Labrador Retriever - Basic SuppliesYou will want to put some identification on your new Lab right away. Most pet stores sell identification tags, both the engraved ones and the temporary ones. Just make sure your phone numbers (home and cell) are on the dog’s tag. You can get one with his name later, once you’ve figured out what to name him. Put the tag on a buckle collar (nylon or leather) that will be on him all the time. If you’re bringing home a puppy, you’ll have to replace that collar a couple of times as he grows.

Puppy Essentials
You’ll need to go shopping before you bring your puppy home. There are many, many adorable and tempting items at pet supply stores, but these are the basics.
Food and water dishes. Look for bowls that are wide and low or weighted in the bottom so they will be harder to tip over. Stainless steel bowls are a good choice because they are easy to clean (plas¬tic never gets completely clean) and almost impossible to break. Avoid bowls that place the food and water side by side in one unit—it’s too easy for your dog to get his water dirty that way. Leash. A six-foot leather leash will be easy on your hands and very strong.
Collar. Start with a nylon buckle collar. For a perfect fit, you should be able to insert two fingers between the collar and your pup’s neck. Your dog will need larger collars as he grows up. Crate. Choose a sturdy crate that is easy to clean and large enough for your puppy to stand up, turn around, and lie down in. You will need either a large crate that can be sectioned off for while your puppy is small or you’ll need to get a couple of different crates as he grows up.
Nail cutters. Get a good, sharp pair that are the appropriate size for the nails you will be cutting. A large pair of scissors-type clippers work well for German Shepherds, but your dog’s breeder or veteri¬narian can also give you some guidance here.
Chew toys. Dogs must chew, especially puppies. Make sure you get things that won’t break or crumble off in little bits, which the dog can choke on. Very hard rubber bones are a good choice. Dogs love rawhide bones, too, but pieces of the rawhide can get caught in your dog’s throat, so they should be allowed only when you are there to supervise. Chew toys must be large enough that the dog cannot inadvertently swallow them.
Toys. Watch for sharp edges and unsafe items such as plastic eyes that can be swallowed. Many toys come with squeakers, which dogs can also tear out and swallow. The toys, including balls, should be large enough so the dog cannot choke on them. All dogs will eventually destroy their toys; as each toy is torn apart, replace it with a new one.

A leash is also a necessity so you can restrain your new dog as you bring him home, take him to the veterinarian, and for your walks together. Don’t ever take your Lab outside of your house or yard off-leash; not only is it illegal in most places, but your dog could also dash away from you and get hit by a car, or get lost.

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