Bone Voyage! travel bag

If you travel with your dog, then the Bone Voyage!™ Travel Bag from M&M Productions is for you. It’s one of the more creative ideas we’ve seen – in a very attractive package. We received the small-sized Bone Voyage for our test. A medium size is available, as well as a large (which would suit my 85-pound Malamute perfectly).

The bag looks like a black soft-side weekender in an oval design. The outside of the bed is durable canvas – the kind of material that backpacks are made of – so it’s very sturdy. And the whole shootin’ match is machine washable.

There’s the always-important removable carrying strap and luggage tag. But zip this bag open (the zipper top can completely detach) and surprises abound – there are clever pockets and elastic holders in the lid to hold necessary items for Rover! The case itself is lined in a soft Dalmatian-print faux fur to create a comfortable bed for your pup. (A cheetah print is also available.)

Tucked inside are things that you might need while traveling with your dog: two small Rubbermaid® containers for food and water; one empty plastic shampoo bottle; one empty plastic flea-spray bottle; a small flea comb; the luggage tag; and the carrying strap. As a limited offer, the company is including the following as an accessory pack (basically, until they run out): a package of ten odor-neutralizing Doggy Walk Bags; a small container of Top and Tail Sanitary Wipes; and Rio Vista™ Conditioner and Shampoo. Even with all that, there’s still room for plenty more.

Care instructions are also included, as well as an informative demonstration video. This video shows how to take the bed apart for washing, and how to reassemble it. (I wish more companies would be that considerate!)

Harley, my 15-pound Jack Russell Terrier, immediately curled up inside the bed. But the pillow comes out easily for dogs that would rather not sleep inside the bed.

This is a wonderful idea your dog will love! (And our cats loved to snooze on it, when it was stored, zipped up under a desk. For more information, or to order, contact M&M Productions, 2781 W. MacArthur Blvd, Suite B-307, Santa Ana, CA 92704, or call toll-free 888-645-1613. For those of you on-line, their e-mail address is [email protected]

Wendy Houtz and Judi Sklar



We’re frantic! Our neighbor’s dog choked on a toy. So now we’re very much aware that dog toys shouldn’t be too small or have detachable parts. That leaves us with the question: which toys are okay for Bobbin?

This is a good question. Keep Bobbin away from plastic or soft rubber toys. They can be chewed into chokable pieces. Nylon chews can crack a tooth (as can any crunchy object the dog can get all the way in his mouth). Rawhide is a big culprit in choking, too. What’s left? Rubber toys like those from Kong® and rope pull toys and bones like those from Booda. Also, to avoid behavior problems, don’t let Bobbin play with old shoes or socks. Dogs can’t tell the difference between old and new, so all your clothing will become fair game!

I can’t feel Merry’s rib cage. Is she out of shape? How can we tell – through exercise? And just how would exercising tell us?


Try to instigate a vigorous game with Merry for several minutes. Get her to run for 30 feet. Does she huff and puff or refuse to participate? If so, tell your veterinarian who can recommend a sensible diet and  exercise program suitable to Merry’s needs.

Nick is our senior citizen dog. His skin is dry and flaking. Is this normal for an dog his age? Should we stop bathing him?

Have your veterinarian examine Nick’s coat and skin in order to rule out health problems. The vet may then suggest adding bath oil in Nick’s final rinse. The oil acts as a skin conditioner. Reduced activity of oil-producing glands often causes dry skin and coat matting in elderly dogs.

I’ve heard that breed rescue and adoption groups have dogs to place. How can I find out more about them? I want to adopt a dog.


What a wonderful thing that would be! There are far too many unwanted and homeless dogs out there. First, check the Second-Hand Dogs column in the back of Good Dog! We list several groups that recycle different breeds. You can also e-mail or write the Good Dog! office and we’ll check our rescue group directories for you. Other leads: local veterinarians, breed and kennel clubs. They tend to know about dogs in your area who need a new home. They’ll also have some history on the dog. The American Kennel Club (AKC) can provide a list of national breed clubs for each breed you’re interested in. They’ll point you to a nearby breed rescue group. And don’t forget to try your local shelter. Sometimes great purebreds end up there.

Dr. Whaddowedo is our column for information from the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Good Dog! Product Test Report: New dog treats

by Judi Sklar

Purina O.N.E. Brand Dog Snack

The copy on the package states that new Purina O.N.E.® Brand Dog Snack “helps promote healthy skin and coat.” And that “good nutrition shouldn’t be limited to meal times.” This, says Purina, is why they developed the Lamb Meal & Rice Formula. They claim it’s nutritionally complete and balanced; they say it cleans and freshens the dog’s breath; and that it has great-tasting, high- quality ingredients.

The claim that it helps promote healthy skin and coat is one of those nebulous marketing claims. The goal is to make you think that this biscuit will do for your dog what lamb and rice foods will do. Well, that much is true. It will do the same thing: nothing. Eating lamb and rice won’t help your dog’s skin and coat any more than eating a poultry-based food or treat – unless your dog is one of the few allergic to poultry products.

As for being a complete and balanced snack, nearly every treat put forth by a major pet food maker is going to be a complete and balanced food under AAFCO regulations. That means the treat won’t throw off the balance of nutrients in your dog’s diet. But since treats are so small a portion of the diet (for most dogs) it’s not a critical factor. Nice to know, but not critical.

So, what are the benefits of these new Purina O.N.E. biscuits? They’re good, healthy biscuits which match the quality of the Super-Premium Purina O.N.E. food. As with all biscuits, they’ll keep down the tartar on the teeth (leading to better breath), but will do nothing for the critical area along the gumline.

There are no obnoxious ingredients, and our test dogs liked them just fine. Overall, though, there’s nothing special to recommend these treats, except the brand name, and the fact that the treats match the Purina O.N.E. Lamb and Rice food.

The biscuits are a bone-shape that measures 2-1/4” long. There are no added fillers, artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.You’ll find them at the supermarket.

Wheat Flour, Lamb Meal, Brewers Rice, Corn Gluten Meal, Beef Tallow preserved with mixed-tocopherols (source of vitamin E), Salt, L-lysine, Calcium Carbonate, Potassium Chloride, Dicalcium Phosphate, Zinc Oxide.

Guaranteed Analysis:
Crude Protein (min.)    20.0%
Crude Fat (min.)    6.0%
Crude Fiber (max.)    4.0%
Moisture (max.)    12.0%

Uncle Ted’s Good Dog! Biscuits

This treat has been produced by one family since 1976. And, judging by the fact that when I opened the bag Chief Test Dog, Chops, deserted her chew, and Katie, Second-In-Chief-Test dog gave up her nap, I’d say the Bentley family has a winner.

It seems Ted Bentley spent years researching and testing recipes to come up with a formula that even the pickiest dog would wolf down. He succeeded and, over the years, Ted’s friends and neighbors begged him for some for their dogs. He started producing them and called them Uncle Ted’s Good Dog! Biscuits.

But Ted’s customers call them “invisible leashes” because when they show them to their dogs, the dogs stay well- heeled! They’re high in protein and fiber, and naturally low in fat. They’re also good for dogs with special dietary intolerance, says veterinarian April Ervin in an Uncle Ted’s press release.

These hand-crafted crunchy treats are packaged in a 12 oz. bag and include four shapes: hearts, girls, boys, and fire hydrants. And they’re about 2” in size.

Uncle Ted’s biscuits are currently sold through select pet shops and vet clinics in the San Francisco area. But call them at (510) 682-8959 for ordering information.

Wheat Flour, White Flour, Water, Eggs, Flavorings, Herbs and Spices.

Guaranteed Analysis:
Crude Protein (min.)    15.75%
Crude Fat (min.)    2.21%
Crude Fiber (max.)    8.51%
Moisture (max.)    9.05%

Bentley also adds the Emotional Ingredients: Love, happiness, and really good times!

Sister Joan’s Nutri-Bits

Sister Joan Schneider is a Benedictine nun in the community at St. Paul’s Priory in St. Paul, MN. She has bred German Shorthaired Pointers and German Shepherd dogs for eighteen years. She wanted to feed her Shepherds a nutritious, additive-free treat. It took her over eight years to develop Nutri-Bits.

It seems Ted Bentley spent years researching and testing recipes to come up with a formula that even the pickiest dog would wolf down. He succeeded and, over the years, Ted’s friends and neighbors begged him for some for their dogs. He started producing them and called them Uncle Ted’s Good Dog! Biscuits.

But Ted’s customers call them “invisible leashes” because when they show them to their dogs, the dogs stay well- heeled! They’re high in protein and fiber, and naturally low in fat. They’re also good for dogs with special dietary intolerance, says veterinarian April Ervin in an Uncle Ted’s press release.

These hand-crafted crunchy treats are packaged in a 12 oz. bag and include four shapes: hearts, girls, boys, and fire hydrants. And they’re about 2” in size.

Uncle Ted’s biscuits are currently sold through select pet shops and vet clinics in the San Francisco area. But call them at (510) 682-8959 for ordering information.

Wheat Flour, White Flour, Water, Eggs, Flavorings, Herbs and Spices.

Guaranteed Analysis:
Crude Protein (min.)    15.75%
Crude Fat (min.)    2.21%
Crude Fiber (max.)    8.51%
Moisture (max.)    9.05%

Bentley also adds the Emotional Ingredients: Love, happiness, and really good times!

Lammy Whammies

Lammy Whammies from Petstations Products is a hit with our two girls. Chops has planted herself practically under my feet for this one. And Katie’s not too far behind. And I don’t think it’s the rattle of the packaging paper, either! (Sometimes that’s all it takes for them to be at the ready to test these treats!)

As you may have already gathered, Lammy Whammies are made from lamb organ meat. There are no preservatives and no additives. They’re touted as being 100% natural, high in protein and low in fat. Again, we found these treats in Target.

Lamb By-products.

Guaranteed Analysis:
Crude Protein (min.)    65.0%
Crude Fat (min.)      8.8%
Crude Fiber (max.)    2.5%
Moisture (max.)     11.0%

Love Bites Droolers

Love Bites® Droolers™ are tiny little morsels about an inch in length. The package holds 1.6 oz. And they’re definitely the winner in today’s treats test. I’ve got two dogs here who won’t leave me alone. And I can’t say I blame them. These tidbits smell so good that even I crave one!

The ones we used for the test say Love Bites Beef Flavor on the package.

The confusion comes in the rest of the copy which also states that they’re Drooler’s Bite Size Turkey. In any case, they’re like miniature sausages, brick red in color. We’re told to refrigerate after opening to assure freshness.

When I opened them, they felt a little oily. But my skin must have quickly absorbed it, or else it was my imagination! (Maybe they can be used as a new skin cream! Just kidding.)

You’ll find these treats in Target. And I’d say they’re worth looking for. Only thing is, they do contain soy. So if you have an itchy dog, stay away from them!

Turkey, Beef Hearts, Textured Soy Flour (Soy Flour, Caramel Color), Water, Flavorings, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Salt, Dextrose, Lactic Acid Starter Culture, Sodium Erythorbate, Sodium Nitrite.

Guaranteed Analysis:
Crude Protein (min.)    25%
Crude Fat (min.)    20%
Crude Fiber (max.)      2%
Moisture (max.)     42%

Milk-Bone Doggie Bag Treats

Milk-Bone® Doggie Bag Treats™ are packaged in a slick red, white and yellow resealable bag. And it’s one of the best resealable bags I’ve ever encountered. It was so easy that I couldn’t believe it worked without my having to go over and over the strip. The bag holds 4 oz. of treats.

Unfortunately, the resealable bag was the highlight of our test results. These treats are filled with sugar, salt, humectants (to keep them moist in the bag), artificial colors and preservatives. We call it junk food for dogs.They also contain soy, which we don’t like to give to dogs with sensitivities or allergies. (But then, you’d be foolish to give these treats to any dog with allergies.)

Milk-Bone says these treats provide calcium for strong teeth and bones. We tested the chicken flavor (made with “real chicken”) as well as the beef flavor (made with “real beef”). The chicken-flavored treats are shaped like a drumstick; the beef-flavored treats look like a steak. They smell really good … kind of a smoky scent. The beef is a bit stronger, but quite pleasant.

Tastewise, the Doggie Bag treats are quite good, according to Katie and Chops. (These two dogs have got to be incredibly stuffed. All they’ve been doing on and off all day today is test-tasting treats!) The dogs were particularly attracted by the smell. Our test cat, Murphy, wanted in on these treats, too, but was banned from the test lab. Doggie Bag treats contain propylene glycol, which is considered safe for dogs. In cats, though, it causes a blood disorder known as Heinz bodies.

You’ll find the new Doggie Bag treats at your favorite supermarket or discounter.

Chicken-Flavor Ingredients:
Chicken, Soy Grits, Sugar, Cornstarch, Brown Sugar, Salt, Dextrose, Propylene Glycol, Guar Gum, Natural Flavor, Garlic Powder, Lactic Acid, Potassium Sorbate and BHA (to preserve freshness), Sodium Nitrite (for color retention).

Guaranteed Analysis:
Crude Protein (min.) …………. 18.0%
Crude Fat (min.) ………………. 12.0%
Crude Fiber (max.) …………… 1.5%
Moisture (max.) ……………….. 22.0%

Beef-Flavor Ingredients:
Beef, Soy Grits, Brown Sugar, Cornstarch, Sugar, Salt, Dextrose, Natural Flavor, Propylene Glycol, Guar Gum, Garlic Powder, Lactic Acid, Potassium Sorbate and BHA (to preserve freshness), Sodium Nitrite (for color retention), Red 40 (color).

Guaranteed Analysis:
Crude Protein (min.)    18.0%
Crude Fat (min.)     12.0%
Crude Fiber (max.)    1.5%
Moisture (max.)     22.0%

Cloud 9 Sterile-Aire 300 HEPA Air Purifier

by Ross Becker

I’ve had allergies for so long that I can’t remember what it’s like not to be stuffed up. My dogs also seem to suffer from many of the same pollen, dust mite and mold allergies as I do, only their response is itching. Between us, we can usually tell when the pollen count or mold count is high.

After years of tolerating my allergies, it came as a surprise to me the first night I plugged in the Cloud 9® Sterile-Aire® 300 air purifier.

The fan noise kept me awake for a few minutes that first night, but I soon conked out. But my sleep was interrupted four or five times, as I woke up, took a deep breath, muttered to myself “I can breathe!” and promptly fell back asleep.

While my sleep patterns have evened out to the point where I sleep the whole night through, my amazement over the Cloud 9 continues. I can breathe! I’ve now had my first good night’s sleep in twenty or thirty years – where my breathing is easy. Even the two dogs and a cat who sleep on the bed with me aren’t enough to clog my nose, unless they’re snuggled up too close to my face. And my girlfriend is thrilled – I don’t snore anymore!

The Cloud 9 is a substantial unit: 20-3/4” high, 25-5/8” across, and 12” thick. Actually, that translates to about the size of a 27” television set. In fact, for ease in moving the unit from one room to another, I put it on an old, wheeled TV cart. While that’s not specifically the way the manufacturer recommends mounting the unit (more on that later), it served my purpose of making the unit mobile.

The Cloud 9 Model 300 is designed to handle air in a room with up to 300 square feet of floor area. According to the manufacturer, the unit will filter out 99.99% of airborne bacteria and viruses, and 100% of ragweed, pollen spores, mold, fungi, dander, dust, lint and all other typical allergenic air contaminants. It will also take out 100% of tobacco smoke particulates one micron and larger. The company says the unit will operate at this efficiency level for 3 to 7 years, which is the typical useful life of the unit’s Super-Lung® HEPA filter. (HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air Filtration, and a true HEPA filter like this one is the most efficient type of filtration system on the market.) The HEPA filter can be replaced at that time, with a minimum of effort. The useful life varies depending upon how many people use the room, how much outside contaminated air is allowed into the room, and how often the first filter (prefilter) is changed.

The Cloud 9 first filter looks like a miniature version of a fiberglass furnace filter. It’s got the cardboard edges, and the metal honeycomb, too. It’s actually a specially-designed, highly efficient fiberglass filter, coated with a viscous substance to make it more attractive to particles. Its purpose is to collect dust, lint and large and heavy particles before they hit the charcoal filter, the squirrel-cage blower motor, and HEPA filter. By filtering out a large portion of the big stuff right off the bat, the life of the HEPA filter is dramatically extended.

The 16” x 7-1/2” first filter is amazingly efficient. In our test house, we have an electrostatic furnace filter (which gets washed monthly) and an air conditioning system which runs much of the time. We vacuum up tons of stuff at least once or twice a week with a high-efficiency vacuum cleaner. Still, with four people, three cats and two dogs running through the house, plus suburban air filled with year-round pollen problems, the first filter fills up quickly with pet hair and what’s known as “Texas white dust.” The manufacturer recommends replacement every thirty days; in our situation, two weeks seems more appropriate. (We were able to extend the life of the first filter a few more weeks by carefully vacuuming the filter when vacuuming the house.) If you have a bad allergy problem, and you want to continue living with your pets, replacing the first filter frequently is a good investment, running $3 to $6 each (plus shipping), depending on quantity.

The filter is very easy to replace. A plastic grid on the right side of the unit slides up and pulls out, revealing the prefilter. Slide that up and out to replace, then put back the decorative grid.

The next filter in line behind the prefilter is a charcoal odor filter. This activated charcoal filter adsorbs over 500 types of odors. With continuous use, it will become saturated with odor, and need to be replaced. If it’s not replaced, the charcoal will begin to release the collected odors back into the room. That happens at around 6 months with heavy use, and 1 year with light use. The filter is a Carbonweb®, which has the activated carbon on a pad, contained within a nylon mesh “bag.” The flexibility of the pad makes it a little difficult to keep vertical in its space without sagging, but it fills most of the space allocated to it. A cardboard rim, as found on the prefilter, would help make the carbon filter work more efficiently. The pad is about 3/4” thick, which is far thicker than the carbon filters in other units we’ve seen. Replacement cost is $34.50.

One problem we noted was that the dust collects in a few places where it’s not supposed to be. First, during our test period we regularly found some dust on the decorative intake grill. That was easily cleaned during our regular vacuuming. Next, more dust collected on the cardboard edges of the prefilter, and some made it past the prefilter to the charcoal filter. Some dust even made it to the next stage, collecting on top of the blower. This indicates to us that not all of the air is going straight through the prefilters. We’d prefer to see things a little bit tighter, so that more air flows through the filters before heading to the HEPA. (The manufacturer tells us that it’s not a problem as it stands, as the HEPA will catch anything that slips by. Still, the more you catch in the prefiltration stage, the longer your HEPA filter will last.)

The Cloud 9 is unusual in that air is pushed through the HEPA filter, not pulled through. This has the advantage of forcing more air through the filter, resulting in more air getting fully cleaned. It’s the “ram air” concept of ramming air through the system, and it eliminates a problem common to other air purifiers: air being pulled around – not through – the filter. With the Cloud 9, more air is cleaned, so the efficiency of the unit is much higher than other brands. And more clean air is what all of us with allergies are really after.

And this unit does work well. In one test we conducted, we allowed three cats to sleep overnight in a 10’ x 18’ office area.

The next morning, our two cat-allergic staffers reported extreme congestion, with one person doing some heavy sneezing. The Cloud 9 purifier was wheeled in, and allowed to run on full blast, with the office doors closed. Within an hour, both people reported that they were able to breathe easily, and the sneezing stopped. We went from bad allergies to no allergies at all in one hour with the Cloud 9 300!

The Cloud 9 has a three speed blower for maximum, normal and low/night settings. On max, the Cloud 9 purifies the air in a typical bedroom or office every four minutes. Set to normal, it will purify the air every six minutes. And on low, it completely cleans the air every eight minutes. The low setting works fine when there is minimal activity in the room, but will handle the dirty air from three cigarettes an hour. This is also the recommended setting for sleeping people, as the fan is at its quietest. Normal will handle the clean air needs of up to eight people. Max is recommended when you first move the purifier to a new room, if you have a lot of people in the room, or if you’re doing air polluting housekeeping chores such as bedmaking, dusting, vacuuming, or sweeping. The manufacturer suggests leaving the unit on high for at least half an hour after completion of those activities.

The Cloud 9 has one of the quieter fans in the business. Still, my girlfriend found the noise loud and distracting, even when set on low. After a day or two, though, she began to appreciate the white noise, which blocks out early morning traffic sounds and neighborhood dog barking. Now she doesn’t like sleeping without the Cloud 9 running, and she doesn’t have allergies! (Of course, Ms. Sensitive Ears won’t allow the machine to be turned on until after she finishes her nightly book reading. We must remain focused on those page-turners!)

The Cloud 9 also has a “pilot light” – an orange light that remains on while the unit is running. While we like the idea of having a night light shining in the room (it keeps me from bumping into the unit on those late-night bathroom runs), some might prefer total darkness. A piece of black electrical tape can solve that.

The Cloud 9 300 also has a built-in room freshener feature. A little plastic jar comes with the unit containing Lemon Fresh Formula 9D Cancelyzer®. I’m really not sure how well this feature works, as I’ve never used the feature in the almost 8 months of testing. The reason? When I had the little jar of Lemon Fresh sitting on my desk, the lemon-scent wafting out of the tightly-closed jar caused me to sneeze.

In the interest of doing a fair test, I decided to give it a try. Carrying the jar to the room where the air purifier is installed, I sneezed only three times. Installation took less than a minute, and turning on the Cancelyzer for two or three minutes resulted in a  heavy dose of lemon air. Unless you have some pretty heavy doggy odors, you don’t need to set the timer for long.

Our test continued by introducing our heavily allergic test subject, and the sensitive-nosed girlfriend, to the room. The sensitive-nosed one immediately went YUCK! and ran from the room. The allergic one didn’t sneeze from it, but said she wouldn’t want the scent in her house. The smell is too intense, too industrial smelling, like a bus station bathroom, she said.

I removed the jar, screwed the lid back on tightly, and relegated it to the back of the laundry room cupboard, with the other foul-smelling potions. What to do about the evil lemon smell in the test room? I turned the unit on high, and in five minutes there was no more lemon smell detectable. What a marvelous machine!

The manufacturer recommends that, for maximum performance, the air purifier be mounted high up on the wall, flush to the ceiling. They suggest putting it on the longest wall of the room, close to the left adjacent wall as you face the unit. In other words, it goes in a corner at the ceiling, so it pulls air down in from the longest wall and shoots it out along one of the short walls. This creates a vortex effect, circulating the air in a circle. The height of the unit gives it more opportunity to pull in the dirty air, as air tends to rise in the room.
Our experience has been that height of the unit isn’t critical (at least in our test rooms), as we had the unit placed above the height of most furniture, with an unimpeded air flow. While the unit has a long cord to reach an outlet near the floor, the idea of the big box hanging on the wall overhead, plus the cord dangling, didn’t get our decorator sense going in a positive direction. While the unit comes with a hanger bracket and three major wall anchors, we still don’t trust the quality of our wall construction. We’ll keep ours on the TV cart, thank you very much. We can move it to different locations depending on our need, and changing filters is much easier without having to use a ladder. If you have an industrial use for the air purifier, or place it in a hospital lounge or restaurant (as many customers do), the permanent bracket makes more sense. If you need more brackets to allow you to mount the same unit in another location, the company can supply them.

The Cloud 9 requires no more maintenance than a change of the pre-filter every month or so, and the charcoal filter every six to 12 months. A new HEPA filter for the 300, which is replaced after 7 years, is $105.50. (Other companies charge $70 for their HEPA filters, which need replacing every year.)
Every six months, the motor bearings need oiling. A small bottle (lifetime supply!) of special oil is provided inside the unit, in back of the charcoal filter. Three drops of oil are placed in each of two holes. If you live in a dusty part of the world, like here in Texas, we suggest that you vacuum the grill, the charcoal filter, and the fan when you change the pre-filter.

Overall, after nearly 8 months of daily use, we found the Cloud 9 to be a lifesaver. On bad allergy days, it comes to the office and keeps us all breathing easily. At night, it gives me incredibly pure air, which lets me sleep better than a baby. The sound level is tolerable, the efficiency is high, and my immune system sure appreciates the rest of a good night’s sleep. If I could afford them, I would have these units installed everywhere I go – work, office, you name it. The unit is far superior to the cheaper units we’ve tried, which haven’t produced the same degree of allergy-relief in our cat-and-dog allergen-filled test rooms. Even the dogs were breathing easier, with less itching during last fall’s allergy season.

We highly recommend the Cloud 9 Model 300, which allergists sell for $525. The company also makes the portable Model 150, good for a room up to 150 square feet  (such as an office). Allergists sell it for $325. There’s also a Model 800 for up to 800 square feet. The 800 has a built-in monitor that lets you know when the HEPA filter needs changing.

For quality and effectiveness, the Cloud 9 Model 300 air purifier is among the very best we’ve seen.

Good Dog! Product Test Report: New dog bones

by Judi Sklar

Nylabone Roar-Hide Dog Chews

Roar-Hide™ from Nylabone® is a bone-hard dog chew about six inches long. It’s called “wolf size” and it’s a 2 oz. weight. The packaging states that it’s “safe, healthy, and long-lasting,” and that it “reduces plaque and tartar build-up.” (It’s been about five minutes since I gave it to Chops to test, and, already the knuckle on one end is gone.)

Nylabone also says Roar-Hide “solves major problems associated with rawhide products.” They say dogs can’t choke on this product because it’s a “unified mass.” They take regular rawhide and grind it up into little bits about the size of a grain of rice or corn. Then they melt it and injection-mold it with a patented process. That sterilizes it and makes the rawhide bones “impossible to ribbon.” Also, because the Roar-Hide chew is hard, it doesn’t become sticky.

It’s been another few minutes and Chops only has about two inches left to go on this test chew. Our publisher just asked Chops to relinquish it so we could check it and it’s a bit slimy, but not sticky. And we could see the bits of rawhide.

Because of the popularity of this particular product, Nylabone has become one of the largest buyers of scrap rawhide in the world.

Chops says it’s a winner! The problem I have is that it didn’t seem to last as long as the company would have you believe.

Molded, Sterilized Rawhide.

Guaranteed Analysis:
Crude Protein (min.)    86.2%
Crude Fat (min.)     0.33%
Crude Fiber (max.)    0.42%
Moisture (max.)    12.22%

Booda Velvets

I  have Chief Test Dog, Chops, panting at my elbow as I try to write this review. She can’t wait to get her teeth around another Booda Velvets™chew, but I’m not so sure about them. These new chews are made in Italy and look great. They’re as smooth to the touch as plastic. And there’s a white coating on them that, I believe, must come from the cornstarch formula.

Booda says that the chews are made from “a revolutionary new cornstarch patented formula,” and that they’re “completely free of animal by-products, preservatives, toxins and are biodegradable.” The cornstarch material is “derived from a natural, renewable resource.” What does that mean, exactly? Well, corn is a more environmentally sound source than oil, which plastic comes from. Booda also claims that the Velvets are odorless and don’t cause stains.

We tested the extra-large size for dogs 45 lbs. and up. It measures a little over 8” in length. The company sent us a yellow one which is flavored with chicken, and a red one which is the “premium mix.” Also available is green, their beef and vegetable-flavored Velvet.

The dogs like them. But, as I said, we humans are not so sure. The reason: after Chops and Katie gnawed on them for a while, the bones were left with splintery-like ends. Katie actually bit off a chunk from hers, and there were specks of blood on the bone itself. This makes me nervous. I’d hate to have a dog choke on one. And I’d certainly never leave a dog alone with one.

By the way, all those splinters pick up every bit of fur and dust on the carpet or floor. They seem to make for a great vacuum cleaner! Only problem is, your dog is the one acting as the vacuum bag.

Booda calls them a “fresh, new alternative to rawhide, rubber, common plastic or animal by-product chews.” But I wish they’d done a little more research. Unless I’m overreacting (and I doubt that I am) and these “splinters” can’t really hurt the dogs. Of course, there is a note of caution on the inside of the packaging. It tells the consumer to “as with any dog chew, monitor the pet’s chewing activity.” You know, I’d just as soon not give these to our kids anymore.

Pedigree Dentabone

Of the new dog bones, we think the Pedigree® Dentabone is best. The Dentabone is supposed to reduce tartar and plaque build-up, but in our mind, it’s just a great bone that won’t easily shatter molars, and won’t shatter itself into small, sharp pieces.

The Dentabone’s bone-shape and abrasive texture are designed to clean even those hard-to-reach teeth. There are no artificial colors and it’s also soy-free. Pedigree says it’s nutritious and easy to digest. The yellow package holds one large 7.06 oz. bone.

Pedigree says medium dogs should be given one per day; large and giant dogs should get 1 to 2 per day. (We think two a day is overdoing it a bit.) They state that this is a chewing snack that is recommended for adult dogs that weigh over 13 lbs.

In England, this product is known as the Pedigree Chum® Rask®. It’s been popular there for several years.

The Dentabone, which was loved by both Chops and Katie, is sold in small, medium and large sizes. For dental safety, we suggest getting the largest size, no matter what size your dog. All bones should be gnawed on, not crunched. The crunching action can cause teeth to crack. So, the bigger the bone, the more likely it will be gnawed. The large Dentabone is big enough to allow for safe eating, yet still be fully consumed.

Rice, Sodium Caseinate, Rice Flour, Tapioca Starch, Propylene Glycol, Vegetable Oil, Wheat Bran, Calcium Carbonate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Dried Animal Digest, Potassium Chloride, Sodium Tripolyphosphate, Potassium Sorbate (a preservative), Choline Chloride.

Guaranteed Analysis:
Crude Protein (min.)    21.0%
Crude Fat (min.)    3.0%
Crude Fiber (max.)     4.0%
Moisture (max.)     18.0%