Monday, March 31, 2014

Pet Naturals of Vermont Breath Bars Review and Free Product Offer

Perhaps one of the most largely touted/known benefits of feeding a raw diet is the improvement and/or maintenance of oral health associated with it.  I feed my dogs a prey model raw diet, and can honestly say that their teeth are much cleaner than most other dogs, along with their breath being much less offensive.

Having said that, Neeko does have a bit of tarter build up right along the gum line on both of her upper canines, and Faolan occasionally has breath that isn't awful, but isn't necessarily fresh.

Neeko's tarter build up.
Pet Naturals of Vermont sent us some of their Breath Bars to try out, and a link with which to offer our readers a free bag of Breath Bars for their dogs.  I have worked with them in the past, and I feel their Calming treats really helped us out during our move.

According to Pet Naturals, these bars work both in the mouth and the gut to both reduce bad breath and fecal odor.

Spirulina contains various antioxidants, and research has shown that it has antimicrobial properties.  The chlorophyll within spirulina may potientially strengthen teeth and may reduce bad breath.

Parsley is a well known breath freshener.  Ever wonder why some restaurants use it as a garnish?

I am not familiar with Champignon Mushroom Extract, but apparently it works in the intestines to reduce bad breath, and can also help with body odor.

Yucca Schidigera is thought to aid in digestion, so I am guessing this is the ingredient that will help lessen fecal odor.

Cinnamon has several beneficial properties, including anti-fungal, antibacterial, and is an odor neutralizer.

The inactive ingredients are okay.  These seem to be grain-free, and have much better ingredients than some other available dental chews.  This product does contain soy lecithin, and also brewers yeast.  Bruce cannot have these because of the brewers yeast.

These bars are approximately 5 inches in length, and surprisingly heavy/dense feeling.  They have a faint smell to them, and it is not unpleasant.  It made me think of a baked good, which is probably due to the apple pectin and cinnamon.

Ignore my chapped hands.  It has been a long winter.
Both Neeko and Faolan readily ate them.  Faolan even scent-rolled on his initially, but I was not quick enough to capture a picture of it. 

Honestly, I did notice an immediate improvement in Faolan's breath, which is kind of impressive.  His breath was not artificially scented, it was just a little less noticeable.  Like I said, his breath is not terrible, but I actually notice his, unlike Neeko's and Bruce's.

I will continue to offer these, and see if there is a noticeable improvement in Neeko's tarter build up on her canines.  Sometimes my dogs have stinky poops, other times their poops hardly have a smell at all.  But the smell never lingers, so I will truly have no way of knowing if these really do reduce fecal odor.  I cannot believe I just wrote about what my dogs' poops smell like...

I gave a few of these to my friend and fellow raw feeder Michelle, to see what her dogs, Jackson and Lexus, thought of them, and will update this post once I find out.  I am sure they were a big hit, particularly with Lexus.

Pet Naturals of Vermont is offering a free bag of Breath Bars (valued at $22.99) to the first 100 readers who sign up through this link-  After 100, discount coupons will be issued.

EDIT-I have been informed that one person's confirmation email went to their spam folder.  If you sign up, be sure to check your spam/junk folder if you do not receive a confirmation email.

Disclaimer-I am being provided with free products in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are strictly my own.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Black & White Sunday

I often wonder what gets their attention when I look back at photos I have taken of an evening.

If you haven't already, don't forget to enter the Best Bully Sticks giveaway, ending on Wednesday!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

I'm a Sucker for My Pet Carnivore

It is a well known fact that I love My Pet Carnivore.  They are a small local company, with amazing product and owners, and their commitment to quality is awe inspiring.  I am fortunate enough to live about 45 minutes from their warehouse in Indianapolis, and check their website about once a week to see if they have anything new, exotic, or that I cannot live without feeding to my dogs.

When I was checking earlier this week, I noticed they had a limited quantity of a bison grind, composed of bison tripe, lung and gullet.  I had to have some, even if it is a bit over my price per pound budget.  One has to splurge every once in a while, and I feel that variety is important in a dog's diet, so long as they do not have food allergies that prevent variety.

I have purchased both bison liver and kidney from MPC in the past, and these items were quite affordable, but I have not seen them available in a while. 

I picked up my order yesterday afternoon, and because I love sharing raw, I had to take photos of said order.

Ignore my slightly messy garage, which is where the dog food freezers are kept, and where these pics were taken.
 Four containers of the bison grind, each weighing two pounds.  I can split one of these containers three ways once a week for breakfast, to stretch out this bison as much as I can.

Four containers of Ground Beef Tripe.  I already had some of this in the freezer, but I was picking up an order so went ahead and purchased more.  I feed tripe at least once a week, so I consider it one of our staples.

One bag of green tripe strips/chunks, weighing five pounds.  This way they can actually chew on the tripe they are eating, as opposed to inhaling it, which is what they usually do with ground food.  Chewing is important, and I do try to offer large chunks of meat whenever I can.  Some are entirely opposed to feeding dogs any ground meat, but I personally do not have a problem with it.

Two bags of lamb hearts, each five pounds.  I did not realize how blurry this photo turned out.  Lamb organs (though I feed heart as a meaty meat) are about the only way I can afford to feed my dogs lamb, and as stated previously, I feel some variety is important.

In one of my boxes from MPC, there was a flyer, stating that they were hiring part-time.  I am seriously considering inquiring about a position.  Perhaps my email subject line will read: WILL WORK FOR DOG FOOD.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Throwback Thursday

I could have sworn I saw a blog hop with this title last week, and now I cannot find it.  Anyways, I found this gem hiding on the iPad, so it is probably not the greatest quality. 

This is Neeko at about eight weeks old, at the start of our adventure.  Who would have guessed she would grow up so big, so beautiful (in my opinion), and so blonde.  And that nearly four years later, we would have rescued two non-puppy boys for her to reign over.

wolfdog puppy

Monday, March 24, 2014

Best Bully Sticks Review and Giveaway!

A couple of days ago, I blogged about the awesome elk antler chews we received from Best Bully Sticks last week.  Also included in that package were some other amazing goodies.

As the name implies, Best Bully Sticks specializes in bully sticks.  They also supply many other treats and chews, and sent us some to sample.  Find them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

twisted bully sticks
Twisted Bully Sticks

 These twisted bully sticks come in random lengths of 12-17", and I am sure ours were all at least 14" or more in length. If I have said it once, I have said it many times.  I (and my dogs) LOVE bully sticks.  They are a wonderful, natural treat.  They allow a dog to chew, which is natural, and provide some teeth cleaning benefits.  They are fully digestible, and according to the website, a good way to teach positive chewing habits.  These do not contain artificial ingredients, often found in so called "dental treats."  It goes without saying that these were a hit.

wolfdog with a bully stick
My "little wolf" waiting patiently for his twisted bully stick.
All three of my dogs enjoyed these immensely.  I love the look of bliss they sometimes get on their faces while working on a good chew.  Most bully sticks have a slight to extreme odor to them, and I would put these at the slight end of the odor spectrum.

wolfdog chewing

These lasted each woofer about 20-25 minutes, which I feel is pretty impressive.  Treats like bully sticks give them the opportunity to use their paws, which I enjoy watching, and I think it is more enriching for them that way.

pig bone dog treat
Giant Pork Femur
Best Bully Sticks sent us three of these giant pork femurs.  They are big and heavy.  I gave these to my crew individually, and supervised the entire time, to ensure none of them attempted to chomp down too hard.  Fortunately, they all spent a great deal of time licking the bones, and then nibbling the residual meat and connective tissue on the bone.

german shepherd wolf mix

In one of the photos in the collage above, Neeko is modeling her classic "these paws don't touch raw" pose, which is  normally reserved for her raw meat.  I can not help but giggle at how prissy she is at times.

Gullet Cookie Treats

We also received three of these gullet cookie treats.  I was not quite sure what to make of them at first.  They are braided, and larger than the palm of my hand.  They are hard, and similar feeling to a bully stick.  According to the website, these are an excellent source of chondroitin, and are sourced from grass-fed, free-range cattle.  Another single ingredient chew/treat.  What's not to like?

The princess, smiling and waiting for her gullet cookie.

Om nom nom.


These photos of Bruce say it all.  The drool, the happiness.  These treats were kind of stinky, but not as bad as many other treats I have smelled.  They all loved them!  These lasted each dog about 3-5 minutes, and are what I like to call "bonus treats."

I am really impressed with the wide selection of treats and chews available at Best Bully Sticks, and their shipping speed.  I received my products two days after receiving a shipping notification email.  The quality is superb, with all bully sticks coming from the US or South America, and most treats and chews being single or simple ingredients, which is what many who prefer to offer their dogs natural/holistic items look for.


Best Bully Sticks is giving away a prize pack of 25 odor free bully sticks, each 6 inches in length to one reader.  Enter using Rafflecopter form below.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer-this post and giveaway are sponsored by Best Bully Sticks.  All opinions are expressly my own.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Black & White Sunday

My girl.  Sometimes I wonder what is going on in that mind of hers.  I don't think I could possibly love her more.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Elk Antler Chews from Best Bully Sticks

Most puppies and adult dogs have a natural desire/urge to chew.  In some dogs it is quite strong, whereas other dogs don't quite chew as much.  Chewing is natural, and dogs should be given appropriate things to chew, so that shoes, furniture, and other items do not suffer.  Chewing is also important for canine dental health.

Neeko and Faolan both love the act of chewing, whereas Bruce mostly enjoys chewing on completely edible objects.  Finding safe, appropriate, natural and long-lasting chews can be a task.

Best Bully Sticks are perhaps most well-known for their bully sticks (their Monsters are amazing), but they also offer a wide variety of non-bully stick treats and chews.  They can be found via their website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  They recently sent me three of their elk antlers for the woofers to enjoy.

From their website:
Because elk are typically much larger than deer, their antlers are much bigger and make for a longer-lasting chew. The trace elements and minerals in the antlers are an added nutritional bonus.

Elk Antlers are a great choice because:
* They hold up longer than most other types of chews
* They're safe, because dogs grind them down slowly, over time
* They contain many beneficial nutrients and nothing artificial
* They have virtually no odor or residue to get on your carpet or furniture
* They're a single-ingredient, natural chew from a renewable resource
* There are no added ingredients in the processing of the chews! 

Many dog breeds, including wolfdogs and other mutts, have incredible jaw strength.  I am always worried about the risk of tooth fracture when considering chews for my crew.  Most everything I have read indicates antlers are a very safe choice, and this has proven correct in our house.

elk anter dog chew
Extra Large Split Elk Antler
This antler is awesome.  It is split down the middle, lengthwise, thus exposing much of the marrow that most dogs find irresistible.  I gave this one to Bruce, as he is the one who least seems to enjoy chewing for the sake of chewing.

antler for dog to chew on
Large Elk Antler

This antler was also good sized, and the curvature to it gave Faolan some leverage while he was working on it.  The edge of it that is down is exposed marrow, which makes it even more enticing to him.  Pictures later in this post of his hilarious initial reaction to it.  

best bully sticks elk antler
Extra Large Elk Antler
 This thing is a beast.  Seriously.  This is the largest, heaviest antler chew I have ever seen.  This one went to Neeko, because her jaws have some serious chewing power, and I feel that she will get the most enjoyment out of it.

Each of my dogs are really enjoying these antlers.  I quite expect them to last a loonngg time, which is a great thing.

wolfdog chewing on antler

Neeko looked at me like "really, it's for me?" when I offered her this elk antler.  She carried it around for a second, before getting comfortable and setting to work chewing on it.  Instant success.

Smiling Bruce was quite excited when he realized I was giving him one too.  As I previously mentioned, the exposed marrow in the split antlers make them more enticing to dogs, even picky ones.

wolfdog scent rolling

Our package arrived while I was out and about hiking with Faolan and letting him swim on our property.  Instead of taking him inside, I decided to open it and offer him some goodies.  I gave him the antler.  He dropped it, sniffed it, then proceeded to scent roll on it for a few minutes.  If Faolan scent rolls on something, it must smell delectable to him.  After rolling, he got comfy chewing it.  

I also want to share a tip regarding antlers as chews.  After a while, some dogs lose interest in them.  Soaking them overnight in low sodium beef or chicken broth makes them like a brand new chew to most dogs, as they absorb some of the new flavor.

Has anyone else tried antlers?  What are some other chews that your dogs enjoy? 

Disclaimer-This post was sponsored by Best Bully Sticks.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Spring has Sprung!

We have had a bit of warmer weather here this week, with highs in the 40's and 50's.  It ends next week though, when the Polar Vortex returns, yet again.

Anyways, I have taken advantage of this nicer weather, taking the dogs on some long hikes around the property.

I was by myself, so I took them out one at a time, which equaled over 3 hours of hiking for me.  I felt it a little the next day.

I find it amusing that they all pull much less when on the 30 foot lead as opposed to a six foot leash.

I always take Neeko out first.  You know, ladies first.  Bruce usually screams for a couple of minutes when he sees me out with her, but it eventually stops.

hiking with wolfdog
The princess exploring the creek bank.
She did plenty of wading in the creek, as evidenced by her wet bird legs.  At one point she did get the leash tangled around a stone and branch, but I had on my Bogs, and was able to walk into the creek to untangle her.

The edges of the pond had thawed some, though a thin layer of ice is visible in the following picture.  I did not allow her much leash, for fear of her getting trapped in the ice further out.

wolfdog swimming
My girl, almost always up for an adventure.

Next out is Bruce.  He does not love water as much as Neeko and Faolan do, but loves to sniff and explore.  He is most content to stay fairly close, and seems to have the best "recall" when on the long lead.

Bruce, nose down, tail up.
hiking with wolfdogs
Handsome Bruce.

 My ornery little boy always gets the zoomies when he first goes out.  He runs around in circles for about five minutes, and I let him.  I cannot wait until the ground thaws, so we can get our field fencing up for a supervised play yard.

He love the water almost as much as Neeko, but with him I also limited his leash length in the pond, due to the ice.

wolfdog, wolf husky mix
He is somewhat out of focus, but his expression here made me laugh.

wolf hybrid
My little cutie.
I love the differences in their personalities.  Neeko likes to explore and swim, but also just likes to sit and take it all in at times.  Bruce loves to sniff, but also wants to be near us when out hiking.  Faolan is kind of a spaz, running around and swimming, but I attribute that to his age and Siberian Husky heritage. 

Who else has dogs that like to hike, swim, or explore? 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Recent Raw Meals

The prey model raw meals from the last week for my three dogs. They weigh 96, 97, and 70 lbs, but all eat roughly the same amount/weight of food.

I feed twice daily. The smaller meals are breakfast, the larger meals are dinner.

This past week, I fed seven different proteins-beef, venison, chicken, goat, sheep/lamb, duck, and turkey. As with humans, variety, including species, cuts, and organs, is important.

Boneless turkey breast chunks.

Chicken leg quarter, sheep liver.

Boneless chicken breast.

Blue Ridge Beef Natural Mix.

Turkey breast chunks.

I missed a picture. Duck necks and ground venison.

Ground green tripe.

Lamb hearts, beef kidney.

Venison ribs, sheep liver.

More turkey chunks.

Turkey hearts, goat spleen.

Beef heart chunks.

Beef chuck roast, sheep liver, chicken foot.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

March 2014 BarkBox Review

We received our March BarkBox today!  I wasn't expecting it, so imagine my excitement when I walk around the corner of the house and see a box on the porch!  Reviews of the current and/or  previous BarkBoxes can be read HERE.

march 2014 barkbox review

whats in a barkbox

The Goods

Pet Qwerks Krinkle and Squeak Newspaper Toy Approximate retail value $7.79.  This is a cute toy, just kind of flimsy.  As described, it makes crinkling and squeaky noises.  The inside is "hollow", and I think one could easily put an empty water bottle, or even treats inside.  I do like it, but know that it will not last long with my crew.  I will put this into the box to be donated to the shelter, where a lucky pup with a softer mouth can enjoy it.

Superior Farms Pet Provisions Venison Waffles Approximate retail value $9.99.  We have received other treats from this company, most recently in our December BarkBox, and I am a fan of all of them.  These treats are made in the US, and contain ONE ingredient-dehydrated venison lung.  My dogs go nuts for dehydrated meat treats of any kind, and I am sure these will be no exception.  I am quite pleased to have received these.

Etta Says Crunchy Duck Chew Approximate retail value $0.99.  Another company whose products I like, we most recently received some of their products in our October BarkBox.  These are approximately 7" long, and a crunchy treat that my dogs all enjoy.  Not particularly long lasting for my crew, but a nice "special" treat that I enjoy offering to them.

petprojekt Dogegg Approximate retail value $14.00.  A durable rubber egg-shaped toy that squeaks, and bounces funny.  It's pretty cute.  This is a toy I am glad to receive, and will enjoy watching my dogs play with it, outside and supervised.  I am envisioning some hysterics occurring when I toss it, because of the funny shape and the bounces it will take.

Wagatha's Organic Dog Biscuits Approximate retail value $4.95.  We received some biscuits from this same company in our September BarkBox.  This is the Breakfast formula, and contains all organic, relatively simple ingredients.  No corn, wheat, soy or yeast!  The apple, banana, & maple oats flavor makes me want to eat them.  I am very sure both Neeko and Bruce will love these, but have to wonder about my little treat snob, Faolan.  I am hoping that because these might be considered more sweet than savory, he may just enjoy them.  While this is probably not something I would purchase at the store, I am happy to have received them, for a bit of treat variety, and because they are of excellent quality.

Overall, I am happy with this month's BarkBox.  One toy will prove quite entertaining, while the other just isn't right for my dogs.  Two excellent quality packages of treats, and a nice goodie to give to one of my pups.  To try BarkBox for yourself and save $5 off your first box, click HERE!

 Disclaimer-I am a BarkBox subscriber.  I am not affiliated with BarkBox, nor was I asked to do these reviews.  All opinions are strictly my own.