28 things you probably don't realize you need for your dog, according to trainers & vets

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Getting a dog comes with a ton of responsibilities. Not only do you need to make sure your pup goes out and is fed every day, but you’ll also have to think about their long-term health and happiness. Sometimes, first-time pet owners don’t necessarily realize the sheer amount of supplies that dogs require. Like most things, it can be a learning experience.

However, there are plenty of veterinarians and trainers out there who’d love to give out some expert advice on what to buy before bringing your dog home. While there are plenty of dog lovers out there, it’s the veterinarians and other pet experts that aren’t afraid to step up and say what you need to get through those first few bonding months.

Just remember, getting a pet is a huge responsibility. It’s a lot like having a child, but (unfortunately) there’s no registry to fill out when deciding to bring a puppy into the mix. Speaking of, it’s also important to realize that many new dogs are mature pups who’ve been rescued. Finding out what they may need to best acclimate to a new environment is also important.

Here’s what the experts had to say when it came to must-have dog supplies.


A Pheromone Diffuser To Help Keep Dogs Calm

Veterinary surgeon Dr. Linda Simon, who is also a consulting veterinarian for FiveBarks, thinks that a pheromone diffuser should top the list when it comes to new dog supplies. “This is especially important for puppies that have just been brought home and for fearful dogs during events like fireworks displays,” she said. “These diffusers encourage dogs to relax and settle down, preventing hyperactive or destructive behavior.” This particular diffuser sticks out since it mimics a mother’s natural nursing pheromones.


Waste Bag Holders That’ll Make Your Walks A Lot Easier

Dr. Simon also wants to remind new pet parents that it’s always good to have pet waste bags at their disposal, especially in an effort to keep your neighborhood clean. But, it’s also a good way to keep your pets — and others — safe. “Waste bag holders to clip on to your dog’s leash when out and about are a real must,” Linda said. “They ensure you never forget to bring your dog’s poop bags along, avoiding any embarrassment in the local dog park. On top of this, scooping every poop minimizes the spread of infection and parasites.”


An Interactive Puzzle That’ll Keep Your Pet Busy

Dogs like games just like people do — but, this Outward Hound puzzle happens to be recommended by Dr. Gary Richter, the former owner and medical director of Montclair Veterinary Hospital in Oakland, California. “Just like physical stimulation, dogs also need mental stimulation as well,” he said. “Interactive puzzle games are great options to help keep dogs not only entertained, but to help keep their minds active. These types of toys that allow you to hide pieces of food or treats create challenges that aid in reducing anxious and destructive behaviors while redirecting them toward positive habits.”


Wax That’ll Help Their Paws From Slipping In Cold Climates

This product is truly one that you might not realize you need. But according to Dr. Richter, paw wax is a must-have — especially for dogs that live in particularly snowy or cold areas. “In the winter, walking on ice, snow, and road salt can be very drying to your dog's paws,” he said. “Then in the summer, dogs are faced with walking on hot pavement. It's a good idea to invest in a paw balm to help combat or protect your dog from dry or cracked paws, such as Musher's Secret. The key is to start treating before things get really bad.”


This Leash That’s Essential For Training

One of Dr. Richter’s other suggestions is a proper lead. While you probably know to invest in a leash, you may wonder which is the right one. He finds that the HALTI Training Lead For Dogs works well. “Finding the right leash is important when training your dog, especially the size as you want to give them space to explore without yanking on you,” he wrote. “A leash should be about 4-6 feet depending on the size of your dog. This double-ended dog training leash is a durable, comfortable, and adaptive option that is great to use for training whether your dog wears a collar or a harness.” It comes in both black and red.


This Styptic Powder That’ll Save You A Ton Of Worry

Dr. Sarah Wooten, DVM, CVJ, is a veterinarian on staff at Pumpkin Pet Insurance, and she believes that good nail clippers are a great buy when welcoming a dog. But more importantly, this Styptic Blood Stopper is great to have on hand for those who might be a little nervous over trimming. It’ll “stop bleeding in case you accidentally cut the nails too short,” she said. “This will help prevent a bloody disaster!” Having it handy will save you a ton of worry.


Treats To Reward A Job Well Done

Like their human pals, dogs often rely on treats throughout the day. Training treats are a great way to motivate your pet, and Dr. Wooten happens to love Pupford freeze-dried training treats. Since these are less than 1 kcal per treat, they’re great for teaching lessons that might take some time to master. She believes treats like this are “very important to help motivate your dog to 'do the right thing' and establish a positive relationship with your dog.”


This Treat Dispenser That’s Fun For Dogs

Dogs need a lot of interaction in order to be happy — and, that interaction can also come from toys and treat dispensers. Julie Burgess, Certified Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA), happens to like this one from StarMark. “A bored dog often gets into mischief, but you can keep your dog busy and happy when they have a job to get treats or food out of a toy,” Julie said. “The Bob-a-lot comes in two different sizes and is appropriate for almost any sized dog. Increase the skill level of the toy by decreasing the size of the opening where the food exits the toy.”


A Toothbrush To Help Avoid Costly Dental Appointments

Julie Burgess also believes that getting a toothbrush — and getting in the habit of using it — can help save a lot of money down the road. One version she believes in is the Arm & Hammer for Pets Tartar Control Kit. “Dentals and extractions can run hundreds of dollars because dogs are under anesthesia for the procedure,” she explained. “Most dogs don't enjoy having their teeth brushed. But it should be an essential part of their health routine.”


Ear Wipes To Help Stop Itching And Infection

You might not realize it, but your dog could also benefit from having its ears cleaned. Animal Behavior Expert Charli Burbidge often recommends this brand for new dog owners. “I can’t tell you how often owners forget about their dogs' ears!” Charli states. “Imagine if you didn't clean your own ears regularly - the same goes for dogs. These ear wipes are alcohol-free, containing aloe vera and eucalyptus to ensure a safe clean.”


A Dog Paw Washer That's Portable And Colorful

Do you live in an especially muddy area? Then, this product that was recommended by veterinary medicine and animal biotechnology professor Pedro M. Aponte, DVM, PhD, is the perfect choice for you. This portable paw cleaner just requires a bit of water to work wonders. Pedro states this product is “very practical if you want to keep your floor clean after a muddy walk.”


A Nail Grinder That’ll Help Make Nail Trims Less Nerve-Wracking For Both Of You

If you’re an amateur at cutting dog nails, this nail grinder may be a better solution. According to Professor Aponte, this model will give any dog owner more confidence and control over the process. “You could get slight bleeding when using regular trimmers,” Pedro noted. “With this kind of device, you will be in total control of the nail trimming process.”


A Calming Dog Bed That They'll Love Napping On

Getting a dog bed is important. But, which one should you get? Professor Aponte recommends this version for its shape. He believes the “donut bed” is good for “a relaxing nap in one of the favorite dog sleeping positions: curled-up.” Plus, it just looks genuinely cozy.


A Chew That Can Help Prevent Dental Decay

If you’re adding a dog to the family, you should probably stock up on Whimzees. Dr. Danielle Bernal, a veterinarian with Wellness Natural Pet Food, is quick to recommend them to those who care about their dog’s dental health. “They come in unique shapes — like alligators and hedgehogs — that help ensure proper blood flow through dogs' gums and helps clean hard-to-reach spots as dogs chew,” Danielle’s team notes. “They contain no artificial ingredients, colors, flavors, preservatives, gluten, wheat, GMOs, or meat — and dogs love them!”


A Lickimat To Help Calm Anxiety And Avoid Overeating

Both Dr. Linda Simon and Pedro M. Aponte mentioned a Lickimat as being one of the best things to get for a new pup. These mats are useful, especially for new pets who might not pace themselves when it comes to food. Dr. Simon also believes it’s good for pet owners. “They require little effort from owners, allowing us to get other things done around the home,” she said. The Lickimat is a great alternative to other feeding devices like the slow feed bowl.


A Ball Made For The Toughest Chewers

Sometimes, you don’t know what kind of toys your dog will enjoy — nor do you know how quickly they’ll destroy them. That’s why it’s important to have a few selections for dogs that may be a little bit more “ruff” when it comes to playtime. Shonyae Johnson, CPDT-KA, has experience as a dog trainer and is currently the animal behavior manager at an animal shelter in Texas. For tougher play, she likes the Jolly Ball. “They love to chase it and it’s stood up against our roughest players in the shelter, for hours of play throughout the week,” Shonyae said.


A Flirt Pole That’ll Help Release Energy For Dogs Who Are Wound Up

Some dogs seem like they just can’t stop when it comes to play. For the more energetic of the bunch, Shonyae recommends the Squishy Face Studio Flirt Pole, which is available both with and without a squeaker. “The lure on the end and its movement make for great fun to expel energy after a training session,” Shonyae mentioned.


A Variety Pack That Might Help You Learn More About A New Pup

Shonyae has to deal with plenty of different dogs on a daily basis — but getting variety packs of fun activities is a good way for her to learn more about what each dog can respond to. This particular pack from babaZone happens to include a lot of great toys and activities. “Variety Packs such as this make a great opportunity to try new things for your pups,” she wrote. “Often, they include items that can provide various forms of enrichment.”


This Dog Wash That’s Ideal If You Have A Breed That Doesn’t Shed

Dr. Anthea Schick has a pretty fascinating job as a veterinary dermatologist, focusing on a dog’s skin and coat — and, she’s a solid reminder that not all dog shampoos are created equally. She recommends Rowan brand Natural Hair Wash as a good way to condition a coat. Much like humans, pets also have different hair types — and when choosing a wash, it’s always important to keep that in mind. Rowan is made of avocado and coconut oils, and is often recommended for dogs who need to be professionally groomed.


A Toy Most Dogs Love That’ll Keep Them Stimulated

Phoenix, Arizona-based veterinarian TB Thompson, DVM, is in love with this dispensing dog toy from Planet Dog, which happens to be available in a bunch of different bright colors. TB states that it’s “nearly universally loved” by dogs, but humans as well. “It’s great because it’s made of silicone which means it doesn’t make much noise bouncing around your house and you can wash it in your dishwasher,” TB added.


A Shirt That Helps Dogs Cope With Sudden Anxiety

Elissa Weimer-Sentner, former military policewoman, now owns her own dog training business, which is (adorably) called Paw & Order. One of Elissa’s top recommendations for dogs is the Thundershirt, which can help ease dogs during fireworks, storms, or whenever there’s a lot of loud noises that make them anxious. They come in a variety of different sizes, and it’s good to have one on hand in advance.


This Soother That Might Help Your Dog Fall Asleep

There are plenty of great ways to help soothe your pet. Another wonderful suggestion from Elissa Weimer-Sentner is this PetMedics Pet Sound Soother. “This is helpful at night, as well, to help your dog fall asleep and stay asleep,” Elissa suggested. “Some dogs are very light sleepers and it is helpful to have this soundtrack playing at night so you don’t have to tiptoe around the house in fear of waking up your dog.”


This Bowl That Can Refocus Your Dog During Stressful Situations

It seems simple, but this portable bowl — which can easily suction to your car window — might be the key to help your dog with anxiety, especially during long rides. You can also throw it in the dishwasher for an easy clean, or the freezer. “I like the portable lick bowl for stressful situations such as riding in the car and nail trims,” Elissa advised. “This will give your dog something to focus on and enjoy while you are driving or grooming your dog, which will help it become a more enjoyable activity for your dog in the future.”


This Indestructible Pineapple That’ll Keep Chewers Busy

Sometimes, dogs like a challenge. This pineapple dog chew toy is a must-have for the chewer in your life, according to Dr. Michelle Burch, DVM, from Paramount Pet Health. Not only is it a cool-looking toy, but it’s pretty indestructible. “Your dog will have entertainment for hours if they love chewing with this toy,” Michelle said.


A Mat That’ll Help Your Pet Practice Foraging

Make mealtime a little more fun with this AWOOF pet snuffle mat. This is yet another favorite product of Dr. Burch, who thinks it’s also a good way to help your dog battle stress. “Dogs will be mentally stimulated while searching for their next kibble or treat,” said Michelle. “Mental stimulation provided by this product will help to prevent anxiety and stress.” Even better, it’s made out of felt cloth, meaning it’s fairly easy to clean.


The Brush That'll Tackle Your Dog's Entire Coat

Dogs need to be groomed, and it’s important to have all the right tools to do so. The FURminator is often known as one of the most powerful pet brushes, and Dr. Burch is one of the many fans of the product. “Your dog will need routine brushing, especially during shedding seasons,” she said. “The FURminator helps remove loose hair, especially the undercoat, and helps prevent matting.”


A Dog Food That’s Marketed Towards Shelter Pups

It makes sense to be a little confused over what food to buy for your dog, but Dr. Darcia Kostiuk, Senior Veterinarian at Champion Petfoods, is quick to recommend ACANA Rescue Care, which also happens to be a #1 best-seller on Amazon. “The first few months after rescuing a dog are crucial for the adoption’s success,” Dr. Kostiuk states. “It’s the first dog food in the U.S. formulated specifically for the unique needs of rescue dogs and their transition from shelter environments to their forever homes.”


A Quick-Drying Doormat That’ll Inspire Pups To Stay Clean

This doggy doormat, which is also recommended by Dr. Kostiuk, is handy for a reason. Owners can get their dogs to stay on the mat after a particularly wet time outside, either due to the rain or snow. “It’s important to have a doggy towel handy to wipe off your pup's paws and coat when you come into your home,” she said. “The mat is to train them to stop on that mat as soon as they come into your home so they can be wiped off.” This mat and a little training can save your carpet and furniture.