Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Petco Essentials Restful Cuddler Review

Don't worry - Meadow doesn't get to have all the fun! Meadow's Kitties get new things to try out, too!

Today, Reekoe tests out a new Petco Essentials Restful Cuddler, 20 inch (approx. $19.99 $9.99). This is on sale right now for $9.99! Note that on the Petco website, this is called the "Petco Textured Round Cat Bed." This soft bed is perfect for kitties or even small dogs. It is soft and cushy, with raised sides, which makes a kitty feel secure.

Reekoe, our oldest kitty, is also our biggest kitty. He's a huge cat, weighing in at 17 pounds. Several years ago, before we got his diet on track, Reekoe weighed in at 26 pounds at his heaviest. He still needs to lose about 2-3 pounds. This big boy fits perfectly in this bed.

I put this bed on the table as I was putting away purchases, and the cats started trying out this bed before I could even get the tags off. They love getting a new bed! This Restful Cuddler bed is now placed on the Custom Cat Purrniture Cat Stand that the kitties got a couple weeks ago with a nice view out the window, and sunshine during the day. For years, our cats rejected bed after bed. We would buy a cat bed, and they wouldn't lay in it. Sometimes I think they intentionally puked on them! Now, any time we get a new cat bed, it goes in a "hot spot," - or a place that the kitties already like to hang out. For example, sometimes we put the bed in a favorite box, or on one of the cat stands, on the dining room table, or in the bay window. After the kitties take turns claiming it, we can move it from the "hot spot" to a new location. With cats, it's all about location!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Barkworthies Large Stuffed Shin Bone Review

Meadow is a heavy chewer, and we're always on the look-out for appropriate chews that will hold up to her powerful chewing, and that are safe. We've tried Barkworthies products in the past, and we've been pleased. Meadow has also had a large hollow bone in the past that she enjoyed. For today's review, Meadow tried out the Barkworthies Large Stuffed Shin Bone (approx. $10.59).

The Barkworthies Stuffed Shin Bone is about 6 inches long on average, and has a filling of all natural ingredients including brown rice and bully stick pieces. Barkworthies Shin Bones are made in Brazil. In theory, once the stuffing is gone, you can re-fill the shin bone with peanut butter, or another treat. Meadow has had a hollow bone in the past that we stuffed with peanut butter, so this Barkworthies Stuffed Shin Bone seemed like a nice alternative to a Kong.

The stuffing is not soft or mushy - it's hard. Meadow LOVED this chew and set to work on it immediately. She will keep herself busy chewing on an appropriate chew for over an hour sometimes. After about half an hour, while Meadow happily chomping away, I noticed that she had managed to break off some bone chips from the edges, trying to get at the stuffing. I took it away at that point, and haven't given it back to her. While the chips she was able to break off weren't huge, I've yet to decide whether or not I'll let her chew on this any more out of concern that she can break off bigger, sharp bone chunks. I'd rather err on the side of caution.

While Meadow absolutely loved this Barkworthies Stuffed Shin Bone, I think this size might not be quite strong enough for her heavy chewing. I'd recommend this bone for a smaller dog or less aggressive chewer.

Do you let your dog chew on bones? How do you decide when you will take them away?

Friday, May 27, 2016

Zoe Grilled Cheese & Bacon Tender Chunks Review

TGIF! I had the day off work today, and Meadow was at daycare, so I got a little shopping done for Meadow's first birthday this Sunday. Watch for pictures of her birthday party!

In the meantime, Meadow sampled a new treat we discovered at our local PetCo. These are the Zoe Grilled Cheese & Bacon Tender Chunks, 5.3 oz. (approx. $5.79). I can't seem to find them on PetCo.com, but they are available on Amazon, and may be available in-store at your local PetCo.

The Zoe Tender Chunks treat line is 100% natural, and made and sourced in Canada. They contain no corn, wheat or soy. There's a couple different varieties, including Bistro Beef & Gravy, Chicken Parmesan, Turkey & Beets, and Grilled Cheese & Bacon. We chose Grilled Cheese and Bacon to try, because GRILLED CHEESE AND BACON. That sounds delicious! According to the package, the ingredients in the Zoe Grilled Cheese and Bacon Tender Chunks include barley flour, pork, brewers yeas, molasses, whey powder, vegetable glycerin, cheddar cheese, bacon flavor, vegetable lecithin, and citric acid. Each treat is 18 calories. The package suggests feeding 1 to 2 per day.

The Zoe Grilled Cheese and Bacon Tender Chunk treats are soft and kind of crumbly. They smell meaty, but not really like grilled cheese and/or bacon. They do smell really salty. When Meadow sampled one, she initially dropped the treat out of her mouth, followed by a dollop of drool. For a second, I thought she spit it out because she didn't like it, but then she happily gobbled it up. I suspect these treats might be "rich." They're a little big for training treats, and at 18 calories each, your doggie should probably indulge in these treats somewhat sparingly. Meadow's dad took her to the vet the other day, and he brought a handful of these treats with him to help keep Meadow focused and relatively quiet while they sat in the lobby waiting for her appointment, rather than going bonkers about meeting all the other dogs and their humans waiting, and going in and out. She did great! Despite all the distractions in the lobby, she happily balanced these treats on her nose and showed off.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Smoochie Pooch Sweater Review

What is cuter than a pit bull puppy in a pink heart sweater? Not much...

Meadow got a new Smoochie Pooch Heart Knit Dog Sweater (approx. $12.74) at PetCo a few days ago. We're always on the lookout for cute sweaters and shirts for Meadow. She loves wearing them, and when it's chilly outside, she needs a coat or sweater to keep her warm.

Meadow's sweater is an XL, and it fits reasonably well. Given her build as a bully, it's a little tight on her in the chest, and a little short on her tummy. But, as far as sweaters go, it works well enough. And, it's PINK! Note the "bling" jewel on the collar area of the sweater.

 Miss Pretty in Pink!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Plato Thinkers Duck Sticks Review

Meadow got an individually-wrapped Plato Thinkers Duck Stick in her April BarkBox, and she liked it so much, we decided to purchase a full package, which Meadow will review today.

Plato Thinkers Duck Sticks Dog Treats, 10 oz. (approx. $17) are meat treat sticks for dogs that are made of 90% duck. They also contain DHA which is known to support brain function. They are basically like a meat-stick for humans - they remind me of a Slim-Jim, although they do not smell appetizing...to me anyway. Meadow would beg to differ! She loves them! The 10 oz. package we purchased contains 11 sticks. We hold on to one end of a stick and let Meadow bite chunks off the end rather than giving her the whole thing at once. For dogs that scarf treats, you might want to break off pieces to give them, or hold on to it to let them bite chunks off. They're satisfying and filling enough that these are a good treat before nap-time.

The ingredients are duck, brown rice, salt, zinc propionate, fat product (source of DHA), mixed tocopherols (a preservative), citric acid, rosemary extract, vitamin E supplement, L-ascorbyl-2phosphate (a source of vitamin C), vegetable glycerin, and collagen casing.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

BarkBox Review May 2016

Hello! Meadow got her May BarkBox yesterday, and it's a winner! The theme this month is Country Fair. The toys and treats this month are spot on for the theme. Since Meadow's birthday is this month, I got an email a couple weeks ago from BarkBox asking if we wanted to add a Birthday Hat toy to her box this month. Another toy?? Of course!! So Meadow got an extra toy in her box along with her themed-items.

Before we get to the items in the box, a couple pictures of Meadow opening her Barkbox:

First up, we have the Bark & Co. Polka Dot Party Hat ($10), which was an add-on because it is Meadow's birthday this month. I received an email a couple weeks ago which gave the option of adding this toy to her May BarkBox for an extra $10. Of course I added the toy! The more toys the better! The Polka Dot Party Hat is available in the BarkShop. The large hat is about 9 inches tall. It is basically a hard plastic triangle covered with fabric. Because the whole thing is one big squeaker, no matter where Meadow bit it, it squeaked. She LOVED this toy! It was the first toy she picked out of the box. She even brought it with her in the car when we went on a quick errand to the gas station.  Unfortunately, this toy wasn't super durable, and Meadow seemed to be in a toy-destroyer-mood when we opened the box. It survived for about 20 minutes of almost non-stop squeaking before she bit through the plastic, and killed the squeaker. Then, she found a seam in the covering, and it was over before long. A few photos of Meadow enjoying this toy:

And here's what it looked like after she ripped open the cover:

Notice Meadow jumping up in the background to grab her toy as I'm taking a picture.

After she tore open the cover, we took the plastic out and let her play with the empty "hat" cover.

Next, we have the cutest toy in the box - Bark & Co. Slobbery Sunflowers ($12). After last month's BarkBox contained a Velcro toy, I'm excited to see another one this month! The Bark & Co. Slobbery Sunflowers toy is available in the BarkShop. This is basically five toys in one. There are four separate sunflowers - each of which has a squeaker in the flower. The bow has a Velcro closure that can be pulled off by puppy - or the flowers can just be yanked out of the bunch - like Meadow does. These flowers are incredibly cute, but I will say, if Meadow was left to work on these toys without close supervision, she would almost certainly destroy them in about 10 minutes. In fact, when I gave her the bouquet, the first thing she did was rip the "bow" piece out of the bow.  They're definitely not going to hold up to any amount of heavy chewing. We will use this as a reward toy for "calm" and "gentle" playtime - I don't want to see this toy wrecked right away - it's just too darn cute! Meadow was so excited to play with this toy, we played some focus and attention games with the flowers with her, and of course - we got pictures ~

Meadow also got a Think! Dog Dingo the Scarecrow Toy ($12). This toy is a Bark & Co. exclusive, and it's available in the BarkShop. This guy is adorable. He's about 9 inches tall, and he has a squeaker in his body. The cool part is that the scarecrow's arm and leg are one piece of rope that "slides" through the body. Meadow can pull on the limbs without necessarily ripping them off. For a smaller dog, this might make an OK tug toy. For Meadow, this toy wouldn't be strong enough to play tug. She's a 55 lb. pit bull puppy - she's STRONG! Meadow definitely liked this toy - there's lots to pick at and pull on, but she set to gnawing on his hat, so this toy got put away to be a "special" "calm" toy. And of course, a few pictures of Meadow play-testing this adorable scarecrow ~

Meadow's Extra Toy Club bonus toy this month was the Bark & Co. Gus the State Fair Goldfish ($9). Gus is available in the BarkShop. This toy is really cool! There's a small plush goldfish inside the hard rubber ball. According to the card that came with the toy, it floats, and it should hold up to heavy chewers. We haven't tested it's float-ability yet, but this toy will get packed to go with us to the lake. I didn't realize that it squeaked until I gave it to Meadow and she started chomping on it. It bounces - but it's kind of a wimpy bounce. I'll be curious to see if the seam between the two halves of the ball splits over time. Meadow hasn't shown a ton of interest in this one yet, but I suspect she will over the coming days.

And now for the edible goodies -- First, the very first item Meadow grabbed out of the box was the Butcher's Block LLC Trachea Chew ($3).  This item is also available in the BarkShop. It's noted as 8 inches long on the website, but I didn't measure it before I gave it to Meadow, so I'm not exactly sure how large it was. What I can say is that the Butcher's Block Trachea Chew is definitely on our "purchase again" list. I'm slightly creeped out by "animal part" chews, but I know Meadow loves them, so I try not to think about it too much as I'm handling these things. The trachea was slightly greasy taking it out of the package, but didn't have an overpowering smell like bully sticks or other "animal part" chews. Meadow chowed down on it - clearly loving it - and it took about 30 minutes for her to finish. The trachea was crunchy, and didn't break off into sharp or hard pieces. It was a little crumbly, so it could make a little bit of a mess - not a big deal in my book. These tracheas are from Nebraska-raised beef - no foreign beef here! There's also a variety of Butcher's Block brand chews available on Amazon. 

Next, we had a package of Craft Dog Treatery Donut Bites, 5.5 oz. ($8). These treats are available in the BarkShop. I can't seem to locate a website for Craft Dog Treatery, although according to the packaging, these are distributed by Mountain Country Foods in Oklahoma. The ingredients are lamb, chickpea flour, vegetable glycerin, ground peas, ground flaxseed, tapioca starch, sugar, sweet potato, cheddar cheese, salt, oil blend of sunflower and coconut oils (preserved with mixed Tocopherols), tumeric, phosphoric acid, lecithin, sorbic acid (to preserve freshness), xanthan gum, and natural caramel color. These soft treats are about the size of a penny, and are a good size for high-value training rewards. Meadow thinks these are delicious!

And, last but definitely not least, Meadow got a package of Think!Dog Nana's Natural Chicken & Sweet Potato Natural Jerky, 3.25 oz. ($8). These Jerky treats are a Bark & Co. exclusive available in the BarkShop. These semi-soft compressed "jerky" sticks are about 4 inches long, and there are 6 pieces of jerky in the 3.25 oz. package. These treats are made in the USA with USA-sourced ingredients. The ingredients include chicken, sweet potato, rice flour, hearts of palm extract, potassium sorbate, and vinegar. Meadow gives these yummy treats four paws up!

About BarkBox

Meadow has a one-year subscription to the Big & Bold Box (50+ pound) BarkBox with the add-on premium monthly toy. She weighs in at around 55 pounds, and is a medium-to-heavy chewer. She destroys some stuffies and treats others like babies. A one month subscription - or basically - a single box - costs $29.00. You can also sign up for a six-month ($24/box), or twelve-month subscription ($20/box). Having studied the options available for dog subscription boxes, we dove right in with a 12-month subscription for Meadow. You can also add an extra premium toy for $9 a month. If there are toys and treats that your dog really loves, you can order more through the BarkShop.

To get a FREE box added to your subscription, use Meadow's BarkBox link, and Meadow will also get a FREE box. OR, to get a FREE "mystery gift" added to your first BarkShop order, use Meadow's BarkShop link.

Who says you can't have fun with a destroyed BarkBox toy?