Today we are expanding our reach and our minds. Not only is this site dedicated to treats, treat toys, and chatting about dog topics and trends, we are going to also be talking about dog food toppers. I’m pretty excited about this because these pet food toppers seem pretty darn drool worthy!
We are going to start out our first post about dog food toppers checking out The Honest Kitchen Proper Toppers.
Do you ever feel kind of bad feeding your pet the same kibble morning and night, day in and day out? I mean we get a variety of foods! Why can’t our dog get a variety, too? Toppers give us the chance to offer this to our pets.
Sprinkle a bit of a dog food topper on top of your dog’s food to add a kick of variety to that boring old kibble. The Honest Kitchen toppers are clusters of crunchy deliciousness made from human grade ingredients and are packed with real meat proteins.
I came across this company by chance but I’m super happy that I did! Reading through their website about their philosophy; how they produce their pet foods; and the quality ingredients they use – it’s just kind of redeeming to the pet food industry!
Their website states “Honest is more than a word in our name – it’s who we are and strive to be” and it offers tons of information lending truth to that statement.
There are laws and regulations that companies must follow and adhere to in order to lawfully claim their pet foods, treats, toppers, etc. are human-grade.
According to the Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) in order for a pet food label to lawfully claim it is human-grade, every single ingredient used in the pet food must be suitable for human consumption and the product must be made in a licensed human facility that meets good manufacturing practices (GMP) for human food production.
In addition, every ingredient and every final product must be stored, handled, processed, and transported in a way that “is consistent and compliant with regulations for current good manufacturing practices (cGMPs) for human edible foods as specified in 21 CFR 117”.
The Honest Kitchen claims their foods are human-grade. This means that every single ingredient used in their products must be suitable for human consumption. Their website screams “100% human grade”. This means that all of the ingredients used in their products are of a high enough quality for us to eat (but keep in mind this is still dog food and not intended for human consumption).
The Honest Kitchen states right on their website that they only source ingredients from suppliers they trust. They require all suppliers to provide:
They’ve been working with some of their suppliers since 2002!
Also interesting is The Honest Kitchen indicates they produce their dog food products alongside human food. I assume this means in the same kitchen! They are routinely inspected by the FDA and claim their kitchens to be seven times cleaner than feed-grade facilities!
You can find information about their Kitchen Standards and Quality Assurance Program on their website under The Honest Difference tab.
In case you were wondering – yes, there are feed-grade ingredients that are not suited for human consumption that many pet food manufacturers use in producing pet foods and treats. This feed-grade quality food can include some nasty stuff. Here is a comparison of human-grade ingredients versus feed-grade ingredients from TheHonestKitchen.com.
The Honest Kitchen Proper Toppers (as well as their other foods) are made with dehydrated ingredients. They feel this process preserves food nutrients making it a healthier choice for your dog.
Proper Toppers come in 4 recipes including chicken, turkey, beef, and fish.
Taking a quick peek at the ingredients for the beef recipe it contains 80% ranch raised beef and is loaded with dehydrated real foods as well as many added vitamins and minerals. The top six ingredients are:
The chicken and turkey recipes have 90% free range chicken or turkey, respectively and the fish recipe has 85% wild caught fish. Other main ingredients are all dehydrated or dried real foods!
These dog food toppers come in 5.5 oz bags for $9.99 and 14 oz bags for $19.99 on the TheHonestKitchen.com website.
Being the Amazon shopper that I am, I found (at this time) you can get the 5.5 oz bag for $9.79 or the 14 oz bag for $15.67 to $23.31, depending on the recipe. Prime members get free shipping.
Chewy.com has the smaller bags for $9.79 and the larger bags for $15.67 to $19.59, again depending on the recipe.
The package recommends if using the Proper Toppers as an extra topper on top of your dog’s kibble, to use 2 tablespoons per 20 pounds of bodyweight. Each tablespoon contains 47 calories so you will want to decrease the amount of kibble to compensate for these additional calories.
The Proper Toppers package also indicates you could use this product as a total meal! Feeding amounts for this purpose are listed on the back of the package. It says to just splash the Proper Toppers with warm water before serving (this product will not swell up with the addition of water).
Proper Toppers also make great treats!
The Honest Kitchen is located in the United States and all of their ingredients are processed in the U.S. They do not use foods source from China or genetically modified ingredients or proteins. All ingredients are free of preservatives and chemicals including hormones and antibiotics.
Browsing around TheHonestKitchen.com I found some nice perks if you order directly from them.
If you want to give your dog a little bit of variety but don’t want to completely change your dog’s kibble, adding a pet food topper could be just what you and your dog are looking for!
Give these Proper Toppers a try and let me and Maui know what you and your pup think of them! Look forward to hearing from you!
Ostrich dog treats.
Yes, you read that right! Today Maui and I are going to tell you about a new dog treat out on the market made from ostrich.
Not too long ago I set up a Google alert to tell me about any new dog treats coming on to the scene. One of the first alerts I received was about an ostrich ranch in North Carolina that was going to start producing dog treats using ostrich leg and foot bones. I reached out to Misty Morning Ranch and asked if they would be willing to send one out for Maui to try. To Maui’s excitement, they said yes!
Gaby and Ryan Olufs left Los Angeles and moved to Robbins North Carolina with a passion for sustainability and farming. They purchased a 60-acre ranch and after researching and learning as much as they could about farming, decided to raise ostriches!
Gaby and Ryan found other ostrich farmers in NC at Hilltop Ostrich Farms who quickly became their mentors. With knowledge gained from the owners of Hilltop Ostrich Farms, Gaby and Ryan opened Misty Morning Ranch in 2016. The ranch family has since expanded to include Ryan’s brother and Gaby’s sister and brother-in-law to help with all of the ranch operations.
Of course, Misty Morning Ranch sells ostrich meat, that’s their main purpose. They also offer other various products including bones for dogs!
In case you’re curious, other products they offer are a few leather goods, ostrich oils, ostrich oil body butter, and ostrich oil lip balm.
The ostrich bones for dogs are made from ostrich leg and foot bones.
I learned something interesting about ostrich legs. Misty Morning Ranch told me that ostriches walk on their toes! The long bone that looks like it would be a shinbone is actually the foot! The bone above the first joint is the leg bone!
Not knowing anything about ostriches I was concerned about making dog treats out of ostrich bones. Generally, poultry bones are very soft and brittle and are very bad choices for dogs. Misty Morning informed me that both the foot and leg bone are weight-bearing. Because these bones bear weight whenever the bird is standing, they are very thick walled bones (not thin and brittle like other poultry bones).
This makes them a much safer choice as a bone for dogs.
To read more about giving bones to dogs read our Should I Give my Dog Bones post.
The process for making the dog bones is pretty simple. Via email, Misty Morning Ranch let me in on the process. While at the processor, the ostrich leg bones are cut into pieces then packed and vacuum sealed. These packs are placed into a deep freezer for at least 24 hours. After freezing, the packs are opened and the bones are soaked in soy sauce for three hours then baked for one hour. They say this process “sterilizes and preserves the bones while still keeping the marrow”.
Looking on the Misty Morning Ranch website, you can get the ostrich bones in four different sizes ranging from small to extra-large. Here’s a picture of what Maui’s bone looked like when we received it. This one is about 4-5 inches long.
Maui’s came with a chunk of chewy, yummy deliciousness on it. I figure it was probably some soft cartilage or maybe skin. Whatever it was, it wasn’t hard bone because she really, really enjoyed eating that chunk off the bone.
I didn’t open the package right away when we received it but left it sitting on a side table until the next day. Maui would walk by that table once in a while with her nose in the air knowing that something yummy was up there but not being able to figure out where it was!
It was finally getting the better of her and she was just standing at that table sniffing back and forth so I decided it was time to let her open the package!
What does she think? Maui loves that bone!
She pretty much had all of the chewy yummy chunk and the baked on soy sauce coating off within a couple hours. Since that first night, I let her have the bone when I could be around and keep an eye on her and she still works to get that marrow out of the center of the bone. Ostrich leg bones are fairly thin so Maui has a hard time getting her big ol’ tongue in there to get the marrow out. Definitely gives her brain something to think about though!
She’s been working on that bone for about a week now and will still carry it around with her as we move around the house. She likes to bring it in the bathroom with her while I’m brushing my teeth and getting ready for bed. Seems to be the nightly routine!
Maui definitely gives these ostrich bone dog treats a paw up!
If you are interested in getting one of these delicious ostrich dog treats for your pup you can order them through the Misty Morning Ranch website HERE and by sending them an email at MistyMorningRanchNC@Gmail.com. Be sure to choose a bone size that is appropriate for your dog!
Running like an ostrich,
Let Maui know what your dog thinks of their yummy ostrich bone dog treat!
Leaving a comment below!
Maui always loves to hear stories of other happy doggos and their parents.
Maui was telling me tonight it’s time to get back down to business and write about some treats. I figured she was right, as it is past the middle of June and we haven’t written about either of the treats she chose from Chewy.com for being a part of their Influencer Program. Chewy.com provides these treats to her free of charge in exchange for our honest opinion and review. Maui is excited so let’s get started!
This month Maui chose some salmon jerky dog treats by Nulo as well as Sizzlers by Blue Buffalo. Today we are only going to look at one of the treats Maui chose, the Nulo freestyle grain-free jerky strips salmon recipe.
When we received these treats from Chewy.com I set them on the table next to my computer. The next morning the bag was on the floor halfway across the room. Mysterious. We picked them up and put them back on the table where they were in the first place and the next morning they were on the floor yet again. I took a closer look at the bag and realized there were a bunch of tiny little puncture marks in it.
Figured out that our cats were so interested in the treats that they were trying to chew through the bag and pushed it off the table and across the floor! I’m going to have to let them try these salmon jerky strips, too!
Michael Landa founded Nulo in 2010 after becoming aware of how fat our pets are getting. At the time he worked at The Pet Staff (his Los Angeles pet care company) and was shocked at the rising number of overweight and diabetic dogs. The Pet Staff conducted a study asking over 6000 households about what they fed their pets and determined poor nutrition was the root cause. Pets were being over fed, often with low quality foods.
Nulo Pet Food headquarters can be found right here in the United States in Austin Texas. According to their website Nulo appears to be really active in their community supporting pet related organizations, events, and active individuals that promote pet nutrition. They also partner with shelters and organizations across the country offering donations when they are able.
Nulo prides itself on taking no shortcuts and only using the highest quality natural ingredients in their foods and treats. They strive to provide their customers with the freshest foods and treats possible by producing and distributing products in small batches. This means their products spend less time sitting on the store shelf where they can lose flavor and nutrients. Nulo aims to keep their “products the freshest recipes you’ll ever find on the store shelf or to arrive at your door”.
Nulo foods are made in FDA approved facilities. Their dry food kitchen facilities are inspected annually by the American Institute of Baking (AIB) and consistently receives a “superior” rating. The AIB offers several different Standards for Inspection, depending on the industry of the company they are inspecting. While Nulo does not specify which Standards for Inspection were used when AIB inspected their kitchen facility, a rating of “superior” is as good as it gets!
Nulo Freestyle foods and treats are:
You can find every single recipe listed on their website listing all ingredients, calorie content, and guaranteed analysis. Transparency at its best!
The Nulo Freestyle jerky strips come in five different recipes including:
I feel like I just described dinners for my family for a week! Maui wanted to try the salmon recipe so that’s what we went for this month’s influencer choice.
These Salmon Jerky Strips are 92% Chilean salmon and 3% oh so yummy strawberries!
The ingredient list for the salmon jerky strips is pretty short and simple and includes salmon, strawberries, coconut glycerin, distilled vinegar, citric acid, dried Bacillius coagulans fermentation product, and mixed tocopherols. Descriptions of some of the possibly lesser-known ingredients are listed here –
Coconut glycerin: Glycerin is a fatty compound often used as a sweetener and a binder. The glycerin used in these treats is naturally derived from coconut.
Citric acid is an organic weak acid found in citrus fruits that is used as a natural preservative.
Dried Bacillus coagulans fermentation product is used as a probiotic and is a beneficial bacteria to aid in digestion.
Mixed tocopherols: This is a safe, natural vitamin E preservative.
Each four-inch salmon jerky strip has 26 cal. You can feed them all as an awesome, nutritious, delicious snack or break/cut them into smaller pieces. You could easily get 12-16 smaller pieces out of one jerky strip making these treats a good sized snack for small dogs or for use in training.
Even though these are just treats and should only be given occasionally, I still like to include the guaranteed analysis for folks like me who just like to be in the know.
Crude protein 45% minimum
Crude fat 15% minimum
Crude fiber 2% maximum
Moisture 28% maximum
Bacillus coagulans 175,000 CFU/g minimum
Nulo Freestyle salmon jerky strips seem to be kind of new on the retail scene.
Chewy.com has only five reviews, but they are sporting a 4.6/5 stars with 100% of the reviewers saying they would recommend these treats!
Amazon also offers these amazingly delicious salmon jerky strips and they have a 4.3/5 star rating there, as well!
The price is the same no matter which retailer you purchased from. The salmon jerky strips are currently selling for $11.90 on chewy.com and Amazon for a 5 ounce bag.
Other flavor recipes of the Nulo Freestyle jerky strips range in price from $9.99 to $12.99 on both Amazon and Chewy.com.
Amazon offers free shipping if you have Prime and Chewy offers free shipping if you make a purchase of $49 or more.
Here’s a quick link to Amazon so you can check them out. Your dog will thank you for it!
While some people may balk at the price for such a small bag, it is good to remember that these are made nearly completely from salmon (or other single ingredient animal protein) which isn’t usually a cheap commodity.
These jerky strips are made from fresh, nutritious, good for your pet ingredients. In my mind they are worth the cost.
Please let us know what your dog thinks of these amazing salmon jerky strips by leaving a comment below! Let us know if you try any of the other flavors as well, we are always interested to know what you think!
Towards the end of winter or early spring I took Maui to the groomer hoping that a good bath, deshedding, and hair cut would make her look like she lost about ten pounds. It didn’t work. I was actually pretty surprised to see how much weight Maui had gained. This was her second winter with me and I was able to maintain her weight really well over the first winter so it was shocking to me that she gained so much this past winter.
I’m in a wheelchair and I’m not exceptionally more active in the summer than the winter, so the weight gain was even a little bit more baffling. In addition to winter just being a generally less active time for most people, the only other change I could think of was that I changed her main dry dog food.
Whatever the case, winter is over and so is the time for rationalizing and I guess excuses. It’s time to figure out how to exercise my dog to help her shed some pounds.
The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention conducts a survey every year asking veterinarians and pet owners about pets. The 2017 survey revealed that 56% of dogs in the United States are overweight or obese. In case you are curious, the survey also revealed that 60% of cats in the U.S. are overweight or obese. That adds up to 106.5 million dogs and cats in the United States that are obese or overweight.
Maui and I are definitely not alone in her overweightedness (yes, I created that word), but not a very healthy crowd to hang with. Maybe Maui and I should start an exercise club!
The dangers of being overweight or obese are similar for pets as they are for humans. Carrying around too many pounds can lead to diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, or possibly even cancer. All of these conditions can dramatically decrease your dog’s quality of life as well as their life expectancy.
Here are some great exercises that you and your dog can do together. The extra activity will help them burn some calories and overtime lose weight and who knows, maybe the activity will help you lose a little weight as well.
I’m not sure what it is like around your home, but here in Minnesota we have a ton of walking paths and hiking trails of various difficulty levels. Getting out for a walk around your neighborhood or going for a more strenuous hike through the woods, a hilly area, or up a mountain is sure to be awesome fun for your dog and a great way to burn calories. Even if you’re pressed for time a 15 minute walk is better than no walk at all!
Bring a ball or your dog’s favorite floating toy and hit the lake! A lot of dogs love the water and love to swim. Swimming is a low intensity exercise so it is more gentle on the joints. This makes swimming an excellent choice for the older dogs or for a dog that is obese and might put too much strain on their joints by running. It’s a great way for them to cool off at the same time!
If the weather is bad or you just happen to catch the right moment when you’re indoors, run around the house! Sometimes Maui gets the zoomies and just decides to grab a toy and run! This is a great time to take advantage of your dog’s excitement and energy and turn it into an opportunity to burn some calories! We have a somewhat long hallway in our house so Maui will run from the living room to our front sunroom and back to the living room, again, and again. Quite often when she does this I encourage the running to help her get a little bit of exercise.
Here is Maui and her ‘sister’ playing with some toys in the hallway.
If your house doesn’t have a long hallway you can always do the stairs. Go easy at first if your dog is overweight or obese, but just go up and down the stairs a few times. You could make a game of it by tossing a ball down the stairs and have your dog go get it and bring it back to you.
Watching dogs run through agility courses is so fun to watch on TV, but have you ever thought of creating one yourself for your own dog? This could be a great way to get the whole family involved and all have fun together creating the course and teaching your dog how to run it (might even be fun to watch your kids run it!)
You can purchase agility equipment online but you can also make your own. Pound long stakes into the ground for your dog to weave through, grab your kid’s tunnels for him to crawl through, or make ramps or a teeter totter with wood from your workshop.
If you look around on YouTube you can find a lot of folks showing you how to make your own dog agility equipment at a much lower cost than buying it.
You can always hit the classic games that dogs love like fetch and Frisbee! If you don’t have a good throwing arm you can use something like a Chuckit! ball launcher to send a tennis ball flying! You could even play fetch with their favorite toy or a stick you find at the park.
You know how kids love bubbles? Dogs love bubbles too (well, who doesn’t). A fun game that doesn’t take a lot of room, you can do it right there in your front or back yard, is to blow bubbles and let your dog catch them! Not only is jumping and running to get the bubbles good exercise for your dog it’s great fun to watch them do it!
Dogs who have never caught bubbles before might be a little confused at first so just blow a couple and encourage your dog to chase them. Catch a couple yourself to show them that the bubbles are nothing to be afraid of.
The regular bubbles that you can buy in the kids department at the store are usually made of some sort of soap. Ingesting small amounts of this is not harmful, but too much will definitely give them a bellyache. Also be sure to wipe off their face when you’re done as the residue could get in their eyes and be irritating.
If you’re worried about that potential tummy ache and irritation from regular bubbles you can buy bubbles specially made for dogs! I just looked them up on Amazon and they are even scented – I found some bacon scented dog bubbles and some peanut butter scented dog bubbles.
For us humans, when we start new exercise program it’s always good to check with our doctor first. The same goes for your dog especially if they are obese, overweight, have arthritis, or have a special medical condition. Touching base with your dogs veterinarian is a good idea.
The shorter faced or nosed dogs like Pugs and Bulldogs, may have more trouble breathing, so definitely monitor their activity and adjust so that it is safe for them.
Starting out on an exercise program can be physically and mentally difficult. Think about making a schedule so you will have the time built into your day. This way it will be a little harder to “forget”.
Watch the weather and don’t go out if it is excessively hot and/or humid. Dogs can get overheated too! Don’t forget to bring water for the both of you!
Ease into it, stay dedicated, and have fun!
Maui and I went shopping the other day and of course I needed to take her down the dog aisle. It’s so cute to see her actually shop. This particular store has toys in bins along the bottom shelf. Maui stops and sticks her nose in each bin, checking out each type of toy. She goes all the way down the line. Sometimes she’ll take a toy out of a bin, sniff at it for a little bit, and then put it back and she moves on.
If I’m willing to let her get a new bag of treats, I let her do the same thing down the treat side of the aisle. You might not think so but there are some treats she just passes right by, and I don’t think it’s because the bags or boxes are sealed too tightly for her to smell what is inside. I think they just don’t interest her.
This shopping trip she was walking down the aisle checking out different treats and stopped near the Full Moon brand treats. We already have some of their chicken jerky so I steered her clear of those bags but she was nosing around another little bag of their treats. I was interested because it was a new bag that I hadn’t seen before. Looks like they are venturing into the healthy dog training treats arena!
You know me and training treats; I had to let Maui get this bag of treats so we could try them out (well, so she could try them out).
First thing I always check out is what’s on the ingredient list. This ingredient list looks good enough for me to eat (don’t worry, I won’t). These treats are made of:
Seriously, sounds good right!
The only thing on that list I was curious about is how you actually have natural smoke flavoring as an ingredient. Some of you probably know and understand how, but it’s something I have never done or used before so I asked the company. Katherine, in their consumer relations department wrote back and explained the process of creating a natural smoke flavored ingredient.
Katherine explained the natural smoke flavor is made by spraying the smoke from a wood fire with water and condensing it into a liquid. The heavier, undesirable components separate from the water-soluble smoke and are then filtered and removed. The flavorful parts, being water-soluble, are retained in the condensate. The process is natural and yields only the natural, flavor-rich smoke elements in liquid form.
I find that absolutely crazy! How cool is it that you can take smoke, which is generally associated as something you can only smell and turn it into something you can taste!
Generally ingredients used in pet foods do not need to be as high quality as foods used for human consumption. These types of ingredients are non-USDA approved and include animal meals such as chicken meat and poultry meal.
Full Moon only uses human grade ingredients, meaning these ingredients are good enough for us to eat (but don’t … these are still dog treats, not human treats). All ingredients in their pet treats are “certified human edible”. All meats used in these healthy dog training treats as well as other Full Moon treats come only from USDA-approved family farms.
Using high quality ingredients like this can mean a slightly higher price (although these are very reasonably priced) but knowing that all of the ingredients are of the highest quality and could be eaten by us makes me feel better about feeding them to Maui.
Full Moon also indicates that their treats are “produced to rigorous standards in kitchens that are suitable for human food production”.
Full Moon dog treats are made right here in the USA.
All of the meat proteins used in their treats are USDA-approved and raised on family-owned farms in the U.S. They indicate that every single turkey, cow, chicken, and pig is inspected by the USDA and approved to guarantee it’s quality and health.
Chickens and turkeys are raised cage free, beef is free range, and all animals used in the production of Full Moon dog treats are fed an all-natural diet free of steroids and hormones.
These small dog training treats only have 2.5 calories per treat. All organic ingredients and low calories! They are really hitting the mark so far on these little treats.
Analysis of these treats yields:
The low fiber is nice for dogs on a low-residue diet.
These little morsels are being sold as a training treat so size does matter (but they are great as just a general treat, too). Training treats are generally smaller sense we tend to have to feed more of them throughout the day. These training treats are round and pretty small in size, smaller than a dime (here is a picture so you have a comparison). They kind of look like little pepperoni slices.
What’s nice about these small dog training treats is that they are a soft, chewy texture so you can even break them into half if you want a smaller treat.
Full Moon Pet is owned and operated by the Purdue family. The same Purdue family that puts chicken on our dinner tables! The Purdue family has been making and delivering food to our kitchens for us to eat for 40 years and is a fourth generation family-owned company.
Full Moon Pet was created in 2011 by Ryan Perdue who was tired of feeding his dogs treats made with cheap, poor quality ingredients and fillers. He created Full Moon Pet so he could bring consumers and their dogs healthy, wholesome, delicious treats made with 100% natural, human grade ingredients.
I think they are hitting the nail right on the head!
Full Moon natural dog treats can be found in several online and brick-and-mortar shops! I purchased this recent bag of training treats as well as the chicken jerky at Walmart. You can also them at Target, Chewy.com, and Amazon.
For a quick link to these Full Moon healthy dog training treats on Amazon click here:
Maui and I both love these treats! She loves them because they are delicious! I love them because they are 100% natural, organic, and made in the United States.
Remember you don’t need to only feed these treats if you are training a dog. They make great general treats, especially for smaller dogs and they work wonderfully in dog strategy toys and treat dispensing toys!
Enjoy! Let us know what you think of Full Moon and their treats by leaving a comment below!