Dog Gear Guide

How to Choose the Best Dog Accessories


While most new pet parents spend most of the adoption process selecting the appropriate dog breed, many tend to overlook the importance of the right gear. Shopping for a collar, bowl, and sleeping quarters may come naturally to some but not as intuitively to others. 

When preparing for the arrival of your new best friend, it’s crucial to prioritize your dog’s essentials. Whether you’re adopting a dog in its puppyhood or well into its geriatric years, below are a few must-have accessories you’ll want to check off your list.

Home Essentials

Bedding

When selecting a first dog bed for your new pet, consider their size, age, and sleeping preferences. Older dogs, for instance, might require additional bed support for weaker joints and muscles. 

If your dog enjoys napping outdoors, elevated bed designs allow for seamless airflow, keeping your dog cool even in the summer. If your dog is a voracious chewer, consider a heavy-duty dog bed.

The Casper Memory Foam Dog Bed is an excellent overall choice for dogs of all sizes. This bed offers impeccable sleep support and can withstand the occasional nibble. 


Feeding Materials

Many owners tend to overlook the importance of dog bowl size and material and instead focus their efforts on a luxurious menu. 

While a stainless steel dog bowl may seem intuitive, they don’t, for instance, moderate the pace of fast eaters. If your dog could stand to shed a few pounds, Outward Hound’s Fun Feeder’s puzzle design prevents bloating and overeating.  

Similarly, elevated bowls, like PetFusion’s variety, enable better digestion and prevent straining in the neck.  

Messier dogs might require a dog bowl with a barrier to prevent spillage.


Furniture Protectors

If your dog is an avid fan of cooling off on the couch or bed, chances are you spend way too much time vacuuming up their fur. Even thoroughly-trained canines may demonstrate occasional outbursts of energy, potentially muddying up your furniture. 

Thankfully, furniture protectors exist to prevent these catastrophes. When buying a new couch cover, you can choose between microfiber, polyester-spandex, and soft velvet. What you choose will depend on the shape of your furniture, your budget, and how well-behaved your pet is. 

Easy-Going’s Reversible Sofa Slip Cover is an affordable protector that is water-resistant and easy to maintain. Your pet—and your couch—will love it. 


Carpet Cleaners 

Every pet parent is all too familiar with the horrors of stained carpets. When your dog does its business on your carpet, and you’re bleaching to no avail, salvaging your prized furniture may feel impossible—but it isn’t. 

All-in-one solutions such as the BISSELL ProHeat 2X Revolution Pet Pro Carpet Cleaner make removing stains and odors quick and efficient. This dependable product makes it easy to disinfect hard-to-reach places. 

If you’re a bigger fan of spray cleaners, Resolve’s Spot and Stain Carpet Stain Remover is your best friend. This cleaning solution is fast-acting and is best for removing stains as quickly as possible. 


Toys

As if shopping for your pet couldn’t take any longer, many new owners spend the most time shopping for toys. When selecting between a tug rope and something that will entertain your pet for hours, toy shopping can seemingly take forever. 

Don’t get too excited by bright and striking accessories. Think about your dog’s personality and what best suits it. A classic KONG Dog Toy, for instance, is multipurpose—with it, your dog can fetch, teethe, and dig. 

If your pet is shier than most, they might do well cuddling up to SmartPetLove’s Snuggle Puppy Behavioral Aid Toy.

Get something your dog will love—not something you do! And remember, just like us, your pet’s personality can change. What they are currently obsessed with might not be a thing they’ll take an interest in down the line!  


Indoor Crates

Some dogs find comfort in a dedicated crate. This type of gear is ideal to have if you are out of your home for most of the day or need to take your pet to the veterinarian. 

When selecting a new crate, narrow down your choices to one that is comfortable, secure, and adaptable. The Midwest Ultima Pro Double Door Folding Dog Create is ideal for most breeds and is escape-proof for dogs often left to their own devices. 

On the other hand, frequent travelers will benefit from the Petmate Ultra Vari Kennel, which keeps your pet comfortable and secure in the air or the backseat of your car. 


Pet Cameras

Unfortunately, there is no way to keep a close eye on your dog 24/7. However, installing a pet-tracking camera can make surveilling your dog while you’re away that much easier. 

Unlike security cameras or baby monitors, pet-adapted cameras specifically address dog-related issues such as keeping your canine entertained or making sure your furniture is intact. 

If your overall goal is to check on your pet via sound and motion alerts, the Petcube Play 2 WiFi Pet Camera makes for excellent value.  

Alternatively, you can turn up the fun with Wopet’s Smart Pet Camera, which dispenses treats. 

If you live in a larger home, consider installing two to three cameras in different areas. 


Exercise Pens

Some dogs suffer from indispensable energy and can be challenging to keep up with when you’re away. If your pup enjoys causing a little mischief, you might consider an exercise pen. 

When purchasing a pen, consider how large your dog is, where you’re going to place the product, and how adaptable you need it to be. 

The Midwest Dog Exercise Pen gives your pet just enough space to play outdoors and indoors. 

The Benefits of Pet-Proofing Your Home

Dog-proofing your home is beneficial to both you and your pet in the following ways. 

  • You keep your dogs safe from hazards: Keeping potentially toxic materials such as household cleaners out of your dog’s way can prevent deadly accidents. Store hazardous items in hard-to-reach places.
  • You don’t have to pay for expensive repairs: Replacing torn or chewed antique furniture and installing new hardwood floors can cost you hundreds of dollars. By selecting the appropriate flooring and keeping fragile items out of the way, you won’t end up spending more than you have to. 
  • Your—and your dog’s—supplies stay organized: When you designate spaces for a bed, toys, grooming materials, and more, you’ll never have to worry about misplacing an essential item.
  • Your pets are less anxious when you’re away: By eliminating escape routes and creating a pet-friendly zone, your dog will have more room to wander free while you’re away.

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On-the-Go Accessories

Car Seats

Where there is driving involved, a loose dog can spell distraction or, worse—disaster. Keep your dogs from skidding around in the backseat or hopping up on your lap by selecting an appropriate car seat. 

The Sleepypod Air In-Cabin Dog Carrier is a crash-tested product certified by the Center of Pet Safety. This hyper-functional air and land gear is also TSA-approved. Its mesh panels are breathable and allow your dog to see through. 

Sleepypod’s Clickit Sport is another car seat accessory you’ll want to bag. If you are using a non-crash-tested seat, this masterfully designed pet restraint system keeps your dog from accelerating forward in case of an accident.   

You can clip your pet onto its seat with Ruffwear front-range dog gear or durable Kurgo products.


Seat Covers

When on the road, a high-quality car seat cover can protect both your dog and your vehicle. 

Multipurpose seat covers such as the Plush Paws Hammock Car Seat Cover with Pet Harness come in handy when you’re after comfort and quality. This heavy-duty quilted polyester product doubles as an adjustable dog harness, keeping your pet in place with a non-slip silicone backing. 

If your dog prefers a joyride in the trunk, Arf Pets’ Cargo Liner Cover is perfect for families with SUVs. This cotton and polyester-padded trunk liner hardly shifts in place and provides complete protection against dirt, leaks, and hair. 


Dog Barriers

Suppose your dog does a poor job of keeping still while on the road—a sturdy car barrier can limit its movement. Various car barriers range from netted attachments to metal separators. 

If your canine companion is keen on peeking between the seats, products like the Dykeson Pet Barrier attach to headrests and seat rails. This four-hook barrier keeps dogs from leaping into the front seat. 

If you drive multiple vehicles, the Rabbitgoo Dog Car Barrier features an adjustable design that you can extend or shrink to how you like. 

How to Car-Train Your Dog

If you take frequent cross-country road trips with your dog, getting them to understand the “stay” command is imperative to a safe journey. Below are a few tips for keeping your dog safe inside a vehicle. 

  • Make regular pit stops: If you need to take a toilet break in the middle of your drive, chances are your dog does too. On your pit stop, take your dog for a quick five-minute week to jog their muscles.
  • Crate-train your dog: If you’re already crate training your dog indoors, consider practicing the same tactics from your vehicle. Crating is also safer for cross-country trips as it keeps your dog secure in case of an accident. 
  • Practice using a harness: When it comes to driving with your dog in the vehicle, a harness is a non-negotiable item. Practice harnessing your dog to maximize safety and comfort. Don’t replace your harness with a leash and collar—this could pose a significant choking and tugging hazard. 
  • Give your dog toys and snacks: If your dog is an anxious traveler, give them their favorite treats and belongings that they love.
  • Avoid feeding your dog right before you drive: Just like humans, dogs can experience motion sickness. Avoid feeding them at least an hour or two before your drive.
  • Don’t leave your dog in the car for long periods: If you are going for a pit stop and the temperature is above 60 degrees, leave the windows down or take your dog with you to prevent heatstroke.

Be prepared: You never know what can happen on the road. Prepare at least two to three days of extra kibble and other materials.

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Travel Gear

Dog Carriers & Travel Crates

Whether traveling by land, air, or sea, keeping your dog secure all throughout the journey is critical to a safe and enjoyable adventure. Travel crates or carriers are a safe, enclosed solution to long trips within the country or across the world. 

However, some travel crates, like those that are airline-approved, prove superior to others. When shopping for the ideal carrier, consider the following: 

  • Size: a suitable carrier should leave enough room for your dog to sit, stand, and turn around. 
  • Material: hard, sturdy crates might withstand potential accidents better than their mesh counterparts. 
  • Method of travel: you’ll find that certain crates are better suited for air, land, or sea travel. 

If your transportation mode requires that you pack a hard-shell carrier, the Amazon Basics Top-Load Hard-Sided Pet Travel Carrier is both durable and convenient. This crate is well-ventilated from all sides and provides extra screws for additional reinforcement. It also sports two doors.

Do you prefer a sturdier crate? You can’t be too careful—the Gunner Kennels Dog Crate is a heavy-duty, double-walled plastic carrier that boasts an overall five-star rating for crash safety. Owners can add attachments like Gunner’s memory foam dog bed for comfort.

If you are traveling with your dog in-cabin, Sleepypod’s Air In-Cabin Pet Carrier is snug enough to sit under your seat. Whenever necessary, this carrier clips onto your roller luggage for easy transportation. 

Add these swappable, easy-to-clean crate trays to your list for easy removal of waste. 


Portable Water Bowls

Frequent travelers already know that water bowls and treats are an on-the-go essential. However, packing up your dog’s standard trays is often far from practical. 

Instead, you’ll want to shop for a bowl that is lightweight, portable, and easy to access. For added space, consider a collapsible product that you can easily fit into your bag. 

Also, consider how easy a bowl is to clean. If you can’t throw it into the dishwasher, you’ll want to make sure you cover every crevice when hand-washing. 

Finally, think about the size. Depending on the type of traveling you’ll be doing, you might want to pack a water bottle that can clip onto your backpack or one that you can quickly collapse into your pocket. 

One such collapsible option is the Bonza Large Collapsible Dog Bowl, an environmentally friendly, non-slip product that leaves ample room for food and water. 
For pet parents who prefer a stackable set for multiple bowls, the Healthy Human Portable Dog Travel Bowl boasts a unique interlocking mechanism of dishwasher-safe bowls. These rubber-sealed bowls are leak-proof, aesthetically pleasing, and eco-friendly.

Tips for Keeping Your Dog Safe & Comfortable When Traveling

Airline Travel

When it comes to traveling with your dog, airlines impose differing guidelines. If your dog isn’t recognized federally as a service animal, you have two primary options for travel: 

  • Use an approved in-cabin dog carrier. 
  • Use a larger travel crate to check in your dog.  

Some airlines will limit the number of dogs allowable on a flight, so you’ll want to make your booking in advance and contact a customer service representative. 

If you are embarking on a connecting flight, always consider the second airline’s rules and regulations for traveling with an animal. Some airlines will require you to fill out a form. 

Ensure that your pup is used to its carrier before you travel. Get the appropriate on-flight accessories, including a dog harness and water bowl. 

Before embarking on a trip, curate a menu for your dog—this will prevent you from packing food and gear you don’t need. 

Ship Travel

Unfortunately, dogs are not as openly welcome on cruise lines as they are via air travel. If you aren’t comfortable with stowing your dog away in a kennel, consider researching a cruise that allows dogs into private cabins. 

Alternatively, you can prepare your dog’s crate to maximize comfort. Purchase a large enough carrier that is breathable from each side, allowing cool air to circulate. 

Provide your dog with essentials like a harness, food, and toy to preoccupy them. Check on your dog at least two to three times a day.

Railroad Travel

If you are traveling with a service dog, they are typically permissible on all Amtrak lines. However, thanks to the Pets on Trains Act, many companion animals are also welcome on board.

When traveling with your dog by railroad, make sure to exercise them at each station stop. Avoid feeding your dog at least an hour before you board to prevent nausea and accidents. 

Always use a leash and collar. While Amtrak lines are generally welcoming of your four-legged friend, they do not permit free-roaming.

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Outdoor Essentials

Collar & Leash

When shopping for a dog collar and leash, nylon and leather are your most durable options. Nylon collars, for instance, can endure daily wear and tear—even by that of larger, stronger breeds. 

On the other hand, a high-quality leather leash and collar will maintain its charming, vintage look for years. However, ripping or fraying may be a sign that you need to get a new set. 

As a general rule, you’ll want to get a leash and collar of the same material. Opt for a leash at least 6 feet long for walking and restraining.  

If you’re at a loss for where to start looking, consider these popular leash and collar combinations. 


Identification Tags

A dog running away at least once in its lifetime is not uncommon. Though microchipping is an excellent way to ID your dog, purchasing an engraved identification tag is quicker and more affordable. 

When buying a tag, include the appropriate information on each side. That includes: 

  • Your dog’s name
  • Your contact number
  • The city you currently reside in

If you’re keen on getting your lost dog back, an ID tag is the way to go.  


Harnesses

Dogs suffering from respiratory diseases will find a harness more comfortable than a leash and collar. Because harnesses encircle the chest and back, there is no risk of putting pressure on your dog’s throat and trachea. 

If your dog enjoys long walks, the Kurgo Journey Multi-Use Dog Harness is something you’ll want to consider. This range of harnesses prioritizes comfortable mesh over strappier materials. 

Kurgo also carries multiple designs for varying sizes and breeds. If you are a fan of adventure, Ruffwear’s latest front-range series is padded, comfortable, and secure. 


Portable Bath Systems

If your dog is used to an active, outdoor life, chances are even the hardiest of rain boots and the right coat won’t prevent muddy paws. 

The type of bath system you get will depend on your travel habits. For instance, the best portable bath tools for avid hikers are ones that will comfortably fit in a backpack. 

Otherwise, regular travelers might enjoy the Booster Bath Elevated Pet Tub. This easy-to-dismantle and lightweight product is the best solution for bathing on the road. 


GPS Trackers

The best way to track your pet’s health is with a GPS collar. These products provide owners with valuable data like running and resting heart rates, steps, and other statistics.  

Plus, when used in conjunction with microchips, GPS trackers help you find a lost pet—you won’t ever have to worry about getting them back. If your pet is allowed to wander outside of your home, a GPS tracker can help you keep a close eye on them.   

For an all-in-one solution, the Fi Smart Dog Collar allows you to create multiple safe zones and boasts an impressive battery life. 


Shoes

If your area is sweltering during the day, protective boots are a need. Before you order a set of boots, consider your environment and your dog’s foot size. A comfortable pair of boots should easily slip on and leave room for adjustment. 

Everyday outdoor boots like the Muttluks are best for protecting against shards, heat, cold, and slippery surfaces. These lightweight products come in a wide range of sizes and even come with reflective straps for nighttime visibility. 


Bike Baskets for Small Breeds

Some pet parents prefer to bike instead of run. If your dog loves the gentle whipping of wind across its fur, a front basket is the best way to secure and entertain them. 

Brands such as the PetSafe Happy Ride Wicker Bicycle Basket come with an interior tether for keeping dogs secure. 

Baskets with a top dome can prevent your dog from leaping out. Attach your dog’s front-range collar and leash, and you’re good to go! 


Dog Tents

When journeying into the woods or the top of a mountain peak, it’s essential to protect your dog against the elements. Dog tents provide excellent utility and a place for your dog to sit back and relax by the stream. 

Brands such as the K9 Pop-Up Travel Dog Tent are lightweight and portable. They also provide UV protection, are well-ventilated, and open up from the top. 
If camping on an uneven surface, consider the Superjare Camping Dog Bed, a suspended platform that relieves pressure and tension in the muscles. Dogs love this elevated perch—even in the comfort of your backyard.

Outdoor Activities to Enjoy with Your Dog 

No matter the occasion, dogs love to tag along with their adventurous owners. Whether you love to travel the world or engage in thrilling sports, there is almost nothing your dog won’t like. Are you ready for your next adventure? Consider these need-to-try activities. 

  • Camping: All dogs love this laid-back activity. Stake a dog-sized tent into the ground and enjoy an overnight campfire—smores for you, kibble for the pets. 
  • Swimming: This low-impact activity is best for dogs whose joints could use a little exercise. Breeds such as retrievers and shepherds and natural water babies! Is your pet not the best swimmer in town? Search floater jackets and additional safety gear with Ruffwear! 
  • Jogging: If you prefer an activity you can enjoy daily, jogging is an excellent way for you and your dog to stay in shape. If your smaller dog can’t match your pace, consider strapping them onto a sling carrier. However, remember that athletic breeds may need a walk two to three times a day! 

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The Bottom Line

When adopting a new dog, shopping for equipment for the first time can be overwhelming. You can’t simply get what you like—you first have to consider what your dog needs. 

Especially when venturing out with your pet, you’ll want to spend ample time reviewing the appropriate travel guides

Pet parenting is no easy job, but you’re bound to fall in love with it every single day!