Back in January, my partner and I added a second dog to our family. It was quite the journey to finally get not only our application accepted, but to also be approved for the dog we applied for. Many families have been adopting during the pandemic, and I am so glad so many have found their forever homes! This terrific outcome from something so horrible came with a side effect: it was very, very difficult to find a puppy for adoption that was still available. After many emails, phone calls, and applications, I managed to not only get an accepted application but also approval for a dachshund beagle mix, otherwise known as a doxle. The only “catch” according to the rescue was that he had a disability: zero vision in his right eye and only half vision in his left. Alec and I weren’t deterred. Padme has had her own share of health issues, and we knew that we could handle the new puppy’s special circumstances. And so, we put down a deposit and drove two hours to a neighboring state to pick up our new family member!
Odin, named after the Norse god who himself is missing an eye, doesn’t let his lack of vision keep him from playing or getting into trouble haha! He is very smart and has caught onto his training quickly. Having a new puppy in the household has brought some challenges so I thought it would be a good time for me to share some purchases that have really helped us with Odin as well as our senior dog, Padme who had some health issues last year that really changed how our household functions. Below I will be giving my honest reviews on products I have purchased from Amazon for our two fur babies that have improved all of our lives.
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Your Best Friend’s Essentials
This bed is not only super cute and versatile for just about any decor style, but it also also super comfy, warm, has an anti-slip bottom, and is machine washable! I bought a small one to see how it was, and other than a slight storage smell, it looked and felt great. Padme loved it so much that I bought a second one so she could have one downstairs in the living room and one upstairs in the office. When we brought Odin home, I quickly realized we needed a third bed for his play pen. We know keep two beds upstairs in the office for the dogs to hang out with me while I work from home while the third is inside Odin’s play pen for nap time. I have also already washed all three of the beds a few times due to puppy accidents, and they wash like a dream. They fluff back up just perfectly after a run through the dyer. I highly recommend this pet bed for your furry friend. Get it here!
When Padme was a baby, I spent so much money on cute little bowls that I would switch out with the seasons. Now that she’s older, she’s had the same bowls for a few years, and I’ve realized she doesn’t need a million cute little bowls that coordinate with holidays. So when we were prepping for Odin to be brought home, I got him some standard steel dishes similar to Padme’s and thought “That’s that.” Well, Odin had other plans. He is a very, very fast eater. So fast that the first couple of days he was home with us he was making himself sick from eating so quickly! I took to the internet and found that food maze bowls are great for making your dog slow down at meal time. I purchased one on Amazon, and it has worked like a charm! Get it here!
Hear me out. I know it says “baby blanket,” BUT baby blankets are perfect for small dogs. I bought these specifically for their double car kennel (more on that below in the “Traveling with Your Best Friend” category). They’re perfectly soft, great for any weather, machine washable, and come in so many colors. I got Padme the peach and Odin the light green. They love their blankets, especially on car rides as Odin and Padme can make their little nests and feel secure as we head out on the road as a family. Get it here!
There’s not a whole lot I can say about dog poop bags, but these are a steal for the price and work as designed. We don’t have our own yard so we make sure to pick up their waste each time the pups use the potty outside in our communal areas. We also really enjoy daily walks. When you gotta go, you gotta go, so we keep dispensers on both leashes for easy access no matter where we are. Get it here!
Sweet Padme has had quite the journey with her teeth and had to have several pulled last year. Small dogs tend to have more problems with their teeth so we made sure to do our research and find a toothpaste that worked for her (and now Odin). The dogs don’t mind the taste (in fact they would rather lick it off the toothbrush or our finger instead of having their teeth brushed). We use small baby toothbrushes or our finger to rub the paste on their teeth every night. If they have a a bit of smelly breath after treats or a special soft food meal, we put a tiny pea sized amount on their tongue and they’re good to go. I wish I had taken care of Padme’s teeth when she was a baby but there’s no time like the present, and Odin is going to get the benefits as well from us starting the habit with him as a baby. I definitely recommend having a toothbrushing regime for your pup, whether that’s daily, weekly, etc. Get it here!
Back when Padme was first diagnosed with IMT, we had to forgo taking her to the groomer for about a year to keep her protected from any accidents. Since we also couldn’t walk her or allow her to do any strenuous activities, her nails started to get long. I knew I didn’t want to buy any nail trimmers for fear of cutting her nails too close and causing her to bleed, which is exactly what we were trying to avoid while her blood platelet numbers came back up, so I looked into other options. This nail grinder was perfect for what we needed. It’s easy to use, relatively quiet, portable, rechargeable, and neither dog seems to mind us using it on them. If your pup needs their nails trimmed every now and then, this is the perfect solution. Get it here!
This baby gate was one of our first purchases when we knew we were going to get to bring Odin home with us. Our kitchen is a high traffic area for our family as we tend to use the backdoor in the kitchen for coming and going. We also cook often and learned that dogs love to get under you while you’re cooking to see what that yummy smell is. So I went to Amazon to find a gate. This tall baby gate with a swing door was just the ticket for our wide doorway from the living room to the kitchen. It was easy to set up, highly customizable, and will have other uses in our home once Odin understands that the kitchen is not a puppy-friendly zone. The one complaint that I have is that the door isn’t very wide for those of us with larger bodies. I tend to turn a bit sideways to go in and out because of my wide hips (about 42 inches currently). Alec naturally turns sideways as he comes and goes through the little door so it may not be a big deal for others. Still, it was worth the money to keep the pups out of the kitchen, and it will have future uses when we add to our family again. Get it here!
This bitter apple spray purchase as a first for me. When Padme was a puppy, she chewed through probably 10+ chargers and USB cords, but she didn’t care for furniture or other things that weren’t her toys. Odin, however, loves to chew on literally anything from the corners of the coffee table to the wooden papasan chair base to our blankets! I asked some of my fellow dog owners if they have ever experienced this and if so, was there a solution other than waiting for the teething phase to buy and buy new furniture? One of them recommended this bitter apple spray, and it worked for the most part. I found that I had to reapply every other day or so as he would sneak away under the chair and gnaw on its base after the spray wore off. I did also read that some dogs like the taste of bitter apple so the spray could very well be counterintuitive. I was also not brave enough to spray it on anything fabric as it does have a slight smell. Get it here!
This was also another purchase to prepare for Odin’s homecoming. Our living room had only a papasan chair and a coffee table in it at the time so we had the play pen set up in it’s biggest configuration. Once we finally got a couch, we reconfigured it by folding in a couple of the sides to make it smaller and fit in its new designated space. It functions as intended and has plenty of space for Odin to eat, sleep, and play. We also have room for a peed pad or two for accidents while we continue potty training. Unfortunately, Odin is a sneaky pup and figured out how to climb out of the pen when we weren’t home. We had to buy two coverings that stretch across the top and the bottom. The bottom covering was to protect the carpet while the top was tied down to keep him inside while we were out grocery shopping or running errands. Get it here!
Okay, so this gate may come as a surprise to you because it is so short. I initially bought it back when we lived in our old rental house to keep Padme from wandering into the kitchen while she was recovering. It worked great! We kept the small doggy door closed while cooking or bringing in groceries and we left it open for the rest of the time for Padme to get to her food and water. I will say though that Alec and I both have hit our feet and toes on the gate multiple times from not raising our legs high enough and being in a hurry. Now that we are in our new home, this little gate has come in handy keeping Odin from climbing the stairs. His first week home consisted of a lot of exploring which isn’t a bad thing… until he decided going up and down the stairs several times in a row was his idea of fun. To save our neighbors’ from the noise as well as keep Odin safe, we put this little gate across the bottom and/or top of the stairs depending where we plan to spend the day. Get it here!
Special Pup Purchases
This section is for dogs and pups that may find themselves in special circumstances or were born with some life altering conditions; whether that is a sudden medical condition like Padme’s IMT diagnosis or Odin’s (mostly) blindness, here’s some products that have helped us.
I first mentioned and showed off this stroller in my “Week in the Life” vlog. I remember saying that I didn’t want to link it and recommend it until we had been able to use it a few more times. Well here’s my bite-sized review! I looked at several pet strollers before settling on this one. The biggest selling points were the no-zipper closure, storage basket, and how compact it was. Padme and I spent many a day walking in the park near our old place and once she was put on bed rest, I knew I had to find a way to get her out for some fresh air while still following the vet’s instructions. This little stroller did the job just fine. I was really iffy on the price tag; I mean, who spends $60 on a dog stroller? Me. I did. And it was so worth it to see how happy it made Padme to climb in and go for a walk. The looks we got were also priceless. Neighbors would see us out and think I had a human baby in the stroller until Padme gave them a fright with her barking. Now that Padme is better, I’m still keeping the stroller folded up in storage just in case. Get it here!
Along with the stroller, I also purchased this ramp to help keep Padme from jumping on/off the couch and our bed. Jumping can lead to serious injuries for small dogs, and Padme already has some back issues. Honestly, we should have gotten some pet steps or a ramp a long time ago before Padme was diagnosed with IMT. Regardless, once Padme kind of learned how to use it, it was simple enough to set up and move about as needed. It did take her some time to learn that she had to go down the ramp, not jump off of it haha. Get it here!
Odin is mostly blind, but he hasn’t run into many issues since we brought him home. He can get around our home easily. Going on walks can be a little different; he gets confused easily when we start taking different streets and sidewalks, even if it’s the same route. The other thing that stood out to us was how hard of a time he had playing fetch. I had to make sure the toy smacked against something for him to find it. I started looking online for some help and found that blind dogs really love scented toys. They can also like noisy toys, but Odin gets startled easily so I steered away from those. We ended up getting a tug rope that smelled like bacon, a toy bone that smelled like chicken, and two bacon-scented squeaky balls. He absolutely loves his scented toys and has been able to play fetch easier now. Get it here!
Traveling with Your Best Friend
This is by far one of the most expensive items on this list. It is not a must-have for most dog and cat parents, but let me tell you why we spent a pretty penny on this double car kennel. Firstly, both of our pups are extremely curious and nosy. They can’t sit still in the car even if they are being held. Secondly, we brought them to the vet together three separate times, and all three times were difficult with trying to get them on their leads, get one to wait while you get the other out, and do it all of it alone. Thirdly, we needed a long term solution for yearly 8+ hour long car rides. My family lives about ten hours away and we usually visit at least once a year. When it was just Padme, we could put her pet bed in the floorboard of the passenger seat so she could see us and still get in our laps if she was feeling anxious. I looked into a variety of ways that people travel with their pets from car seats to backseat hammocks, but nothing was fitting for our situation. Alec stumbled across this double kennel for car rides, and after some research, we made the decision to spend the $155 (yikes!).
We have used the double kennel (hooked into the backseat’s seat belts) several times now for trips that were less than half an hour now. At first the pups were very upset, especially Padme. But once we got going down the road, they both settled down and were along for the ride. The baby blankets I mentioned above were bought to place inside each kennel to make things feel more comfy for them. The kennels are both very spacious and has enough room for them to sit, turn around, and lie down. The mats in the bottom of each kennel are removable which is great when there’s a chance for accidents. We have already put one of these mats to the test, and clean up was a breeze. I also really like that there’s 3 configurations: two connected but divided compartments which is what we have used so far, one big space which can be done by unzipping the center zipper which divides the walls, and detaching the double kennel into two single usable kennels. There’s also zippered fronts and sides that roll up if you’d like your pets to be able to poke their heads out. The sides are perfect for getting them into the double kennel as well. I absolutely recommend this for trips and multiple pet vet visits. I think it’s one of our best purchases ever! Get it here!
Collapsible dog bowls are also great for trips! Full disclosure: the bowls linked are not the ones I purchased; they’re just very similar so I feel confident in linking them. I bought mine several years ago, and they still work and look great. I liked to use them on long car rides, long walks, and when we go hiking. Padme, though small with short legs, loves to hike. Being able to pour from my water bottle into this handy collapsible bowl is so convenient. Definitely a good buy if you enjoy long walks or love to travel with your furry friend! Get it here!
We live in Missouri where it gets pretty cold. We get our fair share of snow and freezing rain as well so dog coats and sweaters are a must in our household. I usually shop at Walmart and Target for dog clothes but I ordered a cute reversible coat for Odin, and I’ve never gotten so many compliments on a dog coat before. It’s super simple to take on and off with its Velcro closures, and reversing it is super easy. The patterns are also super cute. I got it green, but I’ll be ordering more once Odin grows out of this one. Get it here!
I hope you enjoyed my little pup purchase reviews! I may keep up these kind of posts in the future… We shall see. Please let me know if you have any recommendations or if you have any questions in the comments below! What kind of lists would you like to see next?