Dog Necessities: What do you really need?

What are the basic necessities for the aspiring pack leaders? Sometimes pet stores use their boundless enthusiasm to convince aspiring owners that they need way more than they actually do. I will talk about what should be considered absolutely essential to the new dog owner.

Waterproof Collar:

dog necessitiesCollars are essential. Once you have had your dog for a while you will notice that your dog’s collar will get wet and smelly after a while so inevitably you will end up owning two collars and rotating them. It is nearly impossible to get a dog collar totally clean unless you leave it submerged in a bowl of hydrogen peroxide or whitening mouthwash overnight. You are better off just buying a Waterproof one. Both Heidi and Thumper have OllyDog Tilden Collars that they have worn for years. They never get wet and they never need to be cleaned.



Identification Tags:

One day we were visiting my wife’s parents at their lake house and Heidi decided she would run down the road and make some new friends. She made it 300 yards down the street to a neighbor who had several dogs. The neighbor saw Heidi and greeted her. While she was petting Heidi she looked at the collar and noticed her engraved metal name plate with “Heidi” on the front and our phone number on the back. She immediately called it and we went down the street and got her. This quite frankly is worth its weight in gold because no matter how careful you are with your dog inevitably the little rascal will escape at some point. You can order this customized for your dog in most pet stores or on-line. This is a must have in the dog necessities list.



dog necessitiesA leash is really important since unless you have a lot of fenced in property you will be interacting with your dog outside by the means of a leash. There really are very many options available that it may seem over-whelming. I chose a Ruffwear Knot-A-Leash because it is made of strong climbing rope and features a Screw Carabiner as the collar attachment point. This makes sense because I have two Labrador Rescue Mixes who are strong. Heidi and Thumper both love hiking and sometimes trails can be steep. I love the option of being able to attach the leash to a pack or harness on steeper trails and having the confidence that my leash will support the full weight of the dog if they slip. Finally the Carabiner is large enough that you can easily chain leashes together to make it longer. I do this often when I’m working around the house and I want to spend time with Thumper. That is why I picked my leash. Decide on some good reasons and pick one out. A word of caution: Avoid retraction leashes. They appear to be convenient but they can also teach your dog bad habits and can make your dog less controllable on walks especially if they are bigger dogs.


Two Dog Bowls:

This is pretty basic. You want bowls for water and food. If you have two dogs you could get by with one bowl for water but each dog needs its own food bowl. In the wild food and defense of food is very important to a dog. If your dog is a rescue or has a strong food drive you might also consider getting a bowl with ridges that will slow down the dog to improve health and digestion.


Doggie Poo Bags.

This is essential. Nobody likes someone who doesn’t pick up after their dog. Buy poo bags and pick up after them. Yes it can be unpleasant. At least in the US people will just get mad at you. I’ve seen dogs poisoned in countries overseas because the owner’s didn’t pick up after them. The dog necessities must buy!


Nature’s Miracle Cleaners:

All dogs have accidents. Nature’s Miracle works very well to assist you in cleaning up after your dog even on carpets. I’ve used this personally and I always have some in the cabinet just in case. And if you end up adopting an older outdoor dog that is having difficulty learning not to mark in the house just get a belly band and put it around their midsection with a maxi pad to catch any moisture. This was the magic bullet for us that finally cured Thumper of his marking.


Dog License:

Many pack leaders don’t do this as it can be annoying but avoid the temptation not to. Question? Do you want the help and support of the local shelters and police if your dog goes missing? Answer: Absolutely. Follow your local laws and if you do end up needing help you won’t face costly fines or pain and embarrassment. Just get your dog licensed; you won’t regret it!


Dog Crate:

When you are away from home your dog should not be left unsupervised. The dog could do serious damage to you home or serious harm to themselves. This is even more essential if you are a renter. Also consider that if the police enter a house with dogs who’s owners are away they often will shoot the dogs. Leaving the dogs in a crate may seem mean but you are protecting them from themselves. It is the responsible thing to do. Heidi and Thumper have their own crates. We also bought crate beds with waterproof memory foam mattresses and washable covers. The dogs are trained to go to their crate on the command “Heidi . . . Crate.” A critical item for the dog necessities list.


Pet Alert signs for law enforcement:

These Pet Alert Sticker signs are really great and can save the life of your dogs. It is a sticker or sign that can be affixed to a home’s exterior doors. This sticker has spaces to not the number of types of pets in the home so firefighters can respond. Also consider writing a letter to your local police department noting the number of dogs, their names, that they are crated, and the location of their crate for their records. That way if the police respond to a problem and end up at your address you have minimized the risk they will need to shoot your dogs.


A toy:

dog necessitiesA dog needs to know that there is something that belongs to them. They need to understand what belongs to them and what belongs to you. You should respect their stuff and they will respect your stuff too. So a basic toy like a ball or a Kong is an essential tool for new pack leaders.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *