Everyone wants an adorable puppy but not everyone understands just how much preparation is needed for dog ownership. Before you bring your new pup home for the first time, there are a few dog essentials that you absolutely need to pick up. If your furry friend is already with you, then don’t worry — even first-time dog owners can get up to speed fast.
I’m no exception. We adopted a pair of 5-year-old doggies who needed a new home, and on short notice. We got a crash course in basic dog gear and toys to help keep the pooches happy. If you’ve just welcomed a furry new friend (or two) into your life like I did, or you’re planning to, this guide is for you. Here, I’ll lay out the items I bought, along with other tempting ones. Being prepared can make all the difference in keeping dogs and pet parents happy, so we’ll keep this list of dog essentials updated.
My dogs sleep a lot. And since I don’t want to encourage them crashing on human beds, dog beds are a must. These beds from Furhaven use memory foam for extra support, come in multiple colors and have an L-shaped headrest. Both of my guys love them and take advantage of the comfortable surfaces whenever they’re nearby.
This product may look a bit frivolous. Spending over $100 on a dog-friendly furniture blanket feels extravagant. That said, one of my dogs absolutely loves to sleep (and snore) on the couch. She also sheds hair like a champ. While I haven’t tried the PupProtector Throw Blanket personally, the thousands of glowing customer reviews make it sound like a tempting way to pamper a pet. It’s also more visually interesting than the beat-up old comforter on my couch.
While not as luxurious as premium dog beds, this plush, reversible, stain-resistant pet blanket from Petmaker is much less expensive. And when accidents do happen, don’t panic. The covering is also machine washable.
For a comfortable and safe way to walk my dogs, I went with the Gentle Leader Headcollar from PetSafe. It’s highly rated by thousands of Amazon shoppers, and available in multiple colors and sizes for $20. It’s designed to discourage lunging, jumping and pulling during walks, all without choking your pet.
Here’s a snazzy dog poop bag holder. This one from Eliamo provides storage for pickup bags and also sports an LED flashlight. It links to standard dog leashes, too, so you won’t lose sight of poop piles in the dark.
Make sure motorists see you and your pooch during nighttime walks with the help of this gadget. The LED Dog Leash by Illumiseen glows in either solid light or flashes for extra eye-grabbing attention. Illumiseen promises a battery life of five hours, and you can recharge it via USB. It comes in six color options as well.
Dealing with poop is part and parcel of owning a dog. While it’s not a fun chore, there are ways to mitigate the yuck factor. One is to use special bags like these from Frisco. Billed as leakproof and able to mask odors, I can confirm they get the job done with less ickiness, and beat flimsy plastic grocery bags any day of the week. The kit comes with a box of 900 bags, plus two convenient leash dispensers so you’ll never find yourself without them when the time comes.
Ever wish you could train your dog to let you know it wants to go outside? The Folksmate Dog Doorbells let you do just that. Forget about translating mysterious barks — over time, and with proper training, your dog will tinkle these bells to tell you it needs to go out.
To set up feeding areas I used the Wesen No Spill Dog Bowls. Starting at $26, each kit comes with three bowls. Two are stainless steel, a 53-ounce food bowl and a 27-ounce water bowl. The third is a collapsible travel bowl designed to pack easily for trips. The last part of the package is a silicone floor mat with fitted bowl receptacles. All of it is dishwasher safe.
Kibble is intensely pungent. To keep that dog food smell from penetrating every nook and cranny of your home, you’ll need to store it properly. I strongly suggest the Iris Airtight Food Storage Container. The package includes a 33-quart (25-pound) dry food container along with a 12-quart (10-pound) container for treats. The units are stackable and the main container sits on rotating casters for easy movement and positioning.
The urge to chew objects is normal for dogs. Instead of letting Rover use your furniture, socks or shoes to satisfy this need, give your pooch a proper chew toy to gnaw. You’ve got lots of options, but my dogs love the Petstages Dogwood. It’s safer and more durable than a real wood stick, and it doubles as a great fetch toy too.
Besides investing in a good vacuum, another method to control pet hair in your home is to invest in a good brush. The Furminator deshedding brush is a popular choice. It’s designed to remove loose hair without harming your dog’s overcoat and skin. Its designers also claim that with regular use you can reduce shedding by up to 90%.
Enjoy your free time with this endearing collection of dog-centered stories. Written by award-winning British writer James Herriot, who also penned the classic All Creatures Great and Small, Dog Stories is aptly titled. Within its pages are 50 tales of loving bonds between people and their dogs.