Dog Mom Tested Must-Have Dog Items We Love

Every dog owner has a list of their must-have dog items they go back to time and again. Our house is no different.

Over the last 13 years as a dog mom I’ve found some favorite products I return to because the dogs love them, and that means I do too.

I’ve divided the list into four categories:

  • Treats
  • Health
  • Toys
  • Maintenance

So let’s get started on our list of must-have dog items we love, and hope you will too!

Related: Keep Your Pup Safe and Cool with Dog Pool Float and Accessories

Related: Dog Puzzle Toys To Make Wearing Your Pup Out A Cinch

I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

The first item on my list is something that helps me save money on items I buy for the dogs all the time. I’m a member of Rakuten (formerly ebates), and it’s a super simple way to save money at most of the places I shop online. If you’ve already done it, great! Go shopping.

If you haven’t head on over to Rakuten and sign up. It’s free to join, and you earn a percentage back on stuff you buy anyway, from human clothes to dog treats. Pet sites include Chewy, PetCo, BarkBox, Furbo Dog Camera, Rover, NomNom, and many more.

You just sign into the site you want to buy at through Rakuten, and they will send you a check every three months with your cash back. Offers generally vary from 1-10% back, or a specified dollar amount. Hey, a dog parent has to save some cash wherever they can, right?!

Must-Have Dog Treats

Zuke’s Lil’ Links

These moist treats are mainly what we give our Chocolate Lab Casey, who has Laryngeal Paralysis and has had tie-back surgery. We have to be careful about feeding her treats that are crumbly and she might aspirate, so moist treats are great for her.

These are fairly small, so they can be fed whole or broken into smaller pieces for training.

Nutro Crunchy Treats

The dogs all love these Nutro crunchy treats. I LOVE the blueberry ones – they smell like blueberry pie every time I open the bag!

They’re small and great as a training treat.

Wet Noses All Natural Dog Treats

These are also favorites in our house. Wet Noses peanut butter and banana treats are 100% sourced and made in the USA. They’re also organic.

And the dogs think they’re yummy. I’ve also seen these 5 pound boxes at Costco, so make sure to check it out the next time you go.




Must-Have Dog Health Items

Zymox Pet Ear Treatment with hydrocortisone

It never fails that on a weekend or evening when your vet is closed your dog starts scratching at their ear. That’s why Zymox is another must-have dog item in our home.

Zymox is a gentle but effective ear cleanser that also treats inflammation of the external ear caused by bacterial, viral and yeast infections. Our dogs don’t love having ear drops or cleanser put in their ears, but never make too big of a fuss with Zymox.

This treatment isn’t meant to replace veterinary care or to treat major ear infections. But it is great for minor irritations that could become worse if your dog keeps scratching at it.

Nutramax Dasuquin with MSM Soft Chews

Dasuquin chews are a soft treat containing supplements for joint health. The supplements include glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM.

Both Casey and Riley are on these. They both like the taste, which is a big plus. Casey is 13 and is also on pain meds for her arthritis, but this is all Riley takes for his arthritis and he is doing great. He limps more when he’s not on them. They aren’t a cure all by any means, and he can still overdo it an get sore. But I think they definitely make a difference. They were recommended by our vet.

These come in a small/medium size for dogs under 60 pounds, and large size for dogs over 60 pounds.

Pawlife Hemp Calming Treats Plus Glucosamine

These soft chews are formulated for anxiety relief and joint support. In addition to the hemp I like that it uses a lot of natural ingredients like organic chamomile, organic passion flower, valerian root, l-tryptophan and organic ginger root.

Riley is always very anxious just about life in general, as well as the usual dog worries like thunderstorms and fireworks. He takes these treats twice a day, every day. He’s still a little bit of a hot mess at times, but is actually much calmer overall when he’s on these.

NurtureCALM 24/7 Pheromone Collar For Dogs

The NurtureCALM collar works by releasing maternal pheromones to calm your dog. It’s recommended for problems like anxiety, aggression,destructive behavior, and restlessness. Just put the collar on your dog and it works for up to 30 days.

If you guessed that Riley is wearing this collar, then ding, ding, ding – you win! In addition to his generalized anxiety, Riley also has issues at times with Finn. I think he would like to be the only male dog in the house, and he gets cranky about it. Again, this was a veterinary recommendation for him and it actually is helping him be calmer around Finn.

From the reviews it looks like it’s either a big help or a total miss for people who’ve tried it. If your dog is struggling with any of these issues it might be worth a try.

Concerned about your dog’s health? Then make sure to check out our post on keeping your dog safe in the car.


Must-Have Dog Toys

Kong Wubba Comet Dog Toy

PLEASE NOTE: This is NOT a chew toy. Many of the reviews on Amazon for this toy are terrible and mentioned how quickly dogs chewed through it. That’s because it’s not meant to be chewed on for extended times. Just because it has the Kong name on it doesn’t mean it’s indestructible or meant to be chewed.

This is one of Finn’s favorite toys. We throw it for him to retrieve, and he loves to squeak it the whole way back. I like that this comet toy has a plastic cover over the top part, which helps the squeaker to last longer.

He also loves playing tug with this toy, and it’s held up well for that. Just don’t give it to your pup as a chew toy and all will be well!

Chuckit! Flying Squirrel Frisbee

This one’s been Casey’s favorite frisbee for many years. It’s light weight but tough and durable. Labrador tested, Labrador approved!

Chuckit! Ball Launcher

There’s no better way to wear out a dog who loves chasing tennis balls than this Chuckit! ball launcher. Riley’s all-time favorite.

If you don’t want your shoulder to fall off from throwing a ball, buy one.

Benebone Wishbone Dog Chew Toy

We have gone through a lot of these throught the years. Finn is our biggest chewer right now and he loves these, especially the chicken flavor.

Benebones are made in the USA. They are great for cleaning teeth as your dog chews. We haven’t had any issues with large chunks coming off when the dogs chew, just tiny pieces which they mostly swallow and don’t cause any issues.

A must if your dog loves to chew.

Outward Hound Nina Ottosson Puzzle Toy for Dogs

This is another item we have a small stockpile of. Puzzle toys are great way to wear your dog out mentally and physically. Hide some treats in the toy and watch their brain gears start grinding!

Find out more about the many different types of puzzle toys and their uses here.

Classic Kong Dog Toy

I’m a huge fan of classic Kongs. They are great toys for bouncing and playing, and for stuffing with food and freezing as a treat toy. There’s a size and variety for every type of dog from Chihuahua to extreme chewers. If you haven’t tried one for your dog yet, buy one today!

You can find out more about Kongs in my post on puzzle toys, and get some great recipe ideas for Kongs as well.




Must-Have Dog Maintenance Items

Safari by Coastal Dual-Sided Shedding Blade

I had no idea how much Labradors shed when we first brought home Casey. As in, “hey, when did our whole house become coated in chocolate colored hair?!”.

For less than $10 this tool is game changer. First rule: always brush outside because if your dog sheds, there will be a ton of hair.

This brush is best for medium to large size dogs, especially those with a thick undercoat like Labs or German Shepherds. No need to press down hard, just comb over their fur and watch it fly!

Dremel Cordless Rotary Tool

They make a Dremel specifically for dog toenail grinding, but I just use the regular Dremel cordless. Casey has very dense toenails that are hard to grind and this does the trick. Her nails are also black so I can’t see the quick, and this let’s me do a little bit at a time so I don’t take too much off.

We also use this on Riley, and his nails are much softer than Casey’s. So his nails take almost no time to do.

Rocco and Roxie Professional Strength Stain and Odor Eliminator

We have three big dogs and two cats in our house, so I’ve tried almost every stain and odor eliminator out there. This is one of my favorites because it has a lot of uses.

One of the big uses for this is because Finn likes to roll in raccoon poop. That’s an entirely different post for another day. Anyway, if you’ve never smelled raccoon poop, it’s not pretty. But I’m sure you can understand why that makes this odor eliminator a must-have dog item in our house.

This is one of the few products that I can use to get the smell off him. It’s based on natural enzymes that remove the odors. According to the directions, it’s safe for pets but shouldn’t be used on them. Tell that to me again when the dog walks in the house smelling like poo!

I spray this on a cloth and use it to wipe the offending mess off of him. Then I clean him up with some waterless shampoo, or if it’s warm enough outside he gets a bath.

This also works really well on cat puke stains and urine stains. Just sayin’.

Nature’s Miracle Skunk Odor Remover

This is another must-have item we keep in our house. This is also great at removing raccoon poop or other stinky stuff from dogs, in addition to skunk smell removal.


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Post: How To Get Rid Of Skunk Smell On Your Dog


Paw Choice Dry Dog Shampoo Waterless Foaming Mousse

Speaking of dry dog shampoo, this is the brand I use. It comes in a mango and pomegranate scent that smells really nice (to me, probably not the dogs) and is gentle on their skin. It also comes in a Lavender and Chamomile scent.

It comes out of the pump bottle as a foamy mousse, so if you have a pup afraid of spray bottles it’s great. Just work the foam in and leave it. It’s a nice product to use in between bath times, or after stinky raccoon poo incidents (see above:) )

It’s also manufactured in the US and is cruelty-free. Yeah!

CET Vanilla Mint Dog Toothpaste

This is my favorite toothpaste for the dogs, and they tolerate it well. I can’t say any of them love having their teeth brushed, but they like the treat after ๐Ÿ™‚

This has a nice fresh mint scent without being too overpowering for a dog’s sense of smell. This is the brand my vet sells as well, so I know it’s effective and gives me peace of mind.

Slow Feed Bowl Stainless Steel

This bowl is very similar to the one we use (the one’s we have are little older and the model isn’t made anymore). I love the stainless steel because it’s easy to keep clean. Also, our dogs are so vigorous that some of the plastic slow feeders get grooves in them from their teeth, and it’s harder to keep clean and bacteria free.

This is just one of many types of slow feeder bowls though, and this is best for dogs with longer muzzles. Check out our post on slow feeder bowls to find the right fit for your pup.

Wrap Up

Well there you have it – a list of some of our favorite must-have dog items.

From treats to toys and health and maintenance, these products will help you and your pup have a happier, healthier life.

Do you have some must-have items you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you!


Still looking for that paw-fect product? Check out some of our other posts.



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