Going to the Dogs: In Defense of Those Off-Beat Doggy Products

Dog lovers have a lot in common. We love our dogs as if they were family. They are family. And no one can tell us otherwise. We spend a lot of money on our best friends, money they could never earn or understand. Yet it is worth it to us.

We develop emotional bonds with our pets that run in both directions. We know that dogs have complex emotions that are not dissimilar to our own. They have feelings. And their feelings matter to us quite a lot.

Ongoing expenses of owning one or more dogs include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Grooming
  • Vet visits
  • High-quality food
  • Pet sitting (when necessary)
  • Airfare when traveling
  • Toys
  • Replacing all those expensive items they chewed up when they were puppies and learning to behave

That said, many of us draw the line at some of the more, let’s call them off-beat items that are a little harder to explain. You probably have an idea of the kinds of things I am referring to. But even some of those items have a good reason to exist, and should probably get a second look. Here are a few examples:

GPS Trackers

At first glance, it seems crazy to use a more technically advance GPS tracker for your dogs than your kids. But take another glance, and things start to look a little different.

These elaborate packages like the Garmin DriveTrack GPS system for hunting hounds serve a specific and important purpose. You are not training your toddler to hunt. And you are not sending them out into the woods by themselves as a form of training.

But if you have a pack of working dogs, whether they be a team of hunters, sledders, or synchronized swimmers, you need some specialty gear to help you with the training.


Wait… What?

That’s right. We’re talking doggy strollers. “But, but…” I hear you asking, aren’t puppies pretty much born walking, then running? By the time you buy your puppy from a breeder at 8 weeks old, they are practically walking savants. Why would they need a stroller?

Many dogs have trouble walking long distances in their later years. Hip dysplasia is common among many breeds. They still need to get out of the house. Also, little dogs expend a lot of energy trying to keep up with us. They can easily get tired out.

If a member of your family needed a wheelchair, you wouldn’t bat an eye. And you would still want to help them get out of the house and live as normal a life as possible. So what if some people look at you funny. Don’t they know your dog has special needs?

Indoor Dog Houses

Having an indoor dog is no excuse to deprive your dog of a dog house fit for a king, a Cavalier King Charles, that is. Actually, the breed doesn’t matter, neither does the size. Dogs are a lot like humans in that there are times when they need a space to call their own.

Sometimes dogs just want to retreat from all the action and take a little cat nap. Okay, a doggy nap. That is also good for you if you don’t want them crawling onto the furniture. They should always have a home base they can go to and not get into trouble. We all need a safe place. An indoor dog house is theirs.

An Orthopedic Bed

Big dogs are asking a lot of their knees and joints. They are like 300 lb football players. They work a lot harder than the average person to maintain mobility. And they pay for it every day of their lives. Your dog will never complain. But she needs a special bed just like you do when you have back and hip issues.

We ask a lot of our dogs. They generally don’t earn any money. But we put them to work all the same. We have them hunt and retrieve, pull sleds through the snow and ice, lead search and rescue teams, chase bad guys, be the eyes for the blind and ears for the deaf, be full-time companions, and so much more.

They have earned a few indulgences, including GPS training gear, strollers, in-door dog houses, and orthopedic beds. The next time you make your dog wear one of those silly hats and pose for Instagram fame, just remember, you owe him one, a big one.

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