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How we test pet products at Insider Reviews

  Summary List Placement Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky Insider Reviews has been evaluating pet products for the last four years, testing hundreds of toys and accessories with our own pets. Our reporters are experts in the field who have worked as dog trainers, studied veterinary science, and assisted in vet offices. Through our reporting, we've also spoken to numerous veterinarians, animal behaviorists, dog trainers, pet safety experts, and devoted pet owners to guide us in our recommendations for products that offer the best quality, value, and safety. What types of pet products we cover Food: After hundreds of hours of interviews and research, we...

 

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Summary List Placement
Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Insider Reviews has been evaluating pet products for the last four years, testing hundreds of toys and accessories with our own pets. Our reporters are experts in the field who have worked as dog trainers, studied veterinary science, and assisted in vet offices. Through our reporting, we’ve also spoken to numerous veterinarians, animal behaviorists, dog trainers, pet safety experts, and devoted pet owners to guide us in our recommendations for products that offer the best quality, value, and safety.

What types of pet products we cover

Food: After hundreds of hours of interviews and research, we carefully selected the best cat and dog food. All of our picks were guided by animal nutritionists and veterinarians. We’ve also tested some of the most popular fresh dog food, including The Farmer’s Dog, Just Food for Dogs, and Ollie.

Health and wellness: There is an overwhelming number of flea treatments and dewormers on the market, but not all are equal. Our reporter consulted veterinarians to find the safest and most effective options for cats and dogs. Read more about them in our guides to dog flea and tick medicines, cat flea treatments, cat dewormers, and dog dewormers. And if you’re in a pinch and need some advice, we’ve also researched the best online vet services.

Harnesses: Some dogs pull on leash; others walk nicely but need a harness that will hold up to rugged outdoor adventures. Our reporters tested harnesses with untrained shelter dogs and drew from two decades of combined experience as professional dog trainers to bring you the best harnesses and no-pull dog harnesses. And because cats can walk on leash, too, we spoke to adventure cat parents to find out what harnesses they use with their cats.

Cat litter and boxes: Cats are finicky about many things, particularly their litter box. Our reporter tested 23 litter boxes with two cats and 28 varieties of cat litter.

Grooming: Regular grooming and dental care are a pet parent’s most challenging — and least enjoyable — responsibilities. We’ve tested dog nail clippers and grinders, dog toothpaste, cat dental products, and brushes for dogs and cats. Veterinarians and professional groomers also helped us narrow down the best regular and medicated dog shampoos and at-home dog grooming products.

Toys: When it comes to keeping our pets happy and healthy, toys are a big part of the equation. But not every cat or dog will appreciate the same puzzles, balls, or scratchers. That’s why we’ve tested dozens of cat toys and talked to animal behaviorists, dog trainers, and pet parents about their favorite toys for dogs and rabbits.

Travel gear: To keep your pets comfortable and safe while traveling, we tested 30 pet carriers for our guides to the best cat carriers for everyday use and air travel. If you’re looking to hit the road with your dog, check out our roundup of road trip must-haves with tips from pet safety experts.

Outdoors: Because pet parents spend a lot of time outdoors with their dogs — on land and water — we’ve covered hiking gear, dog life jackets, boots, snow coats, and rain jackets. We didn’t forget about cats, though.

Pet training and behavior: Whether you’re bringing home a new pet or want to teach an old dog new tricks, our reporter who is a professional dog trainer can help you choose a dog muzzle, protect furniture from cat scratching, introduce a new cat and dog, potty train a puppy, train a dog, calm an anxious dog, prevent separation anxiety, and keep kids safe around pets.

How we evaluate and test products

We approach every article with pet safety and wellness in front of mind. Our testing methodology and product selection criteria are informed by interviews with impartial experts, including veterinarians and animal behaviorists. We devise tests to ensure our recommendations are easy to use, hold up to wear and tear, and keep our pets happy.

When we can’t lab test products like flea and tick medications and pet food, we head straight to our experts and consult industry standards from organizations like the World Small Animal Association and the Association of American Feed Control Officials to rigorously evaluate options. Our guides are then vetted by impartial medical reviewers who are licensed veterinarians.

Meet our expert pets team

Our writers Bios
Lisa Sabatini headshot

Lisa is the pets and parenting editor for Insider Reviews. She brings extensive knowledge of animal behavior and health to her role and has previously edited books on dog training for young readers. She works with Insider Reviews reporters to narrow down the best products for our pets, from new and emerging brands to tried-and-true pet toys. In her spare time, she prides herself in capturing photos of her beagle-basset hound Homer demonstrating the perfect sploot. Lisa began her journalism career at the Wall Street Journal, has worked in business trade and educational book publishing, and was an editor at parenting website Scary Mommy where she edited essays on pregnancy, postpartum depression and anxiety, breastfeeding, and social justice.

shoshi parks

As a contributor to Insider Reviews, Shoshi draws from her decade-long experience as a certified professional dog trainer (CPDT-KA) to test and narrow down the best products to please both pets and their guardians. She has spoken to dozens of veterinarians and animal behavior experts while evaluating dog harnesses, litter boxes, pet carriers, toys, pet food, and more. Her cats Ositio and Phoebe have also helped test hundreds of products. Shoshi holds a doctorate in anthropology and writes about travel, history, and food for a variety of publications. Her work on pets and other topics has appeared at Rover, NPR, Smithsonian, Atlas Obscura, Afar, K9 of Mine, and elsewhere.

JackieJaeger

Jackie has spent 20 years writing and editing for pets and veterinary industry media. Her expertise includes health, nutrition, and grooming. Jackie’s coverage of flea and deworming treatments, dog food, and grooming products give readers the insights they need to make safe, effective choices for their pets. Jackie also recruited her miniature poodle Jäger to test fresh dog food, nail clippers, and dental products. Prior to her writing career, Jackie spent eight years working as an assistant in veterinary hospitals. She is also a contributing writer for “National Geographic’s Complete Guide to Pet Health, Behavior, and Happiness” and author of the book “It’s Raining Cats and Dogs: Making Sense of Animal Phrases.”

joanna pendergrass headshot

JoAnna is a veterinarian and founder of JPen Communications, a medical communications company that specializes in pet owner education. Her expertise includes preventive pet care, nutrition, and common (and not-so-common) dog and cat diseases. She earned her veterinary degree from the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, then completed a research fellowship at Emory University’s Yerkes National Primate Research Center. During this fellowship, she decided to combine her love of science and writing by becoming a medical writer. She currently writes for several veterinary publications, including Great Pet Care, Healthy Paws Pet Insurance, and All About Cats. She has previously written for PetMD, Pet Coach, dvm360, and American Veterinarian.

Christine Caplan

Christy Caplan is a certified vet technician, writer, dog mom to senior hounds Sherman and Walter, chicken keeper, and storyteller. In 2012, Christy graduated from Portland Community College in Oregon with a degree in veterinary technology. She passed the certified veterinary technician board exam and practiced as a technician for a few years. She received two awards from the Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA) for stories on congestive heart failure in dogs and heartworm disease. Her article on pet anxiety in Pet Sitting Magazine was also nominated for The PSI Professional Pet Care Award. She has been a member of the DWAA since 2018. You’ll find her articles in Animal Wellness Magazine, Pet Product News, Tenderly, Rover, LoveToKnow, and Pet Sitting Magazine.

Check out our other product coverage areas

You can also read more about how each team tests products, and meet the rest of our editors and writers on the following vertical-specific pages:

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