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Groom

Your pet might like their natural scent, but you don’t. Here are supplements, shampoos, toothpaste, litter — everything you need to keep your pet feeling soft and shiny (and odor free).

by The Wildest Editors
October 6, 2022
Dog in front of red curtain
Dozer was just adopted, but you can meet more adorable, adoptable pups like him at Imagine Peace for Pups.
Photo: Robbie Augspurger

Your pet wants you to read our newsletter. (Then give them a treat.)

On any given day, your dog likely prefers to smell like stale fritos, and while you want your pup to achieve all their dreams, you might prefer their odor comes across as a little less frito-forward and a little more, uh, clean. Your cat would probably like you to do as little as possible to change their environment — and definitely stay away from them with that water and shampoo. Unfortunately, everyone eventually needs a bit of a spruce, even if they don’t want one.

Your bathroom probably can’t compete with a full-fledged spa, but these products will make your pet feel as if the Wash & Brush Up people in The Wizard of Oz are attending to their every need. With natural ingredients, an eco-friendly focus, and products that take care of your pet from head-to-toe, you two can begin to find that happy medium between constant frito stench and freshly scrubbed, trimmed, wiped, brushed, etc.

Check out adoptable pups like Dozer here.

Best Dog Shampoo

ouai pet shampoo

For years, pet shampoos were functional at best, but now there are increasingly more elevated options to properly pamper our grubby little buddies — and some from well-known beauty brands you probably have in your own vanity.

This is maybe the only time the idea of smelling exactly like your dog is a good thing. Ouai — which was founded by Jen Atkin, the Kardashians’ favorite hairstylist — incorporates the same signature scent into its pet shampoo that makes the brand’s human-hair range so addictive. Think: notes of orange, peony, jasmine, and musk, with no parabens, sulfates, or other potential irritants. If people see you taking long sniffs of your dog’s coat, you might get some looks — but once they get a whiff, too, they’ll understand. —April Long

$32 at Ouai

Best Pet Brush

bamboo pet brush

Does your dog have a grooming routine? If not, they could use one. But don’t worry; it doesn’t have to be as high-maintenance as yours. “Brush and comb your pet regularly — at least once a week and possibly more frequently depending on your dog’s coat type and length, breed, and level of shedding. A brush can actually help prevent a number of skin issues as well as allow you to inspect your dog closely to catch health issues early,” Fear-Free-certified groomer Ani Corless says.

Look no further than Harry Barker’s double-duty bamboo brush. One side features massaging pins for detangling course fur, while the other incorporates natural boar bristles for maximum smoothness. Plus, this sustainable brush won’t look out of place sitting on your bathroom shelf. Just make sure you label it. —Liza Darwin

$24 at Harry Barker

Best Cat Litter

pretty litter in white package

It’s no secret that cats are experts at hiding when they’re not feeling well. That’s where PrettyLitter’s unique formula comes in. “Most owners don’t realize their cats are coping with an illness unless the disease has significantly progressed, making treatment more difficult,” says the brand’s in-house veterinarian, Dr. Geoff DeWire.

PrettyLitter aids in the guessing game that is caring for your cat by using color-changing silica crystal litter to alert you to potential health problems, such as super-common UTIs. It also eliminates litter box odor by trapping moisture, is up to 80 percent lighter than most litter, has zero dust, is delivered directly to you, and requires less scooping than other brands. PrettyLitter also offers a 30-day guarantee, so if you and your cat aren’t immediately sold, you can say you gave it a fair shot, risk-free. —Avery Felman

$24 at PrettyLitter

Best Grooming Kit

maxbone grooming pack in pink

Obviously, grooming our pets is important, but what’s less clear is with what and how often. According to celebrity groomer and The Wildest Collective member Jess Rona, we might be overthinking the process. “Honestly, if your dog is stinky or looks dirty, wash ‘em!” she says.

Maxbone’s Perfect Shine kit has every tool needed in a canine (and feline!) self-care routine, so you can keep your pet looking and smelling their best — before the neighbors catch wind of them. The hypoallergenic three-piece set includes a soothing, soap-free aloe and oatmeal shampoo designed to calm itchy, sensitive skin; antiseptic wipes; and a shampoo dispensing brush with massaging silicon bristles to streamline bathtime and stimulate coat health — all packaged in a special-edition holiday box. It’s the closest your pet will get to hitting the spa. —Sean Zucker

$50 at Maxbone

Best In-Between Baths Spray

merci collective spray in white bottle with pink label

Mud is your dog’s favorite moisturizer, but they can’t smell like that forever. This hypoallergenic, veterinarian-approved body spray by Merci Collective is friendly to canine, feline, and human noses alike. Mild enough to not irritate your pet’s sensitive schnoz, this Japanese cherry blossom-fragranced mist also comes with a healing crystal of your choice, so it’s perfect for refreshing and relaxing your dog or cat in between baths. What’s more, Merci Collective is committed to making cruelty-free and eco-friendly products. —Rebecca Caplan

$20 at Merci Collective

Best Dental Kit

dental kit for pets

One of the bravest grooming tasks we take on as pet parents is dental care. And taking care of your dog or cat’s teeth doesn’t only result in better breath and less grimy gums — it’s actually vital to extending your pet’s life.

Do we need to brush our pets’ teeth daily? Here is board-certified veterinary dentist Dr. Daniel T. Carmichael’s answer: “Only the ones you want to save! Periodontal disease is the most common disease in dogs.” Veterinarian Dr. Lori M. Teller adds: “Cats are very prone to gingivitis and periodontitis, which can be caused by a build-up of plaque and tartar.”

For a natural option that gets the job done, go with this human-grade dental kit by Oxyfresh. Backed by vets and hundreds of five-star reviews, it is as comprehensive as the brand’s climate responsibility and sustainability plan. Plus, it’s flavor and scent-free, so even the pickiest of pups will approve — that is, if they even notice that you’ve sneaked a few drops of the water additive into their bowl. —RC

$25 at Oxyfresh

Best Grooming Wipes

pride and groom wipes

Pride and Groom’s founders — who met and bonded over a love of animals while working at Vogue — launched their brand just a couple of years ago, offering different shampoos, conditioners, and other grooming essentials based on whether your fur baby has actual fur — or hair. The whole line smells amazing, thanks to all-natural ingredients like calendula extract for soothing itchy skin, marshmallow root for healing hot spots, and jojoba seed oil for unclogging hair follicles.

Plus, Pride+Groom pays it forward, donating a portion of the proceeds to animal welfare groups and distributing their One Fur All conditioning shampoo to shelters across the country.

If you can’t wait for bath time, these antiseptic wipes moisturize the coats of both dogs and cats to minimize dander and, yep, the amount of fluff left behind on your couch. They’ve even earned a stamp of approval from Oprah, who says, “Hugs [with her dog Sadie] don’t leave me waiting to exhale.” —AL

$18 at Pride+Groom

Best Paw and Nose Balm

paw balm

If your pup could use some help achieving velvety soft paws, opt for this skin-soothing balm by the Natural Dog Company. The go-to remedy for healing and soothing dry, itchy skin, this balm treats and heals redness and inflammation, hot spots, rashes, allergy irritations, cuts and wounds, bug bites, and more with its antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory formula.

Made using entirely natural ingredients, the Natural Dog Company is also committed to sourcing products grown without pesticides and chemical fertilizers — making this balm 100 percent natural and safe to lick. —RC

$18 at Natural Dog Company

Best Pet Ear Cleaner

ear cleaner in bottle with green label

Yeah, we don’t like talking about it either, but our pets’ ears can get kind of gross. According to veterinarian Dr. Shea Cox, “Chronic ear problems are common in pets, and are often a result of allergies to inhaled pollen that are then complicated by secondary infections.” Dr. Sarah Dougherty adds, “While there’s no way to truly prevent an ear infection, cleaning your pet’s ears once a month with an antibacterial or antifungal solution can stave off mites, yeast, and bacteria.”

The Major Darling Skin Tonic and Ear Wash is all natural and crafted from well-loved, familiar ingredients, including aloe vera, witch hazel, and chamomile extracts. Just soak a cotton ball, wipe your pet’s ear flap, and massage the base of the ear to let the formula absorb into the ear canal. And good news for itchy, allergy-prone pets: This ear wash doubles as a skin tonic that can be massaged onto irritated skin to sooth and moisturize. —Sio Hornbuckle

$16 at Major Darling

Best Pet Eye Wipes

green label eye wipes

If your dog is prone to tear stains, these mess-free eye wipes by Natural Rapport are the perfect solution. Made using only human-grade and plant-based ingredients, these eye wipes get glowing reviews and are safe for dogs and cats for 12-plus weeks and up. Not only do Natty Rap’s eye wipes remove buildup and stains caused by tears, saliva, and mucus, but their formula is gentle for even the most sensitive pet. Because they’ve cut out all harsh chemicals, you can safely use it on your pet’s eyes, nose, and mouth.

Keep in mind, veterinarian Dr. Shea Cox tells The Wildest that while “a little grey eye booger in the morning is normal, green or yellow eye discharge can be indicative of an eye infection” and you should see your vet. —RC

$27 at Natural Rapport

Best Cat Litter Box Deodorizer

Skout’s Honor Litter Box Deodorizer

Your cat feels about a smelly litter box the way you do about a dive bar’s restroom. The scent of poop will send them running in the opposite direction. “The most important thing to a cat is the cleanliness and smell of a litter box,” veterinary behaviorist Dr. Niwako Ogata, PhD, tells The Wildest. But dont try to mask odors with perfumed litter — you wont be fooling anyone.

That’s where Skout’s Honor comes in (again). The California-based brand makes science-backed products that keep your pets (and homes) smelling fresh. Their biodegradable, plant-based litter box deodorizer can be sprayed directly onto litter and into the surrounding air to erase those lingering kitty-business smells.

Skout’s Honor has also partnered with Greater Good Charities so every purchase provides one day’s worth of meals for a rescue animal in need. —Jodi Helmer

$15 at Skout’s Honor

Best Cat Litter Box

the modkat XL litter box in grey

Certified animal behaviorist Ruby Leslie recommends thinking like a cat when it comes to choosing a litter box. “It is very important for cats to have boxes with an easy-to-access entrance.” Well, Modkat’s XL Litter Box has not one, but two entrances.

Created by a cat dad and his industrial-designer partner, Modkat is exactly what you might hope for when design and personal need collide. Its allure goes far beyond its good looks, too. The top and front-entry model is sensitive to individual cat preferences with a three-position lid — closed, half, or all the way open. If you’re worried about your and your cat’s eco-footprint, Modkat will dash all your fears. They are a certified climate-neutral company, and they’re constantly working to reduce their emissions even more. You can never be too climate conscious, but they’re pretty damn close. —Cory Turner

$180 at Modkat

Best Fur Remover

lint roller

Pets shed. It’s nothing to worry about. Sure, it sucks having everything you own covered in a gossamer web of discarded fluff, but everything has its price. Even puppy and kitty snuggles. 

“Routine grooming helps prevent [the shedding of] fur and dander...especially in long-haired breeds,” says veterinarian Dr. Caity Flint. But for especially hairy situations, you’ll need a lint roller. Disposal, plastic-based lint rollers send countless plastic adhesive strips to landfills, so invest in a reusable lint remover like this one from environmental activist and The Wildest Collective member Lauren Singer’s Package Free Shop. This recyclable copper and compostable beechwood tool promises to scrape pet hair off your clothes and furniture “like a razor.” —Charles Manning and RC

$12 at Package Free Shop

Best Nail Clipper

nail clipper in blue and black

Unless you ventured out for a pandemic mani/pedi in the parking lot of a shuttered salon, you probably mastered trimming, filing, and painting your own nails in the past two years. But if you think your newfound nail art skills will come in handy when you take the clippers to your cat or dog, think again. Your pet’s nails require regular trimming to prevent them from cracking or tearing, which can be painful and lead to infection. “Ideally, you should start trimming your [pet’s] claws when they are young and more open to new experiences,” Dr. Lori M. Teller, a veterinarian and professor at Texas A&M University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences says.

If that solution isn’t cutting it (pun intended — sorry) you can invest in a scratching post to do the heavy lift, then turn to your veterinarian or a professional groomer for upkeep. In the meantime, these Gonicc Clippers are a great addition to your at-home tools. They come with a nail file — great for polishing sharp corners — and are equipped with a safety blade to prevent accidentally cutting nails too short.

Unlike cats, who have an innate need and desire to scratch, dogs suffer an even greater risk of overgrown nails. “Some dogs have clear nails, which allows you to easily tell how far the tip of the nail extends beyond the quick — that pink-to red-colored, blood-filled cavity that runs down the center of the toenail. If the nail extends well beyond the quick, it’s time for a pedicure,” Dr. Nancy Kay adds. Be aware that dogs with chronically overgrown nails may also develop lengthy quicks, so trim small amounts often. Kay continues: “It’s easy to hit the quick, and that can be painful for your dog. Also, a nicked quick bleeds, not enough to be harmful to your dog, but enough to sure as heck be harmful to your carpeting.” —KG

$16 at Amazon

Best Dog Pee/Stain/Odor Destroyer

Skout’s Honor Pet Urine Destroyer in white bottle

Nobody likes a pee stain, and they definitely don’t like the smell it leaves in its wake. But before you start scrubbing those (easily lickable) baseboards, pet parents should know that most cleaning products aren’t safe for dogs and cats. Between harsh chemicals and added fragrances, many common cleaning agents can do short- and long-term harm to your pets — and the planet. 

Enter: Skout’s Honor Pet Urine Destroyer. “Just like people are turning to more natural remedies and skincare for themselves, they are looking for the same thing for their pet,” says Skout’s Honor VP Jenny Gilcrest.

This plant-based odor eliminator breaks down urine stains and eliminates unpleasant smells at the molecular level. The spray is safe to use on rugs, carpets, clothing, and other water-safe surfaces: you just cover the messy area in the product, wait five minutes, remove excess moisture with a cloth or paper towel, and wait for it to dry before pets or kids re-enter. Voila — no stain and no smell. —MW

$15 at Skout’s Honor

Best Pet All-Natural Flea/Tick Preventative

the flea and tick treatment with green label

Ugh, fleas and ticks. Why? These blood-sucking pests are a nuisance to both your pet and your household. To combat them, you have a choice between commercial chemical products and natural remedies. If you’re dealing with an infestation, you should probably turn to the hard stuff (see below). But if you want to prevent fleas or ticks from hitching a ride on your dog or cat in the first place, this plant-powered spray by LGBTQ-owned brand kin+kind can get the job done.

Made with certified organic lemongrass and peppermint essential oils, this lotion-like repellant is super effective when used consistently — use it before venturing out on tick-heavy activities. Formulated by veterinarian Dr. Marc Valitutto (a Wildlife Conservation Society, Cornell University, and Smithsonian alum), it’s also cruelty-free and made in the U.S., so you can use it confidently. —RC

$19 at Kin+kind

Best Veterinarian-Recommended Dog Flea/Tick Preventative

nexgard

In the last decade, the pet market has seen a surge of oral prescriptions for flea and tick prevention. At the head of the pack is Nexgard, which works against black-legged ticks, American dog ticks, lone star ticks, and brown dog ticks — all of which are the most common ticks found in the continental U.S.

“Tick control is important not just to take care of pets, but also to prevent establishing a transmission cycle where the pathogens can be transmitted to the humans in the household,” says Dr. Maria Esteve-Gasent, a professor at Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. Each prescription, flavored chewable is effective for one month and is available in dosages for dogs between four and 121 pounds. —RC

$73 at Chewy

Best Veterinarian-Recommended Cat Flea/Tick Preventative

revolution for cats

While we may not be quite as jazzed about all-inclusive hotel packages (who needs that much shrimp?), there’s no better bang for your buck than a full-spectrum protectant. Revolution Plus is veterinarian Dr. Annette Louviere’s recommended flea/tick preventative for outdoor cats (or cats in multi-species households) because of its “great spectrum of parasite control: flea, tick, ear mites, certain intestinal parasites, and heartworms.”

Topicals are typically better received by cats than tablets, so veterinarians agree that it’s a great place to start when it comes to preventatives — with one watch-out by veterinarian and The Wildest Collective member Dr. John Iovino: “Cats are really good groomers, and they’re pretty flexible, so apply the topical towards the back of their neck — they can’t really lick the back of their head.” —AF

$130 at Chewy

Btw, our editors (and their pets) picked out these products. They’re always in stock at the time we publish, but there’s a chance they’ll sell out. If you do buy through our links, we may earn a commission. (We’ve got a lot of toys to buy over here, you know?)

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The Wildest Editors