Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Nature's Variety Instinct Raw Market Meal Blends: Beef Recipe - chewy.com Product Review

This month we received Nature's Variety Instinct Raw Market Meal Blends from chewy.com to test out. The Instinct Raw Market Meal Blends are freeze-dried, raw complete diets. We chose the Beef Recipe for some variety, since so many dog food products are made with chicken (the other option).

Nature's Variety Instinct Raw Market Meal Blends, Beef Recipe
I like that the packaging actually has a picture of what the food looks like. Most dog foods just have a photo of a dog frolicking in a field or some generic drawing, so it can be nice to know what to expect when you open up a new food. 

The meal blend consists of freeze-dried veggies, fruits, and little meaty nuggets. I like that the fruits and veggies are minimally processed and actually identifiable! The freeze-drying process locks in nutrition and flavor, which is a plus.

Inside the bag
Chewy thought the food smelled delightful and couldn't wait to try it.

Smells yummy!
Chewy looked on in anticipation while I attempted to rehydrate the food.

Food!!!
The serving suggestion says "Crush pieces and wait 10 minutes if full rehydration is desired." I didn't crush the pieces because it seemed counterintuitive - they made them into little nuggets, and now I have to un-nugget them? 

After soaking the uncrushed freeze-dried food for 10 minutes, there was still quite a bit of water left in the dish. I even flipped the nuggets over halfway through so that both sides could get soaked. 

+ 0 minutes                                                                                        + 10 minutes
Chewy didn't mind that there was extra water - he probably likes the fruity/meaty/vegetable-y taste. He happily lapped up everything in his dish every time I gave him some of the Meal Blends.

Hoovering at full speed
The suggested feeding amounts chart on the bag only lists up to a 40 lb dog, which is not so helpful when your dog is much larger than that. Chewy only got to eat it as an addition to his regular meals. If I was to feed Chewy the Meal Blends for entire meals, he'd probably go through an entire 1 lb. bag in a day or less! Considering that, I find the Meal Blends to be NOT cost effective, but of course you often pay a premium for healthier foods!

Overall, Chewy and I were pleased with the Raw Market Meal Blends because of the nutrition, visible whole foods, and taste, but I do not think it is an economical diet for a large dog. For us, it would be more of a treat than an actual meal.


Disclaimer: We received a free bag of Nature's Variety Instinct Raw Market Meal Blends Beef Recipe from chewy.com for review purposes as part of the chewy.com Blogger Program. We did not receive any monetary compensation for this post, and all opinions shared above are our own.



Monday, August 29, 2016

Can We Go Swimming???

Chewy, like most Golden Retrievers, LOVES water. If we are walking along a shoreline, he starts pulling towards the water in hopes of a foot soak, a refreshing dip, or perhaps a game of fetch. When we get close enough to the water, he looks back with that dopey smile, as if to ask, "Can we go swimming?"

Can we go swimming?

How about here?

Can we go down there?
Sometimes he takes matters into his own hands, and just goes for it:

Oooohh, water...

Success!

He always looks super pleased with himself when he manages to get in the water, whether with permission or not!

I smell now, and it's GREAT!

To keep his fur/skin clean and healthy, Chewy usually gets a dreaded bath after swimming, but I think he would say it's still worth it!

I am displeased by this bath.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Natural Balance L.I.T. Jerky Bark: Duck & Potato Formula - chewy.com Product Review

This month, we received Natural Balance's Limited Ingredient Treats (L.I.T.) Jerky Bark in Duck & Potato Formula from chewy.com

...when will I get to eat them??

I had purchased Natural Balance L.I.T. Jerky Bark before for a hiking trip so that Chewy would have some energy-providing snacks on the trail, and we liked it. Back then, it looked like normal meat jerky encrusted in powdery [sweet] potato. The one downside was that the powdery crust would come off on my fingers when I touched it, resulting in sticky fingers.

Now, they have a "new and improved formula," and it does not look like your typical jerky. It looks like processed meat product, similar in appearance to hot dogs or spam. While I don't like how unnatural it looks, I do like that it doesn't leave crumbs or sticky residue on my fingers. This makes it even more convenient to break off little pieces for controlled feeding.

Not very jerky-like in appearance

Chewy LOVES the taste of these treats. Every time I tried to get pictures of him eating one, they turned out like this:

*scarf scarf scarf*

The treats are soft and not tough at all, so he can eat an entire strip of jerky bark in just a few seconds! They are definitely not a long-lasting treat for these jaws.

Delicious!

I think these treats smell kind of funky, but Chewy doesn't mind at all. He might even like the scent! I opened the bag to examine the texture while writing this review, and Chewy came over a few minutes later and started sniffing around furiously. He KNEW there was something good to eat around here!


Disclaimer: We received a free bag of Natural Balance L.I.T. Jerky Bark Duck & Potato Formula from chewy.com for review purposes as part of the chewy.com Blogger Program. We did not receive any monetary compensation for this post, and all opinions shared above are our own.



Monday, July 25, 2016

Coping with the Heat Wave

It has been HOT over here on the East Coast, and weather forecasters are saying the high temps will continue through the end of July! Chewy's preferred temperature range is 60°F and below, so he is rather displeased with this!

The easiest way for Chewy to keep cool is to stay home with the air conditioner on. He likes to lay on the floor tile, hug the metal bar stools, and lounge on the leather couch - all surfaces that are cool to the touch.

Bar stool for Chewy!

Napping on his favorite couch

He goes out to potty just a few feet away from the door and then hurries back in to resume chilling in the air conditioning.

But lounging around at home all day gets boring, and a cooped up pup needs exercise and mental stimulation! So, I try to take him out sometimes, preferably early or late in the day when temperatures are (marginally) cooler, and sticking to shady areas.

Staying hydrated is a top priority in the heat for both humans and pups, so bringing water on every outing is a necessity.

Just gonna stay here by my water bowl!

If we walk along the shoreline, he tries to jump into the stinky bay to escape the heat.

NEED...TO...SWIM!!

When we get home, I set up his kiddie pool so that he can cool off. Here he is getting poolside beverage service while waiting for the pool to fill:


But instead of walkies, Chewy would much rather travel in the air conditioned car...


...and go shopping!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Purina FortiFlora Canine Probiotic Supplement - chewy.com Product Review

Sometimes, a new kind of treat or too many treats can cause Chewy to have a bout of mushy or even runny poops. There are various at-home remedies for the occasional diarrhea/soft stools, such as feeding chicken & rice, ground flax seed, or pumpkin puree. Another option is feeding probiotics to help balance out the gastrointestinal system. While humans often eat yogurt as a source of probiotics, it is unclear whether dogs benefit from doing the same. So, there are probiotics made just for dogs!

Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets' probiotic supplement is called FortiFlora. It can be purchased without a prescription, but the feeding instructions say to use under veterinary supervision. This is important, as a veterinarian would be more adept at determining whether there is a serious underlying health problem. However, it can seem like overkill to run to the vet every single time your dog gets a case of the runs! Depending on the situation, you might decide to try treating for it at home by feeding probiotics.

Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets FortiFlora Canine Probiotic Supplement
FortiFlora comes in powdered form that is packaged in single serving sachets.


Individually packaged powder packets

One sachet
The feeding instructions say to feed one packet a day. I sprinkle it right over Chewy's dinner, and he eats it all up. Easy peasy! 

The lighter colored powdery stuff = FortiFlora

The powder falls through the kibbles to the bottom of the bowl as he eats, but Chewy is a very thorough eater and will lick his bowl completely clean. He even uses his tongue to transfer a little water from his water bowl and "washes" his food bowl after eating!


Feeding FortiFlora for a couple days got Chewy's poops back to a good firmness, so it was definitely effective! Recently, he had been producing fishy-smelling farts every time he hopped on the couch, which was VERY UNPLEASANT when he wanted to cuddle, but FortiFlora stopped the fishy farts, too! FortiFlora gets paws up from us!


Disclaimer: We received a free box of Purina FortiFlora from chewy.com for review purposes as part of the chewy.com Blogger Program. We did not receive any monetary compensation for this post, and all opinions shared above are our own.



Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Indoor Activities: Blueberry Chase

When it's hot outside, Chewy becomes a lazier dog. After a few rounds of fetch, or even zero rounds, he will go find a shady spot to lie down.

Too hot for Chewy!
In order to get his exercise in, we have to play more indoors with the a/c on. Chewy is not really a fan of playing fetch in the house, but if it is food that needs fetching, you can be sure that he's interested!

I like tossing blueberries for Chewy because they're a healthy superfood with lots of antioxidants, they can roll very far and bounce off obstacles, and they don't leave a mess (unless Chewy squashes one).

Ready to pounce!

We have an open floor plan on one side of our house, so there's a nice straightaway for Chewy to run back and forth chasing the blueberries.

Running left

Running right

Chewy is quite food motivated, so he will sometimes run pretty fast after the blueberries. Sometimes he gets confused when a blueberry rolls between his legs, and then he backs up slowly to see if he can locate it. It's quite amusing to watch! One time, he accidentally stepped on one and it got stuck between his paw pads, and he searched frantically for it around his foot but just couldn't find it! I helped pick it out of his foot, and it was remarkably unscathed! He promptly ate it, of course.

It is best to play in a freshly vacuumed area, or else the blueberries pick up lots of dog hair/people hair/dust if they are a little damp from condensation or from being freshly washed.

Blueberry chase is one of our favorite indoor games because a) Chewy likes food, and b) I can stay in one spot while still getting him to burn off some energy!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Zuke's Tiny Naturals Delightful Duck Recipe - chewy.com Product Review

This month we received Zuke's Tiny Naturals in Delightful Duck Recipe from chewy.com

Zuke's Tiny Naturals Delightful Duck Recipe

These tiny training treats are:
  • Made in the USA
  • Grain free
  • Less than 1 1/2 calories per treat
  • Have added vitamins & minerals
Chewy almost couldn't wait to get a taste of them! He thought they smelled really scrumptious.


Maybe I can help myself?
He assumed his default "good boy" pose in hopes of getting rewarded.

Look, I'm sitting so nicely! Treat?!?

The treats are indeed tiny. They look like the pellets I feed my backyard chickens! They are much smaller than the usual chewy, circular training treats that most brands produce. Whenever I used that kind of treat, I would break each one in half or into thirds when training Chewy, so I like this smaller, "tiny" size.

Tiny treats

Chewy really likes these treats. When I gave him the okay to eat this pile of treats, they were gone in a flash! The very next shot that I got 2 milliseconds later had zero treats on the floor!


Chewy always gains a few pounds in the summer because he gets lazy in the heat, so these treats will be a good option for cutting down on some calories. Since they smell quite flavorful, I'm sure he won't mind that they are tiny!


Disclaimer: We received a free bag of Zuke's Tiny Naturals Delightful Duck Recipe from chewy.com for review purposes as part of the chewy.com Blogger Program. We did not receive any monetary compensation for this post, and all opinions shared above are our own.