Buddy Wash Review: Green Tea & Bergamot Dog Shampoo and Conditioner

We have been using the Buddy Rinse Lavender and Mint for over a year and we used the last drop of it last week. For those of you who currently own a bottle of Buddy Rinse Lavender, here’s a tip for you; You can dilute the stuff and it does it’s job just as well. I find that in its original state, its too viscous and I found it hard to spread a good blob over a the whole dogs back. I realized it could be slightly thinned out for spreadability when I started to run low on the stuff. I was waiting on Cherrybrook to deliver what would turn out to be a disappointing product called Condition Plus by Crown Royale.

In need of a conditioner that didn’t smell like granny’s perfume, I took to the internet to look for another conditioner. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Lavender and Mint Buddy Rinse but Chris was never a fan of the smell so he asked me to look for something else to use instead. I came across the Buddy Wash Shampoo and Conditioner in Green Tea and Bergamot. Having had a good experience with the Buddy Rinse, I decided to give the same makers, Cloud Star, a chance and try this fragrance. Well…it was a hit. I loved it and Chris loved it. I’m not a big fan of green tea anything but in this shampoo and conditioner combination, you can barely smell it. What you can smell is the bergamot. In my life I’ve never ever smelled bergamot but its a wonderful smell. It’s a strong citrus scent and I have a good feeling the green tea kind of tames it a bit. I really don’t think I’ll be trying anything else for a really long time. My only pickle with this product is that I wish it were only a conditioner. I use a rather inexpensive shampoo that does its job well and I use the conditioner to give the dogs coat a nice softness.

Potato Chip Hike

During the holidays we decided to take a not so quick drive down to Poway, CA to get some exercise. Poway is home to a very popular hike the locals like to call the ‘Potato Chip’ hike, which is actually called the Mount Woodson Trail. It is an approximately 8 mile roundtrip adventure that begins with a narrow, uphill for a while, strenuous…walk. At a 2300 ft elevation gain/loss, it’s not to be taken lightly.

Poway Lake

Poway Lake

 

This was Ellie’s first hike and aside from the relentless barking at other dogs and rowdy people, she did splendidly. For sure, Chris and I thought the hike would spend her energy, what with the elevation gain and so much action around her but we were so wrong. She dragged me up the trail and then we did double time on the way back. Perhaps she still has that puppy energy about her. Argos on the other hand lagged behind on our way back down the mountain. In fact, he was so tired that he paid no heed to any other dogs or their people.

IMG_4662

Treating Ellie & Argos for not barking at passersby.

 

The trail gets steep and rocky very often, breaks were often necessary. It was a cold day but I read somewhere that in the late Spring and Summer months, its pretty much hot dessert weather in the area. At 65 degrees, the sun burnt pretty hot so I made sure to bring a collapsible soft bowl for water and some treats. Once up at the peak where the potato chip rock is the wind blew crisp cold and no amount of direct sun warmed anyone up. The dogs of course didn’t complain.

Selfie, anyone?

Selfie, anyone?

This is an incredibly popular hike and the trail got crowded quickly. While it’s a popularity was a real turn off for me I can’t help but see why it happens. The trail allows dogs, which is always awesome, it’s very very easy to get to the hike by car and there is cell reception at every point in the hike. I want to take the time now to address something that has been bothering me for sometime now because the frequency of these incidents almost feel epidemic. On the hike I noticed a lot of dog owners with their beautiful dogs without leashes.  Now, I think I understand why they do it. They believe their dogs to be exemplary well behaved creatures that they trust in any situation and they want to treat them to freely roaming the trails. I would say 90% of these unleashed dogs are big. 

When you unleash your dog and we happen upon you, you’re creating a situation where your dog, as well as mine, are not safe. My Ellie for example, does not like strange dogs coming up to her to smell her business. But yet when there is an unleashed dog, she has to sit by my side and be forced to deal with an uncomfortable situation. You know what happens when you force a dog into a situation in which it fears for his safety? It snaps. It bites. When your unleashed dog forces himself on our space you make me responsible for both my dog and yours. As a dog owner it is my responsibility to keep my dog safe, which I do with a leash, and those people and dogs around us, by controlling my dog with my handy dandy leash. Now, were both dogs unleashed, as they would in a dog park, the dynamic is very different but you just can’t force an unleashed dog on one that is constrained in his movement. Its. NOT. Good.

That is not to say I don’t believe your dog is an exceptional dog. I’m sure that your dog on his spare time teaches CPR classes at the local Y and helps the crossing guard cross children at the nearby elementary school. What I am saying is that my dogs are the furthest things from well behaved and I’m doing everything I can to teach them better while exercising them and the problem is you make it so much harder for us.

It is your responsibility to keep your dog and the people around him/her safe.

Family portrait.

Family portrait.

We met three unleashed dogs while on the trail. They of course rushed us and I had to simply sit there and hope my dogs would not incite any trouble. When in these situations the last thing you want to do is move the leashed dogs around trying to avoid the unleashed dog because it only makes it into a cat and mouse game for the unleashed dog, thus creating more trouble. And then I also stepped on a poor labrador that was chasing Ellie about me. Do you think I would have stepped on the poor pup if he had been secured at his owners side?

Sorry, I had to get that off my chest. Nevertheless, it was a great opportunity to get out and get some fresh air and expose the dogs to nature. Some very beautiful scenery to be seen out there and it all starts with the beautiful Poway lake. I cannot stress this enough, bring appropriate shoes and plenty of water to drink. Just because its crowded it doesn’t mean the trail is not strenuous. As far as the potato chip rock goes, a lot of people take great pictures on it but it’s actually quite a bit of climb to get on it. Its two giant steep boulders with a great big gap in between. I had to enlist the help of strangers to get on the boulders with Ellie and when I realized that I could get on the final boulder to reach the potato chip, I just gave up and turned back…with the help of strangers. With Ellie so fuzzy there was no way I was going to jump from boulder to boulder and have Ellie follow my lead.

IMG_4767

At the end of the hike.

 

Chris’s sister Tiffany accompanied us, as it was her idea to visit this place, and she was able to get on the potato chip with Argos to do a ‘Lion King’ pose. It was all good fun and very, very tiring. I don’t think we’ll be doing that one again any time soon. Nice to say I did though.

 

Jalama Beach

In June, Chris and I packed the dogs and took a tiny little road trip to Jalama Beach in Lompoc, CA 

The beach and camping grounds are quite beautiful in their Californian way. On one side you have hillside covered in dry brush and on the other side you get the cold and foaming Pacific Ocean. The campsites are only a few hundred feet from the actual sand and if you are lucky you can almost camp on the sand. We had stayed on the campsite a few years back and decided it would be a nice destination for one our weekend adventures . As always, I didn’t come to this decision until all the campsites were booked 5 months in advance and all I could get was a weekend in early June rather than late August when it’s typically warmer weather here in Southern California. I reserved us a camp space in early June knowing full well I’d be wearing my jacket the whole time.

We had come back from a beach vacation in Cancun a month earlier, so this was yet another reason I didn’t have a real interest in visiting Jalama Beach so early in June. But everything changed when I realize that the dogs could join us! Albeit leashed at all times, I thought it would be neat for Argos and Ellie to bury their feet in wet sand for the first time in their lives. Actually, I’m sure they don’t care for wet or dry sand or any other sand for that matter, all they cared about were the seagulls!

Bonfire Time!

Bonfire Time!

I’ve often talked about Ellie’s timidness and fear of stranger dogs and people. It was a risk to take Ellie on the trip and we did it knowing full well there was a chance we’d be headed right back home if something didn’t suit her. The beach is very windy all day and it gets worse at night. The beach campsite itself was quite crowded with families and their fury friends. Ellie bucks at the sight of other dogs or people she doesn’t know. She is startled by any off sound. So the first night, I didn’t take my eyes off of her. And you know what happened? Nothing. She didn’t care one bit about the wind, the dogs or the people. She was perfectly serene. At night she didn’t stir at the whipping sound of the wind against the tent. She just curled herself up and enjoyed our tented company.

A walk on the sand proved too much of a challenge for Argos. He kept lounging forward to get at the seagulls and Ellie kept trying to eat ocean debris. All in all, a great place for families and their dogs.

Castor & Pollux Natural Ultramix Grain-Free Duck

I’ve become quite the fan of this brand. Recently we decided to give the Natural Ultramix kibble a try after the dogs took well to the canned food by the same name. Ellie and Argos have been on Evanger’s Grain Free for a very long time and it was time for a change. Can you imagine eating the same stuff day in and day out, twice a day? Yeah. And if I know anything about my dogs is that they love Duck and Fish anything.

The kibble comes in the shape of hearts and there are bits and pieces of dry vegetables. It’s being wolfed-down so fast I actually need to start putting obstacles in their bowls to keep the dogs from hurting themselves. At approximate $1.80 per pound of kibble I think it’s worth a try. Might I remind you that Argos used to be the worst picky eater. I mean, to the point where he would starve himself rather than eat something he didn’t want. This kibble has two things that have worked for us. For one, it’s grain free (I don’t think I’ll ever go back to anything other than such) and it has duck meat, one of his favorite proteins. So, if you find yourself in the same boat, give it a go. I contacted Castor & Pollux about returning product in case the dogs didn’t like it and they reassured me that the product is 100% guaranteed or your money back.

So there you have it.

Shout Out: Chewy.com

I’d like to give special shout out to Chewy.com.  A lot of these pet food websites have autoship services where you pick the dog food or product of your choice and they’ll automatically ship you the stuff every 4 weeks (or whatever time frame you chose). During one of their sales, I stocked up on dog toothpaste and Zuke’s salmon treats, I bought like 10 bags of these training treats. Well, I forgot to cancel the autoship and 10 more bags showed up at my door step and we haven’t quite gotten through the original shipment.

"You're going to give it ALL away?!"

“You’re going to give it ALL away?!”

I called Chewy, explained my mistake, asked if I could please return it and get my money back. They returned my money but asked me to please donate the package to my local animal shelter. That’s $100 worth of dog treats that they are asking me to drop off.  I smiled and gladly agreed to drop off the box on their behalf. Suffice it to say that Chewy.com has my business for a very long time.

10 Bag of Zukes Salmon Mini Treats and 2 tubes of Virbac poultry flavored  dog toothpaste.

10 Bag of Zukes Salmon Mini Treats and 2 tubes of Virbac poultry flavored dog toothpaste.

I donated the box to Lange Foundation this past Saturday 8/3/2014. I handed it over to a nice young lady who was at the counter. I was going to take a picture of the box sitting on their counter but I got distracted looking at the kitties… Anywho, although they are but dog training treats I hope they find a good use for them.

Ear Cleaner: FURminator

No one ever told me I had to regularly clean my Cockapoo’s ears to keep ear infections at bay. My Veterinarian certainly didn’t, he just handed me antibiotic and ear cleaner after the second infection and gave me two weeks worth of instructions. So after two weeks, Ellie’s ears were infected again. I did some research and found out what I needed to know about the subject. After I ran out of the 4 oz bottle of Melon Scented ear cleaner from the Veterinarian, I called to see how much they would charge me for another 4 oz bottle of this beautifully scented stuff and as soon as they said $23 dollars, I said thank you and promptly hung up. Are you frigging kidding me? $23 dollars for 4 Oz?!

I took to Amazon to see about more affordable ear cleaners and at $6 I thought I would give FURminator a try. This stuff sucks, don’t use it. It smells unpleasant, its sticky, it doesn’t help with the bad ear smell and Ellie’s ears were still bothering her. You know how I know? She puts her ear down on the floor and than drags herself from one side of the room to the other with her ear firmly planted on the floor.

I couldn’t bare to see her suffer anymore so I called the Vet and it went something like this “Can you fix me the biggest bottle of your ear cleaner?” After being disappointed by FURminator and the bad experience with Natural Choice, it was time to spend the big bucks so my girl would be ok.

And because things rarely go the way I need them to, this ear cleaner from the Vet is not the melon scented one I was expecting. No. For $23 I got a 4 oz bottle of what smells like my grandpa’s Sunday cologne. You know, the real musky woodsy stuff. Chris picked it up from the Vet on his way home one day so of course I didn’t get a chance to smell the stuff before they charged it to my credit card. When I called the Vet’s office to see if they could give me the melon-scented ear cleaner, they told me they never carried such a thing. You know how I know it’s melon-scented? BECAUSE THEY TOLD ME WHEN I BOUGHT IT THE FIRST TIME. I didn’t argue. I said thanks and hung up. But you know what? Ellie’s Ears are nice and clean and that’s all that matters.

For the record, I’ve tried making my own based off of recipes from the world wide web and I just can’t stand the smell of vinegar. After a couple of uses, I chucked this homemade concoction.

So the point of this long-winded whine is, stay away from the FURminator Ear Cleaner for Dogs and Cats. Save yourself $6 bucks.

Bad Experiences

There was a rebate from Nutro for a free bag of Natural Choice dog food. So I got a bag of their puppy food for Ellie. I consulted Dog Food Advisor to determine the quality of the food and I didn’t think that a 3.5 star rating would be so bad. I have determined, and I have no way of scientifically proving this except for my own observations, this food made my Ellie sick.

She is fine now, I’ve switched her over to something else but while she was on Natural Choice for puppies, her stool was watery and she would constantly throw up. At first I thought that the runny stool was due to the new food but then up-chuck started. She would vomit about once a day. After a week of this type of behavior, I decided against running to the Vet to hear what he had to say and decided to stop feeding her kibble and observe her symptoms.

I cooked some brown rice and added chopped up pieces of chicken breasts to feed her at meal times. Her symptoms cleared fairly quickly and I put her back on the Nutro. Guess what happened next? She began vomiting again. All her treats remained the same, and they haven’t been anywhere else. I don’t know what else to think except that Nutro Natural Choice is not good for Ellie. If it’s not good for one of my dogs, it certainly isn’t good for the other.

I’ve explored different forums and it seems other people have experienced these reactions to this brand of dog food. So new users, as with anything, be careful. Since Ellie is a month away from her first birthday I decided to switch her to the same kibble Argos is eating. Earthborn Holistic is for all life stages so I figured it would be ok to switch her a month earlier than I planned.

Homemade Salmon Treats

IMG_1482

Brown rice flour, wild pink salmon and sweet potato

 I decided to try making my own dog biscuits to see how convenient and/or cheap it is compared to store bought. I don’t think I’ve ever bought a bag of dog biscuits or cookies before. I generally buy freeze dried liver treats, training treats, Greenies and raw hides. Any who, I was very concerned that I’d be wasitng both my money and my efforts in making biscuits like these and I was afraid Argos would spit them out the way he spits out a treat when I grab the car keys and not his leash.

I came across this dog treat recipe on Pinterest from DesignSponge and I decided to try this particular one because it called for salmon and buckwheat flour. I knew right away Argos wouldn’t be able to resist the salmon…unless I grabbed the car keys and not his leash (he spits out whatever treat I give him if I am leaving without him). The original recipe from DesignSponge calls for parsley and buckwheat flour and I didn’t have either so I made due with what I did have.

Boy! I almost did not go through with this. I opened the can of salmon and the smell just took over the whole apartment. I hate that fishy smell. While I cringed away from the can, the smell of the salmon was like a siren call to Ellie and Argos. Immediately they were at my feet sniffing at the air.

I put the salmon, potato and eggs in the blender and blended away. I decided to put the flour in a mixing bowl and pour the blended salmon mixture over it. I worked the flour into the salmon mixture until it resembled dough. I made these on Valentine’s Day and I really wished I had some festive cookie cutters but alas! This is not a cookie cutter type of home. I made due with the 1 oz side of a jigger.

Salmon & Sweet Potato Dog Treats According to DesignSponge

  • 3 cups Brown Rice flour (or Buckwheat flour or any flour you’d like to use), plus extra for flouring the counter and rolling out
  • 1 14-ounce can wild-caught salmon drained
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup mashed sweet potato
  • 3 Tablespoons chopped parsley

1. Place all ingredients in a food processor. Blend until fully combined.

2. Transfer the mixture to a lidded container. Refrigerate for one hour.

3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line several cookie sheets with either a silicone mat (such as a Silpat) or parchment paper. Set aside.

4. Transfer the mixture to a floured surface. Lightly press a bit of flour into the mixture and onto your hands to prevent sticking.

5. Using a rolling pin, roll the mixture until about 1/8-inch thick. You may need to turn the dough over several times and add flour to the counter to keep the dough from sticking. Be prepared for messy hands!

6. Cut out shapes in the dough using a cutter in whatever motif you prefer. I used circles and stars here. Dog bone cutters would be cute, as would seasonally themed shapes, such as pumpkins for Halloween or trees for the holiday season. This is a nice touch if you intend to gift the treats to another dog-loving friend.

7. Place on the prepared cookie sheets and bake for 30 minutes, until the dog treats are hard like a gingersnap. It’s imperative that the treats are completely dry before storage; otherwise, they could go bad.

8. Cool completely, then store in an airtight container. Use within several weeks.

 Cost

  1. 1 Sweet Potato:  .69 cents
  2. 1 Wild Alaskan Salmon 14.75 oz can: $3.29
  3. 2 eggs: .38 cents
  4. 3 cups Brown Rice Flour: $4.26

For amount of treats you can get out of this mixture, they are some cheap treats. I, as usually, didn’t follow directions and had to throw most of them away. It’s both my fault and whoever thought of this recipe. Even after refrigerating the mixture like the instructions called for, the mixture was too moist to be rolled out with a pin and neatly cut out with a cookie cutter.

IMG_1544

Top treats by Chris, bottom treats by me.

Chris gave the cookie cutting part a try first. He had to add about 1 more cup of flour in order to be able to cut something out. The top crackers are the treats he made. He soon gave up and I took over. I decided I was not gonna add anymore flour so I made small little patties. The little, perfectly round cookie-looking treats were my doing. There was only one problem with my patties; darn things didn’t cook through right. They were in the oven for an hour and when I pulled them out, they were still soft in the middle.

I gave up. Not sure if the treats were safe for consumption, I threw them out and kept Chris’s deformed crackers in a hermetic jar. The dogs love them. The ingredients in the recipe made for a tasty dog treat but the instructions and quantity of the ingredients didn’t work. Until I can figure out the true proportions, this recipe gets no paws of approval.

Salmon crackers in the dogs' treat hermetic jar. The jar keeps moist things moist and crunchy things crunchy.

Salmon crackers in the dogs’ hermetic treat jar. The jar keeps moist things moist and crunchy things crunchy.

Review: Castor & Pollux Canned Foods

I took advantage of the PetSmart $5 for $25 coupon a couple of weeks ago. For those of you who haven’t used it yet, you have until the end of February to do so. You can print it twice and couple it with some sale items for a really good deal.

I used my coupons to purchase some Castor & Pollux that is on sale at PetSmart until March. Chris printed two coupons as well and used it with his PetSmart pet perks card. I top Argos and Ellie’s food with wet dog food for variety and to keep them interested. It helps me keep them on an eating schedule, specially since I don’t like leaving food out in the bowls. I find that both Ellie and Argos lose interest in their food the deeper we get into a 15 lb of dog food. This is one of the reasons I don’t sign up to repeat deliveries from places like www.petflow.com or www.amazon.com, because I change up the dry food every time I have to purchase a new bag and I never know which brand or recipe I’ll  be trying next. I also liked purchasing from PetSmart in person because they have the single cans, so you can mix and match flavors and recipes and that is definitely not possible when you order from the web. If you want packs of canned dog food from online suppliers, you are limited to one recipe/flavor per pack.

With the PetSmart coupons I bought 19 cans of of 13.2 oz Castor & Pollux Ultramix Indulgent Mix and 20 cans of 12.7 oz of Castor & Pollux Organix Butcher & Busshel.

Natural Ultramix Indulgent Mix

Natural Ultramix Indulgent Mix

Because these are cans of dog food and not just dog food toppers, they actually have big chunks of meat in them. My tricky little fur balls started to pick out the big chunks of meat and only eat that, leaving the kibble behind. Now, when I open a can of food, I put it in the blender to make it one homogenize mixture. Ha! A can lasts about 6 days, so my supply should last me a good 7 months.

The Organix Butcher & Bushel has a 4.5 stars and the Natural Ultramix Indulgent Mix has 5 stars on www.dogfoodadvisor.com so I felt pretty confident it was gonna go over well with the dogs.  And it sure did! Dinner time is done in 5 minutes. They haven’t tried all the flavors yet but I know I won’t have a problem with that.

Now I am searching deal sites and online stores for good deals on kibble. I got a coupon for a free 1/2 lb trial size bag of Now Fresh dry kibble so we’ll give that a try to see how well it goes over.

La Brea Tar Pits

If you live in the Mid-Wilshire, West Los Angeles, or West Hollywood area and you are looking for a nice place to hang out with your dog on a Saturday morning to have a picnic or maybe just a good romp in the grass, look no further than The La Brea Tar Pits. The La Brea Tar Pits are adjacent to the LACMA in Mid-Wilshire and its a big park. You can walk your dog through the park, play fetch or people watch. It’s by far my favorite place to with Argos. I am not a big fan of dog parks so this is a good compromise. On this particular Sunday, a little girl came up to us when she saw Argos playing fetch and she joined in. That little girl tired Argos out like I’ve never seen him before.

If you live in the area, give it a go. It’s free and you don’t need a dog.

This is what happiness looks like.

This is what happiness looks like.