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.

Primo Pads

Dog Beds, the Conundrum:

I happen to think that one of the most difficult things to purchase for a husky is a bed that they don’t consider to be a giant squeeky-less toy to rip up. You either end up with a room full of torn up fluff or a bed that is never been touched. They either hate them or love them so much they don’t live.

Practical or Stupid:

Another issue that I have with most beds is that they do indeed come with a washable cover, but the fact that they are made out of foam, and the washable cover is in no way water or liquid-proof, you can wash the cover all you want, the liquid soaks into the actual foam and reeks. Another festive part of washing the washable cover is that they usually shrink and won’t go back over the foam. The downy top of the cover is fantastic for collecting mounds of dog hair. If you do throw it in the washer, I hope you have a filter in your washer to collect all of that fur.


Dog beds are EXPENSIVE. The “orthopedic” versions that we have in our bedroom cost $70. Our dogs have managed to squish them down just by laying on them so I can’t imagine they can be very supportive or orthopedic at all at this point. Once again, its a removable cover that covers foam, nothing special actually.

Other, cheaper dogs beds have met violent fates, especially if they were left laying vulnerable on the floor somewhere. Invariably it would go ignored for a long time and then suddenly it must have made a threatening move because it would end up in pieces all over the living room.


Since my dogs hog the bed at night with us, and we had the two orthopedic beds on both sides of our bed (and you have no idea how tempting it is for me to just move down there and get more room than I do on the bed) the real challenge was finding a bed that would fit in their crates that wouldn’t be destroyed. Sam is infamous for destroying beds in his crate, although after surviving his spine surgery and subsequent recovery spent mostly in his crate, he will now keep a sheepskin pad in his crate without destroying it. Meeshka and Loki will rip anything to shreds that’s in their crates and not edible.

I also wanted to find something that would give the dogs more support than the slippery hard plastic crate liner. Nobody seemed to sell a comfortable, non-slip crate liner type of pad, which is very handy when traveling with a dog in a crate. If you’ve ever transported a dog in a crate with just the liner, you’ll recognize the skittering, scratching noise of them sliding all over the crate with each turn or stop. This was a HUGE concern for us when we were transporting Sam to therapy and vet appointments after his spine surgery.

Lo and behold some members of Sibernet had found Primo Pads and were brave enough to give them a shot. The following review is based on my and other husky owners’ experience with Primo Pads. While the manufacturer guarantees the Primo Pad, that in no way should be interpreted as “indestructible”.

Stand Alone Type of Bed

Those who purchased Primo Pads and used them out in a room as a regular bed found, for the most part, that they were either ignored, or summarily ripped to shreds. In one case, the owner decided to wait and present the new Primo Pads to her dogs for Christmas and left them in their shipping container. Her huskies found the cardboard container, ripped that to shreds and chewed through the corners of the Primo Pads.

If you have VERY destructive huskies, or would like a stand alone type of bed, we don’t recommend Primo Pads.

Crate Bed

Those of us who have purchased Primo Pads to use in the crates of our huskies have absolutely nothing but praise for the product. I purchased three Primo Pads for three 28X42 Midwestern crates. The pads are a perfect fit for the crates, sitting on top of the plastic tray liner and is level with the top of the tray liner. The pads are very supportive and soft, they also provide great footing for the dog when they enter and exit the crate.

A very welcome added benefit of the Primo Pad is the fact that they are completely waterproof. Any accidents on these pads are easily sopped up, and then wiped clean. I use Simple Green as a cleaner for the pads if there is an accident. Another benefit is the fact that fur does not stick to it. A simple white with a paper towel will clean fur off.

It is quite apparent that the dogs prefer their crates better with the Primo Pads, as they’ve taken to napping in their crates, which is something only one of them ever did before I purchased the pads.

Indy's owner reports that Indy needs to be bribed before he'll come out of his crate now that he's got Primo Pads. As we see in the picture to right, Indy enjoys his Primo Pad so much that he hates to leave his crate and runs back into it if he “has” to get out of it.

I paid $30 a piece for the 28X42 sized pads, plus $10 for shipping for three waterproof, easy to clean, and guaranteed Primo Pads. Considering that I paid over $140 for two orthopedic beds that aren't waterproof, are virtually impossible to clean if they are soiled with stinky liquid and collect fur like crazy... a great price and well worth it.

Customer Service

I can’t say enough good things about Gary, the owner of Primo Pads. The instructions on the site said that if you wanted to order more than one pad then e-mail for better shipping rates, which I did. I e-mailed on a Sunday morning and almost immediately I received a real response from Gary asking for my number so he could take my order. We exchanged numbers and finally got ahold of the other and had a very pleasant conversation about the pads and the guarantee.

If the pad is ever damaged by every day use, the owner simply has to send a picture of the damaged pad to Primo Pads and a replacement will be shipped out. Remember, they guarantee it for every day use... don’t throw one in a wood chipper and expect a replacement.

After placing my order on Sunday, I received the pads on Wednesday by noon and paid minimal shipping, thanks to Gary. The dogs immediately checked out their new beds and I left them with their usual afternoon kongs and returned to work, hoping I wouldn’t come home to pad carnage upon my return. No such thing, they were fast asleep on the pads when I returned and seemed a bit hesitant about coming out, which is unusual for them.

Other Reviews

Susan H writes:

I love them!! They are after all "crate pads" - not dog beds! They are fantastic in a practical sense - east to clean, durable, cushy. Many vets are now using them in their clinics. I talked to the owner of the company at the Cleveland shows last week. He even suggested not letting your dog see you put the pad in the crate. He stated that many show dog owners and handlers have discovered that this helps keep down on the chewing corners. Our breeders have used them for over a year with great success. I have a friend with Gordon Setters who have destroyed all the plastic crate trays she could find - they are doing fantastically with the Primos. Honestly, if used properly, I think they are tops! And Gary, the owner, manufacturer of the company is sincerely interested in providing the best customer service anywhere. You might want to e-mail him with concerns and get his response. I guarantee you that he truly cares about his product and stands behind everything he sends out.

Julia M writes:

I would definitely give them a paw 4, not a 3. You have to take into consideration that some of our sibes might be more destructive than others. And for one person who has two sometimes destructive dogs (depending on what the material is), my two are sleeping like babes at night and during the day! Unusual for them. Spirit still likes to re-arrange things in his run, but that may be more looking for treats under the pallet. Can't be sure! But while he moves the primo pad, he has not chewed it or done anything destructive to it. We are highly impressed with how long and well they sleep, which is unusual for these two. When we leave and come back, they don't have their noses pointed out the window when they hear the car drive up. They are asleep and don't wake until we open and slam the doors. They 'used' to wake up when we drove up! Seems like small things, but they are big things for these two dogs! They love those pads!

Nancy P writes and includes a picture as evidence:

Remember last June when we got Max and learned he was a crate hater? (crate screamer, he surely was about to die in there :-)

Well, we keep a webcam in the boys' room when we leave them home alone - and last night we caught Max sleeping in his crate with the Primo Pad! The photo isn't very good (it was a webcam *and* at night)... but you can see Max in the back crate rolled up on his red Primo Pad, and Cisco up in the left front crate on his purple Primo Pad.


Once again, if you have major shredder huskies or want a stand alone type of bed, the Primo Pads will probably not be for you.

If you are looking for a great crate pad that is comfortable for the dogs, waterproof, easy to clean, tough, and provides them with solid footing, we HIGHLY recommend the Primo Pads.

When used as a crate pad, we give the Primo Pads:

Roomba/Scooba Review

This will be a long review, as many people have tried out the Roomba and Scooba with varying degrees of success, so to give a good overview of everyone’s experience, I present, the Roomba/Scooba review. Pictured right is Kwest and his buddy the Roomba.

Dave K’s Review:

First, we have two siberians that are indoor dogs, so we have all the usual issues. In addition, our house is multi level (4, depending on how you count) and since the Roomba doesn't climb stairs, the 24/7 is out. Finally, we have several area rugs that are on top of carpeting as well as several that are on hardwood floors. Some have fringes and some don't.

I bought a Roomba about 2-3 months ago when iRobot had the Pet version on sale. The important point is that the one we bought was NOT the 500 series, which is the newest version. I can't get to the Web right now, but I think it was a 400 series and was a red unit that was in their clearance area. Another point that turned out to be key was that it came with a 30 day money back guarantee, including return shipping.

We used Roomba #1 for nearly the full 30 days. In a way, it's remarkable that it does as good a job as it does. It's not really a vacuum, as near as I can tell--rather, there are brushes that do the job. And, it's pretty amazing how much dirt and hair that you get during a cleaning cycle. Having said that, the earlier generation units have some major shortcomings that caused us to return it within the 30 day period.

First, it has trouble with rug fringes and cords. Essentially, it doesn't know what to do and just gets tangled up. In our case that meant that there were two large rooms that could not be cleaned with the Roomba. Second, and I guess this was the major "show stopper", the obstacle sensor of the earlier generation is strictly mechanical, which means that when it bumps into something it assumes it's a wall and turns in another direction. Furthermore, the bumper sits quite low, which means that an obstacle as short as 1/2" will stop it. In our case, the practical effect was that when it was on carpet, and ran into an area rug, it quite often perceived this as an obstacle, and turned around, unable to climb up onto the area rug. Since our living room has a 9x12 rug on carpet, that was pretty much a performance limiting feature. Between the area rug issue and the fringe issue, it would have been useful for less than half our living area.

It also had a couple of other minor problems--it would sometimes get stuck on the furnace vents in the floor; the brushes sometimes got loaded up pretty quickly, and, although they are easy to clean, it had to be done more frequently than ideal.

So, overall, I would probably give that version of the Roomba no more than 3/5 stars. It certainly does what they say it does, but there are shortcomings that for us did not make it a good value. However, when I called to arrange the return, I spoke to them about the issues, and they told me that the newest 500 series should be better in a couple of respect--in particular the cord and fringe issue, and, because it uses a different means of obstacle sensing, the thought it would do better on the area rugs. Nonetheless, I completed the return and did not purchase another one at that time.

Fast forward about 6 weeks. It so happened that one of my frequent flyer programs (United, in particular) has an option to use your miles for merchandise instead of flights if you meet certain criteria. In looking through that brochure, I noticed that one of the items that was available was the Roomba 560, which is, in fact, the new generation of machines. It took about 45K miles, so it wasn't totally trivial, but the price is $350, so we had not decided whether to buy it or not. So, here was an opportunity to get one for "free". (And, for those of you who think that flying United gets you ANYTHING free, you need to rethink that--the pain one goes through to get 45K miles, no matter by what method, should be worth WAY more--but it's not.) So, we got one.

Simply put, it's still not perfect, but it's getting pretty close. Now, I'd probably give it at least 4 stars and maybe even 4.5/5 stars. It appears to have no problem with the fringes or the cords. (You DO have
to be aware of "loops" of cord--it doesn't get twisted in it, but it also doesn't see a look of cord as an obstacle, so it will just keep on truckin' until something gives.) It also does MUCH better with the area rugs. It obviously has improved engineering in this regard as well as others. It also seems to clean a bit better--not sure what they've changed in that regard, but the way the dirt reservoir, filter and brushes work, it seems to collect substantially more dirt than the first one did.

A side benefit of the new obstacle avoidance technology is that it doesn't "crash" into things the way the first one did. In addition to the operational issues of the cleaner itself, the 560 also comes with new technology for the invisible walls. In particular, you can set it so that it's either an actual barrier, or, instead is a "lighthouse". Lighthouse mode is useful if you have an area that includes a couple of
rooms, for example. Despite it's behavior, Roomba doesn't really have any idea where it is. So, in a two room area, for example, it will go back and forth between rooms, rather than do on room and then go do the other. With the lighthouse, which you put at the entry to the second room, you are TELLING Roomba that there is a room boundary and that it should clean the first area entirely before it goes into the second area. I don't know if it really gets anything cleaner, but it's certainly more systematic. Finally, the 560 is the lowest level model that has scheduling. We've not tried it yet but intend to do sort of what you suggested--just have it clean SOMEPLACE every day--the scheduler would do that.

A brief word about battery life--this Roomba seems to have the ability to work for about 2 hours before it needs to be recharged. However, the good news is that it actually charges fairly quickly, so that on occasion, I've used it in three areas in a single day. (In our case, this means moving it up or down a flight of stairs, of course, so it's not completely automatic.)

It does have a couple of shortcomings that I would assume will someday be improved. The first is probably peculiar to our situation. When Roomba is on carpet, it will occasionally get caught under the edge of something. (A cabinet in one case and the futon in another.) Essentially, what happens is that the carpet has enough "give" that it will allow Roomba to get under an edge, but when it tries to move back, it's unable to do so. When this happens, intervention is required.

Secondly, the reservoir fills up fast enough that it really needs to be emptied after every cycle, not every 3 cycles like the instructions say. Cleaning Roomba takes about 2 minutes, so it's not a big deal particularly. Once in a while, if we have not run it for a while, the brushes will get dirty DURING a cycle and it will stop and ask you to clean it's brushes. Also not a big deal, but it DOES require intervention.

Finally, of course, it doesn't do stairs, so we can't toss our vacuum just yet. However, in summary, I now feel that it was a good use of miles, and, even if I hadn't been able to get it that way, I probably
would have bought one eventually. And, to that point, from time to time, Home Shopping Network (hsn.com) has a model 535 which supposedly has everything that the 560 has except the scheduling. You will not find the 535 listed at the iRobot site, so it must be one of these special model numbers specifically for HSN. And, I don't remember the cost, but it seems it was substantially less than $350.

Anyway, that's my view of this. It's a very good tool, but not perfect. However, it does keep me from having to run the vacuum and E only runs it rarely now. (this is a GOOD thing...)

Nancy P’s Review:

Oh yes - it is fantastic.

I recently bought a Scooba and it came with a free Roomba!

I bought the highest end Scooba because I have 2400 sq ft of tile and cannot keep up with 12 muddy paw prints. The best Scooba handles 850 sq ft at a time, which is why I picked that one. The free Roomba that came with it was just a side benefit - but now that I have both, I am really glad! It is really handy to just fire them up whenever you leave the house for an hour - turn them loose in an area and
they run until their battery loses charge (up to an hour for each).

As for the Scooba - well, it's not perfect, but it is *much* better than doing it yourself! You can tell where it "drove" on the tile - but the tile *is* clean and you can walk barefoot when it's done (as opposed to before, yeeuck). It is amazing how *dirty* the water is that comes out of Scooba when done cleaning a room, which shows is it is doing its job. Also - I cannot speak highly enough about the Virtual Wall that comes with Scooba/Roomba - you place the VW on the floor and point it such that the beam covers up to an 8 foot area - the vac will not cross the beam, so it acts like a wall. My set came with two VWs and I ordered a third (and asked Santa for a fourth . They make it super easy to define an area to confine your vac for a given cleaning session. You do need to be diligent about cleaning the vacs after each session, but that is minor compared to the work they save you!

I like to section off two rooms every time I leave the house - run Scooby in one and Ruby in the other (roomba is red so it's named Ruby

Highly recommend both!

Oh yea I forgot one thing -- hair getting wrapped around the brushes. Not the sibes hair but *my* long hair! Never thought I would be cursing my own hair, but it is harder to get unwound from the brushes than all the white fluffy puppy hair. Finally the boys are not to blame for hair.

The Virtual Walls are great for avoiding cords too.

One last thing - we have *no* rugs whatsoever, so this may be why the roomba works so fantastically for me and not so great for others.

Jason L’s Review:

we have the discovery and it certainly won't replace your regular vacuuming, it will make it much easier. We have to clean it after every use because as you can guess, the hair gets all wrapped up in the brushes. cleaning isn't a big deal though. So we run it at least every other night and it does a
real good job of keep the house clean, it gets under the couches and areas that we struggle to get to. We also use the scheduler and have it run at 6 in the morning.

The only negatives (and this is for every vacuum and not just the roomba) is
that you have to pick all small stuff up and keep cords out of the way. Pretty much just like a regular vacuum anything it can run over but shouldn't, should be picked up.

We highly recommend it and I recommend getting it with the scheduler, we bought ours without and had to later buy it. Nakita however will chase it around if we run it during the day

Laura A writes:

I love mine too, but find it really doesn't keep up with the hair... It's pretty funny actually, after about 20 minutes, it develops a "hair tail" that kind of drags behind it...Teeheehee... The only other negative about it (other than the obvious that it's not "SUPER DUTY" or anything - more for maintenance cleaning) is that it's LOUD. You won't be able to watch TV or anything with it running in the room.

Elizabeth P writes:

I have mine programmed to run at night - but there is no way to rely on it for all husky hair, that's for sure. We have all hardwood, so I use it in addition to the daily fur-maintenance. It is actually quite nice - it gets places that aren't always that easy with a standard vacuum or readily visible. I recommend it to lighten the load - but not to take care of all the fur.

Nichole R’s Review:

have two Roombas, and absolutely loved them...until they broke that is

The first one was one of the origionals and when it started doing wheel dances I learned how to take the whole thing apart and clean it out. Inconvenient, but not the end of the world. Considering the fine dust that gets blown into my house that the roomba was doing a great job picking up, not particularly unexpected. Then it grabed a thread out of one of my few rugs (something that had never happened before) and stripped the mechanism that turns the brush. End of Roomba #1.

My second Roomba, likewise, was a wonderful little guy that did a great job on the tile floors throughout my house. Until he knocked a dog toy out of the toy box and ran it over. Again, the mechanism that turns the brush was stripped and that was the end of Roomba #2. One week after it was out of waranty.

Unless they have changed the design recently, the socket that the brush fits into (the one that actually turns the brush) is made out of plastic. If the brush grabs something it shouldn't, this socket ends up stripped. It is not a replacable part...if it happens it means the end of your Roomba. This is a flaw that was well known by the company. As of a couple years ago they were doing nothing to fix it. (again, I don't have a new Roomba to say what they are like now) If you are fanatic about checking over your house and making sure there is nothing your Roomba can eat before turing it on, then this shouldn't be an issue. But even being careful I ended up having it happen.

Doesn't mean it's not a great product...like I said I loved mine until they broke and even bought a second one when the first one died. My only other complaint was they these critters aren't "easy keepers" and required a lot of maintanance to keep running well. They had to be cleaned out every time they were used, and the wear and tear they took from my "less than stellar" house cleaning seemed to really take a tole on them.

I'm now eyeing the "Dirt Dog". It's just a sweeper rather than a real vacuum, but it seems to be designed to withstand much more abuse. It won't do the great job vacuuming that the Roomba did, but it would be a huge help just to have something that picks up the bigger stuff the dogs track in (and the hair...even just picking up the hair would be wonderful).

And then there's the Scooba. I've been drooling over that little guy since it was put on the market. I may have to take the plunge...I went ahead and put it on my christmas list this year

Joice H points out:

Prototypes of both the Roomba and Scooba were home tested in a Siberian household (mine!). How's that for product endorsement? And occasionally we get to evaluate new models before they hit the market. However, I gave up using the Roomba because it's a round peg in a square hole problem -- the dust elephants would collect in the corners of the room where the round Roomba can't reach.

On the other hand, the latest model Scooba (the dark grey/black one) works great. I use it all the time, and I'm always blown away when cleaning it out to see the dirt it collected off the floors that I had just vacuumed. The new model also doesn't leave the snail trails like the earlier model blue ones.

By the way, the Roomba really does vacuum, not just sweep. The Dirt Dog has no vacuum; it's just a sweeper. The Roomba has downward looking optical sensors which help it detect stairs, but they also interpret wide dark lines (like a black border around an area rug) as an abyss, so they won't cross it (though you could physically move in on to the area rug and it'll stay within the borders).

I got extra battery packs which I keep charged up so if the one in use runs low on power, I can swap it out with the charged one and keep going instead of waiting for it to recharge.

With all of the reviews in, I would say the Roomba/Scooba might be ok for some, might not be ok for others.

Update:  One thing that we didn't take into account is a household with a dog that may have accidents... and the Roomba does what it does: clean... sorta.  Here is the viral post about a dutiful little Roomba that cleaned come hell or poop

Timbuk2 Bags

Hi, this is Indy’s mom. I am writing to share with other Sibe owners how great Timbuk2 bags are. They have several different styles to choose from like messenger bags, totes, backpacks and laptop bags, and each style has colors to choose from. There are even a couple of bags that you can completely customize. There is even one that is blank that you can decorate yourself. You can also check out how other artists have decorated their bags.

Timbuk2 bags are sturdy, stylish, and there are a range of prices. But my favorite feature is that HUSKY HAIR DOESN’T STICK TO THEM! (Note: this claim does not apply to the waxed canvas or wool bags). They are easy to keep clean, and you can buy cool accessories, like the
strap pad, which makes carrying your Timbuk2 bag SO comfortable, and it won’t slip off of your shoulder! There are also cell phone holders and accessory cases. I love my Timbuk2 messenger bag. It’s so sturdy and easy to keep clean, I never worry about getting it dirty or bumping it against things.

I give Timbuk2 bags four claws!

Bissell Quicksteam Powerbrush

Updated:  It died a horrible death shortly after purchase.  I'm guessing the amount of imbedded husky fur did it in and it pretty much leaked all over the place and refused to suck.  We are downgrading to 1 paw.

I’ve owned quite a few steam cleaners out of necessity with huskies. For the most part I’ve tried to get the top of the line, ultra scrubber, ultra sucking models that cost a lot of money, only to have them succumb to the clots and clumps of hidden husky hair in the carpet that no amount of vacuuming will suck up.

After the nearly $300 Bissell Proheat steam cleaner died (fur had wrapped so tightly around a vital bolt that it cut the bolt in half, rendering it useless), I threw up my hands at expensive steam cleaners.

Generally I don’t need a steam cleaner to clean the entire carpet, but one that is geared more to cleaning certain high traffic and “trouble” areas. After Sam’s spine surgery, he’s still leaky, so we have some pee areas that need to be dealt with on a regular basis, so dragging out the big steam cleaner for these spots is time consuming and overkill. Dragging out the Little Green Steam Cleaner for a larger high traffic area doesn’t make sense, and is hard on the knees, so I wanted to find something in the middle of high end, to hand held.

Enter the Bissell Quicksteam Powerbrush. I went with a Bissell cleaner only because we had about 50 gallons of Bissell steam cleaning fluid left over and didn’t want to dump that and buy new fluid. Yes, I realize that the manufacturer warnings all say to ONLY use their fluid, and I’m sure that’s just marketing hype, but why chance it after blowing money on a new steam cleaner having the fluid ruin it before you get your money’s worth out of it.

The Quicksteam Powerbrush got good reviews on epinions and other opinion sites, even from pet owners, but I’ve found that regular pet owners don’t have the blizzard of fur to deal with as Northern Breed owners, and I take their reviews with a grain of salt. Cleaning after a Lab is nowhere close to the fur issues that a Northern Breed owner has to deal with.

The Quicksteam Powerbrush is available locally (I got mine at Lowes) which is an added benefit, and it cost only $80. I figured that if it died on the first round of cleaning, I’d de-fur it and drag it back and mark it off as a no go.

The QP was easy to put together and seemed quite spindly and downright fragile. I didn’t have high expectations for it.

The container for fluid and clean water pulls off the handle. A small dab of fluid and then fill the rest with warm water, plop the container back on the handle. The dirty water container is on the bottom and attaches with two flip locks. Until I got use to it, I could see where spillage would be a most definite possibility, but its actually easy to unhook and lift up without spilling, which is surprising.

Once put together and I had the fluid in, I went to work. Its loud and annoying. It almost sounds like its eating itself to death and that’s a bit disconcerting, but it actually does an amazing job! Very light weight, easy to carry up and down the stairs, long cord to reach almost any spot, that sucker really sucks.

For a smaller machine, of course you’ll have to dump and fill for a large room, but I was amazed at how well it sucked up the water from the carpet, it was actually much better than the more expensive Proheat in that regard.

What about the fur? Oh yeah, it sucked up a good amount of fur, but unlike the Proheat, which would spit out clumps of wet fur along the way, it just seemed to suck up what it could, and if it couldn’t suck it up, it would collect on the brush and in the intake portion. After each dumping, I’d simply tip the machine back and reach in and pull out clumps of wet fur and wrestle the fur off the brush and it was ready to go again.

I’ve used it a few times and it keeps working just fine. Just remember to de-fur it after each dump. Except for the annoying noise it actually fun and very easy to use.

I fully expect it to die a horrible death much quicker than the Proheat, but for only $80-90, its easier to break it and replace it than having the more expensive steam cleaners only lasting a year.

I wouldn't recommend it for Northern Breed Owners, or any pet owners... or anyone for that matter.  Save your money

Bissell Little Green Steam Machine

Yet another item that a husky owner shouldn’t be without, the Little Green Steam Machine is heaven sent.

We’ve gone through a myriad of spot remover steam cleaners in the past. They either didn’t do the job or died horrible fur-laden deaths quickly. We were VERY unimpressed with one of the older Dirt Devil products, and felt that if we threw a bucket of water on the floor and soaked it up with a towel, that would work better than the Dirt Devil.

Having owned one of the original Little Green machines and being impressed with its simplicity and sucking ability, when it died we immediately went out and got another one. The newer ones are easier to clean out and easier to use, along with some pretty good tools, but we mainly just use the one brush attachment and it works just fine to get out that deep down yuck that sometimes occurs with huskies (horka, a diarrhea incident, etc.)

There are two versions of the Little Green, and both work equally well, but we do recommend the unit that includes the water heating feature, as it seems to clean a lot better.

Very simple to add the cleaner and water, and dumping out the icky water is also very easy, simply lift the lock and pull out. There can be some residual gunk if the gunk water container isn’t seated properly, but its easy to reach and clean out after use.

I would even venture to say that it cleans spots and sucks water up better than regular large steam cleaners, mainly because you can really press down hard and make sure the spot is removed, and also make sure the water is sucked up.

Although our model came with the turbo brush, we pretty much threw that one away, because if you press down hard enough to get into the fibers, the brush stops rotating and its worthless. We just use the regular brush that comes with it and it works great. Another downside to the turbo brush is that invariably it’ll get clogged with fur and stop rotating, so you spend more time cleaning out the brush so it’ll turn than actually cleaning, so dump the rotating brush and just go for the regular wand attachment.

The wand also allows you to spray on a good soaking amount of solution and water onto a deep down spot, where you can let it sit for a bit, then suck up all the water.

Lightweight, easy to carry, and it comes with a very long cord so you can reach spots where you might not have a plug.

We give the Bissell Little Green Steam Machine:

Dyson DC07 Animal Vacuum Cleaner

How much do I love the Dyson DC07 Animal? Let me count the ways.

About 4 years ago, while vacuuming with our Hoover bagless top of the line model, which was a few years old, we noticed just how much dust settled on our furniture, and to our horror, if we smacked the carpet with our hands, they came away gritty and dirty, and dust flew in the air. All this time we though the Hoover was a pretty good vacuum, but apparently not so much.

We had heard other pet owners raving about the Dyson, and finally around Christmas-time we girded our loins and checkbook and bought the DC07 Animal.

When we got it home, we actually marked up a square spot and spent a good 10 minutes vacuuming that spot with the Hoover. Confident that the Dyson was just a bunch of hype, we fired that thing up and vacuumed and was HORRIFIED at the amount of sand, grit, dog hair, dust, dander and who knows what that thing picked up in the same square we had just vacuumed with the Hoover. TWO canisters full of crud came up.

The Dyson is everything the ads say it is. The attachments actually work very well and the vacuum has the same mind-blowing amount of suction going through the hose as it does when vacuuming normally. Using the crevice tool to get under the couch, it picked up chew bones and wouldn’t release them without yanking on them, and you don’t even want to know what we got out of under or stove.

The tube on the attachment wand is easy to use and reaches all the way up the stairs without having to cart the whole vacuum up. Once again, the suction is fantastic. The Animal version comes with a stair rotary brush tool that actually works great, a bare tool attachment that works great... everything works great on the Dyson.

One of the added bonuses of the Dyson is that it doesn’t spew out hot, dusty exhaust when you are vacuuming like most vacuums. Its is a bit heavy and clunky, and there’s no light on it for those who like to vacuum in the dark, but when it comes to picking up dirt and husky fur, its uncloggable.

They’ve added more tools that you can buy and I recommend the dusting tool and the flexible crevice tool, very nice for getting behind fridges and around corners.

After 4 years, my hose broke, but I was able to order another and with quick shipping, I was able to snap the old one out and replace it with the newer sturdier hose and back in business we went. The filter is great, no replacing it, just rinse it out in cold water and let dry, which takes about a day or two. Most Dysons are now sold with two filters, so you can use one while the other dries.

Once in a while its a good thing to check the brush bar, because the fur can get collected there, so a quick cleaning on that is all it takes. Its never clogged on fur, no matter how big of a pile I run over, its easy to clean and emptying the canister is a snap, just pull a trigger with the canister aimed over the trash and the fluff and gunk just falls into the trash can.

For a husky owner, the Dyson is a MUST HAVE item to keep the fur piles in check.

Pricey? At $500 it isn't a drop in the bucket, but ours has cleaned continuously for over 4 years now with only having to replace a hose. Our other vacuums have cost about $200 and have only lasted 1-2 years, and as we saw, really didn't have the pick up power as the Dyson.


Simple Human Butterfly Lid Trashcan

The age old dilemma with huskies and other northern breeds is: How do you keep them from getting into the garbage?

We tried the flip lid trash cans, and even a heavy duty garbage can with a screw lid, and it was either too easy for them to break into, inconvenient for us to throw stuff into it, or a decorating nightmare. At one point we caught Meeshka rolling the screw top lid trash bin into the living room in an attempt to get it open.

After rearranging our kitchen, we were in need for a thin trash can that would fit between a chest freezer and some shelving, so off to Bed Bath and Beyond we went. Sure enough, there was the Simple Human Butterfly Trash can. It was the perfect size for fitting where we needed to, and the amazing butterfly lid didn’t become apparent to us as the perfect anti-husky garbage can until we got it home.

Stainless steel outside with a plastic container inside that you can use regular kitchen garbage bags in with ease, you just step on the pedal, the doors softly open, you can pull the plastic container with the trash out, throw out the bag and put a new one in, and place the plastic container back inside. Very easy to wash out the plastic container if the bag leaks. The best part (we soon learned) was that the butterfly lid closes slowly and silently (no clanging) and that there is absolutely, positively nothing a husky can do to get it open.

Pricey? Oh yep it is. We paid about $180 for ours, but its one of the best garbage cans we’ve ever had as far as matching our kitchen appliances, looking nice, fitting where we needed it, and no cleaning up a ton of garbage or running a dog to the ER Vet when they get into cooked chicken bones.

While the finger-proof version wasn’t available when we bought ours, we’ve had very little problem keeping ours clean thanks to a trick we learned about cleaning stainless steel: use a soft, non-scratch pad to get off the gunk, then take a paper towel and a bit of olive oil and rub the olive oil all over the stainless steel. The olive oil gives it back its shine, and its non-toxic to the dogs... but you may get some tongue prints on the trash can when they lick it.

So, in all, its pricey, but well worth it!

We give it:

Champion Canine Seatbelt System

Update: Apparently several customers have not received their orders and the company is not responding to their e-mails or phone calls. While they have one of the best products out there as far as safety restraints for dogs, we do NOT recommend them at this time. Hopefully they will either get their act together soon, or another company will start making a quality product that we can recommend.

Everyone should know that letting their husky run loose in a vehicle is not only dangerous, but getting them out of the vehicle is also an opportunity for escape.

I know some people who put crates in their vehicles to safely contain their huskies during travel, but with three, we just didn't have room for three crates, and we weren't going to buy a HUGE SUV to have enough room, so we looked for alternatives to crating.

We found a highly recommended company called Champion Canine Designs and their Champion Canine Seatbelts.

I will admit to you right now that their customer service SUCKS! I waited months for my order, and had to pester the company on an almost daily basis after a month before I got my order, but it was worth the wait and aggravation.

We purchased the following:
Champion Canine Seatbelt system
Survivor Big Dog Leads w/Commander Grab Handle and Bull Snap

The Harness
The harness is really thought out well, and is very adjustable. The Web site shows you how to measure your dog to get the right fit, but we purchased larges for all of our dogs (at the time ranging from 40lbs to 65lbs) and the large was so adjustable that it fit all of them just fine.

The harness has padding on the front (to cushion the dog in case it gets thrown forward in an accident) and fits securely but is comfortable for the dogs. Ours wore theirs for 24 hours during Tropical Storm Isabel (in case we had to quickly evacuate our house) and had no problem sleeping and walking around with them on.

The harness has two snaps on the back to secure it, and the back snap has a double D ring where the leash attaches. WARNING: if you don't get one of their leashes, you will have a hard time finding a leash in a pet store that will clip onto the double D rings.

Restraint Strap
The restraint strap can say in your vehicle at all times if you wish. It consists of a locking ring that can be connected to an SUV ring or simply snap your seatbelt on and connect it to the seatbelt. It can be adjusted to allow your dog to sit, stand, or move around a little depending on how much mobility you want to give them. It connects to the harness' double D rings with a bullsnap connector, and that thing is very sturdy and husky escape proof.

The leash is a bit shorter than what we are use to, but allows you to have complete control of your dog at all times. The loop near the clasp allows you to get even more control if you need to rein in an exuberant husky and keep them close. The leash also has the bullsnap connector, which you have to pull out instead of push in and is virtually husky escape proof.

How it Works
You put the harness on your husky, attach the leash and walk them out to your vehicle where the restraint strap is already in your car and ready. Once the dog is in the vehicle, you simply use the restraint bullsnap to connect the restraint system to the harness. You can either leave the leash on, or take it off, but at no time is your husky off leash.

When its time to get out of the vehicle, simply open the door, as your husky is secured inside the vehicle, attach the leash (if you took it off) unhook them from the restraint strap and you are on your way, and at no time is your husky off leash and able to escape.

If you want to attach your husky's tags to the harness on the D ring, you won't be able to use the standard tag rings that usually come with tags. Go to a home improvement store and find a larger key ring and use that to attach the tags to the D ring.

If probably adjusted, your husky shouldn't be able to back out of this harness. Loki did manage to back out of his while in our SUV, but the front part had not been adjusted properly. After adjustment, he tried, but couldn't back out of it again.

Customer service sucks, but its worth the wait for this product. Well thought out, made for a dog, and it works fantastic giving a husky owner peace of mind while traveling, or just out taking a walk.


Bissell Proheat Steam Cleaner

 July 2012 Update: Bissell has retooled their Proheat steam cleaner, and it is much better, we will provide a new review shortly.

We bought the Bissell Proheat Steam Cleaner from Costco about 2 years ago.

The first one we bought lasted one cleaning and then the motor burned out. Ok, we figured that it was a fluke, got a bad unit, so we returned it and got a replacement for it. This one seemed to work much better than the first one, but then after about 5 uses, the unit stopped sucking up water and wouldn't dispense the fluid.

We checked out the user manual and found that if it did this, then there was a chance that one of the belts had broken or slipped loose. We followed the easy instructions on how to remove the side panel and sure enough, one of the belts had slipped off... due to all of the fur that had collected on the internal parts.

We own three huskies, so there's a lot of fur in our house, but we also have a Dyson vacuum cleaner (highly recommended) and vacuum before we steam clean. Regardless, the act of spraying fluid on carpet has a way of releasing that deep down husky fur, so we'd get big clumps of wet husky fur whenever we steam cleaned.

After removing as much fur clumps as possible and reseating the belt, the Proheat worked fine, but we soon discovered that after the second or third time we used it, we'd have to take it apart and remove fur and reseat the belt, which got to be very annoying.

The Proheat lasted about two years until today when the fur became its total undoing. I had just started steam cleaning and it make its usual strange noise that signaled that the belt had come off. I took it apart, only to find that husky fur had wrapped so tightly around the brush attachment that it had actually snapped the bolt in half, rendering the Proheat totally useless.

R.I.P. Proheat

For a steam cleaner that we paid about $250 for, we figured it would last longer than two years and wouldn't require us to take it apart every 2-3 uses to reseat the belts on it.

Some of the other aggravations with it included the fact that sometimes it would pick up water very well, other times not so much, so it would take a while for the carpet to dry. We did like the separate container for fluid, clean water and dirty water. It was a pain to thoroughly clean the clean/dirty water container, and dumping the dirty water was precarious at best. We never used the upholstery attachments, so I can't tell you how well that worked, nor did we use the hard floor tool that came with it (we lost that soon after we got it because it came with a bunch of attachments, but no place to store them on the machine... another annoyance).

I give it: