First-time pet owners shouldn’t forget these essential items

Photos courtesy Companion Animal Alliance

There is nothing more exciting than bringing home a fur baby. (OK, maybe bringing home an actual baby is comparable, but we digress.) To enjoy every possible moment with your new best friend, you’ll want to be prepared with the proper supplies before they arrive. With the help of Jillian Sergio, executive director of Companion Animal Alliance, we compiled a list of essential items you need for your four-legged friends:


1. Veterinary exam

First and foremost, it is important to establish a veterinary relationship for your pet’s journey. Scheduling an initial veterinary exam will ensure that your pet is up to date on all vaccinations and preventatives, as well as prepare you with a source of care for any illnesses that may occur. 

2. A leash and collar

This one might seem like a no-brainer, but choosing the correct size leash and collar for your pet is crucial. A four- to six-foot leash and either a collar or harness are needed to ensure you keep your pet safe while walking them.

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3. Kennel

Kenneling a pet scares a lot of people, but it really is a good thing! Kenneling will help housetrain your new pet and help them adjust to their new surroundings. With training, a kennel can become a personal space for your dog to feel comfortable in and relax.

4. Identification tags and a microchip

A personalized pet ID tag and microchip is a must-have for all pet owners. While nobody plans on losing an animal, one in three pets goes missing in their lifetime. ID tags and microchips are the best and quickest ways to get pets back home.

5. Poop bags

Not glamorous and never fun to use, but nobody likes poop on their lawn!

6. Food and water bowls

Look for ceramic or stainless steel food and water bowls for your pet, as they harbor fewer germs and are more durable than plastic.

7. Treats

Having a stocked supply of high-quality treats is key to a successful pet training journey. You’ll want to have plenty of nibbles on hand to reward good behavior or just extra-adorable looks. (Check out some of our picks for locally made varieties here.)

8. Toys 

Your new pet will need a variety of toys. A shelter favorite is Kongs. They are durable and you can fill them with a variety of treats to help keep your pup entertained. Peanut butter and pumpkin are always a hit.

9. Age-appropriate, nutritional food 

Speak to your veterinarian to help find the best food for your dog’s needs.

10. Flea and heartworm prevention

Protecting your pet from external and internal parasites is one of the most important aspects of pet ownership. Our climate in Louisiana allows parasites to thrive, and pets without prevention can develop harmful diseases. Discuss your best options for preventing intestinal parasites, heartworms, fleas and ticks with your family veterinarian.

11. CAA Alumni shirt

Show how proud you are of your shelter pup and have them sport one of our CAA alumni t-shirts while you are both hitting the town!


What are your pet must-haves? Let us know in the comments below.