Honest Reviews

Honest reviews from dog owners who have bought and tried products.
We don't get paid by anyone for these reviews, but if you see your product here, we're open to getting freebies... just sayin.


Rug Doctor Spot Cleaner

Remember when I was reviewing all of the Bissell spot cleaners and bemoaned the lack of other manufacturers jumping into a pretty lucrative and much needed spot cleaner market?

Well, look who threw their hat in the ring.


Known for their high end (and very heavy) professional rental machines, Rug Doctor seems to be going into a more affordable home version of their popular steam cleaning equipment.  Will the downsize (and lower price) affect its cleaning capability?

The timing couldn't be more perfect, as the Bissell SpotClean Pro that was pretty amazing, died a horrible death from a severed suction hose only a year into using it (I swear I don't beat these things, or swing it by the hose, or do anything other than suck up foul dog mess) but the general time of death for these things seems to run about a year.

I happened to find the Rug Doctor Spot Cleaner on Amazon and bought it... along with a two-year warranty... just in case.

Right off the bat, who designs the containers?  Most people are only born with two hands, so creating containers that don't stand up on their own makes filling with water, pouring the cleaner in, then screwing the top on a task that even circus performers would have difficulty with.  The clean water/soap container is pretty large, holds a lot.  The dirty water container has two holes at the top, so don't tip it when you walk to dump it out.  Let me repeat that in bold DON'T TIP THE DIRTY WATER CONTAINER IN ANY DIRECTION WHEN WALKING THROUGH THE HOUSE TO DUMP IT.

The bottom of the dirty water container unscrews for easy cleaning.  The instructions say you can stick your whole hand in there... if you have small hands.  I have small hands... I'm not sticking my hand in there, so use a bottle brush to scrub it out (and make sure you store that someplace else so you don't wash your bottles and glasses out with it... euw).

There are two "on" switches.  The top switch turns the suction on.  The switch on the wand turns on the little massaging brushes that will massage the ick out of your carpet.  You use the wand like any other spot remover wand, squeeze to spray, slowly back up to suck.  For dog people, the massaging brushes really do pull up that fur!

For convenience, the machine has a handle to carry it, but it also has wheels and a telescoping handle (like for luggage) to drag it around if you can't carry it.  The cord is pretty long, and the wand and hose loop around the handles easily and stay in the cradle nicely.

I've used it for new "spills" and it only takes one or two swipes to suck everything up.  I've used it on more set in stains and it takes a few more swipes to get it up, but overall it does a great job spraying and sucking up the liquids.  I'm using the Bubba's Steam Cleaner fluid in it.

If I had a choice between the Bissell SpotPro and the rug doctor, I would probably go for the Rug Doctor, even though the SpotPro had better flat bottom containers.  Of course, if the hose rips or it dies in a year, I may change my mind.  Cost is about the same for both, so I guess I have to wait to see just how long it lasts for a full review, but right now, based on the pros and cons, I'd still give it:

4 Paws up.


Bubba's Super Steamer Carpet Cleaner

Having puppies and then senior dogs has its challenges and those challenges come in the form of bodily functions.

Whether housebreaking a young pup, or dealing with senior dogs who forget their training, just can't hold it, or have mobility and/or memory issues, there will be lots of cleanup involved.

Most of the urine removers on the market require you to apply it and let it set until it dries.  That's not a problem, but if you read the fine print, it warns you to keep your pet off the wet spot until it dries.  That's a problem!  You don't want something bad for them just sitting there for hours and hours, so it's not the best solution in the world.

Another problem is that typically you have to spray the solution on.  That gets tiring (hand crampy, cranky, half the time the solution starts spurting out of somewhere it isn't supposed to spurt) and in my experience, a lot of these solutions smell worse than the problem its supposed to solve.

Now what?

Here's what!
Bubba's Rowdy Friends
Bubba's Super Steamer Carpet Cleaner 

Oh sure, I was dubious about this having spent a ton of money on other steam cleaning liquids that merely masked the smell with another smell, so I shelled out some bucks and got it from Amazon.

It comes in a 32 oz bottle and I figured "how long can that last" but actually you only put in 1-3 oz (3 for those really bad smells, stains, and ick) and steam clean like normal.  This product is like those others where you need to let it dry on its own, but hey, you're steam cleaning, so of course the carpet will be somewhat damp when you are done, so that's fine and dandy.  Even better, the only warning on the bottle is to not let children drink the solution.  You and your pets can walk on the wet spots without fear of injury or illness, just don't chug the bottle.

It has a smell, but its not overly flowery, or overly chemical laden and the aroma fades quickly.... along with the stink you are trying to remove.

It's not like a normal carpet shampoo, so don't expect any foam, but it does clean, it does remove most stains, and most importantly it removes the stink.

You can also use it in Spot Bots and the soon to be reviewed Rug Doctor spot cleaner for quick clean up.

I also purchased the Pet Stain and Odor Terminator spray to use on pee pads.  Once the dog pees on the pad, you spray the Terminator on the pee pad, then throw it in the wash.  It helps remove the smell, get rid of stains, and when used with your regular washer detergent, your incontinence pads come out clean and fresh smelling.

Use the Pet Stain and Odor Terminator when you first discover the accident, then follow up with the Super Steamer Carpet Cleaner, and your house will smell great.

I highly recommend the Bubba products, and give them both 4 paws!



Bissell SpotBot

Yes, yes, it's another Bissell review.  Well, if the other companies made a device to clean up pet gunk, we'd review it, but I haven't even seen anything by another company that claims to be "just for pets" like the Bissell products, so those companies are totally missing out on a lot of customers.  (if you have a device you want reviewed, then send me your review... I dare you).

Anyway, the husband loves the concept of anything that will remove pet ick without actually dealing with it, so the obvious choice was the SpotBot.



This unit allows you to clean nasty messes in two ways: set it and forget it, or use the wand.

The tanks are a pretty good size, but the clean water tank is large enough to do about 2 cycles with the "Surface Stain" setting, and 1 cycle of the "Set Stain" setting.  There's actually some cleaning liquid left after 1 "Set Stain" setting, which drives my OCD crazy.

You fill up the clean water tank with water and then with cleaning solution.  This product only uses the small cleaner fluid.  NEVER use the full size cleaning fluid in this.  Husband destroyed a Little Green Steam Cleaner by putting the full size cleaning fluid it in, which foams more and we had a LGSM that had foam coming out of everywhere, including the motor... it wasn't pretty, but it was funny.

Once you have water and cleaner in the clean water tank you simply plop it on the spot in question, plug it in and select the surface stain or set stain button and walk away.  Little brushes start scrubbing the area and dispensing cleaning liquid, sucking it up and rinsing as it goes.  The surface stain setting takes about a minute or so, the set stain takes longer and uses a lot more cleaning liquid.  Once it is done, it beeps to let you know it's done.

We had an older model that would beep forever if you didn't hit the "Stop" button.  While it is handy to be reminded about it, the non-stop beeping made you want to beat it with a ball bat.  The newer models only beep twice.  It is a three beep... wait... three beep reminder.  I'm guessing too many were beaten with ball bats, but from a capitalist point of view... more sales.

Once it is done, you dump out the waste container and you are done.

The bad things about it:

It has a little rubber gasket in the waste container that you have to clean each time.  If you don't, then dirt and waste and gunk build up and before you know it, it will start to leak.  If it leaks, you'll have to clean up nasty stuff where the the container sits and it doesn't suck as much water up.  Also, the tanks don't have flat bottoms so you have to hold them to fill them and clean them.  The gunk tank only has a small opening, so it's difficult to clean entirely, you have to fill it with hot water and swish it around... and when you do that, make sure the gasket stays on or you'll have another mess to suck up.

It does seem to not suck up the water very well.  It leaves a perfectly round wet spot where it was working.  You can actually use it, then use the onboard brush and suck up more water.  The older one didn't do that, but the newer model seems not to have the same mighty suction power to it.

The onboard brush is lacking.  It uses the same hose, which means there is residue in it when you unhook it, so you're probably going to get ick on your hands.  It does have a handy little storage spot onboard for the wand, so it's easy to find.  You click the brush on the end of the hose and select the hose button and you can spray cleaner and suck up the mess.  It doesn't seem like it has as much power as the Little Green or the SpotClean Pro.

Overall, if you're looking for a cleaner that you can plop down and it does the job for you, this is a good item.  Just know that it will leave a damp round spot, and the gasket needs to be cleaned.

I'm giving it three paws because it does the job, it's handy that you can just leave it and go about your business until its done, but it's not perfect.


Bissell SpotClean Pro

Update: The unit lasted about a year before the plastic tube ripped in half.  The replacement hose attachment cost almost as much as a new unit, so it went into the trash.  Based on its "life span" we've revised the review down to three paws.

When you have pets, you have accidents in the house.  Happens with kids and adults too, so having a handy, portable steam cleaner is probably a must in all homes, and a necessity in pet homes.

We've reviewed the Little Green Steam Machine, and will be reviewing the SpotBot soon.

This review is for the Bissell SpotClean Pro and compare it to the Little Green Steam Machine.

I just wanted to throw in that we seem to be reviewing a lot of Bissell products and no, we aren't receiving kickbacks (although if they want to throw in some free liquid, hey, we're all about that), it's just that the other companies really don't have spot cleaners, and if they do, they are REALLY expensive.

Now that we've covered that, while my husband likes the convenience of the SpotBot (set it and walk away while it does its thing) I prefer having more control over cleaning up an accident.

Who hasn't had a dog pee and walk?  Or firehose diarrhea with a mad dash through the house.  No, it's not something you'd admit to at a party or anything, but I can see you nodding your head.

Cleaning that up with a SpotBot would take FOREVER.

So I was all about to buy a Little Green Steam Machine (had one years ago until it finally gave up the ghost, that's when we bought the spot bot), when I happened upon the SpotClean Pro.

Ok, I'm interrupting again because I can hear all of you say "but.... but... the SpotBot has a hose and spray attachment thing so you can use it like the LGSM or SCP".  Yes, but it's a pain in the butt and I don't think it works well at all.  The suction isn't as good, you get the funk on your hands while you're putting the hose away too.  Now stop interrupting me!

The SCP claims to be a "pro" version.  Ok, that sounds impressive.  When I hear "pro" I'm thinking this thing would suck a gopher out of its hole.  Ya know what?  I'm pretty sure it could (but don't do this at home, the gophers aren't amused).



The tanks are absolutely HUGE compared to the LGSM and the best part... they sit flat!  This is a huge deal when you are filling them.  The LGSM tanks you have to hold to fill.  Yes, yes, first world problems, but I can just imagine you getting all angry as you stand there and fill the tanks, then your hands get a bit of the cleaner on them and get slippery, then you try to screw the tank cap on them... don't curse, I warned you.

Another bonus is that the dump tank where all of the ick goes into, the lid opens up and there's a large mouth to dump the ick out and actually get in there and clean it out if you need to.  With the LGSM there's only a small hole in the opening, so easy to dump out, but if you need to clean it, that means shoving a bottle brush or something in there and trying to swish it around... oh, and did I mention that you'll have to hold it to do that?  Yep, because the bottom isn't flat... but the SCP has a flat bottom.  Easy clean up without holding it.  You can even shove your whole arm in there (if you have reasonably sized arms).

Does it suck?  Heck yeah it sucks!  It is loud, but no louder than the LGSM but it sucks up a lot more gunk.  I noticed that it has a small tube inside the hose.  the LGSM I had back in the day didn't have that little tube in it, so all of the gunk was sucked into the hose... and tended to drip back down when you turned it off.  Don't know if they fixed that or not, but that seems to make the unit less stinky and have more suction power.

One thing I don't like is that the air vent seems to pick up the stench of the drain container.  If you don't clean that out once in a while, you'll get a lovely aroma of funk filling your house.  You can stop that from happening by just spraying the cleaner liquid on the spot and then sucking it up, or by keeping your drain container pristine clean. UPDATE: The fool proof way to keep the funk from blowing out is to dump it, rinse it, then spray some Febreze in the tank and put the lid on.

The hose is pretty long, the power cord is very long.  It comes with two types of wands (there isn't a storage spot on the SCP to store the one not in use, which is aways an issue in my house because I put them someplace and can never find them).

This unit takes the liquid for the large steam cleaners, and it only takes a little bit of that fluid.

So, you can add a lot of cleaner for multiple jobs without having to fill it up all the time.  The tanks have flat bottoms, making it easy to clean, fill, dump.  The hose is long, the cord is long, it's pretty lightweight.

The SCP is about $40 more than a LGSM, but honestly, it is worth it.  Just the flat bottom large tanks alone make it worth spending more, and the extra suction and the fact that you seem to spend less time dealing with filling, dumping, and using it.

I give the Bissell SpotClean Pro 3 paws up based on its life span of a year.




Wash 'n Zip Pet Bed *UPDATED*

Updated on 5/25/15 NEW Comfort Cushion and NEW Fabrics and caution about drying Comfort Cushion!!!

Just throw your pet beds away and go buy the Wash'n Zip Pet Bed!

Our professional model: Meeshka

Yes, yes, I know, you clicked on the link, saw the price and thought "Holy Mother of all Holies, do you think we're made of money???"

No, I don't think you are made of money (but if you are, come on over to my house, I'll make you dinner), but I also know that you've probably gone through a LOT of dog beds and they aren't cheap.

Look at the prices of regular beds (click here for a search on Amazon of "Dog Bed")

Most dog beds are made out of fabric and foam rubber.  They say they are "washable", but that usually means that you take the cover off and wash it, but if there's an accident, that stuff is going to leak into the foam rubber stuff and there's nothing you can do about it.  NOTHING!!!  You are stuck with a stinky foam rubber bed that reeks to high heaven and the only solution is to throw it out and buy another bed.  By the way, if you are all smarty pants and say "yeah, but I can buy foam rubber and cut it to fit inside the cover", I say to you:  Have you priced foam rubber lately?  It's the price of the dog bed, that's why dog beds are so expensive!!!!  Derp.

Anyway, when the Wash'n Zip people say it's washable, they mean THE ENTIRE BED!  This bed is genius!

Wash'n Zip Pet Bed


Not only can it be a dog bed, but it can be a furniture cover, or a car seat cover, or it can be a blanket for your dog (also a hat, a brooch, a pterodactyl)  It does everything except clean itself!

I was skeptical (having been screwed over by a zillion "washable" dog beds, but had friends that tried them and raved about them, and when I got it I thought "the dogs will hate it"

They don't hate it, they love it.  Meeshka loves it and she hates everything!

Comfy

What is it?  It's pretty much a really thick quilt with a zipper all the way around it.  You can unzip it into a blanket and use it for a couch cover, or a car seat cover, or a dog bed blanket.  You can even cover up an orthopedic dog bed with it.  That way if there's an accident, just throw the Wash'n Zip in the washer.

Unzipped and covering an orthopedic bed
I'm not going to vouch that the liquid won't soak through to the foam, but the fabric is pretty heavy so it probably won't.

Update: If your dog is a 60lb Siberian Husky who is deathly afraid of thunder and stores up 50 gallons of pee rather than go outside during a storm and instead piddles Lake Erie on the Wash'nZip Pet Bed and you don't notice for a while, then yes, it will soak through a little, but it also did an amazing job of absorbing a lot of it.

I have the large, so it just folds in half, zip it up and cushy dog bed:

It isn't zipped in this picture because I'm too lazy to zip it

You can zip it so one side is the fleecy side or one side is fabric:

fleeeeeeeeeecy side

Some people have asked "um, it looks a bit flat, how can that be comfy"  Well, it is a bit flat, but it's very comfy the way it was, but if you are looking for something a bit more fluffier for dogs with creaky bones, they now carry the Wash'n Zip Comfort Cushion!  It's like the perfect pillow insert!



This little gem fits right inside the large (there's also an extra large) Wash'n Zip bed and IT'S WASHABLE!!!!  So no more buying and cutting foam, or putting other things in there to make it more comfy, this cushion does the trick!  I initially thought that the cushion would be too thick and make the bed bulgy, but it's JUST RIGHT!


Yes, this IS comfy, I really REALLY like this

About that throwing it into the washer thing, you just unzip it and throw it (and the comfort cushion) into the washer and then the dryer!  That's it.  The large bed (and large comfort cushion) fits in a regular washing machine with plenty of room left.  No more washing the cover, drying the cover, finding out the cover shrank then trying to shove that stinky nasty foam back into the now too small cover!

UPDATE: Dry the Comfort Cushion on low or no heat.  Stan and Jen are working on getting a fabric that's more sturdy, the current fabric cover will degrade in heat!!


Large bed with comfort cushion in a Whirlpool Duet dries just fine

If it gets muddy, toss it in the washer.  Peed on?  Throw it in the washer.  Poo?  Washer.  Reeks?  Washer.  So simple, so easy, one time expense.

There is also a new fabric!  You can choose between Pearl Gray (shown below with Comfort Cushion inside) or Chocolate Brown.



The Pearl Gray and Chocolate Brown are a velour-like fabric, which I thought would be the perfect material to collect 50 pounds of husky fur, but amazingly enough, it doesn't!  I also had my doubts about how it would hold up to stains.  

Full disclosure, the wonderful people of Wash'n Zip sent me the Pearl Gray large bed and Comfort Cushion to test out.  They certainly knew a good place to test it was the home of fur-laden, bodily function issue Siberian Huskies, and that would be my house.

It didn't take long for it to receive a christening of various bodily fluids and it sailed through its maiden washing without a hitch and no stains.  The Comfort Cushion even seemed to be a bit more fluffier afterwards.


Yes, it certainly seems fluffier to me!
You may be asking: yeah, but how many times can you wash it before it starts to fall apart?

Well, I've had mine (I have two, one is the emergency spare in case there's a spillage at night and I can't wash it) for... geez... nearly forever now, and I've washed them both about a bazillion times because I have "special needs" dogs that have "issues"of the peeing a lot variety, and Meeshka's bed is a prime target.  It's been puked on, peed on, pooped on, had coffee spilled on it, was used as a towel when the dogs got washed (they rubbed their wet husky bodies on it), in the washer it goes, comes out perfect.  No fraying, no zipper issues, and oddly enough, no stains.  Kinda wish my clothes were made of this fabric.  I've had the new fabric version for just short of a month, it's only needed one wash so far and it came through the wash cycle like new.

Need another excuse to get one?  The company donates a portion of their proceeds to animal causes! Check out their site to find out which place gets the donation because they rotate places.  I KNOW!!!  Isn't that cool!?!  Plus they are super fabulous people to deal with.  Very quick shipping and they back their product 158%.  They've also recently updated their entire Web site, so it's even easier to navigate, order, and find things.  The new site is beautiful and the online shop is very user friendly!

Go watch the video, friend them on Facebook (they're very nice), and for heaven's sake get one of their beds because it will truly be the LAST pet bed you ever buy... seriously!

You may have a new problem, and that is who gets to sleep on it
Excuse me, I'm sleeping here.

We give this fantastic bed 4 paws up!!!


PetFusion Elevated Pet Feeder

I recently reviewed an elevated pet feeder that was meh.  Very flimsy, too lightweight, bowls flopped about, and it has been relegated to the official water bowls of the Gimpy Dog household.

As our female husky, Meeshka, was having issues eating from her bowl on the floor I did some online research and found the PetFusion Elevated Pet Feeder.



Ok, yes I know that you clicked on the link and went to see how much it is, probably fainted, threw up (or both) and said "aw no way", but I'm telling you:  WAY!  Now pick yourself off the floor and I'll tell you why it's a great elevated feeder!

I bought the "Tall" version for a 60lb Siberian Husky (yes, she's on a diet, she's not fat, she's fluffy and big boned or something).

Everything about this feeder is well thought out.

Where the cheaper one was flimsy, this one is made of Anodized (whatever that is) Aluminum and while not heavy, it's solid and not flimsy at all.

Where the bowls of the cheaper one were lightwight and would fling out of the bowl when they licked it or spin around, this feeder has little rubber things where the bowls fit into the holes that keep it from bouncing around, spinning, or clanging.

I have three huskies, so stop judging all the fur you see!
The package came with little rubber feet things that adhere to the bottom and keep the whole thing from walking its way across the room when they eat.

It will NOT tip over, even if you trip on it (which we do a lot because it's near a door) unlike its cheaper counterpart that will fall over at the slightest touch)

The size is perfect.  The cheaper counterpart came in small or large, the small being TOO small and the large being what I bought and almost being too tall for my dogs to use.  This is just right.

I swear I do vacuum!
Meeshka approves (and if you knew her, you KNOW that's the seal of approval for everything), and now enjoys her meals without hurting her neck or leg or whatever it was that was bothering her.  Who knows with her, she may have just wanted to think she was eating off the table, but since we gave it to her, she's back to enjoying her food and water.

Pricey?  Yes, yes it is, so get it on amazon because it's a lot cheaper.

Worth it?  Yes, yes it is if you are looking for a perfect, long term, no clanging, no falling over, no spinning, no clanging, no walking across the floor elevated pet feeder.

Meeshka approves giving it 4 paws up!




EZWhelp Washable Whelping Pads

Everybody knows (or should know) that most incontinence pads are "pee proof" because the bottom lining is made from a plastic or plastic-like material to keep the pee from soaking through onto the carpet or floor.

What happens when you put such a material on the floor (carpet, wood, vinyl, tile) and step on it?

Yep, been there, done that, not fun.

So what do you do?

We have a store bought brand of washable incontinence pads with the very slippery backing and while they hold a LOT of pee and don't leak, the dogs refuse to walk on them (defeating the entire purpose of them) because they slide all over the place.

Well, you need to go buy the EZWhelp Washable Whelping pads!

They come in a variety of sizes for whatever size you need, are reasonably priced, and the best news:  they aren't very slippery!



The backing is made with a felt-like material that keeps it from being a launchpad on most surfaces while keeping your floors dry no matter what size the accident is.



They still have a slippery tendency on tile and probably wood floors, which is why I'm recommending that for use on tile, wood, and vinyl flooring that they be used with the CarpetSaver floor covering.  To read the review of the CarpetSaver, go here.

When they've been used, you simply throw it in the washer (I use the quick wash cycle, no fabric softener) and in the dryer to dry (no fabric softener sheets) and they're ready for the next use.  Remember: fabric softener and dryer sheets affect how fabrics absorb liquid, so don't use them.

I have found that the pee pads with the plastic backing tends to "contain" the spill, not absorb it, so there have been times when I've lifted them and the liquids drips out of them.  That doesn't happen with the EZWhelp because all liquid is absorbed into the fabric.

I have quite a few of them, some to have on the floor, some to have as spares, and those that are in the washing cycle.  Inexpensive, easy for your dog to walk on without slipping, and absorbent.

For the sake of my sanity, laundry, floors and carpeting, I give the EZWhelp Washable Whelping Pads a four paws up must have!!!