Pets gifts: From automatic feeders, to a Nerf gun and vacuum robot - see our tried-and-tested guide
Pet lovers need no excuse to treat their furry ones and below, so we've reviewed some of the top unusual gifts for pet owners - making their lives easier, saving their furniture and even coming up with fun new ways to play with their dog or cat.
See our tried-and-tested pet gift guide:
Vileda VR101 Cleaning Robot - £149.99 - http://www.argos.co.uk/ - 4/5
This small cleaning robot is ideal for anyone with pets, particularly cats and dogs, due its high-pressure suction and ability to fit beneath tables, chairs and sofas, thanks to its small size. Its suction is, in fact, comparable to that of a Dyson cleaner - which come in at a far higher price than this.
The robot has sensors either side of its front, meaning it can redirect itself should it knock into anything. It also has two cleaning programs, so it can be set to clean for either 20 minutes or 60 minutes.
It is also chargeable, and a four-hour charge gives it sufficient battery to clean for a solid hour.
The only problem with the robot is, despite its sensors and ability to redirect itself, it does tend to get ‘confused’ once it has moved away from objects too many times, and needs re-setting. This means it cannot really be left as we would have liked.
It also needs pushing in certain directions, as it can miss out patches.
Suck UK Cat Scratching DJ Deck - £19 - https://www.redcandy.co.uk/suck-uk-cat-scratching-dj-deck - 3.5 out of 5
Cat owners can avoid having their furniture scratched to shreds, while turning their cat into a DJ at the same time with this hilarious scratch deck.
Despite being made out of cardboard, this product actually looks brilliant - just as it does in the picture.
The pieces of the deck come in separate pieces, which must be folded and built together to make the toy. Though the setting up of the product was simple, the cardboard was a little flimsy in places when attempting to squeeze slots into their respective spaces.
The deck, is however, spinnable and, being the focus of the cat’s scratching, is fairly durable.
How long the item would last with a big, boisterous cat, however I don’t know.
Though it looks great, and my little cat loves it, I do think £19 is a little steep for something made of cardboard.
Canine Traveller Kit - from £22 - http://www.petspyjamas.com - 3 out of 5
This set, which can be posted to anywhere as a gift (as it fits through letterboxes) and has a great variety of doggy items included.
Though there is a set selection of items included with each box sent by Pets Pyjamas, they are subject to change and can be substituted with other items of the same value.
The box sent to me included: a small red polka dot bandana, a red pet travel bowl, ‘Bedtime Biscuits’ from The Dog House, a 25ml sachet of dog shampoo from Animology, Pets Pyjamas poo bags, grain-free complete dog food from Devoted (40g) and a small rope toy.
It also included a sweet personalised bag.
The bandana was very cute - and fitted not only our Jack Russell cross, but also our cat.
The pet bowl is great too and folds down, so it takes up very little room. And the Bedtime Biscuits and dog food went down a treat with our little hound.
This is a lovely gift for dog owners, though perhaps a little overpriced.
Small Red Paisley Dog Bandana - £3.95 - https://www.dotcomgiftshop.com/small-red-paisley-dog-bandana?all=1&ctid=6020&pos=2&ll=catprod - 5/5
This gorgeous little bandana is lovely, decorated with an attractive Paisley pattern and made in a vibrant red material.
The material is hard-wearing too and the design of the bandana means a collar can be threaded through a gap in the material, meaning it won’t come off when you and your pooch are out and about.
Though the bandana I was sent is a small (due to me having a tiny Jack Russell), they are available in a large size - and for no extra cost. They also come in a range of designs, such as ‘paw and crossbones’ in grey, a floral one in light blue and a polka dot one in navy.
A pawsome gift at a superb price. Well worth the money.
Rosewood Grey Teddy Bear Cat Bed - £18.99 - Argos - http://www.argos.co.uk/product/7257351 - 4.5/5
This sweet, fluffy cat bed is warm, comforting and spacious - and an absolute bargain for £18.99.
With a removable (extra plush) internal pad and a wipe-clean base, this bed is easy to clean.
Its fluffy material also makes it very warm and snuggly for the winter months.
As our cat is just six months old, this bed is so big it could easily fit three of her inside - so is ideal for a pair of felines that enjoy snuggling.
The bed is so comfortable and warm, however, that our tiny Jack Russell dog has decided it’s hers.
A great bed, for a fab price.
Nerf Dog Tennis Ball Blaster - £19.99 - Argos - http://www.argos.co.uk/product/7361096 - 3.5/5
This Nerf ball blaster is great - especially for those with large dogs which need plenty of exercise, or just hounds who love to play fetch.
Though it easily launches the tennis ball and looks fab, we were a little disappointed it did not throw the ball harder - as many people could achieve the same with their arm. It would be great for those who struggle to put much force behind a thrown ball, or indeed those who simply fancy being lazy.
This is ideal for those with slobbery dogs, however, as the barrel end can be used to pick up the ball without using your hands.
Being plastic, the blaster is ideal for all environments and is light in weight.
TastyBones - from £4.25 up to £14 dependent on size and variety - www.tastybone.com - 5 out of 5
Dog owners across the land will know the struggle of buying bucket loads of toys for their pooches - only for them to be destroyed moments later.
Owning two destructive breeds myself and knowing other pet owners with the same problem, so we gave the TastyBone a try.
In a variety of different shapes and sizes to suit all different breeds, Tastybones come in a range of gourmet flavours to satisfy your dog’s taste buds.
My Collie got his gnashers around a standard medium Nylon TastyBone with a beef flavouring and my Cocker Spaniel tried the Nylon Trio Bone in peppermint to try and tackle his awful breath.
My father-in-law’s Newfoundland tried the Nylon Megabone in bacon while my manager’s Chihuahua X tried the small Nylon TastyBone in chicken and Nylon Trio Bone in bacon.
All of the dogs that trialled the bones - big and small - fell in love with them. The spaniel and Chihuahua X were a bit wary of the unusual trio bone shape at first - but soon couldn’t put them down.
While the flavours seemed instantly attractive to the dogs, they did not release a strong odour so can be left in the house without kicking up a stink.
The peppermint bone made a difference in my spaniel’s breath in under two weeks - something many toothpastes had failed to do.
The bones certainly live up to their promise of being long-lasting - all dogs are now four months into their ownership of a TastyBone without more than scratch on the surface. The trio bones even have a 100-day guarantee.
Made of top quality materials, the TastyBone is soon to be your dog’s new favourite toy.
Make Your Own Doggy Treats Set - £6.95 - www.dotcomgiftshop.com - 4 out of 5
An absolute staple in any dog owners bag or cupboard at home is a dog treat.
For those pampered pooches out there, the Make Your Own Doggy Treats Set allows you to make your own unique culinary creations tailored to suit the needs of your dogs.
My two dogs don’t care much for many big brand named treats - so I was excited to see if making them their own treats would cater to their needs.
The set comes with some cute pet-themed treat cutters, an illustrated bag so that you can take your treats with you on the move, and a recipe book filled with varied ideas.
The guide contained five easy-to-make recipes with simple instructions that even I - a kitchen novice - could master.
I must say the recipes did not excite my dogs in particular, but my parent’s fussy Cocker Spaniel loved the unique treats and couldn’t stop trying to shake a paw for more.
The bag included was of high quality and left the inside of my handbag clean and treat-free.
Something I’d implore every dog owner to have a go at - the Make Your Own Doggy Treats Set allows to to create sumptuous snacks for your four-legged friend to suit their dietary requirements, and keep you entertained.
Andrew James Four-Day Automatic Pet Feeder - £29.99 - www.andrewjamesworldwide.com - 5 out of 5
My partner and I work contrasting shifts, shifts that can even change week by week, which means our dogs’ eating patterns can switch up frequently.
One way we found to combat this was by using the Andrew James Four-Day Automatic Pet Feeder - that takes the hassle out of feeding your pet with one simple device.
The attractive circular feeder allows you to preload the bowl with four days worth of food, with an automated timer that makes the food available to your pet at a selected date and time.
We were initially worried about the freshness of the food we prepared after a number of days - but the feeder comes with an optional ice tray that can be placed in the device to ensure the freshness of the food.
The timer was easy to use and utilised an easy to read LCD display, as well as a very clear low battery display that took the worry out of the device not working.
The feeder also allowed myself and my partner to record a message that would be called out at a select time - as if we were there in person.
The Feeder came with four large food trays as well as a water dispenser that were easy to remove and clean at a moment's notice, as well as size adaptors to suit wet and dry food pouches.
A sleek device that has taken the stress out of our work commitments and feeding time - the Andrew James 4 Day Automatic Pet Feeder is an essential item for any working pet parent.