Product Review: Great Choice Small Animal Pet Home

Great Choice box

Before I start reviewing this product, I need to put out a public safety announcement about rats and cages. It is very important for rat owners to understand that rats need a LARGE living space, with multiple levels that they can use for climbing. Most rat owners prefer cages by Critter Nation because they are a very large size and are durable. Our rats have a Critter Nation when they are in our home, but the problem with these super sized cages is that when you need to make a temporary move or relocate your rats for the very short term, it is not practical to dismantle the cage and move it around, so you are going to need to find a decent travel or temporary option for your little boys and girls.

closed rat cage

Wire spacing with cage door closed. Note that with the door properly latched, the gap between bars over the door is wider than between other bars.

When looking for a cage, you want to make sure that the space between the bars is about a half an inch, because if you go larger you risk small rats being able to squeeze through. It is also preferable to find a cage that does not use plastic as a means of containment, as rats love to chew and so can easily escape. I want to emphasize that when looking for travel or temporary options for you rats, you should think of your rats first and the situation you are going to put them in second. For instance, if you are looking at a cage with a plastic bottom, like the Great Choice Small Animal pet home, the first two questions that should come to mind are:

rat cage clip

Close up of clip that secures the wire top to the plastic bottom of Pet Home.

Does my rat chew? If no, then you are okay to purchase this cage for the rats that you have, but need to keep this in mind again if you get new rats who need to use it. (And as always, regularly inspect any chewable materials for signs of wear.)

How well are they going to be supervised while in this temporary cage? If your rats are chewers, but you are using this cage only to contain them while you quickly clean the cage they already have, you are taking a risk, but MIGHT be okay as long as you listen carefully for chewing sounds. If you are taking them in a car, where someone will be sitting with them and watching them, the person doing the supervising should be prepared to stop the rats from chewing at ANY time. However, if your rats are chewers and you want them to be caged somewhere that they will be left alone, without supervision, this is NOT the best choice.

folded rat cage

Cage dismantled with wire top folded, ready for storage.

The same questions apply to rats who like to escape. If you have escape artists, small girls, or very young rats, the one inch bar spacing on this cage (and the clasp that holds the door closed) is NOT going to reliably contain them. On the other hand, if your babies are reliable, non-chewers who are always on their best behavior, this is a great cage as a temporary home.

closed rat cage

Wire spacing with cage door closed. Note that with the door properly latched, the gap between bars over the door is wider than between other bars.

Another public service announcement that I would like to make before continuing on is about post-surgical containment. Though I would never want to see a rat living in an aquarium tank on a permanent basis, tanks really do make the best recovery areas for your boy or girl to recuperate in, as long as you keep the bedding fresh. Any cage with wire sides will encourage your rat to climb once they feel they are ready to do so, even if there is no second level to the cage. It is natural for a rat to use the sides of their cage as a ladder, and some will even hang upside down from the top and walk around that way, just for the fun of it. Giving your rat those kinds of opportunities after surgery is almost guaranteed to stretch the surgical area and reopen whatever wound or stitching is trying to heal. It breaks my heart to put our rats into the tank for their 14 day recovery period, but in the end that is the best way to ensure that they heal as they should. I would never, ever consider a cage like this as a post-surgical option because of the risks involved.

stacks

Cages stacked for storage beside a ten gallon aquarium post-surgical tank.

Now, it must seem to readers that I have started out this article on a very negative note and maybe some have already decided this cage is not for them based only on what they have read so far. In a way, that is what I hope for, because a cage like this caters to a very specific type of rat, which I happen to have: the male non-chewer who has no intention of escaping whatever cage he is put in. Pet stores and online sites try and sell this as a permanent solution, a “rat starter kit” kind of thing, and if I have put off new rat owners to this idea, I am most pleased. This cage is NOT designed to be a permanent home for rats and is NOT acceptable for young rats, as is shown on the box. I think the only way I would use this cage for small rats on a daily basis, is if it were a permanent litter box, sitting somewhere with the door always open, for my free-range rats to enter and exit as they needed.

Even after all of these warnings, this cage actually has MANY positives, though I ask readers to keep in mind that I am the owner of non-chewing, well behaved male rats and am reviewing the product on those grounds.

We started off with one of these cages to keep for emergencies. We live out in the North Carolina countryside, are on well water, and are surrounded by woods. In the winter this area gets frequent ice storms, which can cause disruption in power (and as a result, water) for days at a time. In those instances, we bring ourselves and our animals through the woods to our neighbor’s house, since she has a gas fireplace and wood stove that keep her log cabin nice and warm. We needed something that was mobile, but wouldn’t get in our way all the time when not in use.

After quite a lot of trial and error, we discovered the Great Choice Small Animal Pet Home. The cage is lightweight and fairly easy to carry, even on a short walk through trees. Best of all, the wire portion is collapsible, which means that you can store it easily when you are not using it. Originally we had avoided this product because of the look of the box, which showed a single, young rat in this easily escapable structure with no secondary levels, but when we stopped to think about what we actually needed, we realized that we should try this one out. It ended up being the perfect choice for our boys, who were never chewers and are perfectly content to settle in their cages because they are free-range when we are at home.

rat cage hooks

Corner of cage as it is in the process of being assembled. Two hooks on the left side and one hook on the right weave together to hold both sides in place.

Assembly is simple, yet tricky, since the hooks that hold together the wire portion of the cage can become tangled with each other when folded for storage, meaning there is some wiggling and shaking involved in unpacking the cage, but once you have the top opened up, putting it together is a breeze. There are three hooks on each corner of the cage, two hooks on the side of one wall, one hook on the other, so that you have to weave the side pieces together, adding to the stability of the lid once it is assembled. When all four sides are hooked up, all you have to do is put litter in the tray, give your rats somewhere to hide, drop in a toy, then lower the wire lid on the plastic tub and clip it down on the sides.

Size is important when you pick out a temporary cage. You do not want the structure to be large and cumbersome, but you want your rats to feel comfortable. The Great Choice Small Animal Pet Home actually offers more room than one would expect from looking at the box, because of the compact nature of its folded state. Once put together, there is enough space in this cage for a hammock and a small nesting box (something the size of a tissue box will do). You can fit a food dish or two in it as well, but once you add the water bottle there is not much room for a litter box, so be prepared to have the cage cleaned frequently, for the sake of sanitation and the sanity of any rats who demand a place to put their poo.

North and Whisper modeling the cage

North and Whisper model the setup using two Lixit Critter Space Pods.

The fact that the cage is wire-topped also makes it conducive to using Lixit Critter Space Pods inside. Though getting them attached is an exercise in spatial orientation, once you discover the trick of which leg best fits where, snapping the pod in place is a breeze. The cage holds one pod well, but there is also room for two. We use the two ball setup for our oldest boys, Whisper and North, who have breathing issues and prefer to hang their heads over the side of solid objects at times when respiration isn’t as easy as it should be. Rather than force them to take turns using one pod, we provide them one apiece. Since they are older and less active, the need for full-body stretching or an active play area isn’t as important as their respiratory comfort.

With either setup in this cage, there is enough room for short jumps from the floor to the top of the nesting box, or from the box to whatever you have hanging to create a second sleeping level. Even with the upper portion filled with Space Pods, there are places where your rat can stand and stretch, or climb on the side of the cage for exercise or attention. Another bonus of using this cage is that if you are in a location where your rats will get free range time, you can simply open the door of the cage and let them go in and out as they please, no matter what their age, since the door makes a short ramp at the entrance when opened. (You might want to cover it with a stretched out sock or some other fabric for comfort, depending on the age and ability of your rats.)

clasp close up

Close up of door latch, notice how it bends the bars of the cage when hooked over cage bar.

My only concern for non-chewing, large sized rats when using this setup is that the latch for the door is not as secure as I would prefer. The door has two bent bars on it, formed in the shape of a number 7, where the pointed part of the 7 seems to fit perfectly in the gap of two bars above the door. Inexperienced owners or pet sitters who do not know rats well might think that you simply push the door into place, letting the pointed part of the seven rest comfortably between the two bars. This is NOT a secure position for the door to be in, as it can easily fall back open or be pushed free by your rats. Anyone closing the door to the cage must be certain that they push the 7 hooks all the way THROUGH the bars, bending down the top bar so that the upper part of the 7 hangs OVER the bar. Once in this position the rat cannot push the door open from their side, though this way of closing the door warps the shape of the cage bars considerably, making a larger gap in that area.

pdmodel

Phobos and Deimos model in a setup with hammock and nesting box.

Beyond the somewhat frustrating door, we are madly in love with these cages as temporary housing for our non-chewing, large, male rats. We have used them for short distance travel and had our rat sitter use them at her place when we are away, with both situations working out well for everyone involved. In the long-term, we most recently needed them when our ceiling caved in last winter and I was forced to move out with our boys while the house underwent construction for four months. In that situation, the boys were left alone in the cages while I was at work, and the doors were opened for free range time once I got home.

I think what I like most about these cages goes beyond their portability, easy storage and simple nature. These cages are easy-clean, wired dwellings that, unlike tanks and other closed structures, allow circulation within the small space, making it a healthier choice for your pet on the go.

Pros:
Compact storage.
Easy to clean and assemble.
Lightweight, easily mobile.
Wire top allows air circulation and proper ventilation.
Enough room for a nesting box, hanging bed, very small chew toy, food dish and water bottle.
Suitable space as a TEMPORARY residence for large, well behaved rats.

Cons:
Wires have one inch gaps, allowing escape of small rats.
Bottom is plastic, allowing for escape by chewing.
No room for litter box.
Cage door needs extra attention when latching shut.
NOT suitable for young, small rat shown on package!
NOT suitable as a PERMANENT residence for large, well behaved rats!

 

Mirrani Houpe, YPS Staff Member

Mirrani Houpe, our Small Animal Editor, has had rats since she took home her first little boy once they both completed the second grade. Since that time she has owned, rescued and bred many kinds of rats, from many backgrounds. She may not be a vet, psychology major, or scientist, but her babies have her very well trained when it comes to how to care for them. She is constantly working with her family’s veterinarian to come up with new and innovative ways to love and care for the most often misunderstood rodent in the pet world. You can e-mail her at mirrani@yourpetspace.info

Product Review: Bentoball

Sahara

Sahara with Bentoball

When you have a dog who displays a fear of the typical dog toys it is difficult to find something that is durable and engaging.  Sahara, our oldest dog, was a rescue and we did all of the things you do when you rescue a new animal, including purchasing new dog toys. We can only guess at the type of environment we saved her from, because she was terrified of everything we gave her. Simply picking up a dog toy would send her cowering into the next room, trembling as she desperately sought a place to hide.  Just getting her to chew on a rope toy on the ground took months and having her chase sticks took even longer. We always wanted to get her a busy ball of sorts, something that would dispense treats and keep her engaged when we were at work and unable to provide interactive stimulation. Nothing we tried ever worked and all of Sahara’s brand new toys ended up going to our neighbor’s dog when he came for a visit.

Brinly

Brinly

We recently got another dog to be a companion for Sahara.  It took a lot of looking and a lot of work to find just the right companion for her.  We needed a younger dog that she could care for (Sahara had puppies before she came to us and her mothering instincts are VERY strong – I’m sure you will hear more on that in some other post) but we also wanted the dog to be old enough to show Sahara how to “be a dog.” In the end, we got Brinly, who is energetic and only two years younger, but became the perfect fit.  Soon Brinly had Sahara running at dog parks and regularly playing with rope chew toys. The key there is the word “rope.” Brinly came to us unwilling to play with anything that wasn’t soft, so again we had a dilemma. Neither of our dogs would have anything to do with hard chew toys or treat dispensers. It was a very frustrating situation.

ball

What Is BentoBall?

Enter the BentoBall! While standing around in the pet store one day, it happened to catch my eye. This was a treat dispensing, chewable toy that would help clean their teeth and keep them entertained… if only we could get them to use it! The surface looked softer than your typical rubber toy and I wondered if that would make a difference. Hoping for the best we purchased one ball for the two of them to share, mostly because we had been down the road of giving away all the toys before and we wanted to go the way of caution this time. As it turned out we had to go back the next day to get a second one.

Brinly with the Bentoball.

Brinly with the Bentoball.

The girls loved playing with this thing! Brinly went at it right away because it was a softer, chewable material that had some give to it. Sahara watched Brinly for a good hour or so, then cautiously took a turn for herself. The rest, as they say, is history.

filling

So what is it about this ball that is so appealing?  I’ll start from the dog’s point of view, which is that this bright, bouncy ball has a large “everlasting” treat at its core. These treats are easy to replace and refills are easy to get your hands on. While the one side of the ball holds this large treat, the other side has a hollow pocket, which you can fill with any kind of munchies that your dog loves, making it stimulating in two ways. A dog can either work at having the ball dispense their favorite treat OR they can lick and chew at the large “everlasting” side. The dispensing side has a customizable hole, which allows you to snip off parts of the opening to make it larger in order accommodate the treats of your choice.  We decided not to customize this opening and left it as it was, which seems to work just fine for bits of cookie, since I have to keep filling it.

bentoball open

From a human’s point of view, the ball is free of latex, vinyl and phthalates, the textured surface helps to clean teeth and the ball itself is dishwasher safe.  The “indestructible” material this ball is made out of certainly seems to be just that, but without being hard or harsh. Our best chewer has worked on it for a month straight and it looks brand new. When it comes to describing the feel of the material, it is easiest to describe it as a sort of stiff gummy bear; it is soft enough to have some give, but hard enough that it doesn’t rip. The large chew treat is wheat free and the ridged texture also provides some dental health benefits. Most importantly, this ball provides hours of fun for dogs like Brinly, who are very high energy or have nervous behaviors. Want more benefits on the human side? This product is made in the USA.

Now, you’ve fallen in love with this product based on what I’ve told you, how do you use it? That part is easy, since it comes with one chicken flavored dental treat already inserted in the ball. All your dog needs you to do is open the package. From that point on they can happily chew away on the dental treat. If you want to mix things up a little bit, or if you need to encourage your dog to play with the ball, you just stick a cookie or favorite treat out of the dispenser side. This is what we had to do with our dogs. I put a whole cookie in the dispensing hole, making sure that it stuck out halfway, to make it obvious.  Once Sahara and Brinly discovered this strange thing gave them their favorite treats, it was virtually impossible to get them to stop playing with it. Constant use also meant that the dental treat needed to be replaced the next day, which brings me to say that when you get one of these balls, you should go ahead and get the refills while you are at it, because while the dental treats do last a long time, that first day or two really wears them out faster due to your dog’s fascination with their newness.

dental treat

Replacing the dental chew is easy; you simply get the edge of the treat wet just a tiny bit and insert it into the large opening. While the toy is stretchy, there is a little bit of elbow grease involved if you want to just push the treat in. I would personally recommend using a knife or some other thin tool to help you insert the chew. We found that sliding the knife around the rim of the opening helped pry the rubber with much less effort. Once you have the treat in, the packaging recommends that you let it dry before you give the toy to your dog, but otherwise, you are done. It really couldn’t be much simpler.

Overall, I can’t say how happy we are with this product. It has given our most fearful dog the confidence to enjoy play and it has given our most active dog an outlet for that activity. Though we have had it for only a month now, I can safely say that even with the dogs chewing on empty balls, there are no marks of wear and I have no reason to believe they will rip easily. Treats of all varieties fit inside the dispensing compartment and the large dental chew isn’t too much trouble to get in, but provides hours of pleasure for the dogs and is certainly not easy for them to get out. Keeping the balls clean is easy, since they are dishwasher safe. I highly recommend this toy for active or timid dogs everywhere.

Final Scoop On the BentoBall

Pros:

Sturdy construction

Long lasting treat

Cleans teeth and keeps dogs engaged

Dishwasher safe

Cons:

People with lower hand strength or a disability affecting their hand/coordination may need someone to help them put the dental chew in the toy.

I am Sahara, and I approve this message.sahara face shot

Product Review: Top Fin Large Aquarium Vacuum

Regular readers will recall a similar post that I made some time at the end of last year.  In my review of the smaller vacuum, I had stated I would be needing a larger one and would review that product as well.  Now that my goldfish, Nix and Hydra, are permanently moved from their “starter tank” to their home in a 60 gallon aquarium at school, I needed to upgrade my gravel vacuum, so here I am again.

Assembling The Aquarium Vacuum

Assembly of this vacuum is exactly the same as the smaller variety, a very simple process that even my pre-schoolers could figure out rather quickly.  The kit consists of two tubes, one longer, one shorter, the bulb, and a clip to hold the longer tube in your bucket, all the same parts as the smaller version, they’re just bigger. This can make them a little harder to fit together tightly, but with the proper fiddling and a little bit of extra squeezing, it works out in the end.  Remember you want a tight fit between the bulb and the hoses so that they don’t fall apart on you while you are using them. Also, make sure you follow the arrows that are printed on the side of the bulb. You want the water to follow the in/out direction indicated on the side.

bulb to top fin vacuum

I found that the longer tube on the x-large version doesn’t seem to have the extra length to it that the small version did. When I cleaned Nix and Hydra’s tank with the small vacuum, I seemed to have extra tubing winding all around the inside of my bucket, but there have been a few times when I have almost pulled the tubing out of the bucket when using the x-large vacuum, so be aware that it is somewhat easier to accidentally pull your tube from your bucket when you are cleaning. Normally I would put this down to being an issue with the height of my tank, however it is on average the same height of other tanks of comparable size and volume, so I’m not sure that is the entire cause of the seeming lack in hose length.

top fin vacuum clip

The speed of the water flow seems to be much more rapid compared to the smaller vacuum, probably due to the larger size of the intake nozzle. This is both a help and a hindrance, since I have had to empty my bucket much more frequently than with the smaller version. With the small vacuum I was able to watch the intake tube, but with the larger one I find myself putting more attention on the bucket, which between pulling the tube out and overflowing from rapid intake, can become a distraction to the actual removal of waste from the tank. After many tries, I have found that the trick to slowing down the flow is to actually encourage the intake hose to become partly filled with gravel. Water still comes through, but at a much slower pace, however, this means you are not taking out as much waste as you would like. It isn’t ideal, but it does work. Figuring out what works best for you might be a little bit of a puzzle, but it shouldn’t take long to come up with your own tricks of the trade.

Water Replenishment In Your Aquarium

aquarium setup

The overall amount of waste that the x-large vacuum collects seems to be proportionally equal to that of the small vacuum, meaning I am spending as much time and effort per gallon as I was with the smaller tank setup. Having changed Nix and Hydra’s water regularly since January, I can say that the tank continues to look as fresh as the day I moved it in to my classroom. It should be noted that I vacuum the tank once (sometimes twice) a week, which brings me to the only serious issue that I have with using this vacuum on a large aquarium: Water Replenishment

Nix and Hydra live on well water, which comes from my house, outside of town. Their tank is a good 10 minutes away from the water that fills it. This is my choice, because to me this is the healthiest option for my fish. I have never fully trusted purifying droplets or evaporation techniques that are supposed to make city water safe for my fish to swim in. The down side of this healthier way of living for them means that I have to haul over 36 litres of water per tank change from house to car, from car to school and up a flight of stairs to the tank.  That number is for only a quick, sloppy job, if I intend to do a more complete cleaning, I have to make several trips back and forth. This is a process that I am quickly losing fondness for, but it is one of my own making, so I can’t really complain. What I can do, though, is contemplate how others would refill the aquarium after cleaning it out.  I would suggest that before fish owners purchase this vacuum, they consider their water source carefully. It is important to freshen the water in the tank, so changing the water out when you vacuum the gravel makes a lot of sense, but if you are looking for a vacuum that will take out less water and more gunk, you might want to find another version. Personally, I would love to have one, slower vacuum for cleaning the waste only where it piles up frequently, and another for actually cleaning the tank with. For now, the setup I am using works, but I am giving serious consideration to finding yet another vacuum that can conserve water on the days when I need to.

pumping out aquarium

Overall, I’m really happy with the x-large vacuum. It is still safe for the fish and is just as easy to use, even if it takes a little bit more getting used to than the small size. It’s a great vacuum for total tank cleaning, but I’d find another if you intend to use it for spot-cleaning.

Mirrani Houpe, YPS Staff Member

Mirrani Houpe, our Small Animal Editor, has had rats since she took home her first little boy once they both completed the second grade. Since that time she has owned, rescued and bred many kinds of rats, from many backgrounds. She may not be a vet, psychology major, or scientist, but her babies have her very well trained when it comes to how to care for them. She is constantly working with her family’s veterinarian to come up with new and innovative ways to love and care for the most often misunderstood rodent in the pet world. You can e-mail her at mirrani@yourpetspace.info

Product Review: Acana Regionals Dog Food

 We are required to let readers know that we are compensated for our product reviews. We personally test the products to be able to provide the honest reviews you will read of products offered through our website.

seba

Many of you have read previous posts about my greyhound, Seba.  When she first arrived home from the track, she was transitioned to Diamond Naturals, which was what her foster mom was feeding.  After learning about Dog Food Advisor and that they consider Diamond a Four Star food, I switched her to Acana Regionals Grain Free, a Five Star.  Here’s a dog food review to tell you why.

dog food advisor logo

Pet Food Can Be Controversial

At Dog Food Advisor, they study the ingredients in a particular food, as well as the meat content.  Some ingredients in pet food can be “controversial”, meaning the jury is out on whether they are good for your pet–or even necessary.

Cost of Food VS Cost of Vet Care

I’m not going to lie to you.  Acana is one of the more expensive brands.  But, since we know that what you feed your own body affects your health sooner or later, here’s the way I figure things: I want Seba with me for as long as she can be.  And I don’t want to have huge vet bills if I can avoid it, nor do I want her health to deteriorate so that she becomes a victim of a long but unhappy and painful aging process.  No matter what I do, all things end.  But if there’s anything I can influence to change any part of that, I will.  That’s just me.

What I know is this: she loves all the varieties of the Acana food we’ve tried (and our other dogs constantly try to steal it from her bowl!).  She has thrived on this product.  Coming from the track, where nutrition was poor at best, her thighs were nearly bald. But after switching her to Acana, her full fawn coat came in thick and shiny.  She was beautiful when she came home–but now she’s gorgeous!  And now, 3 years later, she’s as full of energy as she was when she first came to live with us.

acana logo

Who Makes The Food In This Dog Food Review?  

(From Wikipedia and the ACANA Website)

ACANA is manufactured by Champion Petfoods which was founded in 1985 by Reinhard Muhlenfeld. Champion Petfoods believes in making Biologically Appropriate™ dog and cat food from fresh regional ingredients.  This is a new class of foods designed to nourish dogs and cats in keeping with their evolutionary adaptation to fresh meat and protein-rich diets.  The rules of the biologically appropriate mindset are: meat concentrated, with diverse meat ingredients, protein rich and carbohydrate limited, with whole fruits and vegetables and all fresh ingredients.

Champion has been an award-winning, independent Canadian pet food maker for more than a quarter century.  Their ingredients are sustainably raised and delivered to them  fresh, so they’re never frozen, and always preservative free.

ACANA Regionals feature foods produced from western Canada’s vast ranchlands, rich prairies, fertile valleys, and pristine waters.  Rich in protein, low in carbohydrates and entirely grain-free, these unique and flavourful ACANA recipes feature 60-65% meat and 35-40% of fruits and vegetables to nourish cats and dogs completely.

Varieties

ranchlands dog food

I started Seba on ACANA RANCHLANDS, because it was full of red meat, which she was used to from the track (although it was of very poor quality there).  The ingredients were largely Angus beef, lamb and bison, all free range.  But this food also has a high degree of fresh fruits and vegetables including Burbank potatoes, pumpkin, Red Delicious apples and spinach greens.

After awhile, of course, Seba inevitably started to get bored.  But I really liked how she was looking healthier and the high energy I noticed with her.  So I wanted to stay with ACANA.  I decided to switch her to their flavor called GRASSLANDS next.

grasslands dog food

GRASSLANDS main ingredient is lamb, but it also has generous portions of whole eggs, wild-caught fish, cage-free duck and infusions of New Brunswick herring.  Seba dug right in and let me know she loved it!  This one also has apples, butternut squash, Burbank potatoes and spinach greens.

wild prairie dog food

WILD PRAIRIE was the flavor we tried next.  The main ingredient is cage-free Cobb chicken and whole eggs, with wild-caught fish. This variety also has apples, butternut squash, Burbank potatoes and spinach greens.

pacifica dog food

Speaking of fish, we next tried ACANA PACIFICA.  Loaded with Pacific salmon, herring and flounder from North Vancouver Island, I must tell you that this will leave a faint fish smell wherever you store the bag, until it’s gone.  But with the same results as we’ve had all along, I can hardly complain.  This one also contains 40% of fruits & vegetables including apples and Bartlett pears, butternut squash, Burbank potatoes and spinach greens.

At this point, I had exhausted all of the ACANA GRAIN FREE REGIONALS line, but still wanted to give Seba as much variety as possible.  So I ordered some of the CHICKEN & BURBANK POTATO (still ACANA but not part of REGIONALS).

chicken dog food

ACANA Chicken & Burbank Potato also features cage-free Cobb chicken and whole eggs, wild-caught flounder, and Okanagan Valley fruits & vegetables–but for the first time, although Seba loved it, she had some digestive issues with this one.

The Burbank Potato was also an ingredient in the previous REGIONALS flavors, but I suspect there was much more of it used in this one, and it was just too much for her stomach (and my nose!) to handle.  So we won’t be buying this one again–your mileage may vary.

Where to Buy ACANA

You can usually find ACANA products easily and inexpensively on Amazon.  But be careful.  Make sure it’s shipping directly from Amazon, if you can, because with their huge distribution network, that product moves quickly and has not been sitting in a warehouse somewhere for a long time.  That’s death to foods without preservatives!  This happened to me once, when I wasn’t paying attention.  The result?  Moldy ACANA.  Not the manufacturer’s fault, but since Amazon was out at that time I had ordered from a third party provider (Corner Pet Supply) that did not have enough sales to turn over product in a timely manner.  Petsolutions is good third party provider, if it is not in stock at Amazon when you go to buy.  😉  Below are some links you can use:

Acana On Amazon

Thanks for reading–and no matter what food you choose for your pet, keep in mind the long term effect of weighing cost of food vs cost of vet care.  And think about the quality and variety you want in your own food.  Sure, everyone eats junk once in awhile–but when we do this over many years, it weighs heavily on our bodies.  The same is true for your pet.

Joy Jones

Joy Jones, our Editor In Chief, is a syndicated columnist living with her husband Dave in Las Cruces, New Mexico. When not working on Your Pet Space, she writes a metaphysical column, as well as urban fantasy and humor. You can e-mail her at joy@yourpetspace.info as well as send her a friend request on Facebook.

Product Review–All Living Things Small Animal Carrier

all living things small animal carrierOptions In Temporary Housing For Your Small Animal

We are all here because we love our pets and want the best for them. We want them to be happy, healthy, and comfortable. If you have a small animal, you probably already have an awesome setup for them, maybe even a several story cage with plenty of room, but something like that isn’t exactly transportable. There are plenty of animal transport options out there, everything from cardboard boxes to something that is more like a small cage, so what option is the best for your animal?

The most important thing to start with is a simple question: What am I going to use this carrier for? Some people use their carrier only for visits to the vet and back, others use their carrier as a temporary cage to house their animals in while they clean the larger living space. If you are going to use your carrier as a travel cage rather than an actual carrier, I would suggest skipping the purchase of a carrier and moving straight to the small cage aisle. There are plenty of smaller cages out there that would work all right as temporary housing for your small animal in many situations, such as taking them with you on vacation or moving across country. You will want to use something that gives you room for water, food and bedding, but most importantly you will want to use something that is of solid construction from which your small animal cannot escape.

Not All Temporary Housing For Your Small Animal Is Right For Those That Chew

The All Living Things Small Animal Carrier, being made of chewable materials is NOT one of the carriers you would want to use as a temporary cage. It is meant only for the purpose of transporting your animal from one location to another, preferably while someone is observing them in the process. The carrier is made of 50% cotton and 50% polyester, with a little bit of stiff paper board sandwiched between the fabric layers to help it maintain shape and be a little durable, and the windows are covered with a soft mesh. While the flexibility of the materials makes it awesome for storage, there is little chance that such a carrier will stand up to the teeth of your little chewers. This doesn’t mean you should avoid the carrier, however. With proper supervision, this carrier can be an excellent choice.

Let’s look at some of the pros of having this carrier.

interior all living things carrierI have already talked some about the materials, but there are other aspects of the construction that make it a prime choice for purchase, namely the fact that it can be completely unzipped into one flat piece and easily stored away just about anywhere. The ability to unzip it completely also means that cleaning is a breeze. No reaching in and straining to see if you have managed to clear out all the corners, just unzip, wipe down, let dry, and you’re off again in no time at all.

Another thing that I like about this carrier is the softer nature of it. It is more comfortable for the animals than hard plastic and that means it is certainly lighter to carry, something that is important for someone like myself, who has to consider a doctor mandated weight limit on anything that I pick up and move around. This brings me to another part of the softer construction; the shoulder strap. While I much prefer to hold the carrier by the top handle, there is a detachable shoulder strap that comes with it. I have used the strap once or twice, when all of the animals are going to the vet in one visit and I simply don’t have enough hands to hold them all, and that has worked well. It makes for a little bit of a bumpy ride for the animals, but it leaves me free to take a dog leash in each hand for the short walk to and from the car.

alt carrierIs The Carrier Going to Protect The Animals?

Finally, is the carrier going to protect the animals inside? I can say from experience that if your dog accidentally knocks the carrier out of the car and onto the ground, your small animals will be startled and shocked, but come out unharmed. That doesn’t mean I’d be dropping it off a two story building though, because being soft, it really isn’t meant to withstand much more than the occasional bump or drop.

Now is probably the time to give a few warnings regarding some things I have noticed while using the All Living Things Small Animal Carrier.

I’m going to start with that zipper again. While it is awesome to be able to store this carrier flat (especially since we live in a building with very limited space), I am always worried of pinching tail or whiskers when I am putting the rats inside. You are going to have to be careful of loading any animal that has a tendency to try and escape out of the carrier’s opening, because if you don’t watch carefully some serious zipper accidents can occur. The zipper makes it easy for you to open and holds them securely inside, but it can be dangerous if you are inattentive. When you close a carrier door that is on a hinge, the process is quick, but when you try to quickly zip something, accidents can happen. I would recommend keeping your fingers inside the carrier as you are zipping it to help prevent catching the metal on the animal inside. The zipper can also jam or break. We are currently on our second carrier because of zipper failure and will eventually need a third one, as one of the teeth is bent at the opening.

Going back to the softer construction of the carrier, what about using it for chewing animals? Well, we have rats and they are major chewers and master escape artists. Luckily, we have only ever had one rat try and chew his way out of the carrier and that lasted all of the one second that he got his teeth on the mesh window before we noticed it. If you are attentive while you are transporting, you will be able to stop your animal from chewing their way out. Do NOT put your pet in the carrier and then walk away to get another animal or clean a cage or pick up your keys, because if your pet is a chewer, it is far too easy for them to get out, destroying your carrier in the process.

So you must always consider: in the end, is the carrier going to protect the animals?

rats Phobos and Deimos in carrierEspecially For Transporting Rats

I have two other issues with the softer construction, both easily dealt with. First of all, because of the materials the carrier is made from, you are most definitely going to want to put an absorbent towel or blanket in the bottom, depending on the proper material for your animal. A little bit of paper towels or newspaper isn’t going to do and you certainly don’t want to leave the bottom of the carrier uncovered. Trust me on this one, when transporting rats, pee goes everywhere if there’s nothing to catch it. Secondly, the mesh is great for ventilation, but the carrier itself traps heat inside, so that by the time you get to where you are going the inside is like a sauna. Any time that we go somewhere with the carrier, I ALWAYS turn the car’s air vent so that it blows THROUGH the carrier windows, giving them cross breeze and circulation. This is most especially important for transporting rats like our North, who has a breathing condition and can’t remain in the carrier for more than a minute or two. So as soon as you get to the vet, open that carrier and let your babies get some fresh air.

The most important thing to think about when you are getting a carrier is the safety of your animal. The durability of this carrier is not meant for long rides in traffic, where accidents could happen. If you hit the side of this thing, it will bend, so while your dog can knock it on the ground or your cat can push it off the counter and your animal will be startled but okay, a more serious impact probably won’t have as happy of an ending. For that reason, I would not recommend this carrier to anyone who is using it to drive long distances on major roads, even if you have someone keeping the air blowing through and watching for escapist behavior.

ferret in alt carrierPros:
*A lot like a little den, soft and comfortable.
*Opens flat for easy cleaning and storage.
*Has detachable shoulder strap.
*Will protect your babies from short distance falls.

Cons
*Easy to chew through.
*Quickly gets stuffy inside.
*Needs absorbent materials added in base.
*Won’t protect well on hard impact.
*Use caution when using zipper.

Mirrani Houpe, YPS Staff MemberMirrani Houpe, our Small Animal Editor, has had rats since she took home her first little boy once they both completed the second grade. Since that time she has purchased, rescued and bred many kinds of rats, from many backgrounds. She may not be a vet, psychology major, or scientist, but her babies have her very well trained when it comes to how to care for them. She is constantly working with her family’s veterinarian to come up with new and innovative ways to love and care for the most often misunderstood rodent in the pet world. You can e-mail her at mirrani@yourpetspace.info

Who Knows The Best Places To Shop For Pets? We do!

We are required to let readers know that we are compensated for our product reviews. We personally test the products to be able to provide the honest reviews you will read of products offered through our website.
question markIt occurred to me the other day that I’ve been adding affiliates left and right to our pages over the last year.  I know every one inside out…but if I were just coming to our site for the first time, would I know how to choose the best place to pet shop?  Probably not.  So…that’s what this post is all about.

Our Pet Food Providers

Dave and I use a variety of pet food providers–and we like to change things up once in awhile–either to give our pets some variety, or for nutritional reasons.  For instance, I just started giving our dogs ground flax seed with their food again–they’ve been getting some dry skin since we moved to New Mexico.  In the past, we only might have to give them this ingredient in the dead of an Ohio Winter.  But with less humidity here, we’ll need to give them this all year long.  In addition, Hoagy, our basset hound, and Little Dingle, our European tabby cat, need weight control food.

Because we need a variety of foods, we shop at a few different places through our website.  Let me highlight a few and their best features…

petbrosiaPet Food Providers For Dogs or Cats With Allergies, Special Diet Needs or a Nutritional Issue

We recommend Petbrosia–for food custom designed for your dog or cat. Their wholesome diets are matched to your pet’s health needs, made from all-natural ingredients grown and raised in America. Petbrosia matches your pet’s diet according to their breed, age, weight, and other health needs.

You can read here about our dog Hoagy’s vomiting issue and how it was solved with this product. Buy Petbrosia at Your Pet Food Space.

Only-Natural-Pet-StoreNatural Treats And Foods For Dogs And Cats

We buy from Only Natural Pet.  Our dogs love their natural training treats!  They have an unacceptable ingredients list you can view, so you fully understand what’s in your pet’s food.  They offer a 100% guarantee, support sustainability with their natural treats and foods for dogs and cats, and often feature sales of overstocked items. Shop Only Natural Pet at Your Pet Supply Space.

pet food direct logoIf Cost Is Your Main Concern, Try These Pet Food Providers

Pet Food Direct–Run by the same company as Only Natural Pet (Pet 360), they have an auto ship option on the least expensive foods so you get the best deal and never run out.  They also feature small pet food and accessories for birds, reptiles and fish.  And every purchase earns you PFD rewards–which can be used to get discounted items for your own pets, or donate food to shelter animals.  Shop Pet Food Direct in Your Pet Food Space.

petsmartPetsmart–A large variety of top brands and they often run specials through our website.  If you want to purchase products you saw in your local store but want the convenience of having them shipped to your door, buy at Petsmart through Your Pet Supply Space.

I want to also put in a plug here for the Petsmart training program, of which our training editor Tina Caldwell, is a member. With the SmartPet PromiseSM policy, training customers are guaranteed 100 percent satisfaction or they can take the class again for free (see your local store for details). And you can read about Tina here.

doggyloot logoDoggyloot–If you love a good deal and like shopping for bargains, you’ll love this! They dreamed up Doggyloot for two reasons: they think dogs make the world a better place, and they wanted to create a new, fun way for dog lovers to discover the very best chews, toys, treats and more at the very best prices.  Doggyloot aims to extend these same good vibes to your shopping experience. They help you find exactly what your hound craves at competitive prices, and then ship it all free, straight to your door. Their product team carefully researches and tests everything they sell–and do not carry any edibles made in China.  You can save up to 75% on treats, beds, even pet themed jewelry!  Check out their Toy Of The Month auto ship in Your Pet Supply Space.  We love it!

amazon logoAnd of course, Amazon!  Have an Amazon Prime Membership?  You can use it right on our site and get free two day shipping on most items.  When it’s critical we find the absolutely best price and the greatest variety of shopping options–we go here.  Shop Amazon at Your Pet Supply Space.

cherrybrookDog Show Supplies

Check out Cherrybrook–They are the exclusive sponsor of the American Kennel Club Online Store, have been the only general grooming and show ring supply vendor at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show for over forty years and were named a Retailer of the Year by Pet Product News for their Outstanding Holistic Approach.  They carry everything from tack crates to agility training supplies–and even offer special colognes, stain removers and other enhancing items for your dog’s coat.  In addition, they carry cat supplies. Shop Cherrybrook at Your Pet Supply Space.

I certainly hope you can find everything you need in our shopping areas–and please feel free to drop us a note on the Contact Us page or engage us in Live Chat if there’s ever anything you need and cannot find on our website.  Until then…happy shopping!

Joy JonesJoy Jones, our Editor In Chief, is a syndicated columnist living with her husband Dave in Las Cruces, New Mexico. When not working on Your Pet Space, she writes a metaphysical column, as well as urban fantasy and humor. You can e-mail her at joy@yourpetspace.info as well as send her a friend request on Facebook.

Product Review: Cat In The Bag

two cats travelling

Cash (the cat in black) and Little Dingle saying, “We be trippin!”

A Cross Country Trip With Cats

My wife and I drove 1600 miles across the country – a twenty four hour trip – with three dogs and two cats.  The plan was to drive three or four hours, take a break to give the dogs a chance to run, then back on the road for another three or four hours before stopping for the night.  Managing the dogs seemed like an easy task.  They would ride just behind the front seats of the Honda Pilot in the cargo area.  Getting the dogs in and out of the vehicle without losing one seemed pretty easy, too; we would simply put them on a leash before opening the door.

But What About Cat Travel Safety?

The cats were another story.  They would be in a 24 x 36 dog crate for the journey.  This would give them enough room to lay about and still fit a litter box in the same crate.   Getting them from the vehicle to the hotel room would be a challenge, though.  They might dash when the crate door opened, or squirm out of our arms while being carried to the hotel room.  This is where Cat in the Bag came in handy for a cat travelling in a car.

Cat in the Bag is a fabric bag with a large opening at one end that can be zippered closed, and a smaller opening at the other end for the cat’s head.  Using it is a snap!  With the zippered end wide open the cat walks into the bag and puts his head through the smaller opening at the other end.  You zip up the large opening, then tighten the Velcro around the cat’s neck so he can’t slip out.  The Velcro acts as a collar and you adjust it as such.  That is, leave room for one finger so it isn’t too tight around the cat’s neck.  Once the cat is in the bag you can pick the bag up by the convenient sewn-in handle and away you go.  Viola!  It is just that easy.

Okay, maybe not that easy.  When we tested it on Cash, (our “cat in black”), he did not want to go in.  It was a bit of a struggle and he was scared until he realized his feet were under him and his head was free.  After that he did not mind going into the bag.  Our other boy, Dingle, was another story.  It wasn’t until his very last trip in the bag that he went in willingly.

A Cat Travelling In A Car Is Like…Well, Nothing Else You’ve Tried!

You may be asking why we didn’t use a traditional cat carrier.  There are two reasons.  One reason was  where to put it?  We knew that storage space would be limited.  Cat carriers would never fit in the Pilot with the dog crate and the dogs.  And our moving truck was full to bursting!  The biggest reason we did not want to use a traditional crate style cat carrier, though, was comfort.  This trip would be stressful on the cats as it was.  Can you imagine trying to get them in a cat carrier twice a day?  My cats, like most cats, hate carriers because they have a fear of forced confinement. They will brace, struggle and scratch in a desperate attempt to avoid being put in a crate.  I didn’t need that stress any more than they did. Getting the cats from the house to the car, then car to hotel, hotel to car, until at last car to house would have been a total of eight trips.  Can you imagine putting a squirming cat into a cat carrier eight times in four days?  Torture for both man and beast!

cat in the bag

The Cat in the Bag took the stress out of the equation of cat travel safety.  A cat does not fight the bag carrier like he fights a crate. When your cat is in his Cozy Comfort Carrier, his head stays outside the bag so you can hold him, pet him and calm him. He doesn’t feel isolated or trapped. The loose, soft cotton bag gives him plenty of room to stretch, sit up, stand up, lay down and curl up.  And with his head outside of the bag he does not feel confined.

But, once you have properly fastened the adjustable Velcro collar around his neck, he is secured in the bag and it is safe to take him outside. You will be able to carry him without him scratching you or getting away and getting hurt.

I mentioned earlier that Cash went into the bag with no problem, but Dingle resisted. So how do you get the cat into the bag?  Start by seeing that the small opening with the Velcro is fully opened.  You need enough room at that end for the cat to easily stick its head through the opening.  Unzip the other end so that the bag is fully open.  Gather the material together and slip the cat’s head through the small opening.  He may able to get a paw out but there is no getting its whole body through that hole.  Pull the bag over the cat’s body and zip shut.  (watch the tail!)   It is just that easy. At least it was with Cash.  Dingle wasn’t so willing.  To get Dingle into the bag I had to kneel, and hold him against my legs.  Using my forearms to hold him in place, I put the bag over his head and he quickly stuck his head through the small hole.  He thought it was a way out and kept going which helped me to draw the rest of the bag over him and zip it up.  You would think he would figure that out, but it worked this way every time I needed him in the Cat in the Bag.  Eight times!  So it really wasn’t all that hard after all.  And as corny as it is, once you arrive at your destination you will not be able to resist letting the cat out of the bag.

Dave Jones, the cat man

Dogfather…or Catman?

The bag is made of tightly woven cotton, is soft on the cat, and it will not rip or tear.  The cloth handle attached to the bag is solid and long enough to put over your shoulder.  This made carrying multiple cats easy for me. The bag carrier does not add any weight to the cat and is not as awkward to carry as the crate. The cat does not slide or scrabble back and forth like he would in a crate — the hammock-like bag keeps him in one spot-which made it easy for me.

A Cross Country Trip With Cats Can Be A Snap

The Cat in the Bag is a great way to move cats without the stress of a traditional cat carrier, and the Cat in the Bag can be used for so much more.  Giving your cat medicine, dental care, nail trimming, and even baths are much easier when the cat is in the bag.  Have you ever given a cat a bath?  In my experience – they don’t like it.  Cat in the Bag makes the process easy.  You can soap them up, wash them, and rinse them thoroughly while they are in the bag.  And you get the job done without getting scratched!


Go to the Cat In The Bag website for more detailed information on the product.

I am Cash, and I approve this message. Cash 300

dave-with-castle 300

Dave Jones, our Video Editor, is president of Your Pet Space by day and a professional magician by night. He lives with his wife Joy in Las Cruces, New Mexico, but grew up on a farm with pigs, chickens and cows as well as dogs and cats in Ohio. You can e-mail Dave at dave@yourpetspace.info as well as follow him on Facebook.

Living World Teach N’ Treat Product Review

Teach N Treat

Living World: Giving Guinea Pigs, Rabbits, and Other Small Animals A Fun Foraging Experience

We have had this Living World product in our house for several years and have included it in our rotating variety of stimulating toys for some time now. Having rats, I can only speak from the experience of their interaction with it, but I expect that animals like guinea pigs and rabbits might get more out of it than even the rats! All of our rats have been too quick to learn the trick of the toy to really spend a lot of time with it, even if they love using it.  However, you can make the game more challenging for pets.

The treat tray consists of a base and various removable buttons which combine in several different ways to give three levels of training in all, with only one or two minor adjustments to the toy itself. The directions are multilingual and easy to follow, with clear illustrations and suggestions for further training. The main platform also has suction cups for stabilization, which comes in handy for larger small pets, like guinea pigs and rabbits. My only instant advice is to KEEP THE BOX. The toy has multiple parts that you won’t be using all at once and you will need to keep the unused knobs and pieces in a safe location. None of the parts are tiny, but each is needed in various steps in the training process, so it’s important to keep track of them.

North And Whisper, pet rats

North And Whisper

How To Know If This Toy Is Right For Your Pet

As I said, we have rats, so my experience with this toy will be slightly different from those with guinea pigs, rabbits or other small animals, but most small animals should enjoy this product as it helps to stimulate their natural foraging behaviors. Our rats Whisper and North helped us break down the various stages of the Living World Teach N’ Treat to help you decide if this toy is right for your pet.

Stage one requires the base, the flat center button (which covers the hole in the center of the base, needed in the third stage), and the one, large disc. You plug the center button in place, fill the treat pockets with something yummy and simply slide the large disc into place to cover the treats. The point of this stage is to teach your pet that this is a treat tray, with a little fun added on the side. It isn’t long at all before curious critters discover that something yummy hides under the disc. North, who loves food, found his treats right away. Whisper took a little coaxing, but once I shifted the disc a little for him, he worked out what he was meant to do. All together the first day of this stage took about eight minutes until the rats completely lost interest, once they had eaten up all the food, of course. We waited a few days and introduced the toy again. Each time we brought the tray back the play time shortened until it got down to a little more than two minutes. Then we moved on to phase two.

guinea pigs with teach n treat

How To Make The Game More Challenging For Pets

In the second stage you keep the base as it is, take out the big disc and put the four small knobs over some of the treat pockets in the base. The point of this stage is to play hide and seek with the food. You can make the game more challenging by putting down all four knobs, but hiding treats under only a few of them, though to start with you should put food under all of the knobs to prevent your pet from getting discouraged in their hunt. Whisper loved this stage and actually lifted the knobs with his teeth, as the directions state is the intent of the exercise. North, however, simply pushed everything over like the bulldozer he is. This phase wasn’t at all stimulating for him. For most of our rats in the past, this has been the least stimulating of the phases. They simply crave a more difficult mental challenge. The instructions do give further ideas for training on this stage, such as teaching your pet to put the knob in a box nearby or to put it back in the hole where they found it, but we haven’t done this with our rats. A helpful note for guinea pig and rabbit owners: the knobs have holes on the top for you to stick a piece of hay in, to encourage them to hunt inside for more food. You can stop using the holes to make this phase more of a challenge.

With the second stage quickly completed, it was time to move on to stage three, which requires the square “center guard” instead of the small, flat middle button of the first two stages. Switch those out, put the knobs back and you have an instant knob track that you can hide treats under. This is a great stage to watch because your pets already know there is food to be found under the knobs. Now they quickly discover that the knobs can make a traffic jam and it takes more effort to get those last few treats once the knobs are all pushed together into a compact group. Whisper was still trying to lift the knobs after the first few days of stage three, but North picked up on the pushing skill very quickly. They started out with a five minute interest level and worked it down to about two or three minutes. A simple way to make this game more challenging for pets is to provide only one or two treats. While the small animal is foraging , the knobs get bunched together and they need to work out how to get to that one treat that ended up under all those knobs.

ferret with teach n treat

Variety Is What’s Best For Your Pet

It is important to point out that variety is the key with these types of toys. North and Whisper tested this Living World product over a series of months to see if the toy is right for your pet, and never used it two days in a row. You don’t want them to forget all about the toy, but you don’t want it to be to them what a vending machine is with us. How many of us actually get excited about watching those people-treats drop down into the tray once we’re all grown up and know how it works? Switch stages on your pet once they have worked out how each one works. Maybe jump from one to three and back to two. Maybe give them a week away from it and then pull it back out again, just for kicks. You might also want to try a variety of treats. We use small treats for our rats, but you could put chunks of carrot or other animal food into your tray. The tray is easy to clean and solid plastic, so even animals who eat soft foods as a part of their diet could find a yummy berry inside one day.

Teach N Treat Toy

There are so many small animal toys that help your rat, rabbit or guinea pig to chew, burrow, or hide, but there are very few that make the game more challenging for pets, and remind us that these animals forage for food. In our household, we have found that this is an excellent substitute for the large box full of shredded paper that we once used. Sure the rats could forage in there, but within a minute they figured out that all the treats settled to the bottom of the box, and it wasn’t any different than covering up a carrot with a blanket and having them find it. This toy provides the stimulation your pet requires and the easy clean up that pet owners love. It comes highly recommended from our household–and Living World!

Conclusions On The Living World Teach N’ Treat

Pros:

  • Easy to Clean
  • Easy to Assemble
  • Stimulating for Pets
  • Stabilization Enhancements

Cons:

  • Keep track of the parts you aren’t using!

This toy is right for your pet! Follow this link to purchase:

Mirrani Houpe  Mirrani Houpe, our Small Animal Editor, has had rats since she took home her first little boy once they both completed the second grade. Since that time she has purchased, rescued and bred many kinds of rats, from many backgrounds. She may not be a vet, psychology major, or scientist, but her babies have her very well trained when it comes to how to care for them. She is constantly working with her family’s veterinarian to come up with new and innovative ways to love and care for the most often misunderstood rodent in the pet world. You can e-mail her at mirrani@yourpetspace.info

Pet Products Review: SafetyGlo Dog Collar

Pet Products: SafetyGloDogCollar

As pet products go, this is a great idea, especially for families like ours that live out of town without security lights, where it’s very dark at night.  The collars we had did not come with any form of instruction, however, and we have seen others remark on this as well.

The first collar we ordered had a buckle and holes, like a belt, making it easy to adjust the size to fit our dog’s neck comfortably.  The glow from the collar was as bright as promised, but the charge only lasted a few days.  Granted, we did not leave the collar turned on for any length of time, we only turned it on for the short periods we are outside at night with Sahara, so it might be that the collar simply doesn’t hold a charge well when not in regular use.  The charge pack appears to be detachable from the advertisements, so we detached it to set it in the window to charge.  Leaving the pack out from noon until sundown we tested to see if the collar was charged.  No power.  In the end, we chose to use the USB cable whenever we next turned on the computer to check emails.  That worked quickly.

Sadly, once we reattached the battery pack to the collar we had major issues.  The pack is held on with a combination of snaps and Velcro, I assume the snaps make the connection to the electric parts of the collar while the Velcro holds the pack in place.  The battery pack is flat, a dog’s neck is curved, so once you reattach the pack to the collar, it is no longer a tight seal, the connections are iffy at best.  After two days, either because of the way the collar was shipped to us or because of an actual flaw with the power pack itself, the collar stopped working altogether.

I contacted SafetyGlo with some questions about charging the collar.  Had we done something wrong?  Was this typical behavior for these power packs to not fit properly?  My questions went unanswered, but I was offered a replacement collar at no cost to me.  I was even allowed to keep the non-functioning one.  This all sounded good to me, so I agreed and gave up hounding them for answers.

The new collar was not identical in make, the buckle was now the clip type, like ones used on fanny-packs and backpacks for children, which changed the sizes available.  Gone were the easy adjustments to fit our dog’s neck.  Now the collar only closed to a certain size and because of the clip there was an extra length of collar that was not adjustable, making our new collar just slightly too big for our Sahara, even though it was listed as being the same length as the one we replaced.  The battery pack is still working after a year of occasional use, however, so I give them credit for that, at least, however, we have not removed the pack from the collar this time and we charge it with the entire unit plugged in to the computer.

We continued to use the non-functional collar for Sahara’s daily use because it was a very sturdy and nice looking collar.  We loved the belt-like adjustment closure and the whole package (beyond the battery pack) worked well for our outdoor lifestyle.  It lasted through many rolls in the mud and all of the washes that followed as a result.  We only replaced it as her regular collar when she scratched at her neck (as all dogs do on occasion), which created an opening through the orange fabric, exposing the lighting fixture beneath.

Overall, I can’t remind dog owners enough that as for pet products, this is a wonderful idea and I really loved the color choices that were available.  The price was good for what we got and the customer service, while willing to replace the product, weren’t exactly friendly or helpful in solving our problems or answering our questions.  These things could have changed in a year’s time, however.  I would willingly try out the leash or harness at some point, if we ever come around to needing those items.  I wish that we were able to continue with the better quality product that we were sent the first time and that it had worked better for us.

Pros:

  • Buckle fastening (if you get it)
  • Bright glow is attention getting, but not distracting (unless you have it on blink mode)
  • Charges with solar and USB power

Cons:

  • Fanny pack clip (if you get it)
  • Length of time the battery holds a charge
  • Fabric eventually rips to expose glow tubing.

 

pet products sahara

I am Sahara, and I approve this message.

 

Where to Buy The SafetyGlo Dog Collar

PRODUCT REVIEW: Petbrosia

dog1Let me tell you the story of our dog, Hoagy.  We already had two dogs when my husband turned to me one day and said, “You know, I miss having a basset hound.”  Our previous basset, Ziggy, had passed away the year before from cancer, and we had lost his mate, Gushie, several years before that.  That spring we had already adopted two dogs (a Greyhound and a Brittany), but Dave just felt something was missing.  So I said, “Do what you need to do.  We have two–how hard could it be to have three?”

Famous last words, right?

Dave has a kind heart, so answered the ad of a woman living in a nearby city: “Basset Hound Free To A Good Home.”  He drove to meet her and picked up his new pet, who at that time was named “Taterbug”.

When the dog arrived, the white patches on his body looked yellow–especially a dark yellow one near his tail.  He smelled like fried food…and he was obviously overweight.  The first thing I asked Dave to do was take him up the street to the local dog wash.

A visit to to our vet a few days later confirmed our worst fears: he had apparently been free fed and tied outside for some time, as he was overweight, flea infested, had worms and an ear infection.  Dave was sent home with ear wash, worm treatments for all our dogs and instructions on how to make sure our house was flea free…as well as strict orders to measure all of the new dog’s meals and make sure he was getting regular exercise.

Undaunted, Dave did most of this work himself, and pleased at having another basset despite all the challenges, renamed his new pet Hoagy Dogmichael.  Over the next few months, Hoagy dropped weight as he could often be seen tagging along after the other dogs on our walks, his tail proudly waving like a flag behind him.  Dave faithfully cleaned his ears until he was no longer shaking his head with discomfort, and we kept a careful eye out, but no fleas (thankfully) appeared, either in our home or on our other pets.  The worming process completed, Hoagy shared the food the other dogs ate, and at first seemed to have come through his ordeal as a happy and healthy rescue.

Then, the digestive problems started…

Every few weeks, Hoagy would suddenly and inexplicably begin to vomit.  On one occasion, I came home early from work to find him sitting miserably in his crate, covered in both vomit and diarrhea, even though when we had left for work that morning, everything had seemed fine.

Since Dave and I are of the natural remedies first bent, we did some online research, and followed the tried and true method of getting the vomiting under control each time: 24 hours with no food, followed by a slow buildup of chicken broth, broth with rice, broth with rice and chicken, finally mixing in dog food…and then putting him back on straight dog food again after about a week.  This worked each time…but then several weeks later the vomiting cycle would start all over again.

We tried switching food to a more natural, high quality product, even more meat and less grain.  We tried adding digestive enzymes.  No, the cycle continued.  At last, we concluded that Hoagy had a digestive ailment as a result of his poor feeding with his previous owner, and that we’d just have to live with the result.

That is, until we got a phone call from Petbrosia, an affiliate we had only recently begun working with.  They offered to send us a 3-lb box of food for Hoagy–and custom mix it, just for him.  That’s when I went over to their website, and read this:

Petbrosia is the first pet food custom designed for the unique nutritional needs of each pet. Created by an entrepreneurial pet lover, Petbrosia’s goal is to provide a higher quality of life and improve the wellbeing of both pets and their owners.

 

You want to do what’s best for your pet. With nutrition designed to ideal body conditions, your pet can have a higher quality and potentially longer life.

– Keith Johnson, Founder of Petbrosia

I saw also: Every Petbrosia diet has added probiotic extracts and prebiotics. Prebiotics feed and encourage the growth of good bacteria in the colon. Good bacteria in the intestinal tract helps aid the digestion and absorption of nutrients.

Perfect!  But would Hoagy like it?  There was only one way to find out…

So Petbrosia sent us a coupon code for the food.  And we quickly discovered that ordering from their website is fun as well as efficient. Using your pet’s breed, age, and weight, they provide a diet specifically for your pet’s unique health needs, addressing condition of skin and coat, energy level, dental care, healthy joints, strong immune system as well as optimal digestive system health and overall weight.

When Hoagy’s product arrived, we began mixing it with Hoagy’s present food.  Immediately, an interesting thing happened.  Not only did Hoagy pick out the pieces of Petbrosia food to eat first, but our other dogs were especially interested in trying to steal it!

And, I am very happy to report that since Hoagy has been on Petbrosia, his vomiting has stopped.  We couldn’t be more pleased that he is not going through the unpredictability and discomfort which he previously suffered.  As a courtesy, Petbrosia also offered to send some food to have our finicky cat, Cash, test as well–and he loves it also!

Your Pet Space is very happy to recommend this provider, not the least of which is because they have never been subject to a recall.

cat2

And—until the end of this month, you can even win free pet food from Petbrosia in our Pinterest Pin and Win Contest!  Here are the rules:

1.) Follow Your Pet Space on Pinterest!
2.) Create a board called “Your Pet Space Contest”.
3.) Pin your fav You Tube or personal pet video into that board for us to find.
4.) Enter the contest using this link: http://woobox.com/qnrkag

(Entries will be judged on funniest, or most unusual pet or pet behavior).

Have fun and good luck!

hoagy skinny (257 x 300)       I am Hoagy and I approve this message.

I am Cash and I approve this message. Cash 300