So you're in the market to buy some dog stuff. Maybe you're a new dog owner, or maybe you're a longtime dog owner who's sick of your dog's crumbling old possessions. Either way, here's a guide to shopping for some new supplies for your dog.
Car carriers can help keep your dog safer, as well as more comfortable, while traveling in the car. You're looking for both function and comfort in a carrier.
This affordable pet car seat has all the safety and comfort basics, including a clip-on "safety leash." This car seat is for small pets, up to 30 pounds.
Amazing: Backseat Barker Orthopedic Shock-Absorbing Big Barker Dog Bed ($229.95)
This isn't exactly a carrier, but it looks incredible, so I felt obligated to include it. The Backseat Barker is a large, orthopedic, shock-absorbing bed for big dogs. Put it in the back of your SUV and let your dogs enjoy the ride.
I probably don't have to explain why a leash is important, but here goes: It's the best way to keep your dog safe on walks, and it's a legal requirement in most places. When shopping for a leash, you're primarily looking for durability and comfort.
Good: Strong Durable Dog Leash Lead by Downtown Pet Supply ($9.99)
This is a great option for a standard leash — it's durable, comes in different lengths and colors, and most importantly, has a padded handle. Do not settle for less than a padded handle!
Amazing: Phydeaux's Mountain Climbing Rope Dog Leash ($18.99)
At $18.99, this leash is a truly good deal. You don't have to be a mountain climber to take advantage of its features, which include extra durability (it's thicker than standard leashes) and has an even more luxurious passed handle than the leash above.
A collar is another dog safety essential. It's your first line of defense should your dog get lost. When choosing a collar, look for one that is comfortable for your dog, durable, and whose visual aesthetic you like.
Good: Blueberry Pet Classic Solid Color Dog Collar ($13.99)
This is a great basic collar. Rated super highly by Amazon users, it comes in eight different colors and has an easy-release buckle. These collars are also available in cute patterns.
Amazing: Mimi Green Reflective Dog Collar (from $25.99)
My dog has a Mimi Green collar, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. They're durable and gorgeous, and the reflective ones help keep your dog safe on night walks. If you can, splurge on the engraved buckle. They'll engrave your dog's information onto the collar's buckle, eliminating the need for tags, which a) jingle annoyingly and b) can get lost or chewed up.
Harnesses make dog walks way easier, and eliminate the danger and discomfort that can be caused by a dog pulling on a leash that's attached directly to a collar. There are several types of harnesses, and it might take some trial and error to determine which one is right for you and your dog. When shopping for a harness, look for comfort for your dog and ease of use for you.
Good: Bark Appeal Mesh Harness ($17.99-19.99)
I'm a lifelong Bark Appeal user. Their mesh harness is super simple, user-friendly, and fastens easily with Velcro and a buckle on the dog's back. My dog has always seemed comfortable and at-ease in her Bark Appeal harness.
Amazing: Noxgear LightHound Revolutionary Illuminated and Reflective Harness ($54.95)
If your dog likes being safe and being a walking party at the same time, this harness is for you. It's visible from over half a mile away, equipped with both 3M Scotchlite reflector technology and ... wait for it ... LED lights. You can choose from eight colors of LED, plus different flashing patterns, to keep your dog a) super safe and b) the coolest dog on the block. It comes with one "quickly recharging, long lasting battery" that promises up to 12 hours of illumination.
Stimulating toys/ puzzles
The topic of dog toys is a real can of worms, simply because there are so many options. For that reason, I'm going to limit this to toys that can be described as "puzzles": stimulating toys that the dogs have to figure out, and that will (ideally) keep them busy for a while. These puzzles are great for keeping your dog entertained and providing necessary stimulation for their doggie minds.
Good: StarMark Bob-A-Lot Interactive Dog Toy ($9.99)
This is a fun, fairly simple bobbing toy that dispenses treats when moved in the correct way. The StarMark Bob-A-Lot will stimulate your dog by forcing them to figure out exactly how to get the elusive treats inside.
Amazing: BUSTER ActivityMat with 3 activities ($44.99)
This next-level activity mat lets you challenge your dog with new activities every day (or however often you have the energy to set them up). This mat has 35 press studs, placed 4 inches apart. You can attach different tasks to the mat, most of them with varying levels of difficulty, or you can choose to leave them open. You can also buy more tasks to add to the BUSTER, to keep your dog entertained for even longer.