Category Archives: Recommended dog products

Tractive: The latest, greatest GPS dog collar

Some of you may recall Bridget’s big misadventure, when she went missing for 10 hours last year on a cold wintry day and was saved in a daring ravine rescue mission. We really could have used a GPS dog collar back then so I could have just checked on my smart phone and located her in minutes.

Unfortunately the Tractive pet tracker was not yet available in Canada and the best GPS collar tracking technology was still confined to the US. Fast forward to May 2015 and the Tractive is available in 80 countries wherever there is data coverage. Hip hip hurrah!!!

In case you’re wondering, Bridget does have a collar tag with our contacts and a microchip, but neither of those are any help until she has been captured by a human who phones to tell us she has been found. My big worry was always that she would be dognapped or hit by a car before she could be located. The Tractive GPS collar solves that problem.

Prices and subscriptions to access Tractive’s cell networks and track your pet’s whereabouts vary. At the time of writing, Tractive’s cheapest offer was $4.99 per month, but these rates do jump around and if you have a bolting pet they are a bargain when it comes to peace of mind.

Buy a Tractive pet tracker on Amazon

Review: Yeah, fashionable Chilly Dogs Sweaters for sale on Amazon

Chilly Dogs is a Canadian dog wear company which, mark my words, is going to be the next Canada Goose. Dog fashionistas should take note if they want to be ahead of the curve and venture capitalists should get their cheque books out.

While Chilly Dogs make fashionable and functional high-quality dog sweaters, coats, rain jackets, you name it, today I want to focus on the sweaters, which are available on Amazon in the U.S. and Amazon Canada.

This Grey Diamonds model would especially suit a Scottish Terrier:

As much as we’re a fan of the classic Boyfriend model, we don’t think it would work for a black Scottie. It would be better on a Wheaten or a Westie:

This Burberry-esque dog sweater is our current personal favourite and works for any Scottie, black, brindle or wheaten. In fact, we think it would suit all terriers.

Check out the full full Chilly Dog sweater line-up on Amazon. (Or Amazon Canada)

Sherpa bag review: Dog carrier is recommended for frequent flyers

10 tips for for flying with your dog including bag recommendations

Not only is Wendy Rea a frequent flier, so is her Scottish Terrier Haggis. They’ve crossed the U.S. together several times, mostly in the air.

At 25 pounds and tall for his breed, Haggis is a tight fit in his carrier, but Rea says she “couldn’t stomach checking him. I don’t trust those handlers for love nor money, and I’d rather cram him in a bag and know he’s ok.”

Rea, who lives in Los Angeles, uses the large size of the popular Sherpa-brand bag. To get Haggis used to it, she started by putting him in the carrier just before going to bed and now, she says, he curls right up to sleep.

Dog in Sherpa Bag
No one has ever asked to see Haggis turn around in his Sherpa bag

“I used to travel for a living three to four times a week, so I’m a bit of a plane pro,” she says. “I’ve chatted and sat with dog owners on a lot of flights, and we all have had the same experience.”

Here are some of Rea’s flying tips:

  1. Do a flight simulation Take your dog around town and on drives with your carrier both zipped, and partially zipped to help him/her learn not to try to escape, to relax, and to mind you. I carted Haggis through department stores and walking down busy streets in the bag so he got used to it. It ultimately allows you to unzip the top a bit and let them pop a head out while in the terminal. I’ve found security will leave me alone as long as he’s on my shoulder in the bag, lap, or riding on top of my four wheeled suitcase. Dogs are supposed to be able to turn around in their carriers, and technically Haggis probably could if he panicked. However, I will tell you in all my travels, no one … has ever checked or questioned me once.
  2. Look confident My biggest piece of advice is to look like you know what you’re doing everywhere you go in the airport. Carry yourself and your dog with confidence, and you’ll get left alone and it will be over before you know it. Generally, the Transport Security Administration ( TSA) is completely confused by dogs, and when I have asked what to do they stare at me blankly and expect me to know. Don’t ask for help, advice, etc., just be casual and enjoy bringing your (fur) kid along. I do also recommend a four wheeled suitcase like the one pictured, it lets me wheel his heavy square-shaped bottom around instead of carrying him on my shoulder.
  3. Don’t worry about the scanner It’s really pretty simple, whether it’s a full-body scanner or a regular metal detector. Just take the collar off and your pup out of the bag. Send the collar and bag through with the other baggage, and carry your pup into or through the scanner with you, exactly as you would with a baby.
  4. Head for your gate Usually at the gate someone will notice you have a dog and check to see that you paid extra for the ticket, but several times I have flown and no one ever checked the manifest. Not at the gate, not in the plane.
  5. Book the middle seat Research the plane before you book the flight to make sure it does not have a smaller underseat storage area if you are flying coach. Middle seats, sadly, are often your safest bet for ensuring there’s good space under the seat and not some silly box/retrofitted electronics. Aisle and window are often much smaller. Use a bag with a side that can be zipped or velcroed shut as planes can have vents at the floor level which can make things cold as well as stressful.
  6. Upgrade if you can It guarantees a larger underseat area and, in general, less drama. It’s definitely helpful and put me more at ease the first few times I flew.
  7. Research any layover airports If I have a layover, I book through an airport like Dallas, as opposed to Denver, where you have to take a long train ride to get to the outside for a potty break.
  8. Consider (legal) drugs If all else fails a benadryl (check with your vet first) will make dogs sleepy and relaxed.
  9. Make sure you have your papers My sister brings both full veterinary records and a current health certificate just to be safe when crossing borders. She never had trouble getting her Jack Russell in and out of the States.
  10. Do it all again Haggis is a traveling champ, and usually gets a ton of attention while traveling. He’s such a ham, he now loves to fly and gets excited when we break out the Sherpa bag.

Douxo products help itchy dogs: Reader testimonial

Douxo medicated pads can help itchy dogs
More than 90 amazon reviewers give these pads a rating between four and five stars

If you have a dog who suffers from itchiness, you know that it’s not just excruciating for the dog but for you as well. That’s why I took note when a reader made a long comment a month ago that recommended Douxo products. I’m reproducing it here and I’ve added links to the Amazon products mentioned by Laurie. Otherwise it’s exactly how she wrote it.

Douxo products were a godsend for our Scottie Duncan, who came into rescue with terrible, untreated skin issues that had progressed to blackened elephant skin on his legs. He was miserable–always biting at himself, open sores: the worst case of untreated allergies his veterinary allergist said she had ever seen.

She began Duncan on allergen shots after a Rast (skin prick) test: don’t let anyone talk you into the blood test, which does not work for most (any?) dogs. The injections definitely did help Duncan; eventually he had one shot a month.

The Douxo products in conjunction with the shots, though, pushed his healing to a new level. We used the pads (available at Amazon.com: Douxo Chlorhexidine 3% PS Pads) for small areas and ears, and also the DOUXO Seborrhea Spot-on (available in a large and pricey box at Amazon, but in a smaller, more affordable box of 5 at 4petsusa.com), in combination with various medicated shampoos.

I did not think the other Douxo products (shampoo, spray, etc.) worked well for Duncan. These two products we used help the skin rebuild its protective layer, which makes the skin less susceptible to bacteria, yeast, and fungus. Duncan also eventually got cold laser treatments once his allergies were under control, to help heal his terribly damaged skin. It eventually became totally smooth (no more huge wrinkles), white, and in most places most of his hair grew back, too.

The best thing: he no longer scratched and bit at himself, and we didn’t have to use either prednisone or Atopica/cyclosporine, both of which carry significant health risks (prednisone can lead to Cushing’s, which is not unusual in Scotties anyway; Atopica/cyclosporine is an immune suppressant, which is how it works to stop allergies, but this also can leave your Scottie more susceptible to many cancers).

I hope this helps someone! I’ve had four different Scots with allergies. We do use a holistic vet for light allergy problems–currently one of our Scots has mild seasonal allergies, and she gets a glycerite elixir of Passion Flower, Linden, and Nettles. Dried Nettle Leaf (NOT root, which is for a whole different condition!) in powder form (the “cut and sifted” is not fine enough–get the powder) really helps for itchies (works better in my estimation than antihistamines and with no bad side effects). Nettles are also generally very nutritional and our Scots happily eat the powder sprinkled on/mixed into their food. Buy organic in bulk for best product at the best price: you can usually find Frontier Nettle Leaf Powder Organic on Amazon.com; you can also get it on Frontier Herb’s own website. An eighth to a quarter teaspoon twice a day should help with itchies. I’ve used it for years (have had 8 Scotties in my life) with no ill effects.

Hope this info helps someone–Scotties are the best!

Dog wear for cold weather: dog coats, dog boots, paw protectors, more

 

Bridget of the Scottie News in the snow, originally uploaded by scottishterriernews.

Bridget does not wear either a coat or boots in winter. She doesn’t appear to need a coat and while she is sometimes bothered by salty Canadian streets, the only time she has ever gotten really mad at me is when I tried to put some boots on her at a pet store.

Once was more than enough. I gave up and started using paste, which works well but can be a bit messy. I’ve since switched to  Pawstick, which does the trick for Bridget.

If I did use a coat, I’d opt for one that does up the back like the velcro-back model by Fido Fleece shown on the left. Bridget’s pet sitter uses them on his Westies and says they’re the best both for ease of use and warmth. In cold weather you need something to protect the stomach and with Fido Fleece, you don’t have to sacrifice style to comfort. They have  a number of cute designs.

 

As for boots, balloon models are very popular in my neck of the woods although it must be said that a lot of people hate them because they come off and then other dogs eat them, which can cause severe problems and big vet bills. The alternative is Ultra Paws Durable Dog Boots, which pre-date the balloon boots and are highly recommended on Amazon as well as by Canadian dog peeps.

Oh yeah, this is what I wear on my body and feet. My boots were an investment, but they’re as old as Bridget — six and a half — and still going strong. I trade in my down coats every five years or so because I get tired of wearing the same thing day-in, day-out for several months in a row.

Anyway, that’s how we do it here in Canada. Please let me know your tricks for coping with cold weather dog walks. But before I go, one last trick for when it gets icy. This secret weapon changed my life.

Reviews: Andis clippers for smaller dogs

Before buying Andis dog clippers, read these reviews

Welcome to the Scottish Terrier and Dog News, a site I founded in 2007 to bring you high-quality dog news, reviews and information (and other Scottie stuff that’s just plain fun.)

If you’re trying to decide which model  Andis dog clippers you need, the Scottie News can help. I put together these clipper reviews because when I searched for dog clipper info on the web all I found was sketchy, spammy stuff. I know how frustrating that can be and I wanted to help other dog lovers avoid the big time-suck and, instead, quickly and efficiently find the dog clippers that work best for their breed.

Andis Dog Clippers Reviews

Andis: Why professional and home dog groomers love Andis

I was advised to buy Andis Clippers after a friend and fellow dog lover made the mistake of buying a cheap pair and driving both herself and her dog crazy. Once she invested in the right equipment it was smooth sailing and she made it her mission to tell everyone else including me. The right clippers, she said, will change your life — just good set of kitchen knives.

My friend does a major grooming four to eight times a year and her 12-year-old clippers are still going strong. After just two groomings, she had already saved enough money to cover the cost of the clippers. (It cost her $60 a session to get her dog groomed.)

While it did take her a while to learn some of the tricks of the trade — and she admits her dog had a few bad hair days at first — that can, as most of us know, happen with professional groomers too. And I’ve even had professional groomers cut my dog, something my friend says she has never done.

If you decide to start grooming your dog at home, good clippers will help you work safer and faster so consider it an investment. Andis has served many pro and home groomers well. They’ve earned their reputation for customer service and high-quality products.

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Andis 22340 AGC 2-Speed Detachable-Blade Small-Animal Clipper

Andis AGC 2-Speed Clipper Review:

Advantages

  • Break-resistant housing
  • Shhh! A quieter clipper for skittish dogs
  • 2,700 strokes per minute (spm) and 3,400 spm professional blade speed
  • Blade locking mechanism
  • Almost maintenance free

Bottom Line: The AGC 2 is the clipper you need for smaller dogs including Yorkshire Terriers, West Highland Terriers, Scottish Terriers, Dachshunds, Schnauzers, Corgis,. Don’t underestimate the importance of the quiet(er) feature.

Amazon Price: $137.95 reduced from $179.99 BUY NOW

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Andis 63970 PowerGroom Detachable-Blade Small-Animal Clipper

Andis 63970 PowerGroom Clipper Review

Advantages

  • Power, power and more power. 4,500 strokes per minute (spm). Holy power clippers!
  • Light weight to make grooming easier
  • Comes with size 10 CeramicEdge blade and extra blade drive

Bottom Line: Va-va-va groom. Seriously, if you do a lot of small dog clipping or if your dog has a thick coat, these are the Andis clippers for you.

Amazon Price: $157.38 reduced from $182.99 BUY NOW

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Andis 22215 2-Speed Detachable Plus Pet Clipper

Andis AG 2-Speed Detachable Clipper Review:

Advantages

  • Shatter-proof housing
  • Compatible with UltraEdge and CeramicEdge blades
  • 2,700 strokes per minute (spm) and 3,400 spm professional blade speed
  • 3 metre (14 foot) cord and comes with #10 blade
  • Blades are easily detachable
  • Extremely quiet clippers

Bottom line: These are heavy duty dog clippers that will work really well on larger breeds like poodles, giant schnauzers, collies, Australian shepherds, St. Bernards.

Amazon Price: $109.19 reduced from $165.99 BUY NOW

Why buy dog clippers on Amazon?

If you’ve shopped at Amazon, you likely already know they have the best customer service imaginable. For once, the customer is always right.

Their prices are often the lowest and, when they aren’t ask yourself if it’s really worth it to save a dollar or two by going with a seller you don’t know. I can recommend Amazon without hesitation and their dog clipper reviews will help you decided which model of clippers are right for you.

Please leave a comment about your grooming experiences

It’s always helpful to know how things have worked out for others so scroll on down and tell us your thoughts.

From the archives: Does your dog need a Thundershirt?

Stuart the Scottish Terrier in his thundershirt

Editor’s note: Now that it’s spring and thunder storm season is approaching, we thought we’d rerun this piece on the success of thundershirts in treating scaredy dogs.

Handsome and distinguished Stuart of the excellent Scottie Chronicles wants to be the next model for Thundershirt and his guardian Nan is getting out the vote for him. Here’s his story:

My eyelids are getting heavy…very heavy. As you can see, I’m pretty calm, cool and collected. The three C’s: that’s me in my Thundershirt.

I’m pretty dapper, too. My friends all say I look pretty cool when I’m wearing it. Though I look and act like an old man, I’m only six and the most laid back Scottish Terrier you’ll ever find. That is until some big ‘ole NOISE or THUNDER or FIREWORKS SHOW makes me crazy. And it’s getting worse as I get older.

So, the peeps thought they should check out the Thundershirt technology and lo and behold, it’s working. Yep. I’m a toilet hugger during a storm, but when I have this thing on, it’s a lot better.

Cool. Now I can hang out on the front stoop with my peeps during a storm and watch the world go by. That’s what I do best.

I really think a Scottie should be your new star. Really. The big dogs seem to get all the glory. And the itty bitty dogs get all the, “oh…aren’t they cuuuuute!” stuff. That’s fine. But, folks, let’s share the love.

Vote for me. Stuart. The most laid back Scottie you’ll ever see. Thanks! (See, I’m polite, too.) Oh..and yes, that’s white on my chest. I’ve got some white on my belly and back, too. Unusual. That’s me! Unusual Scottie. (All the more reason I should be your “star”!

The thundershirt is based in part on the work of Temple Grandin, noted author, Doctor of Animal Science, and professor at Colorado State University. The thought is that gentle pressure provided by this shirt calms the nervous system.Here’s some more background on how Thundershirts work and a link to buy them on Amazon.

The Scottie News‘ Bridget pays zero attention to thunderstorms. How about your dogs?

Update: Stuart did not win, demonstrating once again that life is not fair.

Bridget loves these Kong squeaky tennis balls

If you decide to try these KONG Squeaker Tennis Balls, make sure you get medium or large size.

And please note that while the reviews are pretty positive, some customers criticize these balls’ durability. Since I just throw them around the park, they hold up well for me. In fact, I always lose the balls before the balls lose their squeak. I also don’t let Bridget have them at home for fear she’d ingest them.

Dogs wearing Tagg Pet Tracker GPS collars

GPS dog collars ensure you can (almost) always find a lost pet

Dogs wearing Tagg Pet Tracker GPS collars
Dogs wearing Tagg Pet Tracker GPS collars: the device weighs 1.1 ounces and is 3.2 x 1 x 1.5 inches . It clips on to the collar.

If you have a runaway dog, consider the new GPS collars which work with smart phones

My six-year-old Scottish Terrier Bridget is a bolter. She’s escaped from our fenced-in backyard, out the front door when we were moving, and on the occasional off-leash walk. The habit has actually gotten worse as she’s gotten older and acquired more confidence about her ability to survive in the big city without her annoying peeps.

Yes, she has a tag with our contacts and a microchip, but neither of those are any help until she has been captured by a human who phones to tell us Bridget has been found. Sometimes, we spend hours worried she’ll be dognapped or hit by a car. That’s why I want to get her a GPS  collar  that will let me locate her right away on my iPhone.

Garmin GTU vs. Tagg Pet Tracker

In the U.S., there are two brands of GPS dog collars that work with smart phones: the Garmin GTU 10 ($200) (shown at left) and the Tagg Pet Tracker ($100) (shown above), both of which are available on Amazon.

Garmin uses the AT&T network and the $200 price tag includes a year of service after which there’s a $50 annual renewal fee. Tagg uses the Verizon network and the price includes one month of service after which you have to pay $7.95 monthly. Those different terms explain the price discrepancy.

With both Garmin and Tagg, you can track your dog (or cat) on your computer or via an app on your smart phone to pinpoint their location. You configure boundaries or what Tagg calls a “geofence” and then if your pet breaches them, you get an email or text letting you know. Or if aptly-named Rover runs off while you’re out on a walk, you just whip out your phone and let the app and GPS system tell you where he’s gone. The range is unlimited — as long as there’s data coverage.

Consumer Reports magazine weighs in

 

Consumer Reports rates Tagg better than Garmin for its battery life. The Tagg Pet Tracker comes with a base station and when the pet is close by, the battery loses hardly any charge. It only runs down on walks, which means that it can hold a charge for four to 30 days depending on how far from home you roam. The Garmin device is charged by plugging in into a computer and, as a result, its battery life tends to be limited to a few days.

Tagg clips to the collar while the Garmin tracker is held in a nylon case which is attached by velcro. According to Consumer Reports, both stayed securely in place.

RoamEO Pet Monitor: $200 with no separate service required

This system works through “a patented combination of satellite and radio signals,” which means you don’t have to give one extra cent to your telcom provider. The GPS unit is contained in an adjustable rubber collar which communicates with a handheld receiver that monitors your pet’s movements and updates continually.

Your unfaithful Fido had better not leave you too far behind, however, because RoamEO maxes out at  half a mile. According to Consumer Reports, the battery charge lasted about 24 hours.

But will my dog like a GPS collar?

All the collars are a tad on the bulky side and, though they’re billed as being okay for small dogs and even cats, it probably depends on what your dog will tolerate. Some users have suggested that any animal under 12 pounds is not a good candidate for these collars.

Cat wearing Tagg GPS Pet Tracker Collar
Hmm, wonder how much this kitty weighs?

Coverage in Canada

The Tagg Pet Tracker is not available in Canada but the Garmin GTU 10 works on the Rogers network with one year’s service included in the price. After that, you purchase additional coverage from Garmin. Here is a map, which shows coverage for Canada.