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Category Archives: Reviews

Shampoo You Can Share with the Dog (Review + Giveaway)

The truest thing about my hair right now is that it needs to be cut.

emo self portrait

Taking a self-portrait is awkward.

I don’t “do” my hair. Never have.

I require an easy, preferably bedhead-ready, cut that will look decent for the average 5 months I go between visits to my stylist. On top of that, I want my ‘do to be just a little bit rock ‘n’ roll.

That’s not much to ask, right?

The photo above was taken on a good hair day – two days ago, at the end of the day, following about three weeks of using only natural products on my hair.

Specifically, I have been using a Lavender Neem Shampoo bar and Apple Cider Vinegar with Lavender Hair Rinse from Baltimore Bumble Crafts. For styling, I have been using Pomade by Nutressant.

This post is about the shampoo bar and hair rinse.

Baltimore Bumble Crafts Lavender Neem Shampoo Bar

Shampoo bar. Image courtesy Baltimore Bumble Crafts.

apple cider vinegar hair rinse

After a couple weeks of spritz-and-rinse.

Vanessa Nakoski, the woman behind Baltimore Bumble Crafts, makes an ever-growing line of bath and beauty products. She specifically recommended the Lavender Neem Shampoo bar for me because it’s also safe for dogs.

After a couple weeks of using the shampoo bar on my own hair, I decided to try out it out on Scooby the elderpin.

Scooby bath time

For illustrative purposes only. This bathtime photo was taken years ago.

Scooby doesn’t get many baths, but he doesn’t mind them, as long as the water is warm and no one tries to stick a toothbrush in his mouth. He has incredibly short, thin fur.

Using a shampoo bar on him instead of liquid soap was actually quite convenient. It was easy to suds him up and evenly distribute the soap. Afterwards, he raced around the house at top speed.

While he was still wet and for a couple days after, his fur carried the lightest scent of lavender/neem. I liked that the smell wasn’t overwhelming and can only imagine that with a nose thousands of times more powerful than mine, Scooby did, too.

The best part of the Baltimore Bumble Craft shampoo bar when it came to Scooby is what it didn’t do – give him dandruff.

Typically, within a day or two of a scrubdown, Scooby’s skin will get a little flaky. This is why I don’t generally bathe him more than once a month. It’s been five days since his Baltimore Bumble Craft bath, and he hasn’t flaked, yet. Awesome!

dandruff-free dog

Flake-free miniature pinscher

On my head, the results of the shampoo bar were a little more mixed.

That’s probably because Scooby lives his life pretty much au natural. Dude with the collapsing trachea doesn’t even wear a collar most days, much less hair gel. (Can you imagine?)

I, on the other hand, have been washing my hair and putting petroleum-based stuff in it almost every day for basically my whole life.

There’s gonna be a transition period. And, to be honest, I’m not all the way through it yet.

However, I can say this about my trial use of the Baltimore Bumble Crafts’ lavender neem shampoo bar: The first couple of days were great. My hair felt light and clean. After that, I entered what I’m told is the gunky period. As your hair and scalp work to find the new, right balance of natural oils, the tresses might not look or feel so awesome.

Using the Baltimore Bumble Crafts apple cider vinegar and lavender hair rinse two or three times a week helped. On those days, my hair didn’t feel so weighed down or clumpy in the back.

And, no, I did not walk around all day smelling like vinegar. The scent dissipates as your hair dries.

I cheated a few times by mixing a squirt of Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap with my shampoo bar suds. That helped, too.

So did figuring out how to use the bar correctly.

Oddly enough, it took scrubbing the Scoob for me to realize I wasn’t lathering my own head correctly. Even as a crazy dog lady, I hesitated before using the shampoo bar on myself after washing the dog with it, but I had to.

As I scrubbed him, it occurred to me that on my own head I had been focusing more on my long hair strands when I should have been creating some lather on my scalp and working it down to the ends. Duh!

It’s safe to say that I’m still getting the hang of this natural shampoo thing, and I will continue to experiment with different products and routines until I figure out what works best for me.

In the meantime, I’m so happy Scooby and I got to try out Baltimore Bumble Crafts.

One lucky reader (in the U.S.) will get to try a shampoo bar for free, too!

To enter, simply visit Baltimore Bumble Crafts and report back here with a comment about other products you’d like to try.

To receive additional chances to win your own Lavender Neem Shampoo Bar, follow the link below.

Click here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received free products for myself and one for a giveaway in exchange for an honest review.
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Why I Stopped Using Commercial Hair Products

We’ve been weaning ourselves away from commercial household and personal products for a while now.

Portland portrait

Being natural in Portland last year.

Having discovered Nutressant, the Kansas City company that makes all manner of organic, non-toxic Substances One Needs for Everyday Life, we never get toothpaste, lotion, deodorant or bar soap at the store anymore.

Nutressant even inspired us to make our own laundry detergent. (DIY dish detergent is next on the list!)

Although I am gradually working toward a totally hippie-fied, all-natural existence, a few transitions have been harder to make.

Like hair. (And a whole host of dog products.)

Several months ago, Zach and I watched a movie called Chemerical. The documentary looks closely at the levels of yucky chemicals an average family is exposed to every day via common household and personal products. The family in the movie is challenged to give up all that stuff and instead use only natural and homemade alternatives for a year.

The college age daughter in the house is all for the experiment. Until it comes to her hair and make-up products. She totally freaks out when forced to get rid of all her storebought stuff and begins secretly hoarding a small stash of it. As I was watching, I remember scoffing at the girl.

“Get with the program,” I thought.

Yeah. Get with the program.

The truth is that the process of switching from commercial shampoos to the natural kind isn’t easy.

Nutressant even warned me when I tried their shampoo – because it’s not petroleum-based, it’s not powerful enough to cut through the residue left on your hair by commercial shampoos, which tend to be petroleum-based.

Only oil breaks down oil. (That’s the secret behind Dawn dish detergent’s magic ability to clean oil-slicked seabirds.)

However, at the time, I wasn’t quite ready to give up all of the other, more expensive, hair gunk I had acquired over time from my stylist.

assortment of hair products

So, I cheated.

I used the expensive hair products and a mixture of Nutressant and commercial shampoo but was never able to cut the cord completely on the chemical-laden stuff. Fail.

However, when I was recently presented with an opportunity to review another kind of handmade, organic shampoo – one that is also safe to use on the dogs – I decided to try a little harder.

It wasn’t easy, but I chucked all those pricey hair products. It’s a new day.

Come back tomorrow to learn about my – and Scooby’s – experience using a Baltimore Bumble Crafts shampoo bar! (And in my case, a vinegar-based hair rinse, too!)

Baltimore Bumble Crafts Lavender Neem Shampoo Bar

Shampoo bar. Image courtesy Baltimore Bumble Crafts.

In the meantime, if you’re thinking about making the change from regular to natural shampoo, check out this guide from A Green Routine.

Have you ever used natural shampoo?

Review: Trader Joe’s Peanut Butter Flavor Natural Dog Treats

Friendship is one of the awesome side effects of blogging.

You make new friends. And, at least in my case, you also reconnect with old ones.

labrador puppy card

This card arrived in the mail not long ago. The precious puppy looks a lot like I suspect Charlie Machete did as a baby.

Inside the card was a loving note from my Nebraska friend Shawn. We showed our dogs in 4-H together as kids and performed in community plays together as adolescents. But we fell out of touch over the years, pretty much until she started following this blog.

Shawn still has dogs – a mastiff named Boo and a one-eyed springer spaniel named Dulcie, a certified therapy dog whose story I recently highlighted in a post. Shawn also was one of the people who so kindly sponsored Charlie Machete and me in the Strutt with Your Mutt 5K.

The cute card came from the whole pack.

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As the note indicates, they also sent something else – something Charlie Machete couldn’t wait to get into.

Machete noses a box

What’s in here?

Machete reveals the box

Ehmergerd! Peeeenert berter from Trader Joe’s!

Just as Shawn predicted, the Peanut Butter Flavor Natural Dog Treats from Trader Joe’s were a big hit with our pack.

The peanut buttery aroma was too much for them to handle, really. It made them all excited, wiggly and hard to photograph.

Trader Joe's Natural Dog Treats

Doggy crack.

These cookies come in various fun shapes like squirrels and cars the size of Scooby’s head. I had to break them up into bite-sized pieces for the elderpin.

squirrel trader joe's dog cookie

Recommended Scooby servings per squirrel: At least 3

We have a tendency to be too generous with the treats at our house, so this box didn’t last as long as it should have.

But it’s so hard to ignore those pleading puppy dog eyes.

Machete looking at the camera

C’mon, foster mama! Gimme a race car!

Big thanks to Shawn for treating our pack to some baked peanut buttery goodness!

Although I don’t shop at Trader Joe’s very often, I would definitely consider picking these up again.

Other than including wheat, which we think Luke is slightly allergic to, there wasn’t anything scary on the ingredients list, and the dogs, obviously, found the cookies to be delightful.

Readers: Have you ever gotten Trader Joe’s dog treats for your pups?

Helping a dog maintain his composure

Can two bite-size treats each day help an anxious, high-energy dog handle life’s stressors without turning into a were-dog?

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Proponents of a product called Composure would have you think so.

I might be one of them.

Although I rarely put much stock in “easy” pet fixes that make big promises (and often come with a bloated price tag), my vet’s office has me beginning to believe in Composure.

On Charlie Machete‘s first vet visit after his unexpected homecoming,  the office manager wouldn’t let me leave without taking a partial bag of these magical Composure treats.

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Clearly, the poor woman wanted to give me some hope that I had not just accepted back into my home a murderous hellhound. Or maybe the hope was for her.

Never a big fan of being poked, prodded, or in some cases looked at, by strange people, Charlie Machete has been overly suspicious of anyone in the veterinary field since coming back to us.

OK, I’m being overly dramatic.

He can go to the vet for day boarding without totally freaking out. But if an examination or needle is involved, a muzzle is not optional. And I absolutely MUST be in the exam room with him, or he lets out that shrill “please-don’t-abandon-me” whine, followed by not-so-nice noises directed at whoever he feels is keeping him away from me.

I’m not making him sound very adoptable, am I?

Well, he actually is. And this Composure stuff could help my foster doggy stressball become even more of a highly desirable pet.

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My vet’s office manager understood my initial skepticism about the product. She said she didn’t trust it at first, either. But then a client with two insane cats started dosing her babies with the feline formula. Apparently, they went from being nasty haters of the vet to much more tolerant patients. A daily hit of Composure also helped the situation at home. The client explained to the vet office manager that she “got her life back” because the cats stopped fighting with each other all the time.

Now, I know cats aren’t dogs, but I am familiar with the need to sedate an animal to maintain peace in the house.

Full disclosure: We have probably abused the Wal-finate effect.

Wal-finate is a super cheap, over-the-counter generic antihistamine that is OK to give to dogs. Luke needs it often for his typical golden retriever allergies. Scooby the miniature pinscher also needs a lesser amount of daily antihistamine, says the vet, to help him do less old man coughing. Less coughing means less stress on his collapsing trachea.

The thing about antihistamines – in dogs and humans – is they tend to slooooow you down (except for those odd cases where the drugs have the exact opposite effect).

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That side effect can be convenient if induced in an anxious dog before long car rides, when company is coming over or pretty much any potentially stressful situation. Suffice it to say, Charlie Machete has taken some Wal-finate in his day.

However, being the sucker I am for “more natural” alternatives, the vitamin- and amino acid-based Composure intrigued me. I also liked the manufacturer’s promise that the supplement helps calm dogs without making them too drowsy.

Composure can be given to your pet daily or on an as-needed basis. Following sporadic usage, I have been giving Charlie Machete two of the soft chews each morning for approximately one week.

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Composure soft chews are pretty small.

While I wouldn’t say the effects of the product are life-changing, I can tell a difference – especially within the first 4 hours.

As my vet suggested, the Composure seems to help Charlie Machete get into a state of mind where he is most receptive to commands, which makes it a good training aid.

Over the weekend, I gave him Composure shortly before two outings in public – the solo sidewalk adoption event in Brookside and lunch at a dog-friendly Waldo restaurant with Our Waldo Bungie‘s Emily and adoptable Polly Pocket. Both times, Charlie Machete behaved with more grace and confidence than he ever would have shown a year ago.

Frankly, I can’t say for sure if the Composure is a placebo – for me or the dog. But for now, we’re going to keep it up. After we ran out of the vet-provided sample, I went ahead and bought a brand new bag.

Does your pet ever need a chill pill? What nerve-calming strategies do you employ?

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Luke the storm-phobe is going to try some Composure the next time the weather gets scary!

Have you checked out the new Wayward Dogs online store yet? Every purchase helps support this website, and Composure is one of the products offered.

Disclaimer: Talk to your veterinarian before trying any product like Composure.

Remedy for a good time in Kansas City

I won’t pretend to be a real food critic.

But I will say I know good eats when they land on my plate.

Although Kansas City’s reputation as a foodie haven is growing, and there are certainly many enjoyable edibles to be had within a 7-block radius of my home, it had been a while since a restaurant in my neighborhood blew my mind.

Then, I discovered my Remedy.

The menu at my new favorite walkable Waldo restaurant features an emphasis on local, in-season food, and handmade, old-timey drinks. My favorite refreshment is called the King Louis. It contains vodka infused with fresh blackberries right there at the bar. Another house specialty is the Lily Pad, so named for the fresh basil leaf that floats in the gin-based concoction.

And the food? Equally delightful.

Remedy’s appetizer and dinner offerings consist of a mix of homemade kitsch (mini corndogs) and culinary sophistication (egg yolk ravioli was a recent special). I am guaranteed to mow through an order of honey-drizzled eggplant fries and put away several deviled eggs at each visit. Other must tries: the cauliflower steak (a vegetarian entree served on a bed of chickpeas) and the BLT.

Because a quality dining experience involves every sense, Remedy’s decor deserves mention as well. Everything in the room reflects the classic, DIY-artisanal mood of the menu, including the wine crates-turned-shadow boxes and especially the adorable mason jar terrariums in the center of every table.

The sunlight pouring in from two solid window walls made Remedy an unexpected location for my recent family photo shoot with Stacy Ideus Photography, which yielded some really fun pictures of my mother, my stepdad and me. You can check out a few of them on Stacy’s blog.

Of course, I also knew jetsetting Kenton would absolutely love Remedy, so when he asked for recommendations on where his birthday dinner ought to be, I refused to let him consider any other eateries.

As I am wont to do with any new discovery, I have obviously been crowing about Remedy to anyone who eats since basically my first taste. Besides Stacy and Kenton, I’ve also introduced several other Kansas Citians and out-of-town visitors, including my dad, to Remedy.

For a couple weeks, I showed up so regularly to meet friends that the staff began to recognize me and even comment on my hairstyle of the day. I checked into Remedy on Fousquare so many times that as of Saturday, I was still the mayor.

If I could afford it, this place would be my personal Cheers bar.

On the day of Stacy’s photo shoot, we actually went to Remedy twice. I gave one of my Moo mini cards to the manager on the second visit, and after checking out this blog he came back to the table pretty excited about one Charlie Machete.

Although the manager subsequently decided he’s probably not ready for a dog, Charlie Machete does hope to visit Remedy’s outdoor dining area sometime while sporting his Adopt Me vest. If I can be the restaurant’s mayor, maybe my foster dog can get a drink named after him.

What do you think would be in a drink called the Charlie Machete? Leave your suggestions in the comments!


Disclaimer: This post reflects my honest opinions about the restaurant Remedy. I received no compensation for this review, although the manager did give me one free King Louis when he found out I was the Foursquare mayor.

Machete Marketing: His own Green Business Cards

I’m kind of addicted to Moo cards.

At all times, I have at least three versions of Moo’s mini business cards on my person – one that promotes this blog’s Adoptable page, one that promotes this blog’s KC Pittie Pack page and one that promotes the KC Pittie Pack’s Meetup page (and features contact information for me and co-founder Emily of Our Waldo Bungie).

To be clear, three versions of Moo cards does not mean three basic business cards. Oh no, the beauty of Moo is you can have a bunch of the same business card, all with a different image on the front.

I like Moo cards so much that I got my colleague (aka Stephanie of Turtle Soup Daily) to design mini Moo knockoffs that we printed in-house to promote the marketing blog I manage at work.

So, really, for the past couple months I have had four Moo-ish business cards in my purse at all times.

And now you can add a fifth variety to the list: Full size, double-sided cards that show off foster dog Charlie Machete.

Thanks to a Klout perk (disclosure), I was able to get 50 Machete-specific cards and just pay for the cost of shipping. Because I already knew how nice the classic printing style is in the mini version, I opted for the recycled paper version this time.

As you may expect, the finish on the Green cards isn’t as sleek, and the cardstock is a little light. But I think the cards look great, and I’m always happy to go for the more environmentally conscious option on anything when I can.

Because I got the cards for free, I splurged a couple bucks for a cardboard business card holder in the hopes that a local business would let me set up a few Machete cards on the front counter.

You never know when someone might see that face and fall in love forever.

Big thanks to Amy at Fido Fetch Photography for providing images for the Machete and KC Pittie Pack Moo cards.

Foster dog Charlie Machete is available for adoption through Midwest Adopt-a-Bull.

If you want to order some Moo cards of your own, use this link for a discount: http://www.moo.com/share/qc56wq

Do you have business or networking cards? What do they look like?

Something for the fat dogs

The standards for acceptable dog treats are high at Wayward House.
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The flurry of product recalls over the past few years has made us skittish. Like many conscientious pet owners, we now feed our pets only food and treats manufactured in the United States and locally-made if possible.

The ingredients in anything we feed our dogs is also important. Meat, peanut butter or other proteins should be at the top of the list, followed by little or no preservatives and words I can pronounce.

The bag of Nutrisentials Lean Treats we were recently asked to review basically passed muster.

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These treats are supposed to be ideal for fat dogs, because they are low in calories.

I would argue that maybe you should just not feed your fat dog “treats” at all and opt instead for carrots or affection. But neither snack reduction, nor his suddenly picky eating habits, are keeping Scooby fit and trim, so I can’t really judge anyone else.

The list of ingredients on the back of the Lean Treats bag prominently features chicken liver and skinless chicken. The third ingredient is wheat flour, though, which can be a problem for some pets. There are some preservatives and long words in the ingredients list, too. Last on the list is rosemary extract.

The packaging says the treats are distributed by a facility in Ohio. However, at the time of this posting I was unable to confirm that Lean Treats are USA-made.

Not seeing the brand on any recall lists, we decided to see what the dogs thought.

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The picky, little fat guy was into the Lean Treats.

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Always agreeable Luke readily accepted the Lean Treats.

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Not-at-all fat foster dog Charlie Machete was so excited about Lean Treats that he wanted to shake with both his paws.

So, what’s the Wayward verdict on Lean Treats?

They’re OK. The bite-size portions of the package we received seem a little too big to be used as a training treat for a tiny dog like Scooby. However, they offer an enticing, low calorie nibble for bigger dogs and would be ideal for carrying on walks with the KC Pittie Pack, where we frequently use treats to help owners maintain the attention of their dogs.

According to the packaging, Lean Treats are only available from veterinarians – and I have seen them on the counter at my vet’s office. However, if you wish, you can also order these things from various online retailers. Vet Depot provided our sample. Here is that company’s selection of Lean Treats.

Have you fed this product to your pets? What did they think?

Disclaimer: This product review reflects my honest opinions. I received no monetary compensation for the write-up – just one free package for my dogs to test out.

A necessary item for your pet first aid kit

What do you do when it’s the 7 p.m. on the day before a national holiday and your dog has a puffy, bloody eye?

In the past, I may have freaked out, rushed to the emergency vet and dropped a cool $300-$400 at the emergency vet.

Not so on July 3, 2012.

Instead, I closely examined the scratched, swollen eyelid, fed Luke an anti-histamine and took him shopping.

Living with a bunch of animals over the past year has involved a lot of trips to the vet, not all of them necessary. While I will never regret the grand or so that went to saving Luxor the cat following his allergic reaction to flea preventative, I do resent the approximately $400 spent on vet-required anesthesia and stitches for an injury to Luke’s front leg.

That injury was gnarly — the result of a toy-related conflict between Luke and foster dog Charlie Machete. Anti-biotics were definitely needed to prevent infection and the stitches order wasn’t necessarily out of line. However, in the following days, Luke used the vet-provided hard, plastic e-collar to pry the stitches loose, effectively taking his wound back to square one.

We didn’t have another $400 to throw at the problem, so we helped our dog with other tools: regular wound washing and application of Vetericyn anti-septic spray, frequently changed bandages and a Comfy Cone borrowed from the Our Waldo Bungie pack. 

You know what? Luke was back to his old self within two weeks, and the scar he has to show for the ordeal is totally hidden by his shaggy golden retriever leg hair.

The July 3 wound was way more minor. I don’t know how Luke scratched his lower eyelid, but I suspect it had to do with the allergies inherent to his breed. By the time I noticed, the scratch wasn’t deep, but he kept pawing at it — first with his front foot and then with a back leg — and the wound was widening, blood trickling out.

I hoped the anti-histamine might lessen the itchiness, but I knew we needed to physically restrict him from messing with the wound. We needed a Comfy Cone.

Since this was the second time in six months we’ve needed a Comfy Cone, I opted to purchase one for the Wayward House’s pet first aid kit

You really never know when your dog will need to don the cone of shame. They’re frequently prescribed after surgery, and they also come in handy for preventing dogs from chewing at seasonal hot spots. Scooby once donned an e-collar following a tangle with Luxor the razor-toothed tiger cat.

Several things make the Comfy Cone preferable to the hard, plastic e-collars typically provided by vets. Mainly, because it’s fabric, the Comfy Cone presumably feels better around the dog’s neck. It’s also easy to clean, reversible and can be folded back somewhat at mealtime.

And, for the pet owner, getting bumped in the butt, leg or face with a Comfy Cone feels a lot better than with the thin, sharp edge of a traditional plastic e-collar.

Unfortunately, the Comfy Cone can be a little tough to find — especially after 7 p.m. the night before Independence Day. By the time I realized we needed one, the independent pet stuff shop in my neighborhood was closed, and there were no Comfy Cones to be found at the nearby big box purveyor of pet things.

Luckily, Treats Unleashed, another independent pet item retailer across town, had an XL Comfy Cone in stock and was willing to stay open until Luke and I could get there.

In the end, Luke really only needed to wear his Comfy Cone for about 12 hours. That was enough time for his scratch to scab over and, apparently, his eye to stop itching.

Not having to worry about him pawing out his little brown eyeball during the night was totally worth the $30 we spent on a Comfy Cone. I hope he never needs to wear it again, but at least we are now more prepared in case of another urgent-but-not-emergency dog health situation.

Has your pet ever had to wear a cone of shame? What happened?

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Disclaimer:  I’m not a vet and would never recommend not taking your injured or sick pet to the vet in a time of need. The information in this post simply reflects my personal experiences and should not be taken as professional advice.

How to hold a dog food taste test

Thinking about switching your dog’s regular food?

Give your beloved a choice in the matter. Hold a dog food taste test.

The lack of enthusiasm both of our dogs (but especially suddenly snobby Scooby) have recently shown for their Innova Prime inspired us to let them choose their own new food.

Which of these is yummiest?

Step 1: Get dog food samples

Many pet food purveyors stock sample sizes of their products. If you’re considering a change, ask about these before commiting to a big, possibly expensive quantity of food your dog might not even like.

I brought home four sample bags of USA- or Canada-made high quality grain-free dog food from neighborhood pet stuff store Brookside Barkery.

On our menu:

Step 2: Wait until your dog is already full

A hungry dog is apt to eat anything you put in front of him. In order to get a sense for what truly appeals to him, hold a taste test after he’s already eaten a regular meal. Ideally, in this setting, he will be more motivated by the food that smells and tastes the best.

Step 3: Line up the samples

When it’s time for the test, put out a similar amount of each variety of food in close proximity. Be sure to make note of which brand is where. Especially if you’re not sure you want to change foods, include the old food in your line-up. In our test, the little pile of Innova Prime is the only one without a sample bag directly behind it.

Mmmm, pork!

Step 4: Test!

When you’re ready, set your dog loose on the little buffet. Watch how he responds to each sample. Which food does he go to first? Does he just vacuum up the kibble, or does he sniff and move on to the next? Does he spit some of the food out? Does he totally refrain from eating any varieties?

Om nom nom.

Step 5: Repeat

For any kind of experiment, it’s always a good idea to try a couple of times to see if your results are the same. Once you are relatively sure which food your dog prefers, you will likely feel more comfortable springing for a big bag.

Of course, as with any dietary change, you’ll want to transition gradually from the old food to the new in order to minimize digestive problems.

In our case, we submitted both Scooby and Luke to the taste test twice. While Scooby seemed to like the Petcurean Go! food quite a bit more than Luke did, they both seemed to agree that the Precise Holistic Complete pork formula was extra savory.

The Lotus bites were just too big and hard for tender-mouthed Scooby to manage at all.

Big thanks to the in-store expert at Brookside Barkery for giving me guidance on setting up a successful dog food taste test!

Have you ever given your pets a kibble taste test? How did it go?

The best bird jerky

Emu or chicken? That was the question.

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Yes, please!

No doubt about it — the two types of locally-made bird jerky we recently acquired got some dogs excited.

Jerky #1: Brian’s Best Gourmet Dog Treats

Brian’s Best Gourmet Dog Treats

Jerky #2: Emunity Omega Bars

Emunity Omega Bars

Minnie staked a claim early on in the Emu vs. Chicken Challenge, parking herself by the package of Brian’s Best Gourmet Dog Treats.

This aromatic jerky is consists of meat from free range, vegetarian-fed, antibiotic-free chickens raised on the Good Shepherd Turkey Ranch in Tampa, Kansas.

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Heritage chickens are for huskies.

The package proclaims that these gummy meat strips are “Good enough for you. Good enough for your pets!”

The package also tells a story. On the back is a picture of a young man, Brian Anselmo, and a border collie. After graduating with his MBA from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, the local boy took up poultry farming, a trade he knew little about. The owners of Good Shepherd Ranch took Brian under their wing and he went on to become an advocate for humane farming, traveling around the region to teach other farmers how to improve their practices for the well-being of their livestock.

Brian passed away at the age of 28. His family started the Brian Anselmo Memorial Foundation in order to continue doing good in the world in his name. A portion of the proceeds from each package of Brian’s Best Gourmet Dog Treats goes to the Brian Anselmo Memorial Foundation, which in turn supports other education and child-focused charities.

I picked up ours package of Brian’s Best at the Sutherland‘s store in Waldo for $3.99.

That’s a couple bucks less than I would have paid for the emu jerky if I hadn’t received it compliments of The Pet Ranch at the recent Great KC Pet Expo.

Made in Kansas and available through Pet Ranch, a boarding and grooming facility in Olathe, Emunity treats consists of meat from American-sourced emus and vegetables like yams and carrots. The slightly tacky texture of the Emunity bars is similar to that of the chicken jerky, yet this jerky is less jerky-smelling.

During Scooby’s recent kibble strike, the emu jerky was a tool for me to whet his appetite and also a worked as a decent makeshift pill pocket that he gobbled right up.

But what if he had a choice between emu and chicken jerky? What would Scooby choose?

Can I really have both jerky bites?

Answer: Whichever jerky was closest to his mouth.

Although Scooby and the other dogs consumed the jerky treats with much gusto, none of them seemed to prefer one brand over the other. They simply wanted more when the taste test was over.

That’s a sign of good products, right?

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