We’re passionate about dog products that make our pups’ lives better both at home and away. 

For years, we’ve written about them: discovering, testing and just plain living with them. This past year, our canine and human judges pawed through more than 65 dog products to choose the ones that got the biggest woofs of approval. With a trio of judges, each possessing 25-plus years of pet industry experience, we put the latest products in the categories of housewares, toys, potty tools, gear and grooming to the test to find the ones we believe are at the top of their game.

BEK Dog Collar & Harness

BEK & Co.’s Regal Dog Collar and Royal Adjustable Dog Harness turned the heads of our judges and got admiring looks from all who saw our dogs decked out in them. The comfy collar is padded, plus has a lightweight ring for tags and a quick release buckle. Comes in a variety of colors. The comfortable, adjustable harness’ detailed artwork and gold hardware along with its lightweight mesh underside makes it a winner. The products are created for and tested on French Bulldogs but also fit other similarly sized dogs, so check the measurements.

$39.95/collar; starts $38.95/harness

Built Pet Dog Waste Bag

This dog waste bag is “built” to last and, personally, it is my favorite dog waste bag — and I have tried many. Judges love it because it fits two poop bag rolls, and the built-in clip has yet to unclasp from the dog leash, like so many others do. Made with lightweight, easy-to-clean, durable 900D polyester, it also comes with a Velcro clasp, plus zips up. Comes in navy and lime or pink and gray.


BetterBone Original

This is a truly friendly dog bone — all natural, eco-friendly, nontoxic, durable and long lasting, plus promoting dental hygiene through the wishbone-shaped design. The judges’ dogs “went to town” on them, and they are still going strong. A fave about this sustainable dog bone by Blue Standard: The different textures make it a more interesting chew. Another plus: It’s created from sustainably forested wood-waste fiber and renewable sugarcane-based oil.

Big Dawg Rope Leash

Puppernut’s amazingly strong rope leash was inspired from rock climbing — combining a professional grade screw-locking carabiner with premium rock-climbing rope. We judges like this hardy and surprisingly lightweight leash for strong dogs that like to pull and run. It’s attractive and comes in a variety of colors. Another plus: The company donates a percentage of its profits to a charity each month.


BoxDog Subscription

What can we say about our variety subscription box from Boxdog.com but fun, fun and more fun! This was a judges’ favorite because of the variety: clothes, treats, toys and even CBD oil. And our particular box had a great theme going, which made it even more enjoyable for the human side. The company says it features exclusive and original items, and we certainly saw that. You can become a monthly or seasonal member.

$45/monthly; $50/quarterly

Built Pet Dog Excursion Bottle Sling

Describe the judges: “A great way to travel light but still have all the essentials.” This navy-and-lime carry-all fits a water bottle, treats, waste bag dispenser and has a hidden zipper pocket for anything personal you need to bring along. The strap has soft and cushiony air-mesh lining.


MultiPuzzle Interactive Dog Treat Toy

We’ve always loved the Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound MultiPuzzles, and this one is no different with the judges giving it four paws up. It’s a level 4, so it has four different challenges: moveable tiles, spinning wheel, orange locks and center sliders. Each one of my dogs found certain parts easier to master than others. It definitely keeps them entertained! Note: There are easier level Nina Ottosson MultiPuzzles to try if level 4 is too hard to start with.


Dirtbag Dog Drying Towel

It’s a towel — it’s a coat. Got active, muddy dogs? Ruffwear’s drying towel wraps them up and keeps mud in your car or house to a minimum. The inside has a quick-dry microfiber lining to soak up moisture, and the waterproof shells helps keep mud and sand contained. We judges also loved it as a quick-and-easy raincoat when the dog goes out to do his business in the middle of a rain shower. 


Lola and Maeve Personalized Dog Candle

Talk about a high light — judges gave maximum points when it came to these “candles for life’s meaningful moments.” They are so easy to order. Upload a photo, place your text and choose a scent based on your pet’s personality. The 13.75-oz. candles are hand-poured in the U.S.A. Great gifts for birthdays, holidays or as a memorial item.


Bully Buddy

Bow Wow Labs calls its product “the buddy for your buddy to snack safely.” We judges approved, as this product is both safe and fun for dogs. Just place a bully stick in the veterinarian-vetted device, and it secures the stick and prevents your dog from choking on the tail-end of the treat, along with making it easier for them to chew on the bully stick. It’s durable, easy to use, easy to clean and comes in a variety of sizes to fit your dog’s size.

Starts $27.95

I’d Rather Be With My Dog Socks

Lavley’s fun, green, novelty socks tell it like it really is with us dog lovers. Judges liked how well-made the crew-length, mostly cotton socks are on top of the too-pawfect saying. Great buy for yourself or a gift for another dog lover.


Porch Potty

Big wags from our judges for this unique, attractive, lightweight and easy for dogs to use (and easy for humans to clean) potty that works great on porches for apartment and condo-living dog lovers who can’t run down flights of steps or take the elevator every time Fido has to go potty. It has synthetic grass, a self-draining system and is designed for when there isn’t a nearby water system. Works for dogs from 5 to 120 pounds. Available in small, standard or premium.

Starts at $245

Happy Ride Bench Seat Cover

We’ve all got dogs with muddy paws, and Pet Safe’s seat cover handles the mess. It has adjustable straps and seat anchors plus panels to allow access to the seat belts. Judges liked how easy it was to use, and it’s lightweight, washable, waterproof, affordable and fits most standard bench seats. Comes in black, gray or tan.


Scrunchie & Bandana Matching Set

The judges all agree that this set from The Foggy Dog is a great idea — perfect for doggy-and-me events or holiday cards. The bandana’s two layers of fabric make it durable and double sided. The scrunchie’s cute bow is removable if you just want the scrunchie. There are many different patterns available. Another plus: For each purchase, a half pound of food is donated to rescue shelters.


Peek N’ Seek Toy

Too cute for words say us human judges while our dogs just love to pull the birds from the bush and chomp on them. We give full wags for Bulltug’s dog toy that combines three plush squeaky/crinkly/bouncy toys and a puzzle. Also points for the birds being easy for smaller dogs to carry around and that one of the birds has a hidden squeaky, bouncy, spiky ball hidden inside.


Zymox Leave-On Conditioner

We liked Zymox’s shampoo, but its conditioner scored the really high points to make it one of this year’s winners. You can wash this conditioner off or just leave it on — either way it leaves your dog’s coat shiny, smooth and smelling great. It’s great for dogs with itchy allergy skin, hair loss and hot spots and has a no-sting/tear formula. Includes the patented LP3 enzyme system and skin-hydrating vitamin D.


Good Steps – Zephyr

Attractive, stylish, high-end execution were just some ways the judges describe these adjustable dog steps. Why are these dog steps a step above? The materials, hardware, tread, stain and customization. And, they adjust to your dog’s needs. They also look amazing in your home, not something you need to put away before guests come over. All the judges were able to put them together with the instructions. Ordering the customization is simple, too. Creative, Classic or Custom steps available. 

Starts $299

Springer Travel Bottle

Attractive and easy to use for both humans and dogs, the judges drank up this travel bottle from Springer Pets. Just squeeze the bottle and it fills the bowl. Or, put it into one of the cup holders in the car, squeeze for water and turn the stopper so the water doesn’t release. Comes in three sizes. Another plus: Springer Pets partners with 1% for the Planet, giving back to Mother Earth.

Starts at $22

Smart Mats Studio Door Mat

Smart Mats makes a variety of antibacterial door mats for dogs, including customizing your own mat. Upload a photo or choose a pattern, frame and shape and then pick a typeface or a stylized monogram. Very easy to do, and I have to say I personally got a ton of compliments on my mat. The quality was much better than other customized mats I’ve tried in the past. Easy to clean by washing it off with a hose or in your kitchen sink. The mats are UV/mildew resistant and have an antibacterial agent. 

Starts at $55.99

DNA My Dog Test Kit

You are just a simple cheek swab away from finding out your dog’s breed(s), plus all the information you need to know about that breed(s). We loved the Canine Genetic Age Test you can also get, which tells you where your dog’s genetic age falls compared to your dog’s age and can help you determine health issues or actually give you an age if your rescue dog’s age isn’t known. Results come with a Canine Breed Composition DNA Analysis certificate. Quick, easy and informative, this test gets high marks. Another plus: The company has a North American Shelter Program where shelters can raise funds with the DNA test. 

 Starts at $68.99

Outdoor Tether Tug Dog Toy

Tether Tug calls this interactive dog toy the “gift of endless play,” and we judges agree. It was pretty easy to install in the yard and attach one of the various toys available from Tether Tug (or your dog’s own favorite toy). We did have to show our dogs how to get the hang of it, but many dogs will figure it out quickly themselves. The dogs can spin, jump and tug without your aching arm doing any work. Available for small, medium or large dogs. 

Starts at $74.95

3-Season Coat

“Impressive,” says one of our judges about Dogora’s good-looking coat with a removable heating component. The heating power bank connects with a USB cord, and you can take it out to recharge it like you do your phone. The lining is made with fleece, which makes the coat perfect for fall, spring and winter. It’s a slip-on coat, so adjust the fit to your dog with the buckles on both sides and a drawstring on the back. 

Starts at $175.99 CAD (around $137.97 USD)

WizSmart Dog Pads

Our judges agree — these are really absorbent: the Super holds up to 5 cups of liquid and the Ultra holds up to 8 cups (we tested!). Also has a pet-friendly dog attractant to lure your dog to pee on the pad. We love that they are eco-friendly — created from unused diapers. There’s the Super 5-Cup, Ultra 8-Cup, Ultra XL 8-Plus-Cup and the Earth Friendly Ultra Dog Pee Pad (made from sugar cane bioplastic and recycled from unused baby diapers). 

Starts at $25.99

Retro Bowl

There are many things going for Loving Pets’ retro bowl: easy to clean, sturdy, glossy and very stylish. Comes in three colors: electric blue, ice white and hot pink. The stainless-steel bowl insert pops right out to wash in the dishwasher. The rubber feet keep it from moving and spilling. Available in four sizes XS-XL. These bowls were definitely one of my personal favorites. 

Starts at $4.49

Pupups Waterproof Leash

Waterproof is the name of the game with Pupups leashes and collars. The judges rained the praises particularly on the waterproof leash. No matter what mess you throw at it, all washes right off. They are 4-feet long — perfect for those dogs who need a little more supervision when walking. Comes in different patterns and has a traffic handle and d-ring. Also available in an adorable and eco-friendly reusable case for dog bags, plus a Pupups collar is donated to a shelter dog for every purchase. 

Starts at $28

Calmeroos Puppy

A big hit with the judges, Wanna Play Products’ adorable plush puppy has a belly pouch that holds a battery-powered beating heart and an air-activated disposable heat pack. Perfect for comforting puppies, as it replicates being with their mother and littermates. Note: Keep it to the young pups, as the older ones may consider it a chew toy. Bonus: With every purchase, the company donates 2 pounds of food to shelter pets in need.


Honorable Mentions

Medical Snuggie

By Dogora Active Wear.
Starts $30

Get Outside Refillable Toys

Squirrel, S’mores, Hiking Boot by SmarterPaw.


Boss Tactical Leash

By Boss Nation Brands.


Go Dog Action Plush Toys

By Worldwise, Inc.


KeepSafe Break-Away Collar

By Chinook & Co. LLC.

Starts $14.99

Meet This Year’s Editors’ Choice Judges

Audrey Pavia

Audrey Pavia is a freelance writer and editor specializing in animal subjects. She shares her home in Norco, CA, with two Pit Bull mixes, Mookie and Winnie. Both dogs enjoyed judging this year’s products and now think every package that arrives is for them.

Melissa Kauffman

Mixed breeds Tampa Bay, Murphy Brown and Cirneco dell’Etna Liberty Belle along with their doggie friends had a ball testing this year’s products, especially with all the treats they received as payment. They live with Dogster editor Melissa Kauffman, her husband Scott and Pionus parrots Deacon and Pi-Pi in Charlotte, NC.

Elizabeth Anderson Lopez

California natives Elizabeth Anderson Lopez and her husband had a great time testing all the items for this year’s Editors’ Choice. But not nearly as much fun as their Bull Terriers Dexter and Maybelene and Bull Terrier/Scottie mix, Tosh. All three of them thoroughly enjoyed all the toys, garments, etc.