If you have pets, you probably have spent a pretty penny more than once on your furry family member. Pet products are big business and since my beauty product packaging segments have received a good response from viewers and readers, I decided to do a pet product packaging segment this month. Read on for the lowdown on decent dog deals and cool cat products that deliver and I will show a few that don’t work so well, too. A special thank you goes out to my pet panel testers that include cute canines Maya Mia, Kona Bears, Franklin, Nacho and Annie the pampered poodle and kitty cats Tucker, Stanley and Lucy girl. Watch the segment to see their cute pet pictures. Here are our pet picks and pans:
Pooch Picks & Pans:
5 Bones (stars) pick -- Favorite Pup Pick – Upcycled dog shirts from My Daddy’s Shirt Upcycled Boutique. The packaging is not only cute, but green and good since your dog’s shirts are made from your favorite old t-shirts. Local pooch and human Dad Chris Marchini has a company called My Daddy's Shirt Upcycled Boutique and he takes old t-shirts and makes them into hand-made, one-of-a-kind kids and dog clothing. The dog shirts sell for around $15 a shirt for small and medium sized dogs and can be ordered at www.mydaddysshirtboutique.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mydaddysshirt. Note that both sites advertise children’s clothes, but you can order the darling doggy shirts at both sites.
1 Bone pan – Breath Spray for a Dog? – TropiClean Fresh Breath Liquid Floss – Doggy Franklin’s human Dad, Chris tell me that breath spray for a dog simply doesn’t work, so save your money and pass on this product. Chris, who holds a zoology degree and is an animal expert, tells me that brushing a dog’s teeth is very important and my vet agrees. He says that the breath spray doesn’t do much, but that brushing your dog’s teeth on a regular basis will indeed help with bad breath and more importantly contribute significantly to your pup’s overall health.
5 Bones pick – Toothpaste for Dogs? – I love the Burt’s Bees brands for humans, so I was happy to see that they have a line for dogs, too. My Mom’s dog Annie hasn’t tried this toothpaste because we found it at press time, but we are open to testing it because Burt’s Bees is a respectable line. I called my vet’s office to get their opinion on this as well and they advise to use a toothpaste made for dogs so if they swallow it, it will be better tolerated. Save money on the brush and use a human toothbrush unless your dog is little or large and requires a specific sized toothbrush. The Burt’s Bees dog toothpaste is 97% natural and sells at Petco for $12.99 for a 6 oz. pump container.
1 Bone pan – The Thunder Shirt – Our pup that tried out the Thunder Shirt is named Nacho and his mom tells me that it was a no go. The shirt is supposed to relax dogs during a storm, but Nacho’s mom tells me that he still went crazy when the storm hit with the shirt on. She says to save your money and to skip buying this one at the pet store. I looked up the product’s website and they say it works for around 80% of dogs and cats, but it has been my experience that cats absolutely hate any type of clothing around their bodies, so I would also pan this for felines. If your dog is super anxious, it may be worth trying, but I would ask your vet what else can be done in coordination with the Thunder Shirt to calm your anxious shirt.
For Both Dogs & Cats:
5 Bones Pick -- FrostyBowlz works great for both dogs and cats and this product has won both the Dog Fancy and Cat Fancy Editor’s Choice awards in 2012. The FrostyCore keeps the pet’s water cold for 8 to 14 hours. I also like that the bowl is made out of quality stainless steel because plastic is harder to clean and can be a haven for bacteria growth. Two of our cats had a rash on their chin that went away when we switched to a stainless steel or glass bowl, so the type of bowl this is made of is an added bonus. This item can also be used for perishable food and it includes an ant barrier which can be filled with water to create a moat to keep ants away. The FrostyBowlz comes in three different sizes with pricing starting at $19.99 and are available at www.frostybowlz.com and at Petco stores.
For The Felines:
A Word About Cat Nip Toys – Cat toys either come packaged with cat nip or without the added stuff that gets cats excited. If your cat is older and needs exercise, then go for the packaging that includes cat nip. However for kittens that are already pretty stimulated and need to learn when to calm down, especially at their human’s bedtime, skip the toys that are packaged with cat nip because the kittens don’t need the extra stimulation. And if you really want to save money, then a lot of cat toys aren’t necessary. Do buy a few but because your feline does need to be exercised, but you can also use waded up foil and empty boxes for playtime because cats love both of those items. The long feather toys are also good and I had one cat expert tell us to play with my daughter’s kitten in the early evening to wear her out, so that she would learn to settle down when the people needed to sleep. That tip worked and her cat is good about going to bed at bedtime now. The feather is the perfect toy for early evening playtime.
Cat Litter - Clay Based vs. Crystal Based – My daughter recently visited a friend whose cat’s litter bothered her throat, which surprised my girl because we have three cats and regularly change their litter. The reason that my girl was sensitive to the clay based litter with the ammonia scent is because I stopped using those brands a while ago when I switched to the crystal variety. I like the brand called Dr. Elsey's Precious Cat #1 Long Haired Cat Litter with Herbal Attractant because when changed it doesn’t release the dust and other irritants that bothers my daughter….and myself. This litter is hypo-allergenic and the urine is actually trapped in the crystals on contact instead of lumped into dust releasing clumps. I also like that this is biodegradable, which makes the packaging earth-friendly. Even though this is called Long Haired, it works well for short-haired felines, too. The crystal type is sold in several different brands and I like all of them, but I especially like the Dr Elsey’s brand because it is earth-friendly. I buy mine at Petco for $17.99 for an 8 pound container and the label says that one box of this litter will last two months for one cat.
Arm & Hammer Cat Litter Deodorizer – The only downside I have experienced with the crystal based litter is the smell isn’t masked as well as the clay based litter, which makes sense that the clay based bothered my daughter. However, I have found the perfect remedy and that is the Arm & Hammer Cat Litter Deodorizer that is sold at pet and grocery stores. I simply sprinkle a bit of that over the crystal litter each time I change it and any bad odor disappears right away.
Petco Enclosed Corner Litter Box – My last tip for a litter box that will mask the smell and looks a lot nicer is to purchase a box with a lid. Since we switched to a lidded box and added the Arm & Hammer Cat Litter Deodorizer, I have had guests ask me where we keep the cat supply area because there is no evidence of pet odor. So the lidded box does help. I recently noticed that Petco has a handy enclosed corner box, which I hadn’t seen before and that makes purrfect sense for a space that has a corner.
What are your pet product picks and pans? Tell us in the comments section and be sure to check out my blog at www.mangedmoms.com for more pet stuff and human articles, too.