14 gifts you should buy yourself for National Pet Day
It’s *technically* for them, but it’s also for you!
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I’m 100% here for any holiday that celebrates animals, so you know I got excited when I saw Saturday, April 11 was National Pet Day. My pets are a huge part of my life—in fact, we recently expanded our little family with the addition of 12 baby chicks!
But with all these pets comes a lot of responsibilities—you’ve got to feed them, bathe them, pick up after them, and entertain them all day. It’s a lot of work. So this National Pet Day, I think you should treat yourself to a little something that both you and your pet(s) will benefit from. The following list contains some of my all-time favorite pet products, many of which will make your life a little bit easier.
1. A self-cleaning litter box so you don’t have to scoop anymore
Ever since I tested the Litter Robot a few years ago, I’ve turned numerous people onto the automatic litter box, and everyone who I’ve recommended it to loves it—despite the high cost. After all, no one actually likes scooping litter boxes, even if you love your cat.
If you’re not familiar with the product, a large circular dome on top serves as a litter box, and after your cat does their business, it automatically rotates, sifting out the clean litter and dumping clumps into the waste bin in the base. It then resets itself, providing your cat with a clean litter box every time, and when the base is full, it will send you a smartphone notification that lets you know you need to empty it. It makes cleaning out the litter box so much easier and way less messy.
2. A sleek cat scratcher to help protect your furniture
Do your cats love nothing more than to sink their claws into your couch arms, ripping up the fabric? If so, you should definitely get them the PetFusion Ultimate Cat Scratcher Lounge. It’s made from recycled cardboard that your cats will love clawing at, and its sleek design is much more attractive than your average scratching post.
“I love this lounger so much that I bought it twice, just so my cats could use it both upstairs and downstairs,” explains executive commerce editor Kate Ellsworth, who swears by this sturdy scratcher.
3. A sweet custom necklace so your pup is always with you
Okay, so this doesn’t necessarily benefit your dog, but it’s definitely an adorable gift for yourself. The custom pet portrait necklace can be personalized with your dog’s name and a sweet picture of their breed, allowing you to keep your pup close to you wherever you go. The necklace is available in silver, gold, and rose gold finishes, and you can choose from a variety of necklace lengths, as well.
4. An automatic fetch machine to give your arm a break
My dog, Addy, is what you might call “ball obsessed,” and she wants to play fetch every waking hour of the day—in fact, she’s nudging a ball at my foot as I write this article. If your dog has a similar passion for fetch, you’ve got to get them the GoDogGo Fetch Machine, that Addy and I use and love.
How does it work? All you have to do is load tennis balls into the top bucket, and the machine will send them soaring across your yard for your dog to retrieve. I still haven’t been able to get Addy to drop balls back into the bucket for reloading, but if you can teach your dog to do it, they’ll be able to play fetch to their heart’s content without you lifting a finger.
5. A cat tree that’s not a total eyesore
Cats love climbing up cat trees to take in their surroundings from new heights, but personally, I’ve never been able to palate the unattractive carpet-covered appearance of most cat towers. That’s why I was so excited to discover the AutoPets Cat Tower, which looks more like a modern piece of decor than a cheap cat tree. It’s super sturdy and easy for my cat to climb on, and I don’t even mind having it on display in the living room. Plus, my cat loves sleeping in the cubbies all day—it’s a win-win.
6. A self-emptying Roomba to manage your pet hair problem
I maintain that the best money I’ve ever spent as a pet owner was on the Roomba i7+ robot vacuum. If left unchecked for even a few days, the hair from my pets will quickly take over our house, but Ruby the Roomba keeps that from happening.
This particular robot vacuum is a worthwhile upgrade for pet owners—especially those of us with long-haired animals—because it empties itself into the base whenever the dust bin is full. Sometimes it will have to make a pit stop to empty three times during one cleaning session, and if it wasn’t self-emptying, I would have to follow it around and do it manually. So yes, it’s definitely worth the money.
7. A shower attachment that makes washing your dog infinitely easier
My dog must have been a pig in her past life because she loves nothing more than finding big, muddy puddles and rolling in them. Even in the middle of winter! Thankfully, I discovered the Waterpik Pet Wand Pro, which makes it quicker and easier to get even the worst pond gunk out of her long hair.
If you have a dog who also likes to get messy, you should definitely treat yourself to this shower attachment. It’s super easy to set up, and the curved handle is ideal for cleaning dirty paws and stomachs. Plus, the targeted water spray does a great job washing dirt out of long coats, streamlining “tubby” time for dogs who don’t like baths.
8. Dryer sheets that get pesky pet hair off your clothes
One of the downsides of owning pets is that your clothing will always have hair on it, no matter how careful you are and how often you lint roll. If you’re tired of going through sheet after sticky sheet of lint rolling paper, you’ll definitely want to try the Bounce Pet Hair Mega Dryer Sheets. The dryer sheets help to repel pet hair from your clothes before it sticks to the fabric, and buyers swear they work like magic.
Don’t just take my word for it. Here’s what one reviewer wrote: “Omg this actually works! I tried this three times and each time my clothes come out less furry—almost 90% fur and lint-free. My black clothes are back to looking black, which is amazing because you should’ve seen them before… cat and dog hairs all over!”
9. A dog toy subscription box that will keep your pooch busy
Rambunctious pups? You can buy yourself a bit of peace and quiet time with the Kong Box, a subscription box filled with all sorts of amazing toys from the popular brand. Addy and I tested the box, and I loved that it was filled with a variety of products to help keep her busy when I was working. You can even get special boxes that help address behavioral issues, whether it’s separation anxiety with your pandemic puppy or crate training a new dog. The box is definitely on the pricey side, but it includes high-quality toys that you’ll be able to use for years.
10. An automatic feeder so your cat doesn’t wake you up at 5 a.m.
Does your cat stand on your head every morning at 5 a.m. to inform you it’s time for breakfast? My cat used to do the same thing, going to any lengths necessary to secure an early-morning feeding—until I discovered the Feeder-Robot. It’s from the same company as my beloved Litter Robot, and this automatic feeder is by far the best one I’ve ever used. You set a feeding schedule from your smartphone, and it automatically dispenses food for your cat right on time. It even sends you alerts when the food level is getting low, ensuring you never get an unwanted kitty wake-up call again.
11. A smart collar that tracks your dog if they ever get loose
If your dog likes to go for strolls around the neighborhood on their own, you can give yourself peace of mind with the high-tech Fi Smart Collar. This smart dog collar does double duty as both a fitness tracker and GPS locator, and unlike many smart collars, it has a colorful and attractive design that doesn’t scream “This is a tracking device!!”
The Fi Collar will monitor your dog’s activity throughout the day, recording the number of steps they take, as well as creating maps of any walks you go on. Plus, if they ever leave your preset “safe zone” without an owner, you’ll get a notification on your phone, and you’ll be able to use the app to get real-time location updates every 60 seconds.
12. A super-cozy bed so they stop stealing yours
Having your pets sleep in your bed seems like a good idea until they’re sleeping on top of you, causing all sorts of aches the next morning. If you’re hoping to reclaim the bed as your own, I recommend getting this super-cozy pet bed, which both my animals are obsessed with. The Donut Cuddler is, not surprisingly, shaped like a doughnut, and it’s covered in a super plush faux fur that animals love burrowing into. The bed comes in several sizes and two colors, and it’s worth every penny if your pets are bed hogs.
13. A splurge-worthy smart doggy door so your pup can let themselves out
How many times does your dog ask to go outside every day? 5? 10? 20? Instead of serving as their personal doorman, you can just get the new MyQ Pet Portal, an extremely smart doggy door that debuted at CES this year. The high-end product is actually a custom-fitted, full-size door, saving you the hassle of retrofitting it into your existing door, and it has a hidden smart panel that opens like a set of elevator doors—fancy right?
The doggy door is controlled by a small sensor that you attach to your dog’s collar, and it will automatically open when your dog approaches. It will keep a log of every time your pet uses the door, and you can also remotely lock the door from your phone if you ever want to keep your pooch indoors. The MyQ Pet Portal is currently only available for preorder, and it’s scheduled to ship in the spring of 2021. (So, any day now!)
14. A sweet custom portrait of your furry companion
Most of the gifts on this list are highly functional, designed to make your life with pets easier, but there’s always room in our hearts for a sentimental gift, too. This custom pet portrait is a sweet way to celebrate your four-legged companion on National Pet Day. All you have to do is send the seller a picture of your pet, along with their name, and they’ll create a beautiful canvas image for you to display in your home. It even comes with a wooden frame that’s available in several gorgeous finishes, and you can select from several canvas sizes, to boot.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.