This story was originally published in the Chicago Tribune Prime Time senior living section.
Dogs and cats require and deserve a lot of loving care from you, their human parents. Fortunately you can do a lot of this at home with the many specialized products designed to maintain a pet’s health and grooming regimen. The responsibility of looking out for your pet’s safety is also made easier with safety devices for the car and the boat.
1.Top Performance Cat Grooming Bag
Cutting a cat’s nails is a whole lot easier when the cat is not squirming, biting and scratching. The Top Performance Cat Grooming Bag is a fabric pouch that you set your cat into, then zip closed over its back. There are zippered openings for each leg, so you can clip its nails one paw at a time. There is the option to hang the bag while grooming, so the cat is suspended and stays still while you clip. The Top Performance Cat Grooming Bag is also great for brushing your cat’s teeth, administering medicine, or even bathing. Mesh panels on the sides allow water to flow in and out if you need to wash your cat. The product comes in three sizes, starting at $13 at Amazon.com.
2. FURminator deShedding Tool
This innovative grooming tool is popular with those who have a dog or cat with long hair and a dense undercoat. It’s an effective way to handle their shedding yourself, making your pet more comfortable and saving you expensive trips to the groomer. The FURminator is a metal blade with tight teeth that are made to remove that stubborn undercoat and dead hair on your pet. If you’ve never “FURminated” your pet before, you will be amazed at how much dead hair Fluffy was carrying around. The FURminator has an entire grooming product line that goes beyond the deShedding Tool. These items are available at pet stores. The FURminator deShedding Tool starts at about $20 for the small size and goes up from there. Be sure to check the package to ensure you are buying the right FURminator for your pet’s size and coat.
3. Well & Good Wipes
It’s not always easy nor necessary to bathe your pup or kitty. If a simple wipe-down will do, check out Well & Good’s line of specialized wipes for dogs and cats. For example, there are teeth wipes (for those who won’t tolerate tooth brushing), eye wipes that remove tear stains, puppy bathing wipes, shed reducing wipes, deodorizing wipes, sun protection wipes and even “foot and bum” wipes. These are all non-toxic and specially formulated to be gentle to your pet while cleaning. Well & Good wipes cost about $7 a pack at Petco.
4. Outward Hound Ripstop Life Jacket
Every dog onboard a boat should have a life jacket, just like every person, and for the same reason — even if they can swim, they can still go overboard accidentally and become injured or tire in the water. At the beach, a life jacket allows a dog to swim longer. The Outward Hound Ripstop Life Jacket is made of quick-dry material and has two handles on top for lifting the dog from the water. The quick-release buckles allow for easy on and off. The jacket comes in bright colors for high visibility, and in five sizes to fit most dogs. Tip: Life jackets can be tricky to fit, so take good measurements before ordering. If possible, take your dog to the pet store and try it on first. Prices range from $25 to $55 at outwardhound.com.
5. Snoozer Lookout I Dog Car Seat
Small dogs may look cute perched on their owner’s lap when driving in the car, but this puts both the dog and driver in a dangerous situation in case of an accident or a quick stop. It is much safer for a small dog to be securely buckled into a booster seat, rather than loose and causing a distraction. The Snoozer Lookout I Dog Car Seat is a raised padded box that small dogs sit in, so they can see out the window. For safety, there is a clip that attaches to the dog’s own harness, so the dog doesn’t become a projectile in an accident. The car’s seat belt holds the Snoozer in place, making it easy to install and remove. The Snoozer also has a removable cover that comes in different colors and fabrics. The Snoozer Lookout I retails for about $70 for the small size (dogs up to 18 pounds) and $90 for the medium size (dogs up to 25 pounds) at snoozerpetproducts.comand many other pet retailers.