Monday, May 14, 2012

Happytails Spa Review - Sleepytime Tonic and Ruff to Smooth Conditioner

     EcoWellDog is a company based out of Austin, Texas, that specializes in all-natural products for man's best friend -- ranging from canine "cosmeceuticals", to dental products, to spa products. They have a number of brands, including Cain & Able, Happytails Canine Spa Line, Kissable, Dirty and Hairy, and Dogmaceuticals. The Happytails Canine Spa Line features "Problem Solving Products for the Modern Dog". 

All the products offered by Happytails are Eco-friendly, natural, and cruelty-free. I think this is extremely important as a dog-owner. I know that I try to buy "green" and organic products whenever possible for myself and my why shouldn't I include my pets? After-all, my dog is just another member of my family as far as I'm concerned! I want to give him the best. Recently, I have started to pay a lot more attention to what products I purchase for him, whether it be toys, food, or grooming accessories. Chemicals can make a huge impact, especially on dogs with sensitive skin or other conditions. The worst part? Dogs can't tell you what they want. 

Happytails has an answer for nearly any problem that your dog may be experiencing. They offer various shampoo and conditioner products -- one for luster, one for relief of dry and itchy (or allergy-ridden) skin, one for healing, one for dogs that don't like baths but need to be cleaned, one for ultra-conditioning of matted coats, and one for detangling. Does your dog have bad breath? Happytails has dental wipes for dogs that don't like toothbrushes, and Kissable has an entire line of toothpaste and probiotics. There are products available for stinky or itchy ears, and to remove those pesky tear stains on doggy eyes. Is your dog nervous? Happytails and other EcoWellDog brands offer natural herbal remedies for calming, including tonics and spritzes. There are also solutions available for dogs that have excessive gas, or fleas, and for dogs that have joint problems. As you can see, there is something for every dog! With any of the Happytails products, you don't have to feel bad about trying to solve more than one issue at once. You are not cramming your dog full of chemicals, but providing a healthy alternative. 

Happytails Canine Spa Line was nice enough to send me two wonderful products for my three-year-old Cocker Spaniel/Pomeranian mix Icarus to try out. I received the Ruff to Smooth Detangling Leave-in Conditioner and the Sleepytime Tonic. For this particular event, I was able to fill out a checklist detailing some of the problems that Icarus faces, and these products were chosen as potential solutions. 

As I have stated previously, Icarus has a HUGE problem with mats and tangled fur. Being a "mutt" (as I like to say...UNIQUE ;) ), he has very unusual fur which is a combination of both species.. crimped in some areas and fluffy in others. Most parts of his body have long, unruly curls, but his back and legs have the "fluff". All of these types of fur seem to get tangled in one fashion or another. He has extremely sensitive skin that is prone to allergies, so once he starts to itch, his claws pull his fur together into knots. He does not really like to be groomed, so its a tough scenario. We try not to give him baths too often, due to the fact that our water and various products that we have tried end up drying out his skin and making him itch more. Therefore, we are always on the lookout for things to use in between bath time to help keep him clean and to help relieve the painful mats. The Ruff to Smooth Detangling Conditioner that Happytails sent was a solution to this problem.

The Ruff to Smooth Conditioner (7 oz bottle) is a leave-in detangler which can be used right after a bath (spray it all over your dog) to help comb out clean fur, can be used after a bath on specific tangles or problem spots, or can be used on dry fur -- perfect for my situation, since Icarus doesn't like baths! It retails for $17.00. Here is some additional information regarding Ruff to Smooth which comes from the Happytails website:

Use after bathing as a complete conditioner
bulletAll natural emollients make for an easier brush out
bulletNo silicones! We use silk proteins instead
bulletEspecially effective on wire haired dogs
bulletAs a spot treatment directly on mattes and tangle
bulletEssential oil of lavender helps to calm your dog

I love the fact that Ruff to Smooth has the blend of lavender and chamomile. I have heard of these herbs/oils as being very effective for helping humans sleep, but I didn't know that it worked for dogs as well! So really, this product has TWO functions - it helps detangle your dog's fur, while also calming them!

Icarus sees grooming as a game, which he usually wins. He likes to attack the brush and resist, even if he actually likes the feel of it. I sprayed Ruff to Smooth on him and it was like a whole new dog! Below I have uploaded quite a few pictures showing us spraying the conditioner on him, and his reaction. It really helped detangle the mats in his fur when left to saturate for a few minutes. We sprayed it directly on problem areas, but we also put it on the brush, since he likes to jump backwards when any cold liquid is sprayed on him. Both methods seemed to work. I noticed a definite difference in how easy it was to brush out the mats. The best part? He started off fighting and biting the brush, as usual, but then he calmed down so much that he actually fell asleep like a little angel! I guess that herb blend really works. ;) See below! His fur looked great afterwards and he smelled like he had just taken a bath!

The other product that I received was the Sleepytime Tonic (1 oz bottle). It is an herbal blend that helps to fight doggy anxiety and nervousness. It retails for $13.00. On the survey, I checked off that Icarus sometimes has nervous or over-excited tendencies. It may be a result of lack-of-training (he is my first dog), but he doesn't always control himself when something gets him worked up. It isn't so much that he is afraid of a thunderstorm, people approaching the house, animals at night, etc, but more that they bother him. He starts to bark and he won't stop. He is also on a diet, because we just found out that he has a luxating patella, which basically means that his knee pops out of place if he steps or jumps wrong, and any extra weight does not help with this. This diet has provoked extreme hunger, which makes him extra anxious. He will wake up in the middle of the night and he won't be able to sleep because he expects the human food I used to give him. Also, he sometimes gets upset when we leave, or if we go somewhere like to the fireworks.

The Sleepytime Tonic is not a sedative, but simply a way to calm a dog down in any circumstance. It helps with all the scenarios that I just mentioned, and also trips to the vet or simply to help a dog calm down if they are antsy for any reason. The Happytails website recommends it to help with training of excess barking (perfect), aggression, or cowering. The tonic comes in a bottle with a dropper, so all you have to do is put a few drops in either the dog's mouth or in his food. Here is some more information regarding the Sleepytime Tonic as taken from the Happytails website:

Put a couple of drops in water or directly in mouth
Will work in about 20 minutes to calm your anxious dog

Use consistently to help to re-balance him to be calmer

Perfect for travel, trips to the vet, fireworks or anxiety

 Flower Essences and herbal based remedy that is safe and effective

This is a rather long list, but I was incredibly interested to find out the medicinal components of the tonic, and what their individual remedies are. Its good to know what you are giving your dog. Check it out!

Vervain (Verbena Officinalis). Reduces restlessness and muscle twitching and supports liver functions.
Skullcap mild natural sedative beneficial in treating anxiety, insomnia, and pain.
Passion Flower helpful in reducing restlessness, anxiety, and nervousness.
Valerian Calms nerves and aids in physical relaxation.
Zisyphus a plant used as a sedative in traditional Chinese medicine
Wild Lettuce Natural sedative and sleep aid.
Blue Flag gives temporary relief of a variety of skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, helping the skin by aiding the liver.
Liquorice Lubricates, soothes and protects mucous membranes. Acts as an anti-inflammatory. Relieves pain and itching.
Parsley Boosts kidney function and helps relieve gas.

Bach Flower Essences

Aspen helps to reduce general anxiety and fear.
Cerato increases dog's attention and ability to focus.
Wild Oat alleviates depression due to boredom. Helps stop chewing and destructive behavior.
Mimulus reduces shyness, fear and nervousness due to common stressors such as travel, vet visits, new places, etc. Good for aggressive dogs.
Larch boosts confidence in shy dogs.
Impatiens helps alleviate irritability and anxiousness.
Honey All natural honey added for flavor and sweetness. 

I put the Sleepytime Tonic in Icarus' food dish, as he does not like to ingest anything that doesn't look appealing. I put only a few drops in, and waited for around twenty minutes, as the website suggests this is a good amount of time for the tonic to kick in. Although there were no specific episodes of thunderstorms, and no fireworks to go to in the period of review time for this product, he was overly active/anxious and barking at night. He was running around the room. It is really hard to show the effectiveness of this product through pictures, though I took an "after" shot. The before shot would have been a passing blur as he ran by! :) He didn't seem to notice it in his food, and he laid down after awhile, nice and calm. It did seem to put a stop to the excessive barking and anxiety, though I will definitely have to use this during the next storm or episode and report back. Here is a picture:

Interested in learning more about the Happytails Canine Spa Line? Feel free to visit their website, or take a look at their blog (while here, you should definitely sign up for the newsletter for savings and to be alerted when new posts are made!). If you would like to connect with them via a social media outlet, they have a Facebook page and Twitter account.

Disclaimer! I received the above-mentioned products for free, in exchange for an honest review. I received no other monetary compensation. All opinions are my own.


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