It is more than common for pet owners to buy a ton of needless items. So we made a list of the most important dog essentials that dog owners cannot go without. And really, there is no need to buy a single a more – it will not increase your dog’s wellbeing and your budget will thank you. After all, a happy dog is a dog which is well-exercised, that gets quality food and overall care from his owner. Dogs are really simple creatures, it is us who get to complicate things!
Brush – Furminator or Detangling brush
It is simple. If your dog sheds hair – the furminator will be your best friend. It will effectively reduce loose hair from shedding up to 90% with regular use. It does so by going through the topcoat and to your dog’s undercoat. The most important thing is that its ‘teeth’ do not damage the top coat when they remove the undercoat loose hair.
If you are lucky to get one of those hypoallergenic breeds that don’t shed and therefore have long hair, you need a detangling brush for your Yorkie or Bichon Frise. The choice is also rather large, but the slicker is the most often used, sometimes with a help of a comb if you are not so regular in your routine and allow tangled hair to happen! Just make sure to try with a soft version of the slicker first to make sure that you are not hurting your delicate friend.
Shampoo and Conditioner
If you have the shedding problem, Furminator also has a large range of shampoos that reduce excessive shedding by releasing the undercoat during the bath.
Generally, you want to avoid parabens and chemical dyes. Shampoos with aloe vera and tea tree are good for dogs suffering from ear infections. Lavender oil is good for sensitive skin dogs. Peppermint and green tea have great antiseptic purposes and are also effective at repelling fleas, insects and ticks. There are also shampoos which can soothe besides promoting skin health. This effect is achieved with Frankincense for example, but they are a bit pricier, as are all organic shampoos. Yet, all those who use organic shampoos claim that they no longer need to use a conditioner! You can use a small package from Pointy Faces or try Ollie&Co. which are also vegan as well as cruelty-free and see for yourself.
As for conditioners, they really make your dog’s coat shinier and easier to untangle. So for example, you could add Furminator’s conditioner while using an organic shampoo and see if it makes the difference. It surely will if you have a dog that sheds. Dogs should not be bathed too often so you don’t damage their natural skin oils. Having said that, dogs who live indoors need to be bathed more frequently compared to those who live outdoors for obvious hygienic reasons.
Paw balm is something you might want to consider for your dog essentials list. During the winter months, it is likely that your dog could have dry paws, just like our hands become dry due to wind and cold weather. Also, they can get dry due to the summer heat. However, this can be also a sign of an underlying allergy. These balms need to be ‘safe-to-consume’ as your dog is surely to try to lick it off its paws. They should also be non-slippery so maybe coconut oil is not the best idea. There is a variety of mixtures, but they usually contain argan oil, shea butter, etc. The balm should not only soothe irritated paws but also help them to retain moisture.
Harness/Collar and leash with eco-disposable bags
A must-have for your dog essentials list as there are no walks without these three items. You need to make a choice whether you will opt for a harness or a collar. As for the bags, you will surely use one per day, if not more, so it’s a nice gesture to the planet if you spend a bit more and use biodegradable ones.
Food and Water Bowls
The only principle is not to use plastics as this is found to contribute to allergies. Ceramic and patent-approved metal bowls are a safe bet. You also need to adjust the size of the bowls to your dog’s size so it is easy for them to reach – and hopefully not too wide so the ears for example don’t fall in as well!
Wherever you go with your dog, you need to make sure that you bring food and water with you. You don’t want dog food in your bag as its smell is surely something you can live without. You can just buy a small container for food and a special one for water like Gulpy, but you might also consider getting a bigger bag to put more stuff in. Just like you want your labello or suncream with you, your dog might enjoy their favourite toy with them!
Obviously, this depends on your dog’s size. For larger dogs, you can only go with a transporter. Depending on your country’s rules, you might definitely need one to drive your dog in a car as well.
As for smaller dogs, there are a lot of airline approved carriers. You want it to be comfortable yet light and easy to carry. If you can afford the extra kg weight and additional cost, you can get a rolling one so you don’t burden your shoulder as well. However, if your dog is near the airline’s limit, Sherpa’s lightweight bags could be the way to go.
Winter coat / rain coat or both!
As for rain, there’s really no win here… your dog is bound to get wet and dirty at some parts, you are just trying to keep it as dry as possible. But small dogs can really hate getting wet – so much that they even refuse to go potty! So by keeping them drier, they’ll have more confidence to get it over and done with! Also, a raincoat will protect your dog from the wind.
Sensitive dogs, like indoor dogs, might also need a thicker coat during the winter to keep them warm. By being indoors, they don’t get to develop the thick undercoat that outdoor dogs naturally get to adapt to colder temperatures.
You can choose between scissors or guillotine types of clippers. A general rule is that the guillotine type is better for small to medium-sized dogs whereas larger dogs are easier to handle with scissors. But it really depends on your personal preference and how your dog handles the process so make sure you start cutting your dog’s nails early on.
Tooth brush and paste
Ah, yet another unloved process both by dogs and their owners, but something you cannot afford to skip in your dog’s hygiene routine. You have a variety of brushes and paste types to choose from but unfortunately it is not so likely that a particular one will ease the process. Perhaps the safest bet is to opt for a long brush that will give you the control and the protection against biting.
Brave ones can opt for a finger-tooth brush so you are basically placing the brush onto your finger to ‘point’ better at each tooth. Note it is not so likely that your dog will let you do this as willingly as on the photograph. But then again, miracles can happen!
As for the paste, just try to use one with a ‘pleasant’ flavour as a sour one will definitely not help your case. Also, you can find one that can be sprayed onto your dog’s teeth which can make the manoeuvre somewhat easier.
Toys – rope and a ball
Way too many dog owners make the mistake of buying too many toys. Rule number one – your dog will be beyond happy if you just play fetch or go for a walk. So getting a ball and something to chew on, like a rope bone is really more than enough.
And if you want to stimulate your dog further, there is an “IQ ball” which contains treats inside – so your dog needs to figure out how to roll it in order for them to drop. Yet, if you really want to be creative, there are so many entertaining games that you can play – you might enjoy them just as much as your dog does!
Despite its smell, apple cider is your best friend as far as ear hygiene goes. But for those who would prefer a more pleasant scent alternative, there are just as effective cleaning products that contain tea tree and almond oil, such as by Natura Amica. Or ear cleaner with 100% naturally derived ingredients such as by Pro Pooch.
No two dogs are the same. You need to consult your vet on your pup’s specific needs. However, through their lives, dogs can only benefit from certain supplements. Turmeric is very powerful against infections and arthritis. You can add it to your dog’s food safely in a variety of creative ways.
Omega 3s and 6s that are contained in Viacutan are good for your dog’s coat and heart health. Mullein is magical if your dog starts coughing or has ear problems. Generally, you want to have an immune boosting supplement containing Echinacea for example, just like you need some extra vitamins during the winter months. Perhaps your dog needs more calcium or fiber if it has an anal gland issue. The good news is that you can remedy a lot of dog conditions with food and carefully chosen supplements. But food can also be the greatest source of allergies so you also need to pay attention to what you feed your dog and read those nutritional labels carefully. Make sure that you find a holistic vet who can advise you on such topics.
And this completes our recommended dog essentials list.
The most important thing is…
A happy dog is a dog who is well exercised and creatively entertained. And most of all, loved by its owners. However, loving your dog does not mean spoiling it – it won’t make the dog happier, on the contrary – you are not doing your dog a favour. They really don’t need that many things! Just make sure you choose a breed that perfectly suits your lifestyle. After you get these essential items, you can hop on the training wheel to get to know your dog better and enjoy the perks of having a best friend in the world! And don’t forget – the greatest gift you can give to your dog is YOU!