The title I wear with most pride is “dog mom.” Arlyn has undoubtedly brought so much joy into my life and there are no words to express just how thankful I am that God blessed me with his sweet, energetic spirit – but with great energy comes great responsibility (for me anyway… maybe not so much for Arlyn lol).
In these last two years, I’ve had to learn how to keep my fur child in check and stay in budget in the process. When I was brainstorming some ideas to share with y’all this fall/winter, I realized I’ve never shared any of these faves with y’all! Whether you’re an experienced dog parent or brand new, here are some items you might want to consider if you haven’t already!
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One of my biggest struggles with Arlyn has been his pulling. When he was going through obedience training as a puppy we tried to work on it, but it just never stuck. I was hesitant to get chains, so my vet recommended the Gentle Leader – it’s been an absolute game changer! He still pulls some, but he’s not dragging me down the sidewalk like he used to; and now I have more control over him whenever we come across other dogs. It took him some time to get used to, but he can still pant and bark with it on, so it’s not restrictive.
I splurged on a nicer rope leash for him too, but it was easily one of the best purchases. It has a swivel hook and two rings to attach it to to either use it as a standard leash, or you can loop it around your waist as a belted lead. It’s seriously the best whenever my hands are full or need to have a sturdier hold on him.
Grooming is where I tend to be the most stocked up. Arlyn has short, manageable hair so luckily I don’t need to spend money on a professional groomer, but man do I have quite the grooming collection lol. Arlyn’s a bit of a shedder, so I immediately turned to Furminator for their de-shedding shampoo, conditioner, and brush to manage his undercoat. Since he sheds a ton during baths, though, I invested in a grooming mitt to use so I can lather up the shampoo better and also avoid getting his hair all over my hands.
Another thing I think all dog parents know the struggle of is going to the dog park and returning home with another dog’s slobber all over your pup. Quite honestly, when that happens, I’m usually far too lazy to give Arlyn a proper bath, so I use these deodorizing bath wipes instead to clean him off + get him smelling fresh again.
And, because I’m obsessed with making sure Arlyn’s paws are well-kept so he isn’t scratching me up all the time, I make sure I take him in for regular nail trims (to a groomer, nail trims are the one thing he will not let me do!) and use a paw cream to keep the pads of his paws smooth since they tend to get dry + rough enough to scratch me up just as easily.
If you have a hyperactive or anxious fur baby, you have to get the quiet moments hemp treats. I don’t use these super often, mostly whenever Arlyn needs a bit of a chill pill or seems distressed during a car ride. I don’t even necessarily give him the full dosage for his weight, either. Just giving him half the recommended dosage is enough to calm him down. I tried using a dog-specific CBD oil, but I really prefer the hemp treats.
And if you have to deal with bodily fluid types of messes, whether it be occasional or often, the Nature’s Miracle stain + odor remover is by far the best one I’ve used, especially when it comes to making sure odors don’t get trapped in the carpet. It truly is a miracle worker.
Last but certainly not least, the Whistle 3 GPS tracker was a literal life saver whenever Arlyn would manage to escape the apartment while I wasn’t home and go on adventures without me. After losing him twice and going through the stress and heartache of having to try and find him, I made the investment in this little gadget. The device itself is a one-time purchase, but it’s $10 a month for the service to allow it to do the tracking. Thankfully Arlyn’s escape acts haven’t been an issue for quite some time so for the moment I don’t use the tracker, but I highly recommend it to anyone who wants or needs the peace of mind!!! You set a “safe” zone and get a text alert whenever your dog wanders outside that area. Plus it’s an activity tracker so you can keep up with your fur baby’s activity level.
Photography: Saverio Anfuso