Our latest favorite dog products and gifts for the holidays
How wonderful is it that new pet products come out so often? And how even more wonderful is it that pet owners have a great excuse to shop for more stuff for their pets under the guise of the holiday season? There’s always so much to choose from: a plethora of organic healthy treats, balls that bounce higher, toys with a squeak that only a dog can hear, fleecy beds, down sweaters, reindeer outfits and so on.
Every year, Maggie and I visit multiple pet-centric conferences and conventions, including SuperZoo in Las Vegas. SuperZoo is jam-packed with every possible product and service on display for the pet retail universe, from fish tank lighting to cat beds. While at SuperZoo, I picked up some things for Maggie and in the past couple of months, Maggie and I have tested them. We thought we’d share Maggie’s list of her very most favorite newest products. Everything listed here is fully Maggie-approved.
You read that correctly: a holistic, chemical-free flea and tick collar. Maybe I’ve been under a rock but it was only last year that I started hearing from all my friends with human babies about how incredible raw amber stone necklaces are for teething. At SuperZoo, I discovered that Amber Crown makes products for pets, too. The Amber Crown team explained to me how their collars are made from raw baltic amber and release insect-repellent, aromatic terpenes and generate static electricity that prevents those pesky bugs from feasting on your pets. What’s especially nice — besides the obvious of being chemical free — is that Amber Crown products are safe to use on young pups, elderly dogs, and pregnant/nursing dogs.
I know the question you’re asking: Does it really work? This is the best possible answer I can give you: Maggie is a flea magnet, which means conventional flea topicals (and I’ve tried them all) stop being effective well before their advertised month. But I wanted to see if the amber collar made a difference, so I held my breath and stopped her anti-flea topical. Lo and behold, there hasn’t been a flea or tick since.
The necklaces last from about 6 to 12 months, then you’ll have to purchase a new one. The price is a very reasonable reasonable $25. Amber Crown says it repels fleas and ticks but customer testimonials say they’ve noticed a difference with mosquitos as well. (I don’t live in a mosquito area so have no experience with that.) The necklace is also rather gorgeous, and I get so many comments on how beautiful it looks before I get a chance to explain that it’s actually serving a pretty amazing purpose, too.
If you are outdoorsy and active with your pup or interested in a holistic alternative to flea topicals, I highly recommend the Amber Crown necklace. We would love to hear if it worked for your pet.
I may be a bit biased on this one but you’ll already know that if you’ve been following me and Maggie. Maggie loves the iFetch. The original iFetch is her favorite but the newest offering from the iFetch family (and it is a family business!), called the Frenzy, is perfect for dogs who might not initially be as gung-ho as Maggie about the classic iFetch. The Frenzy is a good cost-conscious choice for dogs who might take some time getting used to the sounds and skills of the iFetch training process. It’s also a super fun toy for kids to play with pets safely and have a great time together. At this point in time, the Frenzy is only for small dogs but hopefully a big dog one is coming soon.
The Frenzy retails for $39.95, a great price for something that promises hours and hours of fun for your dog. The Frenzy is non-electronic; the dog simply drops the ball in the top of the device and the ball falls randomly out one of the three chutes, keeping the pup engaged in a fast-paced random game of ball-chasing and retrieving. And the experts agree with me on this one: The Frenzy won 2nd place at SuperZoo’s highly-competitive New Product Showcase.
There are enough dog treats and food brands to fill a football stadium at SuperZoo. You’ll see all the household names, and you’ll see brand-new concoctions from the test kitchens of fledgling entrepreneurs. Most booths offered Maggie a free treat, just to get us to come over and talk to them. Except it turns out that I have the world’s pickiest dog. Because she’s also a polite dog, she’s nice enough to accept the treat from them but then she unceremoniously spits it out. This happens about 98% of the time. Absolutely embarrassing.
This year, we tried ZiwiPeak brand treats and food. It was, in short, a revelation. New Zealand natural air dried meat, New Zealand green-lipped mussels (a natural source of glucosamine), no by-products, no grains, no antibiotics, no hormones, no added flavors, no added salt or sugar. Basically, it’s just amazing-quality air-dried meat from the green pastures of New Zealand. It’s 95% digestible, more fuel for her body to burn and less for me to pick up. Credit Maggie here for having great taste — ZiwiPeak is a win-win for likability and good nutrition.
You may have never heard of R2P but you’re probably familiar with some of their product lines such as Sprongs and Catty Coils. It’s hard to choose favorites here as because they make so much great stuff. We love their pet beds which are incredible comfy. (I would like one for me in XXL size.) We think our favorite toys may be the Silly Bums. You’re already smiling from the name but it will make your dog’s tail wag like crazy. (True story: Maggie has actually tried to steal toys from the R2P booth. I make her give them back. A cute, fuzzy thief is still a thief.)
A tremendous idea, long overdue. Squeak squeak squeak squeak squeak — we all know the routine of trying to ignore the tuneless cacophony of a pet with a new squeaky toy. You’re happy your dog is occupied; you can’t get anything done with the squeak reverberating in your ears. The genius of Hear Doggy is that the squeak is in a range that only your dog can hear. We have the whale one, and I can promise you I’ve never heard it but Maggie loves it just like her other squeaky toys. One caveat: it’s not indestructible for those dogs who enjoy disembowelling their stuffed animals.
Oh be still my heart. These products are beautiful. SuperZoo had a contest to win a set of Pendleton products, including a bed,collar and leashes. My heart sank when we didn’t win. Still, I love this range and I did get Maggie a collar which she sports often. A portion of each purchase goes towards our National Parks, so if your dog, like Maggie, is an avid hiker, you’re helping preserve the future of our great outdoors. A good friend of ours has the entire bed collection (pictured below); we are envious and can report that even after a lot of use with a lot of dogs, the beds are still in great shape.
This is a product I wouldn’t have sought out but I walked past it and 5mins later came back with my wallet and bought one. No sales pitches or gimmicks or anything. I just knew this was for us. The tent now lives in our yard. I don’t leave Maggie unattended in the yard but when we’re out there together, she now has a shady, covered, off-the-floor House Hound bed to lounge in. I love it because I can hose it off to keep it clean, and she loves it because she can hide her tennis balls in it. It’s holding up really well, even in our strong California sun. You can find these at Target, overstock.com and other major retailers. (Side note: they also make these for rabbits, hamsters, and other types of pets.)
Pet safety and health is huge to me. Maggie is family, and like family. she has health insurance and I do my best to keep her safe, including in the car. We recently did a post about the importance of pet harnesses in vehicle and the dangers of driving with pets. Did you know SleepyPod is the only harness that passed the Center for Pet Saftey’s crash test? Watch their videos and read our blog to see if your current harness is as safe as you want it to be. The SleepyPod harness is not inexpensive, but real safety is worth any price. A great christmas gift for your dog is years of happiness in the car on the way to adventures together.
Now for the humans, because don’t we all want more dog-themed stuff for ourselves?
This one wasn’t at SuperZoo, but I’m obsessed with Rescue Strong’s pet-themed clothing. I own tanks and sweatpants and will probably purchase a lot more soon. Rescue Strong is run by a woman who I’m convinced is awesome — this clothing line is run totally as a passion project, how rad is that? I’m a fan of small businesses and rescue dogs, so I strongly suggest you take a look for yourself, just in case you’ve been really, really good this year and deserve something too.