From collars to bandanas and jackets, the internet is full of choices. Designer, stylish and utility dog accessories have become big business. Some are purely for the comfort of your pup, others will make your life infinitely more comfortable, and then there's the just plain cool.
Of course, your dog isn't interested in the aesthetics of their drink bowl. Just that it's always filled. And while dogs live for walks, they're not too fussed about the colour or design of the collar and lead that get them there.
Yet some accessories will become indispensable to both you and your dog. And others may come in handy later, as you fine-tune life with your pet, particularly when it comes to your dog's daily life, their health, activity, and their comfort at home.
And if spending money on your puppy makes you happy and doesn't break the bank, then we say, enjoy spoiling our pooch.
You certainly don't need to spend a fortune to equip your dog for life. But, to manage and train your pup successfully, some items from your friendly local pet store or favourite online boutique will come in handy.
The food bowl
It's the pinnacle of important in your dog's world. And while you don't need anything fancy, there are a few things to look out for.
For instance, it's crucial that your dog can identify the particular bowl that belongs to them. In fact, all pups need two sturdy, clean bowls: one for food and one for water. And the size of bowls should correlate to the size of your dog.
There's a variety of basic styles and materials to choose from too. And though there's nothing wrong with choosing a design or style that appeal you, you should consider the material a dog bowl is made from. Metal and ceramic, for instance, are easier to clean and don't harbour bacteria.
And then there are bowls designed explicitly for lifestyle and the type of dogs you have, such as foldable bowls for when you're on the move and those designed for our long-eared pooches.
The collar and leash
This is one way to stand out from the crowd and make a statement. But these two accessories are also essential for ensuring the safety and security of your pet.
The collar should have a tag so your dog can be easily identified and returned to you. You know, just in case your pup happens to misplace their human. It's also essential to know that there can be fines for dogs wandering without a collar in most place. Plus lots of urban spaces where they must be leashed at all times.
Choose the collar according to the size of your dog. And make sure there's enough space between neck and collar to ensure comfort but not so much your dog can slip out of it. Puppies grow very fast, so check their collar regularly until they are full grown.
For walking, dog harnesses have become very popular. Dogs tend to find them more comfortable, particularly if they like to pull.
Leads be should be long enough that your dog can explore but short enough that you can maintain control. Around 2 metres is highly recommended.
The dog tag
It's a good idea to engrave your phone number and your dog's name on their dog tag. A simple metal disc can save you a lot of hassle if your dog gets lost. Even with a microchip, that little accessory will usually get your pup home without a trip to the vet or kennels.
Or you could buy dog tags with location software so you can pinpoint them on your phone if they wander. This is also a great way to track their fitness with dog walkers.
Sure, your dog has fur, but fur is not created equally, and sometimes your pup may need a jacket. Just like us, our dogs do not like getting cold or wet. Ill-fitting coats are uncomfortable, so get the fit right. And make sure the material is breathable and easily machine washable.
The toy box
You can make sure your dog is mentally stimulated by providing them with a variety of toys. Toys are a great way to not only engage with your dog but also stop them from getting bored when you're busy. There are so many choices out there but beware cheap, poorly made variety. This is one area where you really need to do your homework. Dogs tend to favour fabric knots, plastic bones and balls.
And if you have a puppy, a chew toy or treat will help keep him away from your precious items. Try hard rubber teethers and edible chew toys like pig's ears and hooves.
However, definitely take advice from your vet. They'll have the latest recommendations when it comes to your puppy development.
Make sure you have toys for interactive play, dogs love a good game of tug-of-war. It's vital for mental and physical growth, but they also love that one on one time with their human. They'll have fun, and you'll have some great bonding time.
The pet camera
These days you can check on your pet wherever you may be. It's as simple as setting up a camera and linking it to an app on your phone. There are also remote treat dispensing machines so you can give your dog a treat, remotely.
Pet cameras are handy if you have to be away from your pet for more than a few hours. And are great for monitoring your pup's behaviour when no one's home. Plus the peace of mind when someone else is caring for them.
We must keep our dogs safe when travelling in the car. Whether it's a quick trip to the shop or a more extended road trip, your dog should have some sort of restraint.
This isn't only to keep your dog safe. Dogs wandering around a car can be really distracting for the driver and uncomfortable for other passengers.
There are lots of options when it comes to doggy seatbelts. But if you prefer to have your dog in the cargo area, a travelling crate or barrier are some other options.
The brush and comb
We love the look of a well-groomed pooch. But a good pet brush is also essential for maintaining the health of your dog's coat. A natural bristle brush is excellent for short and medium-coated dogs. And a slicker brush works well for long or fluffy-coated dogs.
Grooming your dog will keep their coat shiny and limit shedding around your home. And there's a variety to choose from depending on the type of canine you have. It's also good to have a fine-toothed comb to help manage any parasites.
When it comes to shampoo and conditioner, you'll need products made specifically for dogs. And bear in mind that different breeds have different washing frequency needs. If you're concerned about fleas, ticks and other parasites, talk to your vet about the best and latest treatments.
The subscription box
There's a big selection of subscription boxes, and they come in a range of prices. Do some research and get one that's affordable but also appropriate for your pet.
Subscription boxes are usually monthly packages delivered to you and filled with treats and toys for dogs. They're a bit of a luxury but are becoming more and more popular.
The robot vacuum
Most pets shed, and sometimes it's a manageable side effect of pet ownership. But some animals create a lot more housework for their owner. Buying a robot vacuum can be an excellent gift for the whole house and great for keeping on top of all that fur.
Once an expensive accessory, they are becoming more affordable and reliable. Do your research, but it's going to be hard to choose between a sturdy basic model that sucks up all that pet hair and the newer models that can even mop up any pet messes.
The dog boots
Ok, this may sound like a recommendation for the ultimate pampered pet, but there are many reasons a dog might need shoes. Generally, dogs don't enjoy footwear, but things such as paw injuries and arthritis may require orthopedics. And if you love hiking with your dog or some other rugged activity, and they'll tolerate them, dog shoes can help protect their delicate pads.
No matter what you buy or how much you spend on your puppy, one thing will probably keep them happier than any store-bought toy, or technologically advanced gadget—the humble stick. Usually picked up at the beginning of a walk and discarded for the next lucky dog at the end, a lovely branch or decent twig is great for fetch and tug of war. Or let's face it, just for carrying around in your mouth. Environmentally sound, as well a being completely free, you can't really go passed an epic stick for best accessory on the list.
The bottom line
All these accessories are there to make your daily life with your pet, comfortable and fun. But there are lots of cheap versions of dog toys, treats and clothing out there. So, as you would with any loved family member, do your homework and keep your furbaby safe.