Affordable doggie products that were best in show

affordable doggie products at pet showWould you pay $79.99 to find out whether Bowser was part-Schnauzer? Or any other kind of breed? A company at the recent NYC Pet Show was hawking its doggie DNA test. You take a cheek swab of your mutt and mail the sample back to the lab. Three weeks later you have three generations of your hound's hereditary history. The results might explain why your dog digs a lot, chases birds, or drinks toilet water (oh wait, many do that.) "It helps with training and behavior," Elizabeth Sourk, a spokeswoman for the Wisdom Panel Insights Dog DNA Test, told WalletPop.

The company said it offers the best value because its test includes about 170 breeds, more than any other cheek swab application. WalletPop found a test from BioPet for $59.99 but it tracked ancestry from just 62 breeds.

When WalletPop suggested that the test could also determine whether that pricey pooch you purchased is really a purebred, Sourk said, "People do that but ours is not intended to do that."

WalletPop found a few other items that it considered best in show for fun and semi-frugality. I appreciated the Pup-Casso Paint Kit for Pets ($19.99) for sheer wackiness. Think of it as finger-painting for dogs. You place strategically placed paints on paper, apply a see-through plastic barrier, and encourage the dog to walk all over it. The paw-crushed images look to be what Jackson Pollock might have created had he watched "Blue's Clues."

I watched a dog try it out. Good for a minute or two of entertainment. Tammy Zaiko started the company a year ago after watching her Golden Retriever step on paint. She embraces the silliness. Said Zaiko: "You'll never wake up and say, 'Gee, I'm gonna buy a paint kit for my dog today.'"

The Easy Brush chew-it-yourself-toothbrush ($14.95) gets dogs into the brushing habit that probably eludes your 5-year-old human -- plus you can use Cheez Whiz as the toothpaste, said rep Carrie R. Foote. The bone-shaped device has bristles at both ends, and the dog is supposed to chew on it for two minutes every other day. We wondered what happened to Milk Bones as the tartar-control king for canines. Foote said Milk Bones don't clean the tough-to-reach parts of the gum line the way Easy Brush does.

I walked past a booth offering psychic readings for dogs and grabbed a handful of complimentary jelly beans, dropping them in my mouth as I prepared to leave. Then the thought hit me: Were those actually made for two-legged guests?

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