They say necessity is the mother of invention and such innovation certainly rings true with these game-changing products that go all out to solve problems pet parents face on a daily basis. And, as a result they definitely enhance that inimitable human-animal bond.
A product that is a game-changer is defined as one that improves the well-being of the pet in some relevant way and, in so doing, also positively impacts the pet parent experience. Some products remain unique, one of a kind, others have morphed into an established pet category. Even so, there are standout products in such categories and those are featured here.
Pssst! And, with the holiday season fast approaching, they make great gifts.
SUREFEED MICROCHIP PET FEEDER
In a multi-pet households, it can be difficult to manage the food bowls. There is always that one pet that will push others out the way and eat everything. This is further complicated if one pet needs a specific diet for health reasons. The Surefeed Microchip Bowl solves all these issues as the bowl is linked to a individual pet’s microchip and will ONLY open for that pet. It another pet approaches, it will instantly close sending the intruder away. Further, food remains more palatable because the bowl is closed, it doesn’t attract flies and the double bowl insert allows for a combo meal of wet and dry food. Game-changer!
PURINA TIDY CATS BREEZE LITTER SYSTEM
It doesn’t matter how big the litter box, cats will often inadvertently step in the wet litter and it sticks to feet and fur. It’s unhealthy for them to try and clean it off themselves and digest the offending litter. And often, they are unable to remove it – especially if it’s a clay-type litter and as it hardens firm and fast. The only way to remove it to actually wash it off – something cats hate, which means it becomes stressful for both the cat and the pet parent trying to help. The Purina Tidy Cats Breeze Litter System solves this problem completely. The litter is in the form of odorless little pellets and the system is designed to separate liquids and solids the moment the cat enters the box. When a cat pees, the liquid runs through the pellets, through a grate along the bottom of the litter tray directly onto a very absorbent pad that holds the liquid preventing, it from seeping everywhere and smelling. Think baby diaper or puppy pee pad…When they poop, the solid waste sits on top of the pellets until it is removed. Game-changer!
NINA OTTOSSON PUZZLE TOYS
We all lead busy lives which unfortunately means pets can spend many hours home alone. And, since the pandemic, even if more pet parents are working from home, it doesn’t mean pets get more attention during “office hours”. Puzzle toys keep them mentally and physically stimulated. In fact, behaviorists say ten minutes of play with a puzzle toy is the equivalent of 45 minutes of physical exercise. Nina Ottosson is without doubt the game-changing innovator behind a slew of fabulous puzzles available for both dogs and cats that keep them busy and offer different degrees of difficulty to help pets develop keen problem-solving skills. Ottosson’s puzzles are also great as food bowls for those pets that tend to scarf down without even using a single taste bud. Game-changer!
BALL LAUNCHERS – GO FETCH!
Dogs love to play fetch! And the chances are they have far more energy than their owners! Not to mention that many pet parents don’t have the physical capabilities to really throw a ball far enough to keep the games really interesting. (Watch those rotator cuffs!) Thus, ball launchers are game-changers. My pick is the Hyper Pet K9 Kannon K2 Tennis Ball Launcher. This interactive launching toy features hands-free ball pick-up. So no bending or touching slimy balls either. It effortlessly shoots the ball 75 feet offering hours of fetching fun and great exercise for your high-energy pal. It comes with specially-designed balls made of Grade A rubber and engineered with pup safety in mind. Game-changer!
COMFORT TOYS WITH A DIFFERENCE
Squeak. Squeak. Squeak … You are trying to work and your dog wants to play ….
Squeak. Squeak. Squeak … You are trying to sleep and your dog want to play …
Enter the fabulous GoDog Silent Squeak Toys with Chew Guard Technology. They offer all the fun of a traditional squeaker toy without the annoying squeak as the squeakers are tuned to an ultrasonic frequency between 24 and 28 KHz that is silent to people, but NOT to dogs. The Chew Guard Technology gives these toys a super tough chew-resistant lining and reinforced seams to withstand rough play. Although NO toy is indestructible, the Chew Guard Guarantee promises consumers a one-time toy replacement, if it does not outlast a standard plush. Styles include elephants, hedgehogs, lions, rabbits and monkeys and the fun combo animals in the flip series – the Pig Elephant, Gator Monkey, Duck Bear and the Monkey Rabbit. Game changer!
A wand toy is a must have for every cat because they re-enforce inherent feline traits to hunt, pounce and play. And they allow cats to interact with their favorite people too. Hence, they are game-changers. I don’t know who created the first one and there is no shortage of wand products on the market. But my choice to feature here are RompiCatz wands as they feature handmade critters on the end of a lightweight string that make very realistic fluttery and wiggly movements – essential if they are to be well accepted by a discerning feline. New is the RompiCatz Adjustable String Wand, cleverly designed to that it’s possible to adjust the length of string for play. The way it works it that the excess string is stored in the wand handle. Create selection of critters available and ideal for cats that like to pick up a wand and bring it to their favorite person to engage in a game. Game-changer!
We all expect the hardware on a dog leash to be fail-safe. But accidents happen and the consequences can be serious of the dog escapes its leash and rushes into oncoming traffic.
A bolt snap latch with a magnet that literally latches on to the D-ring when snapped into place adds a additional level of security.The magnet on the Nifti Leash end automatically connects and clips.It’s strong enough to be in control of any sized dog even giant breeds.For peace of mind, this is a game-changer!
BISSELL BATHBATH SYSTEM
For any pet parent, who, for any number of reasons, can’t lift a dog in and out of the tub, this gadget is a problem-solver. It also eliminates that wet dog water-shake routine! Designed along the lines of Bissell’s very popular and effective carpet cleaning systems, the BarkBath has a nozzle with a variety of grooming heads that clip on. Lukewarm water and shampoo are pumped through the nozzle to wash the dog. And just like cleaning carpets, the nozzle then removes excess shampoo/ water from the coat before you switch to a rinse mode for a final cleaning of the coat.There is also a special sheet provided to dull the sound of the machine. It’s that simple … All this can be done with the dog sitting on a mat. No fuss and certainly no mess! Game-changer!
SOFT-SIDED PET CARRIERS
A former flight attendant named Gayle Martz is without doubt the person who changed air travel (and road travel and trips to the vet) when she designed the first soft-sided pet carrier named after her pooch Sherpa. The Sherpa carriers have evolved into a line of many different models. Again, today there are many products to choose from in this category. However, the Sherpa line along with the Sleepypod Air are truly game-changers in this category.
Sleepypod Air gets special mention because its innovative design allows the zippers open completely so that when at the vet, you don’t actually have to remove the pet from the carrier for a basic examination. And of course, for air travel it’s designed so that the sides contract in size to accommodate various airline under-seat size restrictions. Game-changers!
PET STEPS AND RAMPS
Such products are game changers in households with elderly pets as well as smaller pets who are unable to jump up onto the bed or a favorite couch without pet parent help. This self-help pet category has introduced a variety of ramps and steps that can be placed permanently around the home to allow pets their independence to gain access to favorite snooze zones. They are also designed to help pets get in and out of vehicles and fold flat when not in use. My personal picks are the selection from PetSafe. Game-changers!
AUTOMATED PET DOORS
A pet door will free you up from playing doorman, giving dogs and cats independent access to a secure enclosed patio or garden. A microchip operated pet door allows pets the freedom to come and go at designated times of the day (or night) without opening up your home to uninvited animals. The SureFlap Microchip Pet Door can store up to 32 individual pet microchips. It also works with a special RFID collar tag to offer selective use to pets in the household. PetSafe also have a good selection that operate with a smart key worn on a dog’s collar. Game-changer!