In a world of millions of pup parents with millions more dog products, it’s easy to get sidetracked. That’s when it’s especially impawtant to get back to the essentials: the things that make you—and your best friend—happy.
Here are 16 smart items to get you started:
1. Southwest Crate + Travel Mat, From $42
This arrow-patterned crate mat doubles as a compact, roll-up-able travel bed perfect for a quick car ride or summer road trip. Made by ShopJanery on Etsy, there are a bunch of pretty designs to choose from, and (drumrollplease) they’re 100% WASHABLE.
2. Leak-Proof Poop Bags, $13.99
Every pup parent in-the-know has a roll of poop bags on hand. And a spare in their bag. And an extra box in the closet. These hilarious unscented bags are printed with fun puns, leak-proof, and opaque so that you can scoop and forget.
3. Classic Thundershirt, From $21.99
The Thundershirt (which also comes in other fun colors and styles) applies gentle pressure to your pup’s torso. Like a constant hug, this pressure is proven to calm anxiety during thunderstorms, fireworks, car rides, or just to provide a little comfort throughout the day. I throw mine in the wash every now and then and fold it neatly in my bag whenever my dog and I take a trip.
4. Pawz Dog Boots, From $12
Booties aren’t just for snow! Stop exhausting yourself and your pup with strap-on boots and slip on these disposable and reusable rubber alternatives. That funny “boot walk” won’t last once you’re in the great outdoors! These guys are pawfect for hot asphalt, fertilizer-sprinkled sidewalks, and salty streets in winter.
5. Custom Stamped ID Tag, From $13.50
Miracles happen every day when lost dogs turn up miles away from home, reunited with their families through the power of the microchip. This rustic, square-shaped tag from TheLandlockedDogTwo on Etsy uses two steel rings to ensure it always faces front, and gives pup parents the option to let rescuers know their dog is microchipped and loved by a lucky family.
6. Flash Harness, From $20
Pair this lightening bolt-festooned harness with its matching leash counterpart, and you’re ready to rumble! The comfy but durable nylon material means no chafing or discomfort in any climate.
7. Dog Mop, $12
This towel/mop/magical liquid-absorber does just what you’d hope: it soaks up water from those fresh-from-the-puddles paws & fur and keeps wet, muddy prints off your floors. The super plush fabric increases surface area (yay science!) and absorbs more water than your ordinary towel. (Plus, it fits great in the car for those trips to the park.)
8. Nomad Travel Bowls, $25
The Nomad Travel Bowls from Dublin Dog put the easy in easy… peasy? Pack some food and water for the road and get goin’—you’ve got no time to waste. When you’re finished serving up Toby’s five-star entrée, simply empty the bowls, zip ’em up, and stow ’em away.
9. Travel First Aid Kit, $30
It’s always better to be safe than sorry, and this is one of those items most parents (to pups and human children alike) wish they had only when they finally need it. This kit is stocked with anything you might need, including instructions on how to care for certain dog mishaps—and it fits nicely in the glove compartment of your car.
10. Dual Silicone Feeder, From $25
With design options to suit any decor, these silicone + steel dining spots are great at keeping messes at bay. Unlike plastic bowls, which can develop tiny scrapes and divots, bacteria has no place to grow on stainless steel and the surface is easily washed. Also available in red and green.
11. Quick Bath Wipes (10-Pack), $8
Not a lot of people tell you how important wipes are when you get a dog—you’ll need to clean feet, eyes, and the inevitable unmentionables down south. HEY—poop happens. But the best thing about these grooming wipes? They’re grrreat for a quick, fresh pat-down in-between baths.
12. I Want To Pet All The Dogs Tote, $22
No matter where you are or where you go, life with a dog is easier when you have everything you need right on your shoulder. Stow away water bottles & travel bowls, tennis balls & towels, and anything else you might need for a day out on the town or in the park.
13. “Woof” Canvas Water Bottle, $21
Toss those measly plastic water bottles in the recycling bin and tote something a little more spacious and durable. Tough canvas material and an easy spout top can contain an entire bottle of wine (or, you know, water, if you’re into that sort of thing) for whatever lies ahead.
14. Benebone Peanut Butter Chew, From $10
The wishboney-shaped Benebone chew is in fact that: a chew. Its tough nylon material is infused with real peanut butter to entice the senses, and will last a good deal longer than any bully stick. Give yourself a bit of “you” time and hand this bad boy over. Even the clumsiest pups won’t have a hard time, as its unique shape is specifically made for an easy grip.
15. Canvas Pet Tote, From $160
A durable tote isn’t just for city pups. The Love Thy Beast pet tote makes you the absolute best chauffeur with the most comfortable ride. This bag has a neck scoop in the side to relieve pressure on your dog’s throat, handy clips for a collar and leash, and water-repellant material to keep him dry in the rain. You? Well, an umbrella will do.
16. Multi-Color LED Rechargeable Collar, $17.90
It’s time to PAAAR-TAY with these collars! Not because they’re amazing and beautiful, but because they keep your hound safe in the dark. The collars and leashes are rechargeable so you don’t have to fuss with batteries, and, get ready: 100% of profits are donated to rescue and shelter dogs.
17. Tornado Treat Puzzle Dog Toy, $44
Has your genius pup mastered the treat ball? Step it up a notch with this crazy thinking game! Just pop some high-value treats in the little bone “cubbies” and replace the caps on top. Then watch your little Einstein uncover the good shtuff! Bonus points for using it as a food bowl to cut treat calories!