E Z V I Z Mini Cam Product Review

E Z V I Z Mini Cam Product Review

The EZVIZ Mini Cam is a game changer for pet owners who have to leave their pets home alone. Since dealing with Dash’s separation anxiety, I’ve become anxious about leaving my pets home alone. My anxiety is now rubbing off on the newest addition to the family, adopted from City of Elderly Love, Imogene. She’s a little too clingy and has started refusing treats when she realizes I’m leaving. While I’m already starting some of the separation anxiety training (so it doesn’t get full blown like Dash’s), I wanted to be able to keep tabs on her with a wi-fi cam.

Introducing the E Z V I Z Mini

EZVIZ reached out to me and asked if I would be willing to write an honest review in exchange for receiving a Mini Cam (retail value approximately $70.00).The timing couldn’t have been better – with Imogene’s budding separation anxiety and a scheduled work trip, the wi-fi cam would be the perfect way to make sure she was okay. 

ezviz_mini_camEZVIZ’s mission is to make great quality video easy for everyone. While it is super tiny, it works just like any other wi-fi cam. The EZVIZ Mini technical specs are nicely broken down on the EZVIZ site. You can find the technical specs here if you’re interested. If you’re interested in the technical spec It doesn’t record continuously – when the Mini detects motion it begins recording in incremental periods. You can then watch the recording from your phone through the mobile app.

E Z V I Z Set Up

From my experiences with Dash, I’ve tried out three other security cameras and camera apps. All have been quite difficult to set up – especially when it came to connecting the camera to the wi-fi and computer. One I actually never managed to get set up – and actually tossed it in the trash. But the EZVIZ Mini was super easy to set up and I didn’t get frustrated at all. Even if you aren’t good with tech you’ll be able to set it up in a snap.

Since Imogene prefers to spend her days sleeping in the bathroom, I needed to be able to get a clear view of her while not invading anyone’s privacy (awkward – um, why do you have a security camera in your bathroom?). While the magnet base allows you to place the camera just about anywhere, I ended up sitting it on the floor to get the best shot. I then connected the camera to the house wi-fi and downloaded the EZVIZ app to my iphone. With a few adjustments to the angle, it was ready to record. By far the easiest camera set-up ever.

Every time the cam detects motion and will stop recording after 10 seconds when movement ends. The “shots” are kept in the mobile app gallery for review. You can even download the videos to your phone. Here’s an example of Imogene:

E Z V I Z Mini Cam Review

So….would I buy the EZVIZ Mini Cam? Absolutely. Here’s why:

  • Fits in the palm of your hand!
  • Great design – it’s not an ugly cam that won’t blend into your decor
  • Easily adjustable view (115 degrees horizontally and 130 degrees vertically)
  • Screen magnification (for those important close-ups – is she really sleeping? are her eyes closed?)
  • Microphone to record any barking
  • Night vision capability (up to 30 ft!)
  • Ability to install a Micro SD card for additional storage

What didn’t I like? Not one thing. I would absolutely purchase this camera. I could sit and watch Imogene all day on this thing. And that’s pretty much what I did. So much so that I ended up draining my phone battery (it becomes quite addictive checking in on your pets). To avoid killing your battery, you can set the notifications so that you only get an alert when the cam detects motion. The EZVIZ Mini is the perfect size and perfect set-up for someone who isn’t looking for anything super-technical, but needs enough features to add value. It retails for about $70 online (Amazon, Walmart) and there is cloud storage capability for an extra fee. I didn’t have a need for cloud storage, but it’s nice to have that option.

So, if you are currently looking for a basic wi-fi cam to be able to check in on your pets while you are away, I highly recommend the EZVIZ Mini. Whether your dog is suffering from separation anxiety or you’re trying to figure out which cat is peeing outside of the litter box, consider purchasing this model. And, while Imogene seems to be just fine when I’m not at home, being able to check in on her has eased some of my own anxiety.

Looking for more info on the EZVIZ Mini? Check out their site and Facebook page!

Okay. Back to watching Imogene.

 

Eureka Brushroll Clean Vacuum Review

Eureka Brushroll Clean Vacuum Review

I admit it: I hate vacuuming. Hate it. And I’m really particular about vacuum cleaners. I seem to go through them a lot and I’m not sure why. I manage to break a piece off or damage the roll or lose an attachment. It probably doesn’t help that Dash likes to attack it. So with two cats, a Pomeranian, a Yorkie, and 2 boys, you can imagine I have a lot of vacuuming to do.

I received a Eureka® Brushroll Clean™ bagless upright vacuum (eureka brushroll cleanerapproximate retail value $198) free of charge in exchange for testing the vacuum and posting an honest review of my experience with it.

The Eureka® Brushroll Clean™

As you can see in the image, theEureka® Brushroll Clean™ is an upright, bagless vacuum. The manufacturer claims that the suction and air technology in the vacuum gives it a powerful, deep cleaning on any floor. The Brushroll Clean Technology™ claims to remove tangles in the roll with the touch of a button, making tangled fur easy to remove.

It was super easy to assemble (just a few pieces) and I was quickly impressed by how compact and neatly it fit together. All of the attachments clip on to the vacuum itself so you don’t have to store them separately. The plug automatically winds and it has a washable filter (huge positive in my book). It doesn’t take up much space in the closet, which is also good.

But Does the Eureka® Brushroll Clean™ Work?

I purposely waited to vacuum the floor knowing that my new Eureka® Brushroll Clean™ was on its way – and timed it when I was going to groom Imogene. The main culprits to the fur problem? (From left to right) Imogene, Dash, Mabel, and Olivia:

collage of my pets

So…needless to say, I had plenty of fur for this product review test. See for yourself:


The suction was nothing short of phenomenal. It only took one pass over and everything was sucked up.

eureka_brushroll_bottomI also managed to get a pair of shoelaces caught in the vacuum cleaner (hint: to avoid this from happening, pick up the shoes instead of pushing them out of the way with the vacuum). I tangled up those laces pretty darn good. I started to pull on the shoe to get them out before I remembered the Brushroll Clean Technology™ – one press of the button and BAM – the shoes were released.  Quite impressive. By the way – it’s actually really, really bad to get these tangles and yank them out. By preventing the rush from rotating, the motor gets strained (and hot) which will eventually decrease how well it works.

What I Liked, What I Didn’t Like

Like I said, I’m picky about vacuum cleaners. I really hate heavy ones because I hate lugging them up and down the stairs. The Eureka® Brushroll Clean™ is heavy, which is disappointing. But I do love that it is bagless and the canister is large enough to vacuum my entire living room before having to empty the can. However, I noticed that when I vacuumed up the fur I had to physically pull the fur out of the canister (it didn’t just dump out on its own). That was kind of gross.

The other issue I had was that there are just too many pedals on the base of the vacuum: the power pedal – the release pedal, and the brushroll cleaner. And they are all next to each other – I kept missing one pedal for the other, and usually had to press on the power pedal twice to get it going because I didn’t push hard enough. I think it would be better if the power button switch was on the top of the handle instead.

The vacuum also lets you adjust for carpet fiber length and bare floor. However, I wasn’t sure how that gets determined and couldn’t find anything in the user manual to tell me.

eurkea brushroll clean hoseThe attachments, though, are great – there are a carpet/upholstery brushes and an extension tube. The only thing I don’t like is that you have to manually switch from floor to hose when you are using the attachments (see image right). I know that a lot of vacuums are made this way but I always forget to turn it back to floor afterwards. I vacuumed the entire dining room before I remembered I didn’t switch it back.

Would I Buy the Eureka® Brushroll™ Clean?

Maybe. I personally don’t like vacuums where you have to switch back and forth from vacuuming the floor to using the attachment hoses. For me, that’s a critical feature. If that wasn’t such an issue for me, then I would absolutely purchase this vacuum. The suction is exceptional and the brushroll clean feature is fantastic. No more pulling out strings of hair/fur. That feature in and of itself is worth it. And, I can honestly say my carpets have never been so clean.

 

If you’re interested in purchasing the Eureka® Brushroll Clean™, it is exclusively sold at Walmart. Or, you can…

Enter to WIN a Eureka® Brushroll Clean™

We’re teaming up with Eureka® to give away one Eureka® Brushroll Clean™ – a value of $198! To enter, please enter through the Rafflecopter form below by November 7, 2015 at 12:00 am. Incomplete entries will not be entered and remember – the more tasks you complete the more chances to win you get!

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LINKS IT Pet Tag Connector Product Review

LINKS IT Pet Tag Connector Product Review

Recently the tags fell off of Dash’s collar! Not good. I had been using this tag connector to hold all of his tags and make switching in between collars easier. Since the tags managed to come off, I decided to start looking for a new one. I asked the manufacturer of LINKS IT® pet tag connector if they would be willing to send me a tag connector free of charge in exchange for an honest review. Here are the findings:

You can find the LINKS IT® pet tag connectors in many boutique pet stores and online at www.Links-it.com. Average retail value is $7.99 and they come in a variety of colors and sizes. If you’re looking for a sturdy tag holder that is easy to switch in and out of pet collars, I definitely recommend you check out this product!

Solid Gold Strikes Gold with Philly Dog

Solid Gold Strikes Gold with Philly Dog

Wayyyy back in the day, when I first started ThePhillyDog.com, I was working at a local Philly pet boutique (The Chic Petique) and learning everything I needed to know about natural dog food and pet care. It was at The Chic that I saw my first bag of Solid Gold dog food and decided Dash needed to try it out. I was so impressed by it that I had to write about Solid Gold Wee Bits. I remember thinking to myself, more pet owners need to know about this line of pet food!

The Solid Gold Line

And so began a bit of a love affair with the Solid Gold line of natural pet foods. While my cats have stayed tried and true to the Solid Gold Katz -N- Flocken® line, Dash has tried lots of different brands and foods (from homemade to canned to raw). With the newest addition to the Philly Dog family (Imogene), I’ve been a bit undecided about which food direction I wanted to take. Recently, Solid Gold reached out to me and asked whether I would be willing to put Imogene on a 30 day “taste test” of their Howling at the Stars™ canned food line and their Lil’ Boss™ dry recipe. Disclosure: In exchange for writing an honest review and hosting a giveaway, I received three (3) months worth of pet food for my time and effort.

While I first wrote about Wee Bits™ back in 2009, Solid Gold has actually been around since 1974! Truly innovative at a time when we were feeding our dog cans of Alpo mixed with bacon fat (I swear. Really). It was one Sissy Harrington McGill who was inspired by the overall quality of health in pets in Europe, which led her to create Solid Gold. Now that “natural” is all the rave in the pet industry, it really does amaze me that Solid Gold has been around my entire lifetime.

solid_gold_lil_boss

The Taste Test…

Imogene received a case of Howling at the Stars™ Turkey, Ocean Whitefish & Sweet Potato Recipe (retails approx.  $35) and two 4 lb. bags of Lil’ Boss™ Turkey and Hearty Vegetable Recipe (pictured left, approx. retail value of $19.99 each). While the Howling at the Stars is formulated for dogs of any size and at any life stage, the Lil’ Boss is a dry food for small breed dogs (also of any age).

While the packaging has had a recent refresh, I was glad to see that the quality was still as good as always. The food is grain and gluten free, with no added corn, soy, artificial preservatives, flavors or sugar added. Which means it’s the kind of food I want my dog to eat.

But.

I warned the Solid Gold representative that Imogene is…well…picky. Like, the pickiest dog in Philadelphia. During her entire month in foster care and our first month together, she refused to eat anything but Pedigree (blech). She turned her nose up at Merrick, Nature’s Variety, Go Now!, Natural Balance, Evangers – and that’s just a few of the brands I tried. I spent a lot of money trying to get her to eat a better quality food.

lil_boss_dry_kibbleI was also a little hesitant about agreeing to review the dry kibble. She also only has 5 teeth and I was concerned she wouldn’t eat it. But, as you can see from the image to the left, it was perfect size for a small breed dog. Even one who only has 5 teeth.

 

 

So…Did she eat the food? Oh. Yes. She ate.

I get this same little dance from her every day at breakfast and dinner. What a relief! She inhales it. I’msolid_gold_howling_at_the_stars actually thinking of purchasing one of those slow feeder bowls to get her to slow down. When I first started feeding her, I was giving her the canned for breakfast and only the dry kibble at night. However, after about 3 weeks, she started picking at the dry. I noticed that despite the happy dance, she wasn’t gobbling it up right away. She would look at her dish, then look at me. So then I started mixing the dry with the wet – and she went back to gobbling it right up. Little bugger. She just prefers the canned! Apparently, she has me trained very well.

The only thing that bugged me? I had to open the cans with a can opener. No pull tabs. Maybe that’s just the ones I got. I’m incredibly lazy.

You can purchase Solid Gold at several online retailers and various brick and mortar stores. For a full list, check out their product/store locator here.

Want to try your luck before buying? Solid Gold is giving away to one lucky winner a 4 lb bag of food of the winner’s choice, a t-shirt, a tote bag, food scoop and more!

solid_gold_prize

Enter through the Rafflecopter widget below by September 15, 2015 at 12:00 am. The more entries you complete, the more chances you have at winning! Good luck!

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Devoted Doggy Bucket Seat Cover Product Review

Devoted Doggy Bucket Seat Cover Product Review

Since I’ve started pet sitting for Rover.com, I’ve been transporting quite a few pups in my car. While I always transport my own dogs in a carrier or car seat, I don’t always have that option for dogs that I’m pet sitting. Which means lots of fur I wanted to get a seat cover to protect the upholstery and purchased this Devoted Doggy Bucket Seat (approximate retail value $59.99) at the discounted price of $1.00 in exchange for providing an honest review.

The Devoted Doggy Bucket Seat touts an easy installation and guarantee that it will fit all vehicles. At 23 inches wide, I had no problem fitting it to the front seat of my Mazda2. It took less than a minute to adjust the headrest

devoted_doggy_bucket_seat_headrest

straps and seat straps to get it in. The fabric is padded with quilting and is comfortable to sit on as a person. The nice part is that you can leave it on the seat – there’s no need to remove for human passengers.

As you can see in the image below, Imogene was quite comfortable (and excited to get to sit in the front seat). I do wish, however, that the seat had some type of clip to attach to a dog harness for safety.

devoted_doggy_bucket_seat_cover

The only issue I had was that this seat has a non-slip backing on it to reduce the cover from sliding around. If you see in the video, it’s a plastic type of substance that reminded me of the gripping tacking paper that you might put on your kitchen shelves. However, after I took the seat cover out of the package I placed it on a wooden chair. When I literally “peeled” it off the chair a few days later, I was left with this a black sticky substance on my white kitchen chair. I can’t get it off:

seat_cover_black_residue

It made me a little hesitant to put it on my front car seat. However, I haven’t noticed any residue left on my car seat even from being on in the summer heat. Either way, the company does offer a 100% lifetime guarantee. Since there really isn’t anything they can do about my dining room chair, I’ll just chalk it up to occupational hazard of doing product reviews!

Fifi & Fido Beef Jerky Treats Product Review

Fifi & Fido Beef Jerky Treats Product Review

With a senior dog that has only 5 teeth left, I face the daunting task of finding a soft, all-natural jerky treat that she can actually eat. It has become somewhat of a never ending quest. I recently stumbled across a new brand out on the market called “Fifi & Fido“. I asked them if I could be provided with a free sample to review and they

fif_fido_treat_bag

Imogene Loves #fififido!

provided me with a free 16 oz bag (retail value approximately $30 – but this bag has lasted well over a month).  I was compensated to post this review and share on ThePhillyDog’s social media channels. I can assure you that the opinion belongs entirely to Imogene. Well…mostly. Imogene couldn’t be happier with the Fifi & Fido treats and I couldn’t be happier that I have finally found the treat I have been looking for!

When looking for treats, there are a two main factors I take into consideration. First, I take a hard look at the list of ingredients to see whether I can actually pronounce any of them. If I can’t pronounce it, I won’t buy it. You shouldn’t have to use a dictionary to understand what’s in your dog’s food (or your own food). I also try to find treats that contain a limited number of ingredients and only natural preservatives to help it stay fresh.

Second, I make it a point to avoid ingredients that are known “fillers” (such as corn, beets, or grains). I look to see if the meat source is listed and whether the treat is manufactured in the United States (and avoid anything manufactured in China). I also prefer not to buy anything with added sugar.

The ingredient list easily passes the test, as each treat contains only the following ingredients:

Beef, sweet potato, dried culture skimmed milk, vegetable glycerin, salt, mixed tocopherol (vitamin E)

Simple, basic ingredients. And I can not only pronounce them, I know what they all are! Moreover, the beef is 100% sourced in the United States and the treats are assembled here as well – and in a SQF Certified (Safe, Quality Food) Facility!

Would Fifi & Fido’s Treats Pass ThePhillyDog Test?

As a blogger, it’s always a little nerve wracking to receive a free sample of something because you worry about having to post a how a less than positive review if your dog doesn’t like the product. Fortunately, in this case I have nothing but honest praise for Fifi & Fido treats.

fifi_fido_jerky_treat_size

Besides containing all natural, healthy ingredients, these treats are soft enough for a senior dog but tough enough that they last more than 2 seconds. With only 5 teeth, Imogene is able to safely enjoy these jerky sticks at a good pace. But, most importantly, she loves them. I like that I can either give her a full sized treat or break it into little pieces and put into a puzzle toy.

Another nice part about these treats is that they don’t stink – no crazy odor! While I personally don’t mind giving Imogene a fishy-smelling bully stick, a lot of pet owners want no parts of that stuff. Fifi & Fido treats have very little odor and are not sticky or messy. They will not leave any stains behind on the carpet, either.

I happily recommend getting a bag of Fifi & Fido! Want to learn more about Fifi & Fido? Check out our YouTube review below!

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