It’s Not Just Clean, It’s Tropiclean!

Okay, so that’s not a real product catchphrase, I just made it up. Still, it’s fitting since this week I’m excited to review the Tropiclean Oxy-Med Medicated Oatmel Shampoo and Treatment/Rinse.

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My mom recently bought this shampoo and treatment while she was dog-sitting for my brother. She purchased the two products at a local pet store, but I have found that it is easily available at Petco. My dog-nephew (or is it nephew-dog?) Trigger has pretty dry skin, and my brother recommended this shampoo because it works well for him.

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Trigger is a beach loving dog.

Now, I have to be honest, I was not excited or even somewhat interested in trying a new soap for the pups. They have such sensitive skin, and just about everything gives them hives. In fact, we even asked our veterinarian what would be the best shampoo to use because their skin is so sensitive and he recommended trying baby shampoo, which is supposed to be super gentle. Unfortunately, baby shampoo made Rosee and Simon instantly break out in bumps!

However, lately they’ve both had hotspots on their stomachs that just won’t quite go away. We started using coconut oil and it has helped, but their spots never quite go away completely. So, I gave in and decided to try the Tropiclean shampoo and treatment.

Week 1: First Impressions

When my mom first showed me what she bought I was kind of wary. The locally made bar of soap that we’ve been using lately on Simon and Rosee has been working pretty well, and I didn’t really see any reason to change. Sure, the hotspots on their stomachs haven’t gone away completely, but otherwise they were fine. They didn’t shed or have any flakes, their coats were very shiny, and they didn’t start to smell until it was time to bathe them again. Still, I thought it might be interesting to try this new shampoo and treatment because it claimed to be medicated, and I thought “Wow, if this works it will be much cheaper than buying the medicated shampoo from the vet!”

According to the bottles the shampoo and treatment are supposed to help with itching, hotspots, flakes, dryness, eczema, and shedding. Both are oatmeal-based while containing salicylic acid to help exfoliate the skin, nourishing vitamins as well as fatty acids to moisturize. Honestly, after looking at the ingredient list on the bottles I started to become a bit excited because all of the ingredients sounded amazing. I was sure it was going to be the best bathing system we’ve ever tried. Then, I looked at the directions.

Like most shampoo and conditioner (even though Tropiclean calls this step a “treatment”) I figured that we would have to shampoo the pups first then apply the treatment second. What I didn’t realize though, is that after you shampoo your dog and rinse it out you have to completely dry your dog before applying the treatment, which too needs to be rinsed out. At this point, I almost didn’t even want to try the Tropiclean system because I’d have to dry each dog twice. It may not seem like a big deal, but it is so difficult to dry Rosee and Simon! They barely have any hair, yet they soak up water like a sponge. Plus Rosee really does not like the hair dryer, which makes air drying (after towel drying them first) the main method of drying for the pups. However, I couldn’t imagine letting them air dry for half an hour and then putting them back in the tub to apply the treatment, let it sit, rinse it off, and then let them dry for another thirty minutes. So, we comprised and towel dried the dogs as best we could before applying the treatment and continuing.

Both the shampoo and treatment are heavily scented. To me it smells like a mix of green apples and mango (very tropical, like the name indicates). I don’t think it’s bad, but it is definitely very, very strong. Another thing I noticed right away was the filminess of the shampoo. After I applied some to each dog I would rinse it off my hands and I found that my hands felt dry and like there was a film left on my fingers. I wasn’t crazy about the feeling and certainly didn’t like to think what the shampoo was doing to Simon and Rosee’s skin if my hands felt terrible. Yet, I was hoping that the treatment would help. In general, the treatment did make their fur feel very soft. Unfortunately, Monica was completely grossed out by the feeling of it. It looks just like lotion, but she said it felt weird trying to apply the gloopiness to their wet coats. Still, after applying the treatment, letting it sit, and then thoroughly washing it out I am happy to have noticed that the pups’ hotspots looked a lot better already. They smelled good, their coats felt pretty soft, and their spots almost looked normal. Overall, I was optimistic about this bathing system.

By the end of the week, I have to say I was pretty surprised by this shampoo and treatment. It worked fairly well. I noticed that Rosee and Simon didn’t itch as much as usual, they still smelled pretty nice (not like dog), and their spots looked great. On the flipside, I did find that they shed more than usual, had flakes, and there was some reside left on their skin from the treatment step despite thorough rinsing. Yet, their spots looked so great I’m willing to overlook the downsides for now and continue to use this shampoo and treatment. Hopefully, their skin will only continue to improve.

*Check back next week for an update on the Tropiclean shampoo and treatment bathing system!

It’s Kind of a Funny Story . .

And also a mildly painful one. For me mostly.

You see, I fell. I fell hard. I fell in slow-motion. I felt my foot slide across a slick patch of mud, heard my knee hit the gravel walking path, and could only stare as the ground came into sudden and immediate view. Next thing I knew I was face-planted in mud, less than an inch from a puddle of dirty rainwater, with both of my hands stretched outward clutching the leash as tightly as possible.

Oh, that’s right.

I was holding a leash. A leash that was connected to Rosee.

What was the girl doing while her person took a trip downhill? She was walking a few steps ahead, sniffing out all of the intriguing smells at the park we hadn’t visited in a whole week. She was just minding her own business, blissfully unaware of the pain that was about to befall one of her favorite treat dispensers.

It’s true. I was not pulled, yanked, or dragged down. I simply slipped. Good ol’ human ingenuity at work!

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The only thought in my ahead as the ground got closer and closer was “This is really happening. I can’t believe this is really happening. I hope it doesn’t hurt too much.” Of course, after the shock wore off that last thought proved to be pretty useless. Everything hurt! Young, sturdy, strong, resilient, I don’t care what you call yourself if you fall like I fell then you will hurt (and use it shamelessly to get other family members to buy you things like dinner and milkshakes, you know things that promote faster healing).

As I look back on the fall now, a week later, I often wonder why I didn’t put my hands out to brace myself. Why didn’t I scream as I went down? (I honestly feel like screaming would have somehow made the situation more climactic, right?) I have no other answer than at that moment in time there was nothing that could stop my inevitable fall. Afterwards, even Theresa mentioned that the fall seemed to take place in slow-motion and she wondered why she wasn’t faster (like she could have stopped my descent), but of course the whole episode probably only lasted about ten seconds between slip and full-body impact. There was no stopping this muddy-bloody-tumble train.

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It was just my luck too that the day I took my tumble was the same day there were a lot of my mother’s friends at the park (along with my mother) keeping up with their weekly walking sessions. This was partly the reason why Theresa and I started taking Simon and Rosee to the park on that particular day, because there were more people, dogs, and ambient activity around for them to learn to get used to and ultimately ignore. With so much going on in the park it was the perfect place to keep up with training and make sure our pups weren’t getting complacent on their otherwise regular walking routes.

So, of course “everyone” paid witness to my epic downfall and immediately set to rush over. However, Rosee, who had been faithfully sniffing my face and standing by my fallen body until the shock had passed through my system and I regained enough control of my extremities to sit up, suddenly got protective. She started barking at the approaching helpers, getting very upset and stressed out. To help calm her down, and since I was still sitting on the ground in a puddle, Theresa took Rosee and started to pull her away a little. She needed to put some space between us so that Rosee could relax without being surrounded by strangers. This meant that I had to take Simon and do my best to hold him back. Fortunately, our mother, who was at the park walking with friends, rushed over to take him so that I could regain my wits further and stand.

Now, I get that everyone’s first instinct was to run to me and try to help. My face was bleeding, I was covered in mud, and I basically looked like roadkill. But someone with a dog you don’t know well is not someone you just run up to. As compassionate as your instincts are, coming at a dog and its person is how people get hurt. Even Simon, poor, confused Simon, was getting upset at all of the people trying to surround me and I was left trying to hold onto him until my mother could get to us. (It’s unfortunate, but when Rosee gets really agitated—and I mean really agitated—she can snap without looking and we couldn’t have Simon around her at that moment until she calmed down, so I had to hold him until I could pass him off to my mother.) However, I wasn’t one hundred percent in control of anything at the time and would not have been able to keep Simon calm by myself.

The fact is those nice people coming to help me would have been jumped on, and even perhaps pushed down, because Simon was in an excited and stressed out state and I was in no condition to worry about others. So, instead of running up it would have been safer and more helpful if people could have approached calmly and slowly, asking if I needed help, and then acting accordingly. I know it’s a lot to ask, but even at my lowest it’s important that my dog and other people are not put in unnecessary danger. It’s the same reason that as I fell I did everything I could to not let go of the leash. A loose Rosee in a park is a crazy Rosee in a park, not something anyone is too keen on witnessing I’m sure.

However, someone walking up to me with their dog just to stare at my misfortune and then in turn glare at my protective dogs is not someone (or something) I consider helpful–I’m Looking at You bystander! I kindly ask that in the future unless you find yourself with some sort of help to offer, please ignore me and walk around. I promise you won’t hurt my feelings. But staring at me like some sort of alien creature with an unruly dog will surely get you a poisonous glare and harsh words in return. (And honestly, I don’t need any more help reminding myself to laugh at my pain, I’m doing just fine thank you.)

Finally, after I was able to rouse myself to my feet, accepting tissues from friends to stem the flow of my bloody face, I trekked back to our car to clean myself up a little more and take stock of where exactly the blood was coming from. Oddly enough, I scrapped both my knees, got a small scratch on my right elbow, and ended up with one good gash on my upper lip, but that’s it. Nothing twisted, nothing broken. I didn’t even have scrapes on my hands (or my nose for that matter; I’m not really sure how I missed that, but hit my lip). The bleeding stopped quickly and the worst of “other fluids” I had to contend with was the mud plastered all over my front. And I mean all over. From cheek to shins, there was mud.

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It’s been a week now and my scrapes have become itchy scabs and I walk without any lingering soreness. And if you’ve stuck through reading this story you’re probably wondering what the point I’m trying to make is? The moral of my story?

You will fall. At some point in your life your face will become intimately acquainted with some kind of floor. You may have a dog with you. You may not. Hopefully, you will end up like me with just scratches, instead of anything broken. You may scream. You may have better bracing instincts than me. But you will fall. Learn from it. Laugh at yourself. Make others buy you things. Move on.

This fall is not the first one. Simon has caused some memorable tumbles into the waves during trips to the beach and Rosee has dragged a stunned Theresa a few inches through wet grass in pursuit of those elusive garbage trucks. The two of us have been soaked with sea water, grass stained, and now covered in mud. This fall is not the first one, nor will it be the last and it is not because my dogs are completely unruly or out of control. My dogs are dogs. They get excited, they have memory lapses, and accidents happen. (Their humans also have bouts of terrible coordination and simply fall all by themselves.) Keep the Neosporin close at hand and move on. There’s nowhere to go but up, right?

SPOT Toy Review: Week Two

See SPOT Toy Review: Week One

Week two has passed and it’s time to reflect on how well the hard rubber chew toy from SPOT is fairing under the rule of Sir Simon and Sir Rosee (because she is definitely a knight in this kingdom, not a lady-in-waiting). So, here we go.

First of all, I have to say that the toy is still in one piece. Yep, that’s right. After pretty much daily 30 minute play sessions every evening the toy is still intact. And the way the pups’ play is hard. They each grab an end and pull in opposite directions for minutes at a time. Sometimes one of them will sit and just chew on it for a good ten minutes too, gnawing on it with their back molars very harshly. The toy gets thrown around, bounced off of the ground, and just plain battered by Simon and Rosee who both haven’t quite figured out how to share graciously.

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While the toy is still in one piece I am saddened to say that it does have a few pretty good tears on one side. The tears are all concentrated in one particular spot, probably the result of Simon and Rosee just going to town and chewing that spot continuously during one (or a few) of the play sessions. So, not bad. However, for a toy that touts itself as designed for “tough chewers” and “aggressive chewers” I was hoping it could last for a few more weeks without such obvious damage. Teeth scrapes and scratch marks are one thing, but an actual gouge is another. It would be too easy now for either dog to get their tooth in the opening and begin to tear it open, and there goes another toy. Clearly, neither dog will be getting too much alone time to just chew on the toy anymore, which partly defeats the purpose of the toy, so . . . sad.

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It’s not like Theresa and I just let either Simon or Rosee have the toy without proper supervision, always ensuring someone is around to monitor their play and stop them if they get too rough, or in Simon’s case obsessive with the toy. However, we also know that both dogs enjoy chewing on rubber toys, so we don’t want to deny them such a pleasurable activity. It is just slightly disheartening that after only two weeks this toy is already showing signs of distress. Chewing might have to be scaled back, if only to make the toy last longer. So, while the toy is still a good buy at only $15 and durable enough to stand up to two strong dogs pulling on it and playing with it, there is currently a lot left to be desired about its resilience to chewing. Only time will tell how long it will actually last!

Make sure to check back soon for an update on the SPOT chew toy and any new developments Simon and Rosee are kind enough to offer.

Easter Egg Hunt Update

So, this past Saturday was the day of the Easter Egg Hunt put on by Wag in Sacramento. We’ve been looking forward to this event for a while, as my previous post can attest to, and both pups were super excited.  The sun was shining despite the previous week being mostly rain, the birds were chirping, and the squirrels were out in abundance.

It was, to be totally and completely honest, disappointing…really disappointing actually. The only thing that saved the event from being an utter disappointment was the fact that one of the vendors had a game set up for dogs and Simon and Rosee both won a Nylabone DuraChew.

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Initially, walking through the park towards the event there was lots to look at. There were multiple vendors and even an area set-up to take photos with the Easter bunny.

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We arrived a little early (to make sure we got parking) and after checking-in wandered around the park for a while. Now, the actual park was pretty spectacular. It’s huge, covering about three or four blocks wide with tennis courts, basketball courts, a kids’ area, a rose garden and even a duck pond. Of course, we couldn’t walk too close to the pond because Simon and Rosee would’ve wanted to go for a swim.

However, even the setting couldn’t save the disappointment that was the Easter egg hunt. From the outset, I was a little disappointed because the bag you received when checking-in was just that, a bag. Usually, in the bag there is a bunch of coupons for various pet-related stuff, samples of treats, flyers for other businesses, and (of course) a container with waste bags. Yet, this year all that was in the bag was the requisite container of waste bags and a card with the rules for the egg hunt—rules that no one followed by the way. So, yeah, I was kind of let down by that. Unfortunately, that was only the beginning of my disappointment.

The actual Easter egg hunt was the most disappointing part of the whole event, which was particularly upsetting since that was the whole reason we went to the event in the first place. The main issue was that the space for the hunt was just too small. There were at least 100 dogs there and the field for the eggs was only about 15ft by 15ft.

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When I first saw the space marked out I was kind of confused because it seemed so small. I didn’t know how everyone in attendance was going to fit, and the thing was not everyone did. According to the card with the egg hunt’s rules each dog should have gotten 15 eggs and that there were 1000 eggs out on the field, but that was not nearly enough eggs for each dog to get 15 eggs. I think Simon only got about six eggs and Rosee maybe got about seven or eight.

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To make matters worse, any time Rosee would crack open an egg to get to the treat inside a bunch of little dogs that were nearby would run over and try to steal her treat. Now, Rosee did not react when the little dogs did this, but I could only imagine that some dogs would not enjoy giving up their hard-earned treats. It just boggles my mind why the event organizers would think this set-up was a good idea. Especially because along with being a pet hotel and daycare, Wag has a pretty significant dog training department. In fact, I have long sung the praises of the Wag trainers to anyone who would listen. I pretty much have thought they were the *bees knees* and yet after this event I’m not so sure that I can honestly say that anymore. I feel that trainers should know better than to put a bunch of dogs who don’t know each other that close together when there’s a lot of food around.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not upset about spending the money because all the profits went to a good cause. Yet, I can’t help thinking that I could have saved my gas, and made a donation directly to the benefiting organization. At least that way I could have gotten a tax write off.—That sounded pretty cynical, didn’t it?—I don’t mean to be cynical. It’s just the event turned out to be very different than what I thought it would be, and what it has been in the past.  Still, we did get to see some neat stuff from the vendors and the pups even got to try dog treats made with crickets.

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In an eggshell (*see what I did there*), I’m not sure we will be attending the Easter egg hunt next year. We’ll probably just stick to have our own Easter egg hunt in our own yard. However, let’s hope that for the others that will attend the event organizers put more thought into the set-up of the egg hunt.

Training Time

It’s that time of year again…it’s egg hunting time!

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The annual Easter egg hunt for dogs we attend is just around the corner. (Actually it’s this weekend.) It’s a fun activity for Simon and Rosee, and not just because they end up getting a lot of treats, which they do. In fact, they end up getting A LOT, A LOT of treats. Yet, they tend to enjoy finding and opening the eggs more than anything. Sometimes they don’t even gobble up all the treats before moving on to the next egg. As a human, I enjoy taking the pups because we get to walk around, check out various vendors, get a bunch of free goodies ( everyone gives away poop bags and they can get expensive, you know), and it’s just something different to do.

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In preparation for the big event, the pups have been in intense training. Their sniffers have been exercised, and their egg opening skills sharpened. We’ve been practicing hiding Easter eggs in our backyard, and letting Rosee and Simon find them. Some eggs are easy to find, some are more difficult, but…

Rosee and Simon always manage to find them all.

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I enjoy hiding eggs to hunt for the pups no matter what time of year though, because it’s just a good exercise for them in general. It’s an easy exercise to try with your own dog, and it’s pretty funny to watch your dog open the egg to get the treat.

Wish Simon and Rosee luck for tomorrow.

Check out the video below  to see how Simon and Rosee’s skills measure up!

Make sure to check back this weekend for more photos and an update from the actual event!

SPOT Toy Review: Week One

While on a trip visiting family in southern California a few weeks ago my mother did her due diligence and paid a visit to a locally owned pet store in the area. At this particular store she found quite a few new toys to try out on our pups, but the one that made the cut (and the trip out of the store and back home) is a red, hard rubber chew toy from the company SPOT.

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The toy is rather large for a chew toy; it certainly has a little more surface space when compared to similar Kong toys. It is, like I mentioned, made of pretty hard rubber, so it is not immediately flexible or bendable, which is actually a good thing. It also has three different ends on it, with holes in each end so that (as the packaging states) it can easily float. It’s seemingly durable construction means that the toy is actually a little heavy, so not the best toy to throw around without care.

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It has become something of a delicate balance that needs to be reached when it comes to chew toys for Simon and Rosee. You see, they are strong chewers. Simon cannot be left alone with Kong rubber toys because his teeth can tear apart a brand new toy in just a few minutes. By now he knows the weak points on all of the toys (specifically where the different parts are glued together) and he shamelessly exploits them, tearing apart these toys ridiculously easy.

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However, Kong toys because they are lighter and bounce pretty well make for very good toys to play fetch with. Simon, and Rosee when she deigns to grace us with her cooperation, loves to chase after these toys for at least a solid thirty minutes every evening. It’s just a little costly to constantly be buying new Kong toys every time Simon is able to tear an old one apart and the separate pieces get to be too small and torn up in order to use safely anymore.

So, finding this new rubber toy by SPOT has certainly been an interesting development on the rubber toy front. The packaging on the toy that we got even states that this particular brand is “virtually indestructible” and is made for “tough chewers.” To sweeten the deal the toy only cost $15. Some of the other heavier duty chew toys we’ve found have always been upwards of $20, so finding this SPOT toy for cheaper is definitely a plus. The best part though? The toy comes with a 100% Lifetime Guarantee! If your toy breaks of is chewed up you can take it back to the store and get a new one.

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Clearly, this toy has all the makings of being a really good buy. The true test will be to see how long exactly the toy stands up against Simon and Rosee’s play time. Lots of toys in the dog world claim to be indestructible and for powerful chewers, but most are considered good buys if they last at least a month in our house.

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So, over the next few months (hopefully!) we here at Play Hard Bark Often will be keeping tabs on SPOT’s chew toy and reporting how exactly it is fairing, doing our best to test how indestructible this toy really is. We have high hopes after all, and not just because of the Lifetime Guarantee or because of the heavyweight rubber it is made out of, but because it has already been a week and so far after many rounds of fetch, chase, and just straight up chewing the toy has only a few scratch marks and teeth marks.

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Not bad for one week’s worth of play. But is it just early success?

I don’t know, but I can’t wait to find out!

Check back in next week to find out how Week Two went.