Dogs deserve dessert, too.
So why not treat them to high-quality, locally produced treats? The Times-News found five producers who sell their dog treats online, at farmers markets or through Magic Valley stores.
Carol Rast of Prairie Sun Farm in Fairfield makes baked doggie treats from fresh-ground wheat, free-range chicken broth, mint and parsley. The treats’ primary role is to be tasty, but they might sweeten your pup’s breath. After baking them, Rast dries them in the oven for three hours to make them extra crunchy — a quality that helps clean dogs’ teeth.
“Mint and parsley are both supposed to be good for their breath,” Rast said, “but if there’s an underlying health problem, it’s not going to go away.”
But even if dogs’ mouths still stink, they are likely to enjoy the treats. Rast’s black Labs love them, and her husband has even eaten them with his coffee.
“They’re like cookies, but they’re not sweet,” she said.
The Koddled Kritter, run by Tim and Cathy Voss of Twin Falls, sells baked dog biscuits and jerky treats. Their Slow-um Down treats come in the form of a sterilized cow bone filled with peanut butter and oats. The bone is coated in beef dog biscuit dough and baked.
Lava Lake Lamb in Carey makes dog treats from lamb shoulder and trim left over from producing meat for humans.
“It’s all clean trim,” said sales coordinator Mike Gordon. “It’s not going to be anything weird.” The certified organic, grass-fed lamb makes up most of the baked treat, Gordon said, and vegetables like peas, carrots, potatoes and whole-kernel corn round it out.
“We’ve had a really good response to it,” Gordon said.
Not all the dog treats are edible. Gail Ansley of CA Bull Elk Ranch in Hazelton sells elk antler chews. Antler chews — whether from softer new growth or from calcified older antlers — act like chew bones for dogs, Ansley said, but don’t splinter and last longer. Another bonus: There is no bone marrow to leave greasy spots on rugs and carpets.
David Miller of Miller Elk Farm in Buhl also sells antler chews.
“Everybody who’s tried it is really happy with it,” he said, adding his own dogs enjoy the treats.
So how do you know what treat is right for your dog? Go with what your pup likes, said Dr. Zsigmond Szanto of Twin Falls Veterinary Clinic & Hospital.
Then stick with it. Szanto sees plenty of dogs with upset stomachs — and the fewer things you feed to your dog, the easier it will be to find the culprit and cut it out of the diet.
“The less variety, the better,” he said. And don’t worry about the animals getting tired of the same kind of snack.
“They don’t get bored with treats,” Szanto said. “If they like something, they will go back over and over.”
Suggested serving sizes are a good guide for how often and how much of the treat you should give, but don’t take it as gospel. A dog’s breed, size, health and age can all affect how much of a snack they can handle, Szanto said.
“If the dog is gaining weight, you can back off,” he said.