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Whole Dog Journal Product Rating: 2020 Dog Equipment of the Year

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Have you ever bought a cute but expensive product from a pet store only to have it fail in days or hours? “Super hard” toys that don’t make it through a game day, beds with zippers that separate permanently the first time the blanket is washed, collars that cost an arm and a leg but fray or fade within a short time, I think I was all there. In short: this is not the stuff! Here are some of the most valuable dog items that we tried this year.


TOPPLE TREAT TOY $ 16- $ 21

It’s normal to have a dog and 17 puzzles, isn’t it? Normal or not, my dog ​​fully supports my obsession and we were both excited to add the Toppl to our line-up.

The Toppl is a cup-shaped toy with a rounded bottom and five long, flexible inner fingers (they call them “teeth”) that hold the treats in place. The easiest extraction project for dogs new to feeding toys is to insert treats between their inner teeth. For an additional challenge, a small and a large toppl can be combined with nibbles or other small delicacies. Since each toppl has a rounded hole on the side, the nibbles will drip out when a dog manipulates and rolls around the connected toys.

But for me, the top where it really shines is its ease of use when it comes to filling and freezing part of a dog’s meal. As a long-time Kong user, I routinely mix nibbles with any number of “binders” (yogurt, canned pumpkin, sardine puree, diluted peanut butter) and stuff the preparation into kongs. It takes a little work to push the goopy mixture into the 1-inch opening of even the largest Kong toys. In contrast, a large toplet has a two-inch opening, and even the small topler’s opening is 1 inch easy to use. This makes it a lot easier to get them done quickly – a fact that I really appreciate on late Sunday evenings as I prepare for a busy week.

The rubbery top is available in two sizes (large is four inches tall; small is three inches) and three colors (blue, orange, and green).

The Toppl is dishwasher safe, latex free and FDA compliant (safe to eat). All West Paw products are made in the USA. The proprietary plastic mixture is recyclable. You can’t toss your worn out toys in your own trash, but you can send them back to the West Paw facility in Bozeman, Montana and they will be recycled into new dog toys!

The company also offers a “Love It Guarantee” that entitles customers to a one-time refund or one-time replacement per toy design. – Stephanie Colman

“101 RESCUE PUPPIES” $ 19

I received a pre-release of this book and asked if I would consider putting a blurb for its promotion. “Would I? Would I?” I took the extra step of immediately asking the author if she would start writing for WDJ, and her articles (including the article on page 15 of this issue) were a bright light in a dark year.

in the 101 rescue pups, Dog trainer and serial carer, Kathy Callahan shares warm, funny, and heartbreaking stories about caring for puppy litters for animal shelters and rescue operations in her area. Callahan shares how care providers can reverse the curve Homeless animal stories that turn tragic origins into exceedingly happy endings by giving the pups some time in a clean room with loving attention, nutritious food, a little cleanup, and social connections with kind-hearted, responsible adopters. I guarantee that their warm portraits of the puppies in words and pictures will make every reader laugh and cry several times – and I hope that at least some will be encouraged to look after animals in need themselves.

– Nancy Kerns

KEEPSAFE BREAK AWAY COLLAR $ 15- $ 17

This is a 100% true story; I swear on the health of my dogs:

I was already a fan of these collars, just because of their principle and design. I photographed one that was sent to me before trying it on my own dogs. Once one of my dogs had worn it for a while, it would never look clean and new again. I took photos of the collar on a table and then placed it on my little foster dog, Coco, to take photos of her.

At that moment my phone rang and I took the call. It was my sister. As I spoke, Coco ran to play with Woody and they immediately started wrestling and playing the kind of bite-face games they enjoy – and the kind of games this collar was invented for: um prevent accidental strangulation. As their game escalated, I told my sister I had to go and started photographing Woody and Coco’s rough game.

At that moment, as is his custom, Woody grabbed Coco’s collar. He likes to drag other dogs around with whatever gear they are wearing. Coco squirmed to get away, and when she did she turned wildly and for one single second, Woody’s mouth was glued to her collar. And then almost instantly – POP! The collar’s security mechanism did exactly what it was designed to do, and the collar snapped open, freeing Coco.

For a moment, Woody stood with his collar in his mouth, looking confused. that had never happened to him! And Coco jumped up and scurried away – both dogs unharmed. It was a perfect demonstration of how dangerous a traditional collar would have been and how perfectly this collar works in eliminating the threat that normal collars pose to dogs playing this type of game. I can’t believe I was standing right there taking photos when it happened.

In the December issue, I wrote an article (“Don’t Wait! Prevent Collar Accidents”) about the strangulation hazards that regular collars can pose to dogs and mentioned a product designed to eliminate those hazards. As it turns out, I was describing an early prototype of the current collar that is no longer in production. The collar, the effectiveness of which Woody and Coco have just demonstrated, is the new and improved model of the product I described.

The owners of Chinook & Co., LLC invented this collar after their dog Chinook died in an accident with strangulation on the collar. The collar features standard plastic side buckles, a tiny loop for attaching an ID tag, and a slider for resizing. The big advantage of the collar, however, is the patented tear-off buckle, which automatically releases when pressure is applied. The buckle can be reattached quickly and easily.

Of course, nobody wants their dog’s collar to come off when walking their dog, or to have to change their collar every time they go for a walk. The KeepSafe collar has two D-rings on the leash. You snap your leash on both of them to override the tear-off function.

Chinook & Co. has a relationship with PetSafe, which sells the KeepSafe Red, Blue, and Black Break-Away Collars on its website. However, the inventors offer an exclusive line of collars in nine colors and patterns that they sell direct from their website: breakawaycollar.com. – – N.K.

RAWBBLE $ 10- $ 57

We love freeze-dried meat for dog nutrition and especially for treats. Freeze-drying preserves the meaty aroma of the main ingredients, but the treats are non-greasy and so low in moisture that they have a long shelf life even after opening a package.

For a long time our hearts belonged exclusively to Stella and Chewy’s, who innovated a certain type of puffy nugget made from freeze-dried meat. We still love this company’s meal mixers, but we’ve opened our hearts and purses to Rawbble, a very similar product offered by Bixbi Pet.

Why? For one, Rawbble’s nuggets are smaller, which makes them more suitable for feeding in a training session with small or small dogs. (The nuggets are easy to crush between your fingers to break them down into even smaller treats. However, if you are working quickly with a dog, it is easier to serve the nuggets in their original form.)

Both Stella and Chewy’s Meal Mixer and Bixbi Pet’s Rawbble are nutritionally complete and balanced for dogs of all stages of life and can be fed as the sole diet. However, Rawbble’s formulas contain fewer ingredients. The animal protein components make up a higher percentage of the food. And yet they cost a little less than their competitors’ products.

Rawbble is available in six single type formulas (beef, chicken, duck, lamb, pork, and turkey) and a two type formula (chicken and salmon). Each contains muscle meat (with ground bone) and specified organ meat (liver, kidney and / or heart of the same type as the muscle meat). All products are from and made in the USA.

Buy a small bag (4.5 ounces, for $ 10-12, depending on the formula), offer it to your dog in a training session, and we guarantee you will get the cheaper large bags (26 ounces for $ 48 Dollars) will buy up to $ 57, depending on the formula). – – N.K.

“DOGGIE LANGUAGE” $ 12

This little hard-backed book, just six inches tall, contains more information about dog body language in 126 pages than hours of video narrated by an expert in dog behavior.

Writer and illustrator Lili Chin is an extremely talented artist, and the dogs she draws are adorable. But she is also gifted with the ability to reproduce the instantly recognizable expressions and postures of dogs when responding to things and events with fear, excitement, fear, happiness, stress, and calm acceptance.

But while most dog owners do recognize In the body language that Chin illustrates, many are unable to interpret what they are seeing and therefore will misunderstand what their dogs are trying to tell them. Chin breaks it down and explains in chapters devoted to the particular language of dog greetings, conflict, stress and games, with an emphasis on the variations of what dogs do with their eyes, posture, mouth, ears, and tail “say” .

Chin sells her art and products online and is in demand as a creator of educational materials for veterinarians, canine behavior consultants, and dog training organizations – and no wonder! Their engaging illustrations and short, clear descriptions allow anyone to understand what dogs are telling us (and each other). This would be an equally suitable book to give to a dog-crazy child, an adult who has adopted a dog for the first time, or a long-time dog owner who is having trouble understanding their dog. – – N.K.

WASH ‘N ZIP BED $ 45- $ 120

There is probably not one of us who hasn’t spent a lot of money on dog beds in our years of living with one or more dogs – too often in my case! Often the selected product did not quite meet my standards in terms of quality or ease of cleaning – or the comfort of my dogs!

The Wash’n Zip bed is fully open. This size folds twice so that when you zip it back up, the bed is four layers thick.

Sound familiar? Fortunately, your confidence in a quality, comfortable, and easy-to-clean bed can be restored with the Wash ‘n Zip Pet Bed.

Imagine a nice, large quilt that is folded in half and then folded in half again. Then imagine that you were closing a zipper that goes around the three sides of the folded blanket, holding the blanket in a nice, thick rectangle. This is the wash ‘n zip! (Note that the smaller sizes are only folded over once, not twice.)

Of the many things that I love about this bed, the convenience of washing it is top notch. The entire bed can be easily opened and placed in the washer and dryer. There is no problem removing and reattaching a cover. I can’t tell you how amazed I am every time at how easily the bed can be pulled back together after washing and drying. I also used the unpacked bed as a car seat or sofa cover and as a blanket for a picnic with my dogs!

The Wash ‘n Zip is made of robust materials with high-quality seams and a robust zip. The bed’s materials are non-toxic, and the sheets of the inner batting are box sewn to hold the batting in place so the bed will hold its shape over time.

The beds are available in five different sizes, the smallest being 24 x 18 inches (zip) and the largest 48 x 34 inches (zip). There are four color options, three of which are available in a soft velor fabric and the fourth in a soft fleece. The underside of all beds is made of a khaki colored, strong poly / cotton material.

Even before the pet bed even arrived, I was blown away by the excellent customer service from this independent small company. With a new puppy in our house, I needed a brand new bed. My order barely had time to process before the company owner emailed me back and apologized that it wasn’t currently in the color I had chosen. He asked if I would be happy to send me a similar colored fabric that I could use while the other was made to order. I agreed and let him know that I would use the bed for our new pup.

With this news, the high level of customer service only increased. The owner threw in a puppy proofer, a cover that fits over the bed and closes with a Velcro on the floor to prevent damage from the shark-like teeth to a puppy’s chewing habits (or even an adult dog that’s a prolific chewer) . . Impressive! When the products arrived we found that the cover was easy to put on and take off and kept the bed cleaner for less frequent washing.

The bed is comfortable enough for our arthritic older dog, who spends most of their days lounging, but not so deep that they have difficulty getting up. However, if the bed does not provide enough cushioning for your dog, the company also sells an extra “comfort pillow” that fits in the bed. The pillow is a one-piece, box-sewn, washer / dryer-friendly insert.

It’s been 2 1/2 years since I ordered my first Wash n ‘Zip pet bed. I currently have three and am about to order a fourth. We have two dogs, but I want another bed! The price, the convenience of cleaning, and the versatility of the product make buying multiple beds an easy decision to give our dogs a weakness in other rooms. Did I mention they travel well too? I take one to our fearless vet’s office to use on her own soft mat.

If you’re looking for a durable, easy-to-clean bed that your dog will love,
That’s it.

– – Lisa Lyle Wagoner

The wash ‘n zip bed is fully open. This size folds twice so that when you zip it back up the bed is four layers thick.

Lisa’s youngest dog, Cailie, is enjoying her new bed.

“Talks with RAIKA” $ 14

Denise Fenzi, the author of Conversations with Raika, is a professional dog trainer and owner / founder of the Fenzi Dog Sports Academy, an extremely successful online school for competitive and pet dogs. Fenzi has written a number of excellent books on training – but this is not one of them. Instead, it’s a series of imaginary discussions Fenzi had with her retired Belgian obedience champion Tervuren, Raika.

In the introduction to the book, the “conversation” is explained as follows:

“Raika talked for a long time, but nobody heard it. She did not allow herself to be discouraged; Her years of practice as a competition dog had taught her to face challenges, so she just kept talking. And when that voice appeared, it was nowhere near as pleasant and lacked opinions as one would have thought. In fact, by the time she started, Raika had opinions about everything from the time she went for a walk, to what came up in her pet bowl, to how she wanted to get off this earth, with lots of comments in between. “

A “talking dog” in fiction can get uncomfortable or annoying – but Fenzi channels the personality of her intelligent, challenging, empathetic, and insightful older dog so skillfully that the reader completely “buys” the conversation within a few pages. This has as much to do with the hilarious and humorous banter between the two longtime friends as it does with the life and death insights they share (or argue about) as they lead Raika’s senior years to a moving close. – N.K.

THE BIG BARKER ORTHOPEDIC BED $ 240- $ 400

I’m pretty sure I can hear the gasp from here: Hundreds Dollars for a dog bed? How can a dog bed be worth so much?

First, these aren’t just any dog ​​beds. And they are beds that not many dogs need. These are large dog beds for large dogs – large dogs up to 250 pounds that need extra thick padding between their large bodies and large bones and the hard floor.

Big Barker beds are made from three interconnected layers of American foam with an amazing 10 year warranty. Yes, Big Barker guarantees that these beds will not flatten or you will get a new bed within 10 years. Big Barker also wants to warn dog owners about Chinese-made foam mattresses that are known to emit harmful odors and that have tested positive for lead, arsenic, chlorine, and other potentially dangerous chemicals.

Even the glue used to bond the foam layers together has been carefully selected by Big Barker. They use an American-made, water-based latex adhesive that is fully OSHA compliant and can be sprayed without masks or filtration.

The material used for the Big Barker’s covers was chosen for its softness and durability. The company says their fabrics hold up well against digging and nesting. “Our strong microfiber covers achieve at least 100,000 points in the standard Wyzenbeek abrasion test. This measures the ability of a material to withstand surface wear caused by rubbing. High quality household furniture only requires 15,000 points. “

Only super strong zippers from American production are used for the covers. “Because our foam is so big and thick, we use up to 150 inches of zipper that surrounds 75% of the bed.” This allows you to take off the cover and put it back on easily after washing.

The Big Barker bed is available in three sizes (the smallest is 30 x 48 inches; the largest is 48 x 60 inches) and two versions: flat (“Sleek Edition”) and with a headrest at one end (“Headrest Edition”) ). The covers are available in four solid colors.

Like I said, not everyone will need these beds. But if you have one big Dog – and especially a big one, old Dog, you probably need one of these beds. At 70 pounds, my 13 year old arthritic dog is totally qualified and approves of this rating. – N.K.





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