If you’re a dog owner, then you know why we call them “Man’s best friend.” Dogs make great pets and even better companions! However, many people don’t realize how much care and upkeep dogs require until they first adopt one. According to the most recent National Pet Owners Survey by the American Pet Products Association, dog lovers have an average basic annual expense of approximately $1300 per year associated with properly caring for a dog.
Fortunately, we’re here to provide you with some much-needed information regarding how to save while keeping your dog happy and healthy. So, here are 6 essential products for every dog owner to have in the house!
Canine Toothpaste or Mouthwash
Dogs get into a lot of “stuff”. Taste and smell are related and surely dogs can lick some disgusting things. Although you may think you’re doing your dog a favor by brushing their teeth, you could be doing a lot more harm than good if you use the wrong toothpaste. Don’t assume that human toothpaste is safe to use on dogs as this could not be further from the truth. A lot of standard kinds of toothpaste contain an artificial sweetener called Xylitol which is toxic to dogs.
There are special toothpastes and types of mouthwash you can add to their water made specially for dogs. If you want to try something natural at home, you can try adding a few drops of edible peppermint oil to the water bowl; it’ll help your pup’s bad breath problem!
Now before you go rushing to the store to buy some Fido-approved toothpaste, don’t forget to read the chewable toys section below and check out this homemade toothpaste recipe for dogs!
A Proper Collar and Leash
This is where it’s recommended to go out and make a proper investment. While many dog owners still use standard neck collars and leashes, it’s been proven that these can cause a great deal of discomfort to your dog. Whenever your dog pulls against a leash connected to a neck collar, it puts a lot of pressure on their esophagus. If enough force is exerted, it could cause permanent damage to your dog’s throat.
Better yet, there are some amazing leashes out there like the Gentle Leader that help you control your dog while reducing the risk for injury. This is without a body leash, and you don’t need to worry about your dog lunging themselves during a walk!
So many pet owners will spend money on hiring a professional to help them teach their dog how to properly walk. If some unassuming chihuahua gets wild after a sniff it didn’t like, it could be a mess for both owners. When on a walk with your dog, be in control and be the leader. Proper walking equipment can prevent a lot of problems for both pet and human.
Ear cleaner is especially useful if your dog has big wonderful floppy ears. Floppy-eared dogs are more prone to wax build-up in their ear canals, which if left uncleaned, can cause allergies and infections, and worst-case scenario—even hearing loss.
Fortunately, dog ear cleaner is relatively inexpensive and readily available at a veterinary clinic and pet stores. Like toothpaste, you shouldn’t use the same products on dogs that you would use on humans. So, make sure you get the right stuff before you clean your dog’s ears out! Please remember DO NOT USE Q-TIPS to clean your dog’s ear. One wrong move or a slip of the hand can cause a lot of damage. Remember not every dog need’s its ears cleaned. Check out this instructional guide on how to safely and properly clean your dog’s ears.
Dogs have different skin and hair oils than humans. While some dog breeds can handle baby shampoo without too many complications, many breeds have sensitive skin and hair that require dog-specific formulas. If you use a shampoo that’s too strong or not meant for dogs, you could cause your pet a lot of discomfort. Strong shampoos can often cause itchy skin, rashes, and even hair loss.
Of course there are plenty of dog shampoos on the market, but we’re here to help and save you money. So, before you go buy some expensive formula, check out our post of how to make your own natural dog shampoo at home!
Most dogs are natural-born chewers. Some dogs will find a way to chew through just about anything and everything. This is why sturdy, non-toxic chew toys are so important for your dog’s health and development. Not only does a chew toy save your furniture, it provides some temporary stimulation for your dog as they exert some energy. Did you know that certain chews will also clean plaque and promote oral health?
As a new dog owner,keep in mind that some chew toys are not as strong as others. If your dog has a strong bite and a lot of persistence, you’ll need to purchase a chew toy or even rawhide-like bone that won’t break or deteriorate so easily. However, if you do choose rawhide bones, be careful! The AKC warns that if they swallow a large chunk, the risk of choking or intestinal blockage is high with rawhide bones. Although it might be a bit gross or messy for some, you opt for pre-prepared real bones from a pet store.
Dog owners know, veterinary costs are a big part of the annual expense mentioned earlier. Some visits can cost $50 and some can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars in a worse case scenario. If the average lifetime cost of owning a dog is $23k (as per the AKC), the most costly expense to cut down on is at the vet.
Remember the rawhides we just talked about? Yeah they’re inexpensive, but they can lead to some costly issues like choking or breaking a tooth and the previously mentioned chance of intestinal blockage. This can be an expensive accident if you’re not prepared.
Accidents happen, and some dogs are prone to certain conditions like chronic allergies or breed specific issues. The top pet insurance companies will provide coverage on anything from accidents and injuries to dental-care and illness, as well as other optional additional coverages. If you budget properly for your fur child’s insurance every month, you won’t get sideswiped by some sort of sudden massive expenditure.
The Bottom Line
Keeping your pet happy and healthy should be your top priority as a dog owner. In the end, dogs don’t have to be so high maintenance or as costly. But this doesn’t mean that you can just leave them to their own devices. Instead, you need to make sure that they have the right products to stay clean, have fun, and move around safely. Fortunately, with the 5 essentials above, you and your dog will be much better off!