A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

These Are the Products Pet Owners Say They Can’t Live Without

Can one simple product make your life that much easier? In a word: Yes!

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Game changers

You know when you find a truly amazing product and have no idea how you ever lived without it? You want to shout it from the rooftops! Not only are you super excited about it, but you also know that your newfound knowledge could help someone else. That’s exactly how these 12 pet parents feel about their discoveries, and for good reason. These genius products can change the way you feed, groom, play with, and clean up after your pets, and they will make your life so much easier. Try them and you just might want to share them with everyone you know, too. On the flip side, these are the pet products veterinarians never buy—and neither should you.

While you’re at it, you can also buy your fur baby a gift at valentine’s day pet sale.

Note: Prices listed were accurate as of press time; pricing fluctuations may occur.

pets and recommended product
Courtesy Sheila Navarro, via chewy.com

Zignature Zssential Formula Dog Food


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When your pups have allergies and digestive problems, dog food that helps manage their symptoms and tastes good is hard to find. After trying several brands, Sheila S. of Baroda, Michigan, finally found the perfect one for her precious trio. “Zignature dog food has been the most helpful at reducing skin inflammation and eliminating digestive issues,” says Sheila. “Lucy, Gloria, and Winnie also love the taste and have never refused a meal as they have in the past with other brands.”

Gloria also takes daily medication for anxiety, and Sheila would be lost without Greenies Pill Pockets. “Prior to pill pockets, Gloria would try to hide so she wouldn’t have to take her medicine,” she explains. “But with the flavored pill pockets, Gloria eagerly takes her medication.” Looking for another way to soothe your pet? Here’s how to calm to an anxious dog without medication.

pet owner and recommended product
Courtesy Nicole Metzler, via amazon.com

Nature’s Miracle High-Sided Litter Box


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Mabel is a bit persnickety about her potty environment, according to her mom, Nicole M. of Grand Rapids, Michigan. She makes a lot of effort to cover up her “business,” so a standard litter box doesn’t work well. “Mabel is a kicker, so Nature’s Miracle High-Sided Litter Box is great for keeping litter inside instead of all over the floor,” Nicole explains. “She’s very enthusiastic about making sure everything is covered, so she’ll stay in the box for a long time, just kicking about. Now, I don’t have to vacuum litter every day.”

Nicole also can’t live without her Litter Genie. “The Litter Genie can hold up to two weeks’ worth of cat litter, so you don’t have to use separate bags for each day, making it a more eco-friendly option. It’s also nice because if your cat has a particularly stinky trip to the box, you can scoop it right away and the smell is gone.” Have you ever wondered how cats automatically know how to use a litter box? We found out.

pet owner and recommended product
Courtesy Jasna McElrath, via chewy.com

21st Century Essential Tear Stain Remover Pads


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The frequent cleaning of reddish-brown tear stains is an inevitable part of life for pet parents who have dogs with white coats, but Jasna M. had a difficult time staying on top of it. “When I was gifted Pearl ten years ago, I had no idea how difficult it was to keep her white coat clean and tear-stain free,” she says. “For the first few years of her life, Pearl was groomed every two weeks in an effort to combat her tear stains. One day, I was in PetSmart looking for cologne spray and accidentally found the 21st Century Essential Tear Stain Remover Pads for the first time. That was the best accidental find! I love how the pads clean and whiten Pearl’s coat.”

pet owner and recommended product
Courtesy Nichole Dandrea-Russert, via petco.com

Kong Puppy Goodie Bone


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“How to taunt other dogs? Kong. How to stay calm? Kong. Best toy to play fetch? Kong. Best way to travel? With Kong. Terrified of loud noise? Grab Kong and run! Mariposa’s Kong is with her everywhere she goes,” says Nichole N. of Atlanta, Georgia. This pup doesn’t even have to have peanut butter in it—that’s how much she loves it.

Mariposa also can’t live without her PetAmi Deluxe Backpack. “It’s like her den. Even when we are home, she likes to crawl inside and stick her head out,” says Nichole. “And we love it [for travel]. We strap it on our back like a backpack; then it easily slides under the plane seat in front of us. Also, it has side compartments for stashing her fold-up bowl.”

pet owner and recommended product
Courtesy Emily Park, via amazon.com

Yeowww! Catnip Toy


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Jack never turns down a chance to play with his paper balls or a piece of string, but pet parent Emily P. of Orlando, Florida, says he’s obsessed with his collection of Yeowww! catnip toys. “We got his first one—the rainbow one—because we’re LGBTQ+ allies!” she says. “He now has six in different shapes and sizes and shares them with his feline and canine siblings.” These adorable and durable toys are filled with catnip from trusted farmers, and they’re strong enough that Jack can toss and kick them all day long without destroying them. Sometimes he’ll even play fetch! “Not only is it entertaining and enriching for him, [but] it’s also hilarious to watch him go crazy,” Emily adds. In case you’re curious, here’s exactly what catnip does to cats.

pet owner and recommended product
Courtesy Best Friends Animal Society, via amzon.com

Hypeety Parrot Foraging Feeder


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According to Amy T. of Kanab, Utah, a busy bird is a happy bird. That’s why she can’t live without the Hypeety Parrot Foraging Feeder for her dynamic duo, Captain Turkey and Goldie. “These foraging cages can keep birds busy for quite some time and are easy to reload with new objects and/or treats,” she says, adding that there are a number of ways to utilize the feeder to provide enriching activities. “You can pack them so that they are more complex, like wrapping toys with packing paper, or you can just throw a few objects in there.”

One thing that Amy often puts in there? Lafeber’s Tropical Fruit Nutri-Berries, her favorite treat to have on hand. “Not only are they semi-healthy (some have more pellets than others), but the birds really like them,” she says. “It is healthier to give them a Nutri-Berry than it is to give them a nut. Bonus: It takes them a few minutes to eat it!” Don’t miss these hilarious photos of birds in nature.

pet owner and recommended product
Courtesy Maria T., via amazon.com

Evriholder FURemover Pet Hair Removal Broom


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Maria C. loves to cuddle with her bunny, Ingrid, but she doesn’t love to pick up the fur from Ingrid’s constant shedding. That’s why she can’t live without the Evriholder FURemover. “It is a really affordable way to make sure I keep a clean living space,” she says. “We have a longer shag rug, and this gets through all the fibers really well.”

Toys are also a must-have in Maria’s house. “Rabbits are similar to other animals in that they can get bored, so I’ve found some toys that Ingrid loves,” she says. She recently discovered that Ingrid loves to hop through tunnels after she unintentionally created one when she draped a blanket over her bed to the floor. So she found Ingrid the Ware Fun Tunnel Play Tube, and now it’s one of her favorite activities for playtime. Check out the best vacuums for pet hair as well.

pet owner and recommended product
Courtesy Lanie Magmanlac, via amazon.com

N-Bone Puppy Teething Treats


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Zoe is all grown up now, but when she was a wee little pup, her owner, Lanie M., discovered N-Bone Puppy Teething Treats. Lanie had wanted something safe to alleviate teething pain without damaging Zoe’s young teeth, and these did the trick. And in fact, Lanie and Zoe still love them. “Now that Zoe’s all grown up, I still buy them for her because she loves to chew them, and I like that they are rawhide-free,” Lanie explains. “She loves to carry one around the house or chew on it next to me. But sometimes she puts it in her mouth and wants me to chase her, and I pretend I will get it from her.” If you’ve got a new pooch at home, make sure to avoid these 13 puppy training mistakes—or you’ll regret it later.

pet owner and recommended product
Courtesy Ryan McVeigh, via amazon.com

Zilla Desert 50 UVB Coil Bulb


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While lizards are relatively low-maintenance pets, they still have specific requirements to keep them healthy. That’s why Ryan M. was thrilled to find this specialized light bulb for his black and white Argentine tegu, Tank. “The Zilla Desert 50 UVB Coil Bulb is essential to a tegu’s health,” says Ryan. “It helps them get the light they need to produce vitamin D3, so they can metabolize calcium.” Speaking of that calcium, which is important for a reptile’s neurological and bone health, Ryan recommends the Zilla calcium supplement, which you spray on food.

Another important note: Lizards may seem like a pet to watch, not to play with, but Ryan says they can be quite interactive. “We used Wiffle balls filled with bugs for Tank to push around for enrichment as he tried to get them out,” he says. Sadly, Tank passed away recently. Ryan says he was around 20 years old! Here’s how long lizards can live.

pet owners and recommended product
Courtesy Adam Fuller, via amazon.com

Did You Feed the Dog?


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That’s both a question for you right now if you’re a dog owner and the name of this genius product. “Diesel is an expert beggar and is so genuinely convincing in making you believe he’s hungry that without the Did You Feed the Dog? reminder, he would probably eat four times a day,” says Adam F. of Grand Rapids, Michigan. “We stuck ours right to his food bin, so you can’t screw it up. Just check off when you feed your pup in the morning or the afternoon, and you’ll never have to ask, ‘Did you feed the dog?’ ever again!” In general, this is the very best diet for dogs, according to vets. And make sure you check out these healthy dog treats to reward your pup without hurting them.

pet owner and recommended product
Courtesy Laura B., via target.com

Boots and Barkley Cat Wave Scratcher


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Scratching posts don’t always stop cats from clawing on their favorite corner of the sofa, but Laura B. of Raleigh found one that works like a charm with her cat, Nugget. “I like that it isn’t cardboard, so it doesn’t leave a lot of debris around. It has two different materials, sisal and carpet, so she can pick which material she prefers,” says Laura. “I think these textures mimic furniture, so she seems to be satisfied using the scratcher instead of the couch because it feels the same to her.”

The scratcher also helps keep Nugget’s nails short, which means that Laura doesn’t have to clip her nails as often. Cats aren’t usually fond of getting their nails clipped, but when Laura has to do it, she uses Well & Good Cat Nail Clippers. Wish you understood more about your cat’s behavior? Here are 17 things your cat would love to tell you.

pet owner and recommended product
Courtesy Cynthia N., via petco.com

Freshpet Vital Dog Food

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When Cynthia N. adopted Emory six years ago, she discovered a few surprising things: Emory wasn’t fond of car rides or toys, and she was a picky eater. “I later found out she only ate human food and was never fed dog food!” she says. So Cynthia started giving her thinly sliced turkey but was worried about Emory getting a balanced diet. While shopping at Petco, a sales associate recommended Freshpet. “It has the appearance of human food, but it is healthy for her,” says Cynthia. “She loves it so much that she wakes me up at 5 a.m. for her breakfast, and [it gives her] plenty of energy. She never gets tired of exploring every corner of the backyard!” For more great buys, check out these 20 pet products with nearly perfect reviews on Amazon.

Lisa Marie Conklin
Lisa Marie Conklin is a Baltimore-based writer who writes regularly about pets and home improvement for Reader's Digest. Her work has also been published in The Healthy, Family Handyman and Taste of Home, among other outlets. She's also a certified personal trainer and walking coach for a local senior center.