Sunday, February 28, 2016

Blue Buffalo Dental Bones Dog Treats - Product Review

February is Pet Dental Health Month. While dental care is important year round, Dental Health Month spreads awareness for just how important it is. According to the American Veterinary Dental College, most dogs and cats show some evidence of periodontal disease by age 3. The severity of periodontal disease can range from inflammation of the gums, to gum/bone loss around the teeth, to bone infection. Consult your veterinarian to determine the best prevention or treatment for you pet.

Chewy's dental routine includes nightly toothbrushing, crunchy treats like dog biscuits, chewy treats like bully sticks, chew toys, and the occasional dental chew.

In keeping with the theme of dental health, this month's review is a dental health product: Blue Buffalo Dental Bones

Blue Buffalo Dental Bones
They are made with all natural ingredients, including carrots, blueberries, and parsley.

They also contain flaxseed, a source of Omega-3 and -6 Fatty Acids. You can even see the flaxseeds in the treats (dark specks in the photo below). However, they appear to be whole flaxseeds, not ground, so I am skeptical about how much of its beneficial nutrients actually get absorbed by the dog.

Chewy can devour one of these treats in 1 minute. His technique is: bite one end off and chew it, bite the middle off and chew it, and then chew the remaining end piece. He only uses his back teeth in the process, so the rest of his teeth do need other care. Nevertheless, the treats seem to clean his back teeth as well as daily brushing does.

Om nom nom

Making a mess, like a Chewy does
I read that freezing these dental bones will make them more difficult to chew and therefore last longer, but I forgot to try it before Chewy finished the bag. Whoops!

All in all, these are a good dental treat made from natural ingredients, and especially great if you want a treat free of corn, wheat, and soy.

Disclaimer: We received a free bag of Blue Buffalo Dental Bones Large Dog Treats from for review purposes as part of the Blogger Program. We did not receive any monetary compensation for this post, and all opinions shared above are our own.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Chewy vs. Stairs

Stairs were always a challenge for Chewy. They seemed like such a daunting obstacle when he was a wee pup.

I am not sure about this...
One time, he ventured up a couple of steps and then slipped on the way down, which further solidified his distrust of stairs (especially wooden ones). Another time, he managed to get up one step, and just froze there, with his little hind puppy paws clinging to the edge of the bottom step. He had to be rescued.


Eventually, he learned to go up and down staircases outside, which are usually rough and weathered, and not slippery. Sometimes if there was something exciting at the other end of the steps, he would make it halfway before remembering that he was scared of stairs, and then it would take a lot of coaxing and treats to get him to keep going.

But indoors, he would NOT try the stairs. If you took the stairs, he would just wait there for you to come back. When other dogs visited our house, they all pitter-pattered up and down, while Chewy just stayed there.

Hello, up there!
One time, we stayed in a cabin with carpeted stairs, and Chewy happily went up and down at his leisure.

So, we decided to install stair treads in our house, and Chewy's life has been totally changed! Whereas before he needed a human to bring him up or down, now he can do whatever he pleases! Sometimes when he is super excited, he even hops up 2 steps at a time.

Going down...

He also feels confident enough to play with his toys on the steps. And if his toy falls down, he can rescue it himself!

A few days ago, he finally realized he could walk up uncovered wooden stairs, too. Better late than never, right? Going down them is definitely still a no-go, though. 

Some stairways are still too scary, like those with no railings/walls or those with really tall steps.

I'll just stay here...
Maybe one day he'll really master stairs. But for now, we'll just take it one step at a time ;)

Friday, February 12, 2016

Sojos Big Dog Treats - Product Review

When it comes to treats, Chewy's philosophy is: the bigger, the better! So when we came across the Big Dog treats by Sojos, we wanted to try them. Chewy was excited about big cookies, while I liked that they have simple, natural ingredients.

Sojos Big Dog treats

Sojos Big Dog Treats are:

  • wheat and corn free
  • contain no artificial preservatives, flavors or colors
  • made with natural, human-quality ingredients
  • available in 2 flavors: Biscuits & Gravy and Beef Stew

The treats come in a cute little box, like something you'd find at a boutique bakery.

I'll take this to go, thanks!

The treats themselves are in a sealed plastic pouch, which keeps them nice and fresh until you open them. (Have you ever bought dog treats packaged only in cardboard, and found them infested with bugs? I have! Bugs would not survive the baking process, so I presume they found their way into the treats during shipping/storage. But thankfully that wouldn't be a problem with these treats!)


The plastic pouch is not resealable, so I ended up pouring the treats into a cookie jar for convenience. Nevertheless, I appreciate that the packaging is relatively environmentally friendly- the box can be recycled and the plastic is thin and minimal.

Beef stew flavor and Biscuits & gravy flavor

While they are called Big Dog treats, they are not actually that big. They are larger than bite-sized, but I would say they are regularly-sized dog biscuits -- which means Chewy can have more than one at a time!


I like that the ingredient lists are very simple:
Biscuits & Gravy flavor: rye flour, oat bran, oat flour, buttermilk powder, chicken, honey, canola oil, eggs
Beef Stew flavor: rye flour, oat bran, potato, carrots, celery, beef, parsley, canola oil, eggs

You can even see the bits of veggie/parsley in the Beef Stew treats! It's nice when dog food actually looks like real food.

I tried to see which flavor Chewy preferred by putting out one of each and letting him choose, but he just chose the one on his left every time (and then proceeded to eat the other one afterwards, of course!). So, my rather un-scientific conclusion is that Chewy thinks they are equally delicious.

Always eating the left one first

We give Sojos Big Dog Treats four paws up!

Four paws up for Sojos Big Dog Treats!

Disclaimer: We received one box each of Sojos Big Dog Biscuits & Gravy Dog Treats and Big Dog Beef Stew Dog Treats from Sojos in exchange for an honest review. We received no monetary compensation for this review, and all of the opinions stated above are our own.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Caring for Dry Paw Pads

Paw pads need to be tough to protect dogs from all the different surfaces their feet come in contact with, but sometimes they dry out too much and become extra rough or even cracked. Cracked paw pads can be painful for the dog, and super rough paw pads can unintentionally scratch things/people.

There are some prevention measures that can be taken, such as wearing dog boots, trimming excess foot fur to avoid picking up irritants, and applying protective wax products. However, when the damage is already done, it might be time for some spa treatment!

Doggy Foot Spa:

Step 1: Clean feet
It is important to start with clean feet, because if irritants like road salt are on the paw pads, adding moisturizer will just continue the irritation.

Since Chewy hates baths and will not willingly get in a tub or shower, I just use a plastic take-out container filled with clean water. I soak each foot and gently scrub the paw pads by hand, and then towel dry.

Step 2: Moisturize
There are a variety of products marketed specifically for applying to dry paw pads, but they can be quite pricey. Coconut oil is also an option, but I find it to be too greasy/messy, and Chewy makes it his mission to eat it ALL.

Generally, human moisturizers are not suitable for use on dogs because they might be poisonous/unhealthy if ingested, but I like to use Bag Balm. Originally made for healing cracked cow udders, it is now widely used to treat dry skin on humans, and can typically be found in drugstores. In the aftermath of 9/11, the search and rescue dogs were provided Bag Balm to soothe their scratched paws.

Bag Balm

Bag Balm is made with lanolin, a wax secreted by sheep to protect their wool and skin. Since it is an animal product, Chewy thinks it smells and tastes delicious. I always try to keep him distracted with a chew thing, bellyrubs, or treats during his foot spa treatments so that the stuff actually stays on his feet.

Ready for foot spa!

I gently massage Bag Balm onto his paw pads, making sure to get the problem spots, which for Chewy are the carpal pads (the ones higher up on the front legs), the metatarsal pads (the big ones on the hind feet), and under all the toenails.

Step 3: Allow moisturizer to absorb -- SOCKS?
Moisturizer needs time to absorb, so your dog might need to be discouraged from immediately licking it all off. You can provide a distraction like a tasty chew or belly rubs if a verbal "uh-uh" correction is not sufficient.