When it comes to dogs, everyone has different rules. Some people love to buy every dog toy and accessory under the sun, whilst others are okay with buying the basics. Some people will fall halfway between the two, buying the best of everything whilst keeping the trinket count low. Wherever you fall on the scale, we think it’s universally agreed that there are baseline products that every dog owner should have. Here are those products.

Collar

If you have a dog, the first thing you should buy is a collar. Not only can they look spiffy, but they’re also in the interests of dog and human safety. A collar shows that a dog has a home and is not wandering the streets as a stray. Should a human find a collared dog unattended in the streets, the first thing they will do is check the collar for ID. If you’re not using a harness, a collar is also where you attach a dog’s leash for the daily walk. (We do, however, recommend a harness to avoid choking your dog.)

Picture of dog collars

Image: Stylish Hound

ID

As touched on above, your dog should have an ID tag attached to their collar. This tag should include the dog’s name and your best contact number, and ideally, your address. This way, should your dog get loose, your next good samaritan will know where to return your dog safe and sound. As an extra precaution, you should also get your dog microchipped.

Leash

Daily dog walking is a part of responsible dog ownership. In the interests of human and hound safety alike, it’s essential that you walk your dog on a leash. Did you know there are different types of leashes available? If your dog is in training, we recommend leashes with shock-absorbent handles or adjustable features. We discourage retractable leashes—especially for dogs in training—as these allow dogs to wander free without a sense of limits or boundaries.

If your dog is prone to misbehavior—or if you want to remove the choking risk—we suggest pairing your leash with a walking harness. These can also be great for holding larger dogs in place.

Food bowl

If you have a dog, of course it’s gotta eat! You should buy at least two bowls for your pup—one for food and one for water—and keep the drinks flowing. Even though dogs don’t sweat, being a pooch can be thirsty work!

Collapsible water bowl

For pooches on the go, we recommend bringing a collapsible water bowl or a travel water bottle. Image: Stylish Hound

We recommend buying stainless steel dog bowls; they’re dog-friendly and easier to clean. Other variants include glass and ceramic, each of which is prone to nasty breakage, and plastic, which is more likely to accumulate bacteria. Which material is best? For us, it’s not even a competition. Stainless steel or bust!

Picture of dog bowl

This little guy echoes our sentiments!

Dog toys

You’ve got to remember that dogs are essentially overgrown, furry toddlers. Their mental capacity is on par with a two- or three-year-old toddler. Ergo, it follows that dogs will want to keep themselves entertained with toys and enrichment-promoting accessories.

What’s the best way to dissuade a dog from chewing your favorite slippers? Give them something to substitute the slipper! Dog chew toys can provide hours of entertainment, but beware of the cheaper models. Dollar-store chew toys are sometimes made from plastic toxic to dogs. Rougher chewers may even dislodge fragments and swallow them. The last thing we need is emergency canine surgery!

Picture of dog toy

Image: Stylish Hound

When choosing chew toys or enrichment accessories, ensure to pick something with a sturdy build made from non-toxic materials. If your dog’s bite is worse than their bark, ensure to choose something that can withstand their clenched jaw.

There you have it

There are many other things you may like to get your dog, such as a harness, a doggy bed, or even doggy pajamas. However, before you buy anything else, you should make sure you have the above covered. If these products were to be divided into a hierarchy of needs à la Maslow, they would make up the first and maybe also the second category.

So, if you have a new dog joining your family, grab them a collar and leash, get some food in order, and provide some mental stimulation and enrichment! Meet your canine’s baseline needs and you’ve got yourself a solid foundation.

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