If it moves, it dies.
TIRED of the usual biscuit treat for your dog? How about giving them a rabbit ear to nibble on?
Treats that make dogs' ears stand up in excitement are inspiring one culinary student to develop not-your-usual dog snack items. From dehydrated rabbit ears to dried up cow throats, Dog-apetreat lets dogs to literally sink their teeth into something more natural and exciting.
The brainchild of 20-year-old Mikaela Dy Tecklo, Dog-apetreat offers organic homemade dog treats prepared by Mikaela herself. Only last May did she start selling her products to an informal market of friends and relatives and, from there, word quickly spread about Dog-apetreat.
“I got into this particular business because my passions are cooking and baking, plus I love dogs so I decided to make dog treats,” she said.
Mikaela first offered her dehydrated meaty treats to her own dogs whose approval encouraged her to launch Dog-apetreat. She shuns the use of preservatives even if these would make her treats last longer as she believes preservatives could upset a dog's stomach. Instead, she makes sure she dehydrates her treats really well and prepares them only when customers place an order.
“When treats are not dehydrated well, molds would form around them in just one week. I make sure our treats are something that customers will feel safe to give to their dogs. My organic treats don't have preservatives commonly present in local and international brands,” Mikaela said.
Truth be told, we kept some pieces of beef heart and beef liver strips and they're still mold-free after almost two months in the bag and beyond their expiration date.
Variety is the spice of life and Dog-apetreat works hard to make it one of its selling points. To date, it offers beef heart crisps, beef liver crisps, chicken liver crumble, sweet potato, duck jerky, and the most sought after rabbit ears and cow throats.
Based on customer feedbacks, a lot of dogs crave for Dog-apetreat's beef and rabbit treats because of their meaty flavor and great texture. Our short review of these items revealed the same thing (short because the rabbit ear and beef throat were quickly gobbled up by our dog reviewers).
Mikaela said dogs can gnaw at the beef throat so they don't destroy slippers and other objects around the house. It is also big enough to keep them busy while their owners are away. We tried to break it into pieces, but it's really tough and will need a strong pair of scissors, or FANGS, to do it!
The rabbit ear, on the other hand, is not only packed with flavors but also fiber from the fur.
“My brand's vision is to be original and unique. I know that there will be companies that will have the same treats as I do, and some that will try to copy our ideas or what we have. But they will never be the same as Dog-apetreat's variants because the methods, technique and quality ingredients that we use are different. Also, because I make the treats myself, even the packaging, I can control the quality of treats that I sell,” Mikaela said.
Next year will see Dog-apetreat releasing more unique dog treats in the market. They will also be cheap, safe and nutritious, Mikaela said.
“We have so much more treats coming! We are already on the way to make dehydrated dog food,” she added.
Dog-apetreats are available online and in select partner pet shops and veterinary clinics in Metro Manila. For more information on where and how to buy, visit Dog-apetreat in Facebook and Instagram. -- MetroPets
By ALMA J. BUELVA
A startup dog food company, Escuin Pet Food Manufacturing, is making a strong pitch for raw feeding with its fresh line of frozen uncooked meat with vegetables and dog treats made from natural ingredients.
Its brand, Natural Goodness Real Food for Dogs, hit the ground running at the start of the year with two ready-to-serve raw dog meals (chicken or beef) and three varieties of dog chews – pumpkin biscuits, chicken strips and sweet potato chips.
Necessity is the mother of invention and for Donna Escuin, a self-taught canine nutrition expert, she built Natural Goodness from the ground up to save her little dog Audrey from obesity due to unhealthy diet.
Back in 2012, Audrey, a Pomeranian that should ideally weigh 2kgs max, tipped the scales at 4kgs. For a year, Audrey would see a vet every three weeks for check-ups and x-ray tests. As the dog got heavier, Donna's purse got lighter.
Fast forward to 2016, Donna not only got her dog healthy again after putting her on a natural diet, she also left the corporate world for the kitchen where she developed her first batch of Natural Goodness products that are “homemade, human grade dog food that the consumers can trust,” she said.
Aside from ground meat of fresh raw chicken or beef, every pack of frozen Natural Goodness Real Food for Dogs contains nutritious and calcium rich meaty bones such as necks, wings, and backs for chicken and ribs, necks, tail for beef. It also contains organ meats like liver and muscle meat such as thighs, tenderloin and hearts. For added nutrition and flavor, a cooled slow-cooked vegetable stew is added to the mix along with fresh eggs, virgin coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, raw honey, turmeric and malunggay.
“We have four resident testers (two Pomeranians, an Aspin, and a cross-breed) plus dogs of breeder friends who tried our products and they loved them,” said Donna.
A 2-kilo bag of frozen chicken doggie food costs P570, and P710 for beef. Donna gives discounts for bulk orders.
For treats, Natural Goodness' sweet potato chips (with malunggay flakes) and pumpkin biscuits are both priced P120 each for a small bag, and P370 each for a big bag.
A small pack of chicken strips costs P150 while the big pack sells for P450.
The raw meals can be frozen for four months from manufacturing date, while the treats are good for one month when kept in room temperature not exceeding 30ºC, and two months in a refrigerator. She also keeps her products fresh by preparing them based on demand. Most of her initial customers are dog breeders.
Donna arranges meet-ups at BF Homes Parañaque with customers who order the frozen doggie food. The treats, however, can be delivered to customers from Metro Manila for a minimum P60 shipping fee.
A popular local online pet store is interested to carry Natural Goodness products, said Donna, adding that supplying to other retailer pet stores later may be the way to go to give her more time to focus on product development and marketing.
WHAT'S (not) COOKIN'?
With Natural Goodness now in the market, Donna plans to enroll herself in an online course in Australia to formalize her education in canine nutrition to boost her and her products' credibility.
To date, she has relied on her own intensive self-study on raw feeding and advice from veterinarians to come up with her own carefully balanced dog food close to the “natural prey model” of eating that is intrinsic in every dog.
“I came to fall in love with the Biologically Appropriate Feeding method...I kept sharing my recipes in groups on Facebook. The only thing that saddened me was too many people I talked to would say they could not continue the diet because it was too much work. So, in my head I was like, okay I'll do it then,” said Donna.
She believes raw feeding is gaining traction among local pet owners though misconceptions such as how bones will choke dogs or raw meat will turn them into blood-hunting monsters continue to dissuade others from trying it.
Raw feeding advocates like her believe that switching a dog's diet of kibbles to raw food should be second nature.
“All dogs are designed to consume raw so it should be natural for them to love this diet. However, when a dog is too accustomed to over processed kibbles or canned food, it may find it strange at first. If you are feeding cooked, try mixing some raw little by little. However it is not recommended to mix raw to a kibble because these two foods require a different level of acid to be digested and may confuse the dog's digestive system which may lead to upset stomach,” said Donna.
The suggested amount of raw feeding is 3 percent of the dog's ideal weight, but Donna said it is best for a dog owner to first seek a veterinarian's expert opinion before changing a dog's diet and for how much more or less.
“Feeding dogs raw food can start with one meal once a week. One natural meal a week is better than nothing,” she added.
Meanwhile, she plans to move Natural Goodness' kitchen out of her house in the coming months and to open a Natural Goodness store next year.
“We are a very small company—so small that the owner who answers the emails also does the cooking, packing and arranging shipping and meet ups,” Donna revealed.
But she's not complaining because advocating raw feeding and offering alternative dog food is what she really wanted to do ever since she saw how it helped improve her dog Audrey's health.
“I decided to go into this business to spread awareness and knowledge. To be able to offer much better option for pet owners to better care for their loved ones. If there are any Audreys out there suffering, I hope to help them through our product,” said Donna.
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WHAT kind of treats do you give your dogs? Sab, a Beagle who is very fussy about food, took a great liking for Dog Snack Gnawlers, particularly the bacon flavor.
Dog Snack Gnawlers come in other flavors that include cheese, chicken and even seaweed. They also come in at least three sizes: 3” (6 bones in a pack), 4.5” (2 bones in a pack), and the largest one is at least six inches or longer.
The fine print on the label claims that this dog snack uses 100 percent digestible, natural ingredients and no colorants. This probably explains the generally brown color of the bones, except for the seaweed variety.
Made for all breeds, the Dog Snack Gnawlers are softer but not cookie soft. Sab likes gnawing at a piece while holding it upright between her paws. But for a big dog with powerful jaws and teeth, a piece of Dog Snack Gnawlers would be an easy chew.
Made from China by Foshan Phoenix Pet Products Co. Ltd, the Dog Snack Gnawlers are available in many local pet stores and supermarkets. The two-piece pack costs about P50 while the six-piece pack sells for P74.75 at TrueValue.
So what goes in every Dog Snack Gnawlers? Here's what the packaging says:
BACON FLAVOR CHEESE FLAVOR
* Vegetable protein * Vegetable starches
* Wheat flour * Wheat corn powder
* Natural collagen * Natural Albumen glue
* Soyabean lecithin * Vitamin complex
* Organic trace elements * Amino acids
* Bacillus subtilis * Active Bacillocin
* Small peptide protein * Small peptides
* Cheese powder * Soya Lecithin
* Natural antioxidant * Natural Antioxidants
* Bacon flavor * Natural flavors
* Potassium sorbate
* Caramel colorant
WHICH TRANSLATES TO:
* Energy 1059KJ
* Crude protein 46.75%
* Crude oils and fats 7.13%
* Crude fibers 0.49%
* Crude ash 3.13%
* Moisture 13%
* Sodium 0.27%
* Calcium 0.51%
* Total Phosphorus 0.24%
While Dog Snack Gnawlers supposedly promotes balance nutrition and absorption and adjustment of intestinal microflora, it would be wise to give a “test piece” to your dog for the first time as you would with any other new snack. If your dogs like it and they don't negative physical reactions to it, you may want to feed them Dog Snack Gnawlers based on their age, chewing strength, size and weight.
As always, do everything in moderation. It's tempting to reward a good dog with the biggest Dog Snack Gnawlers, but if it's completely consumed in one sitting, it might overwhelm and upset the dog's stomach. The 4.5” bones are a good compromise for a big dog, while the 3” would make a small dog happy and satisfied.
The Dog Snack Gnawlers have a two-year shelf life.
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