testing the new furminator for long-haired dogs


A long-haired, giant dog: doesn’t that sound like grooming fun? Well, we have two of them — Fluffy Mastiffs who have long, thick hair and weigh 180 and 140 respectively. For obvious reasons, I was happy to test the new Long Hair Giant Dog deShedding Tool from FURminator. We already had a regular-size FURminator that works pretty great, so it was nice to compare the two. The most obvious difference you can see above: the Giant Dog tool is wider to make the work a bit faster. The second nice bit is that it comes with a push-button so you can quickly drop the hair that builds up in the tines without breaking your stride. Dahlia, pictured above, is a lot less shaggy and a lot more pretty in the “after” photo on our patio (and you can see some of the prize-winning take of hair we pull off her, too). Disclosure: I was sent a FURminator tool to try out for free, but these honestly are my favorite tools. A lot of hair comes off the dogs fast, and I’ve noticed a lot less in the house since they got spruced up four days ago. You can find the right tool for your long-haired pup at the FURminator site, about $40-74. Thanks, FURminator! — Mary T.

From our partners

steal this idea: wine crate cat bunk bed


It’s no secret that our cats, Honky (top) and Orville (bottom) rule the roost. The furniture is all theirs really, from the bed to my desk, and every inch of space in between. Even though they’re not wanting for cozy nap spots, I couldn’t help but augment their existing favorite wine crate bed into a deluxe double decker model, so they could share the coveted window spot by the heater vent without any scuffles. All I did was drill some holes in the crates and attached them with wood screws — two on the bottom and two on the sides to attach the base to the second crate, and then four on the top crate. It is sturdy, but just in case our heavy-footed and clumbsy boy Orville may knock it over, I put a heavy rock at the front of the bottom crate to offset the other side and create more stability.

I’m really pleased with the result, and as you can see, the cats don’t mind it either. I’d like to do a few more things to finish it, sew some coordinated cushions, maybe line the vertical crate with jute or rope so they can scratch on it, and my husband has suggested perhaps painting it. What do you think? Have any ideas to jazz it up and complete our new piece of pet furniture? — Megan B.

From our partners

dog-sitting 101: tips on watching friends’ dogs


I don’t have any pets currently, but I adore pretty much every dog that crosses my path. Chances are that if there’s a dog within my sight, I’ve already forgotten who I’m talking to and am wondering if it’s going to get close enough for me to pet! Since I don’t have a dog of my own, I often watch my friends’ dogs when they’re out of town. It’s nice company for me, gets me moving more regularly with their walks (and runs!), and gives my friends a sense of security that their sidekicks are well cared for when they’re away.

Since I’ve been doing this for a few years, I’ve come up with a list of questions and a checklist of things to make dog-sitting easier on the owner and myself. Click to see my tips!–Rebecca F. (more…)

From our partners

gift guides 2010: the animal lover

pet gifts!

I consider myself a comrade to all ani-pals. From tiny and scaly to huge and slobbery, I love all my four-legged friends. If it squeaks, sheds, or slithers, I want to cuddle it. Everyone has at least one cat-hair-covered animal lover on their Christmas list and, just in the nick of time, here are all my picks for them. Read on and set your phasers to cute! –Katie D.

cat bank

From the nerds at ThinkGeek comes the Mechanical Kitty Coin Bank ($30). Probably inspired by everyone’s favorite boxhab (rehab for cardboard box addicted cats) frequenter Maru, the Kitty Coin Bank features a thrifty tabby who nabs the coins left on her box top with a heart-melting “mew”.

seed bomb

If the animal lover in your life has a green thumb, kill two (proverbial) birds with one stone by stuffing their stocking with Dog and Cat Friendly Seed Bombs ($7) by visualingual via etsy. Each bag contains five seed balls specially picked to appeal to your furry companions including cat grass, wheat, oats, and rye.

ferret bowtie

Some people say it’s the clothes that make the man- so how does that apply to man’s best friend? Loyal Luxe wants to make your doggie dapper with their Pedigree Bowtie Collars ($18). Prefer pocket pets? Get your ferret a bow tie ($5) from etsy user iamjewel.

contemp cat corner

Upgrade your kitty’s scratching post with a Catemporary Car Corner ($249) from The Refined Feline. Ditch the ugly, rope-covered variety of cat furniture for the sleek, sculptural look of this modern cat tower. The shelves’ cushions Velcro to the platforms and unzip for easy cleaning and the tower itself comes in four different finishes to match your kitty-friendly home.

best friends

If there is only one present you can afford to get that animal lover in your life, I guarantee they will adore my last pick! Consider sponsoring one of the animals from Best Friends Animal Society – a no kill shelter in southern Utah that on any given day is home to over 2,000 cute creatures. Choose from hundreds of ani-pals including cats, dogs, bunnies, pigs, birds, wildlife, or barnyard pals. Opt for a one-time donation (starting at $25) or be a guardian angel with a monthly recurring donation (starting at $5 a month). Once you pick out a lucky pet to sponsor, Best Friends will email you a downloadable photo and story from the animal who’s life your gift helped change.

From our partners

hey, dog breath! i need help (plus a dog bed update)

dog breath

First, an update on the K-9 Ballistics bed: amazing! Not a single shred, and thanks to the fabric, the bed looks cleaner, too; definitely shows the mastiff drool much less. I just washed the cover for the first time, and that Velcro closure is super heavy duty. The bed’s insides are good, too: sewn with buttons to keep its shape. We are calling this a win.

Now to the latest challenge! One of our dogs’ many nicknames is “Chum” since they’re our pals, but on certain days it’s also an apt descriptor for their breath. I recently heard an ad for Just Magick — have you tried it? Any other dog breath remedies you’d like to share? — Mary T.

From our partners