The Good: Nutritious, Good ingredients, Good shelf life, Decent dental benefits
The Bad: Only four treats; exceptionally environmentally and economically irresponsible.
The Basics: Science Diet has a real winner with the Light Simple Essentials Treats; one need not waste their money on the sample pack, go for a full bag.
I am more of a cat person than my wife and, truth be told, I never thought I would like any dogs. When I began working at the pet store doing unsavory tasks so my wife would not have to, I figured there was little I needed to know about the dogs, yet my wife continued to try to teach me which ones were which. When I actually started to get to the point where I thought I knew what was what there, I was irked to discover that the little dog I had been referring to for days as "the bishon" was actually a pomeranian. So, I'm not much of a dog person.
But, I do have a dog I love dearly and that is my wife's seventeen year-old cocker spaniel, Mitzie. Mitzie is entering the twilight of her life - she has cancer throughout her body, waddles a bit and has periodic seizures which have gotten worse since the weather turned colder. So, knowing how devastating it will be for my wife when Mitzie dies, we have begun spoiling her. In fact, I've been spoiling her so much that I had a stern lecture from my wife last week about how Mitzie was gaining weight and it is getting potentially dangerous for her. So, despite my bad experience with Science Diet Culinary Creations, I returned to Science Diet for some new treats for Mitzie. This took the form of the Simple Essentials Treats.
Because they were on sale and I am more conservative about buying things for the pets given how few things are on the market that they actually eat, we decided to start Mitzie off with the 25 g sampler pack of the Light Simple Essentials Treats. The black plastic bag included only four treats (and a coupon off the purchase of a larger bag of these treats) and even at $1.00, I was left feeling a little unimpressed and peeved by the price/value of the sampler pack. However, it was enough to prove to me one essential thing: Mitzie likes these enough for us to buy more.
Each of the four bone-shaped treats inside the bag was 11/2" long by 5/8" wide by almost 3/8" tall. This medium biscuit 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 pale tan color that is hard like the standard dog biscuit and has a slight grainy texture to the outside of the treat. The Light treats seem to only come in chicken flavor, but because Mitzie likes chicken flavor that did not seem like it would be a problem.
What impressed me the instant I opened the small bag was that the chicken flavored dog biscuits had absolutely no scent to them. I was happy about this because that usually means that it will do decent things for my dog's breath or will, at the very least, not leave a negative scent there. The Simple Essentials Treats are hard, so Mitzie (and other dogs this is appropriate for) will have to chew 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!).
What I cannot speak to yet is whether or not these Light treats will actually help reduce Mitzie's weight. 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 weightloss 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 Light Simple Essentials Treats is probably a good idea.
Mitzie might prefer Milkbone treats to these, but she still eagerly eats them. They are generally nutritious for dogs and Science Diet makes them with ingredients like whole grain corn, brewers rice, and powdered cellulose (though chicken and chicken flavorings come up pretty quickly in the ingredient list). According to the guaranteed analysis on the package, the treats have at least 8.5% crude protein and 4.5% crude fat (but no more than 7.5% fat) and at most 12% crude fiber and 10% moisture. Sealed in their package, these treats last for about a year; we picked ours up in October 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 finicky and has to lose a few pounds, skip the sample pack and go for the full bag; it's better for your wallet and the environment.
For other dog treat reviews, please check out my takes on:
Redbarn Peanut Butter Filled Bone
Booda Bones Peppermint and Spearmint
For other animal product reviews, please be sure to visit my index page by clicking here!
© 2011, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.