Tagg — The Pet Tracker

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Mention a microchip and many people will ask — “is that GPS for your dog?”  Unfortunately, no.  But, Tagg — The Pet Tracker is the next best thing.  It attaches to your dog or cat's collar and follows his or her movements.

The online tracking system allows the user to view the movements of his/her dog, not just the current location.  This feature is great for a constantly escaping dog — even if he's lost his collar or didn't have it on, one may be able to guess his whereabouts based on previous journeys that have been logged on the Tagg website.  The tracker itself securely fastens to the dog's collar, and looks sleek, but is slightly bulky.  Most reviewers have noted that the tracker never accidentally came off the collar, but my dog was attacked by another dog who bit the tracker off.  In our many forest walks through underbrush and during routine rough play it stayed securely attached and was never damaged.  It is also waterproof.

Having a GPS for a dog who frequently or occasionally escapes a yard or enclosure would greatly reduce dog-related stress.  I have a newly adopted dog and greatly enjoyed the peace of mind of a locator device, especially when we began taking her off leash.

The device is easy to set up and gives prompt and reliable notifications through text and email.  The Tagg Tracker has a long battery life — staying charged for up to 30 days.  The cost is reasonable at 99.95 for the whole setup, which includes one Tagg Tracker, one docking station, collar clip assembly and power kit.  After one free month, the service costs $7.95 per month.

PAWS:  4.5 out of 5 (Won't it be nice when we can implant it? Or will it?)  I gave a slightly lower ranking because it was hard for me to remember to turn off the tracking when we went on an outing, and then turn it back on when I wanted to make sure our dog was being tracked.  My boyfriend was much better at this, so for the tech-savvy, mindful people this is likely not an issue.

More information at PetTracker.com.  

The Lickety Stik

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We've Been Shopping...Here's what we love...

The Lickety Stik has an important place in the dog treat world for its low calorie count and compact, travel-ready design.  The small rollerball bottle holds a liquid treat (chicken, liver or bacon flavor) that rolls right onto your happy dog’s tongue.

Here’s what PetSafe has to say about this new product:

“No mess.  Just hold the Lickety Stik bottle and your pet gets all the enjoyment while your hands and clothes stay dry and clean.  Virtually no calories — just one in every 10 licks.  The 1.69 oz bottle easily fits in a glove compartment, back pocket and purse, so you can maximize your pet's training with on-the-spot rewards.”   

As a consumer I agree with each statement — except we did spill some liver flavor on the floor during training class.  My partner said I didn’t need to squeeze the tube, just let the dog lick the treat off the rollerball.  Overall, I found the product very clean; and appreciated that it doesn’t crumble like dry dog treats.  Our dog (a Lab) can’t eat solid food due to Mega-esophagus so she doesn’t get many traditional treats.  For training classes the Lickety Stik is ideal.  Bonus:  the bottle lasts a long time. 

As for the nutritional value, it’s a fairly natural and healthy treat.  Take the ingredients in the Braised Liver formula for example:  natural liver flavors, cultured milk, lecithin, mixed tocopherols (natural preservative — a source of vitamin E), ascorbyl palmitate (source of vitamin C), rosemary extract, green tea extract.

5 OUT OF 5 PAWS

Find a retailer near you at Petsafe.net.

Raw Goodness

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Nature's Variety now offers Raw Boost Bites treats and the raw powder supplement Daily Boost, both intended for occasional feeding.  I gave the Boost Bites to two picky dogs I know.  They tried the chicken flavor and seemed to really like it.  These dogs are on a partially raw diet already and are in great health for their respective ages. 

I fed The Daily Boost to my foster dog Magic, two tablespoons at each meal.  Magic ate his food more quickly with it mixed in.  It is difficult to say if the supplement made a difference, but I do think it helped him gain a little weight and his coat certainly was shiny.  The supplement and the Boost bites are not messy or smelly.  These are great optional additives for dogs who don't like the wet consistency of traditional raw food. 

The Boost Bites and Daily Boost are also feline friendly, so I asked a friend with a cat to tell me what he thought.  Ron said, “My 12-year-old adopted cat, Sal, would literally run away from any form of raw food put in front of him.  I thought I’d try the Daily Boost Chicken supplement, and to my surprise (and delight), he loves it!  I serve it to him in a separate bowl, which he licks clean.  He’s always been an itchy & scratchy cat with moderate skin issues, but since eating Daily Boost his symptoms have lessened.  His coat is shinier, and he is itching significantly less.  I am thrilled!”

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Every reputable raw food brand (e.g., BravoNature's VarietyStella and Chewy's) tests every batch of raw food to ensure it is for free of salmonella and other pathogens and safe for your pets.  However, those preparing traditional (frozen) raw foods for their pets need to be very careful and follow recommended guidelines such as those offered by Primal Pet Foods, a leading producer of raw food products.  They suggest using separate dishes for raw food and washing bowls, counters and your hands after every meal. 

5 OUT OF 5 PAWS

Tips on Feeding Raw:

http://www.primalpetfoods.com/education/safe

A New Look at an Old Stand-by

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If you have a dog, chances are you have a Kong.  If you're like me, you have the red Kong Classic and the black Extreme Kong, which can be one of your handiest toys — even for monster chewers like Labs, Pitbulls and puppies. 

Some people play fetch with them (for which the Classic is great — it stands out in the grass), some like the Kong Aqua for water play and still others say their dog has little interest in Kongs at all.

Well, here's the secret for those who overlook their Kongs — you’ve gotta stuff ‘em!  If you're busy, check out the varieties of Kong Stuff'n that resembles easy cheese, or the new line of goodies such as jerky, sweet potato treats and meat stix.  Other options include plain ground peanuts, sugar-free/nonfat yogurt, or cream cheese.  Freezing a Kong with these fillers extends chewing and fun time for your dog . . . meaning more down time for you.  Make sure to consider your pup’s “Kong calories,” and adjust his or her daily intake if needed to keep things in balance (and his/her waistline trim).

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Kong sizes range from Petite to XX-Large, and there are puppy and senior Kongs for all sizes and teeth densities.  Kong also makes lots of other fun products, from Wubbas and Squeezz toys to a line of squeaky tennis balls.

Details KongCompany.com

Wonder-Product inspired by special needs kitties

Most agree on the problems with kitty litter.  It’s messy.  It smells.  It doesn’t clump.  The clumps fall apart when scooped.  It leaves kitty litter footprints.

And these are just layman’s complaints.  What about veterinary concerns?  Kitties in hospitals may have wounds vulnerable to infection or irritation by contact with traditional cat litters.  But what else is there?

Splinting vs. Surgery = no brainer

OrthoVet’s splint products can stave off expensive surgery and support faster healing

As pet owners most of us despair of our canine or feline companion ever sustaining an orthopedic injury.  Not only do we cringe at the pain our friend is suffering, but also over the high cost for treatment or surgery. 

OrthoVet of Vancouver, WA, offers an alternative for some injuries that can cost much less than — and in some cases eliminate the need for — surgery.