There is no doubt that one of our favorite things here at the Service Dog Society is spoiling our Service Dogs with the best equipment and supplies we can find. Besides that, we have found that being prepared and having the resources we need to take care of our dogs is just plain smart. You never know when an emergency might strike and you don’t want to be left wishing you had supplies that could easily have been gathered ahead of time.
Whether you are bringing home a new prospect puppy or looking to round out your Service Dog’s stash, there’s a lot to keep track of. Well look no further because this list contains everything we could think of that you may want or need for your Service Dog. Of course, some of the items below are optional and some might not be applicable to your situation. However, we wanted to include anything that could be useful for a Service Dog team.
Below you will find everything from the most basic supplies, to service dog specific gear, to emergency supplies and training gear. We’ve included our favorites from each category and links to some different options (click each item to see more details).
Is there an item that you couldn’t do without or have found incredibly helpful? Let us know in the comments!
- Food and Water BowlsWe prefer stainless steel bowls for our dogs. This material tends to be easy to clean and can stand up to abuse from dogs that like to play in their bowls. Non-slip rubber grippers on the bottom can be handy also. If you have a dog that eats very quickly, you may want to consider a slow-feeder bowl to help prevent bloat.
- Non-Slip Food and Water MatA mat is a good idea if your dog likes to make a huge mess or tends to dribble their water everywhere when they drink.
- CollarA collar (or two or three or more!) is a basic must-have for any dog. There are a wide variety of options, from the most simple to totally bling’d out collars that cost hundreds of dollars! My boys wear the Ruffwear Crag Collar and a custom rope collar from Etsy.
- Training CollarsDifferent handlers, trainers and programs have different preferences as far as training collars go. Some various examples of training collars include martingale collars, prong collars, e-collars, slip collars, etc. Before attempting to use any special equipment, please work with an experienced trainer and learn the proper techniques. *SDS does not advocate for any specific training method or equipment. We recommend deciding what is best for you as an individual and as a team with an experienced trainer.
- Head HalterA head later is used by many handlers and trainers to help control and redirect a dog’s head. If your dog has a tendency to fling themselves at the end of the leash a head halter has the potential to cause injury and a head halter should never be used to give corrections. As with any training tool, seek advice from an experienced trainer to learn the correct ways to use it.
- LeashA leash is a necessary item that is used to ensure your dog’s safety and can be used as a communication device between the two of you. It’s a good idea to have multiple leash options available for different situations and to keep extras stashed around in case you suddenly need one. There are countless options when it comes to leashes and what works best for you as a team is highly individual. Our two favorites are the Ruffwear Slackline Leash and the Mendota Slip Lead. Both come in multiple color options so it’s easy to customize to your gear setup. We love the Ruffwear leash because of its adjustability, strength, and versatility. It’s our everyday leash. The Mendota lead is my go-to quick grab leash. It’s comfortable, incredibly light and can fit in my Service Dog’s vest pocket! Being a slip lead it doesn’t require a collar to function so it’s perfect for emergencies.
- Ruffwear Slackline Leash
- Mendota Slip Lead
- PetSafe Leash (good as a simple puppy leash)
- Bold Lead Designs 6 ft 8 Way Lead
- BlackHound Leather Wing Hand Tooled Leather Leash
- Bold Lead Designs 8×8 Lead
- Bold Lead Designs Custom Traditional Leather Lead
- Bold Lead Designs Working Dog Lead
- MoondogDesign Studio Ombré Rope Leash
- Long LineA long line (basically a very long (15, 25, 50, 100 ft) leash) is a great way to practice recalls and exercise your dog while keeping them safe. By having your dog on a long line, you can also ensure that your dog follows through with you cues even when very far away.
- Adult-Sized CrateIn my opinion, it is usually best to purchase a crate that will fit your dog when they are full grown. This saves money by preventing you from needing to buy a new crate every time your puppy grows. You can utilize a barrier of some sort (many wire crates come with a barrier), to make the crate temporarily smaller as your dog grows. Obviously, if you are receiving an adult dog then it would only make sense to purchase an adult sized crate. While we use wire crates in our household, there are other types as well, such as plastic or metal.
- Puppy Crate
- Crate pad
- Ex-PenAn exercise pen, or ex-pen, is a handy way to keep your pup contained in a secure, safe area when you can’t watch them 110%. They can also be used to block off certain rooms and areas of your house that you’d prefer to keep puppy-free until they are more trustworthy.
- Chew-Proof Tether
- Dog Bed
- Potty Bells
- Air Tight Food Bin
- Baby GatesBaby Gates are especially useful during puppyhood, but can be used throughout your dog’s life to keep them from entering parts of your home that you’d rather keep dog-free. This might be the kitchen, wherever you keep your trash, or to block off the up or downstairs. Baby Gates can be super simple all the way to really fancy with special cat and human doors built in.
- Dog FoodThis one, again, is pretty obvious and necessary. What isn’t as obvious is what exactly to feed. There are a few choices: kibble, homemade food, raw, a mixture of those choices. We feed raw in our household, but we recommend doing your own research and finding what works best for your own dog(s). Here are some brands from each type that we’ve personally tried and were happy with.
- Nutritional Supplements
- Joint Health Supplement
- Poop Firming
- Fish Oil
- Diatomaceous Earth
- Poop BagsYou’ll be hard pressed to get through service dog ownership without needing poop bags. I always keep a roll in both cars, in each one of my dog’s vests, in most of my coat pockets, in the house, by the back door, in my purse… you get the idea. They don’t need to be fancy or expensive and you should consider purchasing in bulk when you can.
- Puppy PadsPuppy Potty Training Pads can be great for potty training your young pup, but did you know that they’re an essential part of your emergency clean up kit? With their extra absorbency and liquid proof backing, puppy pads are the easiest way to deal with an accidental mess. Bonus: Teach your Service Dog to potty on command and use a potty pad if you find yourself needing to potty them in a not-so-ideal location (Hospital room? Airport? Train?)
- Lint RollerDepending on which breed your Service Dog is you might find yourself covered with dog hair most of the time. It’s good to try and look as professional and put together as possible when out in public, and a lint roller can help. We like to keep one in each car and by the front door.
- Dog Towel
- Enzymatic CleanerI suppose it’s possible to never have to clean up some sort of doggy bodily fluid from your floor, but not very likely! Even when I follow my strict potty training schedule I usually have at least one accident to tend to. Adult dogs get sick as well, there’s just no getting around it. An enzymatic cleaner is essential, to completely remove any scent that might tempt your dog to potty in that area again. Nature’s Miracle is by far the most recommended product for this purpose.
- Nature’s Miracle Stain and Odor Remover
- Nature’s Miracle Advanced Stain and Odor Eliminator
- Nature’s Miracle 3-in-1 Odor Destroyer
- Nature’s Miracle Advanced Dual-Action Hard Floor Stain and Odor Remover
- Nature’s Miracle Orange Oxy Stain and Odor Remover
- Nature’s Miracle Deep Cleaning Carpet Shampoo
- Nature’s Miracle Urine Destroyer Stain and Residue Eliminator
- Nature’s Miracle Laundry Boost
- Dog Wipes
- Absorbent Dog Doormat
- Ball ToysMost dogs love to play with ball-type toys. Some don’t, but if you’re stocking up for a new puppy or dog you’ll want to have a good variety of toys available until you learn their preferences. Our absolute favorite brand is Planet Dog. Their balls are a little more expensive than a regular tennis ball but they are squishy, they float in water, are 100% recyclable, some glow in the dark and they are virtually indestructible! We’ve owned them for years and they are our dogs favorite toys, but they still are as good as new. If you purchase their Orbee-Tuff Glow for Good balls, 100% of the profits go towards the Planet Dog Foundation, a foundation dedicated to providing service dogs to individuals with disabilities!
- Stuffed Toys
- Puzzle Toys
- Tug Toys
- KongsA stuffed Kong is a huge help when trying to keep your pup calm and self-entertained for any length of time. One common situation to utilize a Kong during is in the crate or if doing any sort of tether work.
- Flirt PoleA Flirt Pole is a great way to exercise your dog and to teach them impulse control. Exercise caution with young growing puppies as the sharp turns and quick movements can be hard on their joints.
- Dog Appeasing PheromonesDog Appeasing Pheromone (DAP) is a substance released by mother dogs. This pheromone has been shown to reduce stress, support bonding and have an appeasing effect on dogs. Companies such as Adaptil, have successfully been able to replicate DAP and sell it in various forms such as sprays, collars and diffusers. Whenever a new dog comes into our home, whether it be a puppy or adult, we utilize DAP to help with the transition and facilitate bonding. I like to have puppies wear a DAP collar for at least the first month to help their early experiences be very positive.
- Snuggle PuppyI will never raise another puppy without the help of a “Snuggle Puppy”. This stuffed animal has a motor and a heater that you can insert inside to simulate the heartbeat and body heat of your puppy’s mother and litter mates. I’ve found it to make a tremendous difference with crate training and sleeping through the night.
- Anti-Chew Spray
Grooming and Basic Care
- Portable dog shower
- Dog Shampoo and Conditioner
- Finishing Spray
- Deodorant spray
- Undercoat rake
- Trimmers and Shears
- Dog Toothbrush and ToothpasteDental hygiene is an important part of your Service Dog’s overall health and longevity. If you aren’t regularly giving your dog raw meaty bones to help clean their teeth, you should be cleaning them manually with an appropriate toothbrush and toothpaste. Make sure to start getting your pup used to the process as soon as they come to live with you and make it a positive experience.
- Nail ClippersProper nail care is essential for your dog’s posture, gait, growth and overall physical health. Sure you could probably get the job done with any old brand of clippers, but dull blades can pinch and cause pain. Quality nail clippers aren’t that expensive and make a bigger difference than you might think! Millers Forge is the overwhelming favorite amongst dog experts.
- DremelA Dremel is a great tool for managing your dog’s nails. Like with any new tool you’ll want to take some time to desensitize your dog to it and make it a positive experience. Once you do, in my opinion, it’s the best nail maintenance tool you can have.
- Styptic PowderStyptic Powder is a product that is used to stop bleeding caused by accidentally clipping your dog’s nails too far (or other superficial cuts). Without an aid like styptic powder you’ll have a pretty scary sight on your hands as dog nails bleed a considerable amount (it usually looks worse than it is).
- Ear Cleaner
- Flea/Tick Prevention
- Elizabethan Collar (Cone of Shame)There will inevitably come a time when you’ll need to prevent your dog from chewing, licking and generally worrying at a spot on their body. This could be due to a surgery (such as a spay or neuter), an injury, an irritation of some sort, or something else. If you visited the vet they will usually provide you with an elizabethan collar if needed, but the vet version is uncomfortable and slightly unweildy. It’s also a good idea to always have your own on hand at home just in case of emergencies. There are a few different types such as donut shaped ones and more fan shaped ones, which you can find using the links below.
- Dog First Aid Kit
- Waterproof Travel Mat
- Protective Car Cover
- Travel Water Bowl
- Travel Food Container
- Electrolyte Mix
- Travel Bag
- Car Restraint
- Travel Crate
- ClickersClicker Training is a wonderful way to communicate with and train your dog. Contrary to what the name might suggest, clicker training does not require the use of a clicker (you can use your voice or another sound). A Clicker can make it easier though. The sound is so distinct that it helps make communication very clear. We suggest buying a few and stashing them in places where they would be commonly used.
- Ziploc BagsChances are you already have these in your home, but in case you don’t, get some now! They come in handy for so many doggy things, especially protecting your clothes or treat bag from smelly soft treats. You’ll want some in your emergency clean up kit (that you should always have with you). You’ll also need them for your doggy first aid kit.
- Multiple Treat Jars
- Short training tab
- Raised Dog Bed
- Treat Pouch
- Target StickLuring is one of the fundamental ways to train a new behavior, and a target stick can be a helpful training aid for luring. Your arm is only so long and a target stick can be used to lure further away from your body. You could make a simple one out of something like a ruler, or go all out and buy one with an extendable arm and built-in clicker.
- Wobble board/Balance Disk
- Dog TreadmillIt is imperative that a service dog be kept in tip-top shape. Extra weight will shorten their (working) life and lead to an increased chance of injury and illness. Sometimes it can be difficult to get out enough to exercise your dog as much as they need, maybe due to weather or your disabilities. A treadmill built specifically for dogs can be a great tool to add to your dog equipment to help ensure they are in ideal condition. **Please note that, unless you have a very small dog, a human treadmill is not a safe option for your dog. A dog must be able to extend their stride fully with room to spare, or they are at great risk for injury. Most human treadmills are not long enough to accommodate this properly. **Also note, puppies should not be participating in forced repetitive exercise until growth plates are fully closed and cleared by your veterinarian.
- FitPaws PodsFitPaws’ Pods are a great tool for improving your dog’s balance, core strength, body awareness, confidence as well as for teaching stacking, the stand cue and targeting. The bumps provide good sensory enrichment for young puppies as well. You can use them flat side up or down to provide more of a balance challenge.
- FitPaws Pods (set of 4)
- Wooden or Plastic Dumbbells
- Wall Safe Stickers
- Training JournalYou’ll want to keep thorough records of your service dog’s training, both for yourself and in the unfortunate event of having to prove your dog’s training in court. A journal can be anything that works for you. Whether that be a FaceBook page, a specially-made journal, a blank notebook, or otherwise.
- Video Recording Device
- Training Books!
- Puppy Culture VideosEven if your dog isn’t a puppy anymore, everyone should watch the Puppy Culture videos at least once. If you’re getting a puppy from a breeder hopefully they’ve used Puppy Culture to raise the litter and there is still so much you can do in the first few weeks that your puppy is home. Starting your dog off on the right foot and helping them learn how to learn is crucial, especially for a Service Dog!
- Training Levels Books
- Susan Garrett’s Recallers Membership
- Name TagYou never know what might happen, so it’s best to be prepared and have you contact information on your dog if they ever get separated from you. The most common way to do this is with a name tag on your dog’s collar.
- Tag Silencers/Protectors
- Protective Eyewear
- Ear Protection
- Paw Wax
- Socks (for boots)
- Cooling Coat
- Visibility Gear for Nighttime
- Life vest
Service Dog Related Gear and Equipment
- Service Dog VestWhile it’s perfectly legal to work your Service Dog with no vest at all, having a vest can be helpful for letting others know that your dog is working. Vest shopping can also be really fun and a way to express your personal style. If you need your dog to help carry emergency medical items for you (Epi Pen, glucose tabs, medicines, etc), a vest might be non-negotiable. Good news is that there are countless talented individuals out there making really incredible vests. The two vests that we use and absolutely LOVE are from PatienceandLove143 and COZYHORSE on Etsy.
- Patience and Love Custom Dog Vest
- Patience and Love Ehlers Danlos Service Dog Vest
- Patience and Love Stop Do Not Touch Vest
- COZYHORSE Backpack Service Dog Vest (purchase the chest attachment to convert to stand alone vest)
- AccessibleOutfitters Custom Vest with Pockets
- COZYHORSE XXSmall Service Dog Vest
- barkOutfitters Dog Vest Harness
- Pretty Pets Lightweight Mesh Service Dog Vest
- OneTigris Tactical Molle Vest
- Julius K9 IDC Power Harness
- Sheepskin Strap Wrap
- Service Dog Patches
- Mobility Harness (if applicable)
- Pull tabs
- Protective Smartphone Case
- Leash WrapsLeash wraps are an easy and visible way to let people know your dog is working, training, and shouldn’t be distracted. Simply snap it around your leash and that’s it! You could also snap one around the straps on your dog’s vest, their collar, a mobility handle, anywhere they’ll fit! There’s one place I go to get my leash wraps and that’s Patience and Love on Etsy. They’re beautiful, durable and you can’t beat the quality.
- Patience and Love Customizable Leash Wrap
- Patience and Love Leash Wrap – Working Service Dog Do Not Approach
- Patience and Love Leash Wrap – Handler Needs Space/Keep Back
- Patience and Love Leash Wrap – I’m A Service Dog Not A Magical Unicorn
- Patience and Love Leash Wrap – Vertical Embroidered Symbols
- Patience and Love Leash Wrap – Horizontal Embroidered Symbols
- Patience and Love Leash Wrap – Medical Alert/Heartbeat
- Patience and Love Leash Wrap – Do Not Separate Dog From Handler
- Patience and Love Leash Wrap – In Training Please Don’t Approach
- Pull Strap
- SD Law cards
- SD business/info cards
- Small Bag/Pouch (for retrieving medication or other supplies)
- Emergency Button or K9 Phone
- Private Trainer
- Emergency info packet and medical records