Category Archives: Reviews
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.
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.
And there is even an area devoted to dogs. Chihuahuas get their own wall.
So do the dogs of the people who work there.
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.
We had a “Perfect Margarita” and a Texas Martini – both made strong enough that one was plenty.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
The 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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!
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.
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.
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.
- The ingredients list – although sweet potatoes and chicken come first, most of the other words on the list are rather unpronounceable.
- 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.
Click below for your chance to win:
Disclosure: I received a free bag of treats in exchange for my honest review of SmartFillets. All thoughts expressed here are my own.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
It’s 5 o’clock somewhere, right?
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.
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.
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?”
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.
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!
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.”
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.
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.
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.)
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).
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.
What is Scooby wearing?
Don’t tell him it’s an adult dog diaper. Tell him it’s a uniform.
He needs to wear it when he has important things to do around the house – like exercise his authority as commander of comfy places – without leaking all over them.
Scooby’s overall style
diaper uniform was custom-made by Créations Entre Chats Et Chiens (aka diapersfordog.com), a small company based in Quebec, Canada. They contacted me a while back with an offer to outfit my little officer in exchange for a product review.
I was ecstatic!
Scooby’s incontinence has been an issue for basically the entire 6.5 years that we’ve been together. Of course, things are getting worse as he gets older and anytime he’s having health issues.
Solving the piddles isn’t an easy task.
Scooby wriggles out of belly bands and Pooch Pants. And potty pads aren’t an option at our house, lest they give the big dogs the idea that it’s OK to do their thing inside, too.
Also, Scooby tends to have spontaneous accidents, in which case he just “goes” wherever he is standing or snuggled.
Créations Entre Chats Et Chiens offers several styles and patterns of pet incontinence solutions, including male, female and unisex diapers. Each product is custom made by hand for your pet.
Because male diapers have not worked for Scooby in the past, I chose the washable overall dog diaper in a manly camouflage pattern.
Come back tomorrow to see how this product has worked out for us!
Have you ever put
diapers a special uniform on your dog? How did that work out for you?
I have eaten from the bag on the right.
It was just a nibble from a KCcanine Natural Pet Treats Prairie Beef Jerky Nugget.
I knew the dogs wouldn’t realize I had dipped into their stash.
And I had to know – what exactly makes jerky for dogs different from jerky for people?
The answer is: Not much.
Jerky is jerky – meat that is cut into strips and cured through drying.
And that’s exactly what the beef nugget meant for a dog tasted like to me. It was just a little more bland than I would prefer – no spicy pepper.
Some kinds of jerky are more processed than the nuggets. It may consist of various bits of meat formed into “strips” and held together with binder substances, such as wheat. That was the case with the Ideal Balance ”jerky strips” I reviewed (but did not taste) a while back.
KCcanine Natural Pet Treats offers both traditional and pressed jerky. However, corn, soy, wheat or creepy, artificial preservatives are not part of the recipe for these Kansas-made products.
See for yourself:
If you’re like me and live in the Kansas City area, KCcanine represents an opportunity to buy local for your dogs and support a small family business.
All ingredients come from the U.S.A., if not the Flint Hills of Kansas directly, which means with this jerky you don’t have to worry about the risks currently plaguing brands made in China.
I am so in.
And that makes these guys super happy.
KCcanine Natural Pet Treats are available at a variety of pet supply and grocery stores around the Kansas City metro area.
I get mine from the Boutique at Kennel Creek.
If you do not live in this area, you can order direct from kccanine.com.