Veterinarian's Picks for the Best Pet Toys and Smart Technology for Dogs and Cats

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For our “best of” episode, we rounded up our staff picks for the best restaurantsasked Rach’s derm Dr. Anne Chapas for the best budget skin care and got this year’s best tech gadgets from lifestyle pro Carter Oosterhouse. And, of course, we couldn’t leave out our furry friends! So, we asked veterinary surgeon Dr. Courtney Campbell to share his picks for the best pet gear—including his favorite pet toys, smart technology products and more.  

Best Pet Gear Pick #1: TRIXIE Fantasy Board Cat Toy 

This one’s for all the cool cats out there! The TRIXIE Fantasy Board Cat Toy is not just one toy — it's four toys in one! And each one is targeted towards sharpening each of your cat's five senses. 

"Because cats aren't able to see close moving objects in as much detail as humans, they'll especially need to rely on their senses of smell and hearing for these games, which will increase their curiosity and intelligence," says Dr. Courtney. 

Dr. Courtney says this cat activity board has a reservoir, multiple levels and spheres, which kind of look like ping pong balls.  

“When you place these ping pong balls in the reservoir, you could also put cat treats in there, or cat nip or blades of grass or whatever your cat really likes, and essentially, they have to dig through these ping pong balls to get it,” he says. 

Additionally, the board has a slender cavity where you can also put treats.  

“It's changing the situations in your house so that life is more fun for your cat. But it's about more than fun. It's about being mentally and physically healthy, and that's why environmental enrichment is so critical.”

TRIXIE Cat Activity Brain Mover Toy, Slow Feeder

TRIXIE Cat Activity Brain Mover Toy, Slow Feeder

$28.99 $25.99

Best Pet Gear Pick #2: FitBark 2   

The FitBark 2 is a dog activity and sleep tracker. (Yes, the pups have these gadgets, too!) This tracker, which attaches to your dog's collar, can uncover hidden conditions like pain, arthritis, and cognitive decline. It can also help fight obesity. "I think activity trackers are the way of the future!" says Dr. Courtney. 

He adds that tracking your dog’s activity is key because it can tell you a lot about your pet’s quality of life. 

“Movement is associated with health and happiness, and so the more movement that your pet is getting, potentially the more active, the more social, and the more engaged they are with life,” adds Dr. Courtney.

“Conversely, if you see the activity level of your pet going down, they may not be feeling good.” 

FitBark 2 Dog Activity Monitor | Health & Fitness Tracker for Dogs | Waterproof, Small & Lightweight (10 g)

FitBark 2 Dog Activity Monitor | Health & Fitness Tracker for Dogs | Waterproof, Small & Lightweight (10 g)


Best Pet Gear Pick #3: Sureflap Microchip Pet Door  

Last but not least, Dr. Courtney chose the impressive Microchip Pet Door.

"The Microchip Pet Door stops intruder animals from entering your home by only opening for your pet's existing identification microchip," the good doc explains. This is especially useful if you have multiple pets, but only one or some are outdoor animals.  

He adds that the SureFlap has three components: a door, a hub and an app you can download on your phone.  

“Now, the way this works is that this flap actually connects with the microchip that's already in your pet, to regulate who goes through this door. This connects to the server on your Wi-Fi, and everything gets set up on the app,” explains Dr. Courtney. 

This device also sends you alerts on who goes through the door, and it helps monitor your pet’s activity. 

SureFlap-Sure Petcare Microchip Pet Door

SureFlap-Sure Petcare Microchip Pet Door


In addition to these 3 products, here are 2 bonus toys! 

Bonus Pet Gear Pick #1: Train ‘n Praise Potty Training System 

The Train 'n Praise Potty Training System is a reward-based potty-training system. "Many clients think you don't need to train the dog to go outside," says Dr. Courtney, "and are then surprised when the dog urinates on the carpet" — or an alternative to the carpet like clothes! This system provides an immediate reward, driving home the message of where to correctly potty with instant positive reinforcement.  

PetSafe Train N Praise Dog Treat Dispenser

PetSafe Train N Praise Dog Treat Dispenser


Bonus Pet Gear Pick #2: Cheerble Wicked Ball PE  

While we'd all love to play with our pooches all day long, that's not always feasible. That's why Dr. Courtney loves the Cheerble Wicked Ball PE. It offers 10 minutes of active play, then goes into rest mode for 30 minutes, creating a good play-rest balance. It's made out of natural rubber and TPU, which makes it easier for dogs to pick up with their mouths. Plus, it's a lot less noisy. (Your Zoom calls will thank you!)

Cheerble Upgraded Smart Interactive Dog Toy, Wicked Ball PE

Cheerble Upgraded Smart Interactive Dog Toy, Wicked Ball PE

$54.99 $44.99

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