Doggy Must-haves – Dog Supplies
Dog supplies are things that every dog owner should have. If you are new to owning a dog hopefully this article will help you. If, however, you already own a dog, you might see some things you are missing. So, without further ado, have a look at the must-have dog supplies.
-Tags and IDs.
Awhile back, when my family was out of town on vacation, we had a family friend puppy sit our two dogs for a week. When we got back, there was only one dog at home, and a note on the kitchen counter explaining that Savanna, the younger of the two dogs, had escaped. I was horrified. I probably went through about half of the stages of grief within a few minutes.
After the panic was over, I started crying; I had lost my dog, I was heartbroken. Then, my mother hit the voicemail button on the home phone, and a message played. “Hello? We live two houses down, and we have your dog. She just came up to us as if she lives here. Come on over and pick her up anytime.”
I went from sad to happy in the blink of an eye! We got to the house, and the people there were incredibly nice. We retrieved the pup (who is laying on a mountain of blankets as I’m writing this) who acted as if she’d done nothing wrong at all.
This whole incident begs the question. How did they know where Savanna lived, and how did they know who to call? Thanks to an ID tag, of course.
Identification is absolutely essential for any dog to have. It doesn’t matter if you have the most well-behaved dog in the world, all it takes is one door accidentally left open for you to lose your pup. To ensure your dog isn’t lost forever, get your dog an identification tag.
You can find a custom tag maker at most pet store chains. Make sure you include any numbers that can be used to get ahold of you and also your area code in case your dog travels far away before he is found. Adding the numbers of some local friends and family can greatly increase the odds of you getting your dog back. Some people suggest putting your dog’s name and address on the tag. It is up to you whether you want to do this. As long as you have enough reliable phone numbers, you should be just fine.
Some vets will give you a custom tag with information on your dog’s rabies vaccine status. This can be very helpful info as they often include the vet’s phone number as well. I once found a beagle walking around in front of my house. I called the numbers on her tag, but nobody picked up. That’s when I noticed the vet tag. I called the number, and it turned out they knew who the dog belonged to, were able to call him, and arranged a pickup at the vet.
Like I said, the more numbers on your dog’s ID tag, the more likely it is you will get him back.
You can never have too many dog toys. Many dog owners give their dog a ball or two and think nothing of it, but a good number of toys will help keep your dog’s mind stimulated. Remember, if your dog is chewing on a rope, that means he isn’t chewing on your couch. Depending on your dog’s breed, it is important to give them appropriately sized toys. Nobody wants a $3,000-dollar medical bill because Fido ate a tennis ball.
-Food and water bowls.
Non-toxic food and water bowls are an absolute must for any dog. I say non-toxic because some dogs like to chew on their bowls or—like my Shweenie Ella—pick them up and throw them. I personally prefer heavier bowls so my dogs can’t just knock them over out of boredom (or spite).
I used to have only two dogs, and one water bowl was plenty for both of them. Enter Oliver. My Rottweiler, Oliver, drinks about 2 ½ bowls worth of water a day. He drinks so much water that we had to get him his own separate water bowl. Still, it seems like every time I walk into the room, his bowl is dry.
It is probably a bad idea to leave your dog’s food bag open, exposed to the air, so that it goes stale. If your dog food bag is resealable or is easily able to roll closed, you should be just fine. However, you may want to keep your dog’s food in an easily accessible container. It is recommended you keep your dog’s dry kibble in a cool, dry area.
-Collar or harness.
A good collar is not only useful for walking your dog and displaying ID tags, but also a stylish accessory you can use to express your dog’s personality. It is important that the collar you choose is of good quality, meaning it won’t fall apart after a few months of use. Also, make sure the collar is tight. You should only be able to fit three fingers underneath. Don’t worry too much about it choking. Most dogs’ necks are covered in fur, so the actual neck is smaller than it seems.
Before our yard was fenced in, we would let our dogs out on chains. Our dog Savanna (mentioned earlier) used to break every collar we got her, running full speed to the end of the chain.
That is when we decided a harness might be better, both for her safety and our wallets.
If you have a larger dog, or if your dog chokes itself when walking with a regular collar, you may want to opt for a harness. Harnesses allow more control over your dog, as they disperse pressure all over the body instead of the neck.
-Car safety harness.
When you are driving with your dog, you may want to consider their safety as well as your own. Studies have shown that people who don’t buckle up are more likely to be injured or even die in a car crash. While not as extensively researched, we can assume the same is true for dogs. Securing your dog with a properly anchored safety harness can help you drive more worry-free, knowing that your dog isn’t climbing around on the tops of seats while you are careening across the highway.
Optional dog supplies:
A very popular way to make sure your dog isn’t roaming your house at night or when you are away is crate training. There are many benefits to crating your dog, including bed space, setting boundaries, and knowing your dog is safe in his cage instead of trying to figure out a way into your garbage can or food pantry.
Crate training your dog is not for the faint of heart, though. If you are unable to stay consistent with the necessary steps to make sure your dog is content to stay in his cage, I would recommend avoiding an unnecessary ordeal and train your dog to stay in his bed instead of yours.
Note: Some rescue dogs have had bad experiences with crates, whether it be abusive owners or ignorant, but well-meaning pet parents, who cause their dog to associate crates with pain and depression. If your dog is absolutely against crating, it is best not to force him, but rather look into other options. Leaving your dog in his cage too long can cause serious psychological trauma and health problems.
These things are lifesavers no matter what kind of dog you own. Are you hosting a Thanksgiving dinner, and you don’t want your dog sitting next to your guest with his puppy-dog eyes begging for food? Dog gate. Are you worried that your dog has been eyeing that roast on the counter a little too conspicuously? Dog gate. Does your dog whine if he is locked in a room unable to see his family? Dog gate.
There are endless reasons why you might need to set boundaries for where your dog can and cannot go. Just make sure you give your dog enough toys to keep him occupied wherever you choose to section him off, and you’ll be happy with the result.
A good alternative to both gates and crating is setting up a playpen. Usually used for younger or smaller dogs, playpens provide a good amount of space while still separating him from anything he might want to get into.
A good-sized playpen will make sure your little doggy doesn’t start jumping on your guest’s legs as soon as they arrive, and if properly furnished, can serve as your pup’s own personal domain.