I bought 15 popular puppy products on Amazon—and only some are actually worth it
What can I say? Addy has discerning tastes.
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I always said that when I eventually got a dog, I wasn’t going to be that person who shamelessly spoils their pet. Well, I got my puppy a few months ago, and I immediately became that person. My little angel, Addy, is 100% spoiled, and I rarely go anywhere without buying her something.
One of my favorite places to shop for her is Amazon, naturally. We’ve purchased more than a dozen puppy products off the site to date, to varying degrees of success. Some of the items have been wonderful and life-changing, and others we definitely could have lived without.
To help you make good choices as you spoil your own dog, I reviewed 15 items I bought my puppy on Amazon—and I break down whether they were worth it or not.
1. These metal food and water bowls
We’ll start with some of the more boring—yet necessary—items, like these stainless steel dog bowls. I read somewhere that metal bowls are better in the long run, as they don’t retain odors like plastic ones might, so I went ahead and got these two 1-liter bowls from AmazonBasics.
So far, they suit our needs just fine. I like that they have a rubber strip around the bottom that keeps them from sliding around, and they’re really easy to clean. Apparently you can put them in the dishwasher, but I usually just wash them by hand because it takes all of 30 seconds.
Do we recommend it? Yes! The bowl is simple, functional, and affordable.
2. A super-popular food storage container
Several of my friends have dogs, and at least three of them have some variation of this food storage container. While they all say good things about it, I was a bit concerned that the container would be too big for my apartment. Luckily, the 15-pound size was the perfect size to store under my coffee bar.
As it claims, this container comfortably holds a 15-pound bag of dog food, and its spinning lid is easy to remove and replace—just don’t screw it on too tightly. My only note is that the description says the 15-pound size doesn’t have paw prints on the side, but mine does. I personally don’t care, but if you’re buying that size specifically because it’s plain… it might not be.
Do we recommend it? Yes! It’s a compact, air-tight way to store dog food.
3. A poop dispenser to attach to our leash
I have to admit, I’ve used the Earth Rated Leash Dispenser. They were everywhere when I volunteered at a local animal shelter, and I totally understand why it's a thing.
This inexpensive little gadget is key if, like me, you regularly forget to bring “waste” bags when you take the dog out. You just pop a roll of bags into the plastic bean and thread its loop through the handle of your leash. That way, it’s always with you. Plus, I love that it has a clip to hold used waste bags if there’s not a trash can nearby on your walk.
Do we recommend it? Yes! It ensures you always have poop bags on hand.
4. A big honkin’ dog crate
Addy has a hand-me-down crate that she’ll likely outgrow soon, so I figured I would just buy another one to use as a spare or swap into when she’s big enough. After a lot of research, I settled on the Aspen Pet Porter Heavy-Duty Pet Carrier in the 50- to 70-pound size, and oh man, is it big! It does seem like it will be larger than necessary, but I guess it’s better for it to be too big than too small.
Overall, the crate seems very sturdy, and Addy has no problem sleeping in it. My one complaint is that edges don’t line up at one corner, so I couldn’t put two of the screws in—no big deal since we’re not using it for traveling, but it could be a dealbreaker for some.
Do we recommend it? It’s kind of annoying that it doesn’t fit together perfectly, especially for the price, but it’s still a high-quality plastic crate/carrier.
5. A beginner-level dog puzzle
Mental challenges are supposed to tire dogs out, so I thought it would be fun to get Addy a doggie puzzle to play with. We settled on this highly-rated “beginner” puzzle, where you hide food under little plastic bones and your pup has to pull out the pieces to get the treats.
It seems like a good concept, but Addy figured it out so quickly. The first time, it took her around two minutes to uncover all the treats, but by the second go-around, she “solved” the puzzle in 30 seconds. I was hoping this would be a toy to keep her busy for a while, so I was pretty disappointed in how easy it was for her. We don’t really use it anymore because it takes me longer to set it up than it takes her to finish it.
Do we recommend it? Probably not. It’s so easy that there’s limited replay value.
6. The almighty classic Kong
My family had several dogs growing up, so I already knew the value of the Kong. These rubber toys are a must-have for every puppy parent, if you ask me, as they’ll keep your dog busy for hours.
If you’re not familiar with the concept, you simply shove food or treats into the Kong, and your dog has to work to get it out. Many people use peanut butter as a binder to make Kongs more challenging and rewarding, and you can also freeze them.
Both Addy and I adore the classic Kong. Any time I’m going out for a few hours or need to focus on a work project, I stuff some treats into it and let her go to town—it’s a lifesaver when you need a little quiet time.
Do we recommend it? Yes! In fact, get two.
7. A cleaning solution for smelly ears
Puppy ears can get a bit stinky, so I wanted to have some cleaning solution on hand. The Virbac Epi-Otic Advanced Ear Cleaner is one of the top-rated options on Amazon, and there are numerous vets and other animal professionals who recommend the product.
I don’t really have any major thoughts on this cleaning solution beyond that it seems to work well and doesn’t irritate Addy’s ears. I like that you can use it on cats, too.
Do we recommend it? Yes—keep those ears clean!
8. These chew sticks sent straight from heaven
In recent years, rawhide has been shunned from the dog community since it’s not easily digestible. Within a few days of getting Addy, I was on the hunt for an alternative chew stick to keep her busy during the day. Enter Pawstruck's bully sticks, which are now a must-have in our house.
Bully sticks are all natural and easy to digest—they’re made of “beef pizzle,” and if you’re not familiar with the term, you’ll probably want to Google it. That said, I don't find these bully sticks from Pawstruck to be gross. They don’t smell too much, and Addy absolutely loves them—one will keep her busy for hours, which is amazing since I work from home. Plus, they come in a variety of sizes and thicknesses, so you can get ones that are appropriate for your dog.
Do we recommend it? Wholeheartedly. You'll definitely want to stock up.
9. These big ol’ pig ears
I grew up on a farm, so I’m not squeamish about much. That said, these whole pig ears gross me out. They’re so big, and you can see the veins running through them. Some even have hairs on them! Plus, they smell awful. I bought them because they’re another chew that’s easy for dogs to digest, but I don’t give them to Addy that often because I can’t stomach it. She also tends to swallow large pieces, which makes me nervous.
However, Addy definitely loves them—I read somewhere that they’re essentially bacon for dogs, and who doesn’t love bacon? Unfortunately for her, though, once we’re done with this bag, I won’t buy them again.
Do we recommend it? Addy loves them, but I prefer bully sticks.
10. A fake puppy to help with crate training
The first few nights (or weeks) of crate training are always miserable, which is why I was ready and willing to purchase anything that promised to ease my pup’s transition into her new home. Sure, I balked at the $40 price tag on this stuffed animal, but reviewers say their puppies slept through the night with it, so I took the plunge.
The Snuggle Puppy is just a basic stuffed animal—to be honest, it looks much cheaper in person than in the pictures—but it has a velcro pouch on its stomach where you put this little plastic heart that “beats.” You can also put a heating pad in it, and it’s supposed to make puppies feel like they’re sleeping with a littermate.
The concept makes sense, and Addy did take to her crate really quickly. She only cried one time on the first night, and within a few days was sleeping through until morning. I don’t know if this is actually related to her using the Snuggle Puppy, but $40 isn’t a lot to pay for a good night’s sleep, if you ask me.
Do we recommend it? It’s overpriced, but if you’re having trouble with crate training, it’s worth a shot.
11. A guide from a presidential dog trainer
While I’ve helped train several dogs before, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to brush up on the latest training recommendations, so I bought Training the Best Dog Ever. This book has glowing reviews on Amazon, and it’s written by Dawn Sylvia-Stasiewicz, who’s trained dogs for the Obamas and the Kennedys.
We ended up loosely following this program for the first four weeks, and Addy responded really well to it. It was a helpful guide when it came to crate training especially, but there were some aspects I didn’t feel were necessary. Overall, I’m glad I bought it, and it’s definitely useful for anxious new pet owners (i.e. me).
Do we recommend it? It’s a thorough guide for first-time pet parents, but probably redundant for experienced dog owners.
12. A treat-dispensing ball
This cool little ball is a great use of $9 and one of our favorite products on this list. Basically, you put some kibble in it and your dog can roll it around to get the food out. There are plastic inserts you can put inside to make it harder, and Addy really digs this toy.
Every morning, I give her part of her breakfast in this treat ball, and she spends a half hour rolling it around the apartment to get the food out. It keeps her busy, and she’s usually ready for a nap afterward. I’m impressed at how well-made this toy is, especially for the price—she’s crashed it into several walls at high speeds, but it’s still in perfect condition. My only complaint is that it’s kind of loud on hardwood flooring, but it’s worth it to keep her entertained and tire her out.
Do we recommend it? Yes! Busy puppies are good puppies.
13. This brush that’s supposed to help with shedding
Between myself, my cat, and now the puppy, there’s no shortage of hair floating around my apartment. So when I saw that this grooming brush is supposed to remove 90 percent of shedding fur from your pets, I bought it without thinking twice.
So far, the results are mixed. It doesn’t actually pull that much hair off Addy, but she’s not actively shedding right now. However, it does an amazing job on my cat, who apparently sheds more than I ever thought possible. He loves how it feels and happily sits while I brush him, so that’s always a plus.
Do we recommend it? It's great for cats but the jury is still out on how well it performs on dogs.
14. A wobbly Kong food dispenser
You can rarely go wrong with Kong products, and since Addy loves food-dispensing toys, I figured I’d get her the Kong Wobbler. This big Kong-shaped plastic toy has sand in the base, so it stands up if you tip it over, and as your dog paws at it, food will fall out of the hole.
Again, my little smarty pants figured this out really quickly, and because the hole is so big, she gets a lot of kibble out each time she knocks it over. It usually only lasts her five minutes or so, which is why I prefer the treat-dispensing ball above. However, it’s still a well-made product that will keep your dog engaged.
Do we recommend it? We like the Pet Zone IQ Treat Ball better.
15. This hard Nylabone chew stick
We’re always looking for fun new chew sticks, and I liked the idea of this one from Nylabone, which is flavored but long-lasting. However, Addy really has no interest in it. She’ll pull it out once in a while, chew on it for 30 seconds, then move onto another toy. She much prefers bully sticks.
Do we recommend it? It’s inexpensive and long-lasting, but Addy wouldn’t recommend it.
Prices are accurate at the time this article was published, but may change over time.