Dr. Becker’s Best: Top Picks From Global Pet Expo 2012
Thousands of pet products are showcased at Global Pet Expo every year from companies of all sizes. I see items so wacky that I’m left smiling and shaking my head, as well as products so good that I could kick myself for not having thought of them. Each year, I choose 10 for my Dr. Becker’s Best list — and one of them to be my Best in Show. Here they are.
Stimulo Activity Food Center
This is my Best in Show. Cats were never designed to sit at an endless open buffet. They’re hunters, and with this product, they can be so again — safely and with high-quality food to boot. A cat has to think and work to get the food out of this product's tubes — one piece at a time. Recommended by behaviorists and veterinarians; $25.
Bergan Catnip Hurricane
This product's two track balls keep your cat busy, and the catnip makes your kitty happy. I could barely stop playing with it myself — it’s just that fun. Too many cats are bored, a problem that has been linked to health problems. Environmental enrichment is the answer, along with products like this one; $20.
Bionic Toss-N-Tug Toy
I'll bet more dogs than people play with a Frisbee®, but the manufacturer will be the first to tell you that the flying disc wasn’t designed for canines. The Bionic Toss-N-Tug? This is what a dog would design. It flies. It floats. And it can also be tugged. This multitasking toy is so tough that the company live-demos the product in blenders to show that it can "take any chew and still look like new"; $13.
K9Cakery.com Cake Kit for Dogs
I’m often the first to notice a winner, but the buzz (and the prizes) for K9Cakery.com started before I gave them my nod. Baking is a lot of fun, and what could be more enjoyable than sharing the results with your dog? K9Cakery.com has a variety of mixes and accessories that just cry out for a pup party; from $7.
Chuckit! Kick Fetch Toy
The original Chuckit! is widely acknowledged as one of the most successful dog toys in history. But when your fetch-loving dog pushes your arm muscles to the achy-breaky limit, you can switch to the Kick Fetch, a soft ball your pet can grab and bring back. Get your kids playing with it, too, and we may end up dominating the World Cup soccer finals some day; $25.
Signature DNA Unleashed Kit
Like almost every veterinarian I know, I love science. It’s beautiful, too! This company takes your dog’s DNA from a simple mouth swab and combines it with a picture of your pet to create unique art and jewelry. My wife has already put the flier in a place where I won’t miss it. If someone won’t give it to you, treat yourself; $500 for matted images, with a jewelry line coming soon.
Enchanted Home Pet Elliott Chaise
Some people may choose a beautiful home over pets, but my wife and I never have and never will. We love our home — and we love pets inside our house. I’ve been delighted to see the home furnishings industry bring style to pet-loving homes. This chaise is part of an entire line of great-looking pieces; $140.
Furminator Vacuum Accessory
The problem with the Furminator (and it’s not really a problem, since de-shedding is the intended result) is that the fur really flies. But you can hook this new product to any U.S. vacuum brand and it will adjust to any Furminator. What comes off your pet gets sucked into your vacuum. A definite “wish I’d thought of this!”; $20.
Petmate 2-Door Kennel
Petmate has changed the way we transport our pets with its crates. Since it has never been a company to rest on past successes, Petmate has taken the best information provided to them by behaviorists and veterinarians to create this seemingly simple product, which will lower a pet’s stress levels at the vet; $70.
Ware Sky Climber 6-Wide Cat Tree
Cats like to look down on people. It makes them feel safer, and (I suspect) it reinforces their belief in their own superiority. Cat trees have been around long enough that the earliest versions were covered in 1970s shag carpeting — ugly! The Ware Sky Climber 6-Wide will keep your cat healthier and happier. Plus, it’s just too darn pretty to hide in the basement; $299.