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Dog Accessories: What You Need and What You Don’t

In order to properly care for your dog and to comply with certain local laws, pet parents must have a number of dog accessories in their arsenal. Some of these items are necessary, others are merely conveniences. It is important to know exactly what you’ll need to ensure that your dog has what he needs.

The Essentials
Most of the truly necessary items for dog care are fairly obvious. You’ll need bowls for his food and water. Some dogs have a habit of moving their food bowls around the room as they eat. This cannot only make a lot of noise, but have the frustrating result of requiring the owner to hunt around for the bowl at feeding time. The problem can be solved in a number of ways: using a heavy ceramic bowl makes it difficult for the dog to move it around; a sturdy plastic bowl with a rubber lining on the bottom can prevent the bowl from sliding around as Rover enjoys his meal; a bowl stand or holder will ensure the bowl stays put, as well.

You’ll need a leash and a collar for taking your dog on walks. These can be as simple or as elaborate as you’d like, but of course you’ll want to take the size and strength of your dog into account when selecting them. The collar can (and should) be adorned with a license tag or at least an ID tag that provides your name and contact information in case your dog gets lost.

Nothing is more important than the safety of your furry family members. Just as you buckle your seatbelt in the car, you should also buckle your dog’s. Dog harnesses allow you to properly restrain your dog while traveling in the car. A harness protects by keeping the dog from roaming around the car and distracting the driver. It also keeps the dog from becoming a projectile should you be involved in an accident. Learn more about the dangers of driving with unrestrained pets.

If you live in a big city like New York or Chicago, or other urban, or even suburban areas, you’ll need to purchase that miracle of modern doggie conveniences — the “pooper scooper” or at least have a supply of “pick-up bags.” Most cities have laws against owners simply allowing their dogs to “foul the footpath” or leave little “poodle bombs” all over the city park. In some areas, there is a hefty fine for such crappy behavior.

Optional Accessories
There are literally thousands of optional items available for people to purchase for their dogs. Some of these items, like gravity refillable water dishes and food bowls, serve a very useful purpose; others — the dog bandana comes to mind — serve no practical purpose, however they may make your dog look very cool!

One item that some pet parents do find very useful, especially those who live in climates with extreme heat and cold, is “dog booties.” While they may seem like a useless item, they protect the sensitive pads of a dog’s feet from rough terrain, rocky areas, rock salt used on icy streets and hot pavement. In the desert environments of cities like Phoenix, Las Vegas and Albuquerque, the summer pavement can literally become hot enough to fry an egg. You wouldn’t walk barefoot on such a surface and neither should your dog.

So, ensure you have all the essential dog accessories on hand, but don’t be afraid to live it up a little and purchase some extras, like toys, to make your dog’s life a little more exciting.
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