Dog products. We’re passionate about them, and we’ve been writing
about them, testing them and purchasing them for years. Our canine and human judges pawed through a list of more than 70 dog products to choose the ones that got the biggest bark of approval. With a trio of judges possessing 25-plus years of experience each, we put the latest dog products in the categories of toys, gear, clothing, tech, grooming/cleaning, housewares and dental to the test to find the ones we believe unleashed high excellence. Here are the winners.
Here are our top picks for dog toys
Trash n Seek
The raccoons squeak and crinkle while playing hide-and-seek in a trash bag. (An included postcard tells how the raccoons got stuck there.) Not only is it adorable, but it appeals to canine snugglers, tuggers and chewers. “The more I have this,” says a judge, “the more I appreciate that one toy has multiple components that can be enjoyed concurrently in a multi-dog household. And I love the back-story element.” $19.99. Bulltug Company; bulltug.com
This two-in-one dog toy is perfect for medium and large dogs. I watched two large dogs in a tug-of-war with it, which was hilarious. It squeaks, it crinkles, and it’s durable. Judges love the design, think the quality is excellent, and the cuteness is off the charts. $15.99. Bulltug Company; bulltug.com
Sid the Sea Turtle
Fetch, toss, chew and cuddle with this sweet sea turtle. ZippyPaws calls the squeaker a Grunter. Judges particularly like the “grunt” instead of the squeak for those dogs who aren’t big fans of high-pitched noises. Comes from ZippyPaws’ Ocean Storybook collection, which includes other sea-themed toys like a mermaid, starfish, anchor and oysters. $12.99. ZippyPaws; zippypaws.com or chewy.com
Easy Tug Handheld Tug Toy
The handle “gives the human the edge,” says one judge. “Makes tug time more fun — easier on my arm and shoulder,” says another. The EasyFlex Technology that stretches as your dog pulls and shakes the toy is what makes it so great. Although it comes with the squeaking Bite Tug Toy attachment, you can switch it out with other tug toys from Tether Tug. $34.95. Tether Tug; tethertug.com
“Something about the way it bounces gets the dogs very excited,” says one judge, “and they like to chomp on it.” Bouncing, tossing, floating — this ball has it all, even an opening to place a dog treat for enrichment. Available in blue, green or orange. $11.50/S and $15.50/L. P.L.A.Y. Pet Lifestyle and You; petplay.com.
Zippy Burrow Aliens in UFO
These aliens may come in peace, but if your dog is like our test dogs, he’ll have a blast pulling those squeaky aliens from the spaceship and chewing on them. The aliens were nice and strong, so good for bigger dogs. It’s part of ZippyPaws’ Space Storybook collection, which includes other spaced-themed toys like a spaceship, astronaut, robot, the moon and others. $13.99. ZippyPaws; zippypaws.com and chewy.com
Rompidogz Rugged Tug n Toss Rope
“Both dogs played with me, with each other and by themselves. A winner!” remarks one judge. A toy favorite for tugging, chewing and carrying around. It’s strong and durable with interwoven polycotton blend material that makes it easy for dogs and humans to get a good grip. The elasticity returns it back to shape after being stretched. $13/S and $18/L. Rompidogz; available on amazon.ca
Here are our top picks for dog gear products
HPZ Pet Rover XL Extra-Long Premium Stroller
We loved the stroller’s spaciousness — 35 inches lengthwise, which fits bigger dogs or multiple dogs. There is a mesh cover and a weather-resistant canopy. The ride is smooth, it is easy to push, and the reversible leather handlebar, drink cup and rubber wheels add to the fun. $199.86. HPZ/Pet Rover USA; petroverusa.com and chewy.com
Martingale Harness For Dogs
Definitely a favorite with our judges. One sums it up: “Everywhere we went, people commented on this harness because it is so sporty looking. Our dog liked that it was lighter than his previous harnesses and we liked the extra strong Velcro he couldn’t escape from and the adjustable neck and chest.” Available in five colors. $29.99/XS, $32.99/S and $34.99/M. Sleepypod; sleepypod.com
DFD X2 Boost
“Fits well, easy to put on and comfortable for the dog,” raves one judge. Besides flotation, this vest is all about ergonomics and a streamlined fit. You can adjust the top collar, and there is a padded girth adjustment, too, along with reflective piping, leash attachments and a grab handle. Comes in bright red or yellow and five sizes: XS-XL. $79. EzyDog; store.ezydog.com or chewy.com
Goin’ In Style Dog Walker Organizer
A judge favorite, this dog-walking organizer bagged it! There are specialized compartments for your phone, waste bags, treats, plus a key fob. The big compartment is vinyl lined and contains an activated charcoal sachet to temporarily contain a used poop bag. It’s got a long enough strap to wear it at your comfortable length no matter your size. $29.99. Goin’ In Style; goininstyle.com
Go Boldly Adjustable Collar and Get Out & Go Leash
The judges loved these on-the-go products for their sturdiness, feel and colors. The leash has some unique features: You can adjust the length between 4 and 6 feet, use the lower down helper handle, plus an integrated buckle on the handle to tether your dog in monitored situations, like taking her out to dinner. The collection is available in five amazing color combinations (black/graphite, ocean/green, red/mango, raspberry/wine, brown/gold). Collar and Leash come in two sizes: S/M and L. $5.79-$26.99. Hamilton; petfoodexpress.com
Here are our top picks for dog products: clothing
Barctic Waterless Cooling Dog Shirt with Light Therapy
This one received a perfect score from the judges. The lightweight, durable and stretchy shirt material helps dogs stay cool and comfortable (plus it looks good, too!), transforming light into healthy, cool red and near-infrared light. Keeps dog’s fur up to 30 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than in direct sunlight. Comes in 3XS-3XL. $69-$129. Coolvio; coolvio.com
Happiness Hugs Yak Down Doggie Sweater
One judge sums it up: “Clearly a beautiful and well-made sweater. Looks unique and the hand-crafted aspect makes it more so.” The Hugs for Dogs handcrafted yak down sweaters are for small dogs, 25 pounds or less. There are also matching scarves or shrugs, depending on the sweater design. This design is Sunray Hug.
$38-$60. Chews Happiness; chewshappiness.com
Black Varsity Frenchie Dog Hoodie
Stylish, comfortable and really well-made, say our judges. Made of moisture-wicking polyester to keep pup warm and dry. There is a harness slit (yeah!), a back-stash pocket and a hood to keep those ears warm. For dogs under 40 pounds; available in M-XXL. $39.99. Frenchie; frenchiebulldog.com
Do bandanas drive you crazy? Having to re-tie and re-adjust them constantly? Our judges appreciate the machine-washable Pup Scruff, which does away with all that. It’s lightweight, quick drying, fits tiny dogs and large breeds and has 40-plus patterns available. $14.99. Pup Scruffs; pupscruffs.com
Here are our top picks for dog products: tech
Trusens Air Purifiers and True HEPA Pet Filter
So many things for the judges to love about this modern-looking air filter that removes dander and pet odor from pet lovers’ homes. Some of the features: UV sterilization system, two air streams distributing cleaner air, HEPA pet filter and SensorPod technology that measures the air quality. (One judge checks this about five times a day — too cool!) Air purifier and HEPA pet filters available in three sizes: S, M and L. $149, $249 and $399/air purifiers. $49, $69 and $89/pet filters. TruSens; trusens.com
Nitedog Rechargeable LedLeash, Collar and Collar Light
This leash, collar and collar light shine brightly. “Our dog was the king of the neighborhood with this set,” one judge exclaims. “Everyone asked us where they could buy them. Plus, they are perfect for night walks and potty times when we go camping.” All three easily recharge just like your phone. Collar (sizes S-XL) and leash come in blue/blue and lime/green. Collar light offers selectable colors: red, green or blue. Weather resistant and push-button operation. $24.99/collar, $29.99/leash and $19.99/collar light. Nite Ize; niteize.com
Smart Feed Automatic Dog and Cat Feeder, 2nd Generation
“Keeps feeding times regulated with my inconsistent work schedule,” one judge explains. “App was easy to use, and the feeder has a nice-looking external design.” Who wouldn’t love an automatic feeder that lets you schedule, monitor and adjust Fido’s feeding remotely? $169.95. PetSafe; store.petsafe.com
Nixplay Smart Photo Frame
Who doesn’t love a frame loaded with pic after pic of your dog? Especially one that our judges felt was so easy to set up and upload photos to. Free stands on a desk or mounts on the wall. Comes in four sizes and black, metal and wood finishes. What we’d love to see next? A frame with pawprints!
$179.99-$349.99. Nixplay; nixplay.com
Drinkwell 1 Gallon Pet Fountain
Fresh, running water, thanks to technology. Judges call it a big hit with the pups and found dogs preferred it over their plain old water bowls. Uses a replaceable carbon filter to remove bad taste and odor, while foam filter catches debris. Have multiple dogs or a small dog? There’s a 2-gallon and ½-gallon version, too. $44.95. PetSafe; store.petsafe.com
Here are our top picks for grooming/cleaning dog products
Pulse ZR II Limited Edition Flora Clipper
Talk about flower power! Sums up one judge, “They are solid, easy to hold and cut great.” All testers love the cordless feature on this clipper and how simple it is to charge. Plus, it comes in a great storage container you can take anywhere. Five speeds, detachable blades and three hours of run time before recharging. $539.13. Andis Company; small-animal.andis.com
Hoover Smartwash Pet Carpet Cleaner
The judges got swept up by this product — and who wouldn’t? It is so attractive, lightweight, easy to use and effective that one judge gave away her other brand-new carpet cleaner to her sister and kept this one. Works well with the Paws & Claws Carpet Cleaning Formula with Stainguard ($19.99) and the Oxy Spot Chaser Wand Refill ($10.99). $299.99. Hoover; hoover.com
Premier Pet Conditioner
This conditioner really wowed. “My dog’s fur was still soft and smelled good a week later,” says one judge. (Note: The directions say to keep the conditioner on for 12 minutes.) The conditioner has a fragrance, although not overpowering. Some judges wished it was stronger while others felt it was strong enough. All agreed it made coats silky and shiny. $13.99/16-ounce. EQyss Grooming Products; eqyss.com or chewy.com
Sanipet Pet Safe Coat Spray
If you and your dog love getting out of the house, you’ll love this easy-to-use spray like the judges do. It reduces the transfer of bacteria and germs from entering the home. The spray includes conditioning ingredients and is proven to kill 99.9% of germs and bacteria within 60 seconds, says the manufacturer. $14.99. Absorbine Pet Care; absorbinepet.com
Jax & Cali Paw and Body Wipes
Judges love the texture, durability and large size of the wipes and that they are individually wrapped. As one judge says, “They do a great job of removing dirt, dust and pollen from my dog’s coat, leaving it smelling nice after a hike on a dusty trail.” Available in Soft-Pak and 25 individually wrapped. $6.59. Jax & Cali; jaxandcali.com
ChomChom Roller Limited Edition Dog
No tape or batteries needed. This roller simply removes pet hair from your furniture, your bedding, even your clothes. One of our judges has five dogs. “It really pulls up hair,” she says, “and it’s easy to clean.” (Also comes in a Limited Edition Cat version.) $27.95. ChomChom Roller; pethairgone.com and chewy.com
Here are our top picks for top housewares dog products
Bella Roma Travel Double and Single Diner Bowls
A favorite with our dog judges on the go. Easy to collapse, wash and use. “It’s kind of amazing that two bowls fold down to such a small size,” a judge says. Comes in a solo travel bowl or a double diner. Use with or without the stand, and has a locking lid to store dry food. Available in S, M, L for the single and S and M for the double. Comes in blue or pink. $7.49-$13.49. Loving Pets;
Luxurious Velvet & Faux Fur Dog Bed
“This immediately became my dog’s favorite bed. And that’s saying something, as he has five other beds,” says a judge. It’s plush with faux fur and velvet, along with a three-sided bolster to rest one’s furry head. More pluses: non-slip silicone bottom, hypoallergenic, 100% waterproof liner, 4-inch memory orthopedic foam, and the cover unzips and is machine washable. $128-$134/L and $168-$178/XL.
Luxe Pets Products, Inc.; luxepetsproducts.com
Blue Zoca Premium Waterproof Blanket
Dog lying on the sofa or bed? This 65- by 80-inch blanket keeps you covered — it’s 100% waterproof and leak-proof. Plus, machine washable. (Don’t tumble dry on high, as it can hurt the waterproof core.) One of our judges with senior rescue dogs says it does a great job repelling liquid and it’s big and cozy. She loves it. $84. Blue Zoca Inc.; bluezoca.com
Mold into a sleeping bag or lay it flat for a soft sleeping mat — our doggie judges did both. One judge says it so instantly became part of her dog’s sleep routine; she forgot it was a product she was assessing. Has dirt-resistant canvas on one side and faux fur on the other. Available in five colors and three sizes. $55/S, $75/L and $109/XL. P.L.A.Y. Pet Lifestyle and You; petplay.com or chewy.com
Here are our top products for dog products: dental
“My dog prefers these to his other dental treats — which were the highlight of his day!” one judge comments. Another judge loves the fun shape, which took the dogs longer to eat — a good thing. Shaped like a honeycomb to floss and scrub around teeth and gums. Has 12 wellness ingredients, plus 44% rich protein. Comes in five sizes: XS-XL. Individually wrapped. $19.99-$20.99. Pets Best Life; petsbestlife.com
Jax & Cali Toothbrush Wipes
“With these wipes, it was a breeze!” says a judge about brushing her dog’s teeth, usually a struggle. These all-natural wipes smell minty, so her dog’s breath was “fresh and minty.” The wipes are both textured and premoistened, plus reduce bacterial growth, plaque and inflammation when used on a pet’s teeth, says the company. $15.95. Jax & Cali; jaxandcali.com and chewy.com.
Plaque & Tartar Control Breath Spray
Freshen breath, remove tartar and fight plaque with no preservatives, dyes or chemicals. Judges love the size, ease of use and that it was made in the USA. A few judges noticed a definite improvement right away. If your dog doesn’t like sprays, you may have to ease him into it. $14.99. Pure and Natural Pet; pureandnaturalpet.com
Meet This Year’s Editors’ Choice Judges
Melissa L. Kauffman has worked in the pet world for 25-plus years in a variety of magazines and websites from Pet Product News and Bird Talk to Catster and Dogster. Her dogs Justice and Tampa have been modeling for said magazines since they were puppies and are amazing, experienced pet-product testers. Sadly, Justice went over the rainbow bridge during the testing season. We miss his love, energy, enthusiasm for life and his amazing harness and leash pulling … err, testing ability.
Elizabeth Anderson Lopez has been a dog lover and owner all her life and has three English Bull Terrier (one is actually a Scotty mix) rescues, along with her husband, Tom, in California. Over the years she has bought countless beds, treats, collars, etc. and enjoyed reviewing them for this year’s Editors’ Choice. She received two Dog Writers Association of America awards in 2020.
Audrey Pavia is a former managing editor of Dog Fancy magazine and former senior editor of the American Kennel Club Gazette. A member of Dog Writers Association of America, she has written hundreds of articles on dogs for a variety of publications and is the author of The Labrador Retriever Handbook (Barrons). Audrey lives in Norco, California, with her rescue dogs, Mookie and Candy, plus furry niece Zoe, who all had a great time testing this year’s fun and innovative products.
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