Maui has coaxed me back to writing about more treats! It works out because we happen to have what she considers to be a very yummy new treat to write about. These treats came to us by the way of the Chewy Influencer Program. Chewy.com sends us a couple different treats each month in exchange for an honest review. It’s a win-win for everyone! Maui gets to try new treats more often and I get to share what she thinks of them with you.
One of the treats Maui chose in May are the pork nibs made by Primal Pet Foods Inc. These little pork nibs are little tiny pork jerky dog treats. Maui was so cute when we received these treats. We held up two different bags of treats and asked her which ones she wanted to try first. She sniffed each bag a couple times and then took the bag of Primal pet treats out of my mother’s hand and brought the bag to me. She definitely wanted to try those first!
The ingredient list for these chewy pork jerky nibs is about the shortest ingredient list I’ve come across yet. Are you ready, hold on to your boots. The ingredients in these treats are:
That’s it. Super simple, single protein, all-natural, wholesome pork jerky.
I don’t even know what more to say about it. It’s kind of like what a ham might be to me. A delicious ham with some sweet honey on it and the yummy salty taste of the meat. Absolute perfection in the simplest form.
These little dog jerky treats are also grain and gluten-free!
These little guys have no added preservatives and are made from pork heart so their shelf life expectancy sitting in the bag on the counter is significantly shorter than a highly processed, dry treat that has added preservatives.
Once you open the bag always be sure to reseal it tightly. If these pork nibs are left unrefrigerated after opening Primal suggests using them within three days. If you place the bag in the refrigerator after they are opened, Primal suggests using them within 14 days.
I offer Maui a variety of treats when we train and there is no way we would use that entire bag in 14 days. I chose to divide all of the treats in the bag into four piles. I kept one pile for use right now and put the other three piles into separate baggies and put them in the freezer. This will extend their shelf life even further.
Kind of like when you go to the store and buy a steak. If you leave it sitting out on the counter you will want to use it right away; if you put it in the fridge you probably have a few days to use it; and if you put it in the freezer it can hang out there for a really long time until you decide to thaw it out to use it.
These treats are very high in protein content as they are made only from meat.
The bag does not mention how many calories are in each treat. The primalpetfoods.com website says there are 119 calories per ounce, which equals 476 calories for the entire bag.
When using these for training it is always good to keep in mind how many treats your dog gets throughout the day. To avoid giving your dog too much food in a day, decrease the amount of their regular dog food on the days they have gotten a lot more treats.
These treats are super small. When I gave the first couple to Maui I think she didn’t realize she chewed and swallowed them, they were so small. What’s good about such a small treat though is that they are great for using when you’re doing a lot of training. Here is a photo of some of the nibs next to a dime to give you a size comparison.
Training dogs can often mean they are getting a lot of treats. Lots of treats can add up to a lots of calories if you don’t watch which treats you use as well as their size. These tiny little nibs and their low calorie content make them an excellent choice for training. You could even break the little dudes in half if you wanted to.
It’s always a good idea to wash your hands after handling any treats or food that is made from animals.
These little treats seem to be promoted mainly as dog treats but they are a great healthy treats for cats as well! Their small size and chewy texture make them juuuust right for your dog’s feline friends. … Or just for your cat if you don’t have a dog. We have four cats here in our home so I’m going to see what they think these little treats, too!
Cat update: Tried them out on our youngest cat Oreo. Took her forever to sniff it out but then she gobbled up one of them! Gave her another but she wasn’t all that interested in having seconds. All the other cats are snoozing away right now so can’t try it on another right now.
The primal pork jerky nibs are made from vegetarian-fed pork that has been raised in the United States. The meat used is 100% USDA edible-grade meaning it is not made from a lower pet-grade meat. The pork is processed and inspected under strict USDA guidelines for sanitation and safety.
The treats are slow cooked at a low temperature to bring out the great flavor and texture.
Pork organ meat is:
Primal was founded in early 2000’s when Matt Koss formulated a raw diet for his dog Luna, who was displaying early signs of renal failure. After switching to his special formulated Biologically Appropriate Raw Food diet Luna’s health and quality of life improved dramatically. Matt was inspired to bring this special diet to market and make it available for everyone so that your pets can enjoy a healthier, happier, more vibrant life.
Primal prides itself on providing you with the highest quality raw foods and treats possible. They obtain all of their ingredients from vendors which they have strong, long-term relationships with and only use “vendors that humanely raise, sustainably grow and responsibly process all of the proteins, organic fruits and vegetables, and unrefined food-based vitamins and minerals used in their products”.
They are actually so proud of the ingredients they use they are 100% transparent as to where each of the ingredients used in their foods and treats are obtained. You can find the ORIGIN OF THEIR INGREDIENTS plainly listed on their website. This is pretty awesome; I admit it’s great to know exactly where each ingredient is obtained. It gives peace of mind.
Primal is 100% committed to providing safe foods and treats. When making anything that gets eaten or put into living organisms companies should follow strict procedures and guidelines. Primal does this to the fullest extent by:
Primal also adheres to and follows other safety and quality measures which you can explore on their website PrimalPetFoods.com.
These amazing little treats can be found on Amazon, Chewy.com, and a few other Internet pet supply sites.
The price on:
Click on these bullet point to go there and check them out.
Sounds a little pricey but I believe not unreasonable considering the quality of the ingredients and the number of treats per bag.
There is absolutely no doubt that Maui LOVES these little nib pork jerky dog treats! I will definitely add these to our “purchase regularly” treat list.
PROS: The treats are made with amazingly high quality ingredients; are all-natural and incredibly nourishing; the company is transparent about their manufacturing procedures and the origin of ingredients; they are great for dogs and cats; and perfect size to use a dog training treat.
CONS: The shelf life is very short once the bag is opened (but this can be worked around by refrigerating and freezing unused portions) and the price is a little higher than some other treats (but is not unreasonable due to the exceptional quality of ingredients and attention to safety in manufacturing).
Maui definitely suggests giving these treats a try! Nothing truly negative to say about this treat or company we both give these primal pork jerky nibs a 10 out of 10!
Let us and other readers know what your dog thinks of these Primal treats by leaving a comment below.
It has been a while since I’ve had to inform you about a dog treat recall, so that is good news. Unfortunately I have one for you today though. This one is from a very well-known company whose treats you probably could find just about anywhere.
Merrick Pet Care located in Amarillo Texas in cooperation with the FDA has issued a voluntary recall on their Merrick Backcountry treats as well as their Castor & Pollux Good Buddy treats. These treats contain beef that may have elevated levels of a naturally occurring beef thyroid hormone.
A consumer complaint spurred this dog treat recall. The FDA had received a consumer complaint regarding a dog whose health was temporarily negatively impacted when eating the Merrick Backcountry Great Plains Real Beef Jerky 4.5 ounce. After the owner discontinued feeding the treats the dog’s health improved to the point of a full recovery.
The FDA notified Merrick of the complaint. To ensure the safety of their consumer’s pets Merrick issued a voluntary recall of the potentially affected treats.
Although I could not find it listed anywhere, I am sure that Merrick must have submitted samples of the affected dog treats to a laboratory for testing to determine why the dog became ill. That only makes sense, agreed? Unless they just assumed since the treats were made of beef that the reason would be potentially high beef thyroid hormone levels … but that would be very presumptuous.
However they determined it, Merrick issued this voluntary recall of a limited number of batches of treats containing beef as they might contain elevated levels of a naturally occurring beef thyroid. My guess is the beef used in the recalled treats all came from one supplier.
As of this time there have been no additional reported cases of illness due to the treats.
This recall only includes specific production codes of the following beef treats:
The production codes (UPC codes) affected by this recall are:
No other Merrick or Castor & Pollux products are affected by this voluntary recall.
Production codes are located on the back of the bag of treats down towards the bottom. Here are images from Merrickpetcare.com showing what each bag looks like and where you can find the production (UPC) code.
The affected Merrick Backcountry treats and Castor & Pollux Good Buddy treats were distributed in the United States through online, grocery, and specialty retailers. They were also distributed in limited quantities in Canada.
Consuming beef thyroid can cause the following symptoms:
If consumed for a long period of time, the symptoms will likely increase in severity and include:
If you dog is consumed the affected products and is exhibiting any of these symptoms contact your veterinarian immediately.
You of course must also stop feeding your dog these treats (but set the bag aside so you can return them to get your money back).
If you purchased one of the affected lots of the treats listed above, Merrick has indicated you can contact them 1-800-664-7387 between 8 AM and 5 PM Central Time Monday through Friday or anytime at customerservice@Merrickpetcare.com.
They will instruct you how to proceed so that you can get your money back.
You can also fill out a form at their website here => Merrick Dog Treats Recall Form
Merrick issued this voluntary recall to assure the safety of their customer’s dogs. They indicate that quality and safety is top priority and they are working with the FDA fully regarding this recall. To quote Merrick from their website:
“As a company of pet owners and pet lovers, we know our consumers place a tremendous amount of trust in us when their pet uses our products. The quality and safety of our products are the top priority for our company. We apologize to our retail customers and consumers and sincerely regret any inconvenience and concerns caused by this voluntary recall. We are working with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration on this voluntary recall and will cooperate with them fully.”
Merrick also issues a reminder that these treats are not intended to be a main part of a dog’s diet and should only be given as a treat occasionally.
If you would like to read the full recall notice posted by the FDA you can find it HERE.
You can also call your states FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator.
Has anyone experienced any problems with these treats? Let us know what happened.
Maui has wanted me to do so many reviews about treats but I’m pushing her to do something else this time. Don’t get me wrong, of course dog treats are great fun! It’s fun to just toss your dog a treat or two once in a while just as a special “I love you”. It’s fun to use them as training treats and see how your dog picks up on new cues and commands, and it is fun to put something yummy inside a treat dispensing toy or a Kong to watch your dog enjoy getting them out.
But I was thinking about treats and wondering what else you could do with them. A way for both you and your dog to enjoy the treat giving process but also make it into something even more. Then I remembered seeing some awesome looking interactive strategy dog toys. These toys are an opportunity to give your dog those special treats; enjoy watching them get the treats; and give your dog something to really think about all at the same time.
There are a few different well-known brands of these types of toys but I’d like to focus this post on Nina Ottosson’s line of activity dog toys. Let’s check some of them out!
Nina Ottosson develops strategy / activity dog toys from her home in Sweden. She first began developing these dog toys in 1990 after she had her two children and was unable to give her dogs the mental and physical stimulation and activity they deserved. Nina believes “the dog has four legs and one head, and all five need activity in different ways-both physical and mental.”
Developing these activity toys was a way to give her dogs mental stimulation while also helping to solidify the bonds between her and her dogs. Nina develops new activity games and first tries them on her own dogs. If all goes well then she moves on to trying them on a variety of different dogs.
Nina designs and develops all the Nina Ottosson trademarked activity dog toys herself.
These types of dog toys stimulate your dog’s mind. Dogs get bored sometimes when they have nothing to do, just like we do. Unfortunately when dogs get bored this can often mean they start exhibiting some behavior issues. Strategy dog toys or activity dog toys as Nina calls them exercise your dog’s mind as well as their body by requiring different levels of mental and physical dexterity. They can help prevent boredom, behavior issues, and strengthen the bond between you and your dog.
Activity dog toys are puzzles that your dog has to figure out in order to get the treats inside. They can be as simple as lifting a cover to reveal a treat underneath or as complicated as needing to make the toy do three different actions in a particular order to get the treats to fall out.
Nina’s activity toys are developed for different ability levels. As she says, it doesn’t matter if you have a Forest Gump or an Albert Einstein because there are different levels of toys for different abilities, interests and intelligence levels.
The Nina Ottosson activity dog toys are split up into Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 challenge groups. Unless your dog is accustomed to figuring out puzzles and strategy toys it might be best to start them out at the easiest toy, being level I and then gradually move up to the more difficult, strategic toys.
Initially available only available in Scandinavia, the toys are now distributed and available in several countries around the world. You can find all of Nina’s toys on her website at Nina-Ottosson.com but keep in mind she is located in Europe so shipping is pretty darn expensive. For example I was randomly checking out the Dog Twister toy. The toy cost is USD 21.52 but shipping would cost me 17.60. The total cost for that toy would be just over $39.
It appears like Nina has an agreement with OutwardHound.com to be her U.S. distributor. Looks like you can find all of her toys on their website! Just to give you a comparison, the randomly selected Dog Twister toy is $24.99 on OutwardHound.com with $8.06 for shipping. Shipping is free though if you order $35 or more.
I always look for stuff on Amazon and her toys are available there. That same Dog Twister toy can be found for $18.99 with free prime shipping. Pretty significant difference from her website as well as OutwardHound.com.
Here’s a link to the Dog Twister toy as well as some of her other strategy dog toys on Amazon.com.
I also found some of her toys available on Chewy.com and PetSmart.com. I tried to price compared the Dog Twister on these two sites but at this point in time that particular toy is not available on Chewy.com or PetSmart.com.
Nina indicates they use only the best materials which are all recyclable. Most of the plastic portions of her toys are made in China while the wooden toys are made in Sweden.
Caring for these toys is pretty simple. Information on the toys I was looking at indicate to simply remove all the remaining treats or food and hand wash with soap and warm water. Followed up by rinsing and drying. It would be nice if these toys were dishwasher safe, but I could not find any that indicated they were.
Maui is a pretty smart girl but I haven’t tried one of these strategy dog toys with her yet. I’m going to give one a try. I’m thinking of skipping level I just because, well she so doggone smart. I’m going to hop on up to a level 2 toy and try the Dog Tornado. I will update this post with some videos of her trying out her new activity dog toy.
If you decide to get one for your pup let us know how it goes and what they think of the toy! We would be really excited to hear what you think and even see some videos!
I was recently offered the opportunity to provide you with even more reviews of awesome dog treats. I was invited to join the Chewy.com influencer program. I’m super excited about it! Participating in this program means every month I can choose one or two dog treats from a select list which they will then send me in exchange for a completely honest review. Deal! Maui and I can handle doing that!
One of the treats we received this month are peanut butter and banana flavored Soft Savories Science Diet dog treats. Hill’s Science Diet has been around for a very long time, since about the late 1940s. They have a lot of dog food and dog treat making experience under their belts so I wanted to see what they had to offer in these peanut butter banana dog treats.
These science diet dog treats come in three flavors of beef and cheddar; chicken and yogurt; and peanut butter and banana. We are taking a look at the peanut butter and banana treats today. I chose the peanut butter and banana because Maui absolutely adores peanut butter (are there any dogs that don’t love peanut butter?)
I also thought this flavor would be an interesting choice for people that need to give their dog a vegetarian diet, but you can see in the ingredient list below that the peanut butter and banana treats contain chicken fat as well as pork gelatin.
Each flavor of these treats comes in an 8 ounce re-sealable bag.
The price varies depending on which flavor you choose but the peanut butter and banana are currently about $5 per bag on Chewy.com.
Each flavor of these treats has a pretty high review rating, with the peanut butter and banana having a rating of 4 ½ stars! 94% of reviewers on chewy.com would recommend this product.
The ingredient list on these treats is a little longer than treats I usually take a look at, but it’s good to look over some other ingredients and understand what they are for. What is the purpose of these ingredients?
|1. Peanut butter||6. Peanuts||11. Natural flavors|
|2. Potatoes||7. Chicken fat||12. Dried skim milk|
|3. Wheat flour||8. Bananas||13. Citric acid|
|4. Cane molasses||9. Peas||14. Lactic acid|
|5. Glycerin||10. Technical pork gelatin||15. Mixed tocopherols|
Several of the ingredients are pretty straightforward and are healthy, nutritious natural foods but others, not so obvious. Let’s go over the ingredients that might be more unfamiliar.
Glycerin: Glycerin is an odorless, colorless, thick liquid that is sweet tasting and non-toxic. It is commonly used as a sweetener and a humectant (a compound to help preserve moisture). It also helps bind the treat together to make them chewy and can help prevent against mold. Glycerin doesn’t really provide any nutritional benefits. Glycerin obtained from plant and animal sources is considered safe, but glycerin obtained from biofuel processing is not. These science diet dog treats do not specify the source of glycerin used.
Chicken fat: A certain amount of fat is necessary in a dog’s diet, just like it is in ours. It is often added to dog foods and treats and it’s great that these treats specify the source is from chickens. Chicken fat is a good source of omega-6 fatty acids.
Peas: Peas aren’t bad for your dog but they don’t offer a lot of benefit either. Peas are often used in dog foods and treats as a filler.
Technical Pork Gelatin: We all know what gelatin is – like Jell-O. Pork gelatin is made from collagen which is a protein found in pork skin and bones. This pork gelatin is super high in protein content and low in calories. It gives pet treats a chewable hardness.
Dried Skim Milk: Nothing is wrong with giving your dog a little milk. Dried milk can be found in many different treats. Milk adds flavor and contains healthy vitamins and minerals.
Citric Acid: Citric acid is a natural preservative found in citrus fruits.
Lactic Acid: Petfoodindustry.com indicates lactic acid may help control microbial (bacterial) growth after treats or foods leave the manufacturer.
Mixed Tocopherols: Mixed Tocopherols Is a form of vitamin E and is a natural preservative that helps maintain freshness and extend shelf life.
So, all in all a fairly long ingredient list but nothing really questionable except the unknown source of glycerin.
Opening the bag they really have no strong peanut butter or banana scent. Just kind of a wet dog food smell. These treats are fairly large, bigger than a quarter. Although they are soft so they are easy to cut or break apart into smaller pieces.
The bag says to use these treats within 3 weeks of opening to keep them as soft and fresh as possible. They do come in a re-sealable bag which helps preserve the freshness and I imagine if you refrigerate them it will extend the shelf life a bit.
I personally feed Maui a variety of treats so I would never be able to use up a whole bag in 3 weeks without overfeeding. I will divide the treats in this bag into smaller portions, keeping one out for feeding now and putting the others in the freezer to save for later.
Each of these treats has 27 calories per treat. That’s a pretty hefty calorie content and unless you have a really big dog I wouldn’t feed more than one or two a day.
If you have a smaller dog I would definitely cut them up into smaller pieces. You could easily get 4-6 smaller pieces from one treat. That way your smaller dog can get lots of little treats of lesser calorie content.
Guaranteed analysis of these treats:
I found the story of how Hill’s Science Diet began to be kind of interesting!
In the late 1930s a young blind man named Morris Frank was touring the country with his German shepherd guide dog Buddy promoting Seeing Eye dogs. But Buddy was very ill, suffering from kidney failure so Mr. Frank asked Dr. Mark Morris Sr. for help. Dr. Morris believed Buddy was ill and suffering from kidney failure due to poor nutrition so he and his wife developed a special pet food for Buddy.
This special food was called Raritan Ration B and was the beginnings of Hill’s prescription diet k/d.
Dr. Morris contracted with Burton Hill of Hill Packing Company in 1948 to can the food under the name Canine k/d and licensed Mr. Hill to produce his pet food formulas.
The partnership continued to evolve into Hill’s Pet Nutrition and additional formulas were added to the prescription diet line of foods.
Dr. Morris’s son, Dr. Mark Morris Jr. continued to help grow Hill’s pet nutrition over several decades. In 1968 the pet food line was made available through veterinarians and pet professionals as Hill’s Science Diet.
The products available from Hill’s Science Diet continue to expand. Today the company has more than 50 pet foods formulated for different lifestages and special needs in pets.
Maui found these treats delicious (but I must admit there aren’t many things that Maui doesn’t find delicious).
Because of the:
I hope I can assume a company like Science Diet would use a safe source of glycerin, but one never knows. Due to the unknown, I rate these treats a little lower and give them 6/10.
If the source of glycerin were listed (and safe) I would give them a higher rating of 8/10 since the remaining ingredients are not questionable and they are easy to break apart or cut apart into smaller pieces so you could give your dog smaller pieces of a lesser calorie content.
All hail peanut butter!
Last week I was looking over my autoship order on Chewy and just couldn’t help myself but get distracted by looking at different treats and toys for all of my four-legged family members. I was also on the prowl for some new dog treats to write about for you. I was pretty excited to find a 2-fer deal on American Journey Oven Baked dog treats.
So, who wants to get baked with me and take a closer look at these oven baked dog treats? I was just dying to work in some sort of line about “getting baked” but now that I see it in writing it’s just not as funny as it was in my head. I’m leaving it in any way and while I sit here feeling only slightly amused we can move on and learn more about American Journey and their oven baked dog treats.
These super crunchy oven baked biscuit treats come in four flavors of lamb, peanut butter, chicken, and salmon. The meat flavors list the first ingredient as the protein, so in the lamb treats lamb is the first ingredient and so on. The peanut butter treats have peas and chickpeas prior to the peanut butter.
These treats boast that they contain:
In addition, since they contain no grain they are gluten-free.
These oven baked treats are about the size of a quarter and very crunchy. Here’s a shot of a few next to a quarter so you can have a size comparison.
The main protein is the first ingredient in the meat flavors of these treats. The remaining ingredients are all wholesome natural foods. For example, the salmon recipe treats I purchased contain:
The ingredients in the chicken and lamb treats are exactly the same (slightly different order) except the first ingredient is chicken or lamb, respectively.
The peanut butter treats are a bit different with chickpeas and peas listed before peanut butter. Additional ingredients in the peanut butter treats include cane sugar, chicken fat, and rosemary extract.
The calories contained in one of these oven baked dog treats ranges from 12 to 14 calories/treat, depending on the flavor. This can be pretty significant if you have a small or medium-sized dog. The packages recommend feeding from 1-5 treats per day, but of course this will vary depending on the size of your dog.
Depending on the flavor recipe:
crude protein ranges from 15-18% min
crude fat ranges from 9-11 % min
crude fiber is 6% max
moisture is 12% max
It’s of course great at these treats contain no by-products and artificial preservatives, but unfortunately Chewy.com indicates they cannot guarantee that the proteins used in these treats are free of antibiotics and hormones nor that the veggies are non-GMO.
Historically with a few treats there have been health and contamination issues with foods sourced from outside of the United States, in particular China. While these treats are made in the United States, some of their ingredients are sourced from outside the U.S. but they don’t specifically say where outside the U.S.
I started out looking for an American Journey website and was coming up empty-handed. Through some research I learned that American Journey is a proprietary brand of Chewy.com. According to corporationwiki.com, Michael Day, one of the original founders of Chewy.com, is head of American Journey, LLC.
Even though Chewy.com was purchased by PetSmart last year, at this point in time you can still only find American Journey on Chewy.com.
You can’t really find much about American Journey when doing an Internet search except for what other people have written in their reviews or what is written by Chewy in answering product questions on their website.
The two packages of treats I purchased indicate they were “Manufactured for American Journey, LLC” and then lists an address located in Dania Beach, FL. But, reading through some comments made by chewy.com on their website they indicate the treats are manufactured in Missouri.
Many people are concerned with the fact that the actual company/manufacturer is not listed for the American Journey foods or treats and have asked for the information. Chewy’s response is:
Not knowing this information turns a lot of people off, while at the same time it is not a big concern for others. This is something you will have to think about and make a decision on your own for yourself and your pet.
These treats have a lot of pros such as their high-protein content; natural, wholesome foods; no added by-products, no added artificial preservatives; no grains so they are gluten-free; they are manufactured in the U.S.A.; meats are sourced from USDA inspected facilities and meet USDA, FDA, and AAFO guidelines for use in food: and they are a product exclusive to a reputable company.
Unfortunately they also have some cons such as their inability to assure the meats are free of antibiotics and hormones and the veggies are non-GMO; some ingredients sourced from unknown locations outside of the U.S.; and Chewy’s unwillingness to reveal who makes these treats. In addition, for a treat these are kind of high calories (depending on the size of your dog), so you need to keep a closer eye on how many you feed your dog so they don’t get chunky.
These treats are also very crunchy which means they are a harder treat. We found them incredibly difficult to break into smaller pieces. Someone with a little bit more muscle power might not have as much trouble, but I think it’s definitely something to be aware of. For some of us we must feed the whole treat with no option of breaking it into smaller pieces.
These treats are certainly not lacking in flavor, as Maui is very willing to devour them!
Since these are just treats and Maui is only getting maybe one or two a day, the cons don’t concern me too much. Although because of those cons I feel there are a lot of higher ranking treats out there, but in saying that – these are still way, way better than a lot of treats you can find.
Happy snacking everyone!