For information on some basic doggie ‘essential items’, please click on the right for Basic Products for Dogs. If you are contemplating having a dog, or are have just welcomed a new dog into your home, there’s also advice on avoiding distressing pitfalls on the On Buying A Puppy page, in the Advice section.
For ‘advanced users’, here’s a pick of some newer pet supplies products & ideas. There are thousands upon thousands of products out there, so the round up here has targeted a few new ideas for doggie wellbeing and saftey.
Safety Release Collars
Traditional collars are potentially dangerous – because they have a buckle, they will not undo if the collar becomes caught on something and cause strangulation injuries… New safety release design collars are finally available for dogs now, featuring buckles which ‘snap open’ if the collar is caught on anything. This design of collar is already a hit with cat owners. We think they’re probably a good idea because dogs may go missing – without you around, your dog could get its collar snapped on a wire fence, branch, etc – away from people who could rescue him or her.
Anti Choke Collars
Another traditional product is ‘choke chains’, which pressurise the dog’s neck they try to pull forward. Although a staple product for many years in pet supply stores, the products can sometimes cause health problems and dogs may cough, gag or, well, choke. The next generation of products to replace them are anti choke harnesses. These designs avoid pressurising the dog’s neck. The pressure from traditional choke chains may aggravate glaucoma. Smaller dogs are particularly prone to collapsed tracheas due to the pressure from traditional choke chains. The newer designs are more like harnesses, which fit around the front legs and avoid the neck altogether. We think this is a brilliant idea, providing the design should not exert any pressure onto the chest or airways.
Collars are also available which exert pressure on the nose instead of the neck. Manufacturers claim this is more effective than traditional choke collars, as well as being kinder and gentler to the dog.
Electronic collar devices
- Tracking collars
Use various technologies to send a signal from the dogs collar to a hand held device that homes in on the dog – should be ideal if the dog is lost – or has zoomed off on walkies. In the USA, The American Kennel Club (1) works in collaboration with the Positioning Animals Worldwide Company who makes the Spotlight GPS Pet Locator. There are a variety of other products to choose from, from cheaper devices that use radio frequencies but the range will be more limited so not as useful. Not surprisingly none of these products are cheap. We’ve seen them from $80 / £50 with a range of 400 feet / 122 metres, around $200-$250 plus $8-15 monthly service fees for the Spotlight device, or more for other GPS tracking systems. No doubt worth a go to try to buy peace of mind, but also all devices attached to collars will remain on the collar if using a safety snap-open collar. Nothing, as they say, is perfect.
- ‘Anti Bark’ collars
We do not think these are suitable for home use at all – and they are illegal in many Australian states. The ASPCA does not generally endorse their use and states the use of collars on young dogs can traumatise (2). Training is a more humane option. Persistent barking is a behavioural issue – resources from the ASPCA may help (3) and a good training expert.
Dog Teeth Cleaning
This should be done 1 – 2 times weekly and must use a soft toothbrush. Many stores sell dog rubber teethbrushes. Do not use human toothpaste. Do buy dog toothpaste - ask your vet for suitable brands. Dogs need specialised tooth paste to break down plaque. One other tip, from the ASPCA (4) is to use of piece of nylon tights (USA: pantyhose) stretched over your fingers – although we think for dogs who are less in favour of having their teeth brushed, a rubber toothbrush could be safer for your fingers? Whatever you use, use gentle circular motions, with the word gently key here.
‘Dental’ dog food/drink products
Claim to clean the dog’s teeth by using the action of dry foods rubbing against the teeth or as and additive for water. Should not be used a substitute for teeth cleaning. These products range from sticks and chews & water additives to complete diets. See ‘Useful Information’ for a link to list of products approved by the USA’s Vetinary Oral Health Council (5). Their ‘Seal of Approval Scheme’ is endorsed by the British Vetinary Dental Association (6) and the European Vetinary Dental Association (7).
Pooper-scooper dispensers for your belt
Around a while, they clip onto your belt and hold poop-scoop bags so that you can more or less deal with the operation hands free, without having to handle the doc lead in one hand whilst trying to grovel through your pockets with the other as people look on in the high street… Poop scoop bags now come in ‘antibacterial’ and you can also get packs of antibacterial wipes for you hands.
There are a million cute dog coats and ‘jumpers’ out there but we like the idea of fluorescent dog coats / vests. They act just like cyclists day-glo jackets – they make the dog visible for traffic and people. You can also buy battery powered lights that clip onto leads or you for walking in the dark. There are also collars that reflect light and/or have battery powered lights built in – and some come in the new safety release designs.
We just had to quickly mention these: did you know you can even buy a lifejacket for your dog these days? Brilliant safety idea for anyone taking to the water!
Dog car harnesses
Aim to stop the dog cavorting about whilst you’re trying to drive, prevent it from doing the classic hanging the head out of the window (not good in traffic) and act as a doggie-seat belt in accidents. The UK’s RAC make on and claim it lessens the chance of the dog hitting the windscreen or the driver/passengers in an accident. Some types of anti choke harnesses double up as car harnesses.
You can now get products for dogs (and other animals) that you give orally to calm them down – when travelling to the vets, during firework season, when moving home… There are homeopathic drops for oral administration & coats which use body pressure points to help calm anxious and frightened dogs.
The Association of British Vetinary Acupuncturists also lists stress-related conditions as one of those treatable by its members (8).
There is also a German Veterinary Acupuncture Society e.V. (9) and the Samenwerkende Nederlandse Vetinaire Acupncturisten for Dutch dog lovers (10). For the rest of Europe, The International Veterinary Acupuncture Society may be able to help (11).
In the USA, the American Academy of Vetinary Acupucnture website has a search facility to find a vetinary acupuncturist (12), or the American Holistic vetinary Medical Association may be able to help (13).
In Canada, there is the Association of Vetinary Acupuncurists of Canada (14).
Website links to all of these organisations is at the end of the page. (Please note, we do not have any agreement with / do not receive any payment to advertise any of these societies and also unfortuanely cannot give any reviews of their services, we simply provide their details for information and hope you find them useful!)
There are far too many products to list individually – so here’s just a taster of some of ideas you might like:
Anti-tangle sprays – for dogs with longer hairs – spray before grooming
Anti-shedding shampoos – to minimise moulting & keep the coat healthy
Tick ‘pickers’ – plastic tools to remove ticks. Why? Because ticks bury their jaws into skin and then ‘lock on’, remaining in place to suck the animals blood. Simply taking hold of a tick and ppulling it out is a no no – parts of the tics jaws and head can remain embedded in the skin, leading to nasty infections. The pickers aim to safely remove all of the tick, after which the area should be cleaned with disinfection. Tics shouldn’t be left to ‘drop off naturally ‘ – they carry bacteria and can therefore cause infections. If you can’t handle the gross factor, take your dog to the vet and have them do it while you look away. Your vet can also sell you tic repellent spray which you can use to prevent them.
Tea tree cream – help soothe itchy skin conditions (if you vet gives it the thumbs up)
Posted by Norma De Bloom
Photo Credits – please note these are copyright but you can contact the artists using the links:
Dog in anti choke harness http://www.sxc.hu/profile/clix Saftey release collars http://www.sxc.hu/profile/verzerk Old style colllar on fence http://www.sxc.hu/profile/bethan No founling – (copyright Jenny Rollo) http://www.sxc.hu/profile/buzzybee Dog swimming with lifejacket http://www.sxc.hu/profile/superelvis
1. American Kennel Club. Spotlight Is Here. [online] American Kennel Club.
2. ASPCA. Bark Collars. [online]. ASPCA.
3. ASPCA. Barking. [online]. ASPCA.
4. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. General Dog Care. [online]. ASPCA.
5. Vetinary Oral Health Council. Products Currently Awarded the VOHC Seal. [online] VOHC.
6. British Vetinary Dental Association. Association.
7. European Vetinary Dental Association
8. Association of British Vetinary Acupuncturists. Treatable conditions. [online]. ABVA.
9. German Veterinary Acupuncture Society e.V. (GERVAS)
10. Samenwerkende Nederlandse Vetinaire Acupncturisten
11. The International Veterinary Acupuncture Society.
12. American Holistic Vetinary Medical Association
13. American Academy of Vetinary Acupucnture
14. Association of Vetinary Acupuncurists of Canada