Top Dog Necessities

As a foster dog parent, I frequently get asked for the top things you need for a dog. From leashes to harnesses to toys, here are the top items I recommend for your pup!

For Walks

2 Hounds Design Freedom No Pull Harness. This is one of the best harnesses I’ve ever used, hands down (I even added it in a recent What’s on My Mind). The beauty of it is that it has a martingale style harness with a front and back clip. Front clips are particularly helpful for dogs that tend to pull a lot.

Blueberry Dog Collar. I got this collar with my first foster dog ever, and it’s been one of my favorites since. It works great, is sturdy, and the Medium or Large almost always works for every dog I’ve had.

Blueberry Classic Leash. I’m pretty basic when it comes to leashes, but this one is my favorite traditional leash. I aim for something that’s 5-6′ in length and has a sturdy handle and clip.

Flexi 26 ft Retractable Leash. If you prefer a retractable leash (or want to give your dog some space on walks without taking them entirely off leash), I really like the Flexi brand one. It comes in an incredible 26 ft long length.

For Eating and Drinking

LumoLeaf Dog Water Bowl. Golden Retrievers tend to be sloppy drinkers and I hate walking around with wet feet. This bowl has single handedly solved that problem. It has a floating piece that allows dogs to get the water that can fit in their mouths without too much extra. It works GREAT for drooly dogs.

Slow Feeder Bowl. I’ve found this to be particularly helpful with my fosters, but generally think any dog can use this. Slow feeder bowls are great to prevent gas and bloating from your dog taking in too much air when eating (not medical advice, just my observations). Some dogs I’ve had will eat SO fast and a slow feeder has really helped.

For Anxiety

A tall baby gate with a door. This one is very similar to the one I have – it’s one of my favorites. Whenever I bring a dog in, I like keeping them in a specific area of the house before starting crate training. My dining room is perfect for that and this makes it easier for me to get in and out with a gate like this.

Erica’s note: If you have a cat and a dog like I do, managing litter box access is a big consideration factor. I use a baby gate with a cat door to block off the door to our laundry room, where we keep our litter box.

Doggy Play Pen (or X Pen). This is a step above a crate – it’s a little larger and lacks a roof, but these are great for blocking off larger areas of the home or keeping puppies contained in a particular area.

Solid Wire Crate. I’m partial to traditional crates for crate training. Crate training is great for building trust between human and dog, evaluating house breaking, and keeping the dog safe at home. My general philosophy is that crates are great to start, but the goal is to let them roam free (though sometimes this doesn’t always work). You can also more easily create a den-like environment for a dog to make his/her home.

Lickimat. This is one of my favorite dog discoveries. A lickimat is GREAT for dogs with anxiety, for crate training, for basically anything. Spread some peanut butter and put it in the crate while crate training, to keep your dog busy while you’re working, or while you’re trying to give them a bath. HIGHLY recommend.

For Toys and Treats

Bully Sticks. I prefer bully sticks over raw hides for dogs, but these are an AMAZING high value treat and great for chewers. Avoid giving these to your dog unless you’re able to keep a loose eye on them in case it gets lodged in their throat. But still a great for “need my dog quiet during this meeting” tool.

Lambchop. Candidly, this may not be the best toy for super chewers. But almost every single one of my fosters has had a Lambchop and loved it. They squeak, come in a million sizes, and are available everywhere (Chewy, some grocery stores, Petco, etc).

Classic Kong. I would be remiss to not include the classic Kong on this list. These things are great for heavy chewers, and another great tool for high value treats. You can stuff them with anything, but one of my favorite uses is to put some treats in there, seal it with peanut butter, and freeze it before giving to the pup.

Zuke’s Mini Training Treats. I’ve used a number of different training treats in the past, but this is one of my favorites and the dogs seem to love them. They’re small and easy to put into other bags/containers for transport (and fairly low calorie for dogs on diets).

What are some of your top dog necessities? Anything we’re missing? Let us know in the comments!

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