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The Global Pet Expo showcases thousands of pet products every year from companies of all sizes. The variety never ceases to amaze me, and I'm always left astounded by the clever products I wish I would have thought of.
Each year, I choose 10 for my Dr. Becker’s Best list. Here are my 2013 picks.
Too many of today's dogs are born retired. This has negative consequences for the minds and bodies of dogs that are exquisitely designed for movement. Get your dog off the floor, out the door and panting tired with this easy-to-use product. The K-9 Kannon will be available at Bed, Bath & Beyond in March, and on Amazon in May.
K-9 Kannon, $29.99.
It's going to be PSI (Pee Scene Investigator) when you shut off the house lights and turn on the bright beam of UV light to find out where your pet has been doing "his business" — often hidden in plain sight. Once you see where the flooring or bedding has been soiled, you can use a stain and odor remover to get rid of it. My motto is always, "get rid of the problem, keep the pet!"
Simple Solution Spot Spotter HD UV LED Urine Detector, $29.99.
Simple, safe, effective. While most of us love cats, no one's favorite job is cleaning out the litter box. And we don't want its smell to let people know we have cats as soon as they open our door. This product is self contained, sets up in less than a minute, and is convenient and disposable. I tried the wood pellets with ammonia and couldn't smell anything, as the Southern Pine has an amazing ability to trap the urine odor. There's absolutely no cat smell with this product, which can last a feline 4 to 6 weeks.
Litter One, $19.95.
Contrary to popular belief, not all dogs can swim. Some dogs have a very short snorkel, like Pugs and Pekingese. Some are top-heavy and tend to sink, like Pit Bulls. And any dog can tire and sink lower and lower into the water. I like the fact that this product contours the flotation around the dog, lifting up the abdomen and supporting under the neck.
Ruffwear K-9 Float Coat, $79.95.
This new kennel not only functions well, it looks great! It takes just a minute to assemble, is sturdy, has great air flow, and the movable divider allows the pet owner to buy one kennel that will work from puppy crate training to senior checkups at the vet. The Navigator comes in six sizes, and will be available at Petco and PetSmart in May.
Petmate Navigator Kennel, $39.99-$219.99.
At home, I have a measuring cup on a nail on the wall and a rock holding the pet food bag closed. Too many people don't have a scoop, and instead just guestimate how much to feed their pets. As the author of Fitness Unleashed, and a practicing veterinarian, I know that portion control is very important if we're going to win the battle of the bulge with 50 percent of America's pets either overweight or obese. Ask your vet how much to feed your pet and measure it out with this device, which also closes the bag.
Dexas Popware for Pets, $6.99-$9.99.
No, cats aren't afraid of thunderstorms and fireworks, but most are absolutely terrified of going to the veterinarian. And veterinarians can be terrified of examining "scaredy cats." While you might initially be scared of putting this product on your cat, more than half of felines I've tried this with readily accept the gentle, swaddling action it provides. Wrapped up in this "fabric hug," cats go from wild to mild in seconds. Imagine next time having your cat enjoy going to the veterinarian.
Thundershirt for Cats, $39.95.
The Company of Animals
Too many pets eat too fast (causing bloat or excessive gas), then become bored and display destructive behaviors that can result in them being removed from the home. I love this product because it slows down speed-eaters and feeds not just the body, but the mind.
In the Company of Animals Green Interactive Feeder, $39.99.
Pets need vaccinations, parasite control and daily dental care. Mother Nature provided them with a fur coat so they don't need a wardrobe of clothes, but their human family LOVES to dress them up. I get asked all the time, "Do pets like being dressed as celebrities, dinosaurs or super heroes?" The answer is: Some hate it, others tolerate it, but many love it! Why? Because they read body language and respond to voice tone, so when humans are oohing and ahhing over them, they just eat it up! We loved these lines because they are fun, three-dimensional, well made and almost guaranteed to generate conversation.
California Costumes Collection, $24.99-$29.99.
With this product, the puppy has got a silly song in his head going, "Potty all the time, potty all the time, POTTY ALL THE TIME!" It's simple. The dog urinates on the target pad and he gets a treat. Go elsewhere in the house, no treat — and probably some unhappy humans. Pee, treat, pee, treat. Very soon, the puppy never misses the pad, and his humans are all smiles. Once the puppy is done training, the treat dispenser and remote are great for positively rewarding other behaviors, like not excessively barking at the door.
Train N' Praise Potty Training System, $99.99.
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