Best Dog Gear of the Year: 2016

Here are the latest and greatest products for dogs! Check out the best dog accessories for your favorite dogs and dog-loving pals, like a small dog car seat, cool new dog toys, dog goggles and more!


Blue-9 pet products Klimb

The Klimb

“Seriously?” you may say. “That little plastic platform gives you joy?” Oh, yes, it does! And I’m not the only one who gets carried away. The Klimb is described by its maker as “the world’s first professionally designed and engineered dog training platform . . . specifically designed to improve the relationship between you and your dog.”

Put plainly, it’s just a piece of equipment for dog training, but it’s an extraordinarily well-made, sturdy, stable piece of equipment that dogs feel very confident about jumping, standing, sitting, and lying down on. What’s more, it can be connected to other Klimb platforms by virtue of clever interlocking shapes on the Klimb edges side, and securely stacked on other Klimbs without getting wobbly. Its surface is rubberized, to prevent slipping, and Blue-9 offers little rubber “safety plugs” (sold separately) that can cover the leg openings of the top-most Klimb to prevent any dog from so much as catching a nail. They’ve thought of everything!

“Platform” or “station” training is all the rage these days, as owners discover the benefits of giving their dogs a secure, easily defined spot to remain within while they work on anything from tricks to show ring obedience moves (such as alternating between sit, down, and stand in the heel position). The Klimb offers a secure, durable place for training. And it’s handy for handlers, too. Each Klimb weighs just 14 pounds, and measures 24 inches square. Used without legs, the platform is four inches high; the standard legs that come with it make the platform 12 inches high (six-inch legs are sold separately). The legs can be removed and clipped into storage slots on the bottom of the platform. The Klimb is available in three colors: black, blue, and purple.

For training ideas and tips, see the Blue-9 website. But watch out! You may catch yourself smiling, and then ordering a Klimb or two for your dog’s training program!

The Klimb – $160
Blue-9 Pet Products
Maquoketa, Iowa
(563) 293-5999

Inject-n-Clean carpet cleaner


Relax! Despite the name and the needle-like appearance, it’s not drug paraphernalia. But what it can do for your carpets might alter your reality.

This product is designed to allow you to deliver stain- and odor-neutralizing products to the place you’ve never been able to deliver them before: under a saturated carpet!

The product was invented by a carpet installer, who couldn’t help but notice (as he removed stained carpets and the stinky padding underneath them, prior to installing new carpets) that pet owners can’t ever seem to completely eliminate stains and odors when their pets have accidents indoors. If only there was a way, he thought, to inject odor neutralizers where spot cleaners and even high-powered carpet cleaners can’t reach. His solution was Inject N Clean. The sharp metal needle is pushed through the carpet in the middle of the “accident site,” and then paired with a custom-fit squeeze bottle. The operator uses the ball on the injector to pull the carpet up slightly, so when the bottle is squeezed, the odor-neutralizing fluid is sprayed right on the odor’s source.

Inject-N-Clean – $25
Inject N Clean
Dundas, Minnesota
(800) 645-4415

Pendleton National Park dog beds

Pendleton National Park Dog Beds

In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, Pendleton and the Carolina Pet Company teamed up to produce a line of pet products with a National Park Service theme. Pendleton created a beautiful color palette and design for 11 different park-themed collections – not just dog beds, but dog coats, collars, leashes, travel bowls, and matching Pendleton blankets for dog dads and moms. It’s the beds, though, that we feel most joyful about.

And how not? Look at those colors!

The Pendleton beds are covered with a non-pilling Polarfleece fabric, and filled with 100 percent polyester fiber made from recycled soda bottles, arranged in chambered liners to maintain a loft that elevates dogs off cold floors (the bed is approximately four inches thick). The bottom fabric is a diamond-quilted cotton canvas. The cover is removable and machine washable.

The beds are sold in four sizes, from small (28 by 20 inches) to extra large (48 by 36 inches).

Face it: Few dog beds are all that attractive; it’s a challenge to find some that actually improve one’s decor. But here they are! A percentage of the sales of these products will be donated to the National Parks Foundation. That might be our excuse to decorate our home with these beautiful dog beds – and maybe some matching throw blankets for the couch!

Pendleton National Park Dog Beds – $100-$170 depending on size
Made by Carolina Pet Company
Prosperity, South Carolina
Sold by Pendleton in stores and online and at independent pet supply stores. We found the best prices at

Pupsaver small dog car seat


The first time we saw PupSaver – a car safety seat for small dogs – we thought it was being displayed backward. Then we spoke to a company representative and got the scoop. The PupSaver seat is designed to work just like a backward-facing infant seat, preventing (in this case) small dogs from being thrown forward in an accident.

Most car safety devices for dogs are comprised of some sort of harness that is worn by the dog and is strapped to the car as tightly as the dog can endure. AirPupSaver is more like an exceptionally durable pre-inflated air bag, that will contain and cushion a dog who is flung by the force of a crash. The dog is kept in the seat with a harness, but it’s not the harness – or the dog’s body – that will absorb the energy of an impact; instead, it’s the air bag contained in the AirPupSaver seat that will act as a protective barrier to prevent him contacting any hard surfaces in the event of a collision.

The development of PupSaver started with products designed for tiny and small dogs; today, the company makes seats for dogs up to 45 pounds. The seat is available in three styles: Original PupSaver (which is cushioned with polyfill and contains no air bag); and the AirPupSaver 25 and AirPupSaver 45, which are made with air bags and are fastened with heavy-duty metal hooks for lower latch (child safety seat) anchors in the back seat (the numbers 25 and 45 indicate the maximum weight of the dog the seats are intended for).

The PupSaver seats were crafted by a safety design engineer with 20-plus years experience in child safety seat design, and all of the products have been subjected to rigorous crash testing at the MGA Research Corporation. Videos of the crash tests can be viewed on the PupSaver website.

PupSaver seats are ideally positioned in the back seat of a car. However, recognizing that many dog owners prefer to have their dogs in the front seat, the company has issued guidelines for using the Original PupSaver and the AirPupSaver in the front seat, and says that if used according to instructions (including moving the seat as far back as possible and making sure the dog is snugly fastened in the seat), the PupSaver would protect the dog from being injured by either the crash or the car’s air bag. No other existing car safety product protects a dog from being hit by a car’s air bag in the event of a collision.

Pupsaver – $120-$180 depending on size and model
Cumming, Georgia
(844) 728-7787

Rex-Specs dog goggles

Rex Specs Dog Goggles

These dog goggles are seriously cool – and seriously pricey – but most of all, they are for serious dog activities. They have been used to protect the eyes and vision of military dogs who jump (with their handlers) out of airplanes and helicopters, scent-detection dogs on Coast Guard vessels, and search and rescue dogs who are being transported in the backs of trucks or other rough-terrain vehicles.

But people who have serious fun skiing or sailing with their dogs have also found Rex Specs to be helpful for blocking out damaging UVA and UVB rays.

Thee durable frames are edged with soft foam, so the Specs fit comfortably. The dynamic strap system ensures a secure fit while allowing for full jaw motion and zero interference with the dog’s nose or ears. All the polycarbonate (shatterproof) lenses are interchangeable, and available in clear and smoke-tinted versions, and reflective or matte finishes.

The Rex Specs website features instructional videos and diagrams, to help you order the right size product, fit it on your dog, and then accustom him to wearing the protective gear.

Rex Specs Dog Goggles – $80
Rex Specs
Jackson, Wyoming
(307) 203-0308

Tether Tug

The photo below pretty much describes and sells the product, but if you aren’t convinced your tug-loving dog is going to have fun with this product, go to the Tether Tug website and watch the videos of dogs having a blast!

The Tether Tug is a durable, interactive toy designed to provide your dog with hours of fun and safe play, even (possibly, depending on your dog’s energy level) when you’re not around!

The toy comes in six sizes, each with an amount of flexibility and strength appropriate to the size of the dog its intended for. The rope that the dog pulls on can be replaced; Tether Tug also sells a braided fleece rope ($10) for puppies and dogs with softer mouths. The Quick Connector allows toys to be easily swapped to fit any dog’s preference.

An indoor model, meant for small dogs and puppies, comes with a heavy metal base that you secure by placing it under a heavy sofa or table leg.

The outdoor Tether Tug is easy to set up. Simply drive the metal base into the ground, insert the 55-inch Tether Tug into the base, attach a Tether Toy and your dog is ready to play! The company also sells extra in-ground bases (just $8), so you can change locations without having to dig up the base each time.

The pole and rope part of the toy can also be used in hand as a tug toy and “flirt pole,” encouraging your dog to run and chase.

Not only does the company guarantee that Tether Tug will be fun for you and your dog, they also guarantee the toy. If you purchase it directly from the company and it breaks, they will either replace the product or refund your money.

Tethertug dog toy

Tether Tug – $50-$65 depending on size
Tether Tug
Springfield, Missouri
(888) 458-5759

Rhinoplay dog toys

RhinoPlay Toys

It’s rare to find a toy with something altogether new to offer. When we first spotted the RhinoPlay toys at a pet products show, we very nearly just walked right on by, because they didn’t look that different. But as we passed the Go Dog (manufacturer’s) booth, we happened to run our hands across one of the toys on display, and had to stop and do a double-take. Hey! What’s this?

These toys are made of a unique material that Go Dog calls PopFoam NT, a nontoxic, long-lasting, durable, lightweight substance. It has what our dogs regard as the perfect texture to the tooth; when chomped on, it gives a little, puncturing slightly, but resists being chewed up! Go Dog describes them as deceptively light, and incredibly strong, and that’s been our experience with them. Fun stuff!

Even better, the company says the manufacturing process of the toys is environmentally friendly, and the products are all certified as nontoxic. In fact, they meet children’s safety standards EN71 and ASTM-F963. So there!

Rhinoplay dog toys

Go Dog makes four RhinoPlay toys, and each is offered in two sizes (small and large): Vexo is a stick-like toy; Cirq is a sort of donut-shaped creation; Flip is a flying disc that has an irregular shape, which makes it easy to pick up off the ground; and Beast is a self-inflating ball that never goes flat, even when it’s punctured.

If you’re in a store where these are sold, don’t miss the opportunity to touch one; you will immediately understand the appeal. And if you can’t find them stores near you, order one online. You’ll be happy you did!

RhinoPlay Toys – $11-$19
Go Dog, a division of Quaker Pet Group
Denver, Colorado
Sold in select independent pet supply stores and online. For locations, go to

My Dog Nose It sunscreen for dogs

My Dog Nose It Sunscreen

Skin cancer isn’t just on the rise in humans, it also affects our pets, especially dogs with white hair and pink skin, thin-coated dogs, and hairless breeds.

Fortunately, My Dog Nose It offers natural, safe, water-resistant UVA and UVB sun protection for these especially vulnerable dogs, and all vulnerable dog noses and ears. The product is alcohol-free, pH balanced, non-greasy, and proudly made in the USA.

My Dog Nose It Balm has a creamy texture, which dries quickly, even as it heals and adds moisture to dry, cracking, or fading dog noses. It comes in a half-ounce jar, which is estimated to last about four months if used daily on an average-sized dog’s nose! My Dog Nose It Body and Coat Spray comes in a four-ounce non-aerosol spray bottle. Both products are free of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which are present in many human sunscreens and are toxic to our pets!

My Dog Nose It Balm – $13
Body & Coat Spray – $20
My Dog Nose It
Seal Beach, California
(888) 444-5044