Category: Product Reviews

2017 Holiday Gift Guide for Your Dog

00Product Reviews

Our Orange Dog-Themed Christmas Tree | Spring Forth Dog AcademyHo, ho, ho! What is Santa bringing your dog for Christmas this year? Or, do you need eight great gifts for each night of Hanukkah? Don’t sweat it – the Spring Forth team and I have got you covered. Here are some ideas to place beside the Yule Log…

Fun Food Puzzles

A food puzzle is a great way to keep your dog out of your hair this holiday season! Fill one of these great toys with your dog’s kibble, and they’ll take 10-30 minutes to eat a meal instead of the usual 30 seconds. Food puzzles promote good digestion and give your dog a way to burn off some excess energy.

Northmate Green Feeder | Spring Forth Dog Academy

The Northmate Green Feeder is a slow-feeding bowl that is shaped like futuristic blades of grass. Simply dump your dog’s food over the top of the toy and the kibble will fall into the nooks and crannies between the “grass.” Your dog will forage around the toy to collect every bit of food. Unlike many other food-dispensing toy, the Green Feeder works great with canned food, The Honest Kitchen, and raw diets, too!

This dishwasher-safe toy comes in 2 sizes. Small is perfect dogs under ~25lbs or larger dogs with narrow snouts, like Whippets and small Collies, and Large is great for all other dogs.

PetSafe Twist N Treat | Spring Forth Dog AcademyThe PetSafe Twist N Treat is a versatile food-dispensing toy that is perfect for leaving in the crate with your puppy. You can easily adjust the difficulty level by twisting it tighter or leaving it open. Unlike some other food-stuffable toys, you can either fill the Twist N Treat with kibble or line it with something gooey, such as canned dog food, peanut butter, cream cheese, or liverwurst for an added challenge.

The Twist N Treat is made of a slightly softer rubber than many other dog toys on the market, so we don’t recommend it for “power chewers,” but it’s rare that one of our Day School dogs manages to do damage to it.

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Product Review: The Honest Kitchen Nice Mussels

20Product Reviews

The Honest Kitchen Nice Mussels Review | Spring Forth Dog Blog

This week, my dogs got to test out the latest freeze-dried product from The Honest Kitchen, and it’s definitely different from any treat we have tried before! Their latest and greatest treat is Nice Mussels. As the name suggests, they’re, well, mussels! (Full disclosure: we received free product in exchange for a review.)

Nice Mussels contain only one ingredient: mussels. Mussels are “rated by the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch Program as one of the most sustainable seafood products in the world,” according to The Honest Kitchen. They’re naturally full of Omega-3s, which means they are great for your dog’s skin and coat.

Like all THK products, Nice Mussels are 100% human-grade. They come in a 2oz package. Each bag is a mix of blue and green mussels, and our dogs didn’t seem to notice a difference between the two.

All five of my dogs loved these treats! Spark and Match are generally not too enthusiastic about seafood, but they went bananas for these. I broke them up into small pieces and used them for training sessions the other night. They did crumble a bit as I broke them up, but it wasn’t too problematic. The dogs wanted these treats so bad that it was definitely a test of their self-control!

I was concerned that these treats might have a strong odor, but I’m pleased to report that I didn’t detect an odor from these unless I stuck my nose in the bag. While training, I couldn’t detect anything at all. The treats left no scent on my fingers afterwards. If your dog loves fish treats but your nose doesn’t, you need to check out Nice Mussels.

 

How to Chop Dog Treats in 5 Minutes or Less | spend less time cutting treats and more time training your dog!

How to Chop Dog Treats in 5 Minutes or Less

02Helpful Hints, Product Reviews, Tutorials and How-To GuidesTags: , , ,

In our Day School program, we go through a lot of dog treats! During our busiest weeks, it is not uncommon for us to use 10 pounds or more. We’re always looking for the fastest and most cost-effective ways to prepare and store this much food in our training studio.

When it comes to food rolls, we have this down to a science. We recommend and sell Happy Howie’s treat rolls. Happy Howie’s rolls are way less crumbly than other rolls on the market, which is why they are our favorite. These are 1- or 2-pound chubs of semi-soft dog treats which you can chop up or tear chunks off to give to your dog. Because you take care of the cutting yourself, these treats are very inexpensive per-pound.

Chop Treats in 5 Minutes or Less

Here’s how we process the 2-pound Happy Howie’s treat rolls at the Academy in just 5 minutes or less.

1. Unwrap the roll. While a pair of scissors works just fine to snip the plastic open, we use a pair of large dog nail clippers.

2. Slice the roll into discs. We usually aim for 1/4″ thickness – these are a bit thick.

2_sliced

3. Place one disc at a time on to the cutting portion of your Vidalia Onion Chopper.

“Wait, what?”

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Product Review: The Honest Kitchen Proper Toppers

20Product Reviews

The Honest Kitchen Proper Toppers

It’s no secret that we are big fans of The Honest Kitchen, the only human-grade pet food company in the USA. A few months ago, we found out about their new product in the works: Proper Toppers, gently dehydrated “superfood clusters” you can add to your dog’s food. Or, better yet: you can give them as a treat! I knew I wanted to be first in line to test out this great new product. (Full disclosure: we received free product in exchange for a review.)

These Proper Toppers contain the five ingredients, pictured on the front of the bag – turkey or chicken (we tested the turkey formula), apples, pumpkin, chard, and blueberries – as well as a vitamin and mineral blend.

They are a great treat for dogs with food allergies since there are so few ingredients. Bonus: just like everything else The Honest Kitchen makes, there are no sketchy preservatives or colorings to worry about!

If you feed raw or grain-free, and you’re looking for a great replacement for “dog biscuits,” look no further because this is it. I kept the bag on my kitchen counter and doled them out a couple times per day. Our English Springer Spaniel, Finch, is picky about the texture of his food, but he loved the crunch of these and was eager for more.

All five of my dogs enjoyed these treats. Spark does not like crunchy food, but these great little tidbits (about the size of the tip of your finger) can be splashed with warm water and turned into a softer treat. Proper Toppers don’t disintegrate when wet, so even when rehydrated, they’re easy to use for training.

Because vitamins and minerals have been added, these are a “complete treat” that will not unbalance your dog’s diet. This is a topic that comes up in my training classes often. Owners are understandably concerned about allowing treats to make up too much of their dog’s daily food intake. (Always check with your veterinarian, but our vets tell us ~20% of the diet as treats is okay.)

With so many ways to use them, Proper Toppers are a great addition to your dog’s pantry. Give them as a snack, feed them when you run out of dog food, mix them into your dog’s kibble for a little bit of variety, or rehydrate and use as training treats. The choice is yours. Check ’em out!

Product Review: Solid Gold Tiny Tots Lamb Jerky Dog Treats

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Solid Gold Tiny Tots Lamb Jerky Dog TreatsFrom time to time, we get an opportunity to test drive a new dog product. This time around, we were sent a bag of Solid Gold Tiny Tots, which are described by the manufacturer as a “lamb jerky” dog treat.

The first thing I noticed after opening the bag of Tiny Tots (which contains 10oz of treats – not bad!) was the smell. These treats have a very particular scent. I don’t know how to describe it, but it does not remind me of lamb at all.

These treats are soft and extremely easy to break up with your fingers. Each bone breaks up into 5-7 little pieces. Since I train so many little dogs, this is much appreciated! The treats are a little crumbly, but it’s not excessive.

So how did they like them?

All of the dogs I offered Tiny Tots to loved them, but me? Not so much. This scent, unfortunately, lingers on your hands and in your pockets or treat pouch. After all these years training dogs, it doesn’t take much to make me self-conscious, but I was concerned that my clients would be bothered by the leftover odor.

All five of my personal dogs can and will eat these treats, which is sort of a miracle. I have one dog who doesn’t do well with poultry, and once dog who is quite allergic to beef, and another who is picky as all get-out. But all of them enjoyed these treats! For that reason, I’ll probably keep a bag in the house… but not at the Academy where my clients might smell them. 😉

The fine print

Solid Gold’s website states that all of their treats are made in USA from USA sourced ingredients, so this is a great choice for owners who will not purchase foreign-sourced pet products.

Chewy.com LogoThis month’s product review is brought to you by the folks at Chewy.com. They provided the product reviewed in this blog post for free. If you like to order pet supplies online, look no further! Chewy.com offers free shipping over $49 and competitive prices on dog food.

Product Review: The Honest Kitchen Beef Bone Broth

10Product Reviews

The Honest Kitchen Beef Bone Broth ReviewHere at Spring Forth, we are huge fans of The Honest Kitchen! All of their products are human-grade and made in the USA. So when the kind folks at THK asked if we’d like to review their new Beef Bone Broth, I jumped at the chance! (Full disclosure: we received free product in exchange for a review.)

Bone broth is very “trendy” right now for people, so I’m not surprised to see pet food manufacturers jumping on the bandwagon. Bone broth naturally contains a lot of the things that dog owners want to supplement in their dogs’ diets. Glucosamine, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid are all found in bone broth, and those are the active ingredients in almost all joint supplements!

The Honest Kitchen’s Beef Bone Broth also contains turmeric. As their website explains, “Besides the broth itself, turmeric is the star player in this new concoction. And it’s not just any old turmeric either, it’s the really potent kind, with 95% curcuminoids, the active compound in turmeric that’s been studied for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory properties.”

How do you use it?

The product is dehydrated, but it’s a snap to prepare. You just mix the desired amount of dry product with hot (not boiling water). I was mixing it up for all four of my Shetland Sheepdogs – Strata, Spark, Match, and Anthem – so I mixed a tablespoon of product with a cup of the hottest water that came out of the tap, then mixed it for about 30 seconds with a fork. Easy-peasy!

Once you’ve mixed it up, you have 3 choices for feeding it. You can use the Beef Bone Broth to rehydrate The Honest Kitchen’s dehydrated foods, you can pour it over kibble or other commercial dry food, or you can feed it straight-up in a bowl for them to lap up. We went with the latter.

The product has almost no odor when dry, but takes on a subtle beef stew scent when mixed with hot water.

So how did they like it?

Strata was definitely the most enthusiastic about the Beef Bone Broth. This wasn’t surprising, because he is a total chow hound and will eat almost anything! He drank it all right away, without stopping. The rest of my dogs can be a bit more particular about food.

Match and Anthem, our ten- and eleven-month-old puppies respectively, initially seemed confused about receiving a bowl of liquid! After their initial hesitation, Match drank almost all of hers, and Anthem took a few sips, walked away, returned for a few more sips, and then left it for good.

Spark’s reaction was just like Anthem’s. He took a few sips, walked away, took a couple more, and decided he was done with it. He is definitely the pickiest of the bunch. (My Springer Spaniel, Finch, had to sit out this product review because he’s allergic to beef.)

I confirmed with the company that Beef Bone Broth can be refrigerated for 2-3 days, just like their pet food products. So I put the leftover bone broth in the refrigerator, and will use it to rehydrate their Honest Kitchen breakfast tomorrow to see how they like that.

In conclusion

Because of the health benefits, I plan to continue using Beef Bone Broth a few times a week to rehydrate my dogs’ Honest Kitchen meals. I’m also going to see how the dogs like drinking it cold next summer. I worry sometimes that Spark does not drink enough water after exercising in the heat, so this might be a good way to entice him to drink.

If you’ve given your dogs bone broth, I’d love to hear how frequently you give it and how you use it! Let me know in the comments below.