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Sunday, May 31, 2009

dog product~Critter cooler

Having as many large breed dogs as I do I go through a lot of water, winter or summer, it doesn't matter, five Newfoundlands drink a lot! The summer months are not quite as bad outdoors as I use the dishes that hook up right to the hose so the dogs always have water which makes it much easier than lugging buckets outside as I do in the winter months. However inside the house, I can still go through nearly five or more gallons of water in just the bedroom alone for three to four dogs , then there are the water dishes in the kitchen and the family room that need to be filled constantly. Yes , Yes I know , some of the water ends up in the jowls of the Newfs then lands on the floor around the bowl, but I do like to think they are actually drinking most of it and my exercise back and forth to the kitchen sink is not in vain.

So to try and eliminate the need of constantly filling up at least one bowl daily, I chose the bowl in the bedroom to replace with a product called the critter cooler when its advertisement found its way into my email . Initially when I viewed it online I saw nothing more than a glorified five gallon bucket that was selling for about 99 dollars. Yes it had a few extras, such as the dishes on the side (ordered separately) , and the little bug traps that keep ants out of the water, sturdy wheels that could be locked and unlocked for easy movement and stability, as well, it had a drain plug on the inside of the dish in case the water got dirty. Now this is a big plus here in Newfy land as dishes are always being cleaned of drool and dirt!

Okay no matter how you look at it though, 99 dollars is still a lot of money for a bucket! So initially I dismissed the whole idea. Then to my surprise it was on sale a few months later for only 79 dollars. A better price? Not really, not for a bucket, but at the time I had a few extra bucks and was getting rather weary from the constant battle of filling water dishes all day so I decided to give it a try. It also came with a money back guarantee if not completely satisfied.

When it arrived at my door I could not wait to fill it up just to see how long it would last through the day. There were instructions, which could be a bit confusing , but basically you could figure out most of it by looking at the pictures , no nuclear scientist needed here. Along with the directions came a CD describing the cooler and how to put it together. The paper instructions recommended highly that you watch the CD before putting it together. But I did not, therefore missing a few helpful hints like, not to carry it by the handle when it was filled with water as the handle was not strong enough to hold the fully filled bucket (hence the wheels for rolling it), or that you should give the lid one little extra 1/2 turn before opening the valve that let the water from the bucket to flow into the dish. So, after cleaning up a lot of spilled water I decided to watch the video!
Fifteen minutes later, stupidity aside, I had finally set up my critter cooler just exactly as it was shown in the video.

Pros: when it works, it's great! It holds a lot of water and can be cleaned of drool and dirt easily by turning off the spigot and pulling the drain plug. Wiping it clean with a paper towel is all it took. The wheels made it easy to move around and locked in place as well. I only had to fill it once in a 12 hour period!

cons: When it does not work correctly you are going to find water all over the floor. I do not recommend filling the bucket, setting it on the floor, opening the spigot and then walking away. Make sure the water stops flowing at the right point, if not you'll have to close the spigot and figure out where you went wrong. For a few days, after watching the video twice, and contacting the company regarding the problem, it sat in my bathtub until I was sure that when filled it would stop and not overflow to the floor. Once I felt more confident, meaning that I had filled it several times while it was still in the bathtub and it was working correctly, only then did I put it back on the bedroom floor. Unfortunately there were still several times over the next two weeks that it overflowed making a mess of my wood floor and I wished I had not thrown out the box in which it came so I could send it back.

However, that being said, since I do take Chance and Steeler to a lot of all day outdoor events for SART I figured it could be used for that purpose without the worry of my floors being ruined.

When spring finally sprung this year and my hose and automatic water dishes were still in the basement I did place the Critter Cooler out on my deck and it worked most of the time. But I still would not chance it inside the home. So unless I use those great locking wheels for other purposes, I'd have to give it a two paws down for the money. I think the inventor would have done better if he had figured out a way to use a float device to keep it from overflowing.




  1. So it worked AFTER you followed directions?

  2. No, it failed 97% of the time. I would not recommend it and I did try it in many locations. I could not trust it indoors nor could I trust that my dogs would have water all day while I was a work outdoors in the summer. I went to the bowl that connects to the hose for summer and heated buckets for winter outside. Inside, every room has a water dish in it. I like the concept of being able to drain it and clean it, but it would work better on a float system as the pieces are too small and too easily knocked out, especially the little rubber stopper on the top. I gave it to a shelter, maybe they can use it for something.

  3. I would like everyone to know that the maker of this product sent me an email regarding this post and offered to fix my critter cooler up to working order. I have found since I got the product that the maker had always been very helpful and willing to work with me as I am sure he would do with anyone who bought his product. Every dog is different, Newfies are just too overbearing for this particular product, maybe a kinder gentler dog would do okay:)

  4. Hello Sally,

    I appreciate you allowing me to post after reading about your “2Paw” Critter Cooler experience.

    The Critter Cooler is a gravity feed system. When you spin the lid on correctly, the o-ring in the lid makes contact with the container edge forming an air-tight seal and a vacuum is created. Those times that your Critter Cooler was functioning fine, a good seal had been created. Occasionally new customers can get frustrated until they understand how important the lid is to the operation..

    About 2 years ago we created the “Owners Manual” video to walk new customers through the set up and operation of the Critter Cooler. Much more detail than the DVD that you received. Here is a link to it:

    Does the Critter Cooler work better with some breeds?
    What I can share with you is that after 5 years, in our customer base, we have hundreds of Dog Professionals: Breeders, Daycares, Rescues, Kennels, Vet Clinics and one Zoo, that use Critter Coolers. Some of my rural customers have sent me pictures of: goats, ducks, lamas, chickens, miniature horses, alpacas and one very large pot belly pig all sharing the Critter Cooler.

    Sally, if you can rescue your Critter Cooler from storage, I bet that we can get it working and go from “2 Paws” to “4 Paws” PDQ.

    Best Regards,
    James Mushen

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