by Dr. Jessica Vogelsang

Pet lovers, retailers and buyers converged in Orlando, for the 2012 Global Pet Expo, one of the world's largest pet trade shows. This show featured the newest and spiffiest items that will be hitting store shelves this year for picky pet parents. It was hard to pick just five favorites off the massive trade show floor, but here are my top picks for the best dog products of the year:

1. Best Utility Belt: WagletWorks

Developed by a couple with a background in the film industry, the WagletWorks system is modeled after the utilitarian belts worn by film crews in Hollywood. Buyers can design their own systems with clip-on items such as waste bags, leashes, water bottles and bowls, all designed to sit ergonomically just above your hip bone.

2. Best Medical Device: BooBooLoon

Forget the cone of shame; satellite dishes are so 2000. Dog owners have long bemoaned the uncomfortable, ungainly e-collars sent home with pets after surgery. The BooBooLoon is a lightweight inflatable collar that keeps your dog away from its incision, without weighing your pet down or impeding its hearing. Best of all, your dog can still reach its water bowl.

3. Best Food Bowl: Aikiou Food Activity Center

Feeding time can be more than a mindless ingestion of calories. The Aikiou dog bowl engages a dog's innate instinct to forage for food by presenting it with a series of challenges to get to its kibble. In addition, slowing down the rate of eating can help prevent bloat in at-risk dogs. Best of all, the bowl is dishwasher-safe and easy to use.

4. Best Safety Product: Kurgo TruFit Smart Harness

The biggest cause of injury to pets after a car accident is not the accident itself, but being injured in the aftermath when a scared dog is running loose on the road. Keep your pet secure on the road with the Kurgo harness, a device that does double duty as a regular walking harness in addition to buckling into your vehicle's safety belt.

5. Best Bed: P.L.A.Y Dog's Life Lounge Bed

Stylish owners don't want to leave a sloppy-looking dog bed lying about like a forgotten couch pillow. They can rejoice with the well-made P.L.A.Y Lounge Bed, which features washable liners, reversible cushions and exterior and an eco-friendly recycled stuffing that feels nothing like the plastic bottles from which it was derived. It's snazzy and eco-friendly. Now that's a winning combination.








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Pets | Dogs: Top 5 New Dog Products