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Once upon a time I wasn’t a dog owner and wanted to be one. Almost 10 years later, I have taken chances on products that did, and more importantly, did not work.

Below are the products that Madison currently uses on a daily basis and I completely stand behind.

What is it like to own a dog?

I was given “Merle’s Door” by my friend Kristi after my first dog Bailey passed away. Whether you are a dog owner or considering it, this is basically an owners manual.


One day I tried feeding Madison a cup of kibble and a patty of raw meat. Yes, I had reservations but Madison went straight for the raw. So, she chooses what she wanted to eat. I buy either chicken or turkey dog food from Small Batch.

Pyrex containers from Costco. These are the perfect size to put raw foot patties in.


A friend of mine told me that squeaky toys are supposed to mirror the sound an animal makes when it is killed. This makes sense why my dog loves them, but anything plush is destroyed in about 10 minutes. These all stand up to a small dog with a mighty mouth:


Whatever you end up choosing to give your dog for a treat, just make sure to read the ingredients to make sure it is as close to real as possible. So much of the ones on the market are processed to the point where it is hard to actually call them food.


One of the smartest decisions I made was that I never wanted to end my dog's life because of not being able to afford it. So, when Madison was a puppy I made sure she had insurance. The key with pet insurance is to find a company you like and stick with it because they will cover you based on the level of pre-existing conditions. I went with PetPlan but if I could go back in time I would probably go with Trupanion based on Wirecutters advice.

These two supplements are just the basics that your dog will need:

Uncontrollable #2

Dogs get sick just like we do. I decided that after having carpet that carpet doesn't make for a good dog ownership experience. So, if I find an accident it is okay. But, if your dog can't hold it, these come in handy:

Lick Granuloma

Lick Granuloma is a condition where a dog will continue to lick their skin until it bleeds. This has gotten a lot better with food and allergy shots. But, instead of letting Madison hurt herself I try and block behavior:


Discipline is essential for a good relationship. Here are some of the things I use:


I like to make sure that Madison and I can be seen. So, I love that the reflective bracelets can attach to her leash and you can see it from down the street. Here are the ones I use:


Rain usually is accompanied by the wind. I had a basic rain jacket but it would always fold up when a gust came by. I also know what you are thinking... A rain jacket? It takes a long time to try off my dog and I know I don't mind when rain is in the forecast now.


Madison is a mix now I know she is a coon-hound, poodle, terrier, mix. From a health perspective, knowing what lies in Madison's genes helps me know how to care for her, what her behavior will be like based on those breeds, and what to plan for in the future.



My dog hates the 4th of July, Thunder; basically anything loud. So, on occasion, I will give her a helping hand and try and soothe her with CBD oil from All Paws Essentials


So many problems come when a dog develops problems with their teeth. This is what I use:


Madison needs a few baths a week. The shampoo below was recommended by her vet and I leave it on her for about 10 minutes to really soak in.


Having a history with two black dogs that shed, I learned that light clothing or furniture was now out. I have found the most success with anything that is heathered because it won't show fur or the occasional damage. For example, I like this heathered throw from Ikea

I also make sure that all cords are covered with an extra layer. I caught Madison chewing on an extension cord and once I saw it had a panic attack thinking she would turn into the cat from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Luckily it was unplugged.

I bought a number of these air purifiers. They were inexpensive and run when they need to:

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I missed the opportunity to get my first dog's paw print. But, didn't make that mistake with Madison.