* Prices may differ from that shown
Never one to miss a chance walking the dogs, the winter months posed a problem in letting my black lab off the lead. Being very obedient she never ran off and was always troting somewhere near but being a bit neurotic myself I needed to know exactly where she was at all times! I found this at Pets at Home and thought it was worth a try. The collar is basically a thin tube of pink rubber with two small bulbs at one point. Press a little button and the bulbs flash sending light down the tubes and making a pink flashing collar. As the bulbs are only at one point of the collar and light can't bend a round corners it is only half the collar which illuminates but it seems to work fine. It can be seen from a long distance, the Lab ran to the otherside of the field and I could still see her flashing! It is a bit tricky to put it on as it is purely a case of feeding the end of the tube throughthe keeper where the bulbs are so if you have a fiddly dog it may be a little annoying. luckily my Lab is a soft sappy thing and so if was no problem. Taking it off is easier, just pull and they pop out. Battery life for this collar is ages. I usd it most days last winter and it is still working. One problem I have found is the little button to turn it onand off gets a little worn and it gets increasingly more difficult to turn ot off after time. At the price though it doesn't really matter and I would be happy to buy a new one each winter!
*What is the Ancol Safety Halo?* This dog safety collar is produced by the Ancol company, the highly popular and well established manufacturers of a huge range of products for a vast variety of pets. Their range includes toys, training equipment, leads and collars, safety devices, grooming aids, pet coats, bedding, housing and much more, catering for cats, dogs, small animals and birds. *The product itself* A month or so ago, after many weeks of indecisiveness, myself and Jason finally went ahead and brought ourselves a caravan, with the plan of being able to pop away for short weekends and breaks throughout the year, in which the dogs could come too. We always find paying out for hotels a waste of money seeing as when on holiday, we are obviously going to be out and about the vast majority of the time, not sat in a hotel room, so the caravan seemed a sensible idea, especially as camping site rates are a lot cheaper than hotel rates and the dogs have more freedom- I don't have to keep ensuring they are abiding by the strict dog rules and restrictions that even apparently dog friendly hotels have! So with our brand new caravan sat proudly on the driveway, we soon set about booking our first trip away in it, and it was decided a short 4 day break in Padstow, Cornwall was what we fancied, so we could spend some time away with the dogs before leaving them with the pet sitter whilst myself and Jason flew out to New York for our main holiday, and to visit my family. It wasn't until I started browsing camping sites to buy the essentials needed for Jason and myself that I discovered there was a wide selection of doggie related camping accessories available too, and whilst most of it seemed unnecessary, or we already had the items, I did come across this Ancol Safety Halo, which seemed a very sensible and practical idea, so I ordered two, one each for Grace and Benson. The Ancol Safety Halo has been designed to be worn alongside your dogs regular collar, to provide visibility, and therefore extra safety and peace of mind, whilst out and about early in the morning or late at evening- providing an easy way to keep your pet in sight, whilst also assisting in safety- making your pet visible to possible dangers such as cars, other walkers or horse riders. The collar is a clear plastic tube, which is soft and flexible to enable it to open and then close again around your dogs neck and is filled with small, ultra bright pink LED lights which are activated by a replaceable battery which gives up to 100 hours use. The lights, which continuously flash give off a glow that can be seen up to 200 meters away and is splash proof, making it suitable for walk in wet weather, or for smaller dogs who may be swamped by long wet grass during exercise! Lastly, it comes in a variety of sizes so there should be something to suit most dogs and claims to be suitable for use on dogs of any age, breed or size. *Packaging* The Ancol Safety Halo comes attached to a small piece of black cardboard, and protected behind clear plastic and states all the usual information you'd expect to find such as instructions for use and how to fit the device to your pet, details on how to change batteries and a few minor common sense safety warnings. Lastly, there are contact details for Ancol provided, should you have any need to contact them. *Price & Availability* This piece of equipment appears to be rather popular and I have seen it stocked in various places, both on and offline. I purchased our two Halo's online from Pets Parade (www.petsparade.co.uk) where the prices are as follows: 32cm, suitable for small dogs such as Yorkies and Shih Tzus- £4.40 42cm, suitable for medium dogs such as Beagles and Spaniels - £4.40 50cm, suitable for medium/large dogs such as Boxers- £5.50 58cm, suitable for most large dogs such as Retrievers and Rotties- £5.50 For some ideal of actual size, I brought Grace (a female Rottweiler) the 50cm size whilst for Benson (a male Bernese Mountain Dog), I brought the largest size of 58cm. The sizes are the length of the Halo when laid out straight and to find the correct size you should simply use a tape measure to measure your dogs neck and then add 3cm for comfort, if inbetween sizes, you should always choose the largest size for the best possible fit. *My opinion* Knowing we were to be camping in a field, right next to the beach, safety was my paramount concern regarding the dogs, and the reason behind purchasing these Ancol Safety Halos. The dogs were going to be in a strange and unfamiliar environment, with plenty of other people and interesting scents to follow, so when I let them out the caravan for a quick wee before bed, I wanted something that would help me keep an eye on them, as two mainly black dogs blend in rather easily with the darkness of the night! In the past we've used those little flashing tags that attach to their regular collars and whilst they are effective to a certain extent, I have found that if the dog has it's back to you, and the tag is hanging down at the front of the collar, then they might as well not be there at all seeing as the dogs body blocks the light from the tag! This is what caused me to pay some attention to these Safety Halos, I liked the fact they had lights all the way round them, so regardless of what position the dog was in, I hoped I would still be able to see the light coming from the device. Very pleased at the cheap price also, I placed my order and waited eagerly for them to arrive. When they arrived, I was initially a little dubious about them- they had looked somewhat robust and durable in their online picture, but in real life, they looked thin and flimsy- regardless, I called the dogs through to give them a try. The instructions inform me that when outside, they should always be worn alongside your dogs regular collar, not instead of it, as these Halos have nothing to attach a lead to or hold an I.D tag and are not strong enough to restrain a dog in any circumstances. Grace and Benson never ever wear collars in the house, but they also do when outside so that wasn't a problem. The Halos were very easy to fit to both dogs- you simply need to pull one end of the Halo from the plastic clip, loop around your dogs neck and then push the end back into the clip again, simple as that. Once on, they looked OK- very boring and plain but unobtrusive- that was until I put the lights on of course! The lights are activated by a small metal button- one push turns them on, and then a second push turns them back off again. In the light of the day, they didn't look very bright at all, but you could clearly see the way the lights flashed and they looked rather impressive. Later that evening I decided to try them again out on our walk in the dark, and they looked much better! The lights were incredibly bright and stood out well from their coats, and throwing a ball for a them a good distance away, I could still clearly see the lights which impressed me. After our walk I packed the Halos away ready for our little caravanning trip and I have to say I found them invaluable from the moment we left our house. Travelling down to Cornwall we stopped a few times along the way to let the dogs go to the toilet and although the dogs obviously stayed on very short leads in service station car parks and motorway laybys where we stopped so they could relieve themselves, I still slipped the Halos around their neck to make them, and us, visible to any other cars that may pull into the layby or move around the car parks and they were very useful, even attracting several admiring comments from lorry drivers also parked up! Once at our destination however, is where they really got put to good use. Every night before bed I would slip their Halos on them, then I could stand at the caravan door whilst they had a little mooch around outside and went for their bedtime wee whilst I could clearly see where they were at all times, making sure they weren't disturbing any other campers, wandering onto neighbouring pitches and I knew if one flashing Halo stopped moving around, then that particular dog was doing more than a wee and it was time for me to head out with the pick up bags!! The Halos fitted the dogs very well, admittedly Bensons was a little tight on him, despite being the largest size but that is probably mainly due to the massive amount of thick fur that he has, even so, it was still fine to use on him for short amounts of time (ten minutes tops) whilst they went for their bedtime wee and wander and I liked the way the Halo sat on top of his fur, not nestling down into it! So I could still see the light clearly at all times, unlike the flashing tags which would often get ''lost'' in his huge amounts of fur! Also, regardless of which way the dogs were facing, I could still see the lights, which again was a problem we had previously with the flashing collar tags. To conclude, a wonderful invention and something I would have paid twice the price for. They are such a simple design- nothing high tech or fancy yet they do the job brilliantly, whilst at the same time being comfortable and easy for the dogs to wear. They enable me to clearly and effectively keep track of the dogs on camping trips when they venture outside the caravan at night, making sure they are not bothering anyone or going anywhere they shouldn't be, whilst also helping them stay safe and visible to other people or those driving cars or campervans about the site after dark. My one tiny moan with them however is that they are only available in pink, which macho mutt Benson wasn't too pleased with. Well, actually, I know he couldn't give a toss what colour it was- let's rephrase that- I would have rather them to come in a choice of colours- so I could have a different one on each dog and know who was who, but I'm just being picky now! Oh and owners of Great Danes and the like will have to go without seeing as sizes don't go up large enough.
Ensures that dog is visible at night.