Thursday, October 14, 2010

As Mitzie Ages, Immunity Support Wafers Become A Part Of Her Diet, Just Not This Way!

The Good: Nutritious, Good ingredients, Good shelf life, Decent immunity benefits
The Bad: Only four treats in the sample bag; exceptionally environmentally and economically irresponsible.
The Basics: A treat which appears to be doing what it claims, Science Diet Immunity Support treats can be tried this way, but are available in more responsible packs for dog!

As my wife and I looked to leave our jobs at Pet World last year, we decided to make the most out of our employee discounts by stocking up on items which we might not otherwise be able to afford or could not reasonably justify the expense of. For me, this was a bee-line to the Science Diet section of the store. Science Diet products are usually so expensive that I cannot justify spending the money on them that the brand demands both on-line and in retail stores. But, soon out cats and dog found themselves being spoiled by a light diet which included Science Diet products. We got them Science Diet Culinary Creations and Science Diet Simple Essential Treats and also Science Diet Immunity Support Adult Wafers.

Our dog, Mitzie, is getting old. She’s a seventeen year-old cocker spaniel and she is very old, but very happy. But there is some irony here. When feeding her the Immunity Support treats for review, my partner found herself stuffing a very full dog. Poor Mitzie has been unused to having so many treats and when my partner evaluated these, she found Mitzie did not enjoy them. A few hours after she made her determinations, we discovered poor, geriatric Mitzie was actually severely constipated. Now, weeks later, I’ve gotten around to my bag of Immunity Support Science Diet treats and I think most dogs won’t have a problem with the taste of the treat; but I have real issues with the packaging! Either way, I think there’s irony to the appearance that an old dog might not like an immunity support treat largely because she was going through something at the time.

Even with our discounts, I found the Science Diet treats to be pricey, so I went for the sampler pack first. The Immunity Support comes in a 25 g sampler. The black plastic bag included only four treats and even at $1.00, I was left feeling a little unimpressed and peeved by the price/value of the sampler pack. Given how regular Mitzie was after eating these and how she has managed not to get sick yet this winter, I suspect these actually do what they claim to and boost the immune system of dogs who consume them.

Each of the four rectangle treats inside the bag was 1 3/4" long by 1" wide by almost 3/8" tall. This adult wafer is designed for adult dogs 20 - 40 pounds. Mitzie had no problem catching them one at a time in her mouth and chewing them. Each bone is a brown color that is hard like the standard dog biscuit and has a slight grainy texture to the outside of the treat. The Immunity Support treats do not trade on possessing any specific flavor, only the medicinal values of the treats themselves. The treats smell like grain and while they have chicken fat in them, they do not resemble or smell like chicken.

The Immunity Support Treats are hard, so Mitzie must to chew them in order to eat them. The act of breaking them apart both cleans plaque and tartar off teeth and the act of swallowing usually helps scrape the dog's tongue cleaner. Because of the hard, textured nature of these biscuits, that was consistently true with Mitzie. And, as I hoped, the treat left no scent in Mitzie's mouth that was in any way unpleasant. Instead, she had moderately cleaner breath and teeth after using these treats (though, to be fair, Mitzie is a rare dog in that she is a seventeen year-old cocker spaniel with all of her teeth still present and intact!). So, in addition to supporting the immune system of dogs, this does seem to have minor dental benefits for animals.

With only four treats, this was two day's worth of the recommended number of treats for a dog her weight. As such, there was no miracle in immune system boosting with just this sampler pack. I did, however, notice that after eating these biscuits, Mitzie went pretty directly for her water dish, so keeping clean water available to your dog after treating them with the Immunity Support Treats is a good idea. At this point, I’m doing whatever I can to insure that Mitzie will continue to be with us for a while longer, so I have actually given Mitzie more than just a sampler pack’s worth of the treats and she continues to eat them when I give them to her and she has not gotten sick since (she DID get ill when my partner started working at the pet store, but not when I did), so these are arguably working as they are supposed to.

Mitzie might prefer Milkbone or Greenies treats to these, but she still eats them. They are generally nutritious for dogs and Science Diet makes them with ingredients like whole grain corn, whole grain wheat, and chicken fat. The latter half of the ingredients list looks like an alphabet soup of vitamins, so pet owners might want to consult a veterinarian before giving these to their dog. According to the guaranteed analysis on the package, the treats have at least 8% crude protein and 8% crude fat and at most 7% crude fiber and 10% moisture. Sealed in their package, these treats last for about a year; we picked ours up in December 2009 and they expired September 2010.

The smallest pack on the market, the 25 g sample pack is terrible for the environment and hopefully, as consumers find these for their pets, Science Diet will only release these in the two full-size bags. If your dog is getting old and could use a vitamin boost without you having to deal with the stress of giving your beloved canine a pill, Immunity Support treats might be the way. But even if they are, this is not the best way: there are full bags which are better for the environment and one’s personal budget.

For other dog treats, please check out my reviews of:
Mixables Colorado Cookout dog gravy
Bark Bars Peanut Butter and Carob Chip
Senior Greenies


For other products for dogs, please check out my index page!

© 2010 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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