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Being a dog owner in 2021 is great!
There are so many must-have dog supplies, dog technology, dog foods, and other dog products available out there today that help us keep pets happy, healthy and increase their lifespan.
However, with this abundance of choice in dog supplies, sometimes it can get very confusing: which ones do you really need to buy, and which dog products are simply you pampering your pooch?
It's true that with the growing pet industry there's an increasing number of new dog products appearing on the market that are not as necessary for your everyday use or can be considered more of a commodity than a necessity.
But for every unnecessary dog product there is one essential item; a must-have that every dog needs at home (or rather you need).
The following is a list of essential dog products and must-have dog supplies as well as popular brands associated with each dog product category.
These brands have good ratings among other dog owners and have received a lot of positive reviews because of their reliability, price and popularity.
Here's a list of must-have dog supplies we'll cover in this post:
- Collars and leashes
- Food and water bowls
- Different types of grooming supplies
Must Have Dog Supplies
Dog Collars and Leashes
A dog collar with your Fido's identification tag is the easiest, cheapest and most simple way to increase the chance of finding your dog in case he or she ever gets lost.
Yet so many dog parents avoid using collars with their canines for many different reasons.
Is a lost pet worth it?
Most dog experts say that once you choose a breed and adopt a dog, one of the first few items that should be on the shopping list for your pet is a dog collar and a leash.
Did you know that according to some studies, only 15-20% of dogs that are lost are returned to their homes, and the rest remain lost or find new owners?
It's important for the dog to wear a collar on a regular basis, even if the dog is micro-chipped.
According to another study, microchips definitely increase the chance of finding your dog, but not by as much as we'd like to.
Having both a collar and a microchip on your dog would be even safer.
Dog leashes should be on your list of must have dog supplies mostly because laws in a lot of countries (including the United States) require you to keep your pooch on a leash when in public.
There are many reasons why you should always keep your Fido on a leash in certain places, mostly attributed to safety of everybody: people, other dogs and animals, and of course – your dog.
You should teach your dog how to walk on a leash so that you never hurt him or her, and so that you can always stay in control.
Dog crates are important to have to give your dog a place that he can call his own.
In addition, if you need to keep your pooch confined for a short period of time (when you leave for work, for example), a comfortable and safe crate is an ideal place.
Crates for dogs can also be used during car travel and for many other types of traveling with the dog.
Many pet owners have their own favorite types of dog crates for a variety of reasons.
Some might choose elegance and multi-use as their primary preference, so something like Merry Products' cage with crate cover set will be an ideal option for them and their home.
Those types of dog crates actually fit perfectly in living rooms because they look just like a piece of furniture.
RELATED: 5 best metal dog crates
Your dog will often stay in his crate comfortably for longer periods of time if you crate training him right.
If you bring home a young puppy, or someone who hasn't been crate trained nor housebroken, it's important that you focus on the housebreaking part first (combine that with crate training, and you'll get double the result).
Dog Food and Water Bowls
Obviously, some of the items first-time dog owners usually think of right away are dog food and water bowls for their puppies.
These are definitely must have dog supplies when you have a pet at home.
Different owners will have different preferences on what is “the best” dog food or dog water bowl, so don't simply go with the choice that your friend made. Research and see what will fit you, your home and of course – your pooch.
Because with this one, your dog will be unable to tip it over like is the case with many other bowls.
Loving Pets bowls are hygienic and bacteria resistant. They are also made of stainless steel and rust-proof nickel, thus they will last forever (or they should).
It's a common issue that you are likely to have as well.
Many pet owners have their pets spilling water and food onto the floor and they need a specific dog bowl that does not tip so easily. But then again, maybe you won't have this problem with your pooch.
The best way to know is either go with a premium option right off the bat, or buy something cheap and “test” your dog.
Finally, there's also another popular pet bowl from the same company, Loving Pet.
It's the Deep no-tip bowl, which is perfect for long-eared dogs, and these bowls are specifically designed for those types of breeds.
Using the Deep no-tip bowl your pooch can drink water and eat food without his ears getting dirty and wet. Smart!
Dog Grooming Supplies
Owning your own dog grooming supplies is great, given the fact that you know how to groom a dog at home.
You will save yourself money by not having to always take your dog to a professional groomer, and it's also a great bonding time for both of you.
There are some basic must-have dog supplies for grooming and items you should have on hand, but for a really good dog grooming session, you would probably need to research this subject further.
Dog Brushes and Combs
Let's start with the most basic dog grooming items. Pet brushes and combs like the Safari de-matting comb are often a decent solution for detangling your dog’s coat.
Using the same example, the Safari dog brush works very well on many long-haired coats.
Even in a simple item such as a dog comb, you will always find some additional adjustments that make the job of a groomer easier.
For example, this Safari dog brush has something you will appreciate – its blades could easily reverse for right or left-handed use. It's a small thing, but it matters. The same goes for other must have dog supplies too.
Dog Hair Clippers
Possibly one of the most popular items among in the dog grooming supplies section, mostly because pet owners feel it's the easiest solution for pet grooming. It's not, but we can talk about it in a later article.
It's a decent pet grooming kit to have on hand for when you need to do some quick work on your pooch's hair.
The manufacturer even includes a step-by-step “how to groom using dog clippers” DVD.
You can give your dog some funky hairstyles with this grooming kit, including a lion’s mane, but don't expect to do anything too complicated.
Dog Nail Clippers
Dog nail clippers are something you probably need to have unless you like in a city where your pooch constantly pounds concrete alone and doesn't need any nail trimming.
Otherwise, nail clippers are definitely one of the must have dog supplies for first-time dog owners.
RELATED: 10 best dog nail clippers
As an example here, we can use Safari's Professional nail trimmer or Gonicc's Popular nail clippers. These are both decent products that are rated well, and they work beautifully for cutting your dog’s nails, especially those hard-to-get nails.
Dog hairdryers are not must have dog supplies, but they can become useful. Obviously, you can always dry your dog using a special pet towel that soaks up all the moisture from the coat very well. You can even use your regular “human” towel, although those will do a much poorer job, but you'll get there eventually. Hairdryers are not necessary, but they work better than towels, as we already know from our own hair experiences.
Be careful when using a hairdryer on your pooch. First of all, do not use a cage dryer if you're not intending to monitor your pet the whole time – many pets have died under heavy cage dryers.
Second, make sure to always use your hairdryers on the cold setting. It takes longer, but it's safer for the dog.
Very many breeds have been reported to not being able to breathe well under heat from hairdryers, or simply not tolerate that heat well enough.
If you need an example of an affordable yet decent dog hairdryer, look into something like the Shelandy Grooming Hairdryer.
I would probably not go cheaper than that mostly due to fear of harming the dog.
The Shelandy one is at least well-rated and reviewed by other dog owners, and nobody seems to be reporting any deaths so far.
In the end, it'll can save you a lot of time.
Dog Shampoos and Conditioners
Pet shampoos are important to have around, because you should be bathing your dog on a regular basis, especially if you're not taking him to a professional groomer.
Normally, I would suggest making your own natural, organic homemade dog shampoo. It won't cost you that much money or work, and it will last for quite a bit. You can also be sure that no harmful substances are getting onto your pooch's skin and coat.
Alternatively – and what most other dog owners do – buy a good, natural dog shampoo that has already been well rated and reviewed.
Either one is good, and most importantly, these are natural products and can be used as soap for your dog as well. The Oster Naturals is also a conditioner and de-tangler.
In terms of dog conditioner, the exact same rules apply. Try to find something that fits your dog's coat and your dog's breed, and don't be afraid to look at the label.
Analyze and see if there are any harmful ingredients for bathing your dog, and try to take something with the shortest list of substances and that has a “Natural” or “Organic” in the title. It's the safest bet.
Dog Toothbrushes and Toothpaste
It's been said and repeated many times over already – dog's dental health is important.
Long gone are the days when we thought your pooch doesn't need any external help to keep their teeth and gums clean and healthy, and that supposedly grass is what helps them.
That is not the case, and your dog definitely requires your assistance in this matter.
Dog toothbrushes and toothpaste exist and are becoming very popular. What you do with it? Brush your Fido's teeth once every evening, exactly what you do with your teeth.
It works the same way. For an example of a decent but cheap toothbrush, take a look at something like Nylabone Advanced oral care dental kit.
It has everything you need, and it's an easy dog product to use.
Finally, the most “important” item every pet owner always thinks of – dog toys.
Dogs love their toys, and for two good reasons.
First, if you have a young puppy, they need to deal with teething and chewing on dog toys or dental puppy chews is much better than ruining your furniture and picking up random, bacteria-ridden stuff of the ground outside.
Second, canines like to practice their hunting instincts, and dog toys – especially the squeaky ones – represent prey.
Many pet owners will have a dog toy box prepared for their canines, and their canines will actually walk to the box and pick the toy they wish to play at that point in time, which works great.
It's just too bad they do not put them back in place after they are done playing! It's best to chose toys that were safe as well as fun, and sometimes even stimulate your dog's brain.
There are many decent and cheap dog toys around, but the company that currently holds the market on this due to their high quality stuff is Kong.
One of their best products to date is Kong Extreme Dog Toy, which was rated the best out of 25 other toys for puppies on our list. Honestly, every dog needs one of these!
Dog toys provide tons of fun for your Fido, and if you pick a brand that is designed for the most powerful chewers, then the toy will also last a while. Let's go back to Kong's toy for a second.
The best thing about it in my opinion is that you can stuff treats or even dog food inside of it for extra hours of fun for both your dog and yourself (trust me, it's entertaining to watch your dog trying to get something out of the Kong toy).
Aside from the famous Kong Extreme, there are other “home” toys that are very popular among many dogs and their owners. Here are a few other examples from our favorite Kong for you to look into:
- Kong Extreme Ball – Dogs love their balls! These ones have really good bounce and it is puncture resistant (but I'm not sure to what extent).
- Kong Squeaker Tennis Balls – These come in a pack of three balls, and will be great boredom busters for everybody.
- Kong Medium Cozie Dog Squeaky Toy – For the lovers of squeaky dog toys, this is one of the favorites. Somewhat durable (but still destructible depending on your pooch's size), it will really entertain your pet.
A few quick tips: Don't buy multiple dog toys at once. Try one and see how it works.
You want to learn how your dog perceives a certain type of pet toy, and if it works really well – save the money for now and let your pooch enjoy it.
Chances are he will be less interested in the new one if he's still consumed by the older toy.
Also, always choose dog toys in the right size based on your dog's breed. You don't want them to accidentally eat the toy (that happens way more often than you think if a wrong toy is chosen).
* FYI, we're not affiliated with Kong in any way. We just like their dog toys.
Depending on your outlook, dog treats might not be on your list of must have dog supplies, but they're close up there.
It is important to have dog treats at home at all times, sometimes even with you when you go somewhere with your pooch.
This is especially true if you are still in the process of training your Fido.
Because dogs react and work much better with treats and positive reinforcement than anything else. Use that to your advantage!
If you choose not to use dog treats as reinforcement, then just having them on hand as a simple treat for your canine here and there is never a bad idea as well.
Oftentimes, this will help you to avoid giving your dog something that he isn't supposed to eat.
It's difficult to suggest “the best” dog treat, but there are some winners in this category. However, you can simply go to Amazon and search for through their best sellers to find something that obviously a lot of dogs enjoy.
For example, the Milk-Bone Flavor Snacks dog biscuits seem to be working well, and dogs find them to be a delicious choice.
Greenies Canine Dental Chews, which we have previously reviewed, is another good option if you also want to maintain your dog’s dental health while training your dog.
These are just a few suggestions with regards to using dog treats with your pooch. Go out there and take a look at what else is available before committing to any one recommended product.
Last but not least on the list of must have dog supplies is something for your dog's comfort: dog beds.
Needless to say, dogs can sleep and live without a bed, but any type of dog furniture – be it dog beds, sleeping mats, dog sofas, or anything related – is designed to provide comfort for your pet.
Depending on your outlook on pet ownership or parenting, you might consider these items to be must have dog supplies or a not.
Our dogs absolutely love their beds and spend a lot of time on them when not going crazy. Dog beds (or it can be a dog crate, too) are usually your pet's favorite place.
It's their place that they know is theirs.
Given how important a bed is to your canine, it is a good idea to invest in a comfortable pet bed that your dog can call his “home.”
Now you don't have to go out and invest something like $300 on a Big Barker premium quality dog bed, but throwing a piece of cloth on the floor is also not a dog bed.
Dog owners who have already opted in for a dog crate (which is more of a must-have dog supplies item than a dog bed, actually) can also do the ultimate combo – put a dog bed inside of your dog's crate.
This will provide your pooch with extra comfort, and make his den into a truly cool home.
If you're ready to shop, do the research and make sure to buy a bed that's good for your dog's size and breed.
It would be difficult to make a suggestion for which dog bed to buy in this case, because there are so many variables that come into making the right choice here. Hopefully, you spend enough time on research before committing to anything.