel (Rx). Interceptor (Rx) is similar to Sentinel because it helps prevent intestinal worms and heartworm infections, but it does not help with fleas. There is also a topical heartworm medication, Revolution (Rx), which prevents fleas from multiplying and helps control intestinal worms.

Calming medications for anxiety
No prescription required
It’s best to have a calming medication, such as the Comfort Zone D.A.P. atomizer to ease your new dog through relocation. Dogs often experience anxiety leaving behind what they were familiar with and entering a whole new world. Comfort Zone D.A.P. is a pheromone that calms dogs because they feel as though they are in the presence of their mother. No prescription is required.


Detailed information on worms and deworming medications is available at Worms in Cats and Dogs. Most wormers do not require a prescription. Sentinel (Rx) and Interceptor (Rx), used for heartworm infections, control 3 types of intestinal worms: rounds, hooks, and whips. Revolution (Rx) controls rounds and hooks. Heartgard (Rx) controls hooks.


Sleeping is as important to dogs as it is to people. You’ll want a washable, comfortable, located in a quiet spot. Ortho Dream Sleeper is the best dog bed made. It has a double-sided cushion so your dog can choose miracle foam or orthopedic foam. The bumper is at just the right height to support the neck and align the spine—especially important in physically active dogs and senior pets.

Collar or harness and leash:

A harness has several Advantage IIs over a collar: it allows you to walk a dog without damaging its throat if it pulls, and it allows you to hook the dog safely to the car seat. Some harnesses, such as The Easy Walk, were developed to stop dogs from pulling on the leash so that walking a joy rather than a tug of war. The Easy Walk Harness can be used to secure your dog in the car. Dogs enjoy wearing them.

Crate or kennel:

It’s not necessary to use a crate if your dog doesn’t like to be in one, but occasionally you will need a place to put your pet where you know it cannot escape, and crates are excellent. Some dogs actually prefer to have a crate because they feel more secure in their own space.

Do not let children bother your dog while in its crate.

Kennels are outside enclosures with chain link fencing. Kennels can make dogs feel isolated. Because dogs are pack members, they would rather be with you than isolated in the yard.

Potty place and poop disposal method:

Have a designated place for your dog to relieve itself. Have small garbage bags or a shovel handy so you can pick up poop immediately and dispose of it. Worms found in dog poop infect dogs and humans. These worms cause zoonotic disease. Removing feces prevents dogs from developing the habit of eating it (coprophagy).

Chew toys:

Fulfill your pet’s need to chew with toys or real bones. These will keep your dog busy and it will stay out of trouble. Choose the toughness of the toy based on your pet. Some dogs are bred to have gentle mouths and they are happy with soft toys, which last for years. Other dogs can destroy rubber tires. They need tough toys. The ASPCA suggests these chew toys for training and playtime.

Exercise area:

A tired dog is a good dog. If your yard isn’t big enough to exercise your pet, find a park or place to swim close by.


The articles here were answered by a variety of pharmacists and veterinarians
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  • Adopting a dog will be one of the best experiences of your life--if you're prepared.

    This information is for educational purposes only and is intended to be a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise and professional judgment of your veterinarian. The information is NOT to be used for diagnosis or treatment of your pet. You should always consult your own veterinarian for specific advice concerning the treatment of your pet.

    The information about medications is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, allergic reactions, drug interactions or adverse effects, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for your pet. It is not a substitute for a veterinary exam, and it does not replace the need for services provided by your veterinarian.

    Note: Any trademarks are the property of their respective companies