People often say that getting a dog is good training for having a baby, and now I know why. Taking care of my little #OliveRoll? often feels like caring for a baby 24-7, and new fur-baby mama life can be just as hectic as it is rewarding! It’s been a couple of months now since my boyfriend Josh and I adopted our little girl from the Toronto Humane Society and since then I’ve come to rely on a few products to help make my life easier and little Olive’s life more comfortable (and more awesome). In partnership with Mark’s new Shambhala Activewear line (a brand I’ve been wearing non stop since I got Olive!), here’s my guide to 7 essentials and stylish products that you need now:
1. A Hands-Free Leash
For the first month with little Olive we had stuck to using the chewed up, ugly leash she came with from the Toronto Humane Society. Yes, we were those totally clueless new doggy parents who showed up to take her home without a leash (LOL). Anyway, being a bit of a “fashion mom” I natch wanted to find her a higher quality and far more stylish leash. When we took a stroll over to one of our favourite dog boutique’s in Toronto — The Bone House in Leslieville — I was able to find her a fabulous new rope leash in all black by Found My Animal. Considering Josh and I are huge supporters of animals adoption (obviously!), I love that Found My Animal’s brand mission is to raise awareness for the urgent need for animal adoption. Aside from encouraging dog rescue over purchase, they also happen to make some pretty dope products. Their adjustable rope dog leash has been a game changer for our walks, allowing me to easily wear it cross-body to walk Olive hands-free when I need to. As you can imagine, this is super helpful when replying to urgent emails, holding shopping bags or simply capturing a candid photo of her being adorable!
2. The Best Harness
The initial reason why we had headed to The Bone House was to replace Olive’s harness. Although we were recommended by the Humane Society to get her a harness that attaches from the front to help with her pulling when on the leash, we had trouble finding one that fit properly and wouldn’t require an instruction manual every time we needed to put it on. One of my best friend’s — and fellow dog owner — raved about the Easy Walk harness for how easy it is to put on, and how quickly it stopped his (rather wild) dog from pulling when on the leash. The helpful staff at The Bone House assisted us in finding the perfect size, and even helped fit the harness to Olive’s body while we were in the store. Honestly, the recommendations and rave reviews about this product are true! Olive used to pull so hard when on a leash attached to her regular collar or harness (that attached from the back) that the force constantly injured my wrists. From the moment we started walking with the Easy Walk on it was as if I was walking an entirely new dog, she hardly pulls and our walks are now a breeze and far less stressful, or painful!
3. Dog Friendly Clothing
We had two dogs in my family home when I was growing up and I never really understood why my mom was always wearing, buying or looking for “dog walking” clothes or shoes. Now, as an adult with a little fur baby of my own, I totally get it. Dog walking clothes and dog walking shoes are totally necessary as a dog owner because your clothing and shoes need to be 100% dog friendly aka comfortable and not afraid of getting dirty. To be honest, I’ve worn my fitness gear outside of the gym long before I adopted Olive, but, activewear has really played a key role in my new life as a dog mom. I love being able to get up in the morning and slip into easy, comfy and stylish pieces that can keep up with Olive and I when we jog around the track, walk around the city for hours, or play around in the dog park and get a little dirty. In these photos I’m wearing pieces I got from the new Shambhala Activewear line from Mark’s (yes, Mark’s, the Canadian retailer we’ve all known for casual and industrial apparel and footwear!) that has quickly become a great resource for dog-mama-friendly clothing. When my friends at Mark’s first invited me to pick out an outfit from their online shop, I was a little wary of what the quality and fit might be like since I often prefer to try things on in person. However, the worry quickly faded as soon as my order arrived and I was truly surprised by the great fit of each piece, as well as their softness and high production quality. Of course, I also love that these pieces feature stylish details like the open-back of the Long Sleeve Burnout Top and a trendy tropical print on the Low Impact Sports Bra! But best of all? Not only can they take me from the dog park to patio hangs with our friends, but I can go home and throw each piece in the wash without a worry.
4. A Memory Foam Mattress
When I came home with a new memory foam mattress for Olive’s crate, my boyfriend Josh immediately rolled his eyes and joked that the dog already had a nicer bed than ours. But who can blame me for wanting her to be pampered and comfortable, especially when she has to spend time in her crate alone? While I happened to find mine at Home Sense (getting a dog gave me a whole new section of the store to shop! Woohoo!), you can also find great memory foam doggy beds by brands such as World of Angus and Casper. Bonus: World of Angus is a Toronto-based brand so you can feel good about supporting a local business too!
5. Water Repellent Blankets
Since Olive loves to spend a lot of time on our couch and on our bed when she’s not in her crate (which is most of the time, tbh), most of the blankets and throws in our house have now become hers. She, along with our cat, seem to always gravitate towards our nicest and most expensive blankets (what can I say? they’ve got great taste!) and sometimes I can’t help but cringe when I see them creeping towards some of my finest cashmere blends. Instead of letting your blankets get destroyed what I would recommend instead is investing in a designated dog-friendly blanket, or few. World of Angus makes a super stylish dog blanket that’s not only water repellant and antimicrobial, but available in multiple colour ways too!
6. Multiple Printed Scarves
While dog scarves may not exactly be essential to their well-being, they pretty much guarantee to help skyrocket your dog’s social media game. And let’s face it: we all want our dogs to be ‘liked’ as much online as in person, don’t we? Whether that answer is a yes or no, there’s no doubt that scarves on dogs look ridiculously cute. Personally I’m a little obsessed with the amazing range made by Toronto’s very own Hound Collection that includes a denim bandana with frayed edges, aztec prints, and even scarves with badass skulls on them.
7. Matching Hand-Stamped Dog Tags
When we adopted Olive, the Humane Society informed us that all cats and dogs owned in Toronto must be licensed and wearing a tag. We filled out the form and paid the annual fee right there on the spot, and had a tag with her new ID number mailed to us from the city within about a week. While I can appreciate her formal legal tag, I obviously wanted to get her a stylish name tag too. Currently I’m a little obsessed with the custom, hand-stamped copper ID dog tags that are made at The Bone House and nice enough to be worn by dog, and dog owner! We’ve put our oder in, so it won’t be long until we’ve got our matching Olive ‘jewellery’. If you’re not in Toronto, you can of course browse sites like Etsy for tons of custom dog tag options too.
*Please note that this is a sponsored post brought to you in partnership with Mark’s!*