Saturday, February 26, 2011

Puppy Kong Stuff'N: Mitzie Loves It (Even Though She's A Senior Dog), Maybe Yours Will, Too!

The Good: Dogs seem to like it, Easy to use, Appears nutritious for dogs
The Bad: Not wild about aerosols, There is a bigger size which is a better overall value.
The Basics: A good product, there is a more economical package of Puppy Kong Stuff'N, a spray meat paste for dogs which my dog likes.

When I got involved with the woman who would rapidly become my wife, she came with accessories, namely an aging purebred cocker spaniel named Mitzie who has reminded me of the joys of my childhood where I spent an inordinate amount of time earning my allowance by cleaning dog poop up off the lawn. Honestly, I have come to love Mitzie with a simplicity and joy that my cats never really gave me. There is something about actually having to pay attention to an animal that is very different from the intermittent attention needs of my two cats. Mitzie, who is probably not nearly as long for this world as I would like, has been getting spoiled by my wife and I of late and she seems to be enjoying it. A few weeks ago, we bought Mitzie a Kong Dog Toy (reviewed here!) and with it, we found some Puppy Kong Stuff'N on clearance that inspired us to give Mitzie a real treat. Some dogs will play with the Kong toy without Stuff'N. Mitzie will not.

Stuff'N is best analogized as spray cheese for dog, save that it is meat flavor. The principle holds, though; this is an 8 oz. aerosol can filled with a paste that is sprayed out a nozzle either into the Kong toy or onto poor Mitzie's nose (my wife finds this hilarious and Mitzie's tongue goes wild cleaning herself up) or another surface one is fine with having a dog lick up. The dog consumes the Stuff'N and seems all the happier for it. In the Kong toy, Stuff'N becomes a dexterity challenge for the dog with the Stuff'N as a reward that they enjoy for figuring out exactly where in the toy it is and being able to manipulate it enough to lick it out.

Puppy Kong Stuff'N comes in a few flavors, but the standard Puppy Kong Stuff'N is the Chicken Liver flavor. This is easily distinguishable from the other flavors of Kong Stuff'N by the aqua/teal cap and the word "Puppy" above the word "Kong" on the can. Ironically, Puppy Kong is presented in a dispenser that is, including the cap, shaped just like a spray cheese can. The 8 oz. spray can has a cap which is easy to flick off as it has a tab that can allow access with only a thumb. Removing the cap reveals the nozzle which is also shaped like a spray cheese nozzle. It is a one inch long piece of plastic which is essentially a tube with little tines at the end. Pressing the nozzle starts the Stuff'N spraying out of the can.

Perhaps the most obvious way to use Stuff'N is in the Kong dog toy, which is where it is intended to be used. The Kong toy has two holes, one of which is the exact size as the nozzle. Pressing the nozzle into the small hole and shifting it causes the Puppy Stuff'N to fill the toy. Stuff'N expands (not quite as extremely as other aerosol-compressed products like shaving gel) slightly and if one uses the recommended teaspoon of Stuff'N as it comes out of the can, it ought to expand over a few seconds to be about a teaspoon and a half of Stuff'N. Strangely, the idea of one teaspoon being a serving is nullified some by the Kong toy itself; a single teaspoon is tiny in the cavity in the Kong toy. We tend to spoil Mitzie and instead fill her Medium Kong Toy up about a third full (by the time we give it to her, it is about half full).

As for the taste . . . this is dog food, so I'm not tasting it, even to be a thorough reviewer. Mitzie, however, seems to like the chicken liver flavor and she eagerly licks it out of the Kong toy. When I asked her if it actually tasted like chicken liver, she simply raised and eyebrow and looked at me like I was crazy. So, I gave her more. She ate it right up. Whatever this sick looking tan paste does taste like, Mitzie truly seems to love it.

Puppy Kong Stuff'N looks like chicken liver in paste form when it comes out of the can and puppies and older dogs will lick it off any surface it is spread on (that I've found so far!). The product is not kept refrigerated and still it lasts for years (ours does not expire until mid-2010, but it did not last anywhere near that long). The Puppy Kong Stuff'N is designed for easier digestion than the regular dog formula, which is why it works so well for both puppies and geriatric dogs as well.

For those worried about the nutrition of a treat like this - given its resemblance to spray cheese, who wouldn't!? - Puppy Kong Stuff'N has fourteen calories for dogs in a single serving, eleven of which are from fat. The real issues as I understand it for most dogs is the protein and fat content. A single serving of Puppy Stuff'N has at least 3% of a dog's RDA of crude protein and 20% RDA of crude fat. My partner was all right with the Puppy Stuff'N when we first moved in together because Mitzie lost some weight from the anxiety of moving and my partner thought it would be a good idea to bulk her up. Since then, though, we have moved onto other flavors because it is tough to justify so much fat in so small a treat. Fortunately, it is advertised on the can as containing no trans fatty acids.

Generally, though, Puppy Stuff'N is nutritious and fun for dogs and there is nothing truly bad in it. The primary ingredients are whey, soybean oil and water. For those who are keeping their dogs kosher, this product will not work as it contains both milk and dried chicken liver together.

Despite the claim that there are forty-five servings in the 8 oz. can, which was regular priced $7.00 at Target and being clearanced for just under $5.00, we were only able to fill Mitzie's Kong Medium Dog toy a dozen times before we ran out. Given the relative expense of the product, the larger 18 oz. Value Size is a better value both for the treat and the environmental impact of the product. It seems to me there has to be a more environmentally beneficial way to dispense this product (as a child of the '80s, I was astounded to discover that anything still came in non-ozone friendly aerosols!). Regardless, simple unit pricing dictates that for those who can find and use the 18 oz. Value Size, it would be a better investment than this 8 oz. size.

Still, it is hard to argue with results and Mitzie endorses it, so it is hard not to recommend it.

For other dog treat reviews, please check out my takes (from Mitzie's reactions!) to:
Kong Peanut Butter Stuff'N
Bacon Booda Bones
Redbarn Barnburger


For other pet product reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2011, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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