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10 Pet Products that Make Me Say, What Were they Thinking?

By Michele C. Hollow of Pet News and Views

I’m in a bit of a cranky mood, so bear with me. Occasionally someone sends me a new pet product. My inbox is filled with press releases touting the latest pet products. And I have attended pet trade shows featuring a broad offering of goods for cats, dogs, and other pets.

This Post is Not going to Make me Popular
I guess a lot of people expect that I will publicize a product just because I got a freebie. Sorry, I don’t do that. I’m a journalist, and yes, I’ve done public relations work and know how hard it is to do promotions. I promote products and organizations I believe in. Writing about the Pioneer Pet Fountain was easy. Since Earl Gray, my cat, has been using it, I sleep better at night. To read that story, click here.

About a year ago, a well respected pet publicist invited me to a pet show in NYC. I saw a wide range of beautiful products. I loved the doggie T-shirts that said, “Adopt” on them. One of my favorite collars is from Up Country with the same message!

1. No Fur for Fido
At this pet show, I saw a fox pet collar. Yes, you read that right: a pet collar covered in fox fur. When I was a kid and not involved in animal advocacy, I knew fur was wrong. I just never understood how anyone could wear a fur coat, hat, or real fur anything. So, I imagined—wrongly—that people who live with dogs are animal people. I’ve since learned that just because someone has a dog or a cat doesn’t make them an animal lover. I could not understand how anyone could put a fur collar on their dog. I look at fur and see dead animals. So, no, I won’t promote a real fur pet collar.

I love Earl Gray's white and smokey gray colors. I would never think of dying his fur a different color.

2. You’re So Vain
When a friend told me about this new product, I didn’t believe her. Well, now you can dye your pet’s fur. Available in such colors as “Monster Green,” “Screaming Pink,” “Shocking Orange,” and other colors, I do find this shocking. Why mess with perfection? My cat is a beautiful smokey gray and white. He is absolutely beautiful. Why would I ever want to add “Midnight Blue” to his fur? Ugh! I just do not get it. We should celebrate the beauty of our furry friends, not dye their coats. The products say they are safe, but really, why would anyone find this appealing?

Why mess with perfection? This poor poodle looks silly.

3. This Made Me Cry
I actually saw a product that brought tears to my eyes. There are these incredibly tiny fish bowls that sit in the lap of a small stuffed animal. The poor fish inside has just enough room to turn around. I recoil in horror when I see products like this! The stuffed animals (teddy bears, penguins, frogs, monkeys, and other animals) look light enough to be toted around by a small child. That is a truly frightening thought. Remember “Finding Nemo?” Nemo didn’t want to go with Darla, the little rough girl. 

Sorry but this just upsets me because the tank is so tiny and kids should not be carrying around a pet fish. It is too traumatic for the fish.

4. The Lazy Award
For people who want their dogs fit and trim, there are treadmills. I guess if I were homebound, this might work, but what about spending time with your pet and going for a long walk together? Studies prove that long walks benefit you and your pooch. When I had a dog, our shortest walks were 20 minutes.
A Note to My Readers: Since I posted this and got your wonderful comments, I had a change of heart about the treadmill. Read the comments for a better explanation!

5. Video Cameras for Pets
The good news is that this product doesn’t harm a pet, but why on earth would I want to put a video camera on my cat and have him photograph everything at his eye level? I hate looking at blurry photos and videos of people’s feet and the floor.

6. It’s Not Your Pet’s Fault
If you buy chew toys that look like shoes, handbags and iPods, don’t blame your dog if he confuses your real shoes, handbag, or iPod as a chew toy.

7. This Doesn’t Make Scents
I haven’t seen this for cats, but someone invented perfume for dogs. This is wrong on so many levels. A dog’s sense of smell is so much stronger than ours, that using perfume just seems unhealthy. I cringe when I think of dousing a dog with perfume. Instead of perfume, just give your dog a bath.

8. Scratching the Hand that Feeds You
My friend’s husband was puzzled when his cat scratched him. He purchased a glove that has cat toys attached to them. I’m not making this up. You put the glove on your hand and expect your cat to reach for the toys at the end of the fingers. Problem is (besides this being stupid), as your cat grabs for the toy, he will accidentally scratch you through the glove.

9. Table Manners
I was always told not to feed my pets from the table. So, I would think that the pet highchair would cause confusion for pets. I know my cat would squirm in it, and a dog just doesn’t look comfortable in it.

10. Spotlight on Purring
Someone invented a collar that lights up when your cat purrs. Again, I am not making this up. One of the most beautiful sounds is listening to Earl purr. I’m usually petting him while he purrs. So, this is necessary—why?

These are just 10 really dumb pet products. I know there are a lot more. It makes me cranky just thinking about them—especially when all our pets want is our attention and love. The food doesn’t have to be top-of-the-line. The toys can be a simple cat dancer (one of Earl’s favorites) or a ball to toss. Just spend quality time with your pets, so I can stop being cranky.

Win A Box of Love
This is just a reminder that there is a contest going on here at Pet News and Views to benefit Bideawee and Second Chance Animal Rescue. The Honest Kitchen has generously agreed to donate a large quantity of their high-quality pet food to these animal centers. Plus, they are giving one Pet News and Views’ reader a 10 pound box of Love dog food. Click here for details.

78 comments to 10 Pet Products that Make Me Say, What Were they Thinking?

  • Peter

    Would never dye my pet’s fur.

  • Martha

    What puzzles me is that I don’t know why anyone with a cat or dog would buy a fur coat. An animal is an animal. All of them have feelings and putting a fur collar on a dog or cat is simply wrong. It says to me “you don’t care.”

  • Peggy

    Fur collars and dying fur–what is wrong with people? And I agree that whenever I see those tiny fish tanks I cringe too. This one is a disaster because kids will want to carry this around and the talking mechanism in it, would surely frighten the fish.

  • Dan

    the chair at the table is just stupid. The fur collar is inhumane. The fish tank is animal cruelty. and the dye is silly. I know people dress their dogs, but dying their fur–even if it only lasts for 2-3 days is a chemical, and it can’t be good. If pet owners want to color their hair, fine. But they should not be able to do this to their dogs. It’s embarrassing.

  • Jeri

    How totally stupid. As the other people said, this is more about greed than about caring for a pet.

  • Isabella

    Fur collars and the fish tank are cruel. The other products are silly. And there is this stupid butt cover for dogs. I don’t know why anyone would buy that either.

  • Ella

    Dumb products. I won’t be buying them.

  • Jacquelyn

    My cat’s favorite toy is a cat dancer. It’s so simple, so inexpensive, and a great toy. Also it gives us time to interact together. These toys–the fur collar, tiny fish tank, and dye–are cruel.

  • Stacie

    I just entered your contest to win a box of Love from The Honest Kitchen and to help 2 shelters. Good job Michele! Now, that is a good product, not this nonsense of fur collars, tiny teddy bear tanks, and the other nonsense you mentioned. Sheesh!

  • Helen

    I won’t be purchasing any of these products. and you mentioned Up Country collars and leashes. Their products are pretty, so well made, and they are made here in the U.S.A. That is a good product.

  • Wallace

    I would never dress my Great Dane. He has a big surface for dye, but that would be so demeaning. Why would we want to laugh at him. He hasn’t done anything mean to me. And Why do we think of our pets are tiny humans? They aren’t. We should see them as the unique special creatures they are. This isn’t cute or funny. Plus, the dye is not recommended for dogs 6 months and younger. I wonder why.

  • Cody

    I dress my maltese and I really think she likes it. I would not put dye on her beautiful fur. I just don’t thnk it is healthy.

  • Robbie

    Just plain dumb ideas. We should celebrate our pets not treat them like a canvas for amusement.

  • Greg

    I’m a trainer, and while the top 3 products are cruel, the chew toys that actually look like shoes and iPods are terrible because a dog will not distinguish between real shoe and a fake one. These toys really do look like the real items. So, when a dog chews a real shoe, i get a call about the dogs poor behavior. It’s not his fault. He didn’t know that shoe was the wrong one to chew. Some people just don’t think.

  • Connie

    When a person tells me that their dog loves dressing up and that their dogs favorite color is Pink or some other color, I just say, really, don’t you know dogs are color blind. The dye isn’t for them. The fur collar isn’t for them. It’s a fashion statement for the owner–a stupid fashion statement at that. When I see it, I say the person really doesn’t take the dog’s feelings into consideration.

  • Nancy

    Did you ever see the Mutt’s comic strip where Earl and Moosh talk about the wrongness of fur? Fur on dogs, cats or anyone is simply wrong. I don’t like the dye, or other products either.

  • Russ

    I really think the dye is a bad idea. And so are the other products here minus the treadmill and the camera.

  • Al

    How sad that people put themselves before their pets. I would never buy or endorse these products either.

  • Paul

    These products are more for the owners–not the pets.

  • Toni

    I asked my DEAF friends what they thought of this. They actually liked it when they weren’t touching the cat. Cats not only purr when they are pleased.. they also purr when they are stressed or are trying to politely ask for something.

    10. Spotlight on Purring
    Someone invented a collar that lights up when your cat purrs. Again, I am not making this up. One of the most beautiful sounds is listening to Earl purr. I’m usually petting him while he purrs. So, this is necessary—why?

  • Henriette Matthijssen

    Appalling, not appealing, your pet is beautiful in his own natural coloring & leave it be at that! Thank you very much!

  • Buffy

    The people who buys these toys are as sick as the ones who invented, sell and promote them.

  • Hi Toni, I thank you for bringing this to my attention. I wonder if the lights on the collar is distracting to the cats though. –Michele

  • Chris

    That goldfish in the teddy bear is atrocious! Can’t believe that anyone would buy this? And the hair dye is so sad. What is wrong with people?

  • Kathy P

    People come up with these items to make money. Not thinking of the consequences to the animal. These are all so wrong!!!

  • Bianca

    I agree. Glad you came around to the tread mill. They are great. And it’s nice to see that you are open to listening to your readers. We all like that. Some bloggers are so focused on being right that they don’t listen to others. Thanks for this wonderful blog.

  • Thanks Bianca, I’m reasonable & if someone has a point to make, I’m open to listening and learning.–Michele

  • Valerie

    I agree, these products are unnecessary and some are just cruel. The treadmill is debatable. I have 5 dogs of different ages and energy levels. 2 young pitbulls age 2, 2 older pits and a young collie/shepard mix. I take them walking and hiking but there are times the younger pits are still full of energy especially rainy days when the walks are shorter. If I don’t get them on the treadmill to drain some of the excess energy they will play/fight which at times can elevate to play that is way too rough,especially around dogs with lower energy levels. The treadmill is in addition to mental and physical exercise that I practice with them. Just my own look at it.