Our Puppy Panel Tastes Love Dog Treats

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Gut Check began this puppy pursuit as a Fight Club Sandwich -- throwdown that pits one thingie against another thingie. You know: cupcakes. Hot dogs. Designer beer in cans. Trouble is, when you're talking dog treats -- and today we're talking dog treats -- bear in mind that given the choice between two treats, a dog is going to eat both of them and not betray an obvious preference for either. So rather than stack up one treat against another treat, in this Fight Club Sandwich bout we evaluate one kind of treat, consumed by several dogs.

DEBORAH HYLAND
  • Deborah Hyland

Without further ado...

The Treat: • Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal treats from Love Dog Foods (lovedogfoods.com). Retail $10.00 for a pint canning jar of 70 treats. Baked locally, the treats are carried at Four Muddy Paws (1711 Park Avenue; 314-773- 7297).

The Pooch Panel: • Bebe, a Pomeranian • Lanie and Ria, of mixed herding-dog ancestry • Butters, a Mastiff • Dakota, a Husky mix • Chip, a Samoyed • Steuben, a fancy-pants dog and Gut Check's official dog-treat taste tester • Nikolai and Kitty, cats (control)

The Results: With a jar of seventy heart-shaped treats, Gut Check was able to convene a large panel of taste testers. The ingredients list includes only rice flour, oats, water, apple, cinnamon, honey, vegetable oil, cloves and applesauce. The treats are wheat-free, so owners don't need to worry about any digestive upset if their dog has gluten issues, although dogs with grass-based allergies may want to avoid rice. Given the fresh, homemade nature of the treats and the lack of preservatives, Love dates each jar with a sticker and suggests consuming within 60 days. The cinnamon scent to the treats is strong but pleasant, and the treats break easily into smaller pieces.

Bebe, one of our willing volunteers - DEBORAH HYLAND
  • Deborah Hyland
  • Bebe, one of our willing volunteers

Bebe, a Compton Heights resident, enjoyed the treats immensely, as did Steuben. Lanie, likewise, ate her treat immediately. Ria generally prefers to savor her treats, but given the choice of gobbling up the Love treat or ceding it to Lanie, opted for the former.

Butters sampled the treat on a particularly warm afternoon and initially spit it out. He later returned to eat the treat. Like many mastiffs, Butters finds sitting difficult, but he expressed a willingness to at least attempt to sit in exchange for another treat.

At first, eleven-year-old Dakota expressed great interest in the treats. Generally not a fussy eater, he suffers from an extreme camera phobia, which overpowered his initial interest in the dog treats. After the camera disappeared, however, Dakota partook of his treat.

Chip, age two, was the only dog to reject the treats. Although friendly enough at first, he spit out both the Love treat and another brand of treats, perhaps the sign of fussy eating in general.

At first, Nikolai and Kitty seemed quite interested in the treats and more than willing to take on the role of controls in the Love treats taste test. They sniffed and sniffed at the treats, but expressed great confusion. Something seemed amiss to their feline sensibilities. Only crunchy fish-flavored treats could restore their sense of balance in the universe.

The Verdict: In addition to smelling like grandma's Christmas cookies, Love dog treats appeal to a vast array of dogs. By donating $1 for each jar sold to area animal rescues and shelters, Love dog treats appeal to owners, too. Cats? Not so much.

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