Although it’s been over three years since our beloved yellow Labrador retriever, Mary Joe Cacao, crossed over the “rainbow bridge” after a long illness, my mom and I have become, in a way, co-owners of our neighbor Elena’s Lab-husky mix, Laika. Ever since we “doggy-sat” while Elena was on a 14-day Mediterranean cruise, Laika has been spending most of her daytime hours (roughly from 9 AM till 8 PM) here while Elena goes to work. This unusual arrangement benefits everyone involved: Elena can go to work knowing her dog is being walked, pampered, and in a happy home, Laika doesn’t have to be left outside in the extremes of a South Florida summer (heat, afternoon thunderstorms, blazing sunshine), and we get to have a canine companion without having to worry about purchasing the main meals or paying vet bills.
Of course, that doesn’t mean we don’t go out of our way to get Laika treats; even before we started “sharing custody” with Elena, we often bought her such snacks as Milk Bone Steak and Cheesers simply because she’s a sweet and gentle dog just like our wonderful Lab.
Because we like to give “our” dog variety in her diet, we often buy her different dog treats. This week, for instance, the snack d’jour is Purina’s Beggin’ Strips: Beef and Bacon Flavor.
Now, if you watch any amount of television as part of your daily routine, chances are that you’ve seen at least one variation of the “It’s bacon!” commercials for this product. The “storylines” vary, but the theme and setup are the same: we see the world from the point of view of a very hungry/happy/hyper dog (we can see his nose in the center of the screen) as he goes wild over the aroma of the Beggin’ Strips. In all the commercials, we hear the “dog” shouting happily “It’s bacon, bacon, bacon!” until an offscreen human voice, sometimes male, sometimes female, says, “No, it’s Beggin’ Strips.”
In the real world, or at least our tiny corner of it, this doesn’t actually happen, but I do have to admit two things:
A: These snacks really do smell (and almost feel) like real bacon. The first time we bought these snacks, sometime in the late 1990s, we were taken by surprise by just how much Beggin’ Strips do smell like smoked bacon. Like most dog food products, the aroma is stronger than the real thing, but considering that one of the ingredients is bacon fat, it isn’t surprising that aroma-wise it’s hard to tell between a Beggin’ Strip and a slice of the real deal.
Dogs generally do like Beggin’ Strips: All right, so we haven’t done a scientific study or anything like that. We’ve only given Beggin’ Strips to two dogs, which is certainly a small sampling of the nation’s canine population, but so far, two out of two dogs agree: Beggin’ Strips are, from their point of view, tasty and fun to eat.
Beggin’ Strips are packaged in cheerfully-colored 6 oz. resealable pouches (a la Zip-Loc bag but out of some metallic foil) and come in various flavors, including Original Bacon, Bacon With Cheese, and Beef and Bacon. This style of packaging is really nice because it eliminates the need to use clips to keep the Beggin’ Strips from spoilage or drying out.
Experiences with Beggin’ Strips: Elena has been feeding Laika a similar product from the Ol’ Roy Wal-Mart store brand line of pet foods, so getting her to try these Beggin’ Strips didn’t pose any major challenges. She doesn’t get hyper like the dog in the commercial; instead, her eyes (one brown, one blue) light up, her tail wags, and she slowly but happily sidles up to either Mom or me as we hold the Beggin’ Strip and offer it to her.
Surprisingly, she doesn’t grab the snack, but takes it politely and gently, then goes off to her favorite spot by the sliding glass doors which look out to the patio and starts eating her “bacon.”
Adverse Effects: None.
Final Thoughts: While not all dogs are alike and some may not like this product, it’s been my experience that this bacon-simulacrum is apparently delicious to our canine companions. So, if you have a dog (or are friends with one in the neighborhood), purchase this Purina Brands product and make him/her happy thinking that he/she is enjoying a strip of real bacon.
From the packaging:
Crude Protein (Min) 15.0%
Crude Fat (Min) 4.0%
Crude Fat (Max) 7.0%
Crude Fiber (Max) 3.5%
Moisture (Max) 26.0%
Ground wheat, corn gluten meal, wheat flour, ground yellow corn, water, sugar, glycerin, beef, hydrogenated starch hydrolysate, bacon fat preserved with BHA, soybean meal, salt, sorbic acid (a preservative), artificial smoke flavor, calcium propionate (a preservative), glyceryl monostearate, phosphoric acid, choline chloride, added color (Red 40, Yellow 5, Blue 1, Yellow 6).