Shopping List for New Puppies
Dog Food – As we have explained, we do not feed dog food (referred to as kibble). Like many other dog owners we’ve switched our Dals to a raw diet. They eat primarily raw meaty bones, eggs and vegetables & fruit, a far more natural diet for a canine than grain-based, highly processed, additive-laden kibble. If you choose to feed kibble, we would suggest Pro Plan, and we’ll provide information and coupons.
Treats – The more natural, the better. We do use commercial dog biscuits occasionally, small ones with a minimum of additives. Alpo Snaps are available at the super market, the dogs like them, and they can be broken into small pieces. Bits of kibble work fine.
Crate - Either wire or plastic, about 24 inches high and 36 long. Buy a full-sized crate for a pup and block off one end if you wish, or buy a smaller crate to start with. I generally have small crates available for borrowing. You might want two crates, one for the house and one for the car. Fold up crates are very handy, plastic crates are the least expensive. The wire crates with plastic pans are particularly nice. Crates are generally less expensive at discount stores than at pet stores and can also be found at garage sales. (Do NOT be guilty of crate abuse. Pups should be crated for no more than 4 or 5 hours at a stretch.)
Leash - At least one woven web leash, 4 to 6 feet long, about ½ inch wide. Don't invest in leather until the puppy is past the chewing stage. Never use a chain leash as it will tear up your hands. You will want a Flexi-Lead later, but not yet.
Nail clipper and styptic powder - Nail clippers are available at most pet stores, guillotine style rather than scissors style. You might also want a file to trim the rough edges. Buy a small container of styptic powder (Quik Stop is one) because you will occasionally nip a quick and have a bit of bleeding. (No need to panic, just put the styptic on it.)
Rubber brush - Bristle brushes don't get out loose hair, wire brushes are too harsh. A rubber grooming glove or rubber curry brush is just right. Any style of rubber brush will do. Buy several and decide which works the best on your dog. (Dal owners spend more time talking about brushing than actually brushing their dogs.)
Tearless puppy shampoo - Pups rarely need bathing, but be prepared. Don't use medicated or flea shampoos unless prescribed by your vet. Mild hypo-allergenic shampoos are generally the best choice for Dalmatians, choose tearless for pups. Bathe your Dal only if he is dirty, oily or smells bad.
Deodorizer - Used after you wipe up "accidents". Removes the odor, so the pup does not go back to the same spot. One brand is Nilodor, but there are many satisfactory brands on the market. A spray bottle is handy. In a pinch, use diluted white vinegar.
Toys, the more toys the better - Best choices are tennis balls, hard rubber balls and bones, Nylabones, Gumabones, Kongs, and real beef bones. "Plaque Attackers" by Gumabone are good. Floss toys such as Booda Bones should be used with supervision, as should soft rubber toys with squakers. Dals love plush toys, especially the ones that squeak, but tend to disembowel them. Clean plastic bottles are fun, unless the pup chews off pieces. Rawhides, pigs ears, and hooves can be given occasionally, as a special treat, but supervise their use. There are many “body parts” available on the market. We rarely buy them, but do like hooves for teething pups. (Throw the hooves out when the get small enough to swallow.)
Lots of newspapers and paper towels until he is house-trained - Although you probably won’t be paper-training your pup, we do suggest keeping the pup in a paper-covered area when you don’t have time to watch him. No matter how careful you are, you’re likely to need paper towels!
Possibly an "exercise pen" - A collapsible pen about 4 X 6, for keeping the pup in during the day. Homemade is fine too. He can be in his pen, on papers, while you are gone, rather than being confined to a crate all day. (Do NOT leave a pup in a crate for more than 4 or 5 hours at a time, except at night.)
- Food and water bowls – although you probably have something around the house. If you buy, metal is better and lasts longer.
- A blanket or towel for his crate - don't buy a cushion or a basket yet. He's sure to tear it up. Large old bath towels work nicely.
- A Flexi-lead. The retractable leash makes dog walking easier and more fun, but use a regular leash when he is learning to walk on leash. Save the Flexi for later.
- A bigger collar. We sent him home with one he’ll outgrow in a few months. We like the adjustable "snap collars" with the plastic buckle, but always remember those buckles can pop open. Add an ID tag.
- A chain collar or cloth slip collar for walking. It will give more control and security than a buckle collar or snap collar, but do not leave it on the dog when he is unsupervised, as he could get caught on something and strangle.
Supplies can be purchased on-line at DrsFosterSmith.com
"Super Puppy" (Vollmer), "How To Raise a Puppy You Can Live With" (Rutherford & Neill), "What All Good Dogs Should Know" and "The Official Book of the Dalmatian". Other excellent books include "The Art of Raising a Puppy" (Monks of New Skete) , "AKC Dog Care and Training" (The American Kennel Club), "Mother Knows Best" (Benjamin), "The Dog Owners Home Veterinary Handbook" (Carlson/Griffin), "The Dog's Mind" (Fogle). If you are feeding a raw diet you’ll want to read several other books on the subject. Dog books can be purchased on line from www.dogwise.com
Subscribe to "Dog Fancy" or “Dog World” magazine. Many very useful articles. You might also want to subscribe to the Dalmatian Club of America’s “Spotter” or to the "Dalmatian Quarterly".