Five things every dog owner needs

Keep your pet (and home!) in tip-top shape with these must-haves.

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Photo, Petsmart.

1. Pearly-white smiles

Follow this trio of tartar-fighting tips to keep your four-legged family member’s teeth in tip-top shape: First, choose firm kibble; as pets chew, coarse food scrapes tartar from teeth. Second, brush regularly to prevent gingivitis; a gentle circular motion with a pet-friendly toothbrush works best. (Don’t forget those back molars!) Finally, buy textured chew toys; the rough edges can help remove tartar and plaque.

Arm & Hammer Clinical Pet Care Dog Toothpaste & Toothbrush Set, $14.49.

2. Sticking it to stains

Accidents happen, but don’t go replacing the carpet just yet. Kill the smell and lift discoloration with a double-duty cleaner that uses natural enzymes to soak up odour-causing proteins and break down ammonia.

Nature’s Miracle Stain and Odor remover, $29.99.

3. A cool new weight-loss solution

If you worry about your pet’s “waistline,” consider a food option that’s helped 70 percent of chubby cats and dogs lose weight within 10 weeks. Loaded with natural ingredients, the special formula even helps your pet burn calories. And it comes in both dry and wet — great for picky eaters.

Hill’s Science Diet Perfect Weight Adult Dog Food, $64.99 (Dry).

4. A pest-free summer

Create a flea- and tick-free home by regularly vacuuming and hosing down your porch and walkway (most pesky critters don’t like water, and the blast from a hose washes them away). Next, brush your pet with a narrow-bristle flea comb and start a monthly repelling regimen of vitamins and drops like K9 Advantix or Hartz Advance 4-in-1 Flea & Tick Drops Plus.

Conair Flea Pet Comb, $9.99.

5. Good running shoes

The next time your pooch looks at you with those sweet puppy-dog eyes that can only mean “Let’s go for a walk,” consider yourself lucky. Researchers from the University of Victoria recently revealed that people with dogs walk nearly twice as much as those without. In fact, dog owners walk an average of 300 minutes a week (42 minutes of exercise a day). Bottom Line: A dog doubles as a personal trainer and cheerleader. He enjoys the walk, and you keep your heart and waistline in shape without even noticing!

See our running shoes guide.