10 Essential Accessories for The Modern Dog

10 Essential Accessories for The Modern Dog

Being a dog parent is a delightful and rewarding experience. Your dog will offer your family years of love and loyalty, as long as you provide him with food, shelter, responsible care and love in return.

Because owning a pet comes with a lot of change for both pet and pet parent, we’ve compiled a checklist of essentials to help make the journey as smooth as possible for you to offer your pooch the best life he could ask for.

1. Bed.

Dog sleeping on a dog bed

Dog beds and bedding can offer your pooch a warm and comfortable place to rest and retreat to at night and nap in throughout the day. Beds are much more than soft squares to place in your home. As a pet parent, it is important to provide your dog with a bed of her own. Beds offer many benefits and play a huge role in your pet's on-going health and satisfaction. 

A good quality bed provides cushioning for joints and bones especially older dogs that may be arthritic (Sleeping on the floor is not good for such dogs or any dog for any length of time), increased control over loose hair and dander, privacy, personal space, protection and comfort. It gives your dog something that is “his” and a safe place for him to hang out.

Sanitation is a real concern. It’s easier to clean the cover on your dog’s bed than having to clean urine and faeces off your furniture or bed. A good practice to keep is washing your dog’s bed twice a month. However, you’ll want to think about the amount of activity your dog is involved in. If she’s outside playing and getting dirty every day, you might want to increase to once a week. Regular washing can make sure that your dog’s bed stays clean and free of germs, keeping your family and dog safe and healthy.

You spend a third of your life in bed, so what you sleep on is important. The same is true for dogs, and even more so. We owe it to them to find a safe, comfortable place for them to sleep or just hang out calmly with the family.

2. Collar and identification.

Dog with dog collar and identification

Placing identification on your pet is a basic task for a pet guardian, yet so many well-loved pets run off without a collar and an identification tag to bring them safely home. A collar, with identification, is the simplest and most economical way to make sure your lost pet finds a way back to you.

Still, many pet parents delay or resist adding identification to their pets. While there are two options — identification (ID) tags and microchips — it’s a good idea to use them both. An ID tag, which is a plastic or metal medallion that hangs from your pup’s collar, lists specific contact information that will reunite you with your dog should she run off. A microchip is a rice-sized device that contains a code that is stored in a database with your contact information. 

When purchasing a collar, make sure to select a well-fitted collar. A well-fitted collar (in general, allowing two fingers side-by-side to fit between your pooch’s neck and the collar) is less likely to hang loosely, reducing the chance of something sliding underneath it. 

Pets who have never worn a collar should not be left unsupervised until you are certain he or she has accepted it. A positive introduction to a collar will make her far more comfortable wearing one permanently. It is important to introduce him or her gradually to anything new, including a collar. Help your pet find a way back to you in any emergency, from an open car window to an open gate.

3. Leash.

Two dogs on a street on a dog leash

The leash (sometimes called a lead) you choose for your dog is one of the most important decisions to make when it comes to caring for your bff. Walking your dog provides great exercise and is an important aspect to training. You are sure to enjoy your walk and keep your dog from straying or attempting to run after something it sees when you use a leash.

Whether you are walking your dog for fun, exercise, or to train him or her, using a leash is the best choice for any activity that involves your pet and the outdoors! The relationship you build with your pet is an unbreakable bond of love and respect, and there is no better way to love and respect your pooch than with a comfortable dog leash that both you and him will love.

Going out for walks is a daily necessity for dogs, so make the most of them with dog leashes! Leashes should not just be used for taking your dog for a walk. In fact, they are one of the most important aids for training dogs of all ages. Also, your dog may need to be leash trained when he needs to be taken to see a veterinarian.

Therefore is important that you choose wisely. With the right tools and guidance, training can be easy. It is worth remembering that the lead and collar are your greatest training tools.

Purchase a collar and leash for your dog.

4. Chew toys.

Dog lying on grass with a chew toy

Dogs have a natural urge to chew throughout their entire life. Chewing gives them a job to do and keeps them busy. Direct their instinctive chewing behaviour toward appropriate objects like chew and dental toys so that they don't choose your favourite pair of shoes or furniture when they have the urge to gnaw.

Chewing is also good for their dental health, as the mechanical actions scraps the plaque off and helps clean their teeth and gums as they gnaw away. There are many different types of chew toys you can buy for your cuddly canine companion to really sink their teeth into.

Natural rubber dog chew toys, which are durable and tough, can help curb this natural urge to chew before they get too carried away and destructive. Promote positive chewing habits in your pup by purchasing dog chew toys.

Purchase a chew toy for your dog.

5. Food and water bowls.

Dog drinking water from metal bowl on grass

Every pup deserves their own place to dig into dinner and wet their whistle. It’s very important that your dog has a food and water bowl for their meals and water to be placed in. Stainless steel bowls, though generally the most expensive, are the best choice. They’re strong, easy to clean and sanitise, and usually too cumbersome for a puppy to carry in his mouth.

An often overlooked but important part of your pet’s overall health and well-being is the cleaning of their food and water bowls. Just like you need clean bowls with your meals, so do your pets. Not cleaning them often results in disease and bacteria building up in their bowl.

Optimally, cleaning water and food bowls every day is the best – and if you’re feeding them wet food, you definitely should clean the bowls every day. If you are giving your pets dry food, PLEASE at least do a warm water rinse every day and clean the bowls with soap and water at least every few days.

Whatever bowl you decide for your pet, make sure you clean the bowls daily and do not leave meat or soft foods out for more than an hour. A constant source of fresh drinking water should always be available for your dog.

6. Dental products.

Dog with mouth wide open

Whether you use a toothbrush and toothpaste, dental treats, tooth gel, mouthwashes, or all of these products, a daily dental care regime is vital for your dog’s overall health and happiness. Periodontal disease is the number one diagnosed disease in dogs and can lead to bad dog breath, dog teeth problems, and more. 

It is important to use dental products specifically designed for your pet. The best time to clean your pooch’s teeth is at night before bed, after she has had all her meals. Alternatively, make sure to withhold food for at least 30 minutes after cleaning her teeth.

Ideally, you should brush your dog’s teeth daily. For dogs that detest teeth brushing, you can opt for teeth gel, dental treats and/or mouthwashes. Some dental care is better than none; so using dental care products at least three times a week goes a long way for your dog’s pearly whites.

7. Nail clippers.

Dog paw

Trimming your dog’s nails may seem like an inconvenience, but it’s actually essential to your dog’s overall health. Your dog’s nails grow continuously. In the wild, your dog would naturally wear down his nails by traveling and hunting over different terrain. That’s not the case with domesticated dogs, since we’ve greatly changed their environments.

Since domesticated dogs’ nails aren’t naturally worn down enough to keep up with their growth, we need to trim their nails for them. If you can hear every footstep click loudly as he walks towards you, his nails definitely need clipping. Nails that are too long can chip and break, creating a painful condition that needs veterinary attention.

Your dog can easily tear his toenails when playing outside. Additionally, nails left too long can make standing and moving painful and awkward for your dog. In extreme situations, the nails can continue to grow until they curl around and become embedded in the paws of your dog’s feet.

For long nails, trim weekly until you reach a desired length. After reaching a desired length, trim monthly. Be sure to avoid the quick as you trim the nails. Ask your groomer or veterinarian to clip your pooch’s nails if you are uncertain about trimming dog nails.

 Purchase Safari Professional Nail Clippers for your nail trimming sessions.

8. Brushes or combs.

Dog being brushed with a slicker brush and dried with a hand blow dryer

Choosing the right brush for your pet is an important first step for even the most basic home grooming. The right brush and brushing technique will depend on your dog's hair type. Double-coated breeds (like German Shepherds) have a thick undercoat. It is important to get all of this undercoat out of the dog or it will mat. The best tools for this type of coat are a slicker brush, metal comb, and an undercoat rake or de-shedding tool.

Terriers and wiry coated breeds have hair that is rough in texture and doesn't shed the same way as a normal dog. The best tools for these coats are a slicker brush, metal/flea comb (which has fine set and wide set teeth – fine set will grab dead hairs and pull them out as you comb), pin brush, and a stripping knife.

Silky coated breeds like Yorkshire terriers and Maltese have hair, not fur. It will continue to grow and has a very silky texture. These dogs need slicker brushes, metal combs and pin brushes to keep the hair tangle free and in top condition. For shorter coated breeds like retrievers and basenji, a slicker brush, rubber curry brush and an undercoat rake or de-shedding tool work very well.

Purchase grooming tools for your dog.

9. Shampoo and conditioner.

Dog in a metal tub with water

There are several reasons a dog may need a bath. The most obvious is that he has rolled in something and smells. You should also bathe pets with visible dry or wet dirt, a yeast infection of the skin, dandruff, allergies, external parasites, or other skin conditions that benefit from a cleansing or soothing bath using an appropriate dog shampoo.

The first rule of dog bathing is not to use human shampoo and conditioner. The pH of a dog's skin is very different to that of human skin. Shampoos formulated for humans are much more acidic and have a different pH level than those for dogs, and using a human shampoo can upset the balance of a dog's skin. Always use a shampoo formulated for dogs. Human shampoos often use harsher detergents than pet shampoos. You can do more damage than good if you use a human shampoo on pets.

Shampoos by design are used for removing unwanted grime from the skin and coat. But shampooing, without sealing the coat afterwards, leaves the hair shaft open where residue can enter and oils and hydration escape. Conditioning after shampooing will close the hair cuticle and restore hydration, moisture and elasticity.

Conditioners also fill in the damaged hair that drying, brushing, dematting and petting cause. Just normal wear and tear chips away at the hair cuticle, which a conditioner will restore to a smooth state and one that gives a more lustrous appearance and feel. For these reasons, it is vital to use a conditioner after shampooing your dog. This is the second rule of dog bathing.

Purchase shampoos for your dog.

10. Flea, tick and worm control.

Dog seated on a bed

Part of your job as a dog parent will be controlling the parasites that can plague your dog and make his life (and yours!) miserable. Fortunately, that’s much easier done these days than it once was. Not so long ago, medicated collars and shampoos were the front-line defence against flea and tick infestation.

Now there are a number of far more effective, easier-to-use controls – not only for flea and tick control, but for internal parasites, too. The only way to protect your dog and your family is to regularly treat your dog for fleas, ticks and worms.

The best flea and tick treatment for dogs includes oral treatment like dog flea and tick tablets and topical treatments like spot-ons. Topical medication (spot-on) for fleas and ticks involves applying the product directly to your dog’s skin. Most spot-ons require monthly application to offer protection against ticks and fleas.

The choice of treatment is based on what you feel is easier to treat your dog with. The best dewormers for dogs include oral tablets/dewormers. As a rule, adult dogs (dogs over 6 months old) should be treated for worms every three months with a dog deworming treatment. Puppies should be dewormed every 2 weeks till they are 8 weeks old, and then monthly until they are 6 months of age.

Having these items will help prepare you to keep your pooch happy and safe throughout their life. Take some care in purchasing these must have items your dog will need and love, and you’ll help to make your home a warm, cosy, and comforting environment for your dog. It’ll be home sweet home, both for you and your best friend.

Information for this article was sourced from drsforstersmith.com, cesarsway.com, petfinder.com, softlinesinc.com, dog-obedience-training-review.com, lovethatpet.com and dogtime.com.