When it comes to dog gear, I tend to be pretty low maintenance. Most of our equipment is very basic and we don’t have a whole lot. It turns out, our baby gear is pretty much the same — unless we’re talking cute baby clothes with dogs on them!
There are a few things, though, that have made life with a dog and a baby much easier.
So today, I’m sharing my top three choices for baby and dog friendly items. I’m also sharing three other pieces of gear that we may add to our collection in the future.
My single favourite piece of baby gear is a carrier. It makes walks so much easier than wrangling a stroller (see my tips for training your dog to walk with a stroller). We started with a soft carrier that I loved (a Huggaloops) and then graduated to a Baby Bjorn Original.
Now that Ellie is six months old, she’s almost outgrown the Bjorn, so I’m looking to upgrade. I like the idea of a carrier that incorporates a waist strap to take some of the weight off my shoulders. I’d also prefer something that will grow with Ellie, ideally for the next year. Any suggestions?
Baby play yard
I’ve found it very helpful to be able to separate Baxter and Ellie in the house, just in case I need to step out of the room to go to the bathroom. See my post on creating safe spaces for your dog and baby.
We’ve never crated Baxter, so I decided to “crate the baby” instead! I use a large play yard. Ellie’s play mat and a few toys live in the yard, and so far she happily kicks and rolls and moves around.
Our play yard is pretty large and it also came with an awning to shade Ellie from the sun if we want to set it up outside. The play yard is not completely dog proof. A determined or energetic dog could rip the netting or even jump over the side. However, for us it’s a sufficient barrier to keep everyone safe.
Hands-free waist leash
I have always been a fan of our waist leash and now that we have a baby I love it even more. With Ellie in her carrier and Baxter attached to my waist, I occasionally have both hands free!
I used our leash throughout my pregnancy and it easily adjusted as my waist disappeared expanded. Now that I’m back to my normal size, it still fits. It rides nicely below the carrier and Ellie does not tangle her feet in it.
This hands-free bungee leash from Mighty Paw is a ThatMutt.com favourite.
Other baby gear we’ve considered
Hiking is one of Baxter’s and my favourite things to do together, and we’re enjoying sharing it with Ellie.
As much as I love our carrier, sometimes Ellie gets a bit heavy—and she’s only going to keep growing! A sturdy stroller that can go off-road would extend our walks and allow us to spend more quality time together.
Car barrier or dog seat belt
Baxter now rides in the trunk, while Ellie has the backseat all to herself. We’ve had no issue with everyone staying in their spots, but a barrier like this one from Travall Guard might be helpful if your dog has ambitions to be more than a backseat driver/babysitter.
Another option is a dog safety belt to keep your dog safely and securely tethered in one area of the vehicle.
Car ramp or step
Another car accessory that we’re still considering is a ramp or step to help Bax get in and out of the trunk. A commenter on my post about how we prepared Baxter for riding in the trunk suggested the Pet Loader stairs worked for them.
As the cold weather approaches (when Baxter’s joints are sometimes a bit tender), I want to make getting in and out easier for him, so I’d love to hear any other recommendations you have.
Before having a baby, I heard over and over how they don’t need as much as stuff as you think (although I can’t seem to pass up clothing with dogs on it). The same is true of dogs, but we have definitely appreciated these few items.
Is there anything on your must-have baby-dog gear list?
Let us know in the comments!
Julia Thomson is a blogger at Home on 129 Acres where she writes about her adventures of country living and DIY renovating. She and her family live on a 129-acre farm in Ontario, Canada. Follow Julia on Instagram here.
See Julia’s series on how to prepare your dog for a baby.