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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.

Tips for Hiking or Camping with Your Dog (Video)

Lukeonroad

As you know, we occasionally take our dogs along when we travel.

Luke especially enjoys any opportunity to hit the trails and grasslands and chase bunnies off-leash.

Through my experiences hiking and camping with the dogs, I’ve learned a few do’s and don’ts.

I had the opportunity to share a few tips with an audience last Thursday during an in-store event at the Eddie Bauer store on Country Club Plaza in Kansas City.

Check out the video and add your tips for traveling with pets in the comments below.

Also, pay attention to the introduction by Wendy Garrett, coordinator of the event and blogger at PetSense.com. She talks about Eddie Bauer’s connection to black labradors!

Big thanks to the Eddie Bauer store for inviting me to speak!

In conjunction with my speaking event, I’m running a special on Beer Paws. Through April 1, get 10% off your order when you use the discount code EDDIEBAUER at checkout. Click here to shop.

Beer Paws Banner

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Outside, the air is chilly but the birds are singing.

Green things are shooting up out of the dirt.

It’s been a long, hard winter. We even had fresh snow yesterday.

But spring is coming!

Luke is ready. He was up before everyone else in our house, talking about it with the neighbor dogs. (Sorry, neighbors.)

Or maybe he was looking for leprechauns…

golden retriever wearing green scarfToday is St. Patrick’s Day, and I hope you are feeling lucky.

If you aren’t feeling lucky, give a dog a hug. I promise you’ll feel better in no time.

“You can’t expect to be a lucky dog if you spend all your time growling.” – Jean Cocteau

Foster Update: Blind Willie is wearing green today, too. Unfortunately, his green is an e-collar. He is still looking rough but is recovering gradually from his eye removal surgery. Head to our Facebook page to see a picture of him.

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.

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.

Quote of the Day: What a Dog Wants

golden retriever in reindeer antlers

“The dog’s agenda is simple, fathomable, overt: I want. ‘I want to go out, come in, eat something, lie here, play with that, kiss you.’ There are no ulterior motives with a dog, no mind games, no second-guessing, no complicated negotiations or bargains, and no guilt trips or grudges if a request is denied.”

- Caroline Knapp

Don’t forget to enter my #DiamondNaturals grain-free dog food giveaway!

Gearing Up for Bow Wow Ween

Scooby's 2011 Halloween costume

At Halloween time, women get away with dressing scandalous.

And dog mamas finally have a genuine excuse to put our pooches in adorable little outfits.

Costumed pups have been prevalent at nearly every pet event I’ve attended this Dogtober October.

I’ve seen chubby beagle fairies, dachshund dinosaurs and more.

One of my favorites so far is this simple yet totally cute Rufferee outfit we spotted at last Thursday’s Yappy Hour at Coffee Girl’s Cafe.

dog in a referee costume

Luke and Scooby aren’t totally sure what they’ll be for Halloween this year.

Luke tried on a DIY Dog Duck Dynasty outfit last week.

He looked pretty good, I think.

And the outfit only consisted of two pieces – an orange hunting dog vest that we bought a long time ago at Cabela’s and one of Zach’s camo fishing hats.

golden retriever dressed as Duck Dynasty

Scooby might pick up a new costume this Saturday during the 2nd Annual Bow Wow Ween Costume Pawty at Queen of Paws Boutique in Prairie Village, Kansas.

The event includes a costume contest, pet portraits, free treats and a discount on everything in the store.

We’ll be there, petting dogs and promoting Beer Paws. Come say hi if you are in the neighborhood! Click here to RSVP.

What is your dog going to be for Halloween?

Luke Makes a New Friend

golden retriever and black lab

A couple weeks ago, I rolled up to the house of the friend I have known longer than any other friend.

Both of my dogs were in the car. We were all ready to get out and stretch our legs.

I couldn’t wait for a tour of the home she and her husband have been recreating to include her professional photo studio. But as I put my hand on the door, her big, affable oaf of a black lab appeared. I was excited to meet him, too. After all, his name – Tyson – was inspired by the name of my childhood dog.

However, for a split second, all I could picture was me opening the back gate of my SUV, my golden retriever Luke hopping out and letting into the black dog.

Luke is dog selective.

He does pretty great in general with little dogs and seems to like most lady dogs of all shapes and sizes. But big boys who rush right up to him to say hi? That tends to be a no-go.

Tyson fits that profile and he seemed so excited to find out what amazing new friends I had in my car for him. I was kind of freaking out inside.

But I warned my friend. She called Tyson back as I let Luke out of the car.

We gave him space.

A pee happened.

Scooby the elderpin and Tyson introduced themselves.

And then we all started walking around the property, Tyson loping ahead and Luke pulling on his leash in the hopes I would drop it.

When we got inside the house, I did.

The vibe seemed good between all the dogs, but I was still nervous.

They sniffed. They wagged, and then they were off!

Within seconds it was impossible to tell that Luke and Tyson had just met and weren’t actually lifelong buddies. The two big dogs followed each other into every room, long tails swishing and paws coming down hard as they zoomed around happily.

The only sight I can compare this to is how Luke behaves anytime our former foster Minnie comes around.

I guess he just knows who he likes. What a pity Tyson lives more than three hours away.

Who are your dog’s best friends?

To learn more about why I made the trip to visit my friend, check out the Walk for Paws post at BeerPaws.com.

Make Your Own Dog Bandanas from Fabric Scraps

raffle table for saunders county lost pets walk for paws

The number of pet events I have been to just this year is astounding.

Back when I attended charity walks and pet expos as an individual, it was exciting to see what kind of fun freebies I would come home with.

Almost every vendor at a pet event has something to give away – dog bones, slip leads, trial size packages of pet food.

Of course, the point is to get you – the pet owner – to remember the business who gave you the freebie. I get this. I blog about the power of promotional products over at YourBrandPartner.com. And I employ the same tactic with my own small business Beer Paws. Visitors to my booth at any event can always walk away with a free coaster and sometimes more.

It’s always best if your giveaway has your company name on it. But sometimes a giveaway is just so darn cool people are sure to remember who you are after the event.

I had this experience last weekend during the Walk for Paws fundraiser for Saunders County Lost Pets in Wahoo, Nebraska.

I was there as a vendor and sold a good amount of Beer Paws merchandise. But the other vendor, Prairie View Animal Hospital,  totally blew my mind with what they were handing out. And it was so simple:

Beautiful, hand-cut dog bandanas featuring patterns like you would find on Etsy.

golden retriever in DIY bandaNA

Because I was busy at my booth, my friend Stacy Ideus (SCLP’s Volunteer of the Year) made sure to get a bandana on Luke. He continued to wear it for three days after the event.

The best part about these bandanas is anyone can make them – for your own dogs or as an inexpensive promotional giveaway for your business.

I learned that the vet at Prairie View has a sewing hobby. Consequently, she has a lot of fabric scraps at home. Rather than letting them continue to take up storage space, with a few straight cuts she turned her scraps into something beautiful and useful.

Here’s a shot of Luke’s bandana not on him. As you can see, the vet simply cut her fabric into a large triangle. The longest side measures about 30 inches, and the smaller sides are about 20 inches.

giraffe print DIY dog bandana

I love this bandana for many reasons. The fabric is nicer than most free bandanas. The pattern is fun to look at it. And the item is not a blatant advertisement for a company. However, because I like it so much I will absolutely always tell everyone where it came from.

What do you think?

Head over to Prairie View Animal Hospital’s Facebook page to see photos of more dogs in the fabric scrap bandanas.

Close Encounter with the Crazy Dog Lady

golden retriever

A funny thing happened when I started making beer biscuits for dogs and giving them away.

I realized that I’m a serious dog geek.

I mean, I basically knew this already, but my face-to-face interactions with a whole lot of people whose lives don’t actually revolve around their canines made my status almost embarrassingly clear.

You know how I figured it out?

I heard myself starting every biscuit offer with a disclaimer.

“Now, can your dog eat grains?”

Blank stare. Sudden suspicion.

I rushed to calm their fears.

“What kind of food do you give him?”

Typical reply: one of many brands or varieties of food I was certain contained a lot of grain.

I tried not to sound like a snob.

“Well, then these biscuits should be fine. Your dog is probably already consuming grains – they are filler ingredients in a lot of leading dog foods. But some dogs have a problem digesting things like corn and soy, and those aren’t things they would eat in the wild. That’s why I asked.”

Awkward pause.

“But these biscuits are OK! Some dog owners (like me) just avoid the foods that contain grains. Meal after meal can really add up, you know? But these are treats. Like a cupcake for us. You wouldn’t cupcakes for every meal, would you?”

Head shake.

“So, take the biscuits! Just don’t give your dog all of them at once. Introducing new foods should always be gradual. Just start with a little mixed in with the regular food. Or with the biscuits, maybe just one tonight and one or two tomorrow. You don’t want to overwhelm their stomach. Especially if you just feed the dog the same food all the time. It’s not a bad idea to rotate, actually. Switch up the flavors, give them some variety…”

At this point, the person tries to back away slowly from the crazy dog lady who won’t shut up.

“Do you want to try grain-free dog food? I can totally recommend some options! I can think of like five off the top of my head! You just gotta look at the label – meat first, then fruits and vegetables! Pumpkin is good! It has fiber! If your dog ever has diarrhea, you can try to give him some pumpkin to slow things down a bit!”

Horror! She is talking about dog diarrhea!!! Continue backing away.

“But these biscuits are OK! They have grains, but some of them have pumpkin, too! And you could just give him one! DO YOU WANT THE TREATS?”

papillion with beer biscuits

OK, maybe I”m exaggerating a little. Most people were happy to take my homemade treats. And I felt good giving them away.

However, the discussion of what to feed your dogs is always fascinating to me, especially as the trend away from grain continues to grow, making grain-free options more affordable.

Come back tomorrow for more talk about grain-free dog food.

Are your dogs grain-free?

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