Blog Archives

My Picks & Misses

So I was at a party recently, and of course we started talking about our fur babies.  I mentioned products I liked and disliked, and people were jotting them down (well…typing into smartphones). Yes, I love to research products, check blogs, peruse reviews, and may even go a tad overboard, but then others don’t have to. So why not share my “love them” & “never agains” with Suki’s followers too? I’ll continue adding to the list as I have good or “what on earth was I thinking” experiences.

  • Sporn No Pull Harness – Suki is a little Houdini in every other harness I’ve tried.
  • TagWorks Blingz Collection Personalized ID tags at Petsmart – cute & durable
  • Arm & Hammer Diaper Pail – use it for full poop bags. Garage no longer smells.
  • Unrefined Coconut Oil – great for skin & coat
  • Petzlife TickZ natural flea & tick preventative – powder that goes on food & no harmful chemicals
  • Dremel 200 Series 2 Speed – economical model great for filing nails even for dogs like Suki who becomes a WWE wrestler during nail trims
  • Omega Paw Tricky Treat Ball – still one of Suki’s favorites & durable
  • Simple Solution or Earth Rated poop bags
  • Flat Out Dog Leash by Ruff Wear – adjustable handle can be hand held leash or waist worn leash
  • Nature’s Miracle Stain & Odor Remover – better than anything else I tried –
  • Kong Zoom Groom brush – great dry or wet
  • Bamboo Pet Collapsible Silicone Travel Bowl
  • Kyjen Outward Hound Quick Access Treat Bag – mesh pocket on outside and interior pocket for phone/keys. Can access treats quicker than other bags but stays closed so no spilling.
  • Nina Ottosson Dog Twister toy – can adjust difficulty, Suki loves it
  • Our Pets Atomic Treat Ball – durable & keeps Suki entertained


  • PediPaws Nail Trimmer – spend the money on a real dremel
  • Any standard step in harness at a pet store – I haven’t tried Gentle Leader
  • Jolly Pets Monster Mouth toy – hard to get treats out & Suki gets bored quickly with it
  • Bags-To-Go poop bags at Walmart – No, No, No!! Way too thin. Felt like I was touching poop.
  • FURminator brush – useless & painful on short haired dogs no matter what store employee tries to tell you
  • Citronella bark collars – Suki emptied the whole canister and kept barking. Didn’t phase her a bit.
  • Nina Ottosson Dog Magic puzzle toy – the bones have holes in top & Suki kept getting stuck on her nails
  • Nina Ottosson Dog Maze toy – Suki likes it, but not very durable. I’m always picking up torn off pieces of plastic from it.

Ruff Wear Bark’n Boots Grip Tex

Suki’s Paw Rating (1 to 4 paws)

1 paw print

Hate, hate, hate wearing dog boots!  Nothing personal against Ruff Wear, but hate boots!  Mommy even laughs at me when I try to walk.  Bad mommy! At least I can kick these off easily.  Mommy said I can’t give a zero rating, so 1 paw it is.

Mommy’s Review:

Chicago winters can be not only freezing cold, but also include a lot of snow, ice, salt, and other winter chemicals.  I use a paw balm on Suki’s paws most of the time, but once the snow becomes really hard or we have ice, I want to protect her more.  I bought the Ruff Wear Bark’n Boots Grip Trex to try out.  I chose these in the store because they are reflective at night, very durable, and have a textured Vibram sole which provides Suki with traction….as long as they stay on!  That brings me to the reason why I hate these boots…they never stay on!  The boots don’t come up very far past the base of the paw, so not only do they not protect much of her leg, Suki can easily kick them off.  It doesn’t matter how tight I put the velcro (short of cutting off her circulation), I’m always stopping multiple times during a walk to put a wayward boot back on.  This is a big enough pain inside a warm house, but try doing it in the freezing cold on a snow covered paw.

After retracing my steps and searching for a lost boot in the snow for about twenty minutes one day, I decided to try the sock liners sold by Ruff Wear (for an additional price of course).  I always wondered why Ruff Wear sells single boots on their website in addition to the set.  Now I know it’s because these things come out so easily.  The socks liners come up higher and supposedly help the boot stay on.  So now I’m battling Suki to put on 4 socks and 4 boots. Neither of us is very happy during this process.  The socks help the boots stay on a little better in light snow, but they still come out in heavier snow fall.  Suki can still kick them off as well. I can’t go any smaller in size, or her paws would be squished.  If these boots came up higher, I think they would probably stay on better.  Now you can buy the new taller Polar Trex boots if you want to spend $90…I don’t!  Plus they look like a royal pain in the you know what to put on!

I’ve ordered a set of Muttluks fleece lined boots, since they come up higher.  Once I try them out for a few walks, I’ll post a review.  Wish me luck!


Busy Buddy Treat Dispensing Waggle

Suki’s Paw Rating (1 to 4 paws)

1 paw print

I sniffed it a couple of times, but that was it.  Prefer my other toys.

Mommy’s Review:

I thought this was such a cute toy, so I bought it for Suki as a Christmas present this year.  I was so excited for her to unwrap it!  I put a couple of treats in it, but she gave it a couple sniffs then walked away.  I was crushed!

I left the toy out on the floor with treats inside to see if she was just overwhelmed with all the Christmas goodies.  After a week, the toy was still in the same spot unplayed with…treats and all.  Suki could care less about it!   Now this is very shocking, since she’s torn other toys in her mission to obtain the yummy treat inside.  I think part of the problem is the difficulty in getting the treats out.  The openings are small and tight, so the treats don’t come out well.  I’ve tried shaking it different ways, and the toy has still held the treats hostage.  The package says the treats are dispensed randomly, but so far I haven’t seen a single treat pop out.  I’m going to try and loosen the openings a bit to see if that helps and draws Suki’s interest.  For now, I would say this toy isn’t worth spending your time or money on.  If something changes, I’ll update my review.

Skinny Minis by Fruitables

skinny minis

Suki’s Paw Rating (1 to 4 paws)

4 paws

These treats are my favorite!  Their smell is so enticing!  I make bath time difficult for mommy unless she gives me Skinny Minis during the process.  I could eat these all day long!

Mommy’s Review:

I love these chewy treats!  They’re gluten-free, low-calorie, and have added Vitamin A, C, and E.  Each treat is only 3 1/2 calories and small in size, so they’re great for training sessions without adding a lot of calories.  Suki gains weight easily, so a low-calories treat is a must!

I also use these in treat dispensing toys for play time or as a distraction when I’m leaving the house.  Their size is perfect for all of Suki’s toys except the Nina Ottosson Pyramid (smallest hole ever seen in a toy).  The chewy texture takes her a little longer to eat whereas she basically inhales crunchy treats.  I like that Skinny Minis use organic fruits and vegetables for ingredients versus fattening ingredients found in most treats.  Suki loves them, and I feel good about giving her a healthy treat.  They come in 3 flavors, and Suki recommends all 3!

Monster Mouth by Jolly Pets

Jolly Pets Monster Mouth

Suki’s Paw Rating (1 to 4 paws)

2 paws

This toys is hard to get treats out of!  My treats always fall to the back of the monster, and I can’t get them out. I still like trying though!

Mommy’s Review:

Suki plays with it as a treat-dispensing toy. I like it, but the treats tend to fall into the back of the toy.  The mouth doesn’t open much, so it’s hard for Suki to reach the treats at that point.  I usually have to pick up the toy and shake the treats forward in order for her to continue playing with it.  She does like the toy, but gets frustrated with it.

It’s a very durable rubber though!  No visible marks on it, even after repeatedly being in Suki’s mouth.  The rubber is also non-toxic and doesn’t have that awful rubber smell.  If your dog likes to fetch, then this toy would be a great addition to the toy basket!   It bounces funny when hits the floor which excites Suki.  For treat dispensing, it may be a little frustrating.


Atomic Treat Ball by Our Pets

Our Pets Atomic Treat Ball

Suki’s Paw Rating (1 to 4 paws)

3 paws

I like playing with this toy, but I tore up my first one.  It rolls in all different directions, so I’m entertained until I get all of the treats out.  Sometimes it rolls under the coffee table out of my reach, and I have to wait for mommy to retrieve it for me.  That makes me sad!

Mommy’s Review:

Suki really enjoys this toy!  The unique shape keeps it rolling in different, unexpected directions, which seems to absolutely delight her.   It also provides a good mental challenge for her.

The treat opening is large enough to fit most size treats.  I wish the overall size of the ball was a little bigger because it rolls under the coffee table and gets stuck out of Suki’s reach.  She is NOT amused by that. This would be a great toy for fast eaters too!  Suki inhales her food, so I used to put her kibble in this to slow her down.  She eats raw food now, so no longer a option.

If your dog is a heavy chewer, this might not be the best toy for him/her.  Suki broke off pieces around the treat hole on her first one.  I had to throw it away due to the sharp edges.  It hasn’t happened to the second one, so I don’t know if I just had a bad one the first time, or if it’s not durable.  I’ll update my review if it happens with the second one too.  Overall, I recommend the Atomic Ball for most dogs.

Dog Pyramid by Nina Ottosson

Nina Ottosson Nina Ottosson Dog Pyramid

Suki’s Paw Rating (1 to 4 paws)

1 paw print

It’s hard on my mouth!  The hole is really small, so it’s hard for me to get the treats out.  I get bored of it quickly.

Mommy’s Review:

This toy is alright, but nothing great.  I like that it sways back & forth, so it does require some effort on a dog’s part.  Unfortunately, the hole for the treats is too small.  The majority of treats Suki has don’t fit through the hole.  I have to buy special tiny treats to use with this toy. Even with small treats, Suki has difficulty getting them to come out of the hole.  It’s just so small. She get tired of dealing with it after a few minutes.

I’m not impressed with the durability of the Dog Pyramid either.  Suki’s only played with it a couple times, but it’s showing some serious wear and tear already.  It’s made from a very hard plastic which seems to bother Suki’s mouth too. Overall, not worth the money.  There are much better dog toys out there.

Tricky Treat Ball by Omega Paw

Omega Paw Tricky Treat Ball

Suki’s Paw Rating (1 to 4 paws)

4 paws

Love, love, love my treat ball!  It’s soft on my mouth but durable too.  The grooves make it easy to pick up when I get it stuck somewhere.  I get so excited when mommy brings it out!

Mommy’s Review:

Suki loves this ball!  She starts bouncing around like a kangaroo when I take it out of the toy basket.  This rubber ball is surprisingly tough!  Suki bats it around and picks it up, but you can barely see any marks on it.  We’ve had it for almost a year, and you would think we just got it a week ago.   I also like that it has grooves in it, so it doesn’t roll as easily like other balls.  Suki has to work a little to get the treats out, so it entertains her for quite awhile.

I also like the size because it doesn’t roll under the coffee and end tables.  Suki would get frustrated with other balls when they rolled under a table and became stuck.  The sad little look on her face was heartbreaking.  She doesn’t have that problem with this ball.  The treat opening is also a good size, so majority of treats will fit.  Some of her other toys have such tiny holes, I have to buy teeny tiny treats. I highly recommend the Tricky Treat Ball!

Nina Ottosson Plastic Dog Twister by Nina Ottosson

Suki’s Paw Rating (1 to 4 paws)

This puzzle is fun!  Plus it has lots of places that mommy hides treats.  I give it 3 stars because it doesn’t quite stand up to my nails.

Mommy’s Review:

Suki is a smart dog (sometimes too smart for her own good) and likes to figure things out, so I decided to try out the dog puzzles I’ve see in stores.  I first tried the Nina Ottosson Dog Magic Puzzle.  Um yeah, Suki had it figured out in about 2 minutes…way too easy for her.  There are holes in the top of each piece, and she figured out if she puts her nail in the hole that she can lift the piece off easily.  One slight problem…she winds up with a puzzle piece stuck on her nail and whines to me for help.

She grew bored with it very quickly, so I next tried the Dog Twister. This puzzle has 2 difficulty levels depending on whether you use the bone shaped blocks to lock the openings.  The dog needs to remove the blocks then figure out how to slide open the doors which can move in different directions. I first started Suki without the blocks until she was able to open all of the compartments.  I then added 2 blocks until she figured out that she had to remove the block first then slide the door.  She’s now up to all of the blocks being used.  The puzzle still entertains her after several months.  The only real downside I can think of is the wear and tear on it.  Suki likes to use her nails to open the compartments, so the plastic is really scratched up by now.  Other than that, this is one of my favorite toys for her.

Dag Bones Raw Bones…YUM!

Suki’s Paw Rating (1 to 4 paws)

Yum, yum, yum! Love my raw bones!  Nothing else exists when have one I…including mommy.  But shhh, don’t tell her.

Mommy’s Review:

Being previously neglected, Suki’s teeth weren’t that great when I adopted her.  She had some tarter on them. Due to how she reacted to anesthesia with her spaying, I don’t want to put her under for a teeth cleaning unless absolutely necessary.  I brush her teeth daily, but also heard raw bones can help clean teeth.  I decided to check it out for myself and bought the Dag Bones frozen raw bones.  Now let me state a very important thing…DO NOT FEED COOKED BONES.  They can splinter and cause internal injuries.  If feeding bones, please only use frozen raw ones.

I usually buy the Dag Bag version which is the center cut femur bones.  They have a good amount of meat, marrow and protein.  I tried the knuckles, but Suki refused to stop eating it which led to an upset stomach (lab/beagle mix = furry pig), since they have much more meat on them.  I buy them from a local pet boutique, so I haven’t tried the online ordering from the company.  My local store also carries raw bones by Tuckers, but I’m not as big a fan.  They don’t have as much meat on them as the Dag Bones, and Suki was done with them much sooner. I’ve noticed a big difference in her teeth, and so has the vet!  The chewing action against the bones has scraped away much of her tartar.  As an added bonus…they entertain her for quite awhile!  That means I can actually post blog entries without enduring the battle of Suki vs. the laptop.  In fact, she just finished chewing on one for awhile and is now fast asleep!  Apparently, it’s exhausting work to clean a bone.

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