I’m so saddened by the recent report that the death toll among dogs that consumed jerky treats made in China is up to 360. In addition to this staggering number, the FDA has reported receiving 2,200 reports of pet illnesses that may be linked to these same types of treats.
Click here for the NBC News article: Pet Jerky Treat Death Toll: 360 Dogs, 1 Cat, FDA Says
And here for the FDA report: FDA Investigates Animal Illnesses Linked to Jerky Pet Treats
In our home, we never buy treats for Teton that are made in China. It’s just not worth the risk with the number of incredibly healthy, unique, and affordable treats that are made in the U.S.
However, I think it’s helpful to familiarize yourself with some of the most potentially dangerous treats on the market so you can avoid them when shopping for your dog.
Here are three of the brands and products that NBC News and the FDA have identified as being linked to jerky treat illness and death:
Waggin’ Train jerky tenders
Canyon Creek Ranch jerky treats and tenders
and Milo’s Kitchen jerky and treats
I avoid these and any other treat made in China at all costs.
The more I hear about these tragic pet deaths, the more I lean in the direction of giving Teton only fruit and vegetable-based treats that I’ve made myself. Of course, that wouldn’t be good for the blog, but it reminds me to be very selective with the treats and chews that I buy for him.
This weekend I dehydrated some yams and apples…
…which T will enjoy for 3-4 weeks.
You can follow my dehydrating instructions here or, if you don’t have a dehydrator, check out this post from Old Town Home on baking sweet potato treats for your pooch.
Need suggestions on affordable treats for your dog that aren’t made in China? Leave a comment below or on Her Dog Blog’s Facebook page or shoot me an e-mail at email@example.com.
Did you guess the mystery treat?
It’s one of Paragon’s hedgehog dental chews!
I’ve been seeing these at our local Mud Bay for the past few months but was too afraid to buy them for The Little Blogger.
Don’t they look like plastic toys? The back makes them look even more like something you’d buy at Target to get your kid to shut up while you finish your shopping.
I rarely buy a dog product without reading the ingredients/materials first, but these were in a bin with many others like it (and no ingredient list) and the husband wanted to get them (gasp!) for Teton. Usually I’m the one convincing him that we need to buy something new for T.
Eh, there’s a first time for everything.
These chews are made of wheat starch, glycerine, vegetable fibers, lecithin, and other natural colors/flavors. Sounds pretty boring to me but the second I took them outside to photograph them, Teton was on me like white on rice. They must have smelled delicious.
We selected an orange hedgehog and a green crocodile, but there are other colors available, as well. Each chew was $2.50 at Mud Bay.
Here’s a photo of the crocodile in the palm of my hand for an idea of size.
Paragon’s chews not only look like plastic toys, they feel like them. Hold one and you’ll realize that they clean your dog’s teeth primarily because they are hard and must be broken down bit by bit in order to consume them.
They’re also adorned (yes, adorned) with bumps so that there is extra work for your dog to do to break them apart.
This is my hedgehog. There are many like it, but this one is mine.
Here’s a video of Teton chewing on his hedgehog. It’s a good representation of how long it takes to break the treat apart in order to chew and swallow individual pieces. I’d guess that it took Teton about 8 minutes total to eat.
At the end of the day, I’m happy with the Paragon animal shaped chews. They are too expensive to feed every day, but for a fun chew that takes a while to consume and cleans teeth with the best ‘em, it’s a good option.
Have a great weekend and enjoy the sun!
Until this past weekend, I’d never given Teton raw meat. I think that the image I had in my mind of what it would be like was stopping me from ever even considering it.
It’s nothing like that photo, by the way.
So, what changed my mind? I’m pretty open to trying new things myself, and that translates into the types of food, treats, and toys that I buy for Teton. If I have an actual reason to buy something (rather than just buying a new pet product for fun or to review on the blog), I’m generally even more open to something that I don’t know anything about or that he’s never tried before.
A few months ago we noticed that The Little Blogger’s teeth were starting to look dingy and had more plaque on them than normal. He’s always had shiny, white teeth so it was a bit concerning to us. I haven’t been diligent about brushing his teeth, so I know that may have had something to do with it, but regardless, this concern prompted me to explore some additional oral hygiene options for him.
Any time I start to “explore options” for Teton, I head to Mud Bay. I love their assortment and trust their employees, so I knew they’d be able to provide some insight. While perusing the oral hygiene section, I was approached by an employee who asked me what I was looking for. When I told him about Teton’s teeth and my concerns, he immediately suggested raw bones.
I don’t know if it was what he said or the way he said it, but for the first time the whole idea of feeding raw bones just made sense to me. On top of that, one of the main benefits of feeding raw bones is that it cleans teeth, and that’s the reason I was there to begin with!
So, after learning the basics of feeding raw (and grabbing a few other items, of course), I selected a small bison bone from the freezer and happily paid a whopping $2.50 for it.
That’s right. $2.50. Boom.
I chose bison over beef because Teton has been eating bison meat since he was a puppy and I’ve heard that it’s easier to digest than beef. We’ve had a few instances involving the runny dunnies with beef before, so I like to play it safe with bison if I have the option.
This particular bison bone was packaged by Nature’s Variety, a Nebraska-based company that specializes in raw dog food.
There’s nothing pretty about a raw bone. It’s slimy…
…and, well, raw.
That’s some bone marrow right there, folks.
Before feeding the bison bone to Teton, I read through the instructions that Mud Bay sent home with me.
There are some important basics such as refrigerating/freezing uneaten portions of raw bones and washing all surfaces that have come in contact with them, but all of those aside, one vital instruction stood out.
Observe! This is crucial with raw bones but also also an absolute must with any new treat, toy, or food. With this being Teton’s first raw bone, my plan was to watch him like a hawk while he ate it.
Before the bone – no idea what’s about to hit him. Hence, the tragically bored face.
Raw bones are definitely an outside treat in my book. Because they are often bloody and contain fragments of skin and bone marrow, they can create quite a mess. Teton is used to getting treats on a towel because when we feed him things with peanut butter in the house, I lay one down to protect the carpet.
Please note my disgusted face in the upper right corner of this photo. The things we’ll do for love.
The minute that bone hit the ground, Teton was in the zone. I’m pretty sure it was the best moment of his life.
What amazed me the most when observing Teton as he ate his first raw bone was how primal and “wild” he seemed. Not only was he totally in the zone as I said before, his entire posture reminded me of a wolf. His back was arched, his back legs separated, and his paws holding the bone in order to pull the skin off more efficiently.
I found this photograph of a wolf eating online and I think the comparison is pretty spot on.
Teton chewed on his bison bone for about an hour before I “traded” him the bone for two salmon treats and re-froze it. Not once during the hour that he worked away on the bone was I concerned. He was clearly in his element and it was easy to see that his teeth were being cleaned as he chewed.
He’s had his bone once more since the weekend and I monitored his chewing as I worked outside in the yard and enjoyed the sun. Again, no concerns whatsoever.
If you’ve never given your dog a raw bone, I get it. It’s not the most comfortable purchase and it does take a bit more effort and observation than a typical biscuit or chew. I’d encourage you to give it a try, though. Health benefits aside, I think that inside every domestic dog is a primal creature who, from time to time, needs to get in touch with their wild side, and this is a cheap and easy way to allow them that privilege.
Back in February I wrote about the health benefits of feeding blueberries to your dog.
I buy blueberries on a weekly basis and Teton gets them in his food or as a treat at least three times a week. It’s a quick, easy add-on that is exciting for him and doesn’t involve dirtying up a spoon or singeing my nose hairs. (Wet food can stank!)
Last year when shopping for fruit and veggies to plant in my garden, I gave a couple of blueberry bushes a shot.
Blueberries are pretty much the easiest of all fruits to grow. Plant ‘em, water ‘em, and leave ‘em alone Provided you have adequate sun, you’ll get a nice crop of berries in just one year.
See those little white berries? First they look like tiny white flowers and then they turn into light greenish berries. Once you’ve had some sun they start looking like this…
I’ve only plucked one from one of our bushes because technically you’re supposed to wait until a few days after they’ve turned blue to eat them. That one, though…it was delish! There’s something about growing your own food – it just tastes better than if you were to have bought it in the grocery store.
Hopefully we’ll have gobs of ripe blueberries to feed to Teton soon.
Have a relaxing evening, Dog Moms and Dads!
Or in the dog bowl.
A few weeks ago I snatched up this bag of pet company CocoTherapy‘s Coconut Chips from a local pet store with a really nice assortment.
CocoTherapy makes a line of coconut products for dogs, cats, and birds. Their products include these Coconut Chips and Coconut Oil. Coconut chips like these are simply dehydrated flakes of coconut.
Coconut is one of those random foods that I like to eat myself, but that I wasn’t sure was safe for dogs. Apparently, not only is it safe, it’s beneficial!
Coconut is a great source of fiber (even your pets need to stay regular!) and supports digestive health in your pet. It’s also packed with antioxidants and may assist in the maintenance of healthy skin and fur. (Check out all of the health benefits that CocoTherapy recognizes here.)
I like that CocoTherapy’s Coconut Chips come in a variety of shapes and sizes. As they suggest on their packaging, you can give the larger pieces as treats and sprinkle the smaller pieces on top of your dog’s food.
If you get a package with mostly larger pieces, they can be easily broken for your sprinkling pleasure.
I paid somewhere between $6 and $7 for a 3-ounce bag of Coconut Chips, but Teton only gets them sprinkled on his food a few times a week, so while it may seem on the more expensive side, I’m comfortable with the price since he won’t go through it as quickly as some of his other treats.
CocoTherapy’s Coconut Chips are simple, healthy, and fun. I’m not sure that I’ll buy them again, but that’s only because I want to figure out if it’s worth my time to dehydrate them myself. I’ll keep you posted on my experience once I give it a shot!
I am the proud owner of a new Nesco food dehydrator.
I got this beaut on Amazon as a thank you for some dog sitting that I did earlier this year.
I’d been wanting a dehydrator for a while to make dog treats and now that I have one I can’t understand how I lived without it! I knew that one of the first things I wanted to dehydrate was yams for The Little Blogger.
This batch of dehydrated yams is my fourth, so I think I’ve got the hang of it. If you have a dehydrator at home, here are step-by-step instructions on how to make yam chews for your dog.
At the grocery store, purchase the biggest (widest and longest) yams you can find. My dehydrator fits roughly 2.5 yams, so keep that in mind if you only want to make one batch. The widest and longest yams will make the best chews.
Whether or not I buy organic depends solely on the size of the yams. If the organic yams are wimpy, I head straight for the non-organic and vice versa. Wimpy yams make even wimpier yam chews because they shrivel in the dehydration process.
Wash (and scrub) your yams before cutting them. I used to peel the yams completely but then decided that it was a giant waste of time. As long as you scrub the yams to remove all the nasties you should be fine.
Cut the ends off of each yam.
I usually try to slice the yams as thin as possible so I end up with more treats, but cutting them at varying widths is totally fine.
Once your yams are sliced, blanch them by placing them in a microwave-safe bow, covering them with a few tablespoons of water, and nuking them for45-60 seconds. Blanching the yams preserves their flavor and supposedly helps their moisture escape more effectively, thus giving you crunchier, chewier yam treats.
Once the yams are blanched, place them in your dehydrator. Since the dehydrator has to run for 9-10 hours to dehydrate yams (that’s what I’ve found, at least), I like to get the most bang for my electrical buck by filling all of the trays completely. If I can’t fill each level with yams, I’ll cut up apples or something similar (carrots, sweet potatoes, etc.) and toss ‘em in with the yams. You can dehydrate pretty much anything, but do some research on how long particular fruits and veggies take before just busting out the ‘ol dehydrator and filling it to the brim.
Plug that sucker in, turn ‘er on, and get on with your day! Set it and…forget it! Ok, not really. But kinda. Set a timer in your kitchen or on your cell to remind you when it’s time to turn off the dehydrator. Like I said, I generally give yams about 9-10 hours to get fully dehydrated. If you want them to be a little less crunchy because you have a dog with sensitive teeth or gums, opt for a 8-9 hour window instead.
While you’re waiting for the yammies to be done, you can gaze into the eyes of your pupper.
You mean to tell me I have to wait 9 hours for those things to be done?!
Once your yams are dehydrated to your liking, turn off your dehydrator and pat yourself on the back.
You’ve just made yam chews for your dog for less than half the cost of store-bought yam chews.
Whew! That’s a mouthful of a title, huh?
Hi. I’ve really been MIA lately, haven’t I? Sorry ’bout that. Life has been busy but I’m anxious to get back into the swing of things with the blog.
I think Teton is, as well.
Mom, you are so boooooooooring.
A while back I picked up a True Chews bully stick from a small local pet store in town. I’d never heard of the True Chews brand, but the product looked good and the price was right, so I snatched it up for a special treat to give to The Little Blogger.
Two bully sticks (er, barbells) for $3.99?! That’s a good price if I’ve ever seen one.
True Chews bully (and other) treats are “made” in Independence, Iowa. I say “made” because last I checked cow penis isn’t made so much as it’s…um…formed?
Anyhoo, yes folks, bully (or “pizzle” as some call it) is dried cow or bison junk. It sounds freakish, but it’s completely digestible and doesn’t stink or stain carpet. Most dogs love bully sticks and chewing them may assist with dental hygiene.
You may notice that the packaging on the Lil’s Beef Bully Barbells call out that this product is for dogs under 20 pounds. Teton is 41.2 pounds (to be exact) but he has always been a champ at chewing and very rarely swallows large pieces of chews, so I was comfortable purchasing these because of his chewing history and the fact that I always monitor him when he gets any type of chew.
You can see from the photo above that even though Teton is well over 20 pounds, the barbell was a decent size. It took him roughly 15 minutes to go through this chew, but I know that is a long time compared to some ferocious chewers out there!
I loved the True Chews Lil’s Beef Bully Barbells because they were cheap, of good quality, and they took The Little Blogger a fair amount of time to work through.
If you’re interested in trying a True Chews product, they have some coupons on their site for $1 to $1.50 off. Check ‘em out!
…keeps the vet away? Maybe not, but apples are as good for your dog as they are for you!
Along with carrots and blueberries, one of Teton’s favorite treats is the apple.
I love apples myself (hello, Honeycrisp!) so when this cute little bugger sits next to me and gives me this face, how can I not give him a bite or two?
He doesn’t usually bite off a piece directly from the apple, but hey, anything for a good photo.
Here are a few reasons your dog could benefit from eating apples as a treat:
Apples are high in fiber
Apples boast a high percentage of Vitamin C
Apples contain phytonutrients, which assist in regulating blood sugar
Apples are loaded with antioxidants