Thursday, June 30, 2016

Stella and Chewy: Final Thoughts

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Toward the end of the bag

We have been feeding Stella and Chewy's Super Beef food for an entire month now, and I wanted to give our final thoughts on the food overall. (Part One and Part Two of our three part review series.)

My first conclusion is that in many ways, it is way, way easier than feeding a prey model raw diet, or a prepared frozen raw diet. No freezer space need be taken up, no thawing needs to be remembered. When traveling, it is so much easier to put a few patties into a container and toss them in the car than having to remember to put meat in the cooler (at the last minute, so it doesn't thaw any more than it has to). The patties mean I don't even need a measuring cup, I just count out the number of patties.

The dogs really like it. They get super excited for their meals. They aren't super picky dogs normally, so this doesn't mean as much as it could, but it was still a plus- I certainly didn't have to talk them into eating, and they didn't linger over their food.

The freeze dried texture meant that when crumbled and covered with water, it was a great food to use in a puzzle bowl, taking longer to eat out of the puzzle bowl than kibble. Whole raw food can't be used in a puzzle bowl (though it can be a bit of a puzzle to eat on its own because of size, shape, bones, etc).

The ingredients of the Stella and Chewy's are excellent, and I have no second thoughts about if I am feeding my dogs a good food or not.

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Stella and Chewy's bag

On the other side, there were some things about the Stella and Chewy's that I didn't love. The first and biggest was the sheer amount of food Koira needed to eat to stop losing weight. She was up to 13 patties per day. While 40 lb dogs are included on the feeding recommendations on the back of the bag, it does say that for larger dogs, use this food as a mix in or topping, and I think that that applies to Koira, despite her weight. And at least part of that is simply because the cost of feeding that much of this food is absurdly high. On the other hand, Ptera did fine on the food, maintaining weight and muscling, and eating a petite 3-3.5 patties per day. Between both of them, a bag of food last just over three days. For Ptera alone, though, a bag would last about three weeks, which makes the cost much more reasonable.

The only other thing was that I really did have to break apart the patties either into pieces, or crush them to a powder. Koira ended up kind of gulping and swallowing multiple times if given a whole patty, which I think was because the food gets a little slimy while wet, which made it weird to eat in large chunks. Some of the patties were super easy to break up, while some were harder, and my fingers could be a little sore after powdering them up. But breaking them into 4-5 pieces made them easy enough to eat for both dogs, and was fast to do, so it isn't exactly a big issue, just a slight dislike on my part.

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Back when we first started using Stella and Chewy's and took a trip

Overall, this is a food that I really enjoyed feeding to my dogs. They enjoyed their meals, and the ingredients meant I was happy feeding it to them. At just over $40 for a 25 oz bag, I can't justify using it as the main food for Koira. But for traveling, camping, and as a back up food to have on hand (for when I forget to thaw out regular raw food), I think this absolutely hits the mark. And if I only had Ptera, who eats a much smaller amount, I would certainly find this a reasonable food to feed full time or as part of a rotational diet.

I would like to that for giving us the opportunity to try this food for a month. We did receive the food in exchange for a series of three honest posts about our experience, but we weren't compensated in any other way.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Wordless Wednesday: Water Fun

Ptera just learned to swim last week. Koira has always been my obsessive water hound. And now Ptera is learning from Koira to be an obsessive water hound. So I took them to the lake earlier this week for a bit of fun.

Saturday, June 25, 2016


Theodore Trex wanted to make an appearance on the blog. He crashed out outdoor Stella and Chewy's photoshoot earlier this week.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Wordless Wednesday: Look-a-Like

At the Barn Hunt trial a few weeks ago, we were getting towards the end of the day, and a woman walked into the open air barn we were holding the trial in, carrying a dog. And I did a double take, because my first thought was that she had picked up Ptera, maybe running loose somehow. A second look told me I was wrong, but man, look at this face. The bone structure, shape, ears, wrinkled forehead, all looked familiar enough to fool me for a second.


So, turns out Ptera (who is a JRT) has a Rat Terrier look-a-like living in the Grants Pass area. He is totally adorable, and only a little older than Ptera.

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And maybe it isn't super obvious in photos, and you guys think I am crazy for mistaking this almost completely red dog with my red and white dog. But man, I tell you, that first glance, they looked so much alike.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Stella and Chewy, Part Way Through

I wanted to give an update on how the girls are doing on the Stella and Chewy food we are reviewing for a month for

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Patties, counted out and divided 

First, I had to dramatically increase the amount Koira was eating. The feeding guide on the back of the bag suggests 8 1/2 patties for a 40 lb dog, so that is what I started Koira on. But she started getting really ribby pretty fast. For a dog who is already on the thinner side of healthy and who gets a good deal of activity, it doesn't take long for her to drift from "healthy weight" to "too skinny". I upped her intake to 12 patties, and she was not gaining any weight, so I upped it again to 13 yesterday. I will have to see if that is enough or if I need to up it again.

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Crushed patties ready to add water and feed

Of course, Koira is notoriously hard to keep weight on. Most kibbles, she has to be fed a completely absurd amount of food for her size (like, the 4-6 cups range, when she only weighs 40 lbs, for most grain free high quality kibbles we have tried). Prey model raw normally keeps her at a good weight more easily than kibble, and I wasn't sure what the impact of a freeze dried raw food would be on that equation.

Ptera, on the other hand, is getting the suggested amount for her weight of 3 patties, with an extra half patty every few days. She appears to be maintaining her weight really well, and is looking good overall.

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The patties can be fed whole and dry, whole and covered with water, broken into pieces, pieces covered by water, etc. To use the puzzle bowls with the dogs, I like to crush the patties and add water. It seems to provide a good deal of challenge to the dogs so their feeding time lasts longer than two seconds.

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I think it is safe to say that even after 2/3rds of a month of eating this food, the dogs are still fans.

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Normally, Koira eats in the bathroom, while Ptera eats in her crate. But that doesn't make for good pictures, so I fed them outside this time, making sure to keep them well separated so there were no disagreements over who gets the food.

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I have to say that I was highly entertained watching them eat out of their puzzle bowls. I normally watch a tiny bit, but actually sitting on the ground with them the entire time they eat isn't something I've done before.

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Ptera's nose is too big to fit into the slots, so she has to use her tongue to work the foodstuffs out. And she is serious about her foodstuffs.

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Koira's nose is also too big for most of the slots (that is how it is supposed to be for these bowls). But she has the tongue work down pat.

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Koira is much more systematical that Ptera when it comes to working the food out of the bowl and into the mouth. But that might be partly due to the design of the bowl each of them was using, since Koira's has longer stretches of straight grooves.

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If you look close in the above photo, you can see Ptera's tongue working on getting the food out of that groove.

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But, though it takes them awhile, the dogs can manage to completely clean these bowls out, without missing more than a tiny drop or two of food.

I'll be posting again at the end of the month to give a full sum up of our thoughts after a full month of feeding this food.

We were provided with this food in exchange for our honest review. All opinions expressed are entirely our own, and we were not compensated in any other way.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Tiny Ptera and Medium Koira

I've heard more than once that the size of my dogs surprises people in real life. When we went to BlogPaws and met people who have read our blog, Koira was always smaller than they thought she would be. Pallo was always bigger than they thought he would be.

Posing in the lavender 

Well, I can tell you for sure, Ptera is smaller than you think she is. Every time my neighbor sees her, he says "It's like a dog, but tiny," which is pretty much exactly right. Ptera is 10.5 lbs and measures at 13.5" tall at the shoulder.

Koira posing in the exact same spot that Ptera is in, above.

Koira is a solid medium sized dog by most standards. She stands 19" tall at the shoulder and weighs in at or around 40 lbs. She is heavy for her height because of her muscular build, which I think is part of what throws people off about her.

Ptera and Koira's first official posed picture together. Koira isn't a very big dog, and Ptera really is that tiny.

All this is to say, if I thought it was challenging to get good pictures of Pallo and Koira together because of their differences in height, I don't know why I thought it would be any different with Ptera. Pictures are much easier if both of the subjects' faces are close together in terms of distance from the camera- and when one of my dogs can literally walk underneath the other, their faces are never going to be in the same place! So if you've been wondering why there are no pictures of Ptera and Koira posing together, this is one major reason for that. The other major reason being that I am still in the process of teaching Ptera how to do stand stays and sit stays and pose for the camera, and it is easier to work with her alone than to have both dogs doing it at the same time.

Three kinds of lavender- one behind her, one beside her, and one in front of her

Koira is a pro poser, and she should be after this many years. She has her times when she doesn't want to do it, and refuses to put up her ears. And sometimes she manages to just look sad even with her ears up. Some places are no-goes for posing with her too, due to her phobia of traffic noises (though she is getting better with it!).

Ptera is in the same location that Koira is in above. So tiny.

Ptera so far is fearless, but sensitive. Noises and movement and things don't phase her. Being addressed in a harsh tone can flatten her, though, and being reset for a broken stay tends to make her Dobby ears come out- where instead of nice forward tipped Jack Russell ears, her ears kind of flop half open out to the side, even if the reset is done in an upbeat way with no words of disappointment. Thankfully, she is quick to recover, and while she is sensitive, she is naturally a quick and inquisitive dog.

And I am finding out that there are shots you can get, like being totally embedded in the lavender, with a tiny dog that you have no chance of getting with a medium or large dog. But on the other side of the same coin, there are shots where a tiny dog gets totally lost, such as posing with larger things like statues, tall flowers, etc. If the flowers are above her head, it is like she is just getting her picture with a bunch of green stems! There are so many things to get used to about having a tiny dog for the first time, and adjusting my photography to work with her is just one of them.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

A Wordless Wednesday Chewy Review

We've used Zuke's Minis for training for years- this month, we tried out Zuke's Tiny Naturals for the first time thanks to

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Tiny naturals on the left, with the tiny dog. Regular Zuke's Minis on the right, with the large dog.

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Yes, I will pose for Tiny Naturals even though they are teeny tiny compared to me. They are foodstuffs, and taste good.

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I don't like the Minis because they are large and take a long time to chew, but I will work like crazy for a Zuke's Tiny Naturals. They are perfectly my size, and nice and soft. Awesome training treat. I will absolutely balance on a bucket for one.

I think it is safe to say that these were a hit here! I plan on getting them again in the future, for using for Ptera's training treats when I don't have the time or motivation to prep hot dogs for her.

As usual, while we received these treats for free in exchange for our review, this review is entirely honest and 100% our own, and we were not compensated in any other way.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Paleoterrorist No Fly List RATI

Call name Ptera.

My adorable little jack russell puppy earned her first title this past weekend at a Barn Hunt trial in Grants Pass. I entered her in one Instinct run for the weekend, and she nailed it. In Instinct, one Q gives you the RATI title.

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Getting her not to hunch in photos is impossible!

I'm super proud of her. She is in heat, so had to wear panties for her run, so she didn't want to jump onto the hay bales at all. But when she came around the corner and smelled the rat, she was all business. The rat was in the first tube she came to, and she was immediately hooked. However, since she hadn't smelled the other tubes, and a lot of new dogs get faked out by the bedding tube (in Instinct, there is one empty tube, one bedding tube, and one rat tube), I spent a little bit of time trying to call her off that tube to smell the others. When it was obvious she wasn't going anywhere, I called rat, and yup, it was a rat! Our final time was 25 seconds and change.

So proud of my little girl. I can't wait to see what we can do in the future.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Stella and Chewy's Dehydrated Food

For the month of June, I am teaming up with to do a month long food challenge. Both of my dogs will be eating Stella and Chewy's freeze dried food for the entire month, and then I will be posting here a handful of times to let you know how it is going.

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First, a little background. Both Koira and Ptera each a rotational diet. Generally, their diet is prey model raw alternated with a decent quality kibble. No kind of strict routine is applied- if I have time and remember, raw food gets defrosted and fed. If I am busy, forget to defrost, or don't have any raw, they eat kibble. So sometimes, they will go a while on one diet or the other. When traveling, I tend to bring along raw for the first night, and kibble or dehydrated raw for the rest of the trip.

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Two days' worth of food, bagged by day

Now, I use a handful of different dehydrated and freeze dried treats and foods with my dogs, generally when I get them as samples, but some that I buy for traveling or because my dogs love them. I've never been totally thrilled with dehydrated foods that I've tried, for a variety of reasons, though the dogs always seem to like them well enough.
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Koira gets 8 patties, Ptera gets 3 each day
I'm taking a trip this weekend, and while packing dog food, I thought it would be fun to do a quick comparison of the new Stella and Chewy's freeze dried food, and another company's dehydrated food that I have been using when traveling recently. First, the Stella and Chewy's is a much higher percentage of animal products. Almost the entire ingredient list is beef, beef bones, beef heart, beef liver, etc. Since I feed a prey model raw when at home, and don't generally add in fruits or vegetables except as treats or snacks, this suits us great. The other food has a lot of vegetable and fruits added in, which is fine, just farther from what they are used to. 
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Alongside the dehydrated food we've been using while traveling, which requires a measuring cup and can be goopy and messy in our travel bowls
Smell wise, the powdered kind we've been using on trips smells more like vegetables and herbs than like meat. The smell might be more pleasant for me, but has made me wonder in the past, since I would expect a more meaty smell from a dog food. The Stella and Chewy's has almost no smell when dry, but when soaked in water, it smells very meaty. I'm not a big fan of the smell, but since it doesn't cling and isn't strong, I don't mind, and I actually like that the food I'm feeding the dogs smells like meat.
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Ptera wanted to sneak in for a taste
Overall, with just a few days so far into our month long food trial, I am really liking the Stella and Chewy's food. The dogs seem to enjoy eating it, and I am preferring it to the other dehydrated or freeze dried foods we've tried in the past. It is as easy as kibble (or just slightly more complicated, if I decide to break it up into little bits and soak for 10 minutes before serving), and way easier than whole prey model raw.

I am looking forward to the rest of the month, and seeing how the dogs do going forward.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016