Top 10 Must-Have Items for New Pet Parents

Getting a new pet is exciting! No matter what type of pet you choose, that cute little fur-baby is bound to steal your heart and is probably already an integral part of your life.  But now that you’ve got him home, what do you need to make him comfortable? Beds? Portable water bowls? Wet food or dry? With so many choices, it’s hard to know what’s important and what is not.

Here are the top 10 must-have items for new pet parents:

  1. Food and water bowls
  2. Beds
  3. Collars and/or leashes
  4. Litter boxes
  5. Rabies vaccinations
  6. Identification Tags
  7. Safe space or kennel
  8. Toys
  9. Treats
  10. Training materials

The Basics: Food, Water, & Shelter

When thinking of all the things your new fur baby may need, it’s good to start with the basics. While your pet will definitely need more than food, water, and shelter, it’s not a bad place to start.

Food and Water Bowls

Bowls can come in many varieties and there are pros and cons to all of them.  Probably the biggest debate amongst food and water bowl types are raised bowls versus those that sit on the floor.  Bowls that sit on the floor are typically cheaper and more decorative than elevated bowls.  They are easily portable, and easier store as well.

However, in some dog breeds, there have been studies that show that floor bowls have an increased risk for bloat, so if you have a breed of dog that is prone to this condition you may want to consider this before purchasing.  On the other hand, the argument for elevated bowls is that they aid in digestion and reduce strain on the neck, hips, and back of the pet. Elevated bowls also encourage neater eating from your pet, whether your new sweetie is a cat or a dog.

Regardless of whether your bowl is raised or on the floor, it is generally accepted that stainless steel bowls are the best to purchase.  They are durable, but most importantly they reduce the risk of bacteria.

Pet Beds for Your New Pup or Kitty

Once you decide what type of food and water bowls you’re going to purchase, you will need a place for your pet to sleep.  A good pet bed is a must-have for any new pet owner.  As with everything, there are plenty to choose from.  Whether you want a bolster bed with sides, an orthopedic bed, a pillowy cushion, or even a cot, you should take into consideration the type of pet you are bringing home.  The breed and space availability in your home should be considerations in your decision.

If your new pet is the kind with puppy dog eyes and a waggly tail, then a dog leash and collar is imperative, as well as the rabies vaccine. (As a treat to yourself for being a responsible dog owner, you should also get pet id tags or a microchip.) 

Leashes and collars are stylish and functional in case your puppy escapes to take herself for a walk and ID tags with your contact information are definitely a good idea.

Litter Boxes & Other Kitty Supplies

If your pet is more of the feline variety, then a litter box is your next imperative.  Cats naturally like to dig and bury their feces, so after placing your little purr cat in the box a few times so they can get acclimated to the feel and location, they will naturally go back to do their business.  Very little training involved! If you do need help training your kitty to use the litter, check out this article that we wrote to help you.

Just as with a new dog, a collar and a rabies shot are necessary; in fact, it’s the law.  In addition, most groomers and vet offices will require the certificate before allowing for services.  Avoid the headache and potential fines and get the vaccine.  There are many clinics that rotate in the area and offer this as well as other vaccines for a discounted price.

must-have items for new pet parents

A Little Extra for your Fur Baby

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s get to the fun part!

Regardless of whether you have a cat or dog, they will need a place to sleep. Cats love to hide, so choosing a cave-like space would be perfect for them to sleep at night or during the day.  Place a small blanket inside their home, or even a nice soft towel to provide extra comfort.  They will love it and you will have a little peace of mind knowing you won’t have to look on top of the cabinets when trying to find your kitten, (hopefully!).

For a puppy, dog training is key.  One of the easiest ways to start this is through crate training.  There are really great explanations for the how’s and why’s of crate training.  The general idea is that it gives the dog a known safe space to go to when she is feeling overwhelmed because it engages the pup’s natural inclination to rest in a den.  For you, it drastically reduces house breaking time, as well as gives you a place where your pup can go where she won’t be unsupervised.

As with all things, it is not a catch-all for everything and cannot be taken advantage of or it negates its purpose and does more harm than good.  A dog crate can be found almost anywhere and there are a few styles to choose from.  The main attribute to look for is a crate that will grow with your dog.

It defeats the purpose of the crate is so large the puppy can do his business in the corner and lay down on the other side. Look for crates with removable and adjustable partitions so you can invest in a one that can grow with your pup.

Play Time!

Chew toys, dog toys, cat toys, are a must-have in any new pet home.  Play and enrichment are great ways to bond with your pet and will definitely get some laughs out of the whole house. Win-win! You can get a variety of toys with multiple purposes depending on the needs of your pet and your personal style for play.  There are even toys specifically designed to entertain and sharpen your pet’s mind while you are away.

Training for Dogs and Cats

While most think of dogs when they think of training, cats can benefit from training as well.  There are many effective ways to train your cat which can be done virtually on your own time and the safety of your own home (go away COVID!). Cats can even compete in agility tournaments as well as tricks and some behaviors.  The style of training for cats is different, but if this sounds like something you would be interested in go for it!

Training your dog is also a good idea to look into when bringing home a new friend.  As a pet parent, you will have an idea of what you are looking for in your pup but some of the necessary equipment regardless of what you’re looking for would be training treats as well as a clicker.  It takes a minute to get the hang of but is incredibly valuable as a training tool. It focuses on reinforcing desired behavior rather than punishing negative behavior.

How Can We Help?

Here at Space Coast Pet Services,  we want to help you with all your new pet needs.  Poop cleaning not what you thought it would be?  Pregnant and just learning that litter boxes aren’t the best thing for you? We’ll take care of it. Need help walking that rambunctious new furry friend? We’d be excited to help! Last-minute trip fur baby can’t go on? We’ll watch over everything.  No matter what your pet needs are, we can help! Contact us today to set up a meet-and-greet!


Melanie Haynes



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