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Can Dog Toys and Grooming Products by Hartz Withstand a Summer Day with Ace?

My Boston Terrier plays with toys, then tries shampoo, brushes, clippers, and a even a wee-wee pad.

Ace's Mama  |  Jul 9th 2013


Editor’s Note: In case you’re wondering, this is *not* a sponsored post. We get a lot of products for review in the mail and asked Hartz to send over a selection for consideration.

Summer has arrived in full swing, and that means Ace and I seize every opportunity to run and play. The days are longer, folks seem more relaxed, and even San Francisco has been warmer because of a regional heat wave. It’s been the perfect time of year to test products for grooming and play from Hartz, a company whose products you’ve probably seen in your neighborhood big box store or drugstore. I was curious to review these affordable and readily available products to see whether they could assist Ace and I in our quest to have as much fun as possible while the heat wave lasts.

Look at that happy face! Ace loves the Dura Play ball.

Look at that happy face! Ace loves the Dura Play ball.

We started our experimentation with several Dura Play toys ($5 to $10). These squeaky toys have a latex exterior and a foam interior, so they combine durability with squishiness (that’s a scientific term). My samples ranged in size –- the balls and bones were smaller in size, while the football is more appropriate for a medium or large dog.

I reached my goal of an exhausted Ace -- thanks Dura Play!

I reached my goal of an exhausted Ace — thanks Dura Play!

The Dura Play toys were a huge hit with Ace, who loves to retrieve more than almost anything (eating peanut butter and licking men’s beards are also high on her list). Her favorite was the ball, which includes little ridges to help her pick it up quickly. At the park, these toys bounced pretty high, even in the grass! I think this surprised us both. When we got home, I just wiped down the latex surface with a wet towel and we were good to go for another round of play inside the house.

In the course of normal play with Ace, she did not rip or destroy any of the Dura Play toys. However, I did take the toys away from her when she settled in to start chewing. Also, as you know by now, Ace is a small fry, so larger dogs who persistently chew might have a different experience.

After wearing Ace out with the Dura Play toys in the dog park, it was time to clean and groom her back to perfection. We started with Ace’s nemesis -– bath time -– using Groomer’s Best Oatmeal Shampoo ($10). Since Ace hates all baths, we can’t ask her for feedback this time, but I found that the shampoo smelled pretty good and maintained Ace’s glossy coat. I was surprised by how watery the shampoo is compared to human or other dog shampoo, and it was difficult to get a lather going without using a lot of product.

Next, Ace we tried brushing Ace with the Groomer’s Best Fur Fetcher. The brush is well made and has a comfortable rubbery grip. Normally, brushing is one of only two grooming activities Ace enjoys (the other, strangely, is brushing her teeth!), but she didn’t care for this brush. I think it has to do with its design, which looks like two parallel chevron-shaped flea combs. I found the combs to be scratchy to the touch. Given that Ace has a short, smooth coat, I can’t say whether this style of comb might be better suited for dogs with longer hair.

If the bath is Ace’s nemesis, then nail clipping is her arch nemesis. It takes two people and a jar of peanut butter to cut one nail, and ten days to do a full two-paw manicure. So I had a long time to think about the utility of the Groomer’s Best Clipper and File ($7.40). I like the clipper very much. The handle is rubbery and slightly angled to make it easy to hold. It has a little latch to keep it closed when not in use. I found the blade to be sharp enough for Ace’s nails, and precise enough that I didn’t get anywhere near the quick (good Mama!). I did not even attempt to use the nail file given Ace’s skittishness, and I can’t imagine a world where a dog lets you file her nails, though I’m sure it must be possible if such things as dog nail files exist. This particular file is thick and robust, and it looks like it would stand up to doggy nails.

You might think all that primping and preening went straight to Ace’s head. While I do think she’s gotten a bit full of herself since we started writing these reviews, Ace is still your everyday dog, and, like people, all dogs have certain needs. We asked our stoic model to try out Home Protection Dog Pads ($12.99 for 32 pads), Hartz’s new wee-wee pads (again, that’s a scientific term), which promise to prevent leakage by turning dog urine into a gel inside the pad. Ace and I relied on similar pads when we were potty training a few years ago, and we still use wee-wee pads when we fly across the country to visit my family a few times a year.

In comparison to the pads I usually buy at our local drug store chain, the Hartz pads look similar from the outside -– a green plastic layer covered with a white fabric-like absorbent layer. After closely examining the used pad, it appeared the urine had in fact become a gel-like substance inside the pad and seemed to prevent the urine from spreading. The pads are fairly small (21-inches square), but an “extra large” size is available to accommodate larger dogs.

Dogster Scorecard for selected Hartz products

  • Quality: Grooming tools and toys seem durable and built to last.
  • Style: I love the Dura Play toys’ shapes and colors –- blues and greens are perfect for summer.
  • Function: Some grooming products may be better for dogs with different types of coats. Toys appear better suited for small- to medium-sized dogs.
  • Creativity: The Home Protection Dog Pads and Dura Play toys show Hartz can re-imagine classic dog products.
  • Value: These toys and grooming products are affordably priced.

Bottom line

Hartz products are affordably priced options to help your dog frolic at the park or cool down in the bathtub this summer.

Hey Dogster readers, we want to hear about your favorite grooming products for dogs. Drop by the comments section to tell us about the fabulous products you use to keep your dogs looking their best from nose to tail!

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