Tag Archives: bathing dogs

Update: What does it mean exactly to be Tropiclean?

I know that it’s taken quite a bit longer to produce this update on the Tropiclean bathing system. Originally, I intended to do a week-by-week review for four weeks and share my thoughts on how things were going. However, after the second week of using the Tropiclean shampoo and treatment system I was convinced that I did something wrong.

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In my initial review I was cautiously optimistic about the Tropiclean system. After the first time using it to bathe Simon and Rosee it really seemed to help their hotspots on their stomachs, they smelled great, and felt super soft. I did notice a bit of extra shedding, but I wasn’t really concerned…at first.

The second week of using the shampoo and treatment did not go well at all. We (meaning me and Monica) used both products the exact same way, yet afterwards the pups didn’t look nearly as nice. In fact, their coats looked very dingy and dull and they felt kind of grimy. They were gross.  The whole ordeal was terrible. So, naturally I assumed that we didn’t do something correctly. I was assured that we messed up some way, shape, or form in the bathing process. Maybe we didn’t let the shampoo and treatment set for long enough? Perhaps instead of waiting for five minutes we only waited for three? Did we not rinse them thoroughly? Seriously, I must have done something wrong!

Unfortunately, as the week went on Simon and Rosee just looked worse and worse. They were shedding like crazy. You couldn’t even touch them without your hand coming away with a handful of dog hair. Moreover, their skin was extremely flaky. I thought they were going through a purging phase, mainly due to the salicylic acid in both the shampoo and the treatment. (I know I’m comparing dog’s skin to human’s skin in this instance, but I’m grasping at straws for an explanation.) By the end of the week I was ready to bathe the pups again to see if I could stop the madness!

Sadly, baths for week 3 passed and week 4 came and went and there was no improvement in Rosee and Simon’s skin. In fact, their shedding problem and flaky skin just seemed to get worse. Pretty much immediately after they were done with their baths and completely dried they were covered in flakes and anytime they even moved it was just hair everywhere. I mean, they were just washed, but I didn’t even want to touch them because their skin was so gross.

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It didn’t seem to matter how well we rinsed them to ensure all the soap was gone or how long we left the shampoo and treatment on them to ensure penetration, nothing made a difference. We gave their backs an extra scrub with the grooming mitt and spent a whole extra minute rinsing them, but it was mostly all for nothing. I’m pretty disappointed because I wanted the Tropiclean bathing system to work so much! I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.

Now, before I give my final opinions, I do have to be honest about another issue that popped up while using these products. Of course, I can’t say specifically that the Tropiclean products caused this particular issue. At the same time, this issue didn’t start until we started using these products. So what is the issue you ask? The issue (I know, seriously, how many times can I write that word?) is that Simon has started to react badly anytime we go to put either of the products on him. He sort of gives off a warning growl and curls his lips a little, which is sooo not how Simon acts. Luckily, in these moments he can be easily distracted with treats, but I don’t like that he has this reaction in the first place. It is almost as though he’s telling us that he doesn’t like the way the products feel on his skin. Again, I can’t prove that the Tropiclean products are 100% to blame for this bad reaction of Simon’s, yet it didn’t start until we began using this bathing system. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions…

In my honest opinion I wish I had never used the Tropiclean shampoo and treatment system on Rosee and Simon. Before using these two products the pups had never had problems with shedding or flakes, yet after using them their skin has been nothing but flakes and major shedding issues. Plus, both pups are still pretty itchy and are constantly scratching and licking their sides and necks (two major itchy spots for them).  Then, there is Simon’s obvious dislike of the products and I just can’t justify buying this again. I actually don’t even want to continue using it, but I also hate the idea of wasting a something that was paid for. The only pro of using the Tropiclean system has been that it did get rid of their red hotspots on their stomachs. However, it seems that we traded one problem for at least four more!

I guess to be Tropiclean means to be anything but clean.

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 Gross Story: Coconut Oil Review

The other morning I found myself explaining to my mother the “simple” bath routine that Theresa and I follow every Friday morning for the dogs (as long as the sun comes out at least). It goes like this: 1) wet dog down, 2) lather coat and underside with coconut oil and let soak for about a minute, 3) rinse off oil, 4) shampoo dog and scrub, 5) rinse off, 6) scrub again to get loose hair, 7) rinse final time, 8) ring out and dry. And because they both remain damp, Simon and Rosee get put out in the backyard to play and dry off completely, because honestly, no one really enjoys the smell of wet dog lingering around. So ends the bath routine of Simon and Rosee. (See also An Itch, A Scratch, and Shampoo for the old version of bath time.)

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Just because a bath makes her look pretty doesn’t mean she still won’t fight it.

Why such a drawn out routine complete with numbers and steps that go beyond lather, rinse, dry? Well, it’s kind of a gross story.

You see, Simon and Rosee get what I have always called hot spots. On their bellies and pretty much all along their entire undersides both pups end up with bright red dry spots that tend to pop up quite frequently when they have been indulging in the California sun a little too much. After our morning walks or running around outside for about forty minutes both dogs will start sporting these red spots, and so ensues the licking. In order to soothe the red dryness Simon and Rosee will lick non-stop as a way of trying to negate the lack of moisture. However, all this licking does is exacerbate the problem and leave them even drier and more angry-red looking underneath.

This past summer the red splotches got so bad that something had to be done. Rosee got cranky at being told to stop licking that she would hide in order to lick. Simon confronted all attempts to stop him with angry growls of frustration, and at one point he just completely refused to go to bed in his kennel at night because the residual warmth in it made his spots so uncomfortable. The poor boy and girl really were pathetic sights to behold, so Theresa and I set out to finding something, anything that could soothe the pups for good. The answer, thankfully, came quite swiftly and inexpensive.

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Any guesses?

One night after doing some research Theresa suggested coconut oil. Apparently, coconut oil is safe to give to dogs and to put on them topically. Now, I’ve been reading about the virtues and graces of coconut oil for some time, though I have to admit my reading has been for more personal care. I know that coconut oil is great to cook with, can be used on hair’s perpetually dry ends, and softens dry skin. However, I never thought that those same virtues could be put to use for the canines in my life. But boy (girl), has it made a difference on those named Simon and Rosee!

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Melted goodness.

Initially, both dogs’ undersides were just rubbed down with coconut oil multiple times a day so that the oil’s moisturizing properties could get to work quickly, reversing the worst of the red splotches. Soon, Theresa started slowing giving the pups tastes of the oil, working her way up to about a tablespoon each. It really wasn’t an issue though since both went crazy over the stuff. (They go so far as to recognize the jar alone, and it’s enough to get them salivating.) Simon and Rosee gladly accept their spoonful every morning, licking the ground for any ghost drippings. Finally, came the addition of coconut oil to their weekly baths. And let me tell you, not only does the oil keep their undersides moisturized, it makes their coats so incredibly soft and shiny. Both dogs have been prone to some flakes, which is why they are also bathed with an all-natural soap bar, but the addition of the coconut oil only makes the soap work even better so that there are no flakes, no redness, and no end of the week smell. Coconut oil truly has been a great addition to our lives.

IMG_2297IMG_2298Now, I don’t think there’s many rules as to what brand of coconut oil is best. All I know is that organic and unrefined is what you need. Something about being organic and unrefined having the greatest benefits to the uses my household has put them towards. In fact, the brand that Theresa and I have agreed on is the store brand from Target. Aptly named Simply Balanced, the oil is specifically designated as organic, unrefined virgin coconut oil. It’s relatively inexpensive at about $7 for 14 fluid ounces, always in stock, and seems to be of good quality. It smells like coconuts, melts easily, soaks in completely, and leaves everything it touches feeling nice and soft. In fact, Simon loves the smell of it so much he tries to lick it off of himself and won’t leave me alone until I’ve washed it off my fingers after putting it on him.

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They’re so in love!

It’s been about a month that the pups have been getting doused and ingesting the oil and their coats have never looked better. They feel soft, smell good, and it definitely helps keep angry red splotches at bay. The first jar of coconut oil we bought lasted about three weeks, quite a while considering it was used up on two good-sized babies that lapped it up like it was going out of style. So far coconut oil has become a great, natural, inexpensive, go-to remedy in our household and it’s worth looking into if you are trying to help your lovable canine’s coat look and feel better, both for his/her comfort and yours.

Panting Through It: Ways to Beat the Heat this Summer

I knew summer was on its way, I guess I just didn’t quite realize that it was already here! Recently, the temperature has spiked into the 100s. For days. Of course, we make sure to turn the air conditioning on before it gets too warm and to keep the house cool, but in my house the air conditioning is not something we like to leave on for a long time. Generally, it’s used to cool the house down and then it’s turned off at night before we all go to bed. Unfortunately, despite the blazing heat, both Rosee and Simon expect their daily walk in the morning, and Simon still requires his afternoon play session. The problem still remains that it is too hot. Now, I don’t mind playing with Simon, but when it’s so warm outside it is not great to play for an hour. The cement is hot which can be dangerous for the dogs’ paws, Simon gets winded easily, and too much time in the sun can mean a longer time to cool down. Therefore, I am going to share a few tricks on how you and your dog can beat the heat this summer.

Trick #1: Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate.

Much like humans, dogs need to stay well hydrated, especially over the summer. Most dogs don’t have any problem drinking water. If they’re thirsty, they’ll drink water. Just like if they’re hungry, they’ll eat. However, during the summer there are a few important things to keep in mind when it comes to ensuring your dog is well-hydrated. Drinking water, while significant, can be harmful if too much is ingested, particularly at one time. So, in order to avoid this, the best thing to do is to give your dog water breaks over a period of time. For instance, if we take Rosee and Simon on a long hike or something of a similar nature we make sure to bring water for them and every so often we all take a short water break. This way the dogs stay hydrated throughout the whole walk. Also, while I know it can be tempting for your dog if they see a water puddle from a sprinkler or run-off, I don’t recommend letting them drink from these puddles. Rosee always likes to look for a puddle while we’re out on walks, but I can never be sure what’s actually in the water. Maybe there’s soap (if someone was washing their car) or run-off from lawns which could d have things in it such as fertilizer. So, just to be on the safe side, if you don’t know where the water came from and if there’s a chance that there could be something foreign in it, don’t let your dog drink it.

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Trick #2: Exercise early in the morning or later in the evening.

Even when the weather turns warmer, exercise is still a must for most dogs, especially dogs like Simon. Normally, I like to take Rosee and Simon for walks in the morning anyways, but during the summer we sometimes have to go even earlier than usual. Where we live it can get pretty hot (we’re talking in the 100s for multiple weeks). As a result, it gets too hot to go in the afternoon, and by the time it’s cooled down enough in the evening it’s too late (I don’t like walking when it’s dark out). Plus, I enjoy going in the mornings because for me it’s a natural energy boost. Either way, whether you go for a walk or play with your dog it’s important to avoid peak sun hours (I think it’s about 10:30am to 4pm). Along with avoiding the hottest part of the day, because it’s just not good for anyone to be outside when it gets that warm, it’s also important to watch out for your dog’s feet. While the pads of their paws are usually pretty sturdy, they can still be vulnerable to extreme weather conditions. The general rule (as far as I know) is that if the ground is too hot for you to walk on it barefoot, then your dog shouldn’t be walking on it for prolonged periods either. That’s why it’s best to exercise in the mornings before it gets too warm, or later in the evening after the sun has gone down.

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Trick#3: Find ways to engage your dog inside.

While daily walks can be rescheduled to more accommodating parts of the day, the same can’t be said for Simon and Rosee’s playtime. Every day around 5pm Rosee and Simon awake from their afternoon naps and decide that it’s time to play. The problem still remains that the sun hasn’t quite set and it’s still pretty warm outside. Yet, both dogs still expect to play.  Consequently, I’ve had to come up with ways to entertain them inside. Unfortunately, playing fetch inside the house is out because there’s not really enough room and Simon’s not great at paying attention to what he might run into. Although, if Simon and Rosee don’t get any playtime, they start to wrestle, and being part Boxers that can involve a lot of jumping up, which again, there’s really not enough room for. Ultimately, I’ve found the best ways to entertain the dogs while inside include giving them bones they can chew on, rope toys because they can both pull on an end (and they tend to tire out quickly) and it doesn’t take up a lot of space, and training practice. Besides the bones and rope toys, training practice is helpful in keeping Rosee and Simon entertained as it’s mentally stimulating and helps build good habits (since, you know, training your dog is really never ending).

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Trick #4: Rethink treats.

Most dogs love treats, mainly the edible kind. Simon will eat just about anything he’s given or stolen. He especially prefers tortillas, particularly the homemade kind (he’s weird like that), and while Rosee loves special treats as well she can be somewhat pickier about what she puts in her mouth. Nevertheless, treats during the summertime can take on a whole new meaning.  Ice is always a good treat during the summer, especially if you’re trying to keep your dog hydrated. Sometimes after their morning walks I’ll set out a bowl of ice for them to help them cool down more easily. Other times I just put ice in their water trough, although it’s mostly for my own amusement as Simon likes to bob for each piece of ice.  Also, during this time of year seasonal produce can make excellent treats. For instance, try a nice dog-friendly fruit salad. Rosee and Simon particularly love strawberries and bananas, and recently tried blueberries for the first time. Simon wasn’t too sure about the blueberry and actually spit it out a couple of times before deciding to eat it. You could even freeze bananas and strawberries to serve as a cold treat. Point is: get creative. Dog treats can be more than milkbones.

Trick #5: Take shelter.

Besides water, another summertime essential for a dog is some type of shelter. Particularly, if your dog is left outside when you’re not home it’s important to provide them with some type of shade or dog house. Personally, I prefer the igloo-type dog houses because they stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter. In addition, we have a covered patio so there is ample shade in our backyard. Still, when it gets to the days where the temperature reaches the 100s it’s best to stay inside. Originally, Rosee and Simon were outside dogs, meaning that when we weren’t home we left them outside in the backyard. However, due to circumstances (i.e. neighbors, and weather) we now leave the dogs inside when we aren’t home. Frankly, over the summer it’s just too hot outside to leave them there during the afternoons. I know leaving your dog inside isn’t for everyone. Some dogs aren’t used to holding “it” for long periods of time or maybe you’re afraid they’ll get into too much mischief. I would probably recommend then kenneling your dog while you’re gone. Otherwise, make sure that if your dog is left outside when it’s hot they have shade, shelter, and plenty of water.

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Trick #6: Throw a pool party.

Of course, when it gets too hot outside and the air conditioning just isn’t doing enough the best thing to do is have a pool party of course. Whether it’s a kiddie pool or an actual full-sized pool, taking your dog swimming or splashing through it can be fun, and a good form of exercise. Rosee and Simon absolutely love water, just not when they’re getting bathed. They love splashing around in the waves when we go to the beach, swimming in the river when we visit the local park next to the Sacramento River, and will not stay out of the pools at the local dog park we sometimes visit. Simon is a natural born swimmer. The first time we took him to the Sacramento River he went right into the water and took off. He couldn’t get very far since he was on a (very long) leash, but he swam around for about an hour before coming back in to the shore. Rosee, on the other hand, is a splasher. She’ll only go as far as she can touch the bottom, and loves chasing the waves at the beach. Overall, it’s just another way to have fun with your dogs, and it’s most fun when it’s warmer outside.

Rosee and Waves

Trick #7: Wet your dog down.

I know this may sound strange (or maybe not), but stick with me on this one. Due to the fact that dogs do not sweat they have to cool down in a different way, hence why they pant. Another way to cool them down though, is to get their paws and bellies wet. Now, I know what you’re thinking, and yes, dogs are similar to pigs in this way. However, instead of rolling around in mud (even though Simon would probably do this if he could), dogs typically will roll around on grass (since it’s usually cooler) or step through puddles of water. Or some dogs may be like Simon who just puts his front paws in his water trough, and if he’s really warm he will paw at the water in order to splash it on his stomach. Basically, getting your dog’s stomach and paws wet can help them cool down or at least keep them cool for a little while.

Rosee Bath

So there are my tips for beating the heat this summer.

It may be hot outside, but there are still ways to have fun with your dog(s).

An Itch, A Scratch, and Shampoo

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Yes, Rosee and Simon get bathed on our front lawn. Not only do the dogs get clean, but the grass gets watered.

Rosee and Simon get bathed pretty regularly. Do they enjoy getting bathed? No. Do I enjoy having clean dogs? Yes. Usually every Friday I spend the day cleaning, which means the couch covers, dog bed covers, kennel beds, and dog towels/blankets get washed, the dogs get bathed, and the living room gets vacuumed. I like doing this once a week because it helps keep the dog smell away, and if I didn’t plan a day for it all nothing would ever get done. You see, I am not a big fan of messes and am pretty good at cleaning up as I go. However, homes have a tendency to become dirty just through living. And while I love my dogs to pieces, I don’t love the permeating dog smell that comes with them if they don’t get bathed every once in a while. Plus, Rosee and Simon tend to have fairly sensitive skin and so bathing helps keep their skin at its best.

About two summers ago Simon developed a really bad skin allergy to something in the environment and his back erupted in bumps. We took him to the vet and were told that he has allergies and if we notice his bumps coming back we could give him some Benadryl. (Of course, I recommend you talk to your vet before giving your dog any sort of medicine because they know best, and at least with Benadryl, while dogs can take it, the amount is based on a dog’s size. Still, make sure to talk to your vet before you give your dog anything that’s not prescribed.) Unfortunately, at this time his bumps were so severe that he needed to go on a stronger medication, and he was also prescribed KetoChlor, a medicated shampoo. We were directed to give Simon a bath with this shampoo twice a week for about three weeks and then once a week after that until his bumps went away. Luckily, with medication and this shampoo Simon recovered quickly, but since then we always keep a bottle of the shampoo on hand because when I say their skin is sensitive, I mean it’s Sensitive. Pretty much anything makes them itchy, and any shampoo that was tried only seemed to make them break out more (even baby shampoo, which the vet originally recommended for their sensitive skin). So, at first I was a little skeptical of this new shampoo, but I gave it a chance.

KetoChlor is a medicated shampoo that claims it is for dogs, cats, and horses.IMG_1407 Of course, I’ve only tried it on Simon and Rosee so I can’t say if it works for cats or horses. It is supposed to help “delay…irritation” and “disrupts micro-organism colonization on the skin.” According to the directions once the bottle is shaken thoroughly, you can work it into your dog’s coat, let it sit for 5-10 minutes, and then rinse it off. It’s simple enough, but be warned that this shampoo does not soap up very much and therefore it can be kind of difficult to spread around. Also, this shampoo tends to be a bit pricey and is only available, from what I’ve found anyways, at veterinarian offices or online. Now, normally, I wouldn’t mind spending the money on a quality shampoo as long as it really made a difference in Simon and Rosee’s skin, but when it feels like I have to use almost a quarter of a bottle on just one of them during one bath it can quickly become an expensive habit. Furthermore, while the shampoo seems to help both dogs’ skin from being too irritated when allergies or other environmental factors hit, it doesn’t really keep their coats clean for very long. Typically, their weekly bath keeps them pretty clean and smelling nice until their next bath, but with the KetoChlor I felt that within a couple days Rosee and Simon could have used another bath. IMG_1416Their coats looked dingy, felt grimy, they had a lot of flakes, and the dog smell made a return. Then, if you add in the amount of shampoo used in one bath and the price of it, it just wasn’t practical to use the KetoChlor as the main bath time shampoo. Plus, my mom found a locally made, all natural bar of soap that is made up of about five different oils, and has worked out much better for the pups, but that’s for another review.

Overall, if your dog has sensitive skin and needs a little more than just flea medicine to keep the itchiness at bay then I would recommend trying the KetoChlor shampoo. I don’t use it all the time for Rosee or Simon, but it comes in handy when they get bumps from seasonal allergies, or after spending a day at the beach (sand flies) or the river. However, if your dog’s skin tends to be on the drier side, like my dogs, or if it’s a bit too pricey for you (which I understand since dog stuff can get expensive), then I would recommend finding something else for bath time.

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Watering the Dogs: A Water Trough Review

Simon hates bathes. Simon loves water. Simon loves to spill his water bowls and get himself soaking wet. But Simon hates bathes. Go figure.

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About two summers ago when Rosee became a new and permanent fixture in my family’s life one thing became painstakingly clear. Two medium silver bowls (otherwise made for feeding) filled with water and left in the backyard for Simon and Rosee were not going to cut it. Even before the family adopted Rosee, Simon had started to make a habit of knocking over his water bowls because he much rather liked to play with his water than drink it. At the time we would often leave Simon safely secured in our backyard if we were only going to be gone for an hour or so, and every single time we returned we found him dripping wet and his two water bowls clear across the yard. The silly boy was always super thirsty and would lap up a bowl of water once we refilled them, but every time we left him alone he would dump them nonetheless. Clearly, a solution was needed. It was summer and he couldn’t be without access to water, not to mention the amount of water we were wasting because of his escapades. A solution became even more paramount once we got Rosee and realized that the water bowls tipped over even faster than before. While Simon liked to play with the water, Rosee was more enamored with the bowls themselves (see Pawndered Thought March 9, 2015). So, off to the pet store we went.

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Unfortunately, the local pet stores offered few options besides slightly bigger water bowls. At one point my mother bought the dogs a stand (similar to this one), thinking that Simon and Rosee would leave the bowls be if they couldn’t get to them. Yeah. . . . it worked for about a day until the two decided ripping apart the plastic stand was more fun than running around after their water bowls. Water ended up all over them and the bowls were still used as playthings, along with that poor, poor stand. On with the search.

It wasn’t until my mother had dragged my sister Theresa and me to our local hardware and gardening store that I discovered gold, or at least the canine-water-bowl version of it. While perusing the planter aisle I came upon a simple oval grey planter that was about two feet long, one foot wide, and one foot deep.

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Now, I know what you all are thinking: It’s a planter! But it was also the perfect size for a dog’s water trough. More specifically, this particular planter was the perfect size for two headstrong mutts to fit their heads in at the same time, and heavy enough when filled so that those same headstrong mutts could not flip it over or drag it around the backyard as a toy. The instant I discovered the trough I had a Goldilocks moment, ready to shout to the world “This one’s just right!” The trough was perfect, especially with its reasonable price of about $25, and has continued to be a great buy for Simon and Rosee and their rambunctious ways.

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Anytime Simon decides to make a mad dash for the trough, with or without his toy, he always manages to make it with his two front feet in the water and yet the thing never moves. Both square heads fit in the trough at the same time, making drinking water easy and comfortable. The trough also holds a large amount of water, important when you have dogs that like to drink their weight in water (seriously, Simon has to be told to stop sometimes). Though it gets heavy when full, the trough is still movable (by a human), easily contending with the roving sun throughout the day. All in all, the trough was an awesome buy that certainly gets a lot of use, making its introductory price totally worth it.

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The only problem (if you could even call if that) with the trough is that it has to be washed about once a month. Because the trough does holding standing water it occasionally gets little green spots along the bottom, but these spots are easily taken care of with a little dish soap and a paper towel. About once a month, otherwise as necessary, I’ll empty out the trough, give it a good scrub with aforementioned soap and towel, and rinse it out leaving it good as new. Simon and Rosee particularly enjoy the filling it up part, loving to drink straight from the nozzle.

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I guess they like their water best when aerated, such posh dogs!

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Point: get creative when it comes to finding necessities for your dog. Don’t just go to pet stores, but look around you at hardware stores, gardening stores, and anything else there is in order to find whatever it is that you need for your dog. If my mother hadn’t of dragged me with her to buy even more replacement flowers (because Rosee had already pulled up the ones originally planted with Simon as her willing accomplice) I never would have wandered down the planter aisle and found the trough that has faithfully served the dogs for the past two years. I would have had to continue dealing with wet dogs and scattered bowls, instead of knowing the peace I now have. Simon and Rosee would not have the comfort of always available water, even though they are no longer left outside alone (entirely different reasons apply). And above all, Simon would not have his own little pool in which to cool his feet and toy.

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His nose is currently stuck in the middle of his toy. Perhaps the water tastes better when lapped up through blue rubber.