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.
“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
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
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.
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.
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.
What is your dog going to be for Halloween?
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.
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.
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.
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.”
“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?”
“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?”
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?
Yesterday was kind of like Luke’s birthday.
By which I mean, I kept receiving things that had to do with him – for no good reason.
Here’s what arrived:
1. A really cool gift bag (empty) with a golden retriever on it.
Although I haven’t photographed it yet, this has been integrated into my cubicle decor at work.
2. A bag of souvenirs from Zach’s mom’s recent trip to Colorado, including these handmade cork coasters for golden retriever lovers:
Although Luke is a notoriously camera shy model, doesn’t the collar look good on him? I think it will look even better once I add his engraved Beer Paws chrome bottle opener to it.
4. Luke’s mini me (aka Razzy) came over to spend the night.
By the way, Razzy, who is basically like a very short and long golden retriever, is doing great since I sprung him from the shelter. He actually has a home visit with a potential adopter later today.
I won’t lie – I wish Razzy could just join our pack, but we are not quite ready for another dog. And keeping our pack down to two makes it easier to manage occasional short visits by friends and fosters. (HINT: Luke has a lady friend coming to visit next week!)
Happy Friday, everyone!
Do we look cute or what?
As promised, here’s a gallery of Luke, Scooby’s and my recent photo session with Fido Fetch Photography.
What’s your favorite picture from the collection? (Click on the image to enlarge.)
Have you ever had a portrait session with your pets? Tell me about it in the comments below!
If you are in the Kansas City area, I highly recommend booking a pet portrait session with Fido Fetch Photography!
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!
This weekend has been so inspiring.
I have spent most of it in the company of other animal lovers.
There has been dancing.
There has been drinking.
There has been puppy-handling.
To see more pictures from the weekend, head the photos section of the Beer Paws Facebook page.
In just a little while, I’m heading out again, this time to help The Animal Rescue Alliance celebrate another year of helping homeless pets.
This particular organization, founded by the friends and family of a young woman who passed away unexpectedly, is very special to the residents of Wayward House.
Luke is a TARA dog, adopted by Zach following a chance meeting in the streets of Kansas City more than four years ago.
Our big golden boy is part of the reason I wanted to participate in today’s Tunes for TARA event in Kansas City. At least 10% of proceeds from all Beer Paws products sold at the event will go back to TARA.
Please come see us if you are in this area.