Doggy Must-Haves!

When we first got Jack (you can read more about that here), I did a lot of research on what essentials we would need to take the best care of our dog. Like with many other things in life (having young kids comes to mind), there are so many options available for dog products! It can actually be be a bit overwhelming. From dog food, to chew toys, to leashes and harnesses, there are endless possibilities and options for fido. And with all of these options, come people’s personal opinions. If you’re anything like me, this can be the tricky part. While I certainly appreciate honest reviews and opinions, I am one who generally speaking likes to form my own opinions on things. Thus, began the trial and error of MANY products and items over the last year and a half.

If you’re a new dog owner, or just looking for some new, handy products, feel free to start use the list below as a starting point. Try it out, see how it works for you and your pup. Every dog is different, so even if you’ve had a dog before, what you used for one, may not work for the other.

Easy Walk Harness
A golden retriever sitting with an Easy Walk Harness on.
Jack posing for the camera with his Easy Walk Harness on.
A golden retriever with an Easy Walk Harness on.
And posing with the Easy Walk Harness on.
A golden retriever sitting with an Easy Walk Harness on.
aaaannnndddd posing again. He loves getting his photo taken!

When Jack was a little puppy, our trainer suggested we get him used to a harness instead of a collar. To start, we used just a simple, inexpensive harness from Petsmart, and it worked really well. But as he grew we started having trouble walking him with that harness. He was getting stronger, and he was pulling A LOT. As soon as we started having problems with his old harness, we switched him to the Easy Walk Harness. We had heard good things about it and we saw it on so many dogs at the park.

Let me just say, I totally understand why this harness is so popular. As soon as we switched Jack over to it, we noticed a massive difference. Within just a few walks, there was massive improvement with pulling, and we had much more control. Paired with leash training, we were able to eliminate pulling altogether. Unless, of course, he sees a squirrel!

If you want to try out the Easy Walk Harness, click on the link below to purchase it now:



Dog Poop Bags

This might seem like a weird or unnecessary one to throw on the list here, but these things become just a huge part of your life. You go through them like crazy, and you want to make sure you’re using ones that aren’t flimsy…trust me. I also like that these are scented, so when I walk down the street with a full bag in my hand, there isn’t a gross smell all the way home.

Click on the link below to purchase these bags now:



Rope Toys
A golden retriever holding a blue and green rope toy in his mouth.
Jack proudly holding his favourite rope toy. He’s had this one for over a month now.

It took me a long time to find the right toys for Jack. Obviously, when we first got him, we went a little overboard with toys (what? we were excited!). But we quickly discovered that he’s a big chewer, and most of the fancy toys didn’t stand a chance. In fact, they barely lasted a few hours before being ripped to shreds and destroyed. So when my grandmother bought him a cheap rope toy for Christmas, I didn’t think it would even make it to the next morning!

To my surprise, not only did it last, but Jack loved it. He could play with it on his own, chew away at it, or bring it to one of us to play tug of war with him. Since then, these rope toys are pretty much the only toys we buy him. We replace them once every 3-5 weeks, depending on how often he uses it. The best part is that they are some of the cheapest toys out there! No matter where you get them from, they’re under $10, sometimes even as cheap as $2 or $3 on sale.

**As with all dog toys, please always keep an eye on your pet while they use it. Even though the toys hold up well, there are still rope strands that get pulled out, etc.**

If you want to purchase a rope toy for your pup now, click on any of the links below:


Furminator Grooming Rake

Brushing a dog’s coat was something I greatly underestimated when we first got Jack. People warned me that golden retrievers shed a lot, but wow! It’s incredible just how much they shed! But brushing regularly definitely helps. It doesn’t stop them from shedding, don’t get me wrong, it just eases it a bit.

We tried a few different brushes in the first year or so, but none of them seemed quite right. Either they didn’t work that well or Jack really didn’t like them. It’s not fun when you pull out the brush and your dog runs away.

I bought the Furminator Rake on a whim. I wasn’t planning on a buying a new brush, it just happened to be on sale at the checkout at Pet Valu. Well, Jack loves it! As soon as I pull the brush out he comes running and sits down with his back to me, ready for a good brushing. Makes life so much easier.

Now, if I’ve done my research correctly, this Furminator Rake is supposed to be more for untangling and getting mats out of a dog’s coat. They also have a deshedding tool that’s supposed to remove all the loose fur off the coat (though I find that the rake does a pretty good job of this too). I will likely try the deshedding tool at some point as well, but I haven’t as of yet.

If you want to give the Furminator rake a shot, purchase it now using the link below:


As I said, I like these items because they seem to work for me and my dog. But please, feel free to disagree or offer better suggestions in the comment below. If you do give any of these items a shot, let me know how they work out for you and your dog!



This article contains affiliate links. Feel free to click on them or not, totally up to you. If you do, I might make some commission off your sales, but that’s not what I write this blog for. So either way, I’m just happy you’re here and reading my post!

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  1. Ashley

    September 6, 2017 at 10:37 am

    He is too cute. Thanks for the info!

  2. Christie

    September 6, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    OMG Jack is so cute~ thanks for this.

  3. Debbra

    September 6, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    Love it! We have 2 standard poodles and they destroy most toys. The ropes have worked well for us too. They are often on sale at Tractor Supply. Haven’t tried the Furminator but you make me want to take another look.

    1. My Slice of Happy

      September 6, 2017 at 11:07 pm

      Oh I am so glad to hear someone’s in the same boat! haha I was pretty astonished at how fast they can get through most toys. And if you give the Furminator a shot, let me know how it works for you!

  4. Jamie

    September 6, 2017 at 9:34 pm

    I agree these are great doggy must haves!! I’ve had several dogs who loved to play tug of war (gently) with their rope toys. So cute. I’ve never tried the furminator but if I get another (once I’m done raising the other wild animals aka my children), this is on my list!

    1. My Slice of Happy

      September 6, 2017 at 11:09 pm

      Haha I love you wild animals comment, so true!

  5. Kelly

    September 6, 2017 at 10:41 pm

    Ohmygoodness — Jack is absolutely ADORABLE!!! I wish he could meet my lil’ Rosebud. The harness looks greats for hikes. I just joined a local nature preserve that’s got lots of hills, mixed terrains, etc. and Rosebud’s standard leash sometimes isn’t the best when navigating all of that – and the other people, of course. I hate the harnesses that close their mouths because I want her to be able to breath freely. THat one looks perfect! 🙂

    (Anywho, I’m rambling. Thanks for sharing and send Jack my love! xoxo – Kelly)

    1. My Slice of Happy

      September 6, 2017 at 11:11 pm

      Thanks so much for your comment Kelly. That nature preserve sounds like an awesome place! We have taken Jack on a few hikes with the harness and it has worked well for us. I agree about the harnesses on their mouth, especially for activities like hiking. If you do give the harness a shot, let me know how it works out for you and Rosebud!

      Say hello to Rosebud for me and Jack! xoxox

  6. Eden

    September 7, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    Aww Jack is so cute! This post is really useful to new dog owners out there! My sister has a male dog and we noticed he chews EVERYTHING (including underwear) and loves squeaky toys, but my dog Tinkerbell (Instagram: tinkerbelltigerlily) loves chewing rope toys or anything with tassels. She’s not a big fan of squeaky Toys, but loves toys with bells inside xx

    1. My Slice of Happy

      September 7, 2017 at 9:31 pm

      Aww man, Tinkerbell is so adorable! It’s funny how they’re all different. Jack likes some squeaky ones too. I actually bought him a squeaky one today and he is sleeping with it as we speak!haha

  7. Lisa

    September 7, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    Such a cute pup. Our daughter has a new puppy, a mini golden doodle, she is adorable. We just went to visit and I agree, a harness is much better than a collar, this easy walk harness looks like a good product. We bought Aspen quality toys when we were there, better that the toys last than are a low price, and also we found toys to help her thru the teething stage. It was so much fun shopping for the puppy, there are so many products nowadays, it is good to read recommendations like those in your post to help with making the right choice.

    1. My Slice of Happy

      September 7, 2017 at 9:35 pm

      Aww how cute. Yes, I agree, puppy shopping is so much fun! I have found myself getting a bit carried away at times…haha. If your daughter has any questions tell her to feel free to reach out. I am by no means an expert, but certain things are still very fresh!

  8. Lauren

    September 7, 2017 at 2:20 pm

    I’ve always wanted a dog, but my parents never let us have one! Smh once I get a dog of my own I will definitely be consulting this list again! I have puppy fever now!

    1. My Slice of Happy

      September 7, 2017 at 9:36 pm

      Aww ya, I had that problem too. I always wanted one as a kid but couldn’t get one while living with my parents! You’ll get one some day 🙂

  9. Jane

    September 7, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    You are so right. I have two bulldogs and they shed like crazy, I have wanted to try the furminator on them. I think they might get that for christmas this year.

    1. My Slice of Happy

      September 7, 2017 at 9:37 pm

      Oh good call! That’s probably what I will do too.

  10. Shelly Pineda

    September 7, 2017 at 5:46 pm

    Jack is the cutest! I have a couple of the items you named! They come in handy! I buy my dog, Scooby, tennis balls, but he complete destroys them! He also likes to chase my neighbor’s chicken. We never have a dull moment.

    1. My Slice of Happy

      September 7, 2017 at 9:38 pm

      Haha I had to laugh as I read that because I am picturing a dog chasing a chicken!! So good. Yes, Jack had lots of tennis balls, but they just didn’t last. Still ok for short stretches though, they do keep him entertained 😉

  11. Marina

    September 9, 2017 at 8:09 am

    Aww Jack is so cute! I should look into the Easy Walk Harness, I’ve a little Jack Russel, sure she isn’t a Golden Retriever but she pulls pretty strongly!

    1. My Slice of Happy

      September 10, 2017 at 9:39 pm

      I really don’t think it matters as much how big they are! I’ve heard owners of big dogs and small alike, that this harness has greatly reduced pulling 🙂 Good luck!

  12. Lucrezia

    September 9, 2017 at 11:22 am

    These surely are must-have, however with my big Amstaff, rope toys don’t last more than five minutes, sigh! Thanks for the tips, keep them coming!

    1. My Slice of Happy

      September 10, 2017 at 9:41 pm

      Ahhh yes, I’m sure they go pretty quick haha. Every dog is different, and I’m sure even some Goldens get through the rope toys fast. For some reason, they are the ones that last with my guy 🙂 What toys does your dog like that last?
      Thanks for reading!

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