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Pets have always been loyal playmates and snuggle buddies, but during the coronavirus pandemic, they’ve provided an extra dose of comfort (and sanity). Readers chose to invest in a variety of quality products for their furry friends this year — and especially when it comes to dog food. Subscription food services like The Farmer's Dog — one of our previously highlighted most purchased items — saw an increase in popularity recently, but people are still opting for dry dog food, too, such as Canidae All Life Stages Dog Food that they can order from retailers like Chewy and Amazon. Since we’re spending so much time at home, some pet owners noticed a build up of hair and fur on their clothes and furniture, prompting them to purchase a new vacuum cleaner, too (many new models of those sport pet-specific cleaning features). Brands also launched items that make traveling with pets easier, including the Jinx Weekender Wag Bag, which contains treats, a portable water bottle and more. Below, we took a look back on the year and rounded up the most popular pet products we covered.
When looking to purchase dog food, veterinarians told Shopping that paying attention to the ingredient list is crucial as it tells you whether the food is vegetable-based or meat-based, along with other notable properties. If you prefer the latter, experts recommend Taste of the Wild Ancient Prairie in our guide to the best food for dogs. The first two ingredients are buffalo and pork to pack in protein, and the formula also contains ancient grains like sorghum and millet.
Also from our roundup, readers liked The Farmer's Dog, which is a subscription home delivery service that specializes in custom, human-grade food for canines. The Farmer’s Dog is fresh and needs to be refrigerated. As for dry food, standouts this year included Rachael Ray Nutrish SuperMedleys Vitality Blend Premium Dry Dog Food and Castor & Pollux Organix Chicken & Sweet Potato Dog Food.
Purchasing dog food from large retailers like Petco and Chewy is not the only option anymore. Direct-to-consumer (DTC) dog food brands are increasing in popularity, among them Sundays, which we highlight in our guide to DTC dog food brands. The brand’s formula is composed of more than 90 percent meat, and it has a jerky-like texture due to being air-dried. It’s shipped to your door and shoppers can either subscribe to receive periodic shipments or make a one-time purchase.
Veterinarians say treats should never make up more than 10 percent of a dog’s daily caloric intake, and they encourage pet owners to buy treats that clearly state how many calories are in each. In our guide to buying the best dog treats, reader preferred Zuke's Mini Naturals Chicken Recipe Dog Training Treats. Each treat has less than three calories and they’re about as small as a pencil eraser, making them great for training. Also recommended in our guide, Spot Farms All Natural Human Grade Dog Treats can be given to your dog whole or crumbled over their food as an added treat.
Unlike raw dog food that has to be refrigerated, dry dog food doesn’t spoil easily, helps keep dogs’ teeth clean in between vet visits and comes in many varieties. In our guide to the best dry dog food, veterinarians highlighted this Blue Buffalo option because it’s meat-based with deboned chicken, chicken meal and brown rice, the first three ingredients. It also contains fruits and vegetables like peas, sweet potatoes, blueberries and cranberries. If you’re looking for an option for an older pup, readers also liked Eukanuba Senior Dry Dog Food, which is designed specifically for small breed dogs older than seven years.
And speaking of dog food for older pups, in our guide to the best senior dog food, veterinarians told Shopping that as dogs age, their metabolism may be slowing down and they may not need as many calories as they did when they were younger. If you’re changing your dog’s food, veterinarians suggest doing so gradually, as well as trying a formula specifically designed for older pups like this Blue Buffalo option. The kibble contains deboned chicken, brown rice and barley. It’s also made with antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, such as berries, pumpkin, pomegranate and spinach.
To prevent cats from scratching furniture or swatting at your shoelaces, keep them occupied with a selection of safe toys. BETTER lists SmartyKat Catnip Cat Toys in its roundup of the best pet products. They’re sized for little paws and laced with catnip, attracting cats and encouraging them to play. From the same list, readers also liked Smartcat Kitty’s Garden Edible Grass Planter. It grows oats, rye, wheat and barley grass in as little as four days — all safe for cats to nibble on.
While dog beds are not necessary to purchase for your furry friends, veterinarians said they can improve a dog's comfort and enjoyment of their living space in our guide to the best dog beds. The PetFusion Ultimate Dog Bed was named the best orthopedic dog bed in our guide, as it has extra padding and support for older pups or those with arthritis. The Furhaven Pet Plush Orthopedic Sofa, also mentioned in our guide, is Amazon’s bestselling dog bed, and it was well-liked by readers, too.
Like humans, veterinarians say cats need to eat a nutritionally balanced diet full of foods like protein and grains. In our guide to the best cat food, veterinarians recommended this Purina Pro option because it contains dried egg product, which is meant to help reduce cat allergens. The food is also made with chicken and rice, designed to promote a healthy coat and digestion.
Pet owners should choose a dog harness — an alternative to a traditional leash —that is proportionate to their pup’s size, according to experts we consulted for our guide to choosing the best dog harness. The rabbitgoo Dog Harness, featured in our roundup, is one of the most popular and bestselling dog harnesses on Amazon, and it comes in four sizes: Small, Medium, Large and Extra-Large. It has padded mesh for additional comfort, front- or back-clip options for attaching the leash, and adjustable straps. Readers also liked Chai's Choice Best Outdoor Adventure Dog Harness from our guide. Among similar features to rabbitgoo’s model, this harness also has a handle at the top, should you need to grab it in an emergency.