Best Puppy Products: What we Recommend

recommended puppy products

We find ourselves answering lots of "new Puppy" questions and recommending the same products over and over. Here they are, all on the same page.

Hopefully you’ve browsed our site and gotten to know us a bit. It shouldn’t be a surprise that we have lots of beautiful Doodles who are beloved pets, and we raise many litters of gorgeous mini Golden Mountain Doodles. 

Perhaps you’ve seen the Bible verse referenced on our Web site: “A righteous person has regard for the life of his animal” (Proverbs 12:10); believing that, we strive to give all of our dogs their very best possible lives in terms of health and exercise as well as affection and socialization. We are constantly evaluating our dogs’ food, the supplements they receive, how we perform routine care and grooming, and even what toys our dogs most benefit from. 

Here we offer suggestions for things that have worked for us in keeping our dogs healthy and happy. These are affiliate links and we do receive a small percentage of the sale if you shop through our links. We appreciate you choosing to do so!



Note on dog food: Talk to your vet for recommendations on puppy food and do your research. “Designer” dog foods are often well-marketed, particularly grain-free foods (which may be helpful for digestive issues in older dogs, but may not be recommended for developing puppies). Also, check current lists from well-researched sources about dog foods that can be linked to increased risk of heart disease or other issues. Your growing puppy should have a puppy food that contains at least 22% protein and 8% fat.

Note: Not usually available on Amazon, link provided just for informational purposes

Black Gold is our puppies’ first food (since nursing Mamas eat it), but we typically mix it with Purina Puppy Chow and switch exclusively to Puppy Chow by 6 weeks or so.


Note: This is usually less expensive on or at Sam's Club

Black Gold is usually our puppies’ first food (because their nursing Mamas eat it), but by the time they are ready for forever homes, they are exclusively eating Puppy Chow.

Nothing beats basic Milk Bone dog treats for training rewards and an occasional treat.

 Tip: if your puppy doesn’t have well-formed poop and does NOT have giardia or coccidia (see your vet to confirm), try a puppy food with a lower percentage of protein than what you are currently using. Also, we often hear that Doodles are sensitive to chicken, so a change to something else could be beneficial. We have found a regular puppy probiotic helpful as well. A tablespoon of pure pumpkin puree per cup of dry kibble can also firm things up in the short-term.  (See recommended supplements below.)


We mix our dog food with several quality supplements for overall health, including Red Cell.

Red Cell is particularly recommended for puppies and older dogs.

Wheat germ oil is also mixed into our dogs’ daily food, mostly for coat maintenance.

This is our probiotic supplement, which also gets mixed into the dogs’ daily food.

The above three supplements (Red Cell, Wheat Germ, and Fastrack probiotic) are mixed in with dry kibble at  1/8 cup of each supplement per 5 lbs of dog food. Depending on the quantity of food your dog eats, it is probably best to mix a small quantity and keep it in a covered container to use as-needed.

Fresh pumpkin in convenient, portioned sizes.

If you find yourself opening a can or package of pumpkin puree for your puppy and wasting a good portion of it, this pumpkin powder is a great alternative that you can mix up as-needed in large or small amounts.

This is a  daily multivitamin

This is a highly rated supplement containing fiber, enzymes, and  pre- and probiotics, designed to improve gut health.

If you have concerns about your dog’s joint health, a regular glucosamine supplement can be helpful.

This supplement includes both vitamins and probiotic.


We had many different kinds of brushes and combs before we bit the bullet and spent about $75 on this one. It cut Bekah’s grooming time about in half (which is a lot when you consider the number of dogs we have)! It does an amazing job brushing and removing tangles/light mats, all in one sweep.

This is the shampoo and conditioner combo we use for our dogs. Available in many sizes.

While our puppies are in our care,  they do not receive the same monthly flea and tick prevention as our adult dogs. They get a weekly bath with basic flea & tick shampoo. The Amazon link will show what we buy, but it might be cheaper at Wal-Mart.

This is a basic set of scissors for grooming. Ideal for sanitary grooming (face, feet, backside)..

Regular nail clipping is a must! These do the job well.

This is an all-in-one odor control wash. We can’t say enough about Nature’s Miracle products in general–they just work.


Nature’s Miracle takes care of carpet messes and odors like nothing else.

OdoBan is a close second to Nature’s Miracle. We use this for hard surfaces like counters and linoleum floors, as well as freshening up dog beds and sanitizing toys. The link is for a spray bottle plus one gallon, but we buy it by the 4-gallon, concentrated pack.

After trying many “air freshening” options, we finally realized that we could go the route of air purification and, wow! What a difference it made in areas where our dogs sleep and spend a lot of time! Because, like it or not, dogs just smell “doggy.”

In addition to the disinfectant (above), Odo Ban also offers  carpet cleaner, hard floor cleaner, and pet stain remover. Shop around for what will best suit your need.

TOYS & Mental Stimulation

The classic Kong is a must to keep active dogs occupied and out of trouble.  Doodles are notorious for chewing, especially on paper, socks, and even wooden chair or table legs.

We haven’t used these mats, but they have been widely and enthusiastically recommended in Doodle groups that we’re members of. They provide the mental stimulation and activity often needed by higher-energy dogs.

Link is for original Snuggle Puppy but of course there are cheaper, non-branded options

The Snuggle Puppy is a “new puppy” must, according to a majority of our new puppy owners! Our puppies go from being in a “puppy pile” with siblings at night to typically being crated alone. That’s quite a transition! The Snuggle Puppy helps reduce anxiety and makes for a better night’s sleep for everyone.

Benebones are a must-have for dogs who like to chew. Long-lasting!

This is the perfect toy for a playful puppy or a dog who needs more mental stimulation/

Warning: Many pet owners are not a fan of the noise made by this toy, BUT dogs do generally like it. Keeps an indoor dog more independently active.


Many styles and sizes are available--shop around.

Astro turf is our preferred “first surface” for puppy elimination. Many who have bought our puppies get an astroturf system for convenience while traveling or simply as an indoor “fail safe,” since our puppies are pretty well-trained to it by 8 weeks.

Having tried many brands of astroturf, this is our hands-down favorite! It is thick and durable (more like real grass). You can even put it in the washing machine (cold water, but definitely NOT the dryer!). Get one to wash and one to use. Just put a large waterproof mat under it.

It was hard to find the right- sized waterproof mat to go under our preferred astro-turf, but this is the best fit we’ve found.

Note: when you are shopping for a combination of grass mat plus waterproof under pad, or astroturf system plus extra grass mats, be sure you are getting roughly compatible sizes.

We generally don’t recommend puppy pads. However, if you use the astroturf potty system, these are a good choice for the absorbent layer if you don’t like the washable and re-usable variety.

This crate fits our mini dogs (up to about 30 lbs). If you’re getting one of Buster’s puppies (expected to be medium in size), you’ll want to size up.

Who doesn’t love the convenience of a dog door? We used this model in our sliding glass door and appreciated the ease of installation.

This is our preferred gate to keep dogs in or out of certain rooms as needed. It is durable and opens in either direction with an easy latch.  Pressure mount or wall-mount options.

A nice, portable indoor or outdoor play area if your dog needs some restrictions.  We also have used these to block off areas in our home where baby gates were not practical. 24″ height works well for most mini’s. 36″ available for larger dogs.

This is an optional cover for the play area. Useful if you are using it outdoors, or to further corral a dog that likes to jump out of the fenced area.

Bark Collars and wireless fence alternative

Bark collars and other corrective measures are always difficult to recommend. We understand that not everyone appreciates the “shock” option, but most models these days offer “warning beeps” which are just as effective. They also typically offer a range for shock options, and the lowest levels are usually not terrible. However, please be sure to read the owner’s manual for any item that you purchase and use it as an aid to training, not a stand-alone corrective tool. Improper use can create fear and cause adverse reactions, rather than help train in the area of concern.

Most of our dogs enjoy our large, fenced yard, but our sires, Buster and Jackpot, need to be separated due to aggression issues. We didn’t want to keep Buster fenced alone, since he is so sociable and active. This wireless fence ended up being the PERFECT solution, and much cheaper and easier to install than an underground option. This is the “stubborn dog” fence, needed for Buster.

Our dogs only need bark collars on occasion, but this is our collar of choice. It operates in response to the  vibration from the dogs’ voice box rather than in response to external sound, so it will only correct the dog who is wearing it and not give random corrections for other dogs’ barking. This is a big deal when you have more than one dog! It has many corrective options and levels.

One of our “pet peeve” behaviors is jumping dogs, and when you have lots of dogs like us, even a calm dog will jump up to get your attention when all the dogs are crowded around! This handheld correction tool is not an individual shocker; it emits a high-pitched tone that only dogs can hear, and it causes them to pause and re-adjust. It works for barking, counter-surfing, and other behaviors as well, but you do need to be near your dog to have them respond.

This is a recommended slip-leash for no-pull training for dogs under 60 lbs.

Highly rated, in-ground wireless fence option. For up to 1/2 acre. This is the regular-dog option (not “stubborn dog.”)

This is the original, in-ground version of the invisible fence. Cheaper than the wireless version but also more work involved. Also not portable, as the wireless version is. (Portable version is nice if you want to set up a containment area for a larger dog in an unfamiliar location.)

Puppy training

Of course, obedience training is important, and best done during the puppy stage! There is an abundance of resources out there, both written and online, as well as local “boot camps” that board and train, or perhaps classes you can take locally. Local classes with an experienced trainer afford an ideal opportunity for you to learn how to train your puppy, and for the trainer to pick up on things you may be doing “wrong” in training that can keep you from achieving your desired outcome.

However, many people do not have the money to invest in either “board and train” or local classes. Look for a training book that covers the basics and invest a set amount of time each day to training (and to re-enforcing what your puppy already knows, so that they don’t “forget”). Alternatively, there are some great YouTube channels out there that can be of help. Our “Doodle Breeders Resource Group” particularly recommended McCann dog training ( and Zak George (

Here are Amazon links to Zak George’s books (as well as Cesar Millan, who is recommended but with whom we are not familiar), if you’re not a video-watching person or want to have a go-to resource on your shelf:

If you would like the ease of online training coupled with a more individualized approach, Baxter & Bella  is a recommended Membership site. We use Baxter & Bella with some of our dogs and recently became partners with them to offer our new puppy customers a 25% discount code for a lifetime membership, which with the code “CARRIERFAMILY” is only $178.

Visit for details.

Use code "CARRIERFAMILY" for 25% off a lifetime membership