There are a lot of innovative pet products out there, and there are some not-so-innovative ones. It is sometimes difficult to tell the difference. A few warning signs include paw-print patterns and that perfectly terrible shade of pink, but most of the time, it’s just a matter of your pet’s preferences. The best way to figure it out is to share our mistakes. So I emptied out our pet-product junk drawer to share the seven pet products that were a waste of money and what we learned from each one.

Seven Pet Products that Were a Waste of Money

… and what we learned from each one

Dog Paw Salve

Seven Products I wasted Money on

I bought this on vacation when I was in Alaska. They tell you it’s what all the Iditarod pups use to keep their paws in shape when racing. Sure. Maybe that is the truth and not some tourist shenanigans. I tried to put it on my dog’s paws, and they were not having it. My dogs did not care if I brought them back a gift from Alaska, so it was a total waste of money.

Lesson learned: Gift shops are a terrible place to buy pet products.

Brush Mitt

Mort hates to be brushed. We regularly come up with ways to get him to embrace being groomed. The Brushing Mitt was one of our attempts. You can see his true feeling about the dreaded brushing mitt by the bite marks on the side. He quickly knew something was up when he saw our hand had transformed into a giant blue glove.
We would try to pet him while he was sleeping, so he didn’t see the mitt, but he wasn’t having it. Probably works for other dogs, but Mort gives it a full Nope!

Lesson Learned: Pet Products are only so good without a plan. If we had slowly introduced the glove using treats and worked up to grooming, we might have had better success.

On the Go Water Bowl

Seven Products I wasted Money on

This portable water bowl seems like a smart idea. It would probably get more use if I put it in the car instead of the junk drawer. The truth is the dogs are a little weirded out by it. I end up pouring the water from the travel bowl into my hand. Maybe I could train them to like it but who has time for that? Other dogs may love this product. Our dogs prefer a flat Tupperware bowl. I think they like that it’s open and easier to see inside.

Lesson Learned: Most pet products are marketed to the needs of humans and not our pets. I wanted to have the hipster travel water bowl, but the small width makes it uncomfortable for the dogs. We need to get more animal behaviorist involved in pet product development.

Anti-itch Lotion

Seven Products I wasted Money on

We used Jax and Daisy shampoo regularly and loved it. It smells great, and it seems to cut down on some of the itchiness. I was excited to try this lotion. I’m not sure what I was thinking. My dog is covered in hair, so how was the lotion going to get to her skin. Maybe if your dog has an itch on their stomach? I did try it. I slathered the dog up in lotion. It made it much easier for her to pick up leaves and dirt when she rolled around in the back yard but did nothing for itchiness. The shampoo is excellent but skip the lotion.

Lesson Learned: Pets are not humans even though I totally support treating them like family members. A lovely smelling lotion that works on my skin is a bad call for a dog. A quick chat with our vet would have prevented the wasted cash. She was able to prescribe some seasonal allergy meds that quickly fixed the situation.

Dental Spray

Seven Products I wasted Money on

The idea is that you spray this into their mouth, and it loosens the gunk on their teeth. The sprayer is so intense they were traumatized after the first spray. Was the plan to scare the plaque off their teeth? It was used once and now sits in the junk drawer. We currently use a product that our vet gives us called Fresh Mouth. It goes into their water bowl. I am not totally sold on it yet. It does make their breath better, but it’s TBD for the teeth. Either way, it doesn’t cause any trauma.

Lesson Learned: In general, pets are afraid of loud noise, intense motion, and things that make them feel trapped. Products that do any of these things should be avoided.


Seven Products I wasted Money on

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We have a fantastic assortment of clickers. At this point, I have been to at least five different puppy training classes. We always get a clicker, but we never really make it through the clicker training process. I know it is a good thing…but we never made it happen. However, the next time a trainer suggests clicker training, I will probably take one.

Lesson Learned (or maybe still learning): There is who we want to be and who we want our pets to be…and then there is reality. It’s good to strive to be better, but sometimes you can waste a lot of time and money buying into a system that is not set up for the reality of the situation.

The Occasional Bark Box Fail

For a couple of months, Bark Box sent us interactive toys that opened up so you could place an edible disk inside. Then the dog could spend hours trying to get the treat out of the toy. After about two minutes, Scout decimated the toy to get the treat, to the point that it could no longer be opened to add new treats. Basically, this was a one time only treat dispenser, and we were left with two entire boxes of refills.

Another early fail was this insanely heavy corn cobb from Bark Box. It is indestructible and weighs a zillion pounds, so the dogs want nothing to do with it.

I don’t mean to be down on Bark Box. It was a small fail, and their toys continue to evolve and get smarter. Our dogs love them. They keep product development focused on the needs of the dogs, while also doing a great job marketing to humans. Seriously, I am addicted to their smart marketing. It’s crazy clever.

They also have excellent customer service and totally get pet people. They have even created custom boxes for our range of chewers. Bark Box subscriptions make great holiday and new puppy gifts.

Lesson Learned: Find brands that you trust and be patient when some innovation fails.

If you want some fun ways to store all your bark box toys check out tips on Pet Toy Storage.

You can get your Bark Box Subscription here

This is Scout’s favorite Liberty Bell toy get it here

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