Caring for man's best friend on the go gets an assist from these new products, all of which I've tested. Items may be available in area stores besides the online retailers. Price does not include shipping.
-- Judi Dash
RuffWear, makers of dog gear, thinks canines should be protected from the elements too. Its Mutt Hutt is a nylon pet tent that is a smaller version of a full-featured human tent, complete with a rain fly. The tent can be pitched in seconds, thanks to a neat design: The frame opens like an umbrella. An innovative twist is the "dog door," overlapping elasticized front flaps that let your pooch come and go as it pleases. An outer door zips over the dog door when you want Fido inside.
Mutt Hutt Pet Tent is $88 (small), $98 (large) from RuffWear; (888) 783-3932; www.ruffwear.com.
Breezy does it
Pet crates and cages can get uncomfortable in hot weather, whether during transit or in an un-air-conditioned waiting area. The 7-inch Cooling Fan clips onto standard cages and runs for up to 100 hours on two D batteries (not included). A protective grid keeps paws away from the blades. The high- and low-speed settings are both fairly quiet.
Cooling Fan for Crates and Cages is $14 from PetsMart; (888) 839-9638; www.petsmart.com.
The Spottag Mini-Flashing ID Tag helps pinpoint pets that have wandered off in the dark -- an especially troubling situation away from home. The red plastic tag, which attaches to the collar, is equipped with light and motion sensors that set off a flashing LED light only in the dark and when the dog is moving (to conserve power). There is no off/on switch. The light also can alert motorists to dog walkers hugging the roadside on unlighted streets. The tag is available in the shape of a bone, heart or fire hydrant.
Spottag Mini-Flashing ID Tag is $5.49 from Valley Vet Supply. Requires two button cell batteries, not included. (800) 419-9524; www.valleyvet.com.
Come summer, most dogs love to sprawl on vinyl flooring or tile. The Canine Cooler Pet Bed is a mobile alternative. Its soft vinyl casing surrounds an open-cell foam core. During a onetime setup procedure, water is poured into a valve and is soaked up by the foam. The bed absorbs heat from the much warmer pooch and dissipates it into the surrounding air, making the dog feel cooler. The tough vinyl casing is guaranteed against claw punctures, and all materials are nontoxic, but the bed should not be used with puppies or adult dogs with chewing issues.
Canine Cooler Pet Bed is $50 to $95, depending on size, from SoothSoft; (888) 244-5569; www.soothsoft.com. Optional cotton-polyester cover is $18 to $35.
Ionic technology, which uses an electrical charge to dissipate odors, has gone to the dogs. The battery-operated Waterless Bath Pet Brush is designed to neutralize nasty smells and break down and "lift out" dirt particles and dander. The makers claim the brush even repels fleas by emitting ultrasonic waves set to a bug-busting frequency. Sturdy bristles do a pretty good job of untangling fur -- though my dog didn't like the low vibration of the brush. She did smell fresher after her brushing, making the brush a nice alternative to a real bath -- especially when traveling. The brush is no match, however, for serious stink, such as a skunk attack. Runs on one 9-volt battery (not included).
Waterless Bath Pet Brush (ES-PET-IO-50) is $37 from Safer Home Products; (888) 607-9902; www.saferhomeproducts.com.