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Over my last decade as a professional dog trainer, I’ve formed more than a few opinions about the dog essentials every pup parent should have on hand at the beginning, middle, and end of their journey with their canine companions.
Some, like a sturdy leash and ID tags, are no brainers. But others—paw wipes, long lines, and seat belts, among them–come from years of trial-and-error. After all, if you’ve never had an incontinent dog, how are you supposed to know what a difference belly bands and doggy diapers can make?
Whether your dog is a puppy, an adolescent, an adult, or a senior, these 20 dog essentials add up to a lifetime of safety, comfort, and joy.
Top Dog Essentials All Dog People Should Own
In the world of dog essentials, put this at the top of your list. Even if your dog is microchipped, if they escape or get lost, ID tags personalized with their name will help ensure they get home as quickly as possible. For most dogs, ID tags should be worn 24-7 on a flat collar (not a martingale-style) in case of fire, earthquake, or other emergencies.
This kit comes with the essentials but has plenty of extra room to customize its contents for your specific pet. See our step-by-step guide to creating your own pet first aid kit for more items to consider having on hand.
A spare leash is kind of like a spare jacket for us humans; when you need it, you’re REALLY happy you packed it. Check out our comprehensive leash guide to help you pick the right leash for your pup.
A harness helps provide more security and comfort for many dogs, and it’s especially good for those who tend to pull on leash. For more on the different types of harnesses available, check out our guide to harnesses and collars.
Fleas can sneak into your home any time of year. Many flea treatments can be purchased over the counter, but stick to collars, chewables, or medications that are “veterinarian recommended.” This is one product where natural options just don’t cut it.
When there’s no time for a full bath, these babies are amazing. They help remove allergens, dirt, and anything stinky that your dog might have rolled in—dead fish, anyone? Apply them to the paws or spot wipe on the coat.
Enzyme-based cleaners are truly a miracle invention. They help remove stubborn urine smells from just about anywhere while removing the underlying pheromones that, when left behind, pups tend to return to and re-mark. (For more about removing dog pee smell, see our guide Dog Pee Smell on the Carpet: How to Get Rid of It for Good.)
Even if your dog has an excellent recall, it’s not always safe to let them run free in off-leash spaces that are not fenced in (coyotes, anyone?). Keep your pup secure while giving them the space to explore with a 15-33 foot long durable, waterproof, Biothane long line that is weather resistant and won’t tangle like nylon versions.
While it’s always safest to transport a dog in the car inside of a crate, a doggy seat belt is another great option for keeping your pup from distracting you while driving or, worst-case scenario, flying towards the windshield in a collision. Dog seat belts should always be used in the back seat for maximum security.
Baby gates and exercise pens are GOLD. We love them for keeping dogs away from the door, for giving them a safe space to stretch their legs in the backyard, and for designating a safe dog zone when they’re home alone.
Just like the dog diapers mentioned above—but designed with the male anatomy in mind.
13. Puzzle Toys Like the Kong Classic
Keep your pup safe on walks after dark with light-up gear like BSeen’s rechargable LED necklace. Reflective collars, harnesses, vests, and leash lights are also great options for making sure your dog can be seen after the sun goes down.
Two words: stock up. We’re fans of compostable bags like those made by Earth Rated. Get the scoop on our other favorite poop bags here.
Even if you’re not crate training, a crate can provide a comfy dogs-only spot in a small living area. A portable plastic or soft-sided crate works great for driving your pup around in safety. Check out all the ways that dog people make crates awesome.
Whether you’ve got a puppy in training, a senior with an overactive bladder, or 13-floors and an elevator standing in the way of your pup and the outdoors, potty pads can save your sanity and your carpets.
There are more dog treats available than stars in the sky (ok, well, sort of). We suggest looking for grain-free and responsibly sourced options, and you can learn more all of that here in my post about my favorite training treats.
For training on the go. It’s one of those little things that makes a big difference, especially when working on leash skills. (For more about treating-on-the-go, see our guide to the best treat pouches in the game.)
Perfect for couches, rugs, car upholstery—even your dog himself! I love this rubber brush because it’s gentler, but another tried-and-true option is a trusty Furminator. See more pet hair removal tools here.