Dog ownership, while delightful and rewarding, carries the responsibility of a number of inevitable purchases. In order to properly care for a dog and to comply with certain local laws, the owner must have a number of dog accessories in his or her arsenal of pet supplies. Some of these items are necessary and others are conveniences. It is important to know exactly what you’ll need to properly care for your dog.
Most of the truly necessary items for dog care are fairly obvious. If you have a dog, you’ll need bowls for his or her food and water. Mid-size to large dogs have a habit of moving their food bowls around the room as they eat. This can make a lot of noise and leave you searching around for the bowl at feeding time. The problem can be solved by using a heavy ceramic bowl that is difficult for the dog to move. A sturdy plastic bowl with a rubber lining on the bottom can be useful as well. The rubber on the bottom prevents the bowl from sliding around as your pup enjoys mealtime.
For taking your dog on walks, you’ll need a leash and a collar. These can be as simple or as elaborate as you’d like, but of course you’ll want to take the size and strength of your dog into account when selecting them. The collar can (and should) be adorned with a town license tag or at least an ID tag that provides your name and contact information in case your dog is lost. My preference, as far as leashes go, is that they be four feet in length and no wider than the dog “needs.” A small dog does not need a leash (or collar, for that matter) that is 1″ wide. I tend to buy leashes that are 5/8″ or 3/4″ wide for my dog, Raegan. Raegan is about 18 lbs. and I don’t really need anything bulkier than 5/8″ for her. I wouldn’t want anything heavier than necessary around her neck when we’re out and about on our strolls.
You’ll need some sort of system for “clean-up” while you’re on your walks. I have a waste bag dispenser that clips onto Raegan’s leash and I make sure I keep it full of bags. If you want to get fancy, they even sell floral scented waste bags now. Strangely enough, I’m allergic to these but I know that they’re available. Most areas have laws about cleaning up after your pet and I’m sure that you don’t want to wind up with a hefty fine for non-compliance.
There are literally thousands of optional items available for people to purchase for use with their dogs. I know this because I have purchased most of them. Some of these items, like doggie water bottles, serve a very useful purpose. If Raegan and I are out hiking, she can easily drink out of her bottle to rehydrate. Others serve no real purpose and are decorative or just plain silly. I am a big fan of the decoration and silliness! My pup looks too cute in hair bows to resist them!
Depending on where you live and how hot/cold it gets, you might want to get your dog booties. They do a good job of protecting the sensitive pads of a dog’s feet from rough terrain, rocky areas, hot pavement, icy conditions, and salt that isn’t pet-friendly. If you wouldn’t walk barefoot on a surface, then your dog probably shouldn’t either.
I could go on and on with these lists and I could even make arguments that what some people consider “optionals” are actually “essentials.” How else will Raegan know that she is my Valentine if I don’t give her heart-shaped toys and a leash and collar set with XOs on them in a few weeks?
While there are always plenty of items to buy for your pet, don’t forget to go heavy on the TLC, attention, hugs, cuddles, and kisses. All of those belong on the “essentials” list and they’re absolutely FREE!