Product Review: West Paw Design Toys

I used to give my dogs a ton of toys.  They would get damaged but since Piper and Jack usually just tossed them around and played the odd sedate game of tug, the toys lasted for a bit.  And then along came Leo and he seemed intent on destroying all of them.  Not just destroying them but annihilating them.  I was worried that he would swallow rope fibres and bits of fabric so all soft toys went into the garbage with the odd rope toy that would only get action when I was there to supervise.  They do have several antler toys to chew on; I love antler because it’s tough but they can’t break chunks off like with bone.  I’ve also found that most bones have a coating on them that disagrees with Piper’s, shall we say delicate, constitution.

After reading a review of West Paw Design from Ecohug, I set out to check them out for myself.  Turns out, the dogs had already received one as a gift.  It has held up so well with all the rough play that I have since bought a few more.

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Leo: king of all the toys.  Jack was ready for a nap.

Now I want to state for the record that I have received absolutely no compensation or consideration for these products.  These are items that I have purchased myself or the dogs received as a gift.

According to their website, West Paw Design is based in Montana and was founded in 1996 when the owner, Spencer Williams, purchased a small pet toy company with the goal to make safe and highest quality dog and cat toys.  In 2016, Forbes named the company “One of the Best Small Companies” in America.  I have noticed that most pet toys are made in China.  I’m not looking at it from a protectionist standpoint (I am Canadian after all) but from a quality control standpoint.  And the toys are made from recycled materials and can then be recycled.  It’s a small thing but I like it.

I have three models of toys from West Paw Design: the Bumi (shaped like a “Z”) and the Hurley (shaped like a bone) from the Zogoflex line and the Wox (looks like a 3-legged stool) from the Zogoflex Air line.

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Clockwise from top left: Wox, Bumi, and Hurley.  You can just see the damage on the bottom of the Bumi.

Price:  4/5

These aren’t the cheapest toys out there but I would rather spend a bit more for a toy that’s going to last and not hurt my pups.

Toughness: 5/5

We got the Wox more than six months ago and it shows no damage even though it has been in the middle of some serious games of tug.  The Hurley is too small for tug but gets lots of chew time from all three of them.  The only one that does have some damage to it is the Bumi.  There are some small splits forming on the tip of one end but not deep enough to retire the toy.  In fact the splits are just surface damage at this point.  Considering that Jack and Leo play absolutely ferocious games of tug with it, it’s not surprising that there would be some damage to it.  And when I say they play tug, they put every ounce of their little bodies behind it.  I have stood on other toys and Leo has pulled hard enough to move me.  So imagine two of them tugging like that in opposite directions.

Give up the Funk: 5/5

The toys get a bit grubby from being on the floor but it does not get the funk that rope or other rubber or plastic toys get.  If I had a dishwasher I would test the assertion that they are dishwasher-safe but I have tossed them in the sink and cleaned them up.  I have first hand experience with the lack of smell: I was playing tug with Leo and the Wox.  He had one leg in his mouth.  I was holding one leg and was down on the floor pretending to bite onto one leg.  No stink from the Wox, even when Leo shook his head and that last pesky leg clubbed me in the eye.  But since there was some give to it, hey no black eye.

Fun Factor:  Crank that up to 11!

I have been know to occasionally toss the toys through the house (ahem).  They bounce in unpredictable directions, especially the Wox, which adds to the fun.  They apparently float although I haven’t taken them outside to test that but since they are so easy to clean, I would not hesitate to take them outside.

Overall rating:  A great series of toys that can hold up to rough play and is well worth the expense.

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Piper enjoying a moment with a toy.  Jack waiting until he can grab it.

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Have to chew in comfort.  Na-mes-toy.

“Blinkin! They’ve taken the castle!”

“I thought it felt a bit draughty.”

I couldn’t help a Mel Brooks reference.  So while you’re out galavanting around the world, what’s happening with your castle?   Hopefully this:

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I just love this

If you like and trust your neighbours, you can let them know that you’re heading out for a bit or have someone house sit.  That’s a great option if you have pets or a lot of plants.  Just as a side note: make sure the person taking care of your plants isn’t me because I can kill just about anything green.

If you’re out and about in the winter, it may be worthwhile having someone come by to clear your driveway and walkways.  Freshly fallen snow is beautiful but if you’ve got the only house that has kept that freshly fallen look, it is kind of obvious.

If you spend a lot of time away from home, there are a few things you can do to prevent break-ins or to at least make your home a slightly less appealing target.  Start by increasing the natural surveillance.  That’s just a fancy way of saying “make your home more visible”, especially the access points like windows and doors.  Keep shrubs trimmed so they don’t obscure the doors and windows and if you’re a gardener, plant thorny plants like roses under windows.

Make sure all windows and doors are closed and locked.  Any sliding door or window can be secured with a simple dowel laid in the track.  If you’re worried about the glass being broken out, you can get a clear window film that will reinforce the glass.  The glass will still break but the film holds it together like the windshield of a car.

Strong locks are a good start but your lock is only as strong as the frame it’s attached to so if the frame is flimsy, get some hardware to reinforce it. Keeping curtains and blinds drawn means that outsiders can’t see if your home is a jackpot.  It may not keep them from breaking in, but it may reduce the odds.  If you live in an apartment, talk to property management about increasing the security of your door.  A window facing onto a fire escape is an obvious way to access the apartment so look at what options are available to make it more difficult.  Bars are a great idea but may violate the fire code.

If you have a surveillance system, make sure it’s running and set the footage to be saved for longer than you’ll be gone.  A few years ago that would have sounded crazy but now days you can get really good systems for really good prices.  If you’re in an apartment, there’s nothing stopping you from putting some kind of a camera in your own apartment.  I’d have one facing the door and camouflage it.  If you get a set, heck put those things everywhere.  Just make sure that whatever it’s saving to doesn’t get stolen.  That kind of defeats the purpose.

Keep valuables somewhere other than in the bedroom.  It’s a natural tendency to keep your most precious possessions in your inner sanctum which makes it the obvious target.  And if you keep things in a safe, evaluate how well your safe is hidden and secured.  If it’s just a couple of screws, that can be pried up and dealt with later.

Look into suspending services like internet, phone, and cable.  I mean that’s a lot to pay if you’re gone for weeks.

Unplug as many things as you can.  First, because even when their off a lot of electronics still draw on the power but also to prevent anything being damaged if there’s a power surge.

Have mail and any deliveries suspended.  Nothing says “nobody’s home” like a stack of flyers.  On a related note, either don’t put garbage bins out or get someone to bring them in.  If garbage day was Tuesday and it’s now Saturday and your bins are still at the curb, that’s another big clue that no one is home.  And when you do put your garbage out, break boxes down for high-end items like TV’s.  Walk through a neighbourhood on garbage day, especially after Christmas, and you can find out all kinds of things about what people have in their homes.

If you have an alarm system and it’s monitored, make sure the monitoring company has the information for a key holder that they can contact while you’re away and can check out the place if there is an alarm.  If an alarm does come in, it may be nothing or it may be something but I’m sure you’d rather have someone that’s close by that can check it out and arrange for any repairs that may be needed while you’re away.

Empty out the fridge as much as you can before you leave.  No one likes coming home to slimy produce.

It may seem obvious, but make sure bills are set up for payment before you leave.  And while you’re at it, let your credit card company know you’re going to be travelling so they don’t suspend your card thinking that it’s being fraudulently used.

If you have mouse traps down, pick them up.  Forget to do that once and you will never do it again.  Trust me on this one.

So what things do you do before leaving home?  I’m sure I’ve forgotten or never thought of some great tips.

I just had to throw in a few gratuitous travel pics…