Monday, January 26, 2009

Best Chew Review: Antlerz

6/29/2012 UPDATE: Our veterinarian has told us that he believes Antlerz are much too hard for dogs, as are Nylabones and cooked bones. Others may disagree. I will say that, after having just gone through two tooth extractions with Kirby, both of which resulted from slab fractures to his upper molars -- the kind usually caused by biting down on very hard objects -- I'm now feeling a bit wary about any of these options for our little guy. Everything I said in the below review was true at the time, and I have no evidence that it was the Antlerz vs. a bone, a Nylabone or any other hard chew toy. But I felt compelled to write this update, as we are definitely switching to less hard chew options for our dog.

We haven't done a product review in quite a while, but one product caught our attention recently and it's definitely worthy of a positive review: Antlerz.

It all started on a holiday shopping trip with my mom, who was searching for the perfect gifts for her "grand dogs." We stopped at a natural pet store where a new product caught Mom's eye... deer antlers, packaged up as dog chews. My first three thoughts were "Will it last more than 15 minutes with Baxter?" "Does it splinter?" and "Man, that's kinda spendy!"

The clerk assured us these antlers last as long as bones and do not splinter, rather they grind away gradually into a mineral-rich powder. There are no plastics or chemicals in them and no slaughterhouses involved in the processing...the farm-raised deer naturally shed their antlers each year. The company cleans and cuts the antlers.
Sounded good, but the price still seemed rather steep for such a little chew. I figured if it was like every other natural chew we've tried, it would be gone at a rate of roughly a dollar a minute. I was ready to walk away. But being the wonderful, "spare-no-expense" grandparent she is, Mom said "I'll take one for Baxter."

I'm so glad she did. And so is Baxter. Of course, so is Kirby...all things dog are community property at our house.

Baxter helped me open the package on Christmas morning. He was immediately enthralled, engaging in an Olympic-worthy chew session on that little chunk of antler. At some point Bax decided to focus on something else (probably dinner) and Kirby grabbed it, giving quite an impressive chew performance of his own. By the time we packed up to leave the next day, the antler didn't even look like it had been touched!

Here we are, a month later, and the once four-inch antler piece is now down to about an inch-and-a-half and the dogs are still working on it. It hasn't left any greasy mess. No powder on the floor. No splinters. Just hours and hours of intense chewing on a gradually shrinking antler nubbin. I can honestly say we have NEVER had any natural chew last this long.

I haven't noticed any side effects except slightly drier stools for Kirby -- I'm assuming that's from the minerals in the powder that passes through. The positive side effect is cleaner dog teeth and calmer, happier dogs.

For all the joy this antler piece has brought to our dogs, and for its ability to stand up to two vigorous chewers for longer than any other natural chew we've tried, I'd say Antlerz are worth every penny!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Planning for a Cheek-swabbing Adventure

Ok, I confess, I've had Kirby's DNA test kit for a week now and I haven't yet swabbed the little guy's cheeks. Why? Well, mainly it's because I want to do something special with this once-in-a-dog-lifetime event. I've been thinking that Kirby's mysterious lineage might just create an opportunity for some sort of wagering...a charity "dog gene pool pool" of sorts, with the proceeds going to the local animal shelter. Trouble is, I haven't figured out just how to design such a thing. I have research to do. I have friends to hit up for money. I have to publicize it. I have to swab, mail and wait for the results. Then I have to figure out how the winner can "win" while still raising enough money for the shelter. Right now I'm thinking the winnings will just be a donation to the shelter in the winner's name.

Anyway, the jist of this is I WOULD LIKE YOUR HELP. If you know of a particularly good format for such charity wagering, please let me know. And if you don't, well, stay tuned. I have a weekend coming up, the Web to search and dog cheeks to swab.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Nice Promo for a Shelter

Found this one through a new creative online service called "elements." It's a creativity-inspiring site that is fun to play with and quite useful if you are looking for some visual stimulation.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

The DNA breed test kit is on its way...

Yes, I finally decided to take the plunge and get a DNA breed test for Kirby. I took advantage of one of the end-of-year the kit should be arriving any old time now. Then we'll be swabbing his little cheeks and sending it off with much anticipation.

I'm contemplating holding some sort of friendly pool or contest for guessing Kirby's "top five" breeds...with all proceeds going to the local animal shelter. Still working out the details on that one. But I'm taking any and all suggestions.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Kirby and the Snowdog

The texture of the snow on Christmas was perfect for snowman-making. So, while I was inside bouncing our new niece on my knee, my husband and his siblings decided to get creative. They sculpted a snow family that was, I must say, quite lovely, right down to the little Kirby-esque dog. When the dogs and I decided to come out for a look, Baxter gave them all a sniff and then wanted to run around in circles in the snow. Initially, Kirby was fascinated with his likeness...but he quickly lost interest when the snowdog didn't share his warm greeting. My brother-in-law (creator of snowdog) managed to snap a couple of quick photos during those first few smitten moments...