Maggie (our Bichon/Shih-Tzu/Toy Poodle mix if you’re new around here) turned 10 back in August which kind of blows my mind. I don’t know where those years went. I think every parent (human or fur-covered) feels the same way when their babies grow up – the time just seems to float away.
Over the last decade we’ve tested and tried out a bunch of pet products and I’ve decided to compile a list of those that have worked best for us – Maggie as a canine and me as a dog owner. Obviously every dog is different but given than Maggie is a picky pooch, I suspect these would work for even the most disconcerting furballs.
L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Potato & Duck Small Breed Bites® Dry Dog Formula & L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Duck & Potato Canned Dog Formula
It took us a long time to find a food that didn’t upset Maggie’s very sensitive stomach. This line from Natural Balance is grain-free and formulated with single-source animal proteins. Maggie has never really been a fan of kibble so mixing in canned food really helped her eat it (and enjoy it!). I always keep the flavour of the dry food consistent but I switch up the flavours of the canned food (within the LID line) to keep it interesting for her.
Top Paw Pet Food Can Cover
I know this seems pretty basic but it can take up to two weeks for Maggie to go through a can of food. Saran wrap just doesn’t cut it and I tried numerous can covers that never fit properly. This one has several rings on the inside so that it can fit almost any size can and it seals it snugly and securely.
Thinkers Sticks Chicken Treats
Maggie might not always want to eat her food but she never turns her nose up for to a treat. These pepperoni-style treats are her favourite and a half stick is her reward for eating her dinner (seriously how many dogs do you know that don’t finish their food?) . These are also a single-source protein, have limited ingredients and include DHA and EPA to support brain function.
H204K9 Water Bottle
We won one of these water bottles from our doggy daycare quite a while ago and it’s not something that I’d ever thought we’d need. But it’s proven to be super useful for walks on hot Summer days and hikes in the mountains. The lid serves dual purposes as a mini drinking bowl and you can clip a cabineer on it and easily attach it to a backpack.
Buddeez Bag-In Pet Food Dispensers
Another food-related product that just makes life easier. You just pop a bag of food in, cut the top of the bag off and you can pour food straight into the bowl. I like it because you don’t have to worry about sealing and resealing a bag and using a separate scoop to distribute food. It makes storage super easy and compact too!
Earth Rated Poop Bags with Handle
The least fun part of a pet ownership is cleaning up after them so it’s important to have the right tools for the job. We’ve tested out many over the years and these have proven to be the best – in addition to being extremely earth-friendly. Just make sure you get the unscented ones (#gag).
PetLit LED Collar Light
Maggie still expects a walk – even when the nights get cooler and the daylight hours recede. This little light clips on to her collar and emits a pretty bright light that helps keep her and us safe when we’re walking her at night.
Rescue Remedy Pets
Maggie can get pretty anxious at times, specifically during thunderstorms or going for car rides. I use natural, flower-based spray in conjunction with the lavender spray mentioned below to help calm her. They also make a version of this for humans and I can attest that it does in fact work!
Saje Lavender Relaxing Spray
As mentioned, I use this in conjunction with the Rescue Remedy spray above to keep Maggie calm. I usually spray her bedding and put a few spritzes in the air before I leave the house and it seems to help curb her anxiety a little.
Bowsers Dutchie Bed
I’d be lying if I said that Maggie only had one bed at home but out of the ones she has, this Dutchie bed is her favourite. While these beds are pricey, they are well constructed and can stand the test of time. Maggie’s is several years old but still looks brand new. I also love the fact that the covers are removable and machine washable. If I was a dog, this is the bed I would want to sleep in!
The older Maggie gets, the less interested she is in toys, except for her Loofa Dogs. She rips around the house with these, throwing them back and forth and showing them who’s boss. We’ve been through a few of them so they aren’t the most durable toy but for some reason, they’re her favourite.
Foam Booster Seat
Yes, I’m one of those crazy people that has a booster seat for my dog. I started putting Maggie in a seatbelt in the backseat after hearing that a dog could be decapitated if they were sitting in the front seat and the airbag deployed. We tried several types of seatbelts but they were all so complicated to use. This booster seat makes things easy – I just pop her in it and clip her collar to the attached belt. She’s safe and secure and is gets to sit comfortably while having an elevated view from the car.
Flexi Vario Retractable Leash
While I wouldn’t recommend flexible leashes for walking your dog, the reality is that we’ve been using one for years and it’s hard to go back now. Maggie loves to sniff! We’ve always used the Flexi brand ones because they are great quality, durable and comfortable to hold.
If you’re a dog owner, work Monday to Friday and you also want to have a social life once and while, I recommend you find yourself a good doggy daycare. We usually send Maggie on Fridays so we can go out for dinner or come home and relax after a week of work guilt-free. She’s usually exhausted and just wants to sleep the night away. It also gives her valuable socialization with other dogs. Just make sure you find a reputable one – referrals from other dog owners are best.
Maggie needs to be groomed once every 3 months or so, and her nails trimmed even more often than that. Finding a good groomer can be difficult but it’s super important to find someone you trust with your dog, is experienced and listens to how you want your dog to be groomed. We’ve had a wide range of groomers over the years and have finally found one that does all of those things and more. I feel comfortable leaving Maggie with them and she always comes out looking fabulous and exactly the way I’ve asked. Grooming can be a traumatic experience for some dogs so I can’t stress how important is to find a good one.
Do you have a dog or a pet? Share their name below – I love connecting with fellow pet owners!