With Black Friday looming, we thought we’d list some of our favorite things for dogs. Some of them are for the dogs themselves, and some of them are to make the dog owner’s life easier. We’ve avoided the decorative and cute things because, as most dog owners know, there are literally thousands of places to obtain them.
Things to Make Your Dog Comfy and Safe
- I originally bought these Coolaroo Beds because they do not contain stuffing, so they hopefully wouldn’t be shredded by the hounds, but I quickly fell in love. The dogs adore them, and because of the slightly loose weave and construction, dirt just falls through, instead of getting the bed dirty. If they do manage to stain it, I can simply hose it off. Our foster dog is still stinky from his skin infections, and switching to a bed that doesn’t absorb odors has made our house smell much better. He would also get scared enough to leak pee on his bed at first, and the Coolaroo Bed made sure he wasn’t sleeping in it and that the smell didn’t seep into his bedding. (Laura-C)
- My three big dogs are actually a little over the weight limit for this Buddy System hands-free leash, so I’m having an extra strong one made with a similar pattern. Training, and working on any behavior, is much easier if you’re working with both hands, and having them connected to my core makes it much less likely that they’ll trip me, or take me “skiing.” It’s also great for restaurants and other places when you need your hands but also need your dog to stay close. My dogs are not good on a leash, so this is not just for well-behaved pets. There are many running or waist leashes of a similar style, but I like this one because you can add extra dogs and unclip them quickly in an emergency. If those aren’t concerns, shopping around might get you a better deal. (Laura-C)
- Jeffers Pet is the pet branch of a farming supply company, which I found through my in-laws. They have very quick shipping, amazing prices, and a good range of things. I often shop their sales, but I can always fill my cart will bargain toys and treats and know they’ll be good quality when they arrive. (Laura-C)
- Dogwise is a fantastic resource for dog training books. If you really want to solve almost any of your dog’s problems, the books here will help you do it. (Moretta)
- The Veterinarians’ Guide to Natural Remedies for Dogs: Safe and Effective Alternative Treatments and Healing Techniques from the Nation’s Top Holistic Veterinarians is invaluable. It’s got loads of ways to treat small conditions, such as hotspots and gas, without medicine. If your dog has a chronic condition, the solutions can help ameliorate the symptoms significantly. It doesn’t shame you, either, which some of these other alternative care books seem to specialize in. (Moretta)
- The Dog Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook covers almost everything your dog might face. It helped me to recognize that my dog was starting to bloat, and it literally saved her life. My rescue partner also credits this book with saving several dogs’ lives. (Moretta)
For the Home
- Owning a dog and covering your floor can be a challenge. Dogs are going to have accidents, and carpets have memories. If you have wood or other floors, their slippery surface can be a hazard as the pets age. I finally hearkened on the solution with indoor/outdoor rugs. These rugs are made of polypropylene plastic and can be hosed off if they get dirty. Unless you get high-pile, they dry very quickly, too. You can buy them everywhere (e.g., home improvement stores, department stores), at every price point, and they are attractive enough that they can really add to a room. Just do a search for “outdoor rugs.” (Moretta)
- My second recommendation has such an embarrassing name, it better be good: It’s called Anti-Icky Poo and it goes after odors left from pet’s accidents. It blows Nature’s Miracle out of the water. Remember to follow the directions carefully, of course. (Moretta)
- OdorXit Concentrate is aimed slightly more at cat owners. If you’re in the position of regularly washing smelly pet bedding, just go ahead and invest in this stuff. It’s more expensive than other things I’ve tried, but it’s also extremely concentrated and effective. A small capful (less than a tablespoon) added to your detergent will removed urine smells (or smoke, or mildew) from a load of laundry, even if they’ve dried in. You can also add it to your carpet shampooer. Because it’s a chemical deodorizer, instead of a biological one, you can use it with soaps and other detergents, and you’re more likely to have success where you’ve tried multiple products to remove urine smells from carpet. Nothing is absolutely magical, but this comes close. It also smells nice, WAY better than similar products I’ve tried (I’m looking at you, Odoban). (Laura-C)
For the Dog Chews Who Not Wisely, But Too Well
- For some dogs, chewing is serious business; it offers stress relief and is often a joyful occupation. If your dog is a determined chewer in need of positive redirection, I cannot recommend the Nylabone DuraChew Galileo Bone strongly enough. While Nylabone has many exceptional chew toys for dogs, this nylon bone stands up to my seriously powerful chewer, and she loves it! Before we found this gem, we lost furniture and parts of our house to our dog’s need to chew, and now she spends many happy and relaxed hours gnawing on her Galileo; it’s one of her favorite toys! One “Souper” size chew lasts her four to six months, is non-edible, and very safe, though you should never leave a dog unsupervised with any chew toy. (peashelle)
- I tend to have a countdown running in my head for all the new toys I bring home. Tennis balls — two minutes. The “tough” balls? Sometimes five. Stuffed anything almost never stands a chance past ten. That was until I stumbled upon Tuffie Toys. Jackson loves bones as much as the next dog, but he has always seemed more drawn to soft toys. I couldn’t find one to handle his jaws. I got the octopus because it was the toughest they had, it floats, and it has nine squeakers! It lasted FOUR months. Not only did it last that long with Jackson chewing on it and trying to destroy it, but it also lasted that long with Mason and Jackson constantly playing tug-of-war with it. It was by far the favorite toy in the house, always the first to be grabbed and shown once we got home. Jackson would be laying on the couch, randomly get up, find his octopus, and cuddle with it. The floating feature came in handy while we were at the cottage. Because it’s machine-washable, clean up was a snap. I’ve bought quite a few Tuffie Toys since and have been pleased with each one, but this is by far my favorite. (bajoelmar)
Well, that’s what we and our dogs love — how about you? Let us know in the comments.