Innovative pet products

From catios to paw washers

Published Aug 12, 2014 at 12:11AM

Central Oregonians love the outdoors and their pets.

But put them together and you can get a mess.

When we saw the Soggy Doggy Super Shammy and the Soggy Doggy Doormat — shaggy towels and mats with textured “noodles” of microfiber chenille that soak up way more water and dirt than conventional towels or mats — we decided it was time to look into pet products that make life at home with our furry family members cleaner and happier.

Soggy Doggy items are available at Bend’s Pet Express and online. Prices range from $18 to $85, depending on the size.

“They’re great for wiping down a wet dog or one that’s been swimming. Put one in the car or on a mudroom floor so the dog can walk over it,” said Stephanie Clanin, general manager of Bend’s Eastside Pet Express, a locally owned pet supply store.

“I have one in my teenage son’s bathroom, because teenagers don’t wipe their feet, either!” she said.

Another product that’s a perfect antidote to the dusty trails — and paws — of Central Oregon is the Paw Plunger Pot, available from The Grommet (www.thegrommet.com) and other online sources.

Fill the Paw Plunger with warm water, and then gently plunge each paw inside. Bristles gently remove dirt, dust, mud, sand, salt and chemicals, all of which would otherwise remain on the dog or be tracked into the house or car.

“It’s like what you use to clean golf balls. You just need a small towel to dry paws off afterwards. It’s a great problem solver to keep your house clean,” said Meredith Doherty, senior discovery manager at The Grommet.

The medium-size Paw Plunger, for dogs 15 to 80 pounds, is $29.95, and the large size, for breeds more than 80 pounds, is $34.95.

Cats

We aren’t forgetting cats. We love cats, too. There are plenty of new and novel cat products on the market.

Clanin told us the Bergan Turbo Scratcher ($19) and Grooming Arch attachment ($8) are popular and effective, providing fun and exercise for a cat, plus they reduce furniture damage from scratching. The arch is designed to reduce the amount of cat hair in the house.

Pet Express carries a washable Perfect Litter Mat ($16). “People are always looking for something to put under the litter box to control that loose litter, and this one works well,” Clanin said. The mat’s soft surface gently opens up a cat’s paws to remove litter that gets stuck between the toes.

Cat furniture is evolving to be more hip, fun and attractive.

Hepper Modern Pet Furniture is a company that’s been making modern-style cat beds, scratching posts and bowls since 2007 (www. hepper.com ).

Founder and creative director Jed Crystal is an industrial designer who said he couldn’t find any cat beds that would be comfortable and attractive for his house, so he created the Hepper Pod Bed, named after a favorite cat. The beds, also suitable for small dogs, range in price from $139.95 to $219.

The Hepper Hi-Lo Scratching Post with dual positions is $79.

Outdoor enclosures for cats, called “catios,” are also catching on. They’re “cat patios”: screened in spaces that allow cats to enjoy the fresh air while being protected from cars, owls, cougars, dogs and other threats and keeping wild birds safe from cats.

Various websites offer do-it-yourself advice, plans and tips for creating a catio.

Kate Benjamin is a cat style expert in Phoenix who features catios and other cat-friendly home decor ideas on her website, www.hauspanther.com .

Her book, “Catification: Designing a Happy and Stylish Home for Your Cat (and You!),” co-written with Jackson Galaxy, will be out this fall.

Pet hair

Back inside the house, there are new devices to remove pet hair. The Grommet carries the Lilly Brush: Be Forever Furless ($19.95), for everywhere you find fur. It’s a plastic brush with nylon bristles and an ergonomic handle.

“The founder who developed it was always struggling to get pet hair off upholstery and clothes. You can rub it along chairs or couches, and it really does work,” Doherty said.

Another product for both cats and dogs is a clever collar attachment that makes it easy to add, remove or rearrange your pet’s tags. Rubit ($5) is the brand that Pet Express in Bend carries, and Links-It ($8) is the pet tag connector brand available from The Grommet. They come in a variety of colors.

“Oftentimes people change collars, or if you have an invisible fence, you change that collar out for city wear. Changing out tags used to be a painful process, and you can rip nails doing it. Not anymore,” said Clanin.

Other products that keep your pet happy and safe, while keeping the dirt level down at home, come from Bend’s Ruffwear (www. ruffwear.com ). The company got its start in California in 1994 and moved to Bend in 1995.

Ruffwear’s Grip Trex boots protect dogs’ feet on trails and keep them cleaner than bare paws would be. They also provide traction inside for dogs who slip on wood or marble floors.

Ruffwear’s Sun Shower coat is a weatherproof jacket built for trail use. It’s not insulated, so it’s suitable for warmer climates and can be worn with insulating layers when it’s cold outside. “Full coverage minimizes wet, muddy dog cleanup,” the Ruffwear website explains.

The world of pet products is growing every year. The American Pet Products Association estimates that in 2014, Americans will spend $58.51 billion on our pets.

That’s up from $55 billion in 2013.

Take a look around pet supply stores and online, and you’ll be surprised by the new and innovative pet products that can make life with our pet companions happier and cleaner.

“There are a lot of innovative pet products to help around the household. Things are constantly changing, like spot-cleaning products. Some companies are working with bacteria and enzymes to make sure the pet doesn’t repeat in the same spot. There’s always something new to help make life easier,” said Clanin.

— Reporter: ahighberger@mac.com

Places to buy

• Pet Express, 420 NE Windy Knolls Drive, Bend, 541-385-5298, www.bendpetexpress.com : Soggy Doggy Super Shammy towels and mats, Bergan Turbo Scratcher and Grooming Arch, Perfect Litter Mat, Rubit pet tag connector, some Ruffwear gear

• The Grommet, www.thegrommet.com : Soggy Doggy Super Shammy towels and mats, Paw Plunger Pot, Links-It pet tag connector

• Hepper Modern Pet Furniture, www.hepper.com : Hepper Pod Bed, Hepper Hi-Lo Cat Scratcher, Hepper NomNom Crumb Catching Cat Bowl

• Ruffwear, www.ruffwear.com : The entire Ruffwear product line is available in Bend at Healthy Paws, 1052 Newport Ave., Bend, 541-318-2998, www.healthypawsbend.com . Other local retailers that carry a selection of Ruffwear gear include: Bend Pet Express, REI in the Old Mill District, 380 SW Powerhouse Drive, Bend, 541-385-0594, www.rei.com/stores/Bend.html, and the Newport Avenue Market, 1121 NW Newport Ave., Bend, 541-382-3920, www.newportavemarket.com

For information about catios

www.hauspanther.com and “Catification: Designing a Happy and Stylish Home for Your Cat (and You!)” by Kate Benjamin and Jackson Galaxy (coming out in paperback in October)

• KittyWalk Systems (www.kittywalk.com ) sells a variety of cat enclosures to help indoor cats have safe outdoor lives.

• The website www.just4cats.com sells a book ($25 + $5 shipping) with designs and instructions about how to build cat enclosures.