Testing out pet products with your furry buddy can be a whole lot of fun. Seeing how they react to things can be a joy in itself, and if they actually use a new toy, or a new product designed to make your life easier, the joy can be overwhelming.
However, when you choose incorrectly, and buy a product that your pet disregards, or worse yet, something that causes them harm you will feel really bad that you got it wrong. In many ways owning a pet is like having a child, you just want them to be happy. Generally, if they’re not happy, it trickles down to making you less happy, which defeats the point of having a pet in the first place.
Different Types of Pet Products
Depending on what you’re after, whether it be a way to better clean up after your pet, keep them groomed, keep them fed, or keep them happy, you can bet there’s a company out there that is working hard to develop products that benefit both you and your pet. Each kind of pet comes with their own unique set of needs and as an owner you have the responsibility of giving them the best experience possible.
Cats are notorious for turning their noses up at not just people, but anything new that’s presented to them. This makes it tricky business trying to come up with cat products that they’ll actually enjoy and interact with. Some of the more popular products that they keep trying to develop are toys, litter box fixes, and cat hair solutions.
Dogs, in general, are much more easy to please. Some of the more popular dog products out there focus on feeding time, play time, and shedding problems. If you have an active dog, it’s usually pretty easy to keep them amused and entertained. They’ll fetch most anything you throw, and feign interest in the strangest things, just as long as you’re giving them attention.
If you’ve got something besides a dog or a cat, you might feel like there’s not a whole lot being created and marketed towards these other animals. When’s the last time you saw a new and innovate product for an iguana? It’s just basic laws of supply and demand and there are so many households that have either a dog or a cat or both, that manufacturers have a lot of profit motive to go after these two types and neglect all others.
Product Review Recaps
Shed Pal Recap
The ads for Shed Pal show mounds of hair coming off of both dogs and cats. It makes you believe that if you use it you can avoid costly trips to the groomer to have your pet looking their best. But can it work the way it’s shown, and how much hair can you really expect to take off your pet by using it?
Reports from real users show that there isn’t as much hair than is shown in the promo, and it doesn’t work to suck the hair up the way it claims to either. The overall consensus is that you can safely avoid this product and continue your search for shedding relief.
See our full review of Shed Pal
Emery Cat Recap
Emery Cat is designed to keep your cat from clawing up your furniture, curtains, carpeting, and anything else they might use in order to stretch their claws out. The makers send this scratch board along with a packet of catnip and a fuzzy tail to entice your cat to play with it.
But reviews from cat owners show that it’s a fifty fifty shot that your cat will use it. This can be a rather pricey product to take such a gamble on. One user has recommended that you buy this one early, while they’re still a kitten so it’s just part of their environment from the start.
See our full review of Emery Cat
Potty Patch Recap
Giving your dog or pup a designated place to do their business is the idea behind the Potty Patch. It’s basically the closest thing to a litter box for dogs that they can come up with. The thought is that this would be great for busy professionals that can’t be home all day to take their dog out for walks.
But there are some inherent flaws in the Potty Patch, the first being its size. Most users complain that it’s too small for their dog to use, and so therefore they don’t use it. Another complaint is that it’s not very easy to clean.
See our full review of Potty Patch
ShedMonster claims to have an innovative way of getting through thick hair and getting to the undercoat of your pet. This is where a bulk of their fur lies, and can be hard or impossible to reach with conventional brushes.
If you’ve seen the ads you’ve seen the clumps and clumps of hair that comes off and no doubt hoped that it would solve the problem of finding so much fur around the house and on your clothes, and in your food, etc. Can it be this effective, and replace your usual groomer trips?
See our full review of ShedMonster
Crazy Critters Recap
If you’ve run out of ideas on what to give your pet for playtime, the folks behind Crazy Critters hope to be one of their favorite options. It’s basically a stuffed animal for your dog, and it’s therefore meant to be durable so they can play with it without destroying it.
Out of all of the things you can buy your pet, do Crazy Critters make the list? For smaller breeds, this seems to be a proffered playtime toy, as it resembles a varmint which triggers their hunter instinct.
See our full review of Crazy Critters
Bark Off Recap
Bark Off is supposed to send an ultrasonic sound to your dog to keep them from barking. This is fine in theory, but unfortunately at this price point, we’re a little skeptical that this works as described with no adverse reactions for the dog.
Our biggest worry is that this product just doesn’t cost enough to do what it says. Also, it is impossible to know what this sounds like to a dog, and why it prevents them from barking. Is it painful for them? Uncomfortable? We’ll never know, and this is why we recommend against getting it.
See our full review of Bark Off
Plaque Blast Recap
The Plaque Blast commercial makes it look like the yellow just drops right off your dog’s teeth and that you won’t have to have their teeth cleaned by the vet again if you keep up with treatments at home. They make it seem like a trip to the pet dentist is the worst thing you can do, not just for your pet but to your pocketbook.
They also show pets sitting still long enough for you to spray the spray onto their teeth. This is another factor that you need to consider before making a purchase: whether or not your pet will let you apply it.
See our full review of Plaque Blast
Pet Cave Recap
The Pet Cave is a bed that has a half circle covering the top so that your pet feels snug and secure when they’re lying in it. The idea is based on dogs liking to sleep with their back to a wall so that they can’t get snuck up on. It’s also set up so that you can easily wash the outside cover of the bed, so if you’ve ever had to get rid of a bed too soon because of the mess, this is one way to get around that.
If you’ve noticed that your dog hasn’t been using their bed like you wanted them, they might benefit from this.
See our full review of the Pet Cave
Bunga Bed Pet Dog Shoe Recap
If you think that Crocs are a fashion statement and not an eye sore, you will probably fall in love with the Bunga Bed. It’s inspired by the super comfy yet not-so-chic footwear, and provides a soft place for your pet to rest. It also gives them a place to hide out since they can put part of their body, or their entire body, into the shoe part if they are a smaller breed.
This is a nice addition to your home, and can even be more stylish than some dog beds out there.
See our full review of the Bunga Bed Pet Dog Shoe
Waterproof Pet Seat Cover Recap
If your pet likes to go for rides, but your car seats take the brunt of it, here is a Waterproof Pet Seat Cover that has you covered. It goes across the entire back seat of your car, and provides a buffer between your pet and the seat.
Now you don’t have to worry about their claws tearing up your cloth or leather seats, and you don’t have to worry about any accidents that might occur, since they are just whisked away and the cover is easily cleaned.
See our full review of the Waterproof Pet Seat Cover
Click N Stay Recap
This is a product that you’ll find helpful if your dog likes to infringe on boundaries in the car and distracts you while you’re driving. You simply use the Click N Stay to secure their leash to the car’s seat belt buckle. Now your pet will stay in place, and you can be free to drive. This can work in both the back seats and the front seats, depending on where they like to sit.
If you’re going to put your dog in the front seat, it’s important to make sure that there isn’t so much slack that they can still come over to your side and bother you.
See our full review of Click N Stay
Instant Trainer Recap
If your dog likes to pull and tug you while you’re walking, the Instant Trainer is supposed to make it so they immediately start walking with you, with some slack in the leash. This is because when the leach is pulled too taught it constricts their midsection. It’s supposed to be a more humane way of teaching them to walk than using a choke collar, or a collar that is based on their neck.
While this does go around the dog’s neck, the bulk of the force is applied to their body, so it’s not going to cause them to wheeze and choke anymore.
See our full review of Instant Trainer
Greenies are supposed to be a healthy option for your dog when it comes time for a treat. They’ve got a bone shape on one side, and a toothbrush shape on the other, and are entirely edible. Dogs seem to really like them, and they’re formulated so that they’re easy to digest, and still taste good for the dog.
There are lots of treats in the dog food market, and the trick is finding one that your dog likes, and that also provides benefits like cleaner teeth and fresher breath. This could be it.
See our full review of Greenies
Secrets to Dog Training Recap
It’s always a good idea to get as many tips as you can when training your dog. This book promises to have secrets to dog training that you just don’t get anywhere else. If you’re having specific problems with your dog, and are at your wit’s end with them, it’s time to shift your energy to a more productive way of dealing with their behavior.
You may find that it’s helpful just to get a fresh perspective as to why your dog is doing what they’re doing. That can help you unravel the steps to fixing the negative behavior.
See our full review of Secrets to Dog Training
Urine Gone Recap
After testing this out on some stains left by a dog, we found that it was less than impressive, and that not only was the smell not removed, the stain was not removed either. They include a blacklight with this so you can go around and see if the stain is gone. But that fell apart in our hands and was not really a very good bonus at all.
Since this was supposed to take the stain away completely, neutralizing it with enzymes, we gave this the Thumbs Down because it just didn’t come close.
See our full review of Urine Gone
Many pet owners swear by Frontline, and give it to their dogs each month to prevent fleas and ticks from infesting their pet and home. This is an important step, especially if your cats and dogs are indoor as well as outdoor pets. They can pick up fleas from outside and bring them into your home unless there is a defense in place.
Vets have been recommending this for years, and the product earned our Solid Try rating, since there is simply too much positive feedback to ignore. Of course there’s no guarantee that it will prevent all fleas, but it seems to be the best chance you have.
See our full review of Frontline
Cat Genie Recap
The Cat Genie is unique in that it allows you to compeltely forget about the litter box. It even hooks up to your house’s plumbing so you never have to empty another litter box again. The way it works is that when your cat is done doing their business it activates the sifter that takes the mess and breaks it down, then rinses the litter with water so it’s nice and clean for next time.
The end result is that there’s no odor, and no more getting up close and personal with your cat’s mess.
See our full review of Cat Genie
The Furminator is supposed to be able to remove large amounts of hair from your dog’s coat, by getting to the undercoat underneath. The undercoat is what causes a lot of the problems, and is the reason why most dog brushes don’t help much. These are the hairs that shed all over the place and stick to your clothing and furniture.
When the weather starts to improve your dog’s fur comes of at a speedy rate, and if you don’t keep up with it you can soon be inundated with fur. Those that have used the Furminator have reported that it really does work as advertised.
See our full review of Furminator
Invisible Fence Recap
The Invisible Fence creates a perimeter around your house that only effects your dog. Some have said that it’s not a humane way to keep your dog in your yard because it zaps them when they get to close to the boundaries.
Others have said it’s humane because once the dog learns they don’t get zapped anymore because they stay away from the areas where the zapping occurs, and because the device gives them a warning. Other complaints is that some aggressive dogs will run right through it and take the pain for a squirrel or mailperson.
See our full review of Invisible Fence
Healthy Paws Recap
Healthy Paws is a pet insurer that provides coverage for medical expenses due to accidents and illness that your pet might come down with. There are plenty of different service providers, which can make it hard to choose which one to go with since they are all pretty similar.
That’s why you should get them all lined up, then enter your pet’s details and play with the premiums until you’re able to find the right provider for your specific needs. That way you know you’re getting the right coverage and paying a fair price.
See our full review of Healthy Paws
ASPCA Pet Insurance Recap
Here the ASPCA is licensing their name to an insurer that they feel is able to do a good job insuring your pet. The ASPCA is not personally insuring your cat or dog, they are simply lending the credibility that they’ve built into their brand, in exchange for a licencing fee.
Many people that have gone with this insurance have complained that it is not very good, and they are surprised that the ASPCA is putting their name on such a provider. But you should do your own due diligence before deciding on them.
See our full review of ASPCA Pet Insurance
This is for those living in the UK that want to cover their pet in the event of an unforeseen accident, or major illness that requires surgery and hospitalization. Pets get into trouble, that’s a known fact, and if you love your pet you never want to get to the point where you have to decide whether to help them or not based on the cost.
The way this works is you enter your dog or cat’s information, including their breed, how old they are, and what you want to have covered. You can be very specific, and get all sorts of riders that cover a myriad of things that can happen to them.
See our full review of PetPlan
Pup Light Recap
If you like to take nightly walks with your dog, you might have a problem during the winter months when the sun has set before you get home. The Pup Light was created to help your dog be more visible not only to you, but to cars and others that are out for a walk. It’s a great way to alert them to the presence of a dog, and also to know where your dog is at all times.
There are also some interesting features to this that make it a good accessory for your pooch.
See our full review of the Pup Light
Ruff Wear Harness Recap
The Ruff Wear Harness is supposed to be rugged gear for your dog so you can take them out into the wilderness, and they’ll be ready. When you’re in the woods a standard leash just doesn’t work a lot of the time. This is a way to make it so your dog is like another piece of hiking gear.
The really cool part about this harness is that it has a handle on top so you can basically pick your dog up and put them where you want them, without grabbing the scruff of their neck.
See our full review of Ruff Wear Harness
VPI Pet Insurance Recap
If you’re going to get pet insurance, it’s best to go with one of the biggest, right? That way when you file a claim they’ll be more likely to have the funds to pay it. This doesn’t necessarily mean they’re more likely to approve your claim, but compared to a smaller upstart they should have the advantage.
You’ll notice that all of the pet insurers out there will try to show you how they’re different, and compare simple metrics like monthly costs, premium levels, and how much coverage you’re getting.
See our full review of VPI Pet Insurance
The Thundershirt is a vest that you put on your dog or cat when there’s a storm outside so they don’t panic and have anxiety attacks. It can also be used on car trips, or at any other time they feel anxious, and can be an alternative to drugs and other treatments.
It works by providing a nice secure feeling, like they’re being held. This has been shown to be an effective way to soothe your pet without actually have to hold them, if it’s not convenient to do so, or if there’s a really big storm or long car trip.
See our full review of the ThunderShirt
PediPaws is supposed to be a way to shorten your dog’s nails without clipping them. They go into great detail on their infomercial to show the risks of clipping your dog’s nails too short. They then show how their product is better because it just files your dog’s nails down, and doesn’t clip them at all.
While it’s true that dog’s nails can bleed profusely and cause them a lot of pain if you clip them too far, the claim being made here is that their motorized filing system works well, and can replace nail clipping, giving groomer-quality results without a chance at going to far.
See our full review of PediPaws
Whoa Buddy Bowl Recap
The Whoa Buddy Bowl is designed to slow your dog down when they eat to avoid indigestion, gas, and bloating that comes from eating too fast, and also simply to cut down on the sounds they make when slopping and wolfing down their dinner.
The design incorporates three prongs so your dog has to eat around them, rather than having all of their food presented in one main pile. For some owners it seems to be working, and for others it only slows their dog down by a few seconds. Results will vary by dog, but it seems to be worth a try.
See our full review of the Whoa Buddy Bowl
PetZoom Brush Recap
Here’s a pet brush that promises to help you cut down on the number of times you have to have your dog groomed. They say it gets to the undercoat so that you’ll have to brush your dog less often. What users are reporting is that you have to go over the same spot again and again just to get to the undercoat.
They do have a unique way of keeping the brush free of hair, you simply press a button and the hair pops off, freeing the comb up so that it can get even more hair out.
See our full review of the PetZoom Brush
If your pet is suffering from joint related pain and stiffness you might be considering Cosequin as a remedy. It’s presented as an all-natural way to help your pet have less pain, and instead of just being a painkiller, it’s supposed to help them not have the pain in the first place by making their joints more limber and movement more fluid.
The feedback on this is pretty positive, with many owners saying that it really does work to help their pets get through problems like arthritis and joint stiffening.
See our full review of Cosequin
Pet Rider Recap
The Pet Rider is a cover that goes over the entire back seat of your car. You can also use two of them at the same time so that your pet has a nice sectioned off area and they won’t go falling off the back seat. It’s supposed to be great for cleaning up any accidents and for protecting the material of your back seat from wear and tear.
If your pet has been known to have accidents, or to tear things up in the back when you’re not watching them, this could be a solution that you can turn to again and again.
See our full review of Pet Rider
Comfy Control Harness Recap
The Comfy Control Harness is a way to take the strain and pressure off of your dog’s neck, and move it to their torso where they’re more sturdy and able to handle the resistance. It basically redistributes their weight onto their frame, and off of their neck, so it’s supposed to be a humane way of getting control of your dog.
Some owners have said that the size of this is not big enough for their dog, so it might be better for smaller breeds, where you just don’t feel right tugging at their little necks to get them to walk with you.
See our full review of the Comfy Control Harness
The Dog-e-Minder is a way for you to keep track of what’s gone on with your dog so that you know for a fact if they’re getting enough food and exercise. It can sometimes be hard to remember when the last time they were fed was, or when the last time they got out and had a walk.
This can come in handy especially when someone is dog sitting for you, or walking your dog for you. But the kicker here is that you have to remember to use it, as it does not automatically track when they are fed and walked.
See our full review of the Dog-e-Minder
Plaque Attack Recap
Plaque Attack says it’s a way to keep your dog or cat’s mouth from being overridden by yellow plaque, and a way to keep their mouth clean between dental visits. They even say that it can replace dental scrapings from the vet, but this isn’t recommended.
While many pet owners are skeptical that their dog or cat would sit still and let you spray a spray into their mouth, since there really is no great alternative, it’s something that many are willing to give a try to. Read our entire review to find out whether they say it works or not.
See our full review of Plaque Attack
Evaluating Product Reviews
You can try to match up reviews you read on websites with the pet that you have, but that’s still no guarantee that it will work for you. Different pets respond differently to different owners, so your pet might not have the same personality as another, even if it’s the same breed being introduced to the same product. Always keep this in mind and don’t assume that just because a product gets a glowing or a scathing review for a similar pet that you will have a similar experience.
What you want to look for is a pattern in the reviews. Get an overall feel for how the product works for a wide variety of users and animals, and then use your best judgment as to whether this will apply in your situation.
How to Choose Pet Products
It’s hard to know what will be a hit with your pet, and what will be a big flop. You may have an idea of the kinds of things they like, but it’s no guarantee that they will enjoy the new things you buy them. Plus, ads on TV will make things look very effective, but once you get them home and try them out on your pet, you notice that they don’t work the same way as they were shown to.
The first thing to look out for is over-exaggerated claims. Most likely a product will have some effectiveness, just not at the level depicted in something like an infomercial. Also, don’t buy into any sort of health advice you might see in an ad. These are often used when selling pet products to make you believe that you are either doing something wrong in regards to your pet’s health, or that you could be doing more. As long as you are making regular trips to the vet, that’s all the guidance you need.
The other thing to keep in mind is the level of quality that these products have. Be sure that whatever you buy is well put together and won’t fall apart the minute your pet starts playing with it. Manufacturers should put their products through a torture test, because dogs and cats will bite and claw at most anything, since this is their way of feeling things out and getting an idea of what something is. If it’s gnawable or clawable they’ll gnaw it and claw it!
Things to Avoid
Of course you’ll want to avoid anything that looks like it might harm your pet. Some manufacturers have lax requirements when it comes to quality control for pet products because they figure that it won’t be humans that are the end users. But they forget that every pet has an owner, and most owners are going to keep a careful eye on what their pet uses each day.
So Do Any Pet Products Really Work?
With thousands of different pets out there it’s easy to see why there are conflicting reports as to the effectiveness of most any pet toy or product. What works for one person’s dog will not work for another’s. However, it is usually easy to spot the duds in the mix, the products that are cheaply made or just a giant flop altogether. We’ll always be drawn to pet products because we want them to have the best, and also we want our lives to be easier.
Only you know your beloved pet best, so far be it for us to tell you what will work for you once you get it home. Pet products are some of the funnest things out there to test because that moment when it’s first introduced to your dog or cat is that trying moment to see whether they’re going to use it according to how the manufacturer said they would.
Our recommendation is to just have fun with the products you buy for your pet. On the bigger purchases you can do your best to assess the reviews out there and try to apply them to your own furry friend, and we’ve done our best to analyze many of the top products out there, but the final judge will be your pet. Keep an open mind and a positive attitude and just make it an experiment when you buy new pet products.