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Dog Dental Products We Can’t Live Without!

Dog Dental Acre

Our dogs dental care is one of the most important contributions we can make as pet parents to our dog’s overall health. It can also be a really big challenge as dog’s are not always on board with getting their teeth brushed. I have a mix of super cooperative dogs and also a few that absolutely won’t let me near their little choppers at all. My preference is always to do dental care at home but the reality is that some dogs have to dog to vet for a dental every year.

Over the years I have tried just about every pet dental product on the market for home dental care; here are a few of my favorites.

Dog Dental Toothbrushes

Ok, don’t laugh. My favorite toothbrush to use on my dogs is the Oral B Spin Brush. Getting a dog used to an electric tooth brush takes a little time but it is totally worth it. Electric tooth brushes do a far better job of cleaning teeth and are so much easier on the gums. Training dogs to tolerate the spin brush takes only a few simple steps. Introduce them to being brushed with the tooth brush off…no biggie…if they accept a regular tooth brush they probably won’t be bothered by a spin brush that is off. Brush their teeth with the brush off for several sessions but also turn the brush on and off over and over right next to them and reward them every time the brush goes on (I use teeny tiny training treats for rewards). Use your cheery voice to make the sound of the toothbrush very exciting. Keep moving the brush closer to their mouth turning it on and off. Eventually put it in their mouth for a second or so. Slowly work up to actually touching it to their teeth. If you stick with it they will accept it eventually. Some of my dogs have no problem with the spin brush except for the very front smaller teeth which are more sensitive so I turn the brush off for those teeth. Training my dogs to get brushed with a spin brush has paid big dividends in keeping their teeth healthy and we don’t have bleeding gums like you often get with a regular brush.

Many of the dogs that arrive here at the Manor have had a lifetime of little to no dental care and suffer from what I call “trench mouth”. A lot of rotten, smelly and very sore teeth. When they are healthy enough they get a professional dental treatment. But to get them started with home dental care I use disposable dental sponges. I buy these in bulk off of Amazon. The sponges are a really great way to brush without hurting already sensitive gums. I also them on my teeny tiny breed dogs whose mouths are so small that that it almost impossible to get a tooth brush in.

Dog Dental Toothpaste

I am huge fan of Virbac products. I have been using their dog toothpaste for over 20 years. It comes in a variety of flavors but we always order the poultry flavor. My dogs love it. Virbac products are NOT cheap. I order mine in 6 packs from American Diabetes Wholesale as this is the best price I have found for all of Virbac products. There are less expensive options for dog toothpaste on the market; perhaps even check with your vet as they may offer some. Please don’t use human toothpaste on your dogs though. Dogs don’t spit…they have to swallow the toothpaste you use on them so it needs to be safe for dogs to ingest.

I have written in the past about Virbac dental chews. I am really strict about what my dogs are allowed for snacks and chews. These are the only chews I allow my dogs and I have used them for over 20 years. I purchase these at American Diabetes Wholesale as well. Again, they are not cheap but they do really help with dental health and I have never had a choking or digestion issue with them. Their chews come in sizes; XL to very small.

Dog Dental Tatar Control

Even with regular brushing my dogs still get some tartar on their teeth. I use both a hand held scaler and an electric scaler to remove tartar. If its a tartar spot that is small and easy to scrape off I use a small hand held scaler. On tougher spots I use an electric scaler (you can get fairly inexpensive scalers these days on Amazon). The electric scaler takes a while. I don’t press the scaler on their teeth rather I just run it along the tough tartar several times…usually over several sessions. Eventually the tartar will break loose. If I’m working on removing tartar I do very small amounts of work at a time. This is not a fun event for any dog so I keep sessions really short and always reward them for working with me.

When I get a new dog that doesn’t have “trench mouth” requiring a professional dental but definitely needs some tartar removal I also use an Oral Care gel. There are a lot of gels and sprays on the market for helping to remove tartar. I would ask your vet before using any of them to make sure the ingredients are safe. I would also caution you that most of them (including the one I use) have alcohol in them so this is not something you want to use a lot and you really should read the dosing instructions carefully. The gels can help loosen up some tough tartar spots but they are definitely not something I would use as part of a daily dog dental routine (no matter what the packaging says).

One last product that I absolutely love to use (on both me and the dogs) is BR Rinse. Its an all natural rinse that keeps breath fresh and teeth white. For the dogs I pour a small amount of the rinse over the toothpaste on their toothbrush. It helps keep their choppers sparkly and their breath fresh.


I have two dogs at the Manor that cannot be anesthetized so they cannot ever have a professional dental treatment; Snoopy is one of them. So dog dental care really is no joke around here and we brush teeth every day. The only way to completely avoid ever needing a professional dental is daily brushing…that is straight from the vet. My Mountain Cur, Buster, is almost 10 years old and he has never had to have a dental because we brush daily. I am not being judgey…believe me…I have several senior small breed females that have to get professional dentals every single year…they will absolutely not have any part of daily tooth brushing. But with most dogs it really can be done if you really work at it and make it fun for them.

Thanks for reading our post! I wish you happy at home dog dental care! Sign up for our blog if you would like future posts. We blog about life at Misfit Manor about once per week. Our happy pack of Misfits love sharing their adventures and stories.

We are super excited about the new line of Dog Mom Planner Accessories we have added to our shop! Dog mom life is a busy life but being organized can still be fun and look pretty! Our planner accessories make great dog mom gifts too!

Pawty On!

Nancy & The Misfits

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Confessions of an imperfect dog mom: The Cadillac of dog strollers…yes I take my dog out in a stroller!

The best dog stroller on the market…

Pet Gear Stroller Review
Pet Gear Stroller The Cadillac of Dog Wagons

Yes, I am one of those “crazy ladies” who takes her dog trolling around the neighborhood in a stroller.  Kringles, my 16+year old pomeranian has an enlarged heart.   He can no longer go for walks…he tires within a minute or two…but Kringles does not want to get left behind either…so I am not leaving him behind!  I am sure that there are plenty of neighbors and passers by that laugh or poke fun at the crazy lady with her dog in the stroller…good thing I am not one to care what anyone thinks…especially when it comes to taking care of my dogs.  Kringles and I proudly troll the hood and will continue to do so every day that Kringles still can.20140906_113130

Dog Stroller
The old stroller

The first stroller I purchased for Kringles was rickety and uncomfortable…the cheap plastic wheels made for a bumpy ride and I really could only use it on flat paths at the park…no chance of navigating curbs.  Bret, (my wonderful husband) picked out a stroller fit for a king so Kringles could cruise in style.  We ordered the “Pet Gear: stroller from wasn’t cheap…it was $366.00 (shipping was free because we are Prime members) but it is now listed on Amazon at $329.00.  I have subsequently noticed this stroller on sale in a few catalogs for considerably less as well.

But was it worth it?  We’ve been using the stroller for months now and it was worth every penny! We use it daily for Kringles and we often use it with foster dogs we take in as well.   Here are my thoughts on the value of this stroller:

1) While it did require some assembly…Bret assembled it in less than 30 minutes…I am sure it would have taken longer if I had to do it but not bad.

Take one of our foster dogs out in the stroller.
Taking one of our foster dogs out in the stroller.

2) The basket of the stroller is incredibly roomy…we could fit two dogs in it if necessary.   There are times when my Jack Russell, who walks with me and Kringles, tires out.  I just add him in the stroller and he rides comfortable with Kringles.  The stated capacity of the stroller is 90 lbs…I can’t imagine pushing 90 lbs worth of dog in  stroller, can you?  When Kringles and Turnip are in the stroller together (combined weight of 35 lbs) I can comfortably push the stroller.  There are tethers on the inside of the stroller basket as well to keep a dog that might jump out from running away.

3)  The tripod frame and air wheels make it very stable (no tipping even if Kringles is jumping around).  The front wheel has two positions, locked and unlocked.  If it is unlocked you can turn the stroller with ease but if you speed up in this mode the stroller will wobble (not comfortable for the dogs).  I use with the front wheels in the locked position because I power walk.  In locked mode the ride is very smooth for the dogs no matter how fast I am walking.  The turns are bit more difficult however I have find that if I make my turns wide they are much easier.

Pet Gear Stroller4) It has a reliable brake.  The brake is a foot bar.  It is easy to lift “on” and “off”.

5) There are plenty of storage pockets for my phone, keys, poop bags, etc.  It has a cup holder on the handle bars.  It comes with a rain cover (how cool is that).  There is also storage space under the basket.

6) The bottom half of the basket stands high enough and is sturdy enough that I don’t have to worry about Kringles falling out even if have to stop fast.

7) The cushion in the basket is thick and soft.   It is lined with a black plush fabric.  I add a cool pad to the bottom of the basket on hot days.

8) The air wheels make it a very smooth and comfortable ride for Kringles.  They also make it easy to turn and go up and down curbs without Kringles being bounced around.  Because of the air wheels and the sturdy frame I can power walk with this stroller while still maintaining a comfortable ride for Kringles.  It is really helpful to have the tires properly inflated.  My husband keeps our wheels at 40lbs of pressure.

9)The stroller does collapse down nicely to fit in the car. The only downside I could find with this stroller is that it is a bit heavy for me to get in and out of the car…I can lift it but it is a bit of a struggle for me by myself.

10) This is a no zip stroller.  The hood comes down and snaps securely with one clip in the front.  Anyone who has used a pet stroller for awhile knows that zippers and furry creatures are not a good mix!

Hands down …this wagon was worth every penny.   This truly is the Cadillac of dog strollers.

cat rescue art, cat rescue, cat art, cat wall art
Rescue defined….

My dogs, like most all dogs, are lovers of routine…we have a daily schedule which makes managing an eight pet household pleasant for everyone…part of that routine is our daily exercise..which now, thanks to the Pet Gear stoller, Kringles can participate in again.

I added a picture of a painting I finished recently.  It is inspired by the spring and summer need for cats to be rescued from shelters.  The original painting is sold but prints will be available shortly at The Rescue Mama ETSY shop.  For other product reviews check out my Parent Resource Page.  If you are interested in all things pet, pet rescue and pet art follow my blog for weekly articles, my Facebook Page and my Pinterest Page.  If you are in need of pet sympathy cards, pet rescue art or pet adoption cards check out my items at The Rescue Mama ETSY Shop.

Rescue On!




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GPS tracking for your pet: practical parenting or helicopter mom?

TAGG GPS tracker for pets


I recently purchased a TAGG GPS system for our newest adopted family member; Turnip.  We have not had problems with our pets ever going “missing” but 10 million pets are lost or stolen every year.   The newest addition to our family, Turnip, is afraid of everything and runs for a place to hide when he gets scared.  We decided to try a GPS tracking system on Turnip as an extra precaution against losing him.  We chose the TAGG GPS system.  I have to admit; initially I thought putting a tracker on my dog was leaning to far in to the “helicopter mom” paradigm…but now that I see how practical the system is I believe the additional safety it provides is a “no brainer”.

The reasons I chose the TAGG system over other systems:


1) The TAGG range and battery life are the best available.   The entire point of the tracker is preventing a worst case scenario.  The TAGG tracker has the longest battery life on the market (it claims 10 days is possible) but I read reviews that had significantly longer battery life.  The only limit to the range within which your pet can be tracked is the range of Verizon service coverage in your area.  The battery life and range make for the maximum safety provision of all available trackers on the market in my opinion.

2) TAGG works with any internet enabled device.  The tracking system is run with GPS (through Verizon) and software. I don’t have to use a receiver to track my dog.  Systems such as Marc Polo, Loc8tor, Romeo and Garmin need receivers to track the dog.  If I lose my phone I could track my dog from any internet enabled device.  If I lose a receiver I am out of luck.

3) The hardware component for the dog is not intrusive.  The TAGG is small enough and light enough (it weighs 1.1 ounces) that it does not bother my dogs to wear it.  One specification worth noting is that is recommended for dogs (or cats) that weigh over 10 lbs.  Supposedly the TAGG is waterproof (I didn’t test that out but we have walked in the rain with no issues).

4) The system is a good value for a multi-pet household.  The initial hardware cost per device is $100.  The monthly service fee is $7.95/month if you pay for the entire year upfront.  It is $9.95/month if you pay monthly.  At first I thought the monthly service was expensive…until I realized that the trade off having to use a receiver.  The monthly service means I can track my pet from any internet enabled device.  If I just had a receiver and no monthly service I run the risk of losing or breaking the receiver and not being able to track the dog.  Adding additional pets to the service is only $0.95/month/pet.  You can add up to 9 animals to one subscription.  (Each animal needs its own hardware though).

unnamedEase of Set Up and Use:

The TAGG was super easy to set up…if I can do it anyone can.  All I used to get going was the Quick Start Set Up Manual that comes with the hardware and the web software (activate at  I didn’t need any additional support but TAGG does have a support phone line and videos on their website for help.  The monitor requires an initial charging period.  While the TAGG was completing its initial charge I set up my system online.  It only took about 15-20 minutes to get the tracking system running on my computer. All you have to do is enter your pets data, your contact data and set your “safe zone”.  Once it was running on my computer I set up the phone app.  The TAGG system has both iphone and Android apps.  It only took a few minutes to get TAGG running on my Galaxy S5 (downloaded right from the Playstore). You can set the TAGG software up to alert you via text messages.   It can be set up to text messages to you anytime the dog is out of your pre-set range, when the dog returns to the safe zone, if the battery is low and when the battery is fully charged.  You can set up multiple people to receive the alerts.  (My husband likes this feature because he says he can track me from work!)

How it works:

When you do your initial set up at you will define a “safe zone” for your dog.  I chose the smallest radius of space around our house that I could (which is what the software defaults to).  That smallest “safe zone” is about a 3 acre range around your home.   If your pet is out of the “safe zone” you will get a text message (or email).  At the time of the alert you would then ask the software to track your dog to get the dogs location.  The TAGG system is not a “real time” tracker on your device..  You need to ask the software to track the dog’s location (which only takes seconds) once the dog has left its pre-determined safety zone.  tagg size

The Activity Monitoring Feature:

One of the features of the TAGG is that it can monitor your pets activity levels.  Unfortunately, the TAGG needs to be attached to a collar around the neck to do function as an activity monitor  None of our dogs wear neck collars but rather all wear harnesses so this is a feature that we cannot use.

I have ordered two more TAGG systems for Buster and Lacey.  The new systems will be the TAGG Plus.   The TAGG Plus is an upgrade in battery life and will have a temperature sensor.  New purchases of TAGG Plus are now not shipping until April/May.  When I ordered two more TAGG’s back in December the ship date was February…so expect at least a 3 month lag to get your product.  TAGG also recently merged with Whistle.  Whistle is a product that focuses more on pet activity monitoring.  I am sure that will mean some platform changes in the future.

look at that face

Our Turnip is such a sweety…we are grateful for technology that can help us keep him safe.

I hope this was helpful!

Rescue On!


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Flea Market Find for the dog lover

for blogFlea market find for the dog lover

I had to share a picture of these statues …found them at a flea market for $18.  Best $18 bucks I spent in a long time…hope you enjoy the cute picture.


Rescue on,


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BEST DEALS Post – Dog Toothpaste

clips feb 001

Great Price on Dog Toothpaste!

With a house full of rescued pets my efforts at good dental for all of them can get really expensive really quick!  Since February is Pet Dental Month I wanted to share one of my BEST DEALS on dental products.

I have been using CET Enzymatic Toothpaste for my pets since 2003.  I have used both the poultry and beef flavors with success.  I was introduced to this toothpaste by my veterinarian but it was really expensive to buy it from the vet clinic.  I purchase my toothpaste (and my CET chews) from American Diabetes Wholesale at much better prices.   You can get a three pack from them for $17.61 (that is about 50% cheaper than retail).  I have been ordering from American Diabetes Wholesale for several years now.  I have never had a problem ordering from them and they typically ship the day I order.  If you order more than $100.00 worth of items the shipping is free.  I order chews and toothpaste from them all at one time so I can take advantage of the free shipping and be stocked up for long periods of time at the best possible prices.

I am not paid to endorse Virbac or American Diabetes Wholesale – just showing some solidarity with other pet owners like me who are constantly fighting the high cost of pet care!

Rescue On!


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Satisfying a dogs need to chew – BEST DEALS – CET Enzymatic Chews

My first dog was a Rottweiler named Hercules; he was an awesome dog but his need to chew was no joking matter.  If I didn’t provide him with an appropriate item for his chewing enjoyment at least once a day he would chew other things – like the walls of my house (no kidding).

Herc in the pool

I took the chewing issue to my vet as I didn’t feel informed about all the items sold in pet stores for chewing and we had a few bad experiences with some of them.

I wanted a dog chew that was (1) safe for my dog to chew (well as a safe as a chew can be) (2) wouldn’t make a big mess when the dog chewed it (or smell bad) and (3) was affordable.

cet chews

My vet introduced me to the CET Enzymatic chews by Virbac.    CET’s are beefhide that is treated with an enzyme that helps with plaque build up on the dogs teeth.  For our immediate needs at the time, a Rottie with a chew fettish,  the benefit for Hercules’ dental hygiene was a side-perk – we were just looking for a decent “chew” option.   Over 10 years later CET chews are the only chews I use with all of my dogs (they have been a good tool for all my dogs …Rottweiler to the Pomeranian).

For a chew, keeping in mind all chewing items carry risk for a dog, I have had minimal issues with my dogs choking or digesting these chews.  I do have a 12 year old black lab that is a really aggressive chewer that will sometimes gag a little on the chew (gross I know but he manages it himself – it has never turned in to a choking incident).  I will say, even after all these years, I supervise my dogs when they have chews – there is always the possibility of a choking incident with any chew.   My dogs have not have experienced any digestive upset from the CET chews – even my chocolate lab with a hyper-sensitive stomach.  The upside is that these chews also really do seem to help keep the dogs teeth clean.

My second criteria for a chew was that it didn’t make a mess all over the house when it was soaked with doggy saliva.  (I learned the hard way that some dog chews will stain your carpet – sure makes ya wonder what it’s doing to the dogs tummy too).   I will notice tiny little wads of the CET chew stuck to the carpet after the labs finish their chews.  The little wads do clean up easy (manual pick up – even my Dyson doesn’t get them) but there is no staining or discoloration of my carpet from the chews.  The CET chews don’t smell bad either.

The final criteria for a chew was that it was affordable.  CET Chews are actually quite expensive – especially if you have multiple dogs like we do.  Historically, I had always purchased the CET Chews at the vet office and would subsequently have a nose bleed after I wrote the check for them.  The good news is that they are becoming more widely available and the price is coming down.

The purpose for this post is to share the history I have had with these chews and to highlight the best deal I have found on them which is on the American Diabetes Wholesale website.   I pasted the link to the site here .  I purchase the chews in 5 Packs which gets me 56% off the retail price.  If your order is over $100.00 the shipping from them is free.  This works for well for us as I typically order multiple 5 packs and the Virbac toothpaste at the same time to take advantage of the free shipping.  My experience with their service so far has been good – they process the order the same day and the shipping is fast and free.  I have recently noticed a slightly better price for the CET Chews on another site,  They have a sale price that is almost $1/bag lower than American Diabetes Wholesale (as of 4/24) and they offer free shipping on orders over $85.00.  I did call them to see if this was a permanent sale price or temporary sales price and they did say it was probably a temporary sale price but its worth checking this site out too.  I  do not have any experience ordering from this company yet.

I hope you find this “BEST DEAL” post helpful.  I am NOT a paid spokesman for any product or website mentioned on this page and I don’t write product reviews on any pet items unless I have had years of experience with multiple breeds interacting with the product.  I am simply sharing our experiences in the hope we can help others with the learning curve on caring for their pets.  I will close this post with a reminder that all chew items carry a risk for a dog – when I hand out  chews to our dogs I make a cup of coffee or tea and sit down and relax with the dogs while they enjoy their treat.

As always, the first stop for any questions about a pet’s care for us will always be our veterinarian.