REVIEW – Equafleece Dog Drying Suit. A bit crackers but brilliant!

pippa-for-blog

They say a picture paints a thousand words and in this moment it’s fair to say that Pippa was less than amused by my latest purchase! However, I’m happy to report that since then, the Equafleece has come good and is well on the way to being my most sensible purchase ever. So, why on earth have I put Pippa in a fleecy suit? Let me explain…

Pippa is one of those dogs that’s wet and muddy within 30seconds of hitting the outdoors. You can wring the water out of her ears and paws, her sopping tail has painted endless feathery patterns on the furniture and wallpaper. She is essentially a menace to housekeeping.

I rent my house so cannot remove the carpet and I don’t have a large kitchen to let her dry off in naturally. She dries slowly and smells of wet dog even after she’s dry. It’s tiring and messy and you just don’t have time to faff with a soggy spaniel when you have to work full time. So, after much frustration and with the house in tatters, we head to Equafleece.

I decided I wanted something with legs to cover Pippa’s heavy feathers and something she could wear indoors to dry in rather than something to wear outdoors. This is because she gets in brambles and is very active so I thought a coat would most likely snag or annoy her. This is what we bought:

Equafleece Dog Suit – From £28

Described by Equafleece as – 100% Rainproof, Breathable, Warm and Washable. The Equafleece® Dog Suit has become one of our best sellers, a four legged garment for all over protection from the wet, improved drying and extra warmth. There are no buckles, straps or velcro, and the area between the back legs is open so as not to interfere with bodily functions. 

Negatives

  • Price – Prices start at £28 but for Pippa it came in at £41! I know, it seems a crazy price but after some serious doubts about paying so much I am glad I went ahead.
  • Ruffled fur – Again not a big issue but Pippa’s fur naturally likes to get matted so after taking the coat off, I very quickly run a brush over her to make sure no fur has started to get tangled. I think she also likes the feel of the brush after having her fur covered up. With a normal dog this wouldn’t even be a consideration though.
  • They look so funny! – Not really a negative but at first I was howling with laughter as Pippa looked at me with a very clear eye rolling sort of expression as I commented on her ‘pyjamas’.

Positives

  • Effectiveness – After a muddy walk in the rain, I hosed Pippa outside so she was drenched. I asked her to shake a few times then roughly frisked her over with a towel before plonking her in the suit and letting her in the living room. No wet got out from the suit and her body heat dried her in less than half the time it usually takes. I am really pleased by how well it works.
  • Practicality
  • Once Pip was dry, the suit was also dry. Even more surprising, neither smelt of wet dog! It’s designed to wick away excess heat so we haven’t had issues with that.
  • It’s easy to put on/remove but you can pay extra for a zip to be added if you have a dog with severe mobility issues.
  • The suit doesn’t appear to need frequent washing as it seems to magic away any dog smell and we’re not using it as an outdoor option, only as a drying coat.
  • The suit is cut so if used outdoors, they can go to the loo in it.
  • It’s also is handy if your dog is being taken out in a fancy car belonging to someone that’s car proud. Covering your furry pal in fleece can put the anxious car owner’s mind at ease 🙂
  • Choice – The sizing is clear and there’s plenty of colours and even fur collars if you want to get fancy. I’m not a fan of dogs in ‘clothes’ so choose a practical dark brown. There’s a slimline option for whippets, slim springers etc and bespoke sizes can be ordered but I haven’t tried this service. There’s also standard coats without legs etc if a full suit is more than you need.
  • Pippa, after an initial bout of face pulling now loves it and happily sleeps in her suit until she’s dry.

The verdict I adore this suit and only regret not buying one last year. The quality is great, Pippa is happy and the difference it’s made to how quickly I can get out of the house in the morning is priceless.

Score – 10/10 – Would love it to be cheaper but it’s made such a difference to my day to day life I can’t really say less than 10. Also considering buying one for Bess who doesn’t get wet but does seem to feel the cold more as she’s getting older. I think this could potentially be a better option than leaving the heating on for her!

You can buy it here if it appeals to you!

As always, this was not sponsored, I bought the suit and wanted to share what I thought. If you have any questions or would like to see something specific reviewed, do leave a comment or get in touch on Facebook.

See you soon, from Pippa, Bess and the human staff xx

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Toileting in the house and how to stop it!

pippa looroll

We were asked on our Facebook page how to deal with your otherwise delightful pooch toileting in the house and eating their own poop -ick!

Pippa had these exact problems when she was rescued but we were able to put things right without shouting at her, smacking her or doing anything other than setting some guidelines and giving her loads of praise. We start by tackling toileting in the house – here’s what we did.

Going in the House

Health check – Confirm there are no underlying health issues, (such as water infections), that could be contributing to the problem.

Food – Make sure the food you’re giving is nutritionally balanced and isn’t causing an upset stomach or going straight through them (ask if you’re not sure). Brands like Bakers are pretty much a dog version of junk food. With the right food they will actually poop less! While training, just give them their lunch and dinner, no extras or changes to the brand of food.

The routine – Most adult dogs need to go to the loo about 4-5 times a day; during training it could be more like 6-7. You need to give your dog a regular opportunity to get outside, you can reduce it down slowly as they learn the ropes.

  • When you wake-up, before you do ANYTHING , take your dog out to the spot you want them to use . You may need to hang around with them but when they go, give loads of fuss and praise. You have to make a big fuss every time they go to the loo outside, you look mad but who cares!
  • If possible feed twice a day at a regular time – Consistent meal times help your dog to get into a routine.
  • After every meal, take them back out to the spot
  • Before bed, take them out for last wee.
  • During the day – Watch like a hawk for signs they’re about to go. If they start wandering around or squatting, let them out just incase.
  • Always let them out before leaving the house.

Our routine was:

  • 7am – Let outside
  • 11am – Food and walk
  • 3pm – Let outside
  • 7pm Food and walk
  • 11pm Let outside
  • Inbetween – Let out if she looked like she needed it or we were about to leave the house without her

If you catch them in the act

Say ‘no’ and clap. It may surprise them into stopping, then get them outside quick. If they don’t stop, still take them outside afterwards. DO NOT yell at or threaten them. It will only make them anxious and it will probably make matters much worse.

If they’ve gone in the house but you didn’t see it happen

DON’T yell at them or rub their noses in it. They won’t understand why you’re shouting and it’s been proven this does not help the dog to learn. If anything, it just makes them afraid of you.

Clean up with an enzyme cleaner designed for the purpose. These will help to discourage your dog from going in the same place again. We used this range when Pippa was being trained but there will be others: Stain and odour remover

Other things to consider

Patience and Consistency – Everyone in the family has to follow the same routine and approach even if you have people over and you’re embarrassed. A confused dog learns nothing.

Your dog will make mistakes! You’ll think you’ve cracked it then they’ll seem to go backwards. Stick with the routine and they will get there. They will want to please you so it’s important you help them to succeed. If you leave them for longer than they’re used to or feed them new food or treats, you can’t be upset when they have an accident. Remember – they’re not doing this to annoy or challenge you.

Fear – Some dogs are worried about going outside. You may need to put better lighting outside or stand with them while they build their confidence, even if it’s raining. Some dogs are happier going away from home so try and get your dog out for a couple of walks a day.

Access to the house – Pippa tended to go in little used areas of the house like the dining room so we made sure she had no access to these areas overnight.

Commands – When Pippa started going to the loo outside we’d say ‘Go toilet’ (or whatever phrase you choose), once she’d learnt this we would take her out and tell her to go.

If Pippa started pacing and looked like she wanted to go to the loo while we were inside, I’d say, “Do you want to go out?”. In time she responded to this by spinning or woofing to indicate I was right. Any time your dog indicates they want to go out by sitting by the door, walking up to you and pawing at you etc, do it immediately and praise them for telling you. Pippa now informs me when she wants to go out and life is a lot easier!

Cleanliness – Scoop any poop from the garden quickly. Some dogs don’t like going when poop is building up in an area and anyway, it’s pretty gross 🙂

Hopefully this has been helpful. Pippa was a horror at first but she never has accidents now. Any dog can learn this if you stick with it and train in a kind and positive way.

Any questions? – leave a comment or get in touch on Facebook

See you again soon – Bessie, Pippa and the human staff xxx

REVIEW – Pets at Home Reflective Dog Jackets

reflective final

Are reflective coats for dogs and LED harnesses a bit much? I thought so until I saw people crossing the road either dressed in black and essentially invisible, or dressed in reflective clothes themselves without realising the dog walking ahead or behind them on the lead didn’t have a chance of being seen by oncoming traffic. I think this is important, here’s why:

1 – When drivers see us early, they often adjust their speed and road position. I’ve avoided being splashed by standing water and drivers are clearly better prepped to react if one of the dogs unexpectedly steps into the road or lags behind when crossing.

2 – People cycle on the pavement (especially in the dark), they shouldn’t but they do and a collision wouldn’t end well.

3  – If your dog goes for a wander, it’s a nightmare trying to pick them out in the dark; you’ll definitely be wishing they were more visible and less earth coloured. If they stray towards a road, it gives them half a chance of staying safe.

4 – Not all dogs like other dogs! It’s a huge help if everyone can see dogs coming so owners have time to secure reactive dogs ahead of meeting.

To improve our visibility, we’ve started with reflective coats. We headed to Pets at Home where they have a range called ‘Reflectives’ by the brand ‘Dog Walk’. We didn’t want to spend a fortune so we looked at the cheapest option, the Lightweight Vest.

Dog Walk Reflectives – Lightweight Vest – £5

vest

Described as – lightweight, reflective trim and easy to adjust. It’s essentially a fine yellow material vest with some chunky reflective strips over the top and sides. There’s a velcro strap at the front and under the stomach. It looks like something you’d wear for directing traffic in a carpark.

Negatives

  • Fabric – The main fabric isn’t reflective but is quite a bright yellow, (a bit like a highlighter pen). If you happen to have a mud-magnet spaniel or a dog that goes off-lead, the fabric gets wet and dirty pretty quickly, making the vest considerably less visible. After all the mud, you discover it’s wipe-clean only.
  • Size – The shape and sizing left me feeling like it had been designed by someone that had read about dogs but was yet to meet one in real life. We couldn’t get one to fit Bessie, they were far too big at the sides, not long enough and just all wrong for her somehow. Pippa ended up with the medium (says for Beagle/Scottish Terrier/Dachshund!) which doesn’t cover her nearly as much as I’d like, but the large was like a tent.
  • Shape – As it’s a vest it only partially covers the body; from behind and in-front you don’t get any reflection but from the side it’s great.
  • Look – Pippa looks ridiculous in it, like a sort of doggy site-foreman. Obviously I don’t care so long as she’s seen.

Positives

  • Reflection – The reflective strips are chunky and quite slippery material so mud doesn’t seem to stick to them. They definitely pick-up the light of a torch or car headlight with ease.
  • Practicality – It’s easy to put on/remove and it fits over a harness fine. There’s no hole to thread the D-ring of a harness through but we’ve been able to use it with our harness without a problem.
  • Pippa is totally oblivious to it and isn’t restricted by it.

The verdict 

This is great if your dog hates proper coats and happens to fit the weird sizing. Obviously, unlike something with LEDs, it only works if a light source hits it so you need to decide if that’s enough for your needs. For us, it has certainly been a lot easier to pick Pippa out with the torch when she’s mooching in a field and she’s more visible when crossing the road. At £5 it has been a worthwhile investment but I wouldn’t pay more.

Score – 7/10 – For 10 I would want to see better sizing, a more dirt-resistant and washable fabric and for it to cover more of the body.

You can buy it here if it appeals to you!

As the vest didn’t fit Bessie, we then tried a proper coat from the same range:

Dog Walk Reflectives – Rip-Stop Jacket – £12-£15

coat

Described as – Reflective trim, shower-proof, fleece lining, easy-adjust. Unlike the vest, this is an actual coat. It fastens with velcro at the front and under the stomach. It’s a yellow and grey fabric with a small amount of reflective piping around the edge.

Negatives

  • Not entirely fit for purpose – This has no business sitting in the ‘Reflectives’ range. It has a very small amount of reflective piping which is far too little in the first place and gets worse when the jacket is dirty. Bessie is black and tan and is easier to spot in this jacket, however it lacks the vivid colouring of the lightweight vest and isn’t picked-out as strongly at distance. If it’s called ‘Reflectives’ I think it should offer a decent amount of reflection. The strips used on the vest would have been ideal. NB – the above pictures are a bit misleading. The coat is not that bright to the human-eye and that is right under a torch.
  • Size – A little short in the body for Bessie (terrier) but it may be that she’s an odd size.

Positives

  • Water-resistance – We got caught in the heaviest rain imaginable; I was genuinely soaked to the skin. The coat is sold as shower-proof, not waterproof but not a single drop got though. She was bone dry and if you’d experienced that rain, believe me, you’d be impressed!
  • Practicality – The coat has a zippered hole in it to thread through the D-ring of your harness. As it’s a zip rather than stitched, it’s not going to rip and you can close it tightly up to the D-ring to stop water seeping through.
  • Bessie’s feedback – Bess hates coats but now she’s older, she seems to appreciate the furry lining on this and stays out longer on walks as a result. It’s clearly cozy but I think it also reduces the scratchy sound that non-lined coats can make. It’s very light and has the honour of being the first coat she hasn’t tried to remove or constantly shook to get comfortable in.

The verdict 

If you walk at dusk and keep your dog on a lead/extender lead and want them to be a bit easier to see then this is fine. However, I think it needs to be pared with an LED collar or additional reflective items for true night-time walking. If you’re walking in the dark and/or letting your dog off-lead I don’t think this is bright or reflective enough.

Reflection aside, as a standard coat this is good for the price. It’s made well and although very light, it’s great in the rain and enough to give a coat-phobic, older or thin-coated dog a bit of warmth without over-doing it.

Score

As a reflective jacket – 5/10

As a standard jacket – 9/10 as the sizing isn’t right for us but huge kudos for getting Bess through that rain-storm. If we can get this coat in a less garish colour for the day-time then we definitely will.

You can buy the coat here

We’ll be looking at options to make Pippa and Bessie more visible in no-light conditions so we’ll let you know how we get on.

If you have any questions or have suggestions about how to stay safe this winter, please leave a comment!

We’re not paid to feature any products; items were purchased with our own hard-earned cash so this review is a true representation of our experience. 

See you next time, from Bessie, Pippa and the human staff x

PS – we’re going to be blogging a lot more and would love it if you followed us on Facebook to keep up to date 🙂

 

REVIEW – Dog Harnesses – EzyDog and Pets at Home

Both Bessie and Pippa wear a harness out on walks, there’s a couple of reasons for this:

  • Both dogs tend to pull with the power and tenacity of small Victorian steam engines so inevitably, a collar puts enormous strain on the neck and risks injury whereas a harness should spread the load.
  • A harness is stronger and seems to give you more overall control than a collar. Harnesses are also easier to get hold of if your dog falls into a canal and can’t get out (yes, this is the voice of experience!).

After much testing, we have two different harnesses for Bess and Pippa and each meets a different need.

EzyDog Chest-Plate Dog Harness

What Does it Claim to Do?

‘…The ergonomic and super comfortable fit of the EzyDog Chest Plate Harness is celebrated by dogs all over the world (we’re guessing!). The Chest Plate distributes the load evenly across the dog’s chest rather than the throat, to make walks enjoyable for both you and your furry companion’.

harness

Quality The first thing to say is that it feels like a quality harness. The material is very thick, the stitching is strong and the clips and D-ring are reassuringly sturdy. We’ve had ours since December and it’s been to the beach, in ponds, through brambles and in the washing machine without complaint. Pippa is a serious puller and it has shown no sign at all of giving way under the strain. It also dries quickly which is a bonus with a springer.

Ease of Use It’s really easy to put on, you simply put one paw through the gap on one side, pass a strap under the belly and clip at the top and pass the other strap around the front and clip. Pippa is very excitable and wiggly but compared to many harnesses this is pretty foolproof and there’s no awkward threading through of straps to deal with.

Comfort This is where it gets complicated! The main feature of the harness is a thickish padded plate that sits, (as the name suggests) on the chest. It feels quite inflexible at first but it quickly reshapes itself to fit the contours of your dog. Pippa seems to find it comfortable and it doesn’t restrict her movement at all when she’s off lead. She has swam in it and runs considerable distances without complaint. There’s been no sign of rubbing etc and she’s always eager to get it on as she knows it means a walk!

BUT, there is a problem. We tried this harness on Bessie a few years ago and unfortunately we had to return it. Bessie has quite fine fur on her underside and this meant the material was too rough for her skin and it began to rub and leave red marks on her under-arms (can you say dogs have under-arms?!).

Looking back now, we don’t know if the fit was wrong or if Bessie has quite sensitive skin. However, as Pippa isn’t a heavily furred dog and loves the harness I don’t think it will be a problem for the vast majority. If your dog has very fine fur it’s just something to consider.

Extra Features

Light reflective stitching – doesn’t reflect a huge amount but is handy

Car restraint attachment – These aren’t cheap so a good addition and I wouldn’t travel without a seatbelt restraint. I prefer the ones that clip into the seatbelt clip but this one does the job.

Price – £18.84 -£24.77 includes seatbelt strap worth £4.99

Overall score: 10/10 


Pets at Home – Mesh Comfort harness

What Does it Claim to Do?

‘..Our Comfort Harness has been carefully designed to keep your dog safe when out and about on walks. Made with soft yet durable passing for extra comfort. Recommended for dogs up to 18kg’

harness 3

Quality This is a cheaper harness and it certainly doesn’t feel as high a quality. As Bessie pulls, we find the stretchy part of the harness becomes too big over time. After several washes, one harness split slightly at the seam. However, it’s a soft harness and with a strong dog it no surprise that they don’t last forever.

I wouldn’t use this harness with a heavier dog as although it’s never let us down, it just doesn’t feel as reassuring as the EzyDog. For Bessie (7.5kilos) this works well and we just replace them more regularly. It dries reasonably quickly when hung-up but needs a regular wash to keep the mesh part smelling fresh.

Ease of Use The soft part goes over the head, then a strap goes under the belly, through a tab at the top and then clips. The threading the tab part is a bit fiddly, especially if you’re wearing gloves but it’s generally straight-forward.

Comfort Very soft and has caused no issues with rubbing. For a dog with thin hair or easily damaged skin it’s a good choice.

Price – £8-£10

Overall score: 7/10 

In Summary – EzyDog is a high-quality product and is worth the money. It looks like it will last for a long time and can withstand any amount of abuse! The Mesh Comfort harness is great if a soft touch is needed. However, it isn’t ideal for a strong dog and will need replacing more frequently than the EzyDog if your dog pulls a lot or likes getting tangled in brambles etc. 

If you have any questions please leave a comment.

We’re not sponsored to feature any product, items were purchased with our own hard-earned cash so this review is a true representation of our experience. 

See you next time!

from Bessie, Pippa and the human staff x

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REVIEW – Vet Solutions Ear Cleansing Solution

When we rescued Pippa, the springiest of springers, we noticed she shook her head quite often and was scratching her ears which had quite a distinctive musty/yeasty smell. The vet diagnosed an infection and issued us with the standard Canaural treatment. She also suggested taking some of the hair off her ears to reduce the weight and to encourage air circulation (more on that another time).

After a second infection followed hard on the heels of the first, we decided to try a regular ear-cleaner. The cleaner we tried, ‘Vet Solutions – Ear Cleansing Solution by Vetoquinol’ came with glowing recommendations from another spaniel family so we had high hopes. Before we go any further, two important notes:

1 – You cannot clean your way out of an infection. If infection is present, you need specific treatment like Canaural to stop it. Left untreated, infections can cause all sorts of issues. Cleaning is a preventative measure only.

2 – We’re not vets, just a family with dogs that are trying things out. Please seek professional advice if you are in any doubt at all about your dog’s symptoms. 

Pippa looks on with horror at Canaural, the standard treatment for ear infections.

ear

What Does the Cleanser Claim to Do?

‘…specially formulated to deodorise and gently clean, dry and acidify the ear canal. This provides an environment which promotes maintenance of healthy ears, and aids in the prevention of external ear infections’

cleanser

The Pros and Cons

Cons:

  • Price – at £26.85 (£11.84/100 g) + £4.12 delivery on Amazon, this is not a cheap option for regular use. However, it’s made in Canada for an American company so it may not be as pricey for those of you outside the UK and if we’d researched a bit more we may have found it at a better price.
  • Application – Since using this, when we say ‘ears’ Pippa runs to a corner and puts her paws over her ears – seriously, this really happens! She hates the liquid going in but finds the swabbing out with cotton wool fairly satisfying. If your dog is like Pippa, you need a deft hand and some high-value treats if you don’t want your dog to hate you for half an hour after application. The big problem with this is it puts you off cleaning as often as you should and that’s really essential to get a good result.

Pros:

  • Results – The musty smell was gone and you could see the results on the cotton wool. So far for us at least, regular application has prevented more infections.
  • Application (again) – Although a pain to do with Pippa, it was quick and easy with terrier Bessie. The ears seemed to dry quickly and after the initial shock of application, there was no ear scratching and head shaking, it was just the weird sensation of liquid in the ear that caused a problem.
  • Habit forming – Regular application encourages you to check your dog’s ears carefully. On more than one occasion this yielded surprises such as bits of thorn that would otherwise have made their way into the ear or got mushed into the ear hair. It’s good practice with any dog to check them regularly for hidden nasties.

Overall score: 8/10  – in conjunction with trimming the ear hair this has worked but it’s expensive and with Pippa, it’s a battle to apply.

In summary, we’re sticking with this as long as it remains cost-effective. In terms of use, with Bessie the terrier application is only needed once every one or two months; with Pippa it needs to be weekly and after any swimming or dunking in ponds etc. The cost is worth it for now to avoid infection, but we’ll be looking out for something that does the same thing for less.

If you have any questions please leave a comment. If you know of any alternative cleaning products we’d really love to hear your suggestions.

We’re not sponsored to feature any product, this was purchased with our own hard-earned cash so this review is a true representation of our experience. 

See you next time

from Bessie, Pippa and the human staff x

Welcome to the Rescue Pooch world!

Who are the Two Rescue Pooches?

Bessie:

Bessie

A Border Terrier/Parsons Jack Russell cross. She is 10yrs old in March 2015 but is still full of terrier mischief! She found her forever home with us in November 2011. She’s progressed from a nervous dog with no interest in small furries, to a proper terrier with a very keen eye for a squirrel.

Pippa:

pippa

An English Springer Spaniel (ESS). Pippa is approx 2yrs old but we’re not sure exactly. She was rescued in December 2014 and at three kilo’s underweight she was quite a sorry sight. She’s now reached her target weight, has some gloss in her coat and a serious spring in her step!

We’ve tried and tested all sorts of food and toys (can anything survive a spaniel and a terrier?); we’ve got ideas on where to walk, what harness to use and plenty of other things so we thought we’d share some of our findings with you.