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Best Gifts for Pet Owners

Aug 08, 2023

10 great ideas with our furry friends in mind

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Whether they are a seasoned pet owner or are planning to become one soon, treat the loved ones in your life with the essentials—maybe even a few luxuries as well. To get the scoop on must-have items for pets, I turned to a handful of my colleagues at Consumer Reports who are pet parents to see what’s on their wish list. Here’s what they had to say about products they’ve used with their own furry friends at home, plus a few picks from Consumer Reports’ labs.

Catit Flower Plastic Cat Fountain, 100-Ounce

“I have a deep fear that my cat doesn’t drink enough water and will end up with kidney issues,” says Stephanie Davis, a senior marketing manager at CR. And if you’re a cat parent who shares that sentiment, a water fountain may be the answer. “She won’t drink still water from a bowl and wasn’t keen on one other fountain before this—the filters are also easy to change for this one—but she loves this one for some reason.”

Frisco Cactus Cat Scratching Post

File this under one very cute scratching post. Amanda Arnold, senior manager of business analytics at CR, recommends this version because her two cats love it. Bonus points for the cactus motif that adds a fun twist to the concept. Featuring a sisal wrap construction, this model is available in two sizes: 22 inches and 31 inches tall.

Naadam Cashmere Dog Sweater

Dog sweaters may fall under the category of nice-to-have, but it’s hard to deny just how cute they look in them. “My husband bought our dog a reversible cashmere sweater from Naadam one year for Christmas,” says CR writer Perry Santanachote. “‘You looked at me like I had lost my dang mind,’ he says. I remember thinking it was the most ridiculous thing to get a Pomeranian (of all breeds!), especially one that does not play dress up like some other small dogs. But then he gently slipped it on her, and my heart melted. She looks so freaking adorable in her sweater and it makes her butt look even poofier. She wears it on all her evening walks in the winter, and it’s really held up. No pilling or anything. I wish I could say the same for my own sweaters.”

Yeowww Catnip Banana

Shopping editor Mary Beth Quirk’s recommendation comes in the form of this cheeky toy that’s bound to please. “It can keep my cat happy and playing for a long time,” she says, “and I can tell she loves it—to the point that her love of chewing on it has required me to get a regular banana subscription to keep her supplied. Plus, she’s just super cute when she grabs it in her paws and bunny-kicks it to death.”

Cat Mate C3000 Automatic Dog & Cat Feeder, 26-cup

This automatic feeder allows pet owners to schedule up to three meals a day, in any desired quantity, Arnold says. The device has a maximum capacity of 26 cups and can be programmed to give out meals as small as 2 teaspoons. Psst! Act fast, this one’s currently on sale for 60 percent off its original price.

Wonder Creature Store Cat Water Fountain Stainless Steel

“I have two of these, and they’re great because they encourage the cats to drink more water,” Arnold says. “Cats notoriously don’t usually drink enough water, so having these help keep their water cleaner and the kitties healthier!” The fountain comes with a filter inside and is dishwasher-safe to boot.

Furbo Pet Camera

In evaluating the best pet cameras, the Furbo dog camera was our editors’ top choice thanks to its aesthetically pleasing design and camera with a wide viewing angle. The ability to choose a voice prompt for the treat toss is a bonus. The device’s basic app features include live view, toss treats, talk to and hear your pet, and get barking alerts. The Nanny am subscription includes Cloud recording, advanced barking alert, Doggie Diary (a video summary of the day that you can choose to save to your device), activity alert, selfie alert, and person alert. And yes, you can still use the Furbo if you have a cat.

Learn more about the Furbo dog camera.

Petlibro Cat Water Fountain

A cat water fountain was by far the most popular product pick, according to my colleagues. Joe Novotny, a CR marketing associate, recommends this version from Petlibro: “The pump has a five-level filtration system, a translucent container for seeing when water is running low, and comes with a cleaning brush as well.”

Litter-Robot 3 Connect

For those looking to splurge (or take a breather from scooping up litter) this automatic, self-cleaning litter box can be a saving grace. “I have this, and would have loved it if someone would have bought it as a gift since it’s quite pricey,” Arnold says. “I’ve had it for about three years now, and it’s one of the best things I’ve ever purchased, like ever!” You can also buy a bundle on Amazon that includes accessories like a mat, ramp, and a fence to help contain litter.

Tractive GPS Dog LTE (TRNJAWH)

The Tractive GPS Dog LTE is the top-scoring pet tracker in our testing and was especially easy to set up and use. Light and compact yet sturdy, the slender unit easily attaches to any dog collar and will fit comfortably on most small dogs and even cats. The app is among the best of the bunch, with a clean and intuitive interface. In the live mode, which you activate if your pet goes AWOL, it geolocates every 2 to 3 seconds, and that makes for more precise tracking, showing you locations almost in real time.

Anna Kocharian

Anna Kocharian is a shopping editor at Consumer Reports who focuses on home, organization, and the consumer marketplace. She previously covered interior design, product reviews, and market trends as the digital editor of Domino. Anna has over a decade of experience in lifestyle journalism and has written extensively on the subject matter for publications including Apartment Therapy, Food52, and more. She currently resides in New York City.

Furbo dog camera.