Whole Dog Journal Product Review: 2020 Dog Gear of The Year

Have you ever purchased a cute however dear merchandise in a pet provide retailer, solely to have it fail inside days – or hours? “Super tough” toys that don’t make it by way of a day of play, beds with zippers that completely separate the primary time you wash the quilt, collars that price an arm and a leg however fray or fade inside a short while I believe we’ve all been there. Well, briefly: This stuff ain’t that! Here are among the most worth-it dog-related gadgets we’ve tried this yr.


It’s regular to have one canine and 17 stuffable meals puzzles, proper? Normal or not, my canine absolutely helps my obsession, and we have been each excited so as to add the Toppl to our line-up. 

The Toppl is a cup-shaped toy with a rounded backside, and increasing from the underside of the within of the cup, 5 lengthy, versatile internal fingers (they name them “teeth”) that maintain treats in place. The best extraction venture for canine who’re inexperienced with food-dispensing toys is to insert treats between the internal tooth. For an added problem, a small and huge Toppl may be related to one another with kibble or different small treats inside. Since every Toppl has a rounded gap on its facet, the kibble will dribble out as a canine manipulates and rolls the conjoined toys round.

But to me, the place the Toppl actually shines is its ease of use relating to stuffing and freezing a portion of a canine’s meal. I’m a longtime Kong consumer and routinely combine kibble with any variety of “binders” (yogurt, canned pumpkin, mashed sardines, diluted peanut butter) and stuff the concoction into Kongs. It takes a bit of work to squeeze the goopy combine into the one-inch opening of even the most important Kong toys.  In distinction, the opening on a big Toppl is 2 inches, and even the small Toppl’s opening is a user-friendly 1 ¾ inches. This makes them a lot simpler to rapidly stuff – a reality I enormously respect late on a Sunday evening after I’m preparing for a busy workweek.

The rubbery Toppl is available in two sizes (massive is 4 inches tall; small is three inches) and three colours (blue, orange, and inexperienced). 

The Toppl is top-rack dishwasher secure, latex-free, and FDA-compliant (suitable for eating from). All West Paw merchandise are made within the USA. The proprietary plastic mix is recyclable; you may’t toss your worn out toys into your individual recycling bin, however you may ship them again to West Paw’s Bozeman, Montana, facility they usually’ll recycle them into new canine toys! 

The firm additionally affords a “Love It Guarantee,” which entitles clients to a one-time refund or alternative per toy design. – Stephanie Colman


I used to be given a prepublication copy of this ebook and requested if I might contemplate writing a blurb for its promotion. “Would I? Would I?” I took the extra step of instantly asking its creator if she’d begin writing for WDJ, and her articles (together with the one on web page 15 of this difficulty) have been a vibrant gentle in a darkish yr.

In 101 Rescue Puppies, canine coach and serial foster supplier Kathy Callahan tells heat, humorous, and heart-rending tales about fostering litters of puppies for shelters and rescues in her space. Callahan relates how foster suppliers can reverse the arc of  homeless animal tales, remodeling tragic origin tales into supremely comfortable endings, simply by giving pups a while in a clear house with loving consideration, nourishing meals, a superb little bit of cleanup, and social connections to good-hearted, accountable adopters. I assure that her heat portraits of the pups, in phrases and footage, will make each reader snigger and cry a number of instances – and, I hope, encourage at the least a number of to attempt offering foster take care of needy animals themselves. 

– Nancy Kerns


This is a 100% true story; I swear on my canine’ well being:

Already a fan of those collars simply based mostly on their precept and design, I used to be photographing one which had been despatched to me earlier than making an attempt it out by myself canine; as soon as considered one of my canine had worn it for some time, it was by no means going to look clear and new once more. I took footage of the collar on a desk after which put it on my little foster canine Coco to take footage of it on her. 

Just then, my telephone rang and I took the decision; it was my sister. As I talked, Coco ran off to play with Woody, they usually instantly started wrestling and enjoying the form of bitey-face video games they take pleasure in – and the form of video games that this collar was invented for: to stop unintended strangulation. As their sport escalated, I advised my sister I needed to go and I began taking footage of Woody and Coco’s tough play. 

Just then, as is his behavior, Woody grabbed onto Coco’s collar; he likes to tug different canine round by any gear they occur to be carrying. Coco squirmed to get away and as she did, she wildly rolled over, and for a single second, Woody’s mouth was caught on her collar. And then, almost instantaneously – POP! The collar’s security mechanism did what it was designed to do and the collar snapped aside, liberating Coco.

 For only a second, Woody stood with the collar in his mouth, trying confused; that had by no means occurred to him earlier than! And Coco jumped to her toes and scampered away – each canine unhurt. It was an ideal demonstration of how harmful a traditional collar would have been, and the way completely this collar performs to get rid of the risk that standard collars pose to canine who play this form of sport. I can’t consider I used to be standing proper there taking footage when it occurred. 

In the December difficulty, I wrote an article (“Don’t Wait! Prevent Collar Accidents”) in regards to the strangulation risks that common collars can pose to canine, and I discussed a product that was designed to get rid of these risks. As it seems, I described an early prototype of the present collar, one which’s not made. The collar whose effectiveness Woody and Coco simply demonstrated is the brand new and improved mannequin of the product I described. 

The house owners of Chinook & Co., LLC, invented this collar after their canine Chinook died in a collar strangulation accident. The collar options normal plastic side-squeeze buckles, a tiny loop for attaching an ID tag, and a sizing adjustment slider. But the large draw of the collar is its patented break-away buckle, which releases robotically when strain is utilized. The buckle may be re-fastened rapidly and simply.

Of course, nobody desires their canine’s collar to launch when they’re strolling their canine or to have to alter collars each time they’re about to go for a stroll. So the KeepSafe collar has two leash-attachment D-rings; you snap your leash to each of them to override the breakaway characteristic. 

Chinook & Co. has a relationship with PetSecure, who sells the crimson, blue, and black KeepSafe Break-Away collars on their web site. But the inventors supply an unique line of the collars in 9 colours and patterns that they promote instantly from their web site: breakawaycollar.com.  N.Ok.

RAWBBLE $10 – $57

We love freeze-dried meats to be used in canine diets and particularly for treats. Freeze-drying preserves the meaty aroma of the principle substances, however the treats are non-greasy and so low in moisture that they’ve an extended shelf life, even after a bundle is opened. 

For a very long time, our hearts belonged solely to Stella and Chewy’s, who innovated a sure kind of puffy nugget of freeze-dried meat. We nonetheless love that firm’s Meal Mixers, however now we have opened our hearts and wallets to Rawbble, a really comparable product supplied by Bixbi Pet. 

Why? Well, for one, Rawbble’s nuggets are smaller in measurement, making it extra applicable for feeding in a coaching session with small or tiny canine. (The nuggets are simply squished between the fingers to divide them into nonetheless smaller treats, however when working with a canine at a quick tempo, it’s simply simpler to dole out the nuggets of their authentic type.)

Both Stella and Chewy’s Meal Mixers and Bixbi Pet’s Rawbble are nutritionally full and balanced for canine of all life phases and may very well be fed as a sole food regimen. However, Rawbble’s formulation comprise fewer substances; the animal protein substances are the next proportion of the meals. And even so, they price rather less than their competitor’s merchandise.

Rawbble is on the market in six single-species formulation (beef, rooster, duck, lamb, pork, and turkey) and one formulation with two species (rooster and salmon). Each accommodates muscle meat (with floor bone) in addition to specified organ meat (liver, kidney, and/or coronary heart of the identical species because the muscle meat). All of the merchandise are USA-sourced and -made. 

Buy a small bag (4.5 ounces, for $10 to $12, relying on the formulation), supply it to your canine in a coaching session, and we assure you’ll quickly end up shopping for the extra economical massive luggage (26 ounces, for $48 to $57, relying on formulation). – N.Ok.


This little hard-backed ebook, simply six inches tall, packs extra details about canine physique language into 126 pages than hours of video narrated by a canine habits professional. 

Author and illustrator Lili Chin is a supremely gifted artist, and the canine she attracts are lovely. But she additionally occurs to be gifted with the flexibility to breed the instantly recognizable expressions and postures of canine in responding to issues and occasions with concern, pleasure, anxiousness, happiness, stress, and calm acceptance.

But whereas most canine house owners will acknowledge the physique language that Chin illustrates, many are unable to interpret what they’re seeing, and thus will misunderstand what their canine could also be making an attempt to inform them. So Chin breaks it down and explains, in chapters dedicated to the actual language of canine greetings, battle, stress, and play, with particular give attention to the variations in what canine “say” with their eyes, posture, mouths, ears, and tails. 

Chin sells her artwork and merchandise on-line and is in demand as a creator of academic supplies for veterinarians, canine habits consultants, and canine coaching organizations – and no surprise! Her enaging illustrations and transient, clear descriptions make it doable for anybody to know what canine are telling us (and one another). This could be an equally applicable ebook to offer a dog-crazy youngster, an grownup who was adopting a canine for the primary time, or a long-time canine proprietor who has been having bother understanding her canine.  N.Ok.

WASH ‘N ZIP BED $45 – $120

There’s most likely not considered one of us who hasn’t spent some huge cash on canine beds all through the years of residing with one or a number of canine– too steadily, in my case! Often, the chosen product didn’t fairly stay as much as my requirements for high quality or ease of cleansing – or my canine’ consolation!

The Wash’n Zip mattress, zipped all the best way open. This measurement will get folded twice, making the mattress 4 layers thick when it’s zipped up once more.

Sound acquainted? Thankfully, your religion in a high-quality, comfortable, easy-to-clean mattress may be restored with the Wash ‘n Zip Pet Bed. 

Imagine a pleasant, massive quilted blanket, folded in half, then folded in half once more; then think about zipping a zipper that goes across the three sides of the folded blanket, holding the blanket into a pleasant, thick rectangle. That’s the Wash ‘n Zip! (Note that the smaller sizes are folded over solely as soon as, not twice.)

Of the numerous issues I like about this mattress, the comfort of washing it’s tops. The total mattress can simply be unzipped and put within the washer and dryer; there’s no wrestling with eradicating and changing a canopy. I can’t inform you how amazed I’m each time with how simply the mattress zips again collectively after washing and drying. I’ve additionally used the unzipped mattress as a automotive seat or sofa cowl and as a blanket for a picnic with my canine!

The Wash ‘n Zip is constructed of rugged supplies with high quality stitching and a heavy-duty zipper. The supplies of the mattress are unhazardous, and the sheets of inside batting are box-stitched to lock the batting in place in order that the mattress holds its form over time. 

The beds are available 5 completely different sizes, with the smallest being 24 x 18 inches (zipped) and the most important 48 x 34 (zipped). There are 4 coloration decisions, with three of them out there in a mushy velour material and the fourth in a mushy fleece; the underside of all of the beds is product of a khaki-colored, sturdy poly/cotton materials. 

Even earlier than the pet mattress arrived, I used to be blown away by the superior customer support of this independently owned small enterprise. With a brand new pet in our house, I wanted a model new mattress. My order barely had time to course of earlier than the proprietor of the corporate emailed me again, apologizing that he was at the moment out of my chosen coloration. He requested if I’d be okay along with his transport me an identical coloration tone material to make use of whereas the opposite was on again order. I agreed and let him know I’d be utilizing the mattress for our new pet. 

With that information, the excessive stage of customer support solely elevated; the proprietor threw in a Puppy Proofer, a canopy that matches over the mattress and closes with Velcro on the underside, serving to to stop harm from the shark-like tooth of a pet’s chewing habits (and even an grownup canine who’s a prolific chewer). Wow! When the merchandise arrived, we discovered that the quilt was simple to placed on and take off, and helps preserve the mattress cleaner, for less-frequent washing. 

The mattress is comfortable sufficient for our arthritic senior canine, who spends his most of his days lazing round, however not so deep that he has problem rising. But if the mattress didn’t present fairly sufficient padding to your canine, the corporate additionally sells a further “comfort cushion” that’s made to suit contained in the beds. The cushion is a one-piece, box-stitched washer/dryer pleasant insert.

It’s been 2 half years since I ordered my first Wash n’ Zip pet mattress. I at the moment have three and am about to order a fourth. We have two canine, however I need one more mattress! The worth level, comfort of cleansing, and the flexibility of the product makes it a simple choice to purchase a number of beds so as to present a mushy spot in different rooms for our canine. Did I point out that they journey nicely, too? I take one with me to our Fear-Free vet’s workplace to make use of atop their very own mushy matting. 

If you’re searching for a long-lasting, easy-to-clean mattress that your canine will love,
that is it. 

Lisa Lyle Waggoner

The Wash ‘n Zip bed, zipped all the way open. This size gets folded twice, making the bed four layers thick when it’s zipped up once more.

Lisa’s youngest canine, Cailie, having fun with her new mattress.


Denise Fenzi, the creator of Conversations with Raika, is knowledgeable canine coach and the proprietor/founding father of Fenzi Dog Sports Academy, a extremely profitable on-line faculty for each competitors and pet canine. Fenzi has written quite a few wonderful books on coaching – however this isn’t considered one of them. Instead, it’s a collection of imagined discussions that Fenzi had along with her retired Obedience Champion Belgian Tervuren, Raika. 

The ebook’s introduction explains the “conversation” this fashion: 

“For a long while, Raika talked, but no one heard. She was not discouraged; her many years as a competition dog had taught her to persist in the face of challenge, so she just kept right on talking. And when that voice emerged, it was not nearly as agreeable nor lacking in opinions as one might have thought. Indeed, once she got started, Raika had opinions on everything from what time she went for her walk to what showed up in her food bowl to how she wanted to leave this earth, with plenty of commentary in between.”

A “talking dog” system in fiction can get cloying or annoying – however Fenzi channels the persona of her good, difficult, opinionated, and insightful senior canine so skillfully that the reader “buys into” the dialog utterly inside just some pages. This has simply as a lot to do with the witty and humorous banter between the 2 long-time pals because the insights about life and dying they share (or argue about) as they navigate Raika’s senior years to a transferring conclusion. – N.Ok.


I’m fairly certain I can hear the gasps from right here: HUNDREDS of {dollars} for a canine mattress? How can any canine mattress be value that a lot?

First, these aren’t simply any canine beds. And they’re beds that not many canine may have. These are massive canine beds for large canine – massive canine, as much as 250 kilos, who want extra-thick padding between their massive our bodies and massive bones and the exhausting flooring. 

Big Barker beds are made with three bonded layers of American-made foam with an astounding 10-year guarantee. Yes, Big Barker ensures that these beds won’t flatten inside 10 years, otherwise you get a brand new mattress. Also, Big Barker wish to warn canine house owners about Chinese-made foam mattresses, which have been recognized to emit noxious odors and have examined constructive for lead, arsenic, chlorine, and different probably harmful chemical compounds. 

Even the glue that’s used to bond the layers of froth collectively has been fastidiously sourced by Big Barker. They use an American-made water-based latex glue, which is absolutely OSHA-compliant and may be sprayed with out masks or filtration. 

The materials used for the Big Barker’s covers was chosen for its softness and sturdiness. The firm says their materials maintain up nicely towards digging and nesting. “Our strong microfiber covers score 100,000 or higher on the standard Wyzenbeek Abrasion test, which measures a fabric’s ability to withstand surface wear from rubbing. High-quality household furniture only requires scores of 15,000.”

Only super-strong, American-made zippers are used for the covers. “Because our foam is so big and thick, we use up to 150 inches of zipper, surrounding a full 75% of the bed.” This lets you take the quilt off and put it again on after laundering with ease.

The Big Barker mattress is on the market in three sizes (the smallest is 30 x 48 inches; the most important is 48 x 60 inches) and two kinds: flat (“Sleek Edition”) and with a headrest at one finish (“Headrest Edition”). The covers can be found in 4 strong colours. 

Like I stated, not everybody will want these beds. But when you’ve got a massive canine – and notably a giant, outdated canine, you most likely want considered one of these beds. At 70 kilos, my 13-year-old arthritic canine completely qualifies, and approves of this assessment. – N.Ok.


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