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.

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!

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!


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.

Another use for them is to slip them inside your dog bed covers, or even on top of them.  The EZwhelp pads are very soft, almost like a blanket.  If your dog has accidents on its bed, you know all too well what that does to the bed foam underneath the cover.  Sure you can wash the cover, but what do you do to clean that foam?  Slipping an EZwhelp pad between the foam and the cover keeps the urine (or other icky fluids) from soaking into that foam.  When you remove the cover to wash it, you remove the EZwhelp pad as well and wash them both.  No more stinky foam!  If your dog will accept the bed with an EZwhelp pad on top, even better, just put the soiled pad in the wash and put another on the dog bed.

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

Carpet Saver

Do you have a special needs dog and slippery floors?  Well, this item is for you.

Do you have a special needs dog with incontinence issues and slippery floors... well, this item MAY be for you.

CarpetSaver floor covering

While searching for a no-slip solution for our kitchen floors for our 14 year old spine issue, incontinence challenged mess of a Siberian Husky (Sam), I came upon this company.

They were saying all of the right things:  affordable, cut it to whatever size and shape you want with scissors, machine washable, non-slip, comfy, pets love it, no slipping, no adhesive, no nothing but put it down and there will be harmony and peace in your home (ok, I added that last part in).

I ordered a few feet of the 30 inch variety and then paced until it arrived, which didn't take long.

I was immediately concerned because it felt like an empty box, but there it was when I opened it.  Very light!  It's a very light microfiber with a sorta foamy underside to it.  From what their site says, the foamy backing creates a static bond with the floor and keeps it from moving around.

Ok, so I cut it to fit in the kitchen and then shuffled my feet to see if it moves.  It looks so flimsy, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that it stuck like glue to the floor.

Ok, so then I retrieved the brokeback dog and forced him to walk on it.  I was concerned that it was so thin that he couldn't get traction on it or feel slippery to him.

Nope, he trotted on it to get to his bowl (that had a goody in it for a reward).  Sam had no problem navigating on the carpet saver.  He turned around on it, stomped on it, sauntered over it and it didn't move.

This stuff is fabulous for dogs in general, dogs with special needs that need a little something to keep them from slipping... but now the downside.

The Web site says it is absorbent.  Yes it is... but it isn't going to keep accidents from soaking into your floors.  We found that out almost immediately after the test when Sam had an accident on it.  Soaks right through.  Sigh.

Good news is, they are machine washable!  DON'T use fabric softener in the wash cycle.  Remember, the little foamy lining keeps it stuck to the floor, so you'll defeat its magical powers if you use fabric softener.  DON'T use dryer sheets.  Once again, you'll thwart its magical powers.  But you can dry it on a low setting, or just hang it up to dry (doesn't take very long, but if your definition of long is a day, then it takes long).

So, this is a HUGE HIGHLY recommend for people with special needs dogs (or just any dog) who need a no-slip floor cover for slippery floors.  They would be great to give your dogs a firm footing, but probably cut down on tracking in dirt and mud, with the added bonus of being able to toss it in the washer and quickly wash and dry.

For dog owners that have incontinence issues, it would still be a great thing to have if used in conjunction with the EZWhelp Washable Welping Pads.  Most incontinence or whelping pads have a backing that won't allow the fluids to leak through, but that also makes them slippery.  The EZWhelp pads have a backing that would be slippery on slick floors, but don't slide around when you put them on top of the CarpetSaver covers.  Instead of buying expensive rugs or runners that may be washable, but weigh a ton, take forever to dry, you can just use the CarpetSaver and the EZWhelp pads and throw them all in the washer and dryer at the same time if anything leaks through or they miss the pee pad.

Update: And, the owner of the company reached out to me and thanked me for my review.  His father created the product in the 80's.  Andy has a senior Lab, and is fostering an emaciated Pit Bill for his local shelter, so they're really nice people, use their own product to help their pets get around without slipping and they make a great product!

Lightweight, simple, easy to cut if needed, machine washable and dry, we give the CarpetSaver 4 paws!