Author Archives: dexterkelly

DogDiscuit Is A Flying Rainbow Of Fun

With the sun setting earlier each day here in the Northeast, the amount of time that we can play outside is getting equally short. One of the favorite things we do each evening is play fetch with a flying disc. The Australian Shepherd is a natural at it and loves the challenge of catching it mid-flight and bringing it back. Apparently he needs a “job” to do as working breed, and returning flying discs to me satisfies that need.

I had been on the lookout for something to supplement his bright orange disc that we usually play with.

What I like about the orange disc:

1. Inexpensive – cost under $5
2. Lightweight – flies very far and has lots of “hang time” so its fairly easy to catch
3. Bright, Solid Color – Easy to see against a backdrop of sky and grass

Sadly, when it gets dark, he can’t see it, so in order to extend playtime, I looked to Amazon for a solution.

Enter the DogDiscuit by Nite Ize Innovation. This disc has a large diameter, is made of flexible plastic, and as LED lighting built in.


It is made of translucent durable, flexible plastic, so it is easy on your dogs mouth, and cushions the impact if they miss catching it. The lights cycle through several colors when they are turned on and are highly visible as the disc is flying. Because of the materials it is made from, the light radiates out to the edges so the entire disc changes color as the lights cycle.

The DogDiscuit is much heavier at 4.6oz than my previous orange disc which weighs 2.7oz. The DogDiscuit flies much faster and has less “hang time” so it requires the dog to be on full alert to follow it.

Also, because the disc is translucent, it is harder for them to see as it is flying.

Another phenomenon I was thinking about is regarding the LED themselves. When people have lights on their house around Christmas, for me it is hard to gauge the distance of how far away they are. There is something about LED lights for me that throws off my vision. I’m not sure if this is the same for dogs.

The “success” rate in times he has been able to catch the disc in flight is much lower with the DogDiscuit than with the orange disc.

The batteries are very easy to replace. Simply remove the domed cover, pull the electronic unit out, slide the two- CR2016 batteries out of the sheath, slide new ones in, replace the electronics, press the dome back into place, and you are ready for hours of fun.

DogDiscuit LED change

Overall, buying this was a great decision. It allows us to extend playtime and the quality of this product is high. It has a durable feel but soft enough it is easy on his teeth and gums.

DogDiscuit LED Flying Disc
Pros Cons
Durable Material Flies Fast
Bright LED With Fun Colors Weighs More Than Alternative Discs
Soft Plastic Easy On Dogs Mouth More Expensive

Dogs of many breeds like the challenge and mental reward of catching and returning a Frisbee (flying disc). Breeds which will enjoy this kind of toy are:

  • English Whippet (Snap Dog)
  • Border Collie
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Belgian Malinois
  • Goldn Retriever
  • Australian Cattle Dog
  • Australian Shepherd
  • German Shorthaired Pointer
  • Weimaraner
  • American Pit Bull Terrier

The common traits that these dogs have are hunting, retrieving, and herding dogs. Their internal motivation to keep ‘things’ together, and their high energy are the perfect attributes for type of play that flying discs provide.

Chewy.com Goody Box product insert

Chewy’s Goody Box Delivers the Best of Made In the USA Toys and Treats To Your Door

I have been doing a lot of research recently on Made In The USA toys and treats (read some of my other posts here, here, and here) and was pleasantly surprised to see that Chewy has created a box specifically for this! I bought this box at full retail price and am sharing my experience with you.

First, the cost of the box was around $21 and even included free shipping! It was fast, too. The box shipped from Chewy in Paulsboro, NJ and was delivered by Lasership. It is hard to say how long it actually would take because I ordered it prior to Labor Day, so it sat with the delivery company for an extra day, but I received it in three “shipping days”.

Second, I was surprised to see how much was included. We are subscribers to BarkBox and pay for an extra toy, so there are two bags of treats, and three toys; but with the Chewy Goody Box, it includes FIVE bags of treats, and one toy.

The full list of products received in this Goody Box were:

  1. 10oz Blue Wilderness Trail Treats Grain Free Biscuits Salmon Recipe
  2. 6oz Zukes Mini Naturals Peanut Butter & Oats Recipe Treats
  3. 4oz Dogswell Happy Hips Chicken Breast Jerky Treats
  4. 3.5oz True Chews Premium Grillers With Real Steak Treats
  5. 5oz Wellnes Soft WellBites Grain-Free Lamb & Salmon Recipe Soft & Chewy Treats
  6. Benebone Peanut Butter Flavored Wishbone Dog Chew Toy

 

I can say from personal experience that Zukes Mini Naturals and Benebone are two favorites in this household. As soon as I had opened the carton, both dogs could smell the Benebone and followed me around while I was organizing everything.

The box you see pictures ships in a generic Chewy box, so there aren’t any labels to indicate what the contents are, so these would make a nice surprise gift.

Chatting with Customer Service, they informed me that the boxes don’t have a set schedule to change, so if you order one per month, you may get identical consecutive boxes. Additionally, you cannot set them up for the AutoShip program that Chewy has (similar to a subscription where you get regular deliveries and they include a small discount). If you would like to order a box once a month, you would have to proactively log into the site and place a separate order each time.

Overall, this box is a great value. If you value toys, then this might not be a great option because it comes with a minimum of one, and doesn’t include the option to add more, but if you like the convenience of not regularly ordering treats, then you will certainly love this because it has a great variety of old and new favorites. With 5 bags of treats, this Goody Box has more than I have seen in other similar boxes.

The Chewy Goody Box is great for a number of reasons. First, all of the contents are made by USA manufacturers, so I will definitely buying this again. Second, the price was great. There is a wide variety of products including several brands that I haven’t purchased before and am excited to try. Third, the shipping we really fast. I’m not sure why it ships separately from their mainline products, or why you can’t request an AutoShip “subscription” for it, but it was great to see how fast it arrived at my doorstep.

I keep thinking about this as a subscription box. I wrote an article about a few of the most popular subscription boxes for dogs, and can see how this can be a good substitute for a box you may already be receiving, aside from the need to request one each month.

Chewy has always been very high on my list of retailers to buy from because of their great customer service. They have agents available 24/7, and Michele P that I spoke to today acknowledged the conversation quickly and was knowledgeable on the questions I asked. Their product lineup continues to improve (in the early days it was somewhat limited), and their shipping speed has always been incredible. The locations of the warehouses that Chewy ships from is always closer and closer as they open more sites.

Overall, I would recommend giving this box a try. There is great value for your money, and I truly applaud Chewy for curating a box with American products.

 

Dozer’s Dental Chews And Other Great Made In America Dog Products

One of the values that we find in buying American Made products is that there comes with it goodwill of the country. We have an implicit understanding that the products will be high quality and the people making them will stand behind them.

Dozer’s Dental Chews are Made in the USA of eight simple ingredients, but formed in shapes and sizes to help clean your dogs teeth as they chew. The first three ingredients are potato, rice, and chicken. The chew itself is dense but not overly hard like some nylon chews can be. While the small pieces of nylon chews will safely pass through a dogs tract, Dozer’s Chews are made of food(!) so they are a great treat as well.

Dozers Dental Chews

Why we like this:

– Made from food ingredients so they are a fun treat as well!
– Fun and stimulating shapes to interest your dog and clean all areas of their teeth
– Come in a variety of shapes and sizes for all breeds

 

Greenies Dental Chews and Breath Freshener are a household name. They are made in Kansas and came to be because “necessity is the mother of invention“; nothing like it existed! Their classic shape is almost iconic, and they now come in dozens of varieties, shapes, and formulations; perfect for every breed.

Why We Like These: The unique shape and the wide variety of flavors, along with the proven history of this company gives assurance that they deliver a safe and functional product.

King of Pups by King of Pops. This Atlanta-based creator of inspired popsicles also creates a version for dogs! They are made with yogurt, banana, honey, peanut butter, vegetable gums, and natural flavors. They are made with locally sourced ingredients and available by mail order!

 

Why We Like This: King of Pops goes out of their way to model sustainability and local sourcing. They use high quality ingredients and haven’t forgotten the importance of the human-pet bond.

Check out this great dog treat company from Stroudsburg, PA: WhiskerBiscuits makes fun treats for dogs in a variety of flavors and shapes. They are known for their ‘Peanut Butter Poo’, and “The Big Sack” which has a variety of all their products. They also have a subscription service – The Very Important Pet club – “VIP”. Each month you will receive a shipment of their latest flavor!

Whisker Biscuits - The Big Sack

Why We Like This: Subscription services such as these help to support our fellow countrymen, helping them embody the vision of the American Dream, as well as saving us time and money sourcing and buying treats for our canine friends.

Fresh Wave Lavender Odor Removing Packs in a basket with an assortment of essential dog supplies

Scare Away ‘Dog Smell’ With This Lavender Sachet

I am a huge fan of FreshWave. They make a complete line of all-natural home odor control products (air fresheners, vacuum beads, pet shampoo), and today in the grocery store I saw their new Lavender scent Odor Removing Packs.

All natural products are important to me as I like to minimize the amount of chemicals in the house, especially around the dogs.

FreshWave has a unique blend of  natural extracts of lime, pine needle, aniseed, clove, and cedarwood, they combine to achieve their signature odor removal.

 

Lavender Oil has long been used as an aromatherapy technique to soothe anxious dogs, and reduce their anxiety. I was intrigued to see it in a sachet that is easy to manage, is long-lasting (up to 60 days!) and from a brand that I regularly trust. I use their Pet Shampoo regularly, and pay full retail price for the products that I show here.

Fresh Wave Lavender Odor Removing Packs in a basket with an assortment of essential dog supplies

FreshWave Lavender Odor Removing Packs have a ‘natural’ home in our basket of dog supplies.

As soon as I arrived home from the store, I opened the packages, smelled how pure the scent of the oil is, and found a home for them in the ‘dog basket’. This basket is in the Family Room where we spend most of our time in the evening, and where the dogs spend their days while we are at work. The packaging says the sachet is designed for small rooms, but this is more of a medium sized, so I expect the scent to more more diluted than designed. That being said, the scent is pleasant, understated, and fresh. It doesn’t ‘hit you’ when you walk into the room, but you know that the room smells good.

Since one of our dogs is a shih tzu, known for being loud alert dogs, I am hoping that the mild lavender will keep him calm and relaxed. Please note that I won’t be placing the sachets in the same space as the dogs, or applying the oils directly to them. This article from Chargin Falls Veterinary Center and Pet Clinic has great advise about how to properly use essential oils around pets.

The packaging says that the only ingredient is “plant oils”, so you certainly can’t get any more simple or natural than that!

According to the Fresh Wave website, they have been making all-natural odor-removing products for over 20 years. While they source their oils from around the world, all their products are manufactured in Rising Sun, Indiana.

Speaking of lavender, I came across this blog post from Barking Botanicals what shows 6 Ways To Use Lavender In The Car To Calm Your Dog. They have some unique suggestions such as making a vehicle spray, buying a portable essential oil diffuser, and treating your dogs collar.

 

Top Therapy Dog Stories 8.31

It’s great to see dogs integrated into new and an increasing number of places. The Ashland Gazette is reporting that Ashland-Greenwood Schools are placing a therapy dog in the classroom for students! They are hosting a breakfast to introduce Rizzo to the community.

Visitors will have the opportunity to meet Rizzo, Ashland-Greenwood Public School’s first therapy dog, during the first Bluejay Breakfast of the 2018-19 school year on Wednesday, Sept. 12 in the middle school/high school cafeteria. – Ashland Gazette

 

Part of a recent post about therapy dogs coming to airports, was this one from The Dallas Morning News (turn off adblocker to read the story), We are becoming increasingly familiar with explosive detection dogs in airports, but now it’s great to see them being available to soothe and comfort stressed-out passengers.

“The goal of the program is to make the traveling experience less stressful and more pleasant,” airport official Ken Whittaker said in a statement.

 

With students going back to school around the country, Huffington Post is reporting on an increase in therapy dogs showing up to relieve the stress of students. University of South Carolina is just one of the many to implement a canine program to help students of any year.

As students returned to the University of South Carolina this year, they were greeted by Indy, a therapy puppy who will soon be a consistent presence on campus, the Raleigh News & Observer reported. Once Indy’s training is complete, she will participate in pet-a-puppy events and hold office hours at the university’s Student Health Services.

 

Finally, Nancy Partridge from the Los Alamos Daily Post writes about Medical Detection Dogs and how they can help detect cancer in patients; as well as the benefits of exposure to animals.

In one study, a Labrador retriever trained in cancer scent detection correctly identified 91 percent of breath samples and 97 percent of stool samples from patients with colon cancer. In another study, a German shepherd identified ovarian cancer malignancies form tissue samples with 90 percent accuracy.

Effective Treatments For Dog Ear Infections

While the title of this post isn’t that appealing, ear infections are common for many floppy-ear dog breeds such as shih tzu, poodle, pit bull, cocker spaniel, and Shar Pei.

Infections generally fall into two categories; bacterial, or yeast. WebMD says the main contributing factors of ear infections are: ear mites, excessive hair, moisture or wax, foreign bodies, allergies, and hypothyroidism. Not adequately drying or airing out ears after swimming, or exploring overgrown areas outdoors can expose your dog to the contributing causes of ear infections.

Infected ears can be uncomfortable for your dog, both because of the irritation in their ear canal, but also excessive scratching can cause cuts and increase the redness, as they attempt to scratch the itch away.

From time to time I have had to treat ear infections in my dog at home and found the following to be helpful to treat both kinds. When the non-prescription products don’t work after a few days, then a trip to the vet is necessary. I have found that often my grocery store pharmacy can order pet prescriptions. If you know you have a prescription coming your way from the vet, it is helpful to call the grocery store pharmacy to check their pricing to ensure you don’t overpay at the vet. If your pet prescription requires refills, you might as well save a stop and get them at the same time as your prescriptions (if any), or your groceries!

The five medications I have at home to treat my dogs ear infections are:

Prescription Non-Prescription
Otibiotic Vet’s Best Ear Relief Dry
Otomax VetOrganics EcoEars
Virbac Epi-Otic

Effective medications for treating dog ear infections

 

Otibiotic is made by VetUS (Henry Schein Animal Health) and comes in a 15g tube, with instructions to administer 5 drops in the ear each day, for 14 days. The ingredients are gentamicin sulphate, betamethasone valerate, and clotrimazole and they are mixed in a mineral oil paste. It controls bacteria and fungus, and is an anti-inflammatory. It has the same active ingredients and proportion of ingredients as Otomax, however it is less expensive.

Otomax is made by Merk Animal Health and was the original prescribed product we had received to treat both the bacterial and fungal ear infection. It contains gentamicin sulphate, betamethasone valerate, and clotrimazole, and is mixed with a mineral oil paste to aid in application.

Epi-Otic made by Virbac is a clear rinse that helps remove cellular debris and wax from the ears and contains an anti-irritant. The active ingredients are diethylene glycol monoethyl ether, salicylic acid, and chloroxylenol. It is applied by filling the ear, massaging for 60-90 seconds, then allowing the dog to shake out the excess. After that, a cotton swab should be used to wipe out the remaining, along with any debris or wax that has been loosened. Any following medication should be applied after the Epi-Otic has dried.

EcoEars is a natural product made by VetOrganics in the USA. The ingredients are: deionized water, witch hazel extract, denatured grain alcohol, vegetable glycerin, polysorbate 20 (food grade), boric acid, tea tree oil, ionic silver solution, organic mullein leaf extract, rosemary extract, and fingerroot extract. It is a clear liquid that can be administered directly in to the ear, or for squirmy dogs, a cotton ball can be soaked and the liquid squeezed into the ear.

The VetOrganics website goes into further detail to describe how each of the ingredients work to clear up the infection. I have found that it works well as a maintenance product. The label recommends using it twice per day for 10 days, or longer as necessary; weekly as a maintenance product. I found that the prescription medications show a visible improvement in the appearance of ear cleanliness and smell within hours of applying them.

Finally, Vet’s Best Ear Relief Dry is another natural formula made in the USA (Texas, to be exact) and contains Calendula, Clove Oil, Aloe Vera, Chamomie, Tea Tree Oil, Silica and Echinacea. It too is a white paste that dries to a powder which helps absorb moisture which can cause bacterial and yeast growth. The recommended application is to squeeze into the ear canal and let dry. This should be used before and after bathing or swimming, and can be used regularly as a maintenance product. I find this especially useful after baths because I know there is often water remaining inside Dexter’s floppy ears.

Some of the product links above are affiliate links to the product pages on Amazon.

Benebone and Other Great Made In America Dog Toys


Originally started through crowdfunding, Benebone has become very popular and I can speak from experience, that my dogs love them! Made in New York of USA-sourced nylon with the flavor from real bacon, peanuts, and chicken; they are durable and highly addictive! Starting with their ‘wishbone’ shape, they have since branched off into several different models and flavors. Check out the original bacon Wishbone here.

I agree with the top reviews on Amazon that all of the Benebone products are durable even for the heaviest of chewers. They come in several sizes so be sure to select the one that is appropriate for your dog.

Pros:

  1. Very durable. Will provide a very long ‘chew time’ even for big dogs.
  2. Made using Real Flavors from real bacon, peanuts, and chicken.
  3. Come in a variety of shapes and sizes to appeal to any dog.

Cons:

  1. Can be too hard for some dogs. Make sure you select the correct size and monitor your dogs usage of this product.
  2. Cost. They can be more expensive than other nylon toys, but consider the size and amount of engagement your dog will get from Benebone versus another nylon product.

Overall, these toys are great for all sizes of dogs, just be sure to select the correct format.

Another great nylon product Made in the USA is from Nylabone.

There is a reason that the Nylabone website starts with “For Every Reason To Chew, There’s A Nylabone”. This long-standing company makes hundreds of products for heavy chewers. Treats, bones, toys, and chews; they make it all. All sizes, shapes, and flavors, you will find a Nylabone product that your dog will find irresistible.

Pros:

  1. Comes in every combinations of size, shape, and flavor you can imagine.
  2. Products for all states of life (puppy & adult).
  3. Covers all price ranges, from value to premium.

Cons:

  1. Can be overwhelming to find the ‘right’ product. Be sure to use their Custom Product Finder on their website.
  2. Scent can be weak or fade quickly. Some reports from these toys say that the scent can be weak. Be sure to keep the package sealed until ready to share with your pup!

Overall, the track record of this company is stellar and they are sure to have a toy to exactly match your dogs engagement level, but don’t stress over finding the perfect toy; use their product search feature to find a few your dog will like!

West Paw designs and manufactures their toys in Bozeman, Montana. Their in-house team carefully designs and tests their toys to ensure they will be loved, and loved for a long time. They come in fun colors and are environmentally friendly, and non-toxic. They have an ever-expanding list of toys available and all kinds of fun an innovative shapes.

Pros:

  1. Fun, colorful, designs. Very unique shapes for fun and stimulating play.
  2. Good size product range for a lot to choose from specific for your dogs play style.
  3. Money back, or product replacement guarantee.

Cons:

  1. Some reports of quickly destroyed toys. Be sure to take advantage of their guarantee.
  2. Limited availability – mostly independent pet stores, but check for them on Amazon.

Overall, West Paw is a highly engaged company that puts a heavy emphasis on creativity and ensure long play time with their fun and durable products. Contact them if – for some reason – your dog destroys the toy quickly.

 

Palo-Alto

Brent-Wood Products has introduced small to extra-extra large Bow Wow dog houses. They are made from upcycled wood, and built in Los Angeles. The image above is their Palo-Alto model. Using the sizing guide on their website in the link above, or call them directly at 800-400-7335 and they will help you select the right house for your dog.

Pros:

  1. Made in the USA using upcycled wood.
  2. High-design models built buy hand.
  3. Direct customer service number to plan your house with a consultant.

Cons:

  1. Limited retail outlets to see models and order in person. Check out their website for the list of retailers.

Overall, this custom product will provide a stylish and spacious outdoor home for your dog.

Buying American has many benefits including ensuring that jobs are created and stay in our economy. That also has the secondary benefit of keeping money in communities where those people live. By creating products and adding value to physical goods that we modify and build here, we are increasing our GDP, a measure of our global competitiveness. Everything that we build and keep in our country reduces our reliance on importing foreign goods. When someone in your community builds a product, you know they will stand behind it and offer a high level of service after the sale. You can also know that they are aware of the components of that product and there is an increased likelihood that the output is safer than an unknown product.