Pet Secret Shopper



Sentry Calming Collar for dogs

Sentry Calming Collar for dogsWith all of our kids home for the holidays our house has turned in to Grand Central Station. The abundance of noise and chaos agitates our very sensitive Great Dane, Shakespeare, to the point that he jumps up on folks, paces back and forth, and barks for no apparent reason. A super time to test Sentry's Calming Collar for dogs!

The claim: Sentry claims that the collar helps dogs in fearful or stressful situations (separation anxiety, fireworks, thunderstorms, visitors, new baby, traveling, pulling on leash, whining, chewing, aggression, incessant barking). The collar mimics pheromones that mother dogs produce to calm and reassure her puppies. The collar releases pheromones for up to 30 days and is non-toxic.

Watch the Science Behind the Pheromones video:

The test: Upon opening the collar's packaging I was greeted with the pleasing scent of lavender and chamomile. There was quite a bit of powdery residue that fell from the collar when we first opened it which the box states activates the "pheromone technology." The generous 28" collar fit easily around Shakey's neck with collar to spare which we snipped off with scissors.

The following day, as family members began pouring through the door, we paid close attention to Shakespeare's behavior waiting for the jumping, pacing and barking to begin, "when much to our wondering eyes did appear" a very calm and shockingly stress-free pup. Even our 3 year old granddaughter's boisterous behavior failed to get so much as a twitch out of our gentle giant. We were simply amazed!

Final word: We found the Sentry Calming Collar for dogs did live up to its claim to calm our fretful, furry family member and would strongly recommend it to anyone with a fearful or anxious pup.

Where to buy: The Sentry Calming Collar for dogs can be purchased in-store and online at most pet supply retail stores including for $9.99.

Bonus: Help spread the word about the Sentry Calming Collar and one lucky reader will win a $50.00 donation from DogTime Media to the non-profit 501c3 shelter or rescue of their choice!

There are three ways to qualify:

1) Add a comment to this blog post telling us about your experience with the Calming Collar or why you want to try this product

2) Tweet about this review post and leave the URL to your Tweet in a comment on this post

3) Blog about this review post and leave the URL to your blog post in a comment on this post

One winner will be selected and announced on the Pet Secret Shopper blog. Contest ends 02/13/13.


Join the Vote for Vaccination campaign!'s Vote for Vaccination Campaign
Vaccinating your pet can save her from contracting a variety of nasty illnesses including rabies. The pet loving folks at are encouraging all pet owners to join their Vote for Vaccination campaign to learn more about the benefits of vaccinations and which vaccinations best suit your pet's lifestyle.

To see which vaccines your pet may need, take's risk assessment quiz and discuss the results with your veterinarian to develop a personalized vaccination schedule for your cat or dog.

Vaccination tips:

  • Every pet should visit his or her veterinarian regularly and receive regular vaccinations in order to stay healthy.
  • Core vaccines are generally recommended for all pets. Lifestyle vaccines are designed for pets that are at risk for certain diseases based on their daily routines.
  • The risk assessment on helps educate pet owners about what diseases their pet may be at risk for and what to ask their veterinarian about at their next visit.

Other activities available at include:

  • Upload photos of their pets to the interactive campaign map
  • See what clinics in their area are supporting the campaign
  • Enter a caption contest and win a prize
  • Watch videos of Mutt and Kitty in action on the campaign trail as they talk about ways to keep their pet healthy

Be sure to catch's spokesperson, Mutt, in an adorable (and educational) video in which he recalls his bout with dog flu and schools his friends and us on the symptoms of dog flu.

Remember, a healthy pet is a happy pet!


Dog Flu | learn how it's spread, the symptoms, and how to avoid it

Dog Flu (Canine Influenza)
If you've ever wondered if your dog can get the flu, the answer is yes! While it's not the same strain of flu virus that humans contract, it's just as serious and worthy of special shout-out to my followers.

About dog flu

  • Canine Influenza is a very serious threat to dogs and its symptoms can easily be confused with Bordetella (canine cough).
  • Canine influenza only affects dogs and cannot be passed to humans.
  • The virus that causes flu in dogs—canine influenza virus (CIV) H3N8—was first identified in January 2004. Dog flu cases have now been reported in 39 states.
  • Because most dogs have no natural immunity against CIV, virtually all dogs exposed to the virus become infected.

Risk factors for dogs

  • Just like Bordetella, dogs that spend time at boarding facilities, doggy daycares, groomers, dog parks, and group training are at a high risk of contracting canine influenza.
  • Many facilities that require vaccination against Bordetella (canine cough) are beginning to see the benefit of also requiring vaccination against canine influenza.


  • The most common sign of dog flu is a soft, wet cough that may last for 3 to 4 weeks. Other signs include fever, runny nose, fatigue, and loss of appetite.
  • Like human flu, dog flu can lead to more serious conditions like pneumonia. Up to 8% of dogs that get the flu can die from the infection.
  • Recognizing the signs of dog flu is not enough to prevent spreading the disease.
    • About 20% of infected dogs will show no signs of disease but can still spread CIV to other dogs.
    • By the time a CIV-infected dog shows signs of illness, the dog is likely to have stopped spreading the virus.
      • Prior to showing signs of illness, dogs can spread CIV to surrounding objects, which become sources of infection, as well as directly to other dogs.
      • Dog flu cannot be diagnosed by signs alone. A veterinarian will need to perform blood tests to determine if a dog has the flu.

How you can protect your dog against the flu

  • Vaccinating your pet is the best way to protect him/her against CIV.
  • The first CIV vaccine approved in 2009, Nobivac® Canine Flu H3N8 from Merck Animal Health, has been shown to reduce the spread of disease among dogs.
  • Owners should talk to their veterinarians and see if their dog’s lifestyle merits vaccination.

For more information on Canine Influenza check out

This post is published courtesy of DogTime's Blog Champions program.


A-Door-able | Bouncing mouse, octopus, & bird cat toys

A-Door-able bouncing cat toyWe have two 3 month old kittens, Atticus and Scout (brother & sister), who are always looking for something to play with. We've bombed with a variety of cat toys but it was a happy day indeed when my daughter brought home an A-Door-able kitty toy to amuse them.

Atticus and his new favorite toy!You simply clip the (plastic coated) hanger on any door frame and let the hilarity begin! Scout and Atty went absolutely bonkers over this thing. I couldn't believe how long it kept their attention. The first time I put it up they must have played with it for over an hour.

The little toy hangs at the end of an adjustable elastic cord and makes a rattling sound when bounced. We have the mouse but I see that the octopus and bird are catnip scented. We'll have to try one of those next!

A-Door-able BirdAtty and Scout attack the mouse and upon release, the elastic cord flings it high in the air in random directions. Occasionally I have to retrieve it from the top of the microwave. I kind of wish it squeaked but I suppose that would drive me crazy after about 20 minutes. It also has a breakaway safety clip which I think is an absolutely awesome feature!

We LOVE this toy! So often, it's the simplest toys the cats love the best!

You can purchase A-Door-ables for $4.99 at

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Petmate Curvations Pet Tote

Petmate Curvations Tote
When we visited Petmate's booth at this year's Global Pet Expo in Orlando, we were like kids in a candy store. So many new products to check-out, including their latest pet carrier design, the Curvations Pet Tote. We like the hip design, the sleek look, comfy padded shoulder strap and, the removable, washable pet bed.

Yorkie Poo is ready to go!Our guest reviewer, Becki, had this to say, "We have a 6 lb Yorkie poo and recently tried the Petmate Curvations Pet Tote.  It has so many great features! Beyond being very cute and stylish it comes completely apart to store easily, the sides have full zippers to be able to put your dog in and take out easily, a pet bed inside, ventilation all the way around the carrier, a shoulder strap and carry handle, in addition to feet on the bottom of the carrier.  It really is very well made and designed I would highly recommend this to anyone traveling with their pet!"

You can purchase the Petmate Curvations Tote for $55.73 at

Global Pet ExpoPetmate | 2012 Global Pet Expo Exhibitor

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Fat Cat Foodies Boogie Mats

Fat Cat Foodies & Kitty Hoots Boogie Mat

The Boogie Mat is a fun splash of color with whimsical designs that makes me smile even though I'm knee deep in kitty litter clumps. At 13" by 16½" it's small enough to toss from spot to spot yet large enough to protect my couch while Indy indulges in a little catnap.

Indy loves the crinkly sound it makes as she walks across it or rolls around on it and the aroma of the Zoom Around the Room Organic Catnip (included) provides the pièce de ré·sis·tance. Our new rescue kittens are still learning the lay of the land but I suspect they'll conspire to steal the Boogie Mat from big sister once they're settled in.

Jasmine protecting her Boogie MatOur kitty-loving compadre, Nikki, says, "This thing is awesome.  Our cat Jasmine is old and cranky.  She is not usually interested in anything, but she loves this mat.  It has become her 'spot'. 

It has a zipper on the side where you put in the catnip and it makes a crinkling sound when she steps on it. 

She plays with it, sleeps on it, and protects it from the dogs in our house!!  It is so cute to see her acting like a kitten again!  Must be the catnip!!  We will definitely keep this around filled with fresh catnip!!"

You can purchase Fat Cat Boogie Mats at for $9.99.

Global Pet ExpoPetmate | 2012 Global Pet Expo Exhibitor

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Solvit Kitty'scape Cat Tower

by Guest Blogger Patrick Holwell

Solvit Products
It was a good day when we received the Solvit Kitty’scape Deluxe Cat Tower.  The unique thing about the Kitty’scape concept is that its parts can be assembled in a variety of ways. You can have a wide structure or can build a tower that reaches up over five feet. 

Atticus chillin' on the Kitty'scapeWe had fun with the Kitty’scape. First we experimented with building a low, wide structure, but then we changed it into a tall tower. Our kittens, Atticus and Scout LOVE their Kitty’scape Cat Tower! They especially enjoy the penthouse canopy at the top of the structure, as well as the higher platforms.

This is an excellent quality product. The parts are stout plastic or wood, and clearly well made. They all fit together properly, and everything was in the box that was supposed to be. Our Kitty’scape Deluxe Cat Tower was easy to assemble and everything we hoped it would be. It was fun to be creative with how we put it together.

Scout & Atticus playing on the Kitty'scapeKitty’scape really is a unique design for a cat play structure, and was easy to assemble.  Comparatively, Solvit Kitty’scape products are quite competitive in price. We tested the deluxe kit, which retails for $150. You can also get the Intermediate Kit for around $105 and the Basic Kit for around $75. If you wish, you can get other accessories, such as the Scratching Plate and the Adventure Bridge, the Hammock, and a variety of other expansion parts.

This is a fun product that is competitively priced, of good quality and most important, FUN for your cats! Atticus and Scout recommend it heartily!

You can purchase the Solvit Kitty'scape Cat Tower online at

Global Pet ExpoSolvit Products | 2012 Global Pet Expo Exhibitor

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Dog Whisperer | Final Episodes - Sept 8th and 15th - 8 PM ET

Cesar Millan the Dog Whisperer on Nat Geo Wild
The Dog Whisperer has become so much a part of our culture that I catch my sister trying to "Tssst!" her grand-dog into behaving as I try "Tsst-zing!" my husband into doing the same. I imagine there are millions of Dog Whisperer devotees, just like us, who are also doing their darndest to mimic Cesar's mystical methods. LOL!

Check-out the Captain of Canine Conversation in this hysterical video:


As another season of the Dog Whisperer comes to a close we thank our lucky liver treats for Cesar's serene supervision as we delved deeper into the canine psyche. Only two episodes left and we're here to tell you that they were worth the wait!

Tonight's episode, "Hollywood Hounds" features fitness guru, Jillian Michaels, and her Chihuahua, Richard, who is in desparate need of a mental "chill pill." Jillian is in the process of adopting a two year old daughter and doesn't want to fear for her new babe's safety around her pup.

Next we visit Kelsey Grammer and his wife, Kayte, whose dogs, Elvis and George, have a propensity for pottying indoors rather than dirtying their outdoor play-space. Will Cesar be able to save the day and the carpet?

In next Saturday's episode, "Cesar's Worst Bite," Cesar comes face to face with Holly, a Lab pup with some serious food aggression issues. Cesar learns first-hand just how dangerous this pooch's problem is when he is rushed to the hospital after sustaining a bad bite.

In Cesar's next case we meet Lenie, pregnant and homeless, with an opportunity to make a fresh start courtesty of a women's shelter that is willing to take-in her and her beloved Pit Bull, Tucker. But will Tucker's protective nature keep Lenie from making a better life for her and her unborn baby? Can the Dog Whisperer work his magic and keep this family together?

Tune in to Nat Geo Wild tonight, September 8th, and next Saturday, September 15th, for the exciting, final installments of our favorite Dog Whisperer, Cesar Milan!


FroliCat BOLT Laser Interactive Pet Toy from My Three Cats

by Guest Blogger: Peoria Cat Tales

FroliCat BOLT Laser Toy from MyThreeCats.comBOLT is one of the best names they could have come up with for this toy.  I have two extremely playful cats and when they hear me tap on the laser and call their names they come running.   They literally  Bolt from their naps and start chasing the little red pin point laser everywhere.

You can place it anywhere, turn on the timer and let it go.  I especially  like the tilt-able mirror which changes the height of the laser.  When it is on high they jump from one chair to another and on low they slide all over the wooden floors trying to catch the dot!

I really like having the option of either holding the BOLT Laser Toy in my hand to manipulate the laser dot or setting the 15 minute timer.

The only suggestion I would make would be to not place it on the floor and leave.  The cats are so curious they just want to get up close and see the laser which is not good for their eyes! It is definitely worth buying as it is sturdy enough to last forever!


You can purchase the BOLT Laser Toy for $19.95 at The FroliCat BOLT Laser Toy looks like great fun for dogs too!

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By Nature | Natural Adult Formula Cat Food

By Nature Natural Pet FoodsCats are notoriously finicky eaters and the members of our Kitty Review Crew are no exception. We're never quite sure how they're going to react to new foods or treats, however their reaction to an unguarded bag of By Nature's Adult Dry Cat Food left on the living room floor made their opinions quite clear.

Exhibit A: Buddha and the torn bag of By Nature cat foodI submit the photo (right) as Exhibit A. As you can see, I found the bag of food covered in tiny tooth marks, torn open, and missing a considerable amount of its contents. 

Evidently they found the aroma drifting from the bag irresistible and became obsessed with devouring it's crunchy bounty. Breaking into the food before the review is our cat's way of saying, "WE LUV DIS FUD!"

I like the fact that By Nature's pet foods (both dry and canned), are all natural, contain real chicken, beef, and turkey with no soy, wheat, or corn. There's an interesting article on the website that explains why chicken meal is better than "non-rendered" chicken. I had no idea!

Pet Secret Shopper's 5 Paw Rating5 cat burglar paws up for By Nature Cat Food!

You can purchase By Nature Adult Cat Formula and Kitten Formula online at Prices range from $9.99 to $34.99.

Global-pet-expo-logo-ss-120By Nature | 2012 Global Pet Expo Exhibitor

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