When a friend or family member brings home a new puppy, you’re almost guaranteed to offer to puppy-sit at a moment's notice. Getting uninterrupted time with a new puppy is a dream for many — but they’re a lot more work than you think.
Last month, I spent four days and nights with my brother’s 3-month-old golden retriever, Remy, and I was in puppy heaven with the cuddles and play time. But the accidents, barking, biting, and refusing to sleep through the night? Not so heavenly. So I turned to the president of the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters, Jessica Abernathy, to gather her recommendations to get me through my next visit with ease.
Along with recommending that all pet owners get a professional pet sitter that’s CPR-certified when they’re out of the house, she also suggested some essential products for pet owners and sitters alike. From harnesses and toys to treats, poop bags, bedding, and more, here are the 11 puppy essentials that meet a professional pet sitter’s guidelines. You can buy them all on Amazon — and you can even save money on similar pet essentials through the retailer’s Subscribe and Save program.
Shop Pet Products for Puppy-Sitting on Amazon:
- Rabbitgoo Dog Harness, $19.54 (orig. $222.99)
- MidWest Homes for Pets Dog Crate, $68.99 (orig. $99.99)
- Doggy Do Good Biodegradable Poop Bags, $9.99 (orig. $11.99)
- Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Dog Smart Interactive Treat Puzzle, $14.32 (orig. $24.99)
- Wag Training Treats for Dogs, $7.61
- PetSafe Gentle Leader Headcollar, $16.95 (orig. $19.99)
- Barkworthies Naturally Shed Split Elk Antler, $9.99
- Smart Pet Love Snuggle Puppy Heartbeat Stuffed Plush Dog Toy, $39.95 (orig. $49.95)
- Kong Classic Dog Toy, $10.99 (orig. $12.99)
- Amazon Echo Show 5, $69.99 (orig. $89.99)
- Angry Orange Pet Odor Eliminator for Home, $20.97 (orig. $29.97)
Rabbitgoo Dog Harness
If you attach a leash to your puppy’s collar before you go on a walk, you run the risk of injury when they pull. To avoid this, Abernathy suggests using a harness that attaches around their waist. This non-pulling harness has front and back leash rings, four adjustment straps, and breathable mesh padding that proves far more comfortable than just the collar. The harness comes in four sizes and 12 colors, and each one has reflective accents for visibility at night.
Buy It! Rabbitgoo Dog Harness, $19.54 (orig. $22.99); amazon.com
MidWest Homes for Pets Dog Crate
Abernathy highly recommends that dog owners crate-train their new puppies. “If your dogs ever go to the vet, groomer, trainer, or the kennel, they’re going to be in some sort of crate or cage, so it’s important to get them comfortable with that. Make it their safe space while they’re puppies by doing everything in there — feeding, drinking, sleeping, etc.” This single-door crate includes a divider pad, a carrying handle, and strong latches. It’s also foldable and comes in seven sizes.
Buy It! MidWest Homes for Pets Dog Crate, $68.99 (orig. $99.99); amazon.com
Doggy Do Good Biodegradable Poop Bags
Poop bags are often forgotten, but they’re some of the most important items to have if you want to maintain a pleasant relationship with your neighbors. “You wouldn’t believe how many poop bags I hand out to dog walkers when I’m out walking,” said Abernathy. Made from vegetables instead of plastic, these poop bags are biodegradable and compostable, so you won’t have to worry about overloading landfills with plastic. Plus, they’re leak-proof and fragrance-free.
Buy It! Doggy Do Good Biodegradable Poop Bags, $9.99 (orig. $11.99); amazon.com
Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Dog Smart Interactive Treat Puzzle
Along with physical activity, Abernathy says that puppies need to stimulate their minds, too. This dog food puzzle bowl hides treats and kibble in little compartments for your pup to flip, lift, and slide to uncover their reward. It comes in several different puzzle patterns to challenge your pup, and over 27,000 Amazon shoppers have given it a five-star rating.
Buy It! Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Dog Smart Interactive Treat Puzzle, $14.32 (orig. $24.99); amazon.com
Wag Training Treats for Dogs
When you’re caring for a puppy, chances are the owner has a stack of training treats to use as rewards for potty-training and obedience. Abernathy suggests using high-value treats so the puppy stays focused on the task. Available in chicken peanut butter and banana flavors and free of corn, soy, and artificial flavors, these training treats are perfect for new puppies thanks to their bold flavor and tiny size. (Abernathy notes that each dog has different dietary needs and restrictions, so she generally uses what the owner has on hand).
Buy It! Wag Training Treats for Dogs, $7.61; amazon.com
PetSafe Gentle Leader Headcollar
Abernathy swears by this gentle leader for all dogs because it teaches them to stop pulling and jumping on walks without putting pressure on their throats. The gentle leader wraps around the dog’s neck and nose to turn their head when they start to pull or lunge. The best-seller in head collars comes in several colors and sizes, so you can get a new gentle leaders as they grow.
Buy It! PetSafe Gentle Leader Headcollar, $16.95 (orig. $19.99); amazon.com
Barkworthies Naturally Shed Split Elk Antler
Instead of raw-hides or high-calorie bones, Abernathy recommends antlers for dogs and puppies because they’re natural and good for their teeth — and they’re not a choking hazard. Barkworthies Naturally Shed Elk Antlers are available as both split and whole antlers to accommodate dogs of all sizes and ages; split antlers are recommended for small dogs and puppies because they’re softer on their teeth and have the tasty bone marrow exposed to maintain interest.
Buy It! Barkworthies Naturally Shed Split Elk Antler, $9.99; amazon.com
Smart Pet Love Snuggle Puppy Heartbeat Stuffed Plush Dog Toy
If the pup you’re watching whines and barks through the night, consider this best-selling plush toy that comes with a pulsing heartbeat insert and a heat pad to mimic the feeling of being with their littermates. “Before you take the puppy home, try to rub a towel or blanket on the fur of their littermates,” Abernathy said. “That, along with the heartbeat toy, can help them sleep better. Prepare to get up at night to let them out, but otherwise you just need to let them cry it out.”
Buy It! Smart Pet Love Snuggle Puppy Heartbeat Stuffed Plush Dog Toy, $39.95 (orig. $49.95); amazon.com
Kong Classic Dog Toy
“Filling Kongs with kibble, peanut butter, plain yogurt, or pumpkin is a great way to keep them occupied,” Abernathy said. “And if you freeze the food, it’ll take longer to finish.” Kong toys are made from durable rubber that’ll stand up to even the most aggressive chewers. You can use this one as a fetching toy or fill it with food before you leave the house to defuse separation anxiety. It comes in five sizes.
Buy It! Kong Classic Dog Toy, $10.99 (orig. $12.99); amazon.com
Amazon Echo Show 5
Abernathy noted that with the surge of people who got dogs and puppies during the pandemic, dogs may succumb to separation anxiety when their owners return to work. She recommends mimicking the sounds of being home before you leave: “If you play music when you’re home, leave it on when you leave,” says Abernathy. “Leave the TV on, or if you’re on Zoom calls all day, put on QVC or a talk show.” Amazon’s Echo Show is equipped with voice control that can play everything from TV shows and movies to music, podcasts, and audiobooks. You can also check in on your pup and sitter with the video-calling capability.
Buy It! Amazon Echo Show 5, $69.99 (orig. $89.99); amazon.com
Angry Orange Pet Odor Eliminator for Home
Since puppies are bound to have accidents (to state the obvious), you need a cleaner that tackles stains and odors. This urine eliminator works on hard floors and carpet to not only remove stains, but also destroy lingering smells. It’s made with oranges, so your home will smell citrus-fresh with each use.
Buy It! Angry Orange Pet Odor Eliminator for Home, $20.97 (orig. $29.97); amazon.com
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