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Supplies and Tips

Congratulations! You’ve found a new best friend!

Now what?

4 Paws 4 Rescue has prepared a checklist and tips for making your new family member a part of your home.

Bare Essentials

Water and Food Bowls: We recommend metal or ceramic bowls, since they are less likely to be chewed on, and therefore less likely to gather germs.

Leash, Collar, and Tags: Every animal needs to look good. Buy a stylish collar to fit their/your personality, or go with a simple practical one like a martingale that helps keep them safe. Either way, a collar is definitely required. We recommend a standard 4- or 6-foot leash, since retractible leashes can cause injuries to both you and your new friend. Most people like to make a new tag with their contact information. Always have a collar and tag on your companion, even though they are microchipped.

Dog Food: Most dogs will come with a few days worth of food to help them transition to whatever food you’d like them to eat. We recommend any food that has meat as the first ingredient. If the dog has a special diet, we will let you know before adoption. Consult your veterinarian for more questions about food.

Crate: Not every dog will require a crate. Some dog feel comfortable in them, and prefer to spend time inside. Others need crates because they can get creative (and destructive) while you are away. Consult with your foster parent if you have questions about crating.

Heartworm Preventative: All our adopted dogs are heartworm-free, and you definitely want to keep them that way. Make sure to visit your vet within the first weeks and pick up your preferred preventative.

Bedding: Pillow, blankets, foam mats, cots, your own couch… Whatever your preferred bedding, make sure they have a comfy spot to sleep. Our foster parents can suggest some options as well.

Toys: Each dog has their own preferences on toys, but they can usually agree that more is better. Make sure to have a variety, to keep them stimulated.

Puzzle toys (homemade or bought) are always fun. Some are obsessed with balls or frisbees. Most dogs love chews (antlers, nylabones, etc). Squeakies are popular, but make sure to check if your new friend is okay with stuffed toys or if they will destroy/eat them.

Grooming Supplies: One thing is common with most pets: they have a LOT of hair! Unless you are going to regularly take them to a groomer, you will want to get brushes, deshedding tools like the Furminator, dog shampoo, nail clippers, and even a toothbrush.

Pee Pads: Some dogs need them… some dogs don’t. Even the best-trained dog can have an accident in a new home.

Treats: Unless your new dog has dietary restrictions, we recommend stocking up on treats. They are great for training and bonding with your dog.

Baby Gates: Many foster homes use baby gates if there are rooms in the home you prefer to be canine-free (like a home office). Baby gates can also be good to keep your dog inside a particular room while you are gone, or in the bedroom when you go to sleep.

Flea Preventative: There are many types of preventatives. And while not required, many owners prefer to keep their dogs on regular preventative to ensure a flea-free home. Consult your vet for suggestions.

Spoil Them

Other Things to Consider


Even though all our dogs come up-to-date on vaccinations, it’s recommended you get established with a local vet within the first weeks after adoption. In addition to getting heartworm preventative, you can get their vet records on file and have them set up in case an emergency happens.


Some dogs know their commands. Others could use a refresher. There are many positive-enforcement trainers in the area to consider. Check out our resources for some options.


Even with daily walks, some dogs need another outlet for their energy. Daycares and Dog parks also give stimulation and socializing opportunities that keep a well-rounded pup. Look for places that give plenty of run area, have a paw-safe ground, sections to separate (if needed), and plenty of supervision by staff.  Check out our resources for some options.


Every dog will have an adjustment period. This may take a few days, or weeks. Take it slow with activities, dog introductions, and expectations until they learn your schedule and lifestyle.

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