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Top 10 Must-Have Items for Dog Owners: The Essential Shopping List

Written by Nicole Etolen

Taking care of a dog is more than just providing food and water. As a responsible dog owner, you need to ensure your furry friend has everything necessary to live a healthy and happy life. From practical items like food and water bowls to mental stimulation toys, here are the top 10 must-have items for dog owners.

The Basics: Everyday Items for Dog Care

Let’s start with the everyday items. These are the things that you’ll want to buy right away before you even bring your new furry friend home.

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1. High-Quality Dog Food and Treats

Just like humans, dogs need a balanced and nutritious diet to stay healthy. The foundation of a dog’s health is quality dog food and treats that meet its nutritional needs. Look for brands with high protein content and no fillers or additives.

Your dog will enjoy the taste, and you’ll enjoy the peace of mind that comes with providing proper nutrition. It’s also important to note that different breeds and sizes of dogs have different nutritional needs, so it’s best to consult with your veterinarian to determine the best diet for your furry friend.

Our top recommendation: Nom Nom Dog Food

Nom Nom is an extraordinary dog food delivery service that custom-tailors EVERY single subscription to fit YOUR dog. You fill out a questionnaire before placing your first order detailing your dog’s breed and needs. We’ll have a full review here on Technobark soon, but in the meantime, check out my Nom Nom Dog Food Review over on our sister site, DogVills.

Collars, Leashes, and Harnesses

Walking your dog is an excellent way to bond and provide exercise. To keep them safe and secure, invest in a sturdy collar, leash, and harness. Collars should fit snugly but not too tight.

Leashes should be the appropriate length for the area you’re walking in, and harnesses are an excellent option for dogs that pull. It’s important to note that some breeds of dogs may require special collars or harnesses, so it’s best to consult with your veterinarian or a professional dog trainer before making a purchase.

Our Recommendation: Frisco Comfort Padded Dog Leash

I don’t want to recommend a single best collar or harness since the right one depends entirely on your dog’s breed and size. Leashes, however, are a bit easier! I love Chewy-exclusive Frisco’s Padded Leash because it’s affordable and comfortable to use. It comes in 3 sizes and 5 colors, too.

Comfortable Dog Bed

Your dog needs a comfortable place to rest and relax, just like humans do. Choose a dog bed that’s the right size and shape for your furry friend.

Orthopedic beds are a great option for older dogs or those with joint pain, while raised beds can keep your dog cool on hot days. It’s important to note that dogs are social animals and may prefer to sleep near their owners, so you may want to consider placing their beds in your bedroom.

Our Top Recommendation: Toby & Ace Buddy Bed

The Buddy Bed is a high-end and luxurious dog bed without quite the high-end luxurious price! The vet-approved bed is crafted from orthopedic memory foam that’s designed to help relieve pain.

We also shared countless options for the best dog beds over on DogVills, so check those out. There’s literally a bed for every single breed.

Food and Water Bowls

Invest in high-quality food and water bowls made of non-toxic materials that won’t chip or break easily. Choose the appropriate size for your dog’s breed and provide fresh water daily. This will keep your dog hydrated and promote healthy digestion.

It’s also important to note that some dogs may require elevated food and water bowls to prevent strain on their neck and back. However, dog breeds prone at risk for bloat SHOULD NOT use elevated feeders. It’s best to consult with your veterinarian to determine which option is right for your dog.

Our Top Recommendation: Feeder Robot by Whisker

Yes, I know, those are cats in the picture. But the Feeder Robot works great for dogs, too! The automatic feeder holds up to 32 cups of dry food and lets you set portion-controlled meal schedules. It’s made in the USA by Whisker, the same company that makes the Litter Robot.

Grooming Supplies

Grooming your dog regularly promotes cleanliness and keeps its coat shiny and healthy. Invest in quality grooming supplies such as brushes, shampoo, and nail clippers. Regular grooming also allows you to inspect your dog for any skin or coat issues that need to be addressed. It’s important to note that some breeds of dogs require more grooming than others, so it’s best to consult with your veterinarian or a professional groomer to determine the best grooming routine for your furry friend.

By investing in these essential items, you’ll be providing your furry friend with the care they need to live a happy and healthy life. Remember to consult with your veterinarian for any specific needs your dog may have, and always prioritize their comfort and safety.

Our Top Recommendation: Dremel Pet Grooming Cordless Kit

Dremel PawControl Dog Nail Grinder and Trimmer

The Dremel is great for trimming nails on an uncooperative dog. In fact, it’s the ONLY way I can cut my pup’s talons (and believe me, they ARE talons!). Think “power sander for dog nails.”

Health and Safety Essentials

As a responsible dog owner, it’s important to take care of your furry friend’s health and safety. Here are some additional tips to help keep your dog healthy and happy:

Flea and Tick Prevention

Fleas and ticks can cause a variety of health issues, from skin irritation to diseases. Keep these pests from attacking your pup by using prevention products recommended by your veterinarian.

It’s important to note that fleas and ticks can be present year-round, so be sure to regularly check your dog for any signs of infestation.

In addition to using preventative products, you can also make your yard less hospitable to fleas and ticks by keeping your grass trimmed and removing any debris or clutter where these pests may hide.

Our Top Recommendation: Simparica Chewable Tablets

Simparica is a prescription-only monthly treatment that kills fleas as well as 5 different types of ticks. My vet recommended it for my dog during her last checkup, and it works great!

If you decide to go with it, ask your vet for the prescription and then go over to Chewy Pharmacy to buy it. Not only is it cheaper, but Chewy often has deals where you can save a good chunk of change on your first order.

For example, right now you can save 20% off your first Chewy Pharmacy order using code RX20 at checkout, or check out our review of the 8 Best Online Pet Pharmacies For Dog Meds for more places to shop.

First Aid Kit for Dogs

Accidents happen, so it’s essential to have a first aid kit on hand in case of emergencies. Your kit should contain items like bandages, scissors, antiseptic solution, and tweezers. Remember to keep the kit in a dry and cool place and regularly check the expiration dates of the contents.

It’s also a good idea to familiarize yourself with basic first-aid procedures for dogs. This can include knowing how to administer CPR, control bleeding, and treat common injuries like cuts, sprains, and fractures.

Our Top Recommendation: DIY Dog First Aid Kit from DogVills

Sure, you can find plenty of DFY (done for you) kits on Chewy or Amazon. But it’s easy to make your own dog first aid kit and tailor it specifically to YOUR dog’s needs.

Identification Tags, Microchipping, and Tracking Collars

If your dog gets lost, identification tags and microchipping can be lifesavers. Ensure your dog wears a collar with ID tags containing their name, phone number, and address. Additionally, microchipping provides a permanent form of identification that can be scanned by animal shelters and veterinary clinics if your dog is lost.

It’s important to keep your contact information up-to-date with the microchip company and to have your dog’s microchip scanned annually to ensure it’s still functioning properly.

Last, but not least, consider investing in a good GPS-tracking dog collar, especially if you love going on adventures with your pooch. That way, if he slips the leash or manages to escape, you can quickly and easily find him again.

Our Top Recommendation: Halo Collar 3 GPS Dog Collar

Halo Collar 3 in Orchid

If you’re a regular here, you know how much we LOVE the Halo Collar 3! It’s not just a GPS tracker; it’s also an invisible fence system. So it’ll help keep your dog from escaping in the first place.

Check out our full Halo Collar 3 review to learn more.

2024 Best GPS Dog Fence
Halo Collar 3 GPS Wireless Dog Fence

Marketed as the most accurate dog fence ever created, the Halo Collar 3 GPS Dog Fence allows users to create, edit and store unlimited-sized fences, starting at 30 x 30 feet, and is compatible with dogs weighing over 20 lbs. While the invisible fence features help prevent dogs from leaving the yard in the first place, the almost-pin-point accurate GPS tracking features help owners find lost dogs quickly. Last, but far from least, the Halo Collar also has amazing dog training features AND acts as an activity monitor.

Top Features: 

  • 24-hour battery life 
  • PrecisionGPS™
  • Active GPS Antenna
  • Real-time tracking
  • All-carrier cellular coverage worldwide. 

Shop through our referral link to save $25 at checkout. No coupon code needed!

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Poop Bags and Dispenser

Always clean up after your dog when out for a walk by carrying poop bags and a dispenser. Ensure the bags are biodegradable and environmentally friendly to dispose of. Not only does this promote cleanliness, but it also helps protect public health.

In addition to carrying poop bags, it’s important to properly dispose of them in a trash can. Leaving pet waste on the ground can not only be unsightly, but it can also contaminate water sources and spread disease.

Our Top Recommendation: Earth Rated Dog Poop Bags

Earth Rated Dog Poop Bag

I’ve used a bunch of different brands before, and honestly, they’re not that much different from each other. That said, Earth Rated bags are great because they’re eco-friendly, sturdy (something you definitely want when you’re picking up dog poo), and super affordable (you get 120 for about $8).

Earth Rated Dog Poop Bag
$13.99 ($0.05 / Count)

 High quality & durable dog poop bags made from 65% certified post-consumer recycled plastic. Includes 270 lavender scented Earth Rated dog poop bags that measure 9"x13" on 18 refill rolls.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/26/2024 11:13 am GMT

Training and Enrichment Tools

Training and enriching your dog’s life is important for their overall health and well-being. There are many tools available to help you achieve this goal. Here are some additional suggestions:

Dog Toys for Mental Stimulation

It’s important to keep your dog’s mind active and engaged. Interactive toys, treat puzzles and other games can provide the mental stimulation your dog needs. These toys challenge your dog’s abilities and prevent boredom and destructive behaviors. Consider investing in toys that require problem-solving skills, like puzzles that require your dog to figure out how to get to the treats inside.

Our Top Recommendation: PupPod Interactive Puzzle Toy & Treat Dispenser

There are interactive puzzle toys. There are treat dispensing cameras. Then there’s PupPod, an amazing little gadget that’s actually both! It comes with two parts- a “rocker” and a dispenser. The rocker lights up and makes noises. When your dog taps it, it triggers the dispenser (which also doubles as a camera). You control it all from a handy-dandy app.

Check out our full Puppod review for more details.

Training Treats and Clicker

Training your dog is an essential part of their development. Using training treats to teach your dog basic commands and reward good behavior is an effective way to train them. However, it’s important to use treats in moderation to avoid overfeeding.

A clicker is another useful tool for training your dog. It signals to your dog when they’ve done something right and helps them better understand what you’re asking them to do. Clicker training can be especially helpful for teaching your dog more complex behaviors.

Our Top Recommendation: Zuke’s Mini Natural Training Treats

Zuke’s are one of my dog’s favorite training treats. She really just loves the flavor. I love that they’re only 2 calories per treat! If they’re a bit out of your price range, though (they are among the more expensive at $15+ per bag, so I use them for special training sessions), here are a few others that I love:

Crate and Crate Accessories

A crate can be a valuable tool for housebreaking and traveling with your dog. It provides a safe and comfortable space for your dog to relax and feel secure. When choosing a crate, it’s important to select the appropriate size and type for your dog’s breed and size.

Accessorizing the crate with bedding, toys, food, and water bowls can make it a more comfortable space for your dog. Consider adding a blanket or towel that smells like you to help your dog feel more at home in their crate.

Our Top Recommendation: MidWest iCrate Fold & Carry

The durable and strong construction of the Midwest crate creates a secure place for your furry friend to den.

Agility Equipment

Agility training is a fun and challenging way to exercise your dog and improve their overall fitness. Agility equipment, such as jumps, tunnels, and weave poles, can be set up in your backyard or at a local park.

Training your dog to navigate these obstacles can improve their coordination, balance, and agility. It’s also a great way to bond with your dog and provide them with mental and physical stimulation.

Check out our post on AlphaTrainedDog for a list of the best agility equipment for dogs.

Training Classes

If you’re new to dog training, or if you’re struggling to train your dog on your own, consider enrolling in a training class. These classes provide a structured environment for you and your dog to learn together.

They also offer socialization opportunities for your dog, which can help improve their behavior around other dogs and people. Look for classes that use positive reinforcement training methods, which are proven to be more effective and humane than punishment-based methods.


Investing in the essential items for dog care will go a long way in ensuring your furry friend lives a healthy and happy life. From everyday items like food and water bowls to training and enrichment tools, these top 10 must-have items for dog owners will help promote good health and behavior. Remember to consult with your veterinarian for personalized recommendations specific to your dog’s needs.


  • Nicole Etolen

    Hi there! I'm Nicole! I've been a dog owner for most of my adult life and a dog lover for much longer than that. I grew up with a wonderful German Shepherd named Jake, who I loved SO much that I named my son after him. When I'm not writing for DogVills or my own site, Pretty Opinionated , I love spending time with my teenager (when he actually lets me), my Pharaoh Hound Freya, and my two cats (Zoe & Alex the Fuzz). I'm also an avid reader AND a total TV fanatic. If you'd like to learn more about me, feel free to check out my Linked In profile.

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