Tag Archives: Dogs

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.

 

Where’s the Beef?: Hill’s Science Diet Training Treats Review

It was a cold day in November. Early too. Really early. Earlier than I had been up in a good, long while. Early enough so that the sun wasn’t even out yet. Earlier. . . well you get the idea. It was early and I was awake, anticipating one of the greatest moments of my life. What was that magical moment you ask? It was Black Friday at PetSmart.

Now, Black Friday is well known as that short day after Thanksgiving where most major retail stores have deep discounts on big ticket items. Usually a day where people are up and out at all times of night and day, Black Friday is very much its own national holiday at this point in American society. So, with little sleep yet a renewed sense of vigor my family and I set out to be some of the firsts in line when PetSmart finally opened its doors Friday morning. Why work so hard to be one of the first to enter the store? Because you get free stuff, obviously! Employees where handing out free stockings for your pet to the first fifty or so people (I don’t remember the exact number) to come into the store. Christmas had come early, and we hadn’t even gotten to the savings further inside the store! As you can tell (read), I was excited.

After grabbing my free stocking, along with the other members of my family, I headed out to grab a whole list of items. First on the list was dog food. My family loaded up two carts with four thirty-five pounds bags of deeply discounted dog food. Um. . . score! Next came snatching up a new litter box system for our cat (he’s gotten tired of regular litter in his old age). Somehow, picking out a new litterbox turned into also needing to grab a new cat tree, and since the cat trees were right next to the dog treat aisle it only made sense that two boxes of MILK-BONE made their way into our carts as well. After successfully stuffing our two carts and having to carefully maneuver around the store and the hundreds of people currently inhabiting it, my group made our way to the cash registers and finally left the store.

When we finally arrived home I had time to investigate our score and low and behold the stockings were full of treat bags. The dog treats that were included were beef-flavored treats from Hill’s Science Diet. Now, I have heard of this brand of dog food before, seen it mostly filling out veterinarians’ offices, but it always seemed a little pricey and not a good fit for my dogs’ needs. However, who can argue with free treats? So, I decided to try them out and see if Simon or Rosee liked them. Boy did they ever!

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Named Hill’s Science Diet Soft and Chewy Training Treats with Real Beef , these nuggets are small, brown, and heart-shaped. They are slightly hard, so a little difficult to break in half, but they are small enough that they don’t need to be.

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The one downside is that these particular treats have a really strong smell. The minute you open the package you get this robust beef-flavored whiff stuck in your nose, surely strong enough to entice any dog with a nose. While Simon and Rosee certainly loved the smell, I did not. It reminded me of the way hot dogs smell (not exactly my favorite food), so needless to say I haven’t eaten many hot dogs since.

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Beyond the shape and smell though, these treats are quite good dog treats, though I don’t know if I would use them specifically for training purposes. They are smelly enough to get my dogs’ attention and cajole them into listening to me when nothing else works. However, these treats are a little rich, so best given in moderation and therefore not useful for training when treats need to be doled out in abundance. I can tell when my two have had a few too many because Simon starts to let out high-pitched squeals of air from his you-know-what and Rosee’s poo gets just a little too runny. So, while these treats are good and enticing I would caution anyone against handing out too many without expecting a different kind of smell to leak out of your dog. Though my two dogs do have rather sensitive stomachs, courtesy of their Boxer genes apparently, but even if your canine companion doesn’t I would still caution against too many of these Science Diet delicacies. Everything in moderation.

Now, I don’t know how much these Science Diet treats would cost normally, or what size bags they come in. A quick search on the PetSmart website shows a similar kind of treat from Science Diet, in this case chicken, coming in a 3oz bag and costing about $4. Given the fact that the chicken treat bag looks exactly like the beef one I have, I am left to assume the size and price for the beef treats correspond accordingly. So, if you find yourself looking for a new beef-flavored treat to add to your dog’s repertoire these Science Diet Training Treats with Real Beef might just be something worth trying. Or, because my cursory search on PetSmart’s website for these treats comes up empty, you might try the chicken flavored treats instead. Hopefully, chicken treats will be easier on the stomach, even if not on the nose. Happy treating!