There's a reason people always joke that dogs are like training wheels for having a kid. We are dog people, so regardless of whether we had kids or not, I know we still would have gotten a dog. But trying to figure out the difference between all the car seats and bouncy chairs available for kids has reminded me how many different dog items there are as well.
When we first got our pup Ollie, I did a ton of research to make sure we picked a good food, and found some toys that wouldn't be destroyed in a week. I thought I'd share a little bit of what we found in case any of you are dog owners too.
Canidae - So it turns out dog food is often made with some disgusting stuff. Most of the big (cheap) brands have tons of filler and nasty stuff in them. Feeding your pet that stuff ends up causing a lot of problems. So you can either pay a little more for the food now or a lot more for vet bills down the road.
We tried a few different brands of food when we first got Ollie and it took a while to find one that his stomach liked. Canidae was perfect. We use the lamb and rice type and now that he is fully grown he gets one cup of food in the morning and one cup at night. He's 75 pounds and our vet consistently tells us that he's one of the healthiest dogs he sees. He is still very active, but Canidae isn't full of filler items like corn (which dogs don't process for nutrients), so 2 cups a day keeps him full. One big bag last us for a full month. Also, you can call them directly and they will send you great coupons! They seriously have the best customer service.
Treats - Dog treats can be gross. We found some that we love and Ollie loves and they smell like granola bars! We use Nutro Natural Choice crunchy treats and Ollie's favorites are apple, blueberry, and carrot.
Sloppy drinker - I hated the fact that Ollie spilled water everywhere when he drank. So I ended up finding the perfect solution at L.L. Bean. It's a food/water dish mat that soaks up water and quickly dries. It has the consistency of a welcome mat and after 4 years of use it still looks great.
Collapsible Dog Bowl - We use stainless steel bowls for Ollie to eat and drink out of, but we have a couple collapsible bowls for travel. I keep one in our dog park bag. They fold flat and that way we can give him water while we're out on a walk or a road trip.
(Ollie waiting in front of the dish washer while I wash his kong.
He's like a kid waiting for his blankie while it's in the dryer.)Toys:
Ollie is a big dog and stuffed or cheap toys don't last long. I wish I'd realized that earlier. I was a bit shocked by how expensive some dog toys can be, so I'd buy one cheap one after another and watch them get destroyed. Eventually I figure out that the expensive toys cost more because they last forever. Here's a few that we love...
Chuckit Balls - We use these to play fetch with. At the bark park we use tennis balls because that way it doesn't matter if another dog runs off with one. (The launcher works with tennis balls too!) At home or a friend's house we use ChuckIt. Make sure you get the big size if you have a big dog. You don't want them to choke on it. We also use the glow-in-the-dark one at night.
Kong - We tried a few different Kong sizes and eventually got the Kong Extreme Toy in extra large and I swear it really will last forever. Ollie is happy just chewing on it in the back yard while I read.
West Paw - They declare that their toys are indestructible. We bought the Hurley Dog Bone (large) and Ollie destroyed it in about 10 minutes. But we contacted them and they sent us a replacement toy at no charge! For the second toy we picked the Jive ball (large) and it's perfect! We've had it for a few years now and Ollie loves it.
**I'm not getting a cent for promoting any of these items. They are just the things that have worked for us.
*Photos by me.