Marketing firms estimate that Americans will spend more than $55 billion on their pets this year. The pet supplies market runs the gamut from food to collars to toys and much, much more. With so many options taking up shelf space at your favorite pet store, it’s not always easy to choose the be best presents for your furry friend. Here is a way to make decisions that benefit your pup and your pocketbook.
When you build your own wardrobe, you begin with certain basics everyone needs, like shoes, jeans, a white shirt, a jacket, etc. Your dog goes through the same process. First and foremost, your dog needs identification. A collar, leash and ID tags are a must. Be aware of your city’s leash laws, since in some places the collar and tags are actually required.
Next think about food. It’s important for you to pick the right food for your dog, but that does not always mean buying the most expensive thing on the market. Dog food comes in dry kibble, canned meat, or raw varieties, which you can read about here. If your dog has special diet needs, your vet can help you sort out the right food.
Every dog needs strong food and water dishes. Save yourself the hassle by purchasing dishes that are unable to be tipped over by excited dogs. Treats are also a must, since they make the perfect small reward when you are in training mode. Chews, bones and special treats give positive reinforcement that help you build good behavior in your dog.
Beds are a good thing, but remember it depends on the size of your dog and your own preferences. You may have a dog that loves to sleep in your bed, or you may prefer to have your dog in another room. Either way, make sure your dog has a soft pillow or bed to call her own. Crates and kennels are appropriate for some situations.
Dogs love to chew things, so make sure you have enough chew toys on hand to keep him away from the furniture. Tennis balls are a favorite of almost every dog, so always have some on hand for an impromptu game of chase. Some breeds love jumping and retrieving, so consider adding a disc or frisbee to your toy box. Always buy dog-safe toys from your local pet store. Toys without stuffing are best, lest your dog rip open a furry toy and swallow the stuffing. Kong makes durable toys made from heavy-grade plastic, that also are good for dental health. Some toymakers have created toys with hidden pockets for treats, which will keep your dog busy for awhile. Kong and other vendors also make durable dog-friendly rope toys, which are great for tug-o-war.
No matter the breed, grooming your dog is very important. Some breeds have special needs, so look into the grooming habits for the type of dog you own. For starters, you should have dog-specific shampoos and conditioners, and the right brush for your dog’s kind of fur.
Most breeds like bristle brushes, and a flee comb is always good to have on hand.
Some people do all of their dog’s grooming themselves. If you are confident in grooming your dog, you can buy ear cleansers and nail trimers. Other dog owners would prefer to take their dog to the groomer or vet. A slicker brush or shedding blade may also come in handy, depending on your dog breed.
Although it is tempting to buy expensive and designer dog items, you don’t need those things to make your dog happy and healthy. Start with the basics. Use this guide to make decisions on what you need to start out. You can build your dog’s personal collection once his or her basic needs are taken care of.