by Katrina Kagan
You might be wondering why we’re rounding up all our favorite pet items on GNI, but – as any dog mom knows – taking care of pets can be one of the best forms of self-care. Not only does my little pup, Otis, bring a smile to my face every day (those zoomies! they’re so cute); but he reminds me to keep things in perspective. When I feed him, I usually feed myself. When I offer him water, I fill up a bottle for me too. When he needs a walk, a walk we both get! The routine of caring for a little floofball helps keep me on-track (and happy) in so many ways, so I wanted to share some of my – and my fellow dog moms on Team GNI’s - favorite puppy parenting products. Enjoy!
Dog Leashes and Collars
Start with the basics. Getting a leash and collar that is high-quality and long-lasting can be ruff (lol), but your pup wears it every day, so it’s got to be comfortable and enjoyable for both of you.
1. The Wild One Walk Kit
This is our favorite leash and collar set. The unique material is made of a flex poly coated nylon strap, and dirt wipes right off with just a paper towel. The best part is the adjustable leash clip that lets me quickly hook Otis up to a cafe table or chair when we bring him out with us. Plus, a brand that supports rescues is a brand we love!
2. The Whistle Go Tracker
You wear a fitbit so why can’t your dog? Dog-tech is really stepping up its game, and this activity and location tracker is great for really active dogs, or dogs that could use a little more activity. It doubles as a GPS tracker so you can follow your dog if they’re out with a walker or being pet sat when you’re away. The Whistle can attach to a collar you already own, but some also come with cute collars of their own that make attaching the tracker super easy.
3. Found My Animal Ómbre Collar
For the doggos in vogue, try this braided and leather collar that comes in ómbre and neon colors. Maybe even match it to your trendy manicure?
4.L.L. Bean Leather Collar
Looking for a no-frills neutral option? The L.L. Bean leather collar is forever in style and chic as heck.
To harness or not to harness – that is the question if you’re a dog mom. Every dog is different, but if you’re team harness, here are a few that my dog’s groomer helped me pick.
1. The Gooby
A classic dog harness, the Gooby is a great and easy-on option that’s breathable and comfortable for pups. The X shape helps keep your dog from escaping out, and limits matting for the floofier breeds out there. They come in a more traditional shape, escape-free, and memory foam options too.
2. Wild One Harness
Just like their walk kit, the harness comes in some really ~aesthetic~ colors. It has both a back and chest clip for multiple leading options, and is great for training dogs who aren’t used to leash walking yet. The head-first shape and side buckles keep your dog safely inside, and the padded material feels pretty comfortable to wear, too.
3. Lucy and Co.
If you’ve got the kind of dog that wears harnesses like outfits – or as a special occasion option – then the patterns from Lucy & Co. are made for you. The reversible Space Doodle is just too cute.
Believe it or not, dogs get bored too! And when they need something to do, they’ll make up their own plans like going through the recycling, searching for your slippers, or shredding sheets of paper. (Is it the noise? The taste? The ease? Plz explain!) Keep them, and yourself entertained with actual toys, like these:
Every doggo needs a kong. They’re the perfect “keep busy” toy. Fill them with with your favorite little treats, all natural sugar/salt free peanut butter, a bully stick to hold, or frozen blueberries. Pro-tip: Fill with PB and freeze for a warm weather treat. It’ll take longer for your dog to eat, and provides some heat relief. They come in different sizes too!
2. Ottosson Dog Puzzles
Yeah you read that right. Last holiday season I was gifted a puzzle for my dog and I was just as skeptical as you probably are. But woof was this a great idea! It’s great for keeping my dog busy when someone comes over, or keeping him away from the coffee table when we’re snacking. They come in different difficulty levels and keep your dog (and your friends) very entertained. We fill ours with a mix of frozen blueberries and training treats for the more difficult spots. Try it out and see how smart your dog really is.
If you ask my boyfriend, he’ll say this delivery is more for me than it is my dog, but we both freak out when the package comes in the mail each month. I’ve never seen a more thoughtfully created and original storyline than that which comes in these hilarious sets. Past themes I’ve loved include Shakespeare in the Bark and an 80’s workout theme. This month’s theme was a Must Squeak TV Guide with Real Housepets, The Bachelemer, Trash Kitchen Cook Off, Graze Anatomy and Law and Udder. Can you tell I get a kick out of these yet?
Every box is completely unique with new toys and treats for each theme. The best part is how interactive the toys are, and they give us new ways to play with our dog, like wrestling with a puppet (his absolute favorite item.) Customize your subscription by dog size, and try the Super Chewer box for dogs who rip stuffed toys to shreds, it comes with a replacement guarantee!
And good news: If you’re not looking for a monthly subscription, BarkShop sells some of their most popular monthly toys!
Dog Food and Treats
2019 has been a tough year for dog parents, with new studies constantly released about recalls and harmful dogs foods. Our advice? With so many options to sort through, do a little bit of research on the ingredients, read honest reviews, and engage your vet in conversation (they can help!), but every dog is different!
1. The Farmer’s Dog
The Farmer’s Dog is a direct-to-consumer company that delivers freshly made food to your door. While most dog foods have the right amount of nutrients that dogs need to survive, they believe that feeding fresh food is far more beneficial to dogs long-term. For my dog Otis, we chose The Farmer’s Dog earlier this year because Otis has a really sensitive stomach. Before FD, we tried lots of different brands with different formulas, but no matter what, Otis would eventually get sick. After a few sleepless nights, a lot of carpet cleaner, and two very pricey vet bills, we switched, and Otis hasn’t had an issue since. And he really, really likes it!
2. Solid Gold Pet Food
Solid Gold is a holistic independent food brand that makes canned, wet, and dry dog food with limited ingredients. They aren’t owned by a larger pet brand, so they have full control over their products, and a lot of food variety.
3. Honest Kitchen
Honest kitchen has a really unique line of pet food products for a range of budgets. From broths, toppers, whole food clusters, and dehydrated dog food, they have a great variety if you’re looking to change your dog’s meals, or just mix them up a little with toppings.
4. Chicken Littles from Polka Dog Bakery
Beyond just a cute name, we love that these all natural treats are made at their kitchens in Boston, MA and we love supporting a small business! These are the treats that we use for training, to reinforce good behavior, and as an on-the-go snack. Though they’re a little stinky, Otis also LOVES the dehydrated fish treats. It leaves him with stinky breath for just a little bit, but doesn’t leave a scent on furniture. They’re also safe for cats!
5. Fetching Fields Bars
These plant-based bars are certified organic, human grade, wellness bars for your canine. They come individually wrapped which makes them the perfect travel or day-out item.
6. Bocce’s Bakery Treats
From biscuit treats to soft chewy snacks, Bocce’s has a huge variety and some real fancy flavors. Treat yourself and your dog with their mint daily treats, and keep an eye out for their CBD snacks launching next month!
@BagDogs everywhere, listen up: traveling with your dog isn’t easy whether it’s across town, or across the country. Trust me, I’ve taken my dog on a trip at least once a month through every method except by boat, but I did once wait in line for the ferry! Choosing an airline-approved bag that is easy to carry and roomy enough for your dog can be a challenge, so here are my favorites!
1. K9 Sport Sack
I know they might look silly, but how fun are these backpacks? They’re the ideal commuter bag for you work-friendly pups, bike-riders, and hikers. Unlike most carriers, they put your dog in a modified “sit” position that makes them feel secure, comfortable, and confident for dogs that are hyper aware and want a good view.
2. Love Thy Beast
A classic canvas tote is always a great buy. This minimalist option is cute, sturdy, and is waxed for durability. While you can’t use this on a plane because it’s an open bag, it’s great for day-to-day travel.
The most modern and car-friendly carrier is the Sleepypod. Its space-age bed shape looks so cozy, I’d want to climb in too! This car-safe carrier buckles right into your back seat and is ideal for road trips because it doubles as a bed. Bring to a friend’s home or hotel room, and your pup has a safe and familiar bed ready to go.
4. Sherpa Original
The Sherpa carrier is the OG airline-approved travel carrier. We like this one with mesh siding to keep your pup cool in unfamiliar and cabin environments. It fits neatly under airplane seats and its great for train travel also.
Doggy Home Items
Bringing a dog into your home is incredibly time- and energy-consuming, but what they don’t tell you is that it’s also really space-consuming! Before you know it, what’s yours (the better side of the couch) becomes theirs, and what’s theirs (a soggy chew toy) becomes yours to step on at 6am. Getting pet items that blend into your thoughtfully crafted aesthetic is possible though. Here are some of my favorites:
The number one rule of dog-mom club is to not talk about the camera you have installed IN FRONT OF your dog. The number two rule is to show the live feed of your dog climbing onto the coffee table to all of your coworkers. A Furbo is the sleekest petcam we’ve seen, and it even throws treats! After watching your pet home all alone, you might not want to leave your house again, but is that really so bad?
2. Kindtail Co.
This modern lightweight crate is small enough to fold up and leave in the closet, but cute enough to stay out in your living room. It’s ventilated walls provide a comfy and breathable space for your dog, but still make the crate feel like their comfy go-to spot.
3. Dog Cave
If your dog doesn’t need a crate, but likes a cozy spot that’s all their own, this pet cave is IT. Honestly, we should all have our own individual felt caves, but if just one of us can have it, then I guess my dog deserves it the most.
4. Casper Pet Bed
A mattress is no minor purchase, and it’s super fair for you to want to keep your dog off of it. So why not get a mini version of the same one for your pup? The Casper dog bed is a more durable version of their well-known mattress so they can dig, scratch, roll around, and you can wash it after. It comes in pet-friendly colors and multiple sizes to fit your breed.
5. Wild One Stainless Steel food Bowls
Despite a lack of kitchen space, we keep our dog food bowls out all day long, so this set from Wild One is the perfect neutral shade to blend in. They’re lined with minimal statement shades and a non-slip bottom to keep from spilling all over your kitchen floor.
6. Felt and Fat Handmade Dog bowls
Prefer a stonewear look? This handmade ceramic set is way nicer than my Ikea dining set, and has become the focal point of my kitchen. They come in both a small and large size.
7. Pet Safe Plants!!
There’s nothing worse than coming home to find your new little Pothos shredded to bits because your dog got onto the coffee table – until you realize what what comes next 🤢. The Sill curated a whole page dedicated to plants that won’t make your pet sick. Look at that Calathea thriving!
Raise your hand if you’ve ever tried to dress your dog in a sweater for fall, cute lil rain boots, or a bandana so he can feel formal at dinner too. K same! It doesn’t seem fair that they’re only given one look and have to stick with it for life, so go ahead and get that festive handkerchief. Bonus dog-mom points, and eye rolls from your friends, if you coordinate looks.
1. Lucy and Co.’s designs are a great accessory, I’ve actually worn them too!
2. The Paws bandanas are handmade by a miracle-working team in Bali. They make bandanas and sell them globally to help save dogs they find on the streets, and dogs owned by people with limited resources. They make matching scrunchies and pajama pants for mom too!
3. THE PBC
Every dog owner needs a poop bag carrier, or they’ll be caught in a very compromising position: stuck in the middle of the sidewalk with a 6 foot long trail of poop bags rolling down the street, while your dog pulls on one side, and your neighbors judge on the other. Save yourself and get this silky-smooth feeling carrier from Wild One.
4. Biodegradable Bags
What’s worse than dropping a roll of poop bags? Buying cheap bags that RIP. Don’t be like me, buy high-quality and biodegradable bags (in bulk).
5. Pom Pom Dog Sweater
If I could get myself this sweater from Love Thy Beast, I really really would. Guess I’ll have to settle for my dog having it.
Gifts for the Dog Mom in Your Life
All a dog-mom really wants (other than more dogs) is gifts to remind her of her dog, right?
1. Dog Photo Phone Case
When I got a custom dog photo case, I was a little embarrassed, but now the whole world can see just how cute my dog is and I don’t even have to show them my camera roll!
2. Custom Dog Illustration
There probably aren’t enough signs of a dog in your home. A framed illustration by NYC artist Andrea Caceres is a really cute gift for a new pet parent.
3. Little Felted Friends With the holidays not too far away, these little felted sculptures make the sweetest ornaments. Get one for every dog parent in your family!