It's an exciting time, getting ready to pick up the newest addition to your family! When you're looking to collect your new dog, it's best to be prepared so you can focus your time and energy on bonding with your pet and settling them into a routine with you. This means it's beneficial to have everything you'll need to hand - reducing the likelihood of you having to do an emergency run to the pet shop! So what do you need to have ready?
Collar, Lead and Tag
If you are adopting a dog from RSPCA Derby, you'll receive a voucher for our shop. This is helpful for picking up a collar and lead to take your dog home with as the staff members can give you a hand fitting the collar and showing you the right type for the breed and individual. It is also a legal requirement that all dogs must wear a collar with an identification tag (which must include your name and address), despite them being microchipped, so you'll need to bring this with you to attach to their collar straight away. We also have a range of other walking equipment for dogs, which you can read about here, and our staff will be able to tell you the best equipment for your new dog after observing them on walks.
A collar and ID tag are legal requirements
Food and Bowls
The way to a dog's heart is through their stomach! It's best to get an idea of what you'll be feeding your new pet, and speak to a member of the animal care team to find out the amount of food they need, how often a day and what sort of brand they are used to. It's important to keep them on the same food for a while, and very slowly wean them onto what you plan to feed them. Some dogs will suffer from a poorly stomach from the stress of moving, which means it's best to keep them on a stable diet for a week or so before you attempt to change it. Make sure you have enough food, and the right size bowls for your dog. Some dogs prefer different types of bowls (eg. flat bowls, plastic bowls) so it's worth asking a member of staff. Make sure they have a bowl with a constant supply of clean water in at all times.
Treats are also a handy addition to your shopping list - you need to set boundaries as soon as you take your pet home. Don't overwhelm them with too many treats in the first couple of days (unless you're happy to clean up the sloppy poo that they're like to cause!) but make sure you have them around for training.
Treats are a great incentive for use during training
Unlike cats, dogs usually understand when their bed is for them. When setting boundaries, it's best to show your dog where they sleep to ensure they have an area where they can feel safe and happy - remember not to disturb them when they are sleeping, no matter how excited you are! Some dogs like to sleep in a crate, so that would be something to discuss with an Animal Care Assistant if that applies to your new pet. Make sure the bed is the correct size and height for your new pet. An older, smaller dog won't be able to climb into a big plastic bed so they'd be better off with a small soft cushion-type bed. However, a bigger dog with a passion for cuddly toys would be better suited to a plastic bed (as they can't shred it) with a nice soft blanket. Keep their bed a secure place so they feel safe when they sleep.
Look for a bed the right size and material for your dog
Play time is very important! Always make sure you purchase toys that are suitable for the breed of the dog you are adopting, as this will impact their behaviour. Smaller dogs will need smaller toys, and bigger dogs need bigger toys, as it depends on the size of their mouth as to what they can play with. Also, consider the material that the toys are made of - tough toys are designed to withstand the chewing that Staffies and other bull breeds often inflict on them! It can be very dangerous if they are able to chew apart toys, as the smaller pieces are choking hazards. Toys are a great way of bonding with your dog, as play time helps them to learn and develop.
It's important to choose toys that are suitable for the breed you're adopting
Pooh bags are a sad necessity! Not so much of a perk of pet ownership, it's still important that you clean up after your dog. Make sure that you have them to hand for any accidents, which are more likely to occur in the first couple of weeks as your dog adjusts and settles into your routine. It may well be worth investing in puppy pads for young dogs, or older ones who are more likely to be affected by an upheaval.
In winter it would be advisable to look at coats available for your dog. The cold, wet weather can cause illnesses if your dog is out for too long and doesn't stay warm. There are a range of dog coat designs on the market, including waterproof coats for rainy weather, and warm fleecy ones for dull days.
A warm coat really helped Finley in the winter as he had thin fur
This often depends on the breed of the dog, as obviously long coated animals need more grooming than short coated animals. Dogs with a short coat (such as bull breeds and Labradors) need far less grooming, and are best given a quick brush with a rubber grooming tool to remove dead fur. Long haired breeds (such as Huskies) are more likely to need a good brush quite regularly to prevent them from getting tangled. You can also pick up loads of types of pet shampoo to keep your new pet fresh and clean, and smelling good! Grooming kits for cutting fur can be found in specialist pet shops, but if you're not confident giving a cut and blow dry you'd be better off finding a professional.
Depending on their coat type, your dog may need grooming equipment
Should anything bad happen, you'll need to know you can take your dog to the vet whenever you need. It would be handy to take a look at the veterinary centres nearby and consider which one you'd be happiest using - research is key, as you need to make sure yourself and your dog feel comfortable receiving treatment. Register your dog as soon as possible for peace of mind.
If you need any help when picking up your dog from the centre, our staff would be happy to help. Our pet shop is well stocked with collars, leads, coats, brushes, shampoo and treats so we would be happy to recommend items that would suit your dog's needs.