8 Essentials for Owning a Dog

8 Essentials for Owni0ng a Dog - I'm Fixin' To - @mbg0112

If you’ve been reading here for a while, you know I’m that crazy dog mom that is obsessed with my pups.  Winston is our German Shepherd/Chow mix and he will be 6 in May, and Gizmo is our German Shepherd/Golden/Austrialian Cattle Dog mix and he will be 3 in October.  We adopted both our boys from the SPCA of Wake County and we are huge fans of the organization.  These two dudes have brought us so much joy and we are so lucky to have them as our loyal companions.  Despite the fact that we majorly spoil our dogs, here are our 8 essentials for owning a dog.

Disclaimer: These are simply our opinions based off our experiences with owning dogs.  Consult with your veterinarian if you have questions.

Dog Food

We feed our boys Purina Pro Plan food and we have never looked back from this brand.  Winston gained a bit of weight around the holidays, so he is eating Purina Pro Plan Overweight Management (based on our vet’s recommendation) while Gizmo is eating Purina Pro Plan shredded chicken.  When we first adopted Gizmo, the quickest thing we noticed was how healthy his coat got after he started eating this food.  Our boys have luckily never been sick, and I think feeding them a quality food consistently has been helpful.  If we get low on their food, I order from Amazon, so I’m never having to buy a lesser quality food from the grocery store.

Good Walking Leash

8 Essentials for Owni0ng a Dog - I'm Fixin' To - @mbg0112

We have never been fans of retractable leashes.  We use a traditional leash so we have control on walks.

Gentle Leader

Gizmo struggled with walking on a leash in the beginning.  A gentle leader was a life saver and it really helps keep him from pulling.  I can’t recommend them enough.


We swear by Kongs for the boys.  This is the best way to reward them and/or calm them.  Our go-to is to put peanut butter in the kong with a few Charlee Bear treats topped with peanut butter and freeze for a few minutes.  Sometimes, the boys will just go get their Kongs out of their toy bin to chew on too.


Making sure that you have collars that fit your dog(s) and that they are strong enough to support their leash is important.  We also have their ID tags with our names and phone numbers attached to their colors.  And we use Seresto collars for flea and tick prevention.

Chew Toys

Winston is super destructive with toys and loves to rip stuffed animals apart.  Gizmo is much more like Linus and has toys that he carries around as a security blanket.  This is his favorite.  Winston also likes bones to chew on and we keep a few handy to help ease their anxiety.  When they were both puppies, our boys loved their keys and I highly recommend these for teething.  Also, take peanut butter, smear it on a damp towel, freeze it, and then use that to help with puppy teething.

Low Calorie Treats

We are huge fans of Charlee Bears for training, walking, and rewarding.  Our boys never seem to grow tired of them and they are only 3 calories per treat.


We crate trained both of our dogs, and I can’t recommend this enough.  We have their kennels in our bonus room, and honestly, the times we tried to take them down, Winston & Gizmo both got pretty upset.  That’s their space and they always have it as an option to retreat if they get tired or anxious.  Also, we have dog beds for them in our room for when they’re not hogging our bed.  It’s nice for them to have places that are theirs that they know to go to when commanded.

8 Essentials for Owni0ng a Dog - I'm Fixin' To - @mbg0112

Alright, there you have it.  Those are our eight essentials to owning happy, healthy dogs.  Let me know if you have any questions.

What are your favorite items for your pet?




2 thoughts on “8 Essentials for Owning a Dog

  1. Hannah

    I bought a crate when I got Windsor, but he cried when I put him in there and of course I took him out and that was the end of it. I’m such a softie! He’s always had free reign wherever I’ve lived and he’s never destroyed anything #knockonwood He does love to chew though and he lives for fetch time so toys are definitely a must. I wanted to get him a gentle leader, but I don’t think it would stay on his face. This is a great post and you know I love seeing pics of your babies!

  2. Andrea Darst

    OMG Winston looks just like my boy, Conner! Conner is a collie/shephard mix, though, so he’s a little furrier, but their faces…they could be brothers! Your boys are so cute!

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