Rating Guide

X No paws: Not Recommended or product has serious flaws

One paw: Not recommended for most pet owners

Two Paws: Ok product, some reservations

Three Paws: Very good product

Four Paws: Love it, great product

PupLight Dog Safety Light

Rating: 4 paws

The Puplight Dog Safety Light is a flashlight / safety light which is worn around the dog's neck. The Puplight comes in 4 colors. The company also makes a "Neklight" for people.

The Puplight is like a flashlight for your dog. The light includes an elastic band which you can hang the light from, or you can attach it directly to your dog's collar. The light housing is made of plastic and also includes a hinged piece which allows you to adjust where the light is pointing (up and down.) The Puplight is useful for night time walking in dark areas. This is the only pet safety light I have seen on the market which actually projects light like a flashlight, which allows the Puplight to help light your path as well as making your dog more visible to others at night. As a safety tool to make your dog more visible, this light works better than the other collar lights I have seen. Most collar lights for dogs do not give off much light, so if the actual lightbulb is blocked by your dog's fur or if a car or person is on the wrong side of your dog and the dog blocks the lightbulb, little or no light shines through. The Puplight claims to illuminate up to 200 feet in front of the dog, which provides a great deal more visibility than other safety lights for dogs.

The Puplight also works fairly well as a flashlight to illuminate your path. One benefit I have found is that if your dog sniffs something on the ground, the Puplight will show you exactly what it is, which can help you prevent your dog from eating unknown objects.

The only problems I have had with the Puplight was with one of my dogs, a Golden Retriever. She would tend to walk with her head lowered much of the time, and that would block a lot of the light from the Puplight. I tried various configurations to allow the light through but she still blocked a lot of it. If you have a hound breed or a dog who likes to sniff a lot, this could be an issue. This problem causes the light to be less useful in illuminating the path in front of us, but does not affect the usefulness as a safety/visibility tool.

Springer Bicycle Jogger

Rating: 2.5 paws 1/2

The Springer Bicycle Jogger is a U-shaped attachment with a spring that can be clamped onto a bicycle, allowing your dog to run next to you while you ride, and satisfying leash laws.

This product really does perform as advertised, but beware, it will not fit on all bicycles. On the last two bikes I've had, I was unable to mount it the way it was intended to be mounted. On a 17" frame mountain bike, I had to mount it on the seat post - and *really* lock down the seat post tight to keep it from twisting. On my new 21" hybrid, I had to mount it at a backward facing angle on the seat tube, the part of the frame the seat post goes into. That's where it is supposed to be, but it's supposed to go straight out, at a 90 degree angle from the frame. Putting it on at an angle made it much harder to insert the cotter pin that anchors the tube to the clamp. The problem with both bikes was that my heel would hit the tube as I peddled if the Springer was attached as directed.

That said, the Springer really does work. Our 60 pound hound/chow mix really loves to pull, and really lunges hard. I've never felt in danger of tipping over with him. The clamp portion of the Springer is not really aesthetically pleasing, but it functions very well, is easy to tighten down, and isn't fragile. The tube is likewise sturdy, and we've never had a problem with anything breaking or bending.

There is a safety feature, also, a break-away plastic piece that is between the spring and the short leash.The piece is there in case you and your dog go on opposite sides of a mailbox or pole. It will break, hopefully preventing a nasty crash. (I havne't had the misfortune to test this particular feature.) Bigger dogs + better riders means that you should put the leash farther up on the plastic piece, so it won't break away as easily.
Another thing to know - this product should only be used with a harness (a simple one comes with it) and not a collar, which could choke your dog if something goes wrong.

(Reviewed by Amy)

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About the Critique

Chicago Canine Critique is a product review site which is part of The Chicago Canine, a website for dog owners with news, reviews, guides to taking your dog places, feature articles, Chicago dog-friendly event and business listings, and more.
If you have a product you would like us to review, please email chicagocanine@aol.com

Meet the Reviewers

Below you can see photos and stats on some of the canines who have tested the products reviewed at the Canine Critique.

Breed: German Shepherd
Size: "Large" 26" tall and 70 lbs.
Occupation: Pack Dog
Birthdate: 4/14/04

Breed: Labrador Retriever
Size: "Large" 100+ lbs.
Occupation: Family Dog

Breed: Golden Retriever
Size: "Medium" 24" tall and 65 lbs.
Occupation: Therapy Dog
Birthdate: 1/9/96

Breed: Rat Terrier mix
Size: "Small" 14" tall and 25 lbs.
Occupation: Trick Dog
Birthdate: 8/8/94

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