Friday, October 26, 2012

Neater Feeder: Contained Pet Feeding System Giveaway and Review~ 11/6

Every pet parents knows that our four legged kids, just like human kids, can be quite messy. No example holds truer the sight of our floor, after feeding time. You'd think we had a herd of pigs, scrambling to the trough, fighting for the last pieces of kibble; not 2 domesticated cats and a 4lb dog! And, in a household with primarily indoor pets, this particular mess stands out above muddy paws and kitty litter, as it's one that resurfaces twice a day, day after day. It seems like we've tried everything, from the advertised 'no tip' stainless steel bowls to the bulky feeder systems that only collect additional debris and dust. Let's face it, if it sits on the floor, it's going to get just as dirty as those infamous kickboards I so hate scrubbing. Then there's the constant rolling kibble, magically migrating across the kitchen and into the living room. And of course the messy dribbles and drips from the water bowl only congeal this debris into a mud like muck around the bowls and on the floor.
You wouldn't let your toddler eat without a tray and placemat, so why wouldn't your pets need an organized system for feeding? Neater Feeder recognizes the varied needs of different breeds and ages, offering a thoughtful solution to the age old predicament of messy eaters. Not only does their 2 part feeding system offer the convenience of an easy wash 'catch all' lower layer, but the benefit of elevation that grows with your pet and it's needs. The Neater Feeder is an all in one liquid and solid, 2 bowl, feeder system that can easily accommodate multi-pet homes, anxious puppies, and aging canines. And their 4 size selection ensures you receive the proper height and portioning for your pet; even for cats!
I received a Small Neater Feeder system in Red for Ms. Nora, who is a notorious 'picker', and loves to set her food down next to the bowl, in order to chew each piece individually. Not only do I contend with kibble rolling along my kitchen floor, but she is an enthusiastic drinker as well- water sprays everywhere, and even drips off of her fur! The Neater Feeder came with several parts, but is entirely functional out of the box- optional feed extenders and included grips help customize the height and stability to your needs. The feeding height for the Small unit is designated 3", though it seems a little higher, next to Nora. We certainly didn't have to lift our Neater Feeder with the extensions, the depth of the bowls themselves actually had Nora leaning in and over to eat. This is partly due to the fact there there is a well thought out draining grate between the dog and the bowls, to catch loose food and water droplets.
At first Nora was a bit intimidated by this elaborate feeding system. She felt that the food wasn't designated for her, unless it was directly in front of her, and like a good little puppy would star up at me for permission. From there it took a little getting used to as she tried to adapt her normal eating habits to the space between her and her bowl. From time to time she'd pull back, with a mouth full of food, and her fur, or collar, would catch the stainless steel bowl and clank. She'd jump back a few inches, as though the bowl had attacked her, and wait for permission to eat again. This is something I haven't been able to stop, but also something she has gotten used to. The design has also curbed her habit to kick or drop food outside the bowl, and nibble. She is doing much better with eating directly from the bowl, and taking breaks between to digest.
Included with the Neater Feeder are 2 standard Stainless Steel bowls, 2 cups/1 pint in the case of the Small set. The plastic feeder is designed with intuitive notches for easy removal, and snaps in place for reassembly. Cleaning could not be simpler, with this dishwasher safe system made from recyclable polypropylene plastic, suitable for smooth hand washing or machine handling. The bottom 'catch' tray will hold quite a bit of splashed water, though I like to clean it out whenever I rinse the bowls for deposits. On the floor, I think the biggest improvement with the Neater Feeder has been the avoidance of human caused messes. I cannot recall the number of times I have caught myself swearing, post an accidental kick, only to look down and find all of the splashed water sill in the feeder!
In all, the Neater Feeder isn't the most cutting edge, or attractive, feeding system, but it certainly has cornered the industry in innovation and function. I am consistently impressed with the stability of this system, and the ease of maintenance. The high walls help keep debris in, and raise our pup's confidence, keeping unwanted kitties out during meal time. The grated catch bin is perfect for dribbling water, and accidental jolts or bumps, while the portioned bowls ensure you are feeding your pet appropriate servings. Best of all, if you are unsure of the benefits for your home, or how your pet might take to it, the Neater Feeder includes a 30 day money back guarantee. 

One Time Out For Truffles follower will win a Neater Feeder for their breed/size.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

JW Pet Toys: Modern Toys for Modern Dogs Giveaway and Review~ 10/26

Before I'd even brought Nora home I began collecting toys for her. Much like anticipating a new baby, one of the most exciting parts about this family addition was all of the shopping and prep to welcome her! Of course Nora, being a teacup sized Morkie, was just over 2lbs when we brought her home, and has almost doubled since. Even with this size increase, she is still too small for many common dog toys (I have been hunting for appropriately sized 'tennis balls' everywhere!) But I digress; we must have gone into over 15 pet stores while searching for the perfect harness, collar,or bowl. And at each and every one I was tempted by adorable dog toys with human appeal. Unfortunately toys themed to attract humans aren't always the safest, or most practical, for your pet. I know from experience, with Frankie and Truffles, pet toys bought to look cute or fit decor are often the first to be left alone in a corner of the floor.
Regardless, I had a miniature dog on the way, and there were thousands of adorable miniature things to buy. While up North we happened to walk into a small hometown Pet Shop immediately following a big brand chain. The difference in inventory and intelligent variety was evident. Row upon row of neatly organized pet toys and treats; stuff we had never seen before! Have you ever heard of catnip mice made from schoolhouse erasers? I'm sure I released a few squeals as I approached a tower of neon hued rubber based dog toys. They were arranged by theme, and size (smallest at the top), with adorable 3D shapes like giant Gummy Bears, adorable Monsters, and even a Rubber Chicken. My heart skipped a beat as my eyes came across a Green Bowling Pin Rubber Chew Toy. It was perfect for our family, as we bowl league all year- but only in stock in the larger sizes. Thankfully, most of the toys JW Pet manufactures are sold in a 3 size tier when appropriate. This means I can easily order the right size, for our breed, through their website or licensed vendors such as Amazon.
It's not hard to spot JW Pet products among a slew of contenders at the pet store; their style is defined and their toys stand together as a cohesive collection, while still integrating various concepts and functions. Their repertoire not only covers dogs and cats, but domesticated birds, fish, and small animals as well. JW Pet truly is a pet company, and their passion for animals is clearly evident in their attitude towards animals in the workplace and engaging playtime. I could go into their durable bird toys, or whimsical pet habitats, but just their Dog category alone overwhelms me! While I, personally, am attracted to the colorful toys JW Pet also offers a line of bowls and grooming aids- and their toys aren't just rubber based! The brand has innovated a nearly indestructible material called Megalast, and also is home to an adorable assortment of colorful crinkle characters known as Crackle Heads. And, expanding upon the big 'water bottle' toy trend this year, JW Pets has a unique Crackle Ball, within the Crackle Head line, that combines the fun of rubber based chews with a crinkly plastic center!
Even though I'm already a customer ambassador for the brand (at least that's what I consider myself, as I buy JW Pet products for all of my PetPals), they were kind enough to send some of their hottest toys over for us to feature here on Time Out For Truffles. We received some kitty products as well- so look for those in a following article! While there were many interesting things, it's no surprise I was most tickled to see they had heard my plea for a Small Bowling Pin Rubber Chew Toy. It's narrow head and nub was the perfect size for teething Nora to chew on. Unfortunately, I think it's turned into somewhat of a game, her rolling it off the couch, then waiting for me to retrieve it. What a brat! We also received a Megalast Gummi Bear that is a tad too thick for Nora at this age, but adorable none the less. It's texture is a little more waxed in appearance (compared to the bowling pin), and it has an audible, but not annoyingly loud squeaker.
Another popular find was the included Hol-Ee Cuz, which resembles a gold ball with feet. Through the mesh like print ball there is a soft yellow filling stuffed inside, making this great for teething pups and long lasting chewing. We've found this quite easy on her developing jaw, and she just loves gnawing at the edges and feet. It even gives way to a little squeak now and then, thanks to the small squeaker tucked away inside the fabric core. I could likely go on about all of the amazing toys JW Pet has to offer for each and every size and breed. I, personally, find myself browsing their selection on Amazon now and then, filling my cart. The price point is exceptionally affordable for such durable toys! Of course, unless you are shopping in a physical storefront, you'll be at mercy to the distribution center for color choices. JW Pet has gone with a very modern, bright neon, palette that, for the most part, is fairly gender neutral.
We've yet to have any products break down or become damaged from ordinary use, which is saying a lot with a teething puppy. I just ordered a JW Pets Squeakster Penguin the other week, and have no plans on buying any other brand for a very long time. Why would I need to with hundreds of products to choose from and such intelligent styling and design?

One Time Out For Truffles follower will win a JW Pet Dog Themed (Look for Cats Soon) Prize Bundle!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

On The Topic of Pets and Beds: Spot Training Your Pet

While I have many exciting companies and products to share with you, I want to remind our loyal readers that we are not just a Pet 'Review' Blog. I love answering question and offering advice on pets of the feline and canine variety- Time Out For Truffles was created in hopes of helping other pet owners, bringing a few smiles to your face with adorable pics, and enriching your fur friends' lives with amazing pet innovation features. I'm not a specialist, and I do not get paid to write this blog- so, while I always recommend consulting your Veterinarian for advice, I do offer a genuine opinion from a loving pet parent. I may not be able to post every day- though I try, but I do promise to put as much time and thought into an advice post as a review (maybe not a Wordless Wednesday though, haha).

Recently someone wrote us at with the following question:

"Hi Truffles and Friends,

I have a 2 year old tabby named Mick that has always been welcome on my bed. Recently he has begun taking over my pillow at night. He is a 12lb cat, so rather big, and almost pushes me off my pillow. Our 'agreement' has always been that Mick gets the bottom half of the bed, but I'm worried disciplining him might give off the wrong impression. I don't want him to think he's not allowed on the bed at all! Help!

Sincerely, Patty"

Well, Patty- aside from any debates about the potential health hazards/pros or cons of allowing a pet to sleep in a human bed (which is another article in itself), we generally keep our pets of the bed at night. That being said, we do permit them to socialize with us when we are awake and in bed, and there is a defined territory, much like you indicated the bottom half of the bed was a 'pet zone'.

Believe it or not, no matter the age, cat or dog, the training process will be pretty much the same. You should operate on praise much more than negative reinforcement. You are correct to assume that scolding Mick might make him hesitant to socialize on the bed, or even in the room. Animals are quick to build negative associations and, once established, these can be hard perceptions to break. It  also sounds like something may have triggered Mick to begin claiming more territory, so to speak. Consider the introduction of new pets, guests, or family member. If nothing has changed in that dynamic, then consider if your pets old stomping grounds/rest spots have been altered or compromised in integrity. Animals, especially cats, can be quite picky about where they'll rest. They often have to feel safe, and close to (or able to monitor) other animals and people nearby.

Believe it or not you can actually train your cat to quite a specific range of 'acceptable' territory. For instance, the couch could be off territory, but perhaps you allow the animal to rest on the top, or the arms, of the couch. Animals can easily comprehend these restrictions. Training is easiest if you have a toy or pad/bed that is kept in your animals primary resting spot. If you do not happen to have anything that your animal claims, in this area, it might be a good idea to invest in it. For example, if your cat sits on a specific armchair, place a thin pet bed pad or blanket where your cat normally sits. Then, in the evening, be sure to spend some awake time in your bedroom. Place the blanket/pad where you wish your cat to lounge (in this care the lower half of the bed). Place your cat on the blanket/pad. Whenever your cat moves, be sure to allow it to come to a rest (stop moving) before you make any attempts to re-align the behavior. Without negative reinforcement, pick Mick up and set him down on the pad, offering some affection and love.

Repeat this process, moving the pad/blanket from Mick's daily spots to the bottom of the bed at night. Eventually you should be able to remove the bed/pad all together and Mick should naturally be re-trained regarding his boundaries. If you have a bit of resistance at first (such as the cat running away after being replaced consider adding treats into reinforcement. Start by offering one treat when you set him on the pad, and another each time you re-place the cat back on the pad. Good luck!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

National Feral Cat Day: An Ode To Frankie @AlleyCatAllies

Today's a big deal for cat lovers; National Feral Cat Day. I have friends on Facebook filling their pages with meme buttons and blurbs, gushing about the feral cats they secretly feed, or have even adopted. Now, before I go more into our attachment to this date, and it's importance; I should take a few sentences to note some common sense points. National Feral Cat Day, while about Feral Cats, is not advocating humans to take feral animals into their home as pets. True, many feral cats have been 'converted' into loyal, healthy, members of human families. However, feral cats are NOT a stray cat. (That is, an animal that was once someone's pet, and became lost.) A feral cat is a feline that is a descendant of either 1.) a domesticated animal that returned to the wild, or 2.) a descendant of a cat that has lived outdoors for many generations. Feral animals are considered wild, and obviously have no vaccination records or health history, making them a potential risk for humans and pets that come in contact. Feral cats can also cause potential population risks when the (non spay/neutered) cats of irresponsible owners become lost.
If all that sounds scary, it certainly is something serious to keep in mind. But feral cats are a wonderful part of our ecosystem, keeping many rodents and pests in check naturally, and have every right to roam and be happy. That's why National Feral Cat Day was organized, to raise awareness for the Alley Cat Allies organization, which helps promote humane handling of feral cats. Humane handling, in this case, typically involves safe trapping of said felines, followed by spay/neuter, and release (back into the wild). This premise is called "Trap, Neuter, Return," and should only be done by professionals or trained members of the organization. In many instances, you'll be glad to know, all efforts are made to adopt tamable kittens, prior to their release. The ultimate goal is to prevent necessary cat deaths (and population explosions), through controlled release, or adoption.
Now, Frankie, was a feral cat; from what we can determine, likely a product of such initiatives. He was trapped and taken to a shelter, at about 1.5 years of age. Sadly, though one of the sweetest cats I've ever met, he met the end of his adoption time frame, and was not adopted. It's a well known fact that, when adopting, many prefer kittens and puppies to adolescent or adult pets. Thankfully Frankie was taken in by a No-Kill home (packed with well over 25 cats- that we could see), where he was looked after indefinitely until finding his forever home with us. Now, Frankie does have some immune system issues, likely contracted from interactions in the wild, that he will live with for the rest of his life. Otherwise, he is a perfectly content, happy, domesticated cat. A cat without a birthday; so we celebrate Frankie today, on National Feral Cat Day.
Yes, Truffles was the offspring of a domesticated cat, Frankie was feral, and Nora came from a breeder- and we love them all equally. I do have to say, however, while Truffles may win the personality award, Frankie is one of the most loveable, cuddly ready, cats you will ever meet. He just loves attention, and will begin (loudly) purring with even the slightest hint of it. He's lost a little of his 'wild' cat bulk since he came home with us, but he still has that handsome bear face that reminds of us his true origins. For more information on the Trap, Neuter, Return initiatives near you visit

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Mr.Chewy Pet Supply Delivery: Great For Busy Pet Parents

Not all pets are spoiled; odd are, if you are sitting here, reading a pet blog, you are likely one of the owners that (like me) treat your pets like children. You brag about their accomplishments, scold them for misbehavior, and shower them with gifts and treats to make them feel special. I've found that people who fall in the extremes of this end of the spectrum tend to judge other pet owners, I've even caught myself doing it. Much like with our human children it's easy to assume an animal is being neglected based on minute instances or a misunderstood glimpse into their lives. The simple truth is, not all pet owners have time to sit at home and potty train during the week; or the money to buy fortified Science Diet kibble. But that doesn't mean they aren't vigalent around the clock, while home (maybe they hire a pet walker), or paying attention to nutrition labels.
While they are out there, I am not one of those who feels that people should be denied the joy and love of a pet due to schedule or financial circumstances. Of course I still advocate common sense; such as choosing the right breed and age animal for your lifestyle, or making educated budget decisions when shopping for your pet- but you won't find me looking down on someone for buying store brand treats or WalMart toys. After all, safety and health are the most important factors when it comes to raising a pet- they don't know the meaning of 'labels'. That being said, it doesn't mean that some pet owners don't need a little extra help. With the hectic lifestyles we live today, balancing family and work, it's not hard to forget to stock up on essentials. I reach into my fridge every day, so I am consciously thinking about our stock and food reserve- however, we keep the majority of our pet food in containers separate from their 20lb bags(for serving); I've completely forgotten just how low we were until I went to refill and found no food!
Does that make me a bad pet parent, no- it just makes me human! Since then, however, I've been searching for ways to get some of our day-to-day pet supplies ordered online. At first, my primarily thought was "Won't it cost a small fortune to have cat litter and bulk food shipped?" That's how I discovered, which stocks over 120 top brands and products with free shipping (on orders $49+) all year round. They're also ran by honest pet lovers, who understand the need for urgency in processing and shipping, as well as your desire to stretch your pet budget. Many orders begin processing within the hour, and generate a shipping notice in as few as 12-24 hours. And, if $49 seems like a heavy price point to meet, just consider stocking up on the essentials, to eliminate time spent shopping down the line. You'll love the piece of mind of having all your pet products on hand, when you need them most.
Thanks to you can even re-order your previous supplies, or favorite products with a few simple clicks of the button. Easy to use functions like Quick Re-Order or Delivery Schedules can even ensure that the supplies you need (think flea medication) show up on your doorstep regularly, with automatic renewal, at no additional cost. And, every additional friend you refer to shop with Chewy helps the Best Friends Animal Society with a $10 donation from Mr. Chewy. The site is extremely well organized and easy to browse, with competitive pricing. I was quick to note, while shopping, that many top name brands are sold alongside everyday staples. You'll also find some of the harder to locate brands, like Feline Pine, Canidae, and Taste of The Wild. Mr.Chewy is a great resource for natural pet food and the highest quality pet health products.
I was tickled with how fast the processing and shipping was, with complete access to my order and it's progress the entire way! Of course I had a 9lb bag of premium cat littler in my order, so the actual shipment was well over 10lbs; something I would have never been able to afford to buy through massive online retailers like Amazon or even Petco. And, for just $50 we received a wonderful variety of high quality products; I meticulously price matched with other options. The lowest comparison I could get was still $5.60 more, not including the website's requested shipping fees! I had ordered something for everyone, glad to see Truffles favorite treat, Greenies were stocked with great variety; and her Science Diet Ideal Balance listed for a fair price.

Of course we had just adopted Nora at the time, so puppy Pee Pads were enough, and Chewy happily provided a section for potty training; complete with potty pads and waste bags. I also discovered her new favorite treat Bil Jack Peanut Butter Nanas, which have a great texture for teething gums, and breath refreshing capacity. They actually smell good enough to tempt me- and are free of that processed, 'raw' odor that some jerky type treats possess. Of course, I did spoil her with some of the classics as well. had Flossies chew spirals at a great price, and a variety of Beggin Strips by Purina. Needless to say, this tiny dog will be working through these goodies for weeks.
In all, I was very pleased with our experience and look forward to refilling our pet food and litter needs, for a hassle free holiday season. Just because you're a busy pet owner doesn't mean you don't care, and can't still provide your pet the very best in care and treats. Stop on by Mr.Chewy today and see just how easy it can be shopping for your furry kids, online. Use code WOOD699 to save 10% off your first purchase, and Mr.Chewy will make a $10 donation to the Best Friends Animal Society on your behalf!

As Required By The FTC: I was provided a shopping budget to experience firsthand. Regardless, my opinion was not altered or swayed in any way. All thoughts contained there in are mine and mine alone.