Rescue Shopping List: The Essential Items New Owners Must Have

It’s time! You’re bringing your new rescue pup home. When your dog comes home for the first time, he or she will likely be curious and scared. While this is a normal reaction, there are several things you can do to help them adjust. In addition to remaining calm and having a good, unified approach with your family, you will also need to buy them some housewarming gifts.

Whether you’ve just adopted your first dog or your third, there are many must-have items your dog will need, including the basics, the necessities, and any other items you may want to splurge on.

The Basics

The basic items your dog will need are items you may need even before you pick your dog up from the shelter as well as ones you’ll need immediately after arriving home. Your goal is to set your dog up for success and to make them as comfortable and happy as possible. It’s important to be consistent and try not to overwhelm your pup.

Dog Collar and Identification

You never know what could happen once you start your journey home. When you pick up your pup, you should have a collar or harness that also has their identification tags on it just in case they make a run for freedom. The identification tags should have your dog’s name, your name, and a way to contact you.

You should also consider whether you want to use a dog collar or a dog harness. While each has its benefits, if you want to have more control over your dog, you should think about getting a harness.

A harness is a great choice for rescue dogs because they apply even pressure on your dog’s body when you’re training your dog or going for a walk. If your dog pulls, the pressure won’t only be on their neck, which may make harnesses a safer choice.

Regardless of whether you choose a collar or a harness, you’ll need to make sure you have proper identification as well as a strong leash.

Food and Water Bowls

Food and water bowls are another basic item you’ll need for your pup when they get home. It’s important to establish where your dog will be eating and getting their water right from the start, so your pup can start building their routine.

While there are many food and water bowls on the market, you should consider how and when you’re going to feed your dog as well. If you’re going to be passive about feeding your dog and let them eat throughout the day whenever they want, you may choose an automatic feeder. Automatic water dishes are good because they would provide your dog with a constant supply of fresh water.

If you plan on feeding your dog twice a day, typically once in the morning and once in the evening, you can get pretty much any dog bowl. However, you may choose a deeper bowl for larger dogs and a shallow bowl for dogs with short muzzles.

Dog Beds

Your pup will need somewhere to sleep! Like the food and water bowls, it’s also a good idea to start establishing where your dog is allowed. You should determine whether or not you want them on the couch or in your bed. If you don’t want them on the furniture, it’s a good idea to get them their own bed, so they can be comfortable and relaxed.

The right dog bed will depend on the dog, but you should make sure that the bed is the right size and offers some support. It should also be scratch and tear-resistant as well as have a non-slip bottom.


Once your dog gets a little more comfortable, he or she will likely want to play. Many pet parents will have toys that are meant for inside and outside, and you should have a few options for both. You may want to consult with the shelter to see what kind of toys your dog liked while at the shelter.

For inside toys, you may choose stuffed animals with squeakers. These are soft on your dog’s mouth, and if they’re thrown, they likely won’t damage items in your house. Outside, you can go with the tried and true tennis ball, just make sure that the tennis ball isn’t too small for your dog to possibly swallow it. It shouldn’t be too big either.

The Necessities

These items are necessary, and your dog probably shouldn’t go without them. The first on this list is an absolute must.

Food and Treats

Dogs will need to be fed. They’ll need to eat! There are plenty of dog foods on the market, and it really depends on the type of food you want to feed your pup and also on your budget.

As dogs are carnivores, they’ll need a good source of protein. It’s important to get your dog a brand of food that lists animal protein as the first ingredient. In addition, your dog should have a good mix of carbohydrates and fats.

Treats should have similar ingredients.

Sanitary Items

You will have to clean up after your dog. When they go potty on a walk or in the yard, it’s important that you clean up the mess to avoid spreading bacteria and parasites. For this reason, you’ll need poop bags and a pooper scooper to make yard clean up a little easier.

Grooming Tools

Like humans, dogs need to be groomed a few times a week. You’ll need a brush that’s appropriate for your dog’s hair type. If they have longer hair, you’ll need a more durable brush with longer teeth. Dogs with shorter hair might need a softer brush.

You’ll also need to give your dog a mani/pedi every few weeks. This will require a nail clipper or a trimmer.

Lastly, your dog needs their teeth brushed! Brushing your dog’s teeth and keeping them clean will prevent gingivitis and teeth problems as they age. Find a good toothbrush and a tasty toothpaste to make the process a little easier.

The Splurges

These items are things that dogs don’t necessarily need once they come home. However, they may be items you can get to help them transition and thrive.


Depending on your training style, a crate might be appropriate for your rescue pet. Crates give your dog a safe place to go as well as keep your pet from getting into things they shouldn’t or destroying your furniture. They can also be good tools to help with potty training.

Puzzle Toys

Puzzle toys are for dogs that are active and like to learn. These toys involve hiding smaller toys or treats in compartments, and your dog would have to try to figure out how to open those compartments in order to find the treats.

Final Thoughts

Our list for splurging on your pet could go on and on. You may look into dog clothes and high-tech or flashy versions of their basic and necessary items. Dogs are pretty easy going creatures, and they don’t require a lot other than love and affection. While they need these basics and necessities, it’s important to give them time to adjust to their new surroundings.



Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published