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It’s no secret that our little Jacey Cooper is the apple of my eye. He’s taught me quite a lot about myself, what it means to unconditionally love and to lighten up. Along those lines, I have learned a thing or two about how to keep his world running smoothly and happily. Today, I’m sharing the items that have become staples in making sure Jacey is happy, healthy and entertained. Below each item, I also describe why I swear by particular items, how I use them and why they are dog owner essentials. Before we get into the rest of the post, I want to make it clear that I am not a veterinarian. The items I have included are safe for dogs given the research I’ve done and my own experience with Jace.
Outside of a dogs’ regular food and “good-job” treats, what other food items should you keep on hand? Here are three items I always have to make sure Jace is at his best.
This may seem like a weird one. Sweet potatoes are a good neutralizing food for dogs if they’re experiencing tummy issues. White rice works just as well, but Jace looks at me with a look that screams “You’re kidding, right?” anytime I try to feed him some. I make sure to have at least two on hand, just for him, in the event that his tummy starts acting up and he seems to be avoiding his regular food. I make a baked one in the microwave, scoop out the insides and let them cool before I give it to him. Something to keep in mind, Jace is only about 12 pounds and he can eat an entire sweet potato (he’s a grazer – no fixed meal times), so keep that in mind for the size of your dog.
(More on the blog: Benefits of Owning a Dog)
Like in humans, honey can act as a natural cough suppressant in dogs. A few weeks ago, Jace developed a cough out of nowhere. I googled natural cough treatments for dogs and honey came up in all of the resources. I give him about 1/2 a teaspoon at once and he just loves the stuff. Like with cough suppressants in humans, they address the symptom to let the body heal and work its magic. That being said, you want to be very conservative with the amount of honey you give your dog. According to the American Kennel Club, you should limit the amount of honey your dog eats due to a variety of potential concerns.
How are these different than “regular” treats? These treats can occupy your pooch for more than 5 minutes. I usually give these to Jace right when I get home from work and need to pee, change into sweatpants and eat something. Jace has a few favorites: these are his absolute favorite and he loves these (and so do I) because they’re basically dried sweet potatoes.
Don’t worry, I’m not about to preach to you that you need a bazillion toys for your dog’s every move. Ain’t nobody got the time (or space) for that. These two items are things that have made keeping my dog entertained easier on me.
This is a relatively new purchase for us, but man has it been a handy one. We got ours at Target and it came with a ball, so that’s great, but here’s why you need it: it is essentially an extension of your arm so you can get toys, pens, books and other things when they find themselves in hard to reach places, like under the couch. It’s quite comical how many times I’ve overextended a muscle in my shoulder trying to reach under the couch for something. Save yourself some pain and pick up one of these next time you’re out.
(More on the blog: How to Dog Sit)
Something That Doesn’t Make Noise
I’d like to say that 75% of dog toys have some kind of nose maker in them, whether that be a traditional squeaker or something that crackles similar to some baby toys. There are times when making an absurd amount of noise aren’t optimal when your dog wants to play, like nap time. We have a few different rope toys that Jace loves (this one is his favorite) and a stuffed Santa that doesn’t have a squeaker.
The following items perhaps aren’t relevant for every dog owner. These essentials don’t all fall under one category other than “really useful to have.”
We have had this pet bed/pillow from PetSmart since August and Jacey loves it. It’s super soft (yes, I’ve tried it myself) and it’s easy for him to get on and off. Just like how humans have their beds and couches to relax on, I think it’s important for dogs to have their own space as well. Yes, Jace does snuggle with us on the couch and in bed – he also spends a fair amount of time on his own bed whenever Tuck and I are exceptionally busy around the house. He knows he has his own space to nap and rest on, whenever we find ourselves busy.
I give Jacey a proper bath on the first of every month. Since he has relatively short hair, I choose to bathe him at home rather than take him to a groomers – much more cost effective and fun (for me). We’ve been using this shampoo for the last few years. I like it because it doesn’t irritate his skin, cleans well and has a pleasant scent. That being said, there are different scents of shampoo and conditioner from this company that may better suit your dog’s specific needs.
Y’all know there’s only one use for these. Say it with me: POOP. Whenever I bring Jace with me in the car, I make sure to have three with me, just in case. Our complex is very wonderful and has baggies around the property for residents to use, so I use those whenever we’re at home.
Like I mentioned earlier, I like to bring Jace with me places. That being said, we also like to protect the leather seats of Tuck’s car. We have this rear seat protector up almost always, but know that it is very easy to set up and take down.
Do you have a dog? What is one essential item for you?