Dog ownership is rewarding, but it isn’t always easy. You’ve got to train and socialize your puppy, clean up the occasional mess, and make sure that he has plenty of entertainment. From time to time, it can get pretty ruff (sorry).
Of course, you’ll have a much easier time if you’re properly equipped. With that in mind, we looked through some of the highest rated dog products on Amazon to try to find the real essentials. Long story short: If you’re having trouble cleaning up after your pet, we’ve got a lot of suggestions. For instance…
1. See your pet’s accidents in a whole new light.
This blacklight set is an affordable answer to the question, “Does it smell like pee in here?”
Put on the glasses, turn off the lights, and use the flashlight to easily identify your pet’s urine on virtually any surface. You can laugh, but if you’ve ever had a small dog and a shag carpet, you know that this is an essential purchase.
Manufacturer Taotronics notes that this “pet blacklight flashlight” can also “easily spot scorpions [or] authenticate currency [and] driver’s licenses.” We’ve never clicked “Buy now with 1-Click” so quickly.
2. Protect your car seats during your next trip to the vet.
If you’ve got leather seats—or if you’re simply not a fan of cleaning up dog hair and, ahem, other messes—this is the answer to your prayers.
It’s basically just a non-slip seat cover with a quilted, waterproof top, designed to keep your pet comfortable while protecting your car from the unexpected. It’s easy to stall, easy to clean, and attractive enough to leave in your car long-term if necessary.
3. Feed your pets automatically when you can’t make it home in time.
Sometimes, your work schedule doesn’t quite align with your responsibilities as a pet owner. When that’s the case, this wifi-enabled pet feeder comes in handy. You can quickly open the app, feed your pets, and get on with your day with complete peace of mind. Alternately, you can design a feeding schedule ahead of time.
It comes with a power supply, and the optional battery backup ensures that Fido gets his chow, even when the electricity goes out.
4. Travel with your dog with this convenient collapsible bowl.
Made with food-grade silicone, this bowl collapses down to make packing easier. It attaches easily to your backpack, bike, or leash via the included carabiner (which is color matched to the bowl, of course).
With a couple of these on hand, you can take your pup pretty much anywhere. Alternately, you could simply collapse your dog’s bowl right in front of him—you know, just to show him who’s boss.
5. Get hair off of your pet with this clever deshedding glove.
This glove lets you easily comb through matts, collect shedded hair, and clear out tangles, all while giving your dog a well-deserved massage. Made with recyclable fabric and rubber, its patent-pending design is a grade above other grooming gloves on the market, and it works well with both long- and short-hair breeds.
By simply petting your pooch, you’ll collect oodles of poodle hair, and when you’re finished, you can easily clean the rubber surface with soap and water.
6. Every pet owner needs at least one high-quality gate.
This extra-wide step-through gate fits the bill quite nicely. At 30 inches tall, it’s tall enough to keep most dogs in place (your mileage may vary if you’ve got an especially acrobatic pooch). The pressure-mount design stays in place without damaging your walls, and the walk-through door lets adults easily pass through without climbing.
There’s even a safety lock feature, so if you’re looking for a gate that’s effective for both pets and kids, this is an excellent choice.
7. Make your daily walks much less stressful—for both you and your dog.
For walks, harnesses are a safer option than collars, as they evenly distribute pressure across your pet’s body, preventing choking and yanking. This harness is made from a soft, breathable material, and the adjustable straps ensure a perfect fit for dogs of all sizes.
It’s also reflective, which is important if you’re walking your dog at night, and as the manufacturer points out, it’s “cool looking.” Hey, we’re not going to disagree with that.
8. Eliminate loose hair with the ultimate deshedding tool.
Shedding bothering you? How about a little hair of the dog? Sorry, we’ve been wanting to make that joke for a while. Anyway, the Furminator is one of the top-selling pet products of all time, and once you try it, you’ll see why. Its deshedding edge will pull more hair off of your pup than you’d thought possible, and after each pass, you can quickly clear out the collected hair with a press of the ejector button.
We like to collect as much hair as possible, then form it into the shape of another dog. Yeah, we’re a little weird.
9. This indestructible dog toy is an absolute classic.
The Kong is a red (or black) dog toy made with virtually indestructible rubber, ideal for pups that chew through other toys in seconds.
The product description notes that it’s a “mentally stimulating toy” that “offers enrichment by helping satisfy dogs’ instinctual needs,” but that’s a bit grandiose—this is basically just a big piece of rubber, cleverly designed to appeal to dogs of all breeds. Try putting a few treats or peanut butter on the inside and watch your dog go nuts and stay entertained for a while.
10. Make bath time a bit easier (and a whole lot quicker).
At some point, Waterpik’s executives were sitting in a room, trying to decide what to do next.
“Well, we’re really good at making devices that shoot out water,” one said. “What needs water besides teeth? Plants? Cars? Dogs?”
“Stop right there,” another executive said, taking his Waterpik WP-660 flosser out of his mouth. “The dog thing. Do that.”
That led to the creation of the Waterpik Pet Wand, which provides a “contoured water combing spray” to make pet bathing a much easier process. It’s excellent for rinsing off shampoo, gently washing your dog’s undercarriage, and accidentally spraying yourself in the face while you try to figure out whether or not it’s attached correctly.
It’s backed by a limited lifetime warranty, and it easily attaches to either your home shower or outdoor water spigots. An eight-foot flexible hose gives you plenty of space, so whether you’re washing a Great Dane or a toy poodle, you’ll be able to maneuver around your pet with ease.
11. Protect dry dog food from pests (and your dog).
These airtight containers keep pet food fresh, and the snap-lock closures prevent insects, mice, and other pests from getting a free meal. Each bin is made with BPA-free materials, and they’re resistant to mold and bacterial growth. The larger container holds 33 quarts—enough to easily fit a larger bag of dog food—while the small container fits 12 quarts. We use the smaller container for treats. Freewheeling casters let you easily move the larger bin around.
This is a must-have for anyone who buys dog food in bulk, and there’s even an included measuring scoop with markers at each half-cup increment.
12. Train your puppy with this affordable folding crate.
Crate training can help to minimize separation anxiety, and if you’ve got a younger dog, it’s an essential part of house training.
This wire crate features sturdy metal construction and a double-door design, so your pup can enter through either the side or front. It collapses for portability, and a handle on top makes it an excellent choice for traveling. Best of all, it’s around $40, which is pretty manageable when compared with some of the $100+ crates on the market. Throw in a comfy blanket, and it’s good to go.
13. Teach a new trick with these all-natural training treats.
Many pet treats are loaded with preservatives, carbohydrates, and other stuff that isn’t necessarily healthy for dogs. These soft chews use natural ingredients—no artificial colors or flavors—for guilt-free training sessions.
Note that these are designed specifically for puppies, so they’ve got a decent dose of protein. That’s great for younger dogs, but if you’ve got an older pet, check out Wellness Natural WellBites (basically the same thing, but formulated for adult dogs).
14. Give your dog a portable playpen.
The Pet Playpen is a portable, lightweight fabric crate, ideal for camping or traveling. The eight-panel design gives your dog plenty of play room, while reinforced corners provide years of dependable use. It flattens down for storage and pops up easily, and the zippered top is removable for convenient outdoor use.
It even comes with a collapsible bowl for food or water. Be sure to check the sizing info before purchasing.
15. Keep your dog from leaving your porch with this retractable gate.
It’s designed for babies, sure, but it’s pretty effective for keeping your canine companion in place. This gate extends to 71-inches wide, and at 33-inches tall, it creates a dependable outdoor barrier for keeping Fido out of the yard during family barbecues and parties.
The one-handed operation ensures that adults can pass through the gate easily, and because the entire gate is retractable, you can leave it installed year round.
16. Potty train your pup with these door bells.
Make sure that you don’t miss your dog’s signals. These door bells help your dog communicate when it needs to go outside, and when used properly, they help to prevent scratching, barking, and other unwanted behaviors.
Simply hang them on your door and train your pup to “shake” with the bells when he wants to go out. The durable nylon will last for years, and you can adjust the belt easily to keep it within your pet’s reach as he grows.
17. Let your dog climb onto the sofa or bed.
Okay, you’re not really supposed to let your dog on the bed, but he’s so cute.
If you can’t resist, these foldable steps will help your pup make his way up without risking an injury. Safety side rails keep your pet from falling off the sides, and the non-skid feet keep the steps firmly in place. This is also an excellent product for helping older pets into your vehicle for their regular trips to the vet.
18. Give out treats remotely with this Alexa-compatible dispenser.
The Petcube is a weird piece of technology, but we’re on board. Basically, you load it up with treats, then use the Petcube app to fling those treats to your dog or cat.
The product description notes that it “usually flings one to five treats at a time, depending on size,” so it’s not ideal for pets on a restricted diet. With that said, it’s a lot of fun, and the built-in camera lets you watch your pet scamper for the treats.
It’s even Alexa compatible, so you can tell your robot companion to give treats to your dog, then monitor the entire process over WiFi. What a time to be alive.
19. Make those evening walks much more enjoyable.
This high-quality leash has a padded handle, which should help to save your hand the next time your Norwegian Elkhound sees a squirrel running in the distance. The heavy weight of the lead can help with training, and at five feet long, it’s perfectly suited for keeping your pet under control while still giving him room to explore.
Most importantly, this leash features highly reflective threads, an important safety feature during night or early-morning walks.
20. Scoop up, uh, anything that needs scooping with this all-in-one kit.
You get a swivel bin, a rake, and plenty of scented bags, which should help you keep your yard clean after your pup’s bathroom breaks. The bin and rake extend out to 32 inches, so you won’t even need to bend over, and the bags feature Arm & Hammer odor control agents that neutralize bad odors on contact.
When you’re finished, the bin and rake snap together for easy storage. Both components are made from a stain-resistant plastic that can be sanitized easily with soap and water.
21. Protect your floors during those first few weeks of house training.
These absorbent pads can hold about three cups of liquid. A built-in attractant draws dogs’ attention, while an odor neutralizer makes cleanup a much less unpleasant process. The five-layer design also features a polymer-and-fluff-pulp section that instantly turns liquid into a non-messy gel, along with a waterproof backing to protect your floors from damage.
Each box contains 100 training pads, which should give you plenty of time for your puppy to practice proper potty protocols. Perfect.
22. Don’t trim those nails—grind them down.
Most dogs hate nail clippers, and we don’t blame them. If you accidentally cut too deep, you can easily leave your pet in a great deal of pain.
This low-powered rotary tool provides another way to keep those nails in shape. It uses a 60-grit sanding drum to gradually grind nails in stages. It’s perfect for skittish dogs that won’t let you get anywhere near them with a pair of clippers, and it’s backed by a two-year warranty. As it’s compatible with other Dremel drums, you can easily find replacement sanding cartridges at your local hardware or craft store.
23. Be a responsible dog owner with these cleanup bags.
Sure, cleaning up after your dog isn’t pleasant, but only an absolute barbarian leaves a mess for someone else to pick up. You’re not one of those people—are you?
Made with recycled materials, these bags fit into a leash dispenser (also available on Amazon) for easy access on your daily walks. The light lavender scent neutralizes odors, and thanks to a compact design, you get 120 bags per roll.
24. Stop unwanted barking with this pain-free bark collar.
We’re not going to debate whether shock collars are humane, but we’re uncomfortable with the concept. This bark collar is an effective alternative; when it detects movement from your dog’s vocal cords, it issues an audible warning, then vibrates if the barking continues. It’s unpleasant, but not painful, and reviewers say that it’s fairly effective.
Your mileage may vary—some dogs are more stubborn than others—but if you’ve found other training methods to be ineffective, this is certainly worth a shot.
25. Keep your pet hydrated with fresh running water all the time.
Animals tend to prefer running water,since it’s the safer bet in nature. This water fountain for dogs encourages drinking with a gentle little waterfall. It circulates water through its internal pump, so there’s no waste.
Meanwhile, an integrated carbon filter keeps water clean and tasty. Generally speaking, a well-hydrated dog is a healthy dog. Encourage your pets to chug with this BPA-free, dishwasher safe hydration solution.
26. These ID tags won’t slide off of collars, no matter what.
If your pet gets lost, heaven forbid, an identification tag is your best chance of quick reunification. This pet ID tag locks firmly onto standard nylon dog collars, with plenty of space for clear, highly legible print.
Fill out a quick online form to give the manufacturer your name, your pet’s name, a phone number, and an address. They’ll custom-engrave the tag and put it in the mail, along with a guarantee that this tag will not fall off a dog’s collar. As an added bonus, these are some pretty handsome tags.
27. Choose a dog run you can depend on.
Dogs love their freedom, but they don’t always have the sense to stay close to home. This all-metal dog run gives your pet up to 100 feet of play space, with a 15-foot lead line for comfort. It’s made entirely from corrosion-resistant alloys, with no plastic parts, so it can handle whatever your dog throws at it.
Just stretch the line between two solid wooden posts, attach the lead, and watch your pup enjoy the run of the backyard. This kit is intended for dogs who weigh up to 45 pounds.
28. Keep your dogs tick-free. Also, yourself.
The Tick Removal Kit from TickCheck may be the best way to remove the summer’s worst unwelcome guests. It’s great for pets, which is why we’re thinking about it now, but you know what? It works just as well for humans.
This kit includes tick-controlling tools: super fine-tipped tweezers and a tick remover, which gently pries feeding insects out of the skin. This kit even comes with a Tick Identification Card so you can know your enemy. Don’t go camping without it, especially if the family dog is going with you.
29. Improve your dog’s catch game without all the slobber.
Odds are, you get tired of playing catch before your dog does. The human arm can only handle so much (just ask MLB pitchers). Luckily, a company called Chuckit! has built a solution.
Actually, this tennis ball launcher is based on the good old principle of the lever. The longer your arm, the further you can throw. This flinging stick lets you launch balls greater distances without blowing out your elbows. As an added bonus, it cuts down on contact with the dog slobber that usually comes with a game of catch.
30. This pet bed supports joints for a healthier, happier nap.
Every dog loves a nap. Sure, they’ll make do with a spot on the carpet, but why not pamper your pet with a dog bed designed for canine comfort?
The Deluxe Orthopedic Pet Bed from FurHaven features a core of egg-crate foam, which stimulates pressure points while supporting joints. On the outside, an ultra-plush liner is soft on fur and skin alike. The end result is a pet bed that helps to foster deep, restorative sleep. Don’t be surprised if you start to see a whole lot of napping going on!
31. Ease canine anxiety with the original ThunderShirt.
Lots of dogs get anxious. Maybe they hate loud noises. Maybe they just can’t stand to see you leave for work in the morning. In any event, you’ll do anything to comfort your beloved animal.
The ThunderShirt may be the best way to do just that. Dogs react favorable to swaddling, and this jacket gently squeezes your pet’s torso to reduce anxiety. The manufacturers tell us the ThunderShirt works for more than 80 percent of the dogs who try it. If your dog suffers from anxiety, a ThunderShirt could be the solution.
32. Achy paws? This will help.
Why shouldn’t your pet have a specialized lotion to keep their skin comfortable and healthy? Paw Soother from the Natural Dog Company uses a unique blend of organic seed oils and botanical extracts to heal your puppy’s paw pads when they get dry, cracked, or damaged.
Calendula extract helps to heal sore skin, while oils of jojoba, coconut, and hemp seed protect and hydrate. It absorbs quickly into the skin for fast-acting relief.
33. Who says you can’t keep a pet lion?
We’re pretty sure it’s illegal to keep lions in the home. Luckily, dogs are another story. Get the best of both worlds with this realistic lion mane costume, designed just for your puppers!
It’s comfortable, easy to clean, and it’s almost alarmingly realistic. Also works for cows. Do not try to place this artificial lion mane on the head of a real lion.
34. This is the safest way to take the dog swimming.
Some dogs love to swim. You’ll know them by the way they throw themselves into any body of water they come across. But while these pups might be excellent swimmers, it’s not really safe to let them doggy paddle to their heart’s content.
When you get on a boat, you wear a life jacket, right? Now your dog can do the same. Outward Hound doggy life jackets keep your pets safe while they enjoy a splash. Don’t go on a canoe trip without one.
35. Never overfeed your pets again.
When it’s just you and the dog, it isn’t hard to keep track of feeding. Your pet will remind you if you forget. Add a few roommates or a family, though, and you’re bound to give your puppy double dinners every now and then. Unfortunately, you can’t trust an animal to say, “Pardon me, but your wife already fed me dinner an hour ago, and I’d prefer not to overdo it.”
Here’s a solution. This sturdy, attractive sign features a row of sliders for the morning and evening scoop of kibble. That way, you know if someone else fed the dog — without having to trust the hungry, hungry animal.
36. Feed your dog the healthy way with an ergonomic dining table.
Eating off the floor is a pain in the neck; just ask your dog. This adjustable feeding station grows with your puppy, keeping food and water right at head-level.
This reduces neck strain and may even improve digestion. Adjust the tabletop from 2.75 to 12 inches, depending on your dog’s height. Just don’t get jealous of your pets; this is one sleek dining table
37. Keep your dog out of your lap next road trip.
We love taking our dogs on the road, but as sweet as they are, they don’t seem to know the difference between cuddle-time and drive-time. A surprise visit from your pet can be downright dangerous when you’re trying to drive.
That’s where the Urpower Dog Seat Belt comes in. This adjustable, tough restraint sits comfortably on your dog’s body. It operates like a short leash, keeping the puppy seated while you get where you’re going. This is a set of two, so it’s great for the whole pack.
38. Keep your best friend cool on a hot day, no matter how much fur they’re dealing with.
There’s nothing worse than a hot summer day with no AC—unless it’s a hot summer day with no AC when you’re covered in a furry coat. You can’t strip your dog down to shorts and a T-shirt, but you can get them a self-charging cooling pad that will keep them chill all summer long.
The Arf Pets Self-Cooling Pad absorbs body heat for three full hours. No refrigeration required; it works with a space-age, heat-absorbing gel interior.