This mat mimics grass so dogs can hunt for treats and kibble — I use it to tire out my dogs on rainy days inside
Calming products like "foraging mats" have been a trend for the past few years, and one of the reasons is that they combat behavior issues in our dogs. My dogs use the Paw5 Wooly Snuffle Mat to hunt for treats, especially on days when they need to burn off extra energy. I set up snuffle mat games for my 14-year-old hound to play in between meals to help keep his mind active. The mat also stood up to my standard dachshund, and he knows how to use his nose.
Foraging is a natural instinct for dogs, and my two hounds love nothing more than using their noses, especially on long walks. But we live in the Pacific Northwest where it rains a good portion of the year. We still get out in the rain and mud, but there are days when nonstop rain means walks get cut short. On these wet days, I'm always looking for ways to let them use their noses and exercise their foraging instincts inside so they can burn off extra energy with games like hide-and-seek. And then there's the Paw5 Wooly Snuffle Mat. Snuffle mats have a bit of a cult-following among dog owners and trainers who like to keep their dogs stimulated by encouraging their natural instincts. The low-tech, easy-to-use mats are designed to mimic grass with strips of soft material between which you can hide treats. It really is as simple as tossing treats or kibble on top of the mat and letting your dog go on a treasure hunt. Paw5's Wooly Snuffle Mat stands out because it is durable, made from sustainable materials, and machine washable. The mat is available in one color, grey, and at 12 inches by 18 inches, it's a perfect size for both my dogs. The brand's emphasis on sustainability places this product above the competition, too. Each mat is handmade from upcycled polyester and cotton fabric. It's soft and not abrasive on my dogs' noses. It's also easy to clean. After your dog hunts for treats a few times, you'll want to throw it in the wash. Even after more than 20 washes, our mat still looks good. A tired dog is a good dog Both my dogs have experience at a dog sport referred to as K9 Nose Work, which means they search for odors paired with food in containers. The Paw5 Wooly Snuffle Mat is like a game we'd play in Nose Work class. Any type of nose work requires a lot of energy from your dog, so hunting for treats is a game that can help diffuse any anxiety built up from not getting outdoors.
Senior dogs love it, too My 14-year-old beagle has trouble going on the same hikes he used to when he was younger, so a game indoors between meals helps keep him sharp. According to Dr. Katherine Houpt, professor emeritus of behavioral medicine at Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine, enrichment activities like this and feeding puzzles can limit the signs of canine cognitive dysfunction in senior dogs, which is akin to dementia in humans. They are also beneficial for dogs that have anxiety or shouldn't exercise post-surgery. "If dogs were in the wild, this is what they'd be doing. They'd be looking for little tidbits to eat," she explained. Bored dogs tire after nose games You can essentially just throw kibble or treats on top of the mat, but my dachshund Walter is a very busy dog who needs the ultimate challenge. Hiding treats between the pieces of fabric makes it more challenging. Make sure you break up the treats into tiny pieces. It's easy to make this scavenging game last for a while if you hide a lot of small treats throughout the mat. If your dog knows a search command like "find it," it's a great way to initiate the game. If you have a dog prone to boredom and nuisance behaviors, a Snuffle Mat may be a good management tool. "Enrichment goes into the management bucket because through the use of puzzle toys, flirt poles, fetch games, etc., we can offset the boredom that leads to behavior problems," according to the Academy for Dog Trainers. "Which dog is more likely to bark at people and dogs walking past the window, the one who looks outside all day while lying on the couch or the one who is too busy kicking around a Snoop to care?" The cons The mat can hold the odors of the treats, so you should supervise your dog with this product. I caught my dachshund Walter chewing on the fabric strips. Also, the mat doesn't have a no-slip bottom, so I've found it works best on carpet. This isn't a game for all your dogs to play together. I put one of our dogs behind a baby gate so they each have their own turn at the game. You don't want to encourage guarding behavior. The bottom line There are very few products I've found that burn energy indoors and tire out my two hounds. The Paw5 Wooly Snuffle Mat is a product that is great to have on hand for rainy, snowy, or hot days when you have to cut walks short. Even if you don't think you'll use it daily, it's worth having in your enrichment toolkit. Pros: Easy to set up, tires dogs out Cons: Aggressive chewers may start to chew on their mat, requires supervision, should only be used by one dog at a time
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This $80 yoga mat provides the best traction for sweaty workouts and is worth the investment if you're serious about yoga
JadeYoga designed its Harmony Mat to provide added traction and cushion for improved stability during...JadeYoga designed its Harmony Mat to provide added traction and cushion for improved stability during standing poses — it also makes it an excellent choice for sweaty workouts. I've used the Harmony Mat for more than a year after trying dozens of others and while no mat is perfect, this one's proven to be my go-to time and again, especially for my sweatier workouts. Though $85 is expensive for a piece of rubber you put on the floor, it's a worthwhile investment for a yoga mat of this quality — and I can't recommend it enough. When I was a teenager, I used to leave sweaty handprints on my school work. It wasn't because I stressed about taking a test, that's just me — I sweat. And it's embarrassing.At age 30, my husband has affectionately nicknamed me Sweaty Betty (my name is not Betty) and my main worry regarding my inability to stop perspiring is slipping on my yoga mat. When I began my yoga practice several years ago, I had a $5 mat from my local grocery store. Within a matter of minutes in my first class, I transitioned from downward dog to a laying-flat-on-my-face dog, which, according to the instructor, is not a yoga pose. I had slipped due to sweaty hands before the class had hardly started. I falsely assumed that as I built up my yoga stamina, I'd stop sweating so much — was I ever wrong. Several years later, my yoga mat still looked like it just got out of the shower even after a fairly mellow practice. So, when one of my friends decided to become a yoga teacher, part of her mission was to find a mat I could use without injuring myself. The JadeYoga Solution After a mat made for hot yoga still made me slide, we went to a specific yoga mat class together. Saying I was skeptical to find a mat is an understatement, but I was up for trying the dozen or so mats laid out on the studio floor. Some I didn't even bother with after just touching the surface and knowing it would end in tragedy while others I was able to use with the assistance of a towel. Then I landed on the JadeYoga Harmony Mat. According to JadeYoga's website, the mat "provides great traction and cushion while still providing stability for standing poses." Traction is definitely what I need and because you can describe my body as bony, a cushioned mat is also a necessity. The mat retails for roughly $80 and up, depending on if you get a 68-inch, 71-inch, or 74-inch mat. It's 3/16-inches thick, 24-inches wide, and weighs about five pounds. Not that it matters when it comes to how well the mat performs, but it also comes in more than a dozen colors depending on which size you get. It's made using natural rubber tapped from rubber trees, a renewable source, and contains no PVC, EVA, or other synthetic rubber. JadeYoga also plants a tree for every mat sold and donates $5 to charity with the purchase of certain mat colors. My experience with the Jade Yoga Harmony Mat After miraculously not slipping on the mat for the few minutes I was on it at the studio, my friend bought me the 68-inch mat as a gift. I've now used the mat for more than a year and can attest that my yoga practice has never been better. First off, the mat doesn't have an odor like some mats do when you first buy them — it's also the stickiest mat I've found. The surface isn't smooth or shiny like others but actually feels like it has tiny dots that help aid in the traction. These dots aren't uncomfortable, either, no matter how long your yoga session is. Both my hands and feet grip right away and the 5-pound weight of the mat also helps keep it in place. While I joke about sliding and falling on my mat, it can be incredibly dangerous for people. Aside from smashing your face on the ground, you can easily pull or tear muscles if you stretch too far from an inability to grip. As for the cushioning, my spine and knees used to be covered in bruises and with this mat, they no longer are. It's thick enough to not cause injury but not too thick that it's overly soft and therefore difficult to move. When I'm taking a yin class and holding poses for five minutes or more, I do find myself reaching for my yoga knee cushion but needing it is rare. Keep in mind that no mat is perfect; if you're taking a 60-minute hot vinyasa class, you'll likely still slip a bit. This is solved by throwing down a yoga towel — my favorite is Gaiam's Stay-Put Yoga Towel. The photo above is how my mat looked when removing my hands near the end of an intense practice. While I still wasn't slipping, I decided to put my towel down anyway because it was inevitable that it would happen soon. A few things to keep in mind Because the mat is pretty sticky, another word of warning — more than just your hands stick to it. If you have a home yoga practice and your pets like to join you, it's probably best to not let them on it, as I've learned the hard way it attracts fur. Just make sure you're cleaning it often. I use Austra cleaner and it seems to work quite well. It hasn't taken any of the traction off the mat but if you're really scrubbing, some of the colors does come off. It's also important to note that my mat is on a hardwood floor, so I can't say what it's like to use on carpet. The cushion would be better, of course, but the odds of sliding might be higher, so keep that in mind when deciding where to practice. The bottom line After a solid year of use, JadeYoga's Harmony Mat is still just as sticky as when I first used it. With the addition of a towel for super sweaty practices, it's a worthy investment if you're serious about yoga (and not falling on your face). Though the $80 and up price tag may steer some people away, it's well worth the investment for how well it retains traction, reduces the amount of bruising on my knees and back, and for how durable it is. Should you buy it? If you sweat while doing yoga, then yes. There are no better mats more well-equipped to handle a sweaty yoga session than the JadeYoga Harmony Mat. It's high amount of traction, as well as welcome cushion, make it as great for casual yoga sessions as it is for Bikram. What are your alternatives? There are plenty of yoga mat alternatives on the market from brands like Manduka, Prana, and YoGo, though much of the decision on what to purchase comes down to personal preference (assuming you're not keen on the $5 grocery store mats). Maybe you need one that's highly portable? Check out YoGo's Travel Mat. Perhaps you're on a budget — if so, go with the Gaiam Print Premium Yoga Mat. If you sweat often during workouts, then the Jade Yoga Harmony Mat is for you. Pros: Handles sweaty workouts extremely well, highly cushioned to help avoid bruising, still durable after a year of use, comes in a variety of colors Cons: $80 and up price tag may be steep for some Join the conversation about this story »
BarkBox is arguably the most popular pet subscription box — I tried it and can see why dogs and their owners love it
BarkBox is a subscription box filled with dog toys and treats. Since 2012, the popular...BarkBox is a subscription box filled with dog toys and treats. Since 2012, the popular boxes have been shipped to more than 2 million dogs. Prices range from $22 to $29 per month, and each box includes exclusive toys, all-natural treats, and a chew. I tested it with my dog Archie who will chew on or play with just about anything, so I'm not surprised he loved the BarkBox toys so much. I'm pleased with their quality and durability. Table of ContentsFrom groceries and prepared meals to clothing and beauty products, there is a monthly subscription service for everything — including dog toys. When it comes to monthly pet product subscriptions, there are several options to choose from. There are Petco's PupBox, Bullymake, and RescueBox for dogs, and boxes for our feline friends from Cat Lady Box and KitNipBox, to name a few. Add to that fresh food delivery services like The Farmer's Dog, NomNomNow, PetPlate, Ollie, and Spot & Tango. And then there is arguably the most popular: BarkBox. Since its inception, it's delivered boxes to more than 2 million dogs and partnered with stores like Target to bring their most popular toys to nonsubscribers. I decided to test the service with my dog Archie who loves to play with and chew on almost everything. How does BarkBox work? To keep it simple, BarkBox sends you a box of toys, treats, and accessories once a month. Not only does BarkBox offer monthly deliveries of toys and treats, but each box has a unique theme. One month your dog might receive a collection of holiday-themed treats and toys while the next month his BarkBox might send him on a journey through Chewrassic Bark. Each box contains two innovative toys, two bags of all-natural treats, a chew, and a specially curated item from the month's themed collection. Every toy is designed by in-house industrial designers, made for the way dogs play and approved by the company's own test dogs. To sign up, all you have to do is create an online profile, answering questions about your dog's size and dietary preferences. You can also choose from the standard BarkBox filled with plush toys or the Super Chewer Box filled with fluff-free tough toys. From there, you can choose a one-month subscription ($29), six months ($25/box), or 12 months ($22/box). The entire subscription process takes less than five minutes. Testing the BarkBox To write my review, Archie and I received two BarkBoxes with assorted toys, treats, and chews from the Bark Slope Street Fair collection. Here's what we received: Fresh Fair Treats, Lamb Gyro Recipe Fresh Fair Treats, Duck Shish Kabob Recipe Fresh Fair Treats, Chicken & Fish Taco Recipe New York City Central Pork Pizza Treats Plato Pet Treats Thinkers Chew, Salmon Recipe (2) Max's Maine Lobster Roll (Plush Toy) Gideon the Pigeon (Plush Toy) Bebe the Burrito (Plush Toy) Lickton Iced Tea (Spiky Core Toy) Shuck n' Chuck Corn Cob (Super Chewer Toy) The All-Powerful Pupsicle (Super Chewer Toy) Buns of Steel Hotdog (Super Chewer Toy) From the moment I started opening the BarkBox, Archie was intrigued — the noise of the packing paper alone sent him into an excited frenzy. The first thing I grabbed out of the box was Max's Main Lobster Roll, one of the plush toys. I gave the toy a good squeeze and Archie's ears perked up and his head tilted to the side. I waved the toy around a couple of times then offered it to him. He immediately grabbed it out of my hand, ran down the hall into the bedroom, and started chewing. Archie loves a good plush toy, especially if there's a squeaker involved. But what he really loved about Max's Maine Lobster Roll was the crinkle noise it made. Several other toys in the collection made similar noises, and he seemed to prefer them above the hard Super Chewer toys. He gobbled up the treats (which was a little surprising since he's been picky about treats in the past) and he made quick work of the chews as well. I'm now writing this several weeks after receiving Archie's BarkBox. My bedroom floor is currently covered in tufts of stuffing ripped out of several plush toys I'd received as gifts. Archie's beloved stuffed lamb and puppy are no more, but his BarkBox plush toys are still around (though he did manage to get the squeaker out of Gideon the Pigeon and chewed that to shreds). Needless to say, I think he's a fan of BarkBox and so am I. What's the verdict? Archie will chew on or play with just about anything, so I'm not surprised he loved the BarkBox so much. I am, however, pleased with the quality and durability of the toys. Even the plush toys from the regular BarkBox stood up well, and I'm convinced the Super Chewer toys will last forever. Archie loves chews, so those are long gone already. I'm not sure that I need two bags of treats every month, though. One final thing I found interesting is that BarkBox is very allergy-friendly. Every BarkBox is free from corn, wheat, and soy, which greatly reduces the risk for triggering allergies and food sensitivities. There are also options for dogs that are allergic to chicken, beef, and turkey — you simply have to call BarkBox or use their live chat feature, and they'll send you an allergy-friendly box. To wrap up, here's an overview of the pros and cons for BarkBox: The pros Everything is of the highest quality, including all-natural dog treats and innovative toys. Each box is tailored to fit your dog's size, and options are available for dogs with allergies. You can reorder certain items or purchase items from other collections online. There is a money-back guarantee if your dog doesn't like every item in the box. BarkBox donates 5% of their profits go toward supporting organizations that provide free or low-cost vet care through spay and neuter programs. Discounted prices are available for buying multiple months and for multiple dogs. The cons Subscription automatically renews; you'll be charged and sent another box if you don't cancel. Some of the plush toys may not be ideal for heavy chewers and the stuffing could be a choking hazard — there is also access to the squeaker inside if your dog rips open the toy. The rubberized toys that come in the Super Chewer box are heavy and somewhat awkward. All in all, I was very pleased with my BarkBox experience and I think it's safe to say that Archie is too. Join the conversation about this story »
The best dewormer for dogs should treat four of the most common intestinal parasites in dogs,...The best dewormer for dogs should treat four of the most common intestinal parasites in dogs, and it should be easy to administer. Guaranteed to treat multiple species of hookworm, roundworm, tapeworm, and whipworm, Safe-Guard 4 Canine Dewormer is our top pick for the best dog dewormer overall. Intestinal parasites are extremely common in dogs of all ages, and most can't be seen with the naked eye, which means you might not know if your dog is infected. Four different types of worms commonly infect dogs and puppies: roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, and whipworms. Puppies are also commonly infected with a single-cell intestinal parasite known as coccidian. Adult dogs can become infected with coccidia as well, but many dogs develop an immunity to these parasites. Dogs can become infected with intestinal parasites in different ways. Puppies often become infected with roundworms prior to birth or when nursing from their mother. Tapeworms can be transmitted if a dog swallows an infected flea (treating flea infestations goes hand in hand with treating tapeworm infections). Dogs can pick up hookworms and whipworms from their environment, often from the feces of infected dogs, or contaminated soil or water. Some of the most common symptoms of worms in dogs included digestive upset (vomiting or diarrhea), gas, bloated belly (pot-bellied appearance), increased appetite, unexplained weight loss, weakness, and bloody stool or diarrhea. In puppies especially, intestinal parasite infections can cause anemia and poor growth. If you suspect that your dog might have worms, bring him to the veterinarian for a physical exam and fecal test. Treatment is generally easy with over-the-counter dewormers for dogs. Some worms can be transmitted to humans (children are especially vulnerable), so it's important to keep your dog parasite free. When choosing a dewormer for dogs, you need to know what type of worms your dog has, which is why the veterinary exam is so important. You can purchase a dewormer for specific types of worms, or you can choose a broad-spectrum product that kills many different types of worms. Dewormers for dogs come in several forms including tablets, granules, powders, and liquids, so talk to your veterinarian about the option that is best for your dog. Once you know what kind of dewormer you need, take a look at our top picks for the best non-prescription dewormer for dogs. Here are the best dog dewormers you can buy: Best dog dewormer overall: Excel Safe-Guard 4 Canine Dewormer Best liquid dog dewormer: Nemex 2 Liquid Dewormer for Dogs Best dewormer for puppies: Bayer Quad Dewormer Chewable Tablets for Puppies and Small Dogs Best dewormer for small dogs: Sentry HC WormX Plus 7-Way Dewormer Best dewormer for large dogs: Durvet Triple Wormer for Medium and Large Dogs The best dog dewormer overall Safe-Guard 4 Canine Dewormer (fenbendazole) is a broad-spectrum dewormer that kills four types of intestinal parasites commonly seen in dogs. If you're looking for a quick and effective solution to intestinal parasites, a broad-spectrum dewormer may be the way to go. These dewormers contain active ingredients that kill four types of common worms, including multiple species, and generally come in an easy-to-administer form. For efficacy, convenience, and affordability, Safe-Guard 4 Canine Dewormer is our top pick for the best dewormer for dogs overall. Made with the active ingredient fenbendazole, Safe-Guard 4 Canine Dewormer kills two species each of roundworm and hookworm as well as the most common species of tapeworm and whipworm. Generally recognized as a safe and effective dewormer for dogs, it comes in an easy-to-administer granule formulation that can be sprinkled on or mixed into your dog's food and is safe for dogs and puppies 6 weeks or older. This dewormer is given once a day for three days. The American Animal Hospital Association recommends annual fecal tests to check for internal parasites at least once a year or as recommended by your veterinarian. Pros: Kills four common types of worm, easy-to-mix granule formulation, safe and effective, kills two species of roundworm and hookworm Cons: Large dogs may require more than one package, only kills one species of tapeworm and whipworm, three once-a-day doses required, not for puppies younger than 6 weeks of age The best liquid dewormer for dogs With pyrantel pamoate as the powerful active ingredient, Nemex-2 Liquid Dewormer is a safe and effective treatment for roundworms and hookworms in dogs and puppies as young as 2 weeks of age. Many dogs dislike taking tablets and even powdered dewormers may be difficult to disguise in your dog's food. If you're looking for an alternative, a liquid dewormer might be a good option. Nemex 2 Liquid Dewormer for Dogs is our top pick because it is approved to treat roundworms and hookworms in dogs and comes in an easy-to-administer liquid. Nemex 2 Liquid Dewormer for Dogs only treats roundworms and hookworms, so if your dog has tapeworms or whipworms, this medication will not be effective. The active ingredient pyrantel pamoate is highly effective and widely recognized as safe. Simply add the liquid to your dog's food or feed it directly by mouth. One treatment should kill all worms. Follow up with a fecal test from your veterinarian to make sure the worms have been eliminated. Pros: Highly palatable, liquid formulation is easy to administer, safe for puppies as young as 2 weeks, safe for pregnant females, good for dogs that don't like tablets Cons: Only treats roundworms and hookworms, large dogs may require a higher dosage The best dewormer for puppies Made with three powerful active ingredients, Bayer Quad Dewormer Chewable Tablets is a broad-spectrum dewormer safe for puppies and small dogs weighing at least 2 pounds and less than 25 pounds. You may be surprised to learn that most puppies are born with worms. Fortunately, worms are generally easy to treat. Puppies should be treated with a dewormer at 2, 4, 6, 8 and 12 weeks of age, followed by additional treatments as needed. Our top pick for the best dewormer for puppies is Bayer Quad Dewormer Chewable Tablets. Specifically designed for puppies and small dogs weighing between 2 and 25 pounds, Bayer Quad Dewormer Chewable Tablets features three active ingredients — praziquantel, pyrantel pamoate, and febantel — to kill four types of worms commonly seen in dogs: roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, and whipworms. A single dose is enough to kill common worms and it comes in a highly palatable beef-flavored tablet. Follow up with a fecal test from your veterinarian to make sure the worms have been eliminated. Pros: Three powerful active ingredients, broad-spectrum dewormer, kills four types of intestinal parasites, safe for puppies 2 pounds and over, palatable beef-flavored chewable tablet Cons: Heavy infestations may require multiple treatments, some dogs dislike taking tablets The best dewormer for small dogs Fast-acting and cost-effective, this Sentry HC WormX Plus 7-Way Dewormer for Small Dogs kills seven species of roundworms, hookworms, and tapeworms. Products designed for dogs of all sizes and dosed by weight can be tricky to divide for small-breed dogs, especially if they come in tablet form. For a safe and effective dewormer designed specifically for small dogs, we recommend Sentry HC WormX Plus 7-Way Dewormer for Small Dogs. This Sentry Dewormer is formulated specifically for small dogs 12 weeks and older that weigh between 6 and 25 pounds. The two active ingredients, pyrantel pamoate and praziquantel, quickly and effectively kill two types of tapeworms, two types of roundworms, and three types of hookworms. It comes in an easy-to-administer tablet form that can be fed whole or crushed and mixed with your dog's food. Only one dose is needed to eliminate worms. Follow up with a fecal test from your veterinarian to make sure the worms have been eliminated. Pros: Broad-spectrum dewormer, made for dogs 6 to 25 pounds, easy-to-administer tablet form, two powerful active ingredients, cost-effective Cons: Doesn't kill whipworms, not ideal for dogs over 25 pounds, not for use in puppies younger than 12 weeks, should not be used in pregnant or nursing females The best dewormer for large dogs The Durvet Tripler Wormer for Medium and Large Dogs is an effective option for big dogs. Large-breed dogs require different amounts of medicines, and that is definitely true for dewormers. If you purchase a regular dewormer, you may find yourself purchasing several boxes to get the right dosage for a large-breed dog. Depending what brand you choose, the costs to treat your dog could add up quickly — especially if the product requires multiple treatments. For a fast and cost-effective solution designed specifically for medium and large breeds, we recommend Durvet Triple Wormer. Durvet Triple Wormer features a broad-spectrum formula made with two powerful active ingredients: pyrantel pamoate and praziquantel. This product is proven to kill two species of tapeworms, two species of roundworms, and three species of hookworms. It comes in a highly palatable chewable tablet. Simply feed it directly or mix it into your dog's food. For the maximum efficacy, repeat the dosage after two weeks. Pros: Broad-spectrum dewormer, two powerful active ingredients, made for dogs 25 to 200 pounds, palatable chewable tablet form, easy dosing instructions, works quickly Cons: Doesn't kill whipworms, not for dogs that weigh less than 25 pounds, not for puppies under 12 weeks of age