Relieving black Friday blues with a top-ten pet product roundup
Now that you’re feeling overstuffed and you’ve successfully avoided the midnight trip to the vet after the turkey-carcass-in-the-garbage meal your beloved may have consumed, here’s a fun post for you:
Every holiday season brings in a bigger haul of new pet products to the marketplace than the previous year’s stash. But who’s got time to sort out the losers from the well-designed toys, treats, trinkets and tools that truly deserve your attention?
To that end, I’ve sussed out some stellar gifts for the canine inclined and the feline minded on your list. I‘ve even sourced a trio of fun small mammal toys for the littlest ones. Some of these may not be new to you but they’re all safe and vet-approved—by me, anyway.
Black Friday can be soooo much fun if you can just sit home in front of the computer and bang out your holiday shopping without braving the malls and its attendant mobs. You’re no sucker; resolve to do it all online this year with a dog at your feet or a cat snoozing in your lap. Rest assured, I’m here to help.
1-“Funagle” and “Do You Mind” are perhaps the two top toys I’d like for the holidays this year. I haven’t even played with them (maybe they’ll send me a couple for free now that I’ve written this) but they seem like just the thing for the dog-obsessed among us. A board game and dice/card game, respectively, these are fun additions to my what-do-you-get-for-the-pet-owner-who-has-everything repertoire. They seem to be designed with the active pet owner in mind, someone who’s willing to share a sizable percentage of their time with their dogs and other dog people. ($35 and $25 at DarfInc.com)
2-The Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner: Equally at home with feathers, birdseed, stray litter, fluff and fur, this thing rocks! It also doubles as a stimulating cat toy. Just don’t expect it to pick up kibble or make it past the poop on the rug—yuck! ($250 to $500 at iRobot.com)
3-The Safety Turtle and Skamper-Ramp: Two pool safety tools I heartily recommend, these are great for the nervous parents who can’t be expected to watch their pets’ every poolside maneuver. The ramp also makes an excellent backyard wildlife escape hatch while the SafetyTurtle looks cute as a button on your pet’s collar. ($50 to $70 for the ramp, $99 for the SafetyTurtle base station and collar)
4-The Furminator: Hairballs and dustbunnies begone! For cats and dogs with dense undercoats, there’s nothing better. Reference my post extolling this product’s virtues (and your comments seconding its salubrious effects). (about $20 to $40 on Amazon)
5-The Three Kings brought precious spices. I offer you…lavender oil. Proven (in a peer-reviewed British study) to quell anxiety and calm nervous canine transportees, a vial of this stuff makes an excellent gift alongside a trio of colorful bandanas or a kitty bed. Instructions: Add five to ten drops to the bandana and tie stylishly around your dog’s neck. Add the same dose to the kitty bed and you’re done. Presto!
6-Consider a Storm Defender cape. Though not the most stylish dog-wear imaginable, it seems to help repel the electromagnetic impulses that sensitize dogs to thunderstorm phobia. This falls into the category of the “if-it-works-use-it” products. Paired with a thunderstorm CD (a plethora available on Amazon.com) it makes an excellent gift for the anxiety-prone on your list. ($54.99 to $69.99 at www.stormdefender.com)
7-I love scratching posts and I’m always on the lookout for gorgeous, high-utility household items. This combination of interests ensures that I’m sure to spend time drooling over beautiful structures I really don’t need right now (yes, I’m sans indoor cats due to my progeny’s asthma). I suspect these modern, wall-mounted scratching posts (Wall Flower Cat Scratcher manufactured by Marmalade Pets) will induce even the dog-only among you to drool, too. ($59.00 at www.muttropolis.com) I couldn't find a pic of the Wall Flower but here's another one of their beautiful products:
8-Bella beds: What can I say? Functional and beautiful wins out, yet again. These beds have won awards for their creative, den-ish design. They’re easy to wash and made of eco-friendly materials, to boot! ($79.99 to $205.99 at www.alldesignerpetproducts.com)
9-The RoamEO GPS pet locator system: I’ve been looking into these GPS devices ever since I realized they’ll alarm when your pet escapes his enclosure. Though not yet small enough for cats, this device can be programmed to alert you whenever Fido roams free of a space as small as ten feet by ten feet and as large as a square mile. Cool! ($549.99 at www.alldesignerpetproducts.com)
10- Nut-Knot Nibbler, Build-n-Bites and the Supertrac Hamtrac racetrack round out my recommendations with a nod to the little nibblers in your midst. The first two items are sensationally colorful, well designed and made to blunt those ever-lasing incisors. The last item is an oldie-but-goodie: snap your hamstie in a clear plastic ball and watch him exercise by doing laps ‘round the racetrack. As a Habitrail devotee from years back, I can’t resist the nostalgia with a new twist. ($1.99, $5.99 and $13.99, respectively, at www.drsfostersmith.com)
Now for some I might have forgotten or overlooked (your suggestions)...