Category Archives: Reviews

Treat Me Tuesday: NutriSource

NutriSource Soft & Tender dog treats

I make and sell my own brand of dog treats, but the Wayward Dogs also enjoy sampling other varieties on the market.

They were thrilled recently when Chewy.com sent a sample of NutriSource Soft & Tender training treats.

The meaty little bones provide a high-value reward for any size dog. Because they are soft, they are easy for the elderpin to chew.

NutriSource Soft & Tender dog treats

Luke would gulp them down by the handful if I let him.

NutriSource Soft & Tender dog treats

Made in the USA and free of wheat, soy and artificial colors and flavors, these treats also boast an added ingredient: Carniking™.

The benefits of this supplement are not explained on the NutriSource packaging, so I did some research. Carniking™ is a dietary supplement manufactured by the company Lonza. Carniking™ is, essentially, L-carnitine, a chemical naturally produced by the canine, human and feline body to help metabolize fat.

According to Lonza’s website: “Carniking™ research in pets has shown that when diets containing Carniking™ are fed to both dogs and cats, the level of body fat is reduced while the percentage of lean muscle mass increases.”

NutriSource Soft & Tender dog treats

In addition to helping with body fat, Carniking™ can also promote a healthy heart and liver. Lonza mentions that the supplement is especially important for senior pets like Luke and the elderpin whose natural ability to produce L-carnitine is diminished.

In addition to being healthy, the NutriSource Soft & Tender Treats are also inexpensive. You can get a 6-oz bag for $2.99 over at Chewy.com.

They come packaged in a resealable plastic bag. Once opened, the treats maintained their freshness pretty well, although I did notice some drying after a week or so. They contain a few natural preservatives, so I didn’t worry about the quality. However, for aesthetic reasons, you might consider storing these treats in the fridge if you plan on feeding them to your dog over the course of a month or so.

Have you tried any new treats lately? Share your recommendations in the comments below!

Disclaimer: I received a free product sample in exchange for my honest review.

4 Reasons to Love the EzyDog Zero Shock Leash (Review)

Strutt with Your Mutt starting line

The year is almost over.

Are you, like me, thinking about how you and your pet can live a healthier lifestyle?

If jogging is on your agenda, then you might want to check out the EzyDog Zero Shock Leash.

The EzyDog company is known for making quality products for active dogs. I’ve never owned any EzyDog items before and was excited at the opportunity to test out this leash. In fact, getting it has given me more motivation to get back into jogging.

ezydog leash

After using the Zero Shock on Luke the golden retriever for several weeks now, I’ve rather fallen in love with it.

Here are four reasons I like this leash so much.

1. Comfort. If you have ever received a rope burn from a nylon leash, you will love the thought that went into this one. When you slip your wrist inside the loop handle of the Zero Shock Leash, you won’t end up gripping the nylon. Your grip soft neoprene.

EzyDog Zero Shock Leash with Beer Paw

2. Deliberate design. The Zero Shock Leash may be the weirdest looking leashes I have ever used. It’s part normal, and part stretchy. That’s because it is designed to do exactly what you expect – absorb the tug on the collar that your dog may feel as your arms move up and down while running. The only downside of this design is that it’s not a great option for dogs who pull. The leash absorbs so much shock that they can barely tell when you are tugging to correct them.

EzyDog traffic control

3. Safety handle. My favorite part of this leash is the second handle right by the collar attachment. The so-called “traffic control handle” provides close control. You slip your hand through the loop, just like at the top of the leash, except from here, you can manage your dog better in the event that another animal or person approaches too closely.

4. There’s a place to attach your Beer Paws bottle opener! Officially, I’m sure that EzyDog expects people to attach poop bags or other pet necessities on the accessory d-ring located just under the top handle. But the first thing I thought to attach was, of course, my company’s bottle openers for leashes.

What kind of leash do you use? Tell us about it in the comments!

Disclaimer: I received a free leash from EzyDog in exchange for my honest review.

The Tex Mex Diner with Chihuahuas on the Wall [Sponsored Post] #ChuysKansasCity

For a dog lover, it’s hard to enter a Mexican restaurant without thinking of Chihuahuas.

The little dogs are synonymous with the country and, thanks to Taco Bell, also linked strongly to Tex Mex cuisine.

On Monday night, I visited a much better Tex Mex chain. Chuy’s Restaurant recently arrived on Country Club Plaza, right in the heart of Kansas City.

Chuy's Logo clean - red

The coming of Chuy’s was a big deal for my friend Megan. She went to school in Texas and during KC Pittie Pack walks I have heard her speak with much love about the drinks and the salsa and the overall experience of Chuy’s.

Listening to her talk, I think I always pictured a vaguely run-down, “authentic,” sit-down Mexican eatery. I had no idea.

Chuy’s is more like a quintessential 1950′s diner on Mexican acid. Seriously – eating at this place is a real trip.

At the Kansas City location, the walls of the entryway are plastered in old-fashioned cameras. Hundreds of them are glued to the wall.

From there, every area of the expansive dining area has a theme. There’s a palm tree room. There’s a hot rod room, where Zach and I sat. The ceiling is covered in hubcaps.

palm trees

And there is even an area devoted to dogs. Chihuahuas get their own wall.

Dog Decor

So do the dogs of the people who work there.

Dog Pictures

There is so much color and so much to look at that simply being at Chuy’s is an experience.

For that reason, I didn’t have high expectations for the food. But everything was honestly delicious.

We tasted a whole platter of different homemade salsas. I was impressed by the heat of even the pico de gallo that comes standard with every bowl of homemade chips.

plate

We had a “Perfect Margarita” and a Texas Martini – both made strong enough that one was plenty.

Texas Martini

For the main course, I ordered the Veggie Combination. The chile relleno was hands down the best I’ve ever eaten. The breading was crispy, the pepper was spicy and the cheese wasn’t greasy. On the other side of the plate, my enchilada was filled with actual vegetables, like squash and red pepper.

Veggie combination

Don’t get me wrong, this was not a healthy meal. But it was good.

We ordered dessert, too, but I only got a few melt-in-your-mouth bites of the Tres Leches cake. By then, we’d received word that an elderpin had escaped our home and gotten picked up by our neighbor.

Tres Leches

Maybe Scooby somehow knew when we left that we were headed for a really tasty meal, and he just wanted to come along.

I received compensation in the form of a meal in exchange for my honest review of Chuy’s Restaurant. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Want to try Chuy’s Restaurant for yourself? Enter the giveaway!

Chuy’s is wanting to help spread the word of their new Kansas City location by offering 5 readers the chance to win a “Dinner for Two” gift card valued at $30 which includes an appetizer, two entrees, a dessert and non-alcoholic drinks for two! Several local bloggers have teamed up to bring you this fantastic giveaway.

This giveaway will run from December 10 through December 16. Please enter if you live around the Kansas City area and are able to visit, or if you have family or friends you could gift the prize to. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Participating bloggers are not responsible for prize fulfillment. Winner(s) will be verified, emailed and have 48 hours to reply or a new winner will be chosen.

Review: Lincoln Bark’s Chia-Powered Dog Treats

Lincoln Bark treats

The food and treat market for pets is trending away from products made overseas and toward boutique brands made, right here in the United States.

It’s an exciting time, with many creative recipes being rolled out.

Lincoln Bark is a new company based in Chicago that makes cat and dog treats in small batches, by hand. The products contain no wheat, soy, corn, preservatives or additives. But the dog treats do contain an unusual ingredient – Chia.

Chia is a plant in the mint family. It is the same plant that sprouts on Chia Pets.

In human health food circles, Chia seeds have been quite in vogue over the past few years.

That’s because a lot of folks consider Chia to be a superfood. Health guru Dr. Andrew Weil says Chia seeds are rich in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, other vitamins and are a source of fiber.

Apparently, savvy farmers have already begun adding Chia seeds to chicken feed to boost the omega-3 levels in eggs. In foods for people, I have seen Chia advertised in baked goods, energy bars and even kombucha.

Although Dogs Naturally magazine recommends adding Chia to your dog’s diet, Lincoln Bark represents the first time I have noticed the seeds touted specifically in a pet product.

A PDF on the Lincoln Bark’s website lists a range of good things associate with Chia, including improved digestion, better joint function and mobility and better cardiovascular health.

While I can’t speak to the validity of those claims, I can say that my dogs Luke and Scooby the elderpin have very much enjoyed their Chia-powered  Sweet Little Butterpup™ and Treat Smart™ snacks from Lincoln Bark over the past few weeks.

golden retriever and LIncoln Bark treatThe Sweet Little Butterpup are small, round baked treats, about the size of a dime. They come in a variety of flavors, including Chicken Liver, Salmon, Oatmeal and Pumpkin.

The Treat Smart treats are about the same size, but more square and chewy. These come in Chicken Liver, Salmon, Roasted Peanut and Duck & Pea varieties. I have been especially impressed by Treat Smart because it is something savory and easy for the elderpin to chew.

In fact, a few weeks ago, when Scooby was having digestive issues and refusing food, the first thing I was able to get him to eat was Treat Smart. From that day on, I have fed him one or two Treat Smart snacks each night.

miniature pinscher and Lincoln Bark Chia trat

While I can’t conclusively link his good health streak directly to the treats, I can say that he has no issues digesting them. That is something I cannot say for all foods at this point in his life.

Lincoln Bark treats are definitely a hit with my pack.

If you want to try them out for your dogs, check out LincolnBark.com.

Have you or your pets ever eaten Chia?

This post is sponsored by Lincoln Bark. I received treats for my pets to sample in exchange for helping spread the word about Lincoln Bark. WaywardDogs.com only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers, and this post reflects my honest opinion. Lincoln Bark is not responsible for the content of this article.

Putting Your Dog in a Pooch Pouch

Outward Hound Pooch Pounc

Have you ever put your dog in a pooch pouch?

I used to carry Scooby in over-the-shoulder, purse-style carriers.

We did that to the point that he still sometimes tries to hop in purses left open on the floor.

Over the past few years, though, Scooby has mostly traveled on leash or under my arm.

However, in the span of one recent week, he received two of the same Outward Hound Pet-a-Roo carriers from friends.

I call them pooch pouches because they are backpacks you wear in the front, and your dog sticks out of the little pouch.

Outward Hound Pet-a-Roo pooch pouch navy

The Pet-a-Roos we got are identical except in color.

One is black, one is blue.

I’m not an ace at adjusting straps on products like this, so I waited to try out the pouches until Zach was home and could properly fit them to me. There are a lot of straps.

You have two adjustable shoulder straps, plus one strap that threads through those and goes around your waist. There is also an optional strap you can clip to your dog’s collar or harness.

Other than that, the only way to secure him into the pouch is by tightening the mesh top of the pouch – you just pull the strings and tighten like you would a cinch style bag.

Outward Hound Pet-a-Roo

Note to self: Don’t wear a shirt with a drape-y neck during a pooch pouch photo session.

The idea is for these pooch pouches to make the person able to have their little pet close without tying up your hands.

While I wouldn’t put enough faith in that cinch-to-secure mechanism to actually bend over without a hand on Scooby, I can see how the Pet-a-Roo would make walks with Scooby more ergonomic for me once he hits the point of tired feet.

From his perspective, though, I think the Pet-a-Roo could have an ergonomic improvement.

The base of the bag, on which the dog perches is not as wide as my body. It makes a great seating pad, but the design does not allow for a dog Scooby’s size to lay down.

Outward Hound Pet-a-Roo

From experience with an improvised knap sack-turned-pooch pouch, I know that while Scooby enjoys sniffing the air (and seeing as much as his cataract-filled eyes will permit), there comes a time on every walk, when he would rather duck down and snooze. This is especially true in cold weather.

With that said, my evaluation of the Pet-a-Roo is this. It’s a novel item that I would consider taking on warm weather walks with KC Pittie Pack, as an alternative to holding Scooby under my arm when he wears out. In these cases, the Pet-a-Roo would actually be far preferable to his wool knapsack. Also, the front-carry design is more comfortable for me than over-the-shoulder messenger-style pet carrier.

Big thanks to my friends Kathy and Heather who gave us the Pet-a-Roos!

Now, if I can figure out how to convert one into a secure doggy seat for the car, we will really be in business!

How do you carry your pet around when he or she doesn’t walk?

If you haven’t already, go enter my #DiamondNaturals grain-free kibble giveaway!

 

Can Herbs Reduce Canine Incontinence?

wpid-Scooby-pee-rule.jpg

Accidents happen.

And if your name is Scooby the elderpin, accidents happen a lot.

I’ve written about the elderpin’s incontinence before. His piddles are half old body problems and half stubbornness problem.

tinkle tonic

Proof of stubbornness: Our electronic Plexidor doggy door has helped us somewhat in our battle against yellow puddles. But the elderpin seems to more enjoy exiting through a people door and coming back inside through the doggy door. (Luke follows an opposite pattern.)

Recently, I’ve attempted to counteract Scooby’s old body problems with a product that is supposed to contribute to better urinary tract health.

Tinkle Tonic by Animals’ Apawthecary is a liquid mixture of herbal extracts that can be used on dogs and cats. It contains couchgrass root, dandelion root and leaf, echinacea, horsetail and marshmallow root.

The bottle comes with a medicine topper. I have been drizzling the elderpin’s breakfast and dinner with Tinkle Tonic for a couple weeks now. While it’s no miracle cure, and many factors contribute to the little dog’s overall health, I feel like he’s having fewer accidents. The Tinkle Tonic definitely is not having a negative impact on him, anyway.

This late in the game, the best I can do is manage Scooby’s issue. I pay attention to his subtle signs that a pee is coming on:

  • Just waking up from a nap, elderpin? Outside you go!
  • Are you hanging around the door, nose to the ground? Out you go!
  • Did you just slink off into a different room? Out you go, if I catch you in time!

What signs does your dog give you when it’s time to go outside?

H/T to Married with Dawgs for recommending Tinkle Tonic eons ago. I finally got mine at Kennel Creek Pet Resort.

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out yesterday’s post and enter to win a big bag of Diamond Naturals Grain-Free kibble and more!

A Different Kind of Chew: SmartFillets Review (and a Giveaway)

english bulldog eating smartfillets

Om nom nom.

Rawhide is a great way to give your dog a jaw workout, but it’s not so great for their stomachs.

The traditional, widely available and cheap chew treat is extremely hard for a dog to digest. I’ve heard horror stories of dogs dying from rawhide that got lodged in their intestines. And I’ve personally noticed increased digestion issues around dogs I had in the past who consumed rawhide.

Apparently, rawhide that is dyed and flavored may also contain harmful chemicals.

All signs point to the need for an alternative.

That’s the concept behind the PetMatrix SmartBones® brand.

After finding success with its signature product – affordable chews that look just like rawhide but are a far more digestible, patented alternative – SmartBones now presents SmartFillets.

SmartFillets are vegetable and jerky chews, formulated to last longer than traditional chicken jerky.

I was sent a bag of SmartFillets to review.

SmartFillets jerky chews

I actually offered these treats to my cousin to test on her power chewers – a pair of English bulldogs.

Hells Bells is the bulldog featured at the top of this page. As you can see, she enjoyed her SmartFillets.

My cousin said Hells Bells wasn’t sure about the treats at first, but then she began to chew and worked on each one until it was gone.

Unfortunately, the more finicky Weezer, mother of Hells Bells, reportedly turned her snub nose up at the treats and wasn’t interested in them at all. (Maybe she wanted her jerky to be in the shape of a beer bottle.)

In spite of the rejection by Weezer, my cousin seemed to be in favor of these treats.

smartfillets ingredients

I’m glad my cousin had a mostly positive experience with SmartFillets.

I am certain my golden retriever Luke would have enjoyed them. Because my dogs are older and not power chewers, I do appreciate the fact that SmartFillets are meant to last a little longer than regular chicken jerky but not as long as rawhide. At this point, both of our dogs are old enough that they need treats they can consume in one sitting (unless the treat is a real marrow bone).

Yet, there are a couple of reasons I would be unlikely to purchase SmartFillets on my own.

  1. The ingredients list – although sweet potatoes and chicken come first, most of the other words on the list are rather unpronounceable.
  2. Although produced in a “food grade” facility, these treats appear to be made in China. With all of the controversy around Chinese chicken in recent years, as a general rule we try to avoid it for our pets.

However, the choice of what to feed a pet is up to an individual. My cousin, for example, avoids recalled items but generally doesn’t go all crazy picking out dog treats and food like I do.

There are a lot of reasons to like SmartFillets, including that they are affordable (about $10 for a 10-pack at most online retailers I checked) and contain real meat, rather than a by-product.

What do you think? Would you feed your pets SmartFillets?

If the answer to the second question is yes and you have a U.S. address, then you are invited to enter for a chance to win a bag of SmartFillets for your dog.

Giveaway

Click below for your chance to win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received a free bag of treats in exchange for my honest review of SmartFillets. All thoughts expressed here are my own.

An Organic Pet Food Option (By Nature® Review)

Today I am writing about By Nature® Pet Food. I received compensation in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed below are my own.

By Nature dog food

It seems like it’s getting easier and easier to find grain-free food for our pets.

By Nature® is one of the latest brands I have come across.

Luke and Scooby tested out a 15-pound bag of grain-free, organic kibble from this company recently.

They were pretty excited when the bag arrived in the mail.

By Nature dog food

Now, except for when our dogs are sick, they aren’t very picky about their food. So, any dog food review is really more about my opinion than theirs.

By Nature dog food

Here’s what I liked about By Nature Grain-Free Chicken and Potato Flavor dog food:

1. The ingredients list starts with meat – specifically chicken meal. From there, it’s potato meal, chicken fat, flaxseed and dried egg. A little further down the list is another notable protein source – salmon. Grain-free is important to us in dog food. Luke and Scooby do get treats  (including lots of homemade beer biscuits) that contain grains, but when it comes to the staple of the dog’s diet, we prefer them to dine on something more meat and fruit/vegetable-based. Based on its ingredient list, I would compare this variety of By Nature food to a similar offering from Acana, the Canadian brand of kibble we’ve been feeding our dogs the most in recent months.

2. In addition to being grain-free and organic, this food is also USA made. Although USA and Canadian pet food companies are not immune to recalls, I prefer that my pets’ food be sourced domestically (or just to the North) whenever possible.

By Nature kibble compared to bigger kibble

The By Nature kibble is on the left.

3. The kibble is tiny and easy for an elderpin without many teeth to chew. Whenever possible, we try to avoid feeding our boys separate kinds of food. It’s just easier at mealtime to give everyone their portion of the same thing. Unfortunately, this often means Scooby the elderpin has to deal with bigger chunks. While he doesn’t seem to mind that much, I noticed that he had an easier time chowing down on By Nature’s more petite chunks.

I checked several websites where you can order By Nature dog food. The pricing seems comparable to competing brands. There is also a frequent buyer program on the company’s website.

Overall, my opinion is that this brand is worth trying out if you are considering trying grain-free for the first time or just want another quality food to add into your rotation.

Want to let your dog pick the food he likes best? Check out this post: How to Hold a Dog Food Taste Test.

What kind of food do your dogs eat? Please leave your answer in the comments!

Beer With Their Breakfast

It’s 5 o’clock somewhere, right?

image

Yes, Luke. Yes, it is.

But it doesn’t matter, your beer is alcohol-free, and it doesn’t even require that nifty bottle opener you wear on your collar.

So, go ahead, guzzle some Bowser Beer. Lap it up at the beginning of a hard day. Use it like gravy, even, on your kibble.

The other guys are doing it, too.

image

I’ve known about the dog-friendly Bowser Beer for a while, but I had not run into any locally until last weekend’s Dogs on the Lawn event at the Nelson-Atkins Museum.

For just a few dollars, I grabbed a bottle of the Beefy Brown Ale for my boys to try.

According to the label, the suggested serving size is one bottle for medium to large dogs and half a bottle for small dogs. However, even the proprietors of the food truck for dogs where I bought it said they don’t give their two labs that much beer.

They suggested a splash here and there, maybe drizzled over some kibble. Just refrigerate after opening, they advised.

I broke out the bottle the very next day. Before pouring some in a dish for the dogs, I tasted it myself.

I found it watery and slightly sweet, not so beefy.

image

Scooby tried it next. Although puzzled at first, he soon lapped it up eagerly.

Luke then had pretty much the same reaction.

Finally, Charlie “Chetty” Machete got his portion. He was least impressed of all, licking at the bowl and then looking up at me, as if to say, “Where’s the beef?”

image

The next morning, I poured a little Bowser Beer over everyone’s dry food. That did seem to make mealtime significantly more exciting.

Although I don’t see us buying Bowser Beer by the case, I think it’s a brilliant item for a dog-oriented food truck to stock. I’m sure Good Dog 2 Go will do great business  at pet-friendly races and other summer events.

Besides the novelty, one reason someone may want to give their dogs Bowser Beer is for the glucosamine.

Bowser Beer

Glucosamine HCL is the fourth ingredient on the label, after water, beef and malt extract. The only other three ingredients are common preservatives: citric acid, sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate.

I could also see how incorporating Bowser Beer into a dog’s diet – regularly or as an infrequent treat – could help boost a dog’s water intake or help make liquid medicine go down a little easier.

Bowser Beer is made in the U.S.A. with all domestically-sourced products. You can learn more at BowserBeer.com.

Would you let your dogs try Bowser Beer?

I have no affiliation with Bowser Beer. I simply bought some and wanted to share my experience!

Solving the Sergeant’s Piddle Problem

Gilles and Linda Auger started making diapers for their cat Bowie and later for their rescued Chihuahua ChiChi.

“From this experience, we decided to create our own hygienic clothing manufacturing company for pets.”

cat named Bowie wearing a diaper

Bowie the cat

Now, that is one agreeable cat.

As I mentioned in my last post, I recently received from the Augers’ company Créations Entre Chats Et Chiens a pair of custom-made diapers Sergeant’s uniform to test on my incontinent elderpin Scooby.

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The overall-style diapers are designed kind of like a Thundershirt in that two straps wrap around the front of the dog’s neck/chest area and fasten with velcro.

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Velcro straps also secure the diaper part of the garment to the piece that wraps around the dog’s back.

The garment itself is constructed with three layers of waterproof fabric. On the area that covers the problem area, there is a netting in which you can tuck a sanitary napkin for added protection. (In order to be more eco-friendly, I just used old fabric scraps.)

image

In theory, I like the Augers’ design a lot.

The velcro straps allows some flexibility in the fit. If your dog is having a fat day, you can just let it out a little.

Unfortunately – most likely due to my poor measuring ability – Scooby’s diaper doesn’t fit snugly enough. It bags out around his bottom, and the straps aren’t long enough to tighten it around his belly as much as he needs.

As a result, he is able to wriggle out of his little sergeant’s uniform and continue doing his business where he pleases.

Furthermore, the fact that some of the scratchy part of the velcro touches his underbelly encourages his desire to get out of his diaper.

While I cannot say for sure that the overall-style diaper has saved us from any accidents in the house, it is pretty cute (if, like me, you appreciate camo dog clothes).

image

If I can con a friend with sewing skills into helping me alter the the diaper a bit, I think there is hope for its functionality.

However, I would recommend that the Augers switch the placement of the male and female velcro strips so that the dog’s skin can only ever possibly come into contact with the softer bristles.

In spite of this product not working out perfectly for us, I still encourage others to check out DiapersforDog.com, where the Augers sell their pet accessories to an international audience. (Just pay more attention when you are measuring, unlike me!)

This small company is new; the proprietors are friendly; and they are still perfecting their designs and rolling out new ones in a variety of attractive patterns.

I am happy we had the chance to try this handmade product and wish the Augers luck with their business venture!

Have you discovered any cool new pet businesses lately?

Disclosure: I received a free product in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed here are honest.
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