Here’s a general checklist every dog should have:
- An air travel approved crate! A crate is also a great training tool!
- A strong 6 ft. leash and a backup leash. Both should be made of leather or biothane.
- A strong dog collar that contains identification of the owners contact details.
- Bedding that is machine washable.
- Stainless steel water and food bowls.
- Grooming tools such as a hair brush.
- Toys such as the classic Kong!
- Quality dog food. If you’re looking at dry food make sure the first ingredient is a meat and not corn or some other type of grain.
- Supplements to keep your dog healthy. From Omega 3 to Glucosamine.
- Training tools. Treats for positive reinforcement and electronic collars for safe correction.
There are many dog crates out there. Some will say get metal while other will say get plastic. The main thing to be aware of before purchasing any kind of crate is that the crate should be airline approved! Plastic or metal, an airline approved crate will not only be a convenient tool for travel, it also offers a safe haven for your dog. Above all, a dog should learn to build a relationship with his/her crate and understand that when inside its crate, no one will ever bother them.
A 6 foot leash
A six foot leash (preferably leather or biothane) is recommended for most dogs. Why 6 feet? 6 feet is just right for practicing formal obedience and it provides extra slack for a dog when needed for the average height of a man and a woman. Although the length of a leash is always debatable among dog owners, from extensive personal experience, 6 feet hits the sweet spot. It’s not too long and it’s not too short!
A dog should have a collar on at all times. This will identify that the dog is a property of someone and if lost, a dog with a collar has a higher chance of being returned to its rightful owners compared to a dog without one. Although it is preferable that dogs get an implanted identification tag, it always helps if there is an attached identification on the dog’s collar.
Bedding can make a big difference for your dog when it rests. A good quality bedding can keep a dog warm and very comfortable. A good bedding also cushions a dog’s joints when it rests so it helps dogs with joint problems.
Unfortunately today, there are many kinds of bedding for dogs that can be confusing to choose. But it’s simple! We recommend bedding that is machine washable or at least have a cover than can be removed to be washed. Bedding that is machine washable is naturally durable and very easy to clean and a very healthy option as cleanliness is key to health!
Stainless Steel Bowls
We choose no other material because stainless will last. All you need are two quality stainless bowls for water and food and they will last a lifetime (a human lifetime).
A dog owner should have tools for grooming to keep both the dogs’ and the owners’ environment clean. Hair brushes to ear cleansing liquid will help keep a dog clean and free of disease. Likewise, for dogs with thick coats, a well groomed dog will fare better if their coats are regularly brushed to remove loose, dead undercoat to they can stay cool. One of the best tools I have ever used for grooming is the Furminator and the German rake.
A dog without a toy will not be as happy with a dog that has a toy. Toys make dogs happy. Dogs are almost like kids!
However, we recommend toys that not only offer fun for dogs but are safe for them to play with.
Dogs can choke and die if given a low quality toy. Therefore make sure you buy toys that will not easily be destroyed and swallowed.
One great example that has been around for decades is the classic Kong. Kongs from experience last very long and when stuffed with treats becomes a challenging puzzle. It never hurts to have a dog’s mind challenged with a puzzle that also serves as a toy!
Quality Dog Food
Your dog’s health depends on the type of food you give to your dog. A few extra bucks on dog food will help save you an erroneous amount of money going to the vet. We do not recommend heavily advertised dog food. In fact, there is so much dog food, it can become confusing to the consumer on which to use. From BARF to dry food, you choose what you prefer but if you go with dry, a rule of thumb is to make sure the first ingredient on the ingredient list is a meat (chicken, lamb, beef, and etc.) and not some kind of grain like rice or corn! Click here to read more about Dog Food.
As a dog ages, supplements will help prolong a dogs life and activity levels. Some dogs may not need any supplements throughout their life if given a good diet but it never hurts to add a little fish oil every now and then. For owners of big dog breeds that are prone to hip complications, glucosamine supplement can go a very long way!
Training tools will help an owner with a dog’s obedience skills. Of all the training tools we’ve ever used, it’s not the tools that matter most but it is how they are used. Training tools can backfire if they are not used properly so we caution owners to know how to use training tools. In our opinion, treats for teaching and e-collar use for immediate correction have been the most effective training tools. However, again you must know how to use these training tool methods as they can be drastic to a dogs mind and training. For example, a dog with too much positive reinforcement will start to associate its obedience with food. E-collars are very convenient for immediate correction especially when distance is a concern but if used too much, it can be abusive to the dog. Therefore, it is recommended to know how to use such a training tool and to purchase a high quality e-collar such as the Garmin training collar.
Furthermore, prong collars work well but if the handler does not know how to properly place the prong collars (aka pinch collars) on the neck, there is a possibility that you can cause injury or extensive physical damage to the dog’s neck and so on. The point is training tools work very well but should be used with great care an knowledge.