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Nutrition & Treats

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Our pals over at Bocce’s Bakery are baking up some special treats for Valentine’s Day. Hugs & Kisses are made from fresh, antibiotic-free beef, organic apples, organic carrots, tasty oats, and local NY honey.

Your furry Valentine deserves some, right? ‘Cause you don’t do enough for them all year ’round, right?

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UPDATE: Our contest winner was Commenter #17, Katie! Congratulations, Katie!

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Mingus and Dottie don’t do much to help around the house, but they’re always ready to step up when there’s a treat review to be done. In this installment of Mingus & Dottie Try It, Mingus & Dottie try Soft & Chewy Buddy Biscuits and Trail Hound Dog Snacks, sent to us by Melissa at Cloud Star.

Both Trail Hound snacks and Buddy Biscuits soft and chewy treats are made in the USA with all natural ingredients. Trail Hound treats are low fat, perfect for both older pups and active youngsters. Although they contain no corn, no salt, no sugar, no soy, no egg, and no BHA or BHT, Trail Hound treats are loaded with healthy stuff, like essential fatty acids, antioxidants, L-carnatine, and kelp.

I had my doubts, as the Trail Hounds kind of look like those “cardboard” treats they have at the vet — but they smell good, and Mingus & Dottie got really excited over the Yogurt, Apple & Banana flavor. I like how they’re two treats joined together like a domino – perfect for snapping in half and splitting between two dogs.

Next Mingus and Dottie tried the Soft & Chewy Buddy Biscuits, shaped like little gingerbread men. This version of the original Buddy Biscuits is fragrant, soft, and chewy, and MY DOGS LOVED THESE TREATS. Seriously, they kind of caused a scene. I almost got mauled trying to take that picture up there. Like Trail Hounds, Buddy Biscuits are low in fat and contain no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives, but they apparently do not fall short on taste. It’s hard to believe my dogs could be so crazy about something that’s actually good for them.

Suffice it to say that when we finish up our freebie bags, we’ll be getting more Cloud Star treats.

Something else I really like about Cloud Star? Following their motto of “Wag More, Bark Less,” the company (founded in 1999) makes an effort to help pups and people in need. Believing that “good business should include doing good for others,” Cloud Star has pledged at least 10% of net profits to organizations that benefit animals, women, children, and the environment.

You can see all of Cloud Star’s treats here and find out where to fetch them here.

We want to share! Simply comment on this post below, and we’ll send one lucky (random) commenter a box of Trail Hound snacks (Chicken & Sweet Potato) and a bag of Soft & Chewy Buddy Biscuits (Duck)! We’ll draw a winner at 8:00 Eastern time today. (Sorry – We can only ship to U.S. and Canadian addresses.)

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My husband texted me from the grocery store the other night: They’ve got frozen puppy treats called Yoghund.

Awesome! (But does the ding-dong actually bring any home? No. So I went back a couple days later and procured a box.)

Yöghund is a tasty frozen treat for pups made from 100% natural, human-grade ingredients. It’s low-fat and low-calorie and contains live, viable probiotics (Yöbiotics) – billions in every serving. Even awesomer, Yöghund is made by a small, independent company, and their ingredients are certified organic by the USDA.

All this was clearly on my pups’ minds as they smashed their faces into their Yöghund containers, attempting to slurp up every last cold, creamy morsel.

And, in case your pup gets a little carried away, Yöghund is packaged in 100% recycled chlorine-free paper containers. In case this happens.

Yöghund is available in four flavors. You can fetch it in your grocery freezer section or find a store here.

The all-natural, organic dog biscuits from Bocce’s Bakery are handmade from fresh, human-grade ingredients. They’re made in a kitchen — not a factory — from wholesome ingredients like grass-fed meats, cage-free eggs, organic yogurt, and fresh organic fruits and vegetables. With no added chemicals, preservatives, or sugar, they’re the sort of thing you feel good about feeding your dog.

Which is good, because in the past two weeks Mingus has eaten a whole bag almost singlehandedly.

Bocce’s Bakery kindly sent us some samples and some bags of treats to give away for our Super-Duper Fantabulous Grab-Bag Giveaway — just about the same time Mingus was diagnosed with an ear infection. He boldly withstood thrice-daily ear drops with the promise of a tasty Bocce’s Bakery PB&J bone after each dosage.

Check out Bocce’s web site to check out all the tasty flavors (like The Elvis, Beef Bourgiugnon, and Grandma’s Apple Pie), and also to learn about their weekly Doggie Bag Delivery service. (And check out Wednesday’s post for a chance to win 2 bags free!)

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Tradition would have us believe that dogs and mail carriers can never be friends – but my dogs will love our postman forever if he continues to deliver packages that smell as tasty as the one that recently arrived from Minneapolis’ The Barkery.

Thanks to April at The Barkery, Mingus and Dottie had the pleasure of taste-testing a selection of The Barkery’s flavorful treats, namely molasses & granola cookies, salmon & yogurt snacks, chicken & apple cookies, salad bar snacks, and peanut butter & cheerios.

I can tell you that Mingus and Dottie loved the treats, but they’re crazy about treats anyway (I mean, saying my dogs “like” treats is like saying Don Draper enjoys a drink and a smoke now and then) — so I should probably also explain why I like treats from The Barkery. First, they’re handmade with love rather than in some ol’ dirty factory somewhere. Plus, they’re baked from scratch to order from wholesome, human-grade, organic, fresh, local ingredients and packaged in earth-friendly materials, meaning they’re good for dogs and for the planet. Plus (again), The Barkery’s packaging and web site boasts really nifty graphic design. (Hey – these things are important to me.)

Fetch The Barkery treats (plus cute treat jars!) directly from their web site.

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Have you ever noticed that dogs seem to like kinda stinky stuff? I won’t go into detail, but I’m pretty sure you know what I’m talking about. I think this stink affinity is part of the reason Mingus and Dottie love fish-based foods so much. And it’s why I giggle a little at the name of The Honest Kitchen‘s first fish-based recipe, Zeal, as I’m sure Ming and Dizz would gladly devour a bowl of it with just that very emotion.

Like all of The Honest Kitchen’s dehydrated raw foods, Zeal is made from minimally processed, 100% human-grade ingredients, and is free of wheat and preservatives like ethoxyquin, which I’m not really sure how to pronounce but I know is really bad.

Says Lucy Postins, founder and CEO of The Honest Kitchen, “Zeal was truly inspired by our customers. For years, pet owners have told us that their dogs have allergies or intolerances to conventional meat sources, and we’re pleased that we can now offer this high-quality, human-grade recipe with minimal risk of allergies.”

And on top of that big ol’ pile of goodness, The Honest Kitchen will donate a portion of Zeal’s profits to marine conservation efforts, including The Nature Conservancy, The Blue Ocean Institute and the World Wildlife Fund.

Zeal will be available in late September from The Honest Kitchen.

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I ran across nulo on twitter yesterday, and as with anything with bright colors and good design, it caught my eye. Nulo (nutrition + love) is food for dogs and cats developed by self-professed “pet foodies” aimed at providing holistic, wholesome nutrition to your pets. Their animal-protein-rich foods contain no hormones, byproducts, or fillers, and they deliver their kibble, canned foods, and treats right to your door – which is awesome, because in addition to being attracted to bright colors and pretty packaging, I’m also super lazy and scatterbrained.

Check out nulo’s goodness on their web site — and don’t get freaked when that cat and dog on the home page start moving (like maybe I did).

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Anyone remember those microwave cakes from the ’80s where you’d stir some water into the bag of cake mix, pop it in the microwave bundt pan, and “bake” it in the microwave in just a couple minutes? I LOVED THOSE THINGS… not so much for the taste, but because they were the perfect entertainment for a kid who wanted to pretend like she was cooking but whose mother perhaps didn’t trust her with a power mixer and hot oven.

PupCakes 2 Go are little microwave cakes for dogs and were voted Best New Product for 2010 at the Global Pet Expo. It’s easy to see why — they’re super easy and fun to make, inexpensive, and made from organic, wholesome ingredients (wheat, soy, and preservative-free at that). Melinda from Lucky Paws, the makers of PupCakes, sent me a couple boxes to try, and I relived a little ’80s fun whipping up a batch for Mingus and Dottie yesterday afternoon.

With PupCakes, all it takes to become a canine pastry chef extraordinaire is a little water, a little peanut butter, and a microwave. The powdered mix smells really good, just like cinnamon, and the PupCakes really do look and smell like real cakes when they come out of the microwave after a magical two and a half minutes. I was even tempted to try a tiny piece, and, well, they kind of tasted like those microwave cakes from the ’80s. But hey, they’re not made for humans, they’re for dogs. And the dogs? LOVED them.

And that preshy little purple tray? It’s reusable with PupCakes’ refill mixes. LOVE IT.

To find out how to get your paws on some PupCakes 2 Go, check out Lucky Paws’ website.

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Y’all remember that movie Superbad? Well, that’s pretty much how badly I want to go to the beach right now: SUPER BAD. I figure if I’m going to be sweating and getting sunburned, I might as well be breathing the salty air and sitting in the sand with cold drink in my hand, right?

Checking out Alopaw treats isn’t helping either — these cute, handmade Hawaiian themed treats, with ingredients like pineapple, banana, and coconut, and names like Beach Bums, Hula Honeys, and Paradise Palms, make me want to hit the beach REALLY SUPER BAD.

Alopaw treats are more than just cute, though. The treats were originally created for Kona, a lab puppy born with a liver shunt, who has to adhere to a strict low-protein and low-phosphate diet. Alopaw treats thus contain no meat, no wheat, no corn, no gluten, and no dairy — but, instead, all human-grade, virtually allergy-free ingredients.

Plus I betcha they smell like the beach.

You can buy Alopaw treats on their website or in their Etsy shop.

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Picture this: young me (I was cute) at a church picnic, spying the dessert table from across the room, running with unbridled glee (while wiping drool) towards a what I think is a giant vanilla cake, then skidding to a stop in horror when I get close enough to realize it’s not vanilla, it’s… COCONUT. Bleaughh.

Coconut. Aside from an umbrella drink here and there, can’t stand the stuff. But apparently it’s, like, totally super healthy for both humans and dogs. Not coconut cake, of course… but 100% raw, virgin coconut oil. Apparently it’s a fatty acid, but the good kind, and in dogs, it’s been shown to help with weight loss, metabolism, energy, skin and coat, and digestion. It’s also a huge immune-system booster and is a natural anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-oxidant. Kind of makes me feel bad about being so anti-coconut as a kid.

Dehydrated coconut carries the same health benefits as the oil, making these 100% pure organic coconut chips from CocoTherapy something I’m definitely curious to try with my beasts. After reading about the health benefits of coconut for dogs, I’m totally on the coconut boat. And who knows? Maybe I’ll even try one myself.

You can fetch CocoTherapy Coconut Chips online at Fun Dog Fred (or check CocoTherapy’s site for stores).

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