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Veterinarians reveal the 10 things you shouldn't splurge on for your pets

Sophia Mitrokostas   

Veterinarians reveal the 10 things you shouldn't splurge on for your pets
  • Veterinarians told Business Insider which pet products they don't think are worth splurging on.
  • Products like fancy puppy restraints, premium cat litter, and pet clothes aren't necessary.

Pet owners often want to give their furry companions the best of everything, but not all products are worth their premium price tags.

Business Insider asked veterinarians to highlight a few pet products that can be a waste of money.

Pet multivitamins aren't always necessary

Stacy Choczynski Johnson, veterinarian and vet expert at Pumpkin Pet Insurance, told BI that pet multivitamins usually aren't necessary.

"Vitamins and supplements don't require approval by the FDA to certify effectiveness, safety, or quality," said Johnson. "As a result, you may not always get what you are paying for."

According to Johnson, most pets get all the vitamins they need from their food, the only exception being if they're on a strict weight-loss diet.

"In that case, your vet may recommend a xylitol-free human-grade multivitamin, which will be much cheaper," she said.

All-terrain jogging strollers for dogs could actually hurt pets

Though all-terrain dog strollers can transport pets that are unable to walk due to painful or debilitating conditions, they're expensive and may do more harm than good.

"It doesn't make sense to have an all-terrain jogging stroller that would subject sensitive dogs to bouncing on rough trails," said Johnson. "Dogs with arthritis and disc disease would do much better undisturbed at home."

For pets that need to be transported through a city, Johnson recommends a compact and size-appropriate stroller.

Over-the-counter skin products could be a waste of cash

Pricey anti-itch shampoos, sprays, and ointments from the pet store can be ineffective.

"Pet parents often spend a lot of money on anti-itch products that don't provide much relief," said Johnson. "Prescription-strength products with antifungal and antibacterial properties are best for pets with skin conditions."

Instead of checking pet-store shelves, Johnson recommends consulting your veterinarian about purchasing one or two prescription skin products.

Dog-safe 'beer' is usually just meat-flavored water

If you want to include your furry friend in a celebration, you could splurge on a six-pack of dog-safe 'beer.' But keep in mind these drinks don't contain hops, and typically use water, flavoring agents, and preservatives as their primary ingredients.

"At around $4 a bottle, I'm not sure it's worth the novelty," Johnson said. "It's usually meat-flavored and non-toxic, but I think you'd be better off donating that money to a local animal shelter."

Automatic litter boxes don't save you that much work

Veterinarian Heather Venkat, advisor with VIP Puppies, told BI that it's not worth splurging on an expensive automatic litter box.

"It's much cheaper to scoop your cat's litter by hand, as the automatic litter boxes still require you to empty the bags by hand anyway," said Venkat.

Wireless dog fences can be confusing and unsafe

Wireless dog fences deliver a vibration, sound, or a small electric shock — usually through a collar — to prevent dogs from wandering.

"Wireless dog fences aren't worth spending money on," Venkat told BI. "They confuse dogs because they can't see their boundaries."

A wireless fence may also prevent your pet from fleeing from a dangerous situation, such as a wild animal or stray dog.

Not all tooth-cleaning toys and treats work

Some products that claim to clean your pet's teeth may not actually work.

"Many of the special chew toys, rinses, and edible chews on the market are not scientifically proven to actually provide any oral health benefit to your pet," said Richardson.

Brushing your pet's teeth with animal-safe toothpaste is the best way to control plaque and oral bacteria.

If you're unsure if the products you're buying will help your pet's oral health, you can check with your vet or reference this list from the Veterinary Oral Health Council.

Expensive puppy collars or harnesses can be a poor investment

Veterinarian Rachel Barrack of Animal Acupuncture told BI that owners shouldn't buy pricey puppy restraints.

"Most puppies or small dogs will outgrow their collars or harnesses quickly, so don't buy a fancy one while they're small," said Barrack.

As your dog grows, check with your vet to make sure you're using the right kind of restraint for your pet's breed and size.

Premium cat litter often isn't necessary

Budget-friendly cat litter already comes in a range of scents, types, and textures, so unless your cat has a medical problem or allergy, there's no need to splurge on the premium stuff.

"Cat litter doesn't have to be expensive to work," said Barrack. "Finding which one is best for your home may require some trial and error, but don't break the bank with fancy litter."

Dogs don't need to wear clothes unless there's a medical reason for doing so

It may be tempting to splurge on a fancy wardrobe for your dog, but most pets don't need clothes.

"Pets don't need fancy clothes or clothing at all," said Barrack. "Large dogs, in particular, don't require extra insulation, especially if they have thick fur."

However, Barrack added, some pets, such as toy and short-hair breeds and dogs with compromised immune systems or endocrine issues, can benefit from a simple thermal sweater or coat.

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