We love to pamper our pets. Last year, North Americans spent almost $50 million on our furry friends – double what we spent just a decade ago. Know this: Some popular products are a waste of money and could even put your pet at risk! Here are the facts, courtesy of Prevention magazine and emergency veterinarian, Dr. Justine Lee:

  • The #1 product to avoid: Pet purses. Celebrities made purses popular by toting their miniature dogs around like accessories. A lot of people are copying them by popping their dogs into pet purses, slings and backpacks. Plenty of toy breeds have broken their legs jumping out of a purse. Remember, small dogs are delicate. A fall from a chair or a vigorous hug from a child can kill them. The fix: Put Twinkle-Toes on a leash. They’ll be safer and get the exercise they need because small dogs need walks too.
  • Another pet product to avoid: Magnetic beds. Ads claim that magnetic pads and cushions relieve pet arthritis, but numerous studies show that they don’t do any good at all. Dr. Lee says that if your dog has arthritis, try non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, along with glucosamine and chondroitin. She says animal studies have shown good results with the brand Cosequin. She also recommends acupuncture. If your pet’s overweight, it puts extra pressure on their aching joints – so, be kind, and put Rex on a diet and walk them a minimum of 30 minutes a day.
  • The final pet product to avoid: Hypoallergenic wipes. Some of them promise to make an allergic pet owner’s life easier by cleaning allergy-causing proteins off cat and dog fur and paws, but Dr. Lee says: Forget it! She says the wipes don’t pick up nearly enough dander, pollen, or dust to make a difference in your allergies. So, don’t waste your money.