Shih Tzu Day 244: Review of Mr. Chewy — “Delivering Pet Happiness”


Some of my readers have been asking me to try my hand at reviews, since I seem to spend a lot of time buying dog food, dog treats, dog clothes, and other supplies (like training products) for my shih tzu tribe. I thought I would start with an online pet supply review, and since I like clever names, I chose

Mr. Chewy treatsI have ordered dog products before from Amazon, but I cringe when I have to pay shipping charges. I ordered several times when I had a free trial of Amazon Prime, but stopped when it expired. Yes, I am cheap, and I hate to spend extra money on shipping fees (although I have been known to drive 30 minutes for something I am looking for)! What I liked about Mr. Chewy right off was that you get free shipping on any order over $49. When you are buying products for four shih tzus, it isn’t hard at all to spend  50 bucks.

What I bought

I passed up buying regular dog food at Mr. Chewy, because I have been looking for something I buy locally called Earthborn Holistic (Great Plains Feast), and Mr. Chewy didn’t carry it. I also give them Taste of the Wild sometimes, because it’s grain free, and Mr. Chewy has that reasonably priced, but the shih tzus didn’t seem as crazy about it the last time I gave it to them. Maybe it’s just me who thinks they should eat bison! They probably want plain, old chicken.

I was a little surprised that Mr. Chewy didn’t carry any of the treats I buy most often: Milo’s Kitchen, Dentley’s, Waggin’ Train, and Canyon Creek Ranch. However, a few people recently alerted me to issues regarding some treats from China. From what I can tell, chicken jerky treats could be an issue. Sadly, Milo’s Kitchen, Waggin’ Train, and Canyon Creek Ranch are some of the brand names that the FDA has mentioned as possibly causing health problems. With that in mind, I have revised this original review to reflect that. I had been going to ask Mr. Chewy why they didn’t carry the brands I mentioned, but I won’t be buying them – with the exception at the moment of Dentley’s – until I am sure they are safe for my shih tzus.

I ended up getting four items: Canidae Snap-Bits, PureBites freeze dried cheddar cheese, Dogswell Vitality Chicken Breasts with flaxseed and vitamins (for eyes, skin, and coat), and Vitality Chicken Breasts with mint and parsley for healthy teeth and fresh breath.

I chose the chicken breasts because that is definitely one of the shih tzus’ favorite treats, and I liked that these had healthy ingredients, and fresh breath ingredients. They gobbled them down quickly. They are made in China, but since I have not seen Dogswell connected to any controversy, I won’t mark them off my list.

I chose the freeze dried cheese because cheese was the only ingredient, and I hate seeing a long list of ingredients. They were more tentative about those, but once they started chewing on the crunchy pieces, all four shih tzus liked them. And, hurray, they are made in the U.S.A.

I picked out the Snap-Bits because only Nigel and Flower are biscuit eaters, so I thought I would dry with these teeny bites, especially for rewards. All of the dogs liked them too. It’s always a relief when they all like the same things, so all of these treats passed the test. I would buy them again.

Wish list

I also would buy from Mr. Chewy again, but I have some things on my wish list for my shih tzu family. You can shop various ways: by brand, pet, food form, life stage, and speciality. I particularly liked that “grain free” was listed under speciality, because I try to feed the shih tzus grain free or at least high quality grains, at least for their regular dry dog food. One category said no potato, and I am glad to know that, but I actually like to see sweet potato in the ingredients. I guess it would be too hard to break down into “no white potato.” And once you do click into the category and choose a brand, you can easily see the ingredients.

I don’t know if other suppliers do it, but I would also like dog food and treat categories for large or small dogs. I would also like to see a “value pack” category, since I have to buy four times as many treats as the one-dog owner, and larger size is one of the first things I try to find. It’s a lot more difficult online to “see” the value packs as you can in a store. For example, I can’t buy bully sticks in quantity of one. I prefer buying treats with a quantity of at least 50.

There is also a treat specialty category, but I would love for it to be further broken down, say, listing bully stick type items, since sometimes I don’t have something specific in mind when I shop, and that would remind me. I want a lot, don’t I? You can type in “bully,” however, as a search term, and if they have it, it will come up. While I am on the Made in China subject, I sure would like to see some pet product suppliers help us easily find products Made in the U.S.A.

Mr. Chewy sends emails with product updates. For example, I just got one talking about Doggie Delicacy Antler Chews. Sounds interesting, but at $4.99 for a small chew, times four for each shih tzu, I’ll stick to the bulk steer sticks I buy occasionally at a local pet supply store.

Charity donation

Mr. Chewy also has a charity donation program. For instance, if you refer a friend, they will donate $10 to a charity partner, such as North Shore Animal League America, Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, or Bideawee


Mr. Chewy does have nearly 100 brands to choose from, so there’s a good chance that if you don’t want to leave your house this week and you’re running low on pet supplies, Mr. Chewy has a solution.

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Shih Tzu Week 34: Feb. 16 (Day 232) – 22 (Day 238)

Shih Tzu Day 233: Friday, Feb. 17

The chewing of Dentley's sticks is a familiar morning sound.The shih tzus are definitely looking shabby. Not that they care. It doesn’t seem to matter what we do with Flower’s face. It seems like two days after trimming the hair above her eyes, it’s falling down again — she looks like Dennis the Menace. After I gave the shih tzus their beloved Dentley’s wrapped rawhide sticks this morning, Flower jumped up on the Nigel side of the couch to wait for me to sit down. However, she dropped her stick, and it was a free for all, as Nigel raced to steal it and Flower to retrieve it. The chewing of the rawhide sticks is a familiar sound in the mornings. They are all chewing away now, except I think someone took Candy’s. One moment someone will be chewing away, and the next, a stick has mysteriously disappeared. Then, hours later, one of the shih tzus, usually Nigel, is chewing away. I think he steals them and hides them for later.

Shih Tzu Day 234: Saturday, Feb. 18

I realized this afternoon how nice it is to leave the house without putting the coach cushions up, and not have a wet spot when I get back. Flower seems to be cured of her need to relieve herself on the couch when I am gone — or when I am here. I think I could probably start putting the cushions down on the other couch, but I am so used to having her sit on my couch that I hate to lose her to the other one. One independent doggie (Candy) is enough. What Flower does now instead is chew on anything she can reach. Well, I take that back. I know some dogs chew on shoes, but she doesn’t. I was doing taxes this morning, and she grabbed an envelope I had on my laptop table and started chewing on it. She loves chewing on paper, and she loves chewing on plastic. At last! We got Nigel, Flower, and Dottie trimmed, although they still do need a bath. Candy isn’t looking too shabby, so we skipped her for today. What a productive day! Getting taxes done and trimming three shih tzus! And they were all so good. I am particularly happy that Flower and Nigel were so good on the table, since it took a long time to get all that fur off. I don’t think I will consider trying to grow their fur long again anytime in the near future.

Shih Tzu Day 235: Sunday, Feb. 19

Flower was sitting on the Nigel side this morning, and John sat down. At one point, she would have ran. This time, she moved closer to me, but she did let John pet her for several minutes. Poor Nigel doesn’t seem like he feels well. Every once in a while, he will yelp, but we can’t tell why. My guess is it could be his teeth, or maybe an ear problem. I realized we didn’t pull the hair out of their ears yesterday, so we need to check and see if that might be causing the problem.

Shih Tzu Day 236: Monday, Feb. 20

We pulled the hair out of Nigel’s ears, and he seems better today, although he did yelp a few times for no apparent reason. He has been very active today, although he mainly wants to be on one of our laps. Flower followed the lead of Nigel and Candy and ran right up to the door when John came home, but then caught herself, ran back by me, picked up a brown dog on the floor, threw it in the air, like Candy does, and then jumped on the couch next to me. Strange children we have. I guess she was excited, but wasn’t quite sure why. Of course, Dottie, our bump on a log, just sat on the couch. She doesn’t like to move much. I hope I can get her used to activity when it warms back up.

Shih Tzu Day 237: Tuesday, Feb. 21

Flower came to get loving from Dad twice this morning. She got about a foot and a half away and stared at him. Then, she let him touch her chin and pet her ears. It’s probably good that Mom is busy on the computer and Dottie is on one side and Nigel on the other. She has to reach out to the Man. He loves it, since he hated thinking they wanted him to move out. I imagine I’ve said that I think my little shih tzu tribe is adorable. They are all so different. We have begun calling Candy our shih tzu kitty, because she is aloof like many cats, and pounces like cats. Nigel can be so mischievous, and then he climbs his stairs and plops down as close to Mom as he can get, depending on where the laptop is. He can rarely squeeze into my lap when I am working, but he does often put his head on it and go to sleep. There are probably plenty of dogs who regret the invention of laptop computers. Thank goodness he gets Dad’s lap when he is home, and that the girls aren’t lap dogs and don’t fight him for it. Every once in a while, he’ll tip his head way back and look at John or me. He’ll just stare for several sections, and then lay his head back down. I would love to know what he is thinking. I think Flower would be by my side all the time, if big sister and little brother weren’t there. But, she does come to see me often. Just now, she put her paw on my arm, reached up and licked my lips and nose quickly, and then back away. Of course, John doesn’t encourage letting them lick my mouth, but it happens so rarely, that I think it’s adorable. I had to go to the store this afternoon, and Candy was outside, so I knew that would be a problem. We have never raised a hand to her, so her fear must still be a learned reaction to her puppy mill days. As usual, I opened the door to ask her to come in, and she ran and hid under the trailer. Since I put Angels Eyes on thinly sliced turkey for Dottie and Flower each day (for their tear stains), I thought I could lure her in with some. I held it out to her, and she tentatively came to the door, but wouldn’t come in. Finally, I just had to leave her out there, like I have had to do a few times. I told John we need to put her on a leash when we let her outside, so we can reel her in, like his sister does with their cat. It doesn’t help sometimes, because I get exasperated after unsuccessfully trying to lure her in, and sometimes my voice raises, which makes her retreat further. I just have to plan it better, where I let her outside only if I know I won’t need to leave. When I came home, Candy came in, but it was Dottie’s turn to act odd. She went outside and wouldn’t come back in, which is strange, since her couch is inside. I finally had to go out in the grass and get her. She cowered down, so I was able to pick her up. I hate when they act frightened. Sometimes, too, they seem a little confused. I heard chewing coming from Shih Tzu Central this afternoon, and I looked around to see what paper or plastic product Flower stole from me. I was surprised to see she was chewing on a Christmas cane shaped rawhide treat. I wonder where that has been hiding for the last two months.

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Shih Tzu Week 33: Feb. 9 (Day 225) – 15 (Day 231)

Shih Tzu Day 225: Thursday, Feb. 9

change of format

Anyone taking care of four dogs, working, and trying to make time for a family knows the feeling of always playing catch up! Because I have that problem, I am trying to figure out the best way to keep this journal up to date. For now, I think I am going to try to do one update  per week. We’ll see how that works out. It might seem kind of odd, because I am going from Thursday to Wednesday, but that’s because the shih tzu sisters first came to live with us on a Thursday.

closer shih tzu

Dottie used to sit at the end of the couch, facing forward, but now, she tends to sit at the end of the couch, but with her body facing towards me, so her head is right next to me. Her position means that Flower jumps on her half the way when she comes up, or else Flower comes up on the “male” side of the couch and then crosses over me.

Shih Tzu Day 226: Friday, Feb. 10

I had to spend some time in the spare room on the com­puter agan this morn­ing. Flower, Nigel, and Dot­tie fol­lowed me in there. I worked for about five min­utes before I smelled urine. When I turned around, there was a yel­low spot on the car­pet, but no shih tzu near it. I asked who did it, but, of course, no one answered.

I have to admit that my voice raised louder than it should have. Nigel doesn’t scare eas­ily, but he tore off out the door, and Dot­tie trot­ted off behind him. Flower just sat near the chair look­ing at me, like ‘Where are they going?” I don’t know if that meant she was inno­cent or guilty. When I went back in there later, I also found poop on the floor. I don’t think I missed it ear­lier, so I guess some­one just snuck back in.

I guess that car­pet is still too much of a temp­ta­tion, so I will have to put up the gate again when I am in the room. Partly, I think they are con­fused, because they aren’t used to me spend­ing much time any­where but with them in the liv­ing room, unless I am gone.

tem­po­rary lap shih tzu

Once I was back on the couch work­ing, Flower came to sit by me and started growl­ing at me. This time, instead of pet­ting her, which I know is what she wanted, I picked her up and sat her on my lap. I tried that once before, and she jumped right back off, but this time, she looked at me, star­tled, but then lay down on my lap and stayed there until about twenty min­utes later, when I had to get up. I would try to hold her more, but there isn’t much room  with a lap­top in front of me most of the time.

Shih Tzu Day 227: Saturday, Feb. 11

The shih tzus wanted me up at 5:30, but I didn’t budge until 6:20. I closed the gate when I went into the spare bedroom, but they looked so disappointed that I let Nigel and Flower in; however, I did turn position my chair so I could try to catch the culprit that likes to pee on the carpet. And  I put a box over the area that was being used as a training pad. No accidents.

Shih Tzu Day 228: Sunday, Feb. 12

Valentine’s Day

We weren’t home most of the day. John and I had some shopping to do, and then we went out for an early Valentine’s Day dinner, since John gets off so late during the week. They were all very excited when we did get home, especially when they got their treats. Flower particularly seemed irritated that we left them alone so much. She stayed in her corner most of the evening.

Shih Tzu Day 229: Monday, Feb. 13


I have started to call Candy’s corner in the dining room, hidden from my sight, her “apartment.” For the most part, she lays in her bed in her apartment much of the day, especially now that it is cold outside. Once in a while though, especially when she thinks it should be treat time, she leaves her apartment and wanders over to the couch. For some strange reason, that is usually right when John leaves for work.

This morning when she came over and put her paws on the couch, moving her head from side to side, she got Flower, on the floor, and Dottie, on the couch, excited. Flower and Candy were dancing around, and Dottie was wiggling around on the edge of the couch and slid off of it backwards. It was a very funny sight, but I am glad that she didn’t have far to fall.

When John leaves, it usually has been about three hours since they had breakfast. So, when Candy comes up, I get up and either give them a chicken-wrapped banana treat, since they are so small, or a small chicken-wrapped sweet potato treat. Then, they usually go and lay back down for a few more hours.

Nigel resting.Shortly after I gave them their treats, I heard Nigel and Candy fighting near her apartment. I imagine she dropper her treat and he followed his rule, which is if anything falls to the ground, it’s his. Although I didn’t see what happened, I gave Candy another treat. My guess is that she stays so thin because of all the times the other shih tzus steal from her.

I felt bad again this morning, because Candy was outside for about an hour before I realized it. I wish she would learn to “knock” to come in, like the other dogs. But she just sits or lies on the porch until someone remembers her.

Every time she trots by me, I think she needs a little pearl necklace. She is so dainty.

surprise lunch visitor

Flower lounges on her fluffy sister.John is delivering in this area today, so he came home for lunch. He started the shih tzus; Flower jumped off the arm onto Dottie. Then, she sat on top of her for the next 20 minutes, using her as a lounger. Dottie didn’t seem to mind it.

Shih Tzu Day 230: Monday, Feb. 14

Valentine’s Day

I got up this morning and made Valentine’s Day cookies for John. I haven’t made cookies for years. He told Leticia later that he was really surprised, because when he smelled the scent coming rom the kitchen, he thought I was baking for the shih tzus. I guess that means I had better bake for him more. And, I think I will look for a recipe for treats I can bake for the shih tzus, since I haven’t ever done that yet.

shih tzu tummy petting

Dottie let me sleep until 6:38, when she barked to remind me that their breakfast was late.

Flower has figured out that she likes being petted. Although Dottie and Flower continue to act leery of John, he continues to try to get closer to them. Today, he went up to Flower, who was lying on her back next to me, and he started talking to her before reaching out to pet her tummy. Before, she would jump up, but she has learned that she loves her tummy petted, so she didn’t move.

When John stopped petting her and walked away, she looked at me and growled. She wouldn’t stop until I started petting her.

Shih Tzu Day 231: Tuesday, Feb. 15

grooming needed

Every time I look at my babies, I think how badly they need grooming. Flower, especially, really looks like a wooly mammoth, except she doesn’t have tusks. I thought we might be able to make Nigel look like a traditional shih tzu, with long hair to the ground. However, the first issue is that his hair is very curly. It would hang to the floor if it wasn’t. That’s probably typical. I imagine there is some kind of product people use, plus, do people style shih tzu hair to make it straighter? I don’t think I am going to have the time it takes, so we’ll trim his fur shorter again, as soon as we can.

Flower has been sitting on Nigel and John’s side of the couch a lot, when John isn’t home. I think she would sit next to me, if Nigel hadn’t staked his claim. I picked her up today and sat her on my lap again for a while. She sat still for a while, and then wiggled free.

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Shih Tzu Day 224: Nothing But Furs

spunky shih tzu

Flower waits for Mom to pet her tummy. Dottie's in the background.I continue to be glad that the shih tzus are getting some exercise running up the stairs to follow me when I have to look at files on my PC. After my New Year’s Eve computer crash, I am trying to get everything together, eliminate duplicates, and back things up additionally “in a cloud.” My PC is more friendly at messing with a bunch of folders than my Mac. I don’t know how one person could have gathered as many duplicates as I have.

I still haven’t put everything away from Christmas. I had a bag of styrofoam peanuts that I moved (from off the floor!), because Flower is captivated by the bag and trying to get to them. I didn’t put them up high enough, because somehow she got them again. When I went to get the bag back, she clamped her teeth on the bag spunkily and tried to move back. I scolded her, and she gave me the bag, but it sure was cute.

What wasn’t cure was that someone pooped downstairs again. That is a mystery. Flower goes downstairs when I do, but I don’t think she usually goes without me. I doubt of Dottie has ever gone down there, and Candy doesn’t like stairs. But, I do catch her checking out the hall leading to the basement stairs sometimes. It could also be Nigel. Again, I need those security cameras!

nothing but furs

The shih tzus have all been so good about using the training pad or going outside (I thought until spotting the poop downstairs) that I thought I would reward them by folding up a blanket and putting it on the floor. Especially, I thought Nigel would get use out of it, because he sits by my feet sometimes. I put it down last night. This morning, out of the blue, Candy threw up on it. I have no idea why.

When John came downstairs, Nigel was sitting very close to one side of me, Flower right next to me on the other side, and Dottie next to her. He laughed and say, “You’ve got nothing but furs!”

growling for love

One of those furs has a strange habit. I was working away and I heard growling. I looked up and Flower was staring at me. She stopped growling as soon as I started petting her tummy. Do other dogs growl when you don’t pet them? I guess she doesn’t know another way to inform me that she wants some loving, kind of like when Dottie whines outside my bedroom door in the morning, because she thinks I should get up. Dottie has also been getting in on the petting action lately. Nigel seems to be content to just sit next to me and chew on something, although he does climb in my lap every now and then. Little Miss Independent is good with just getting a quick body rub when she chooses to come up to the couch; I try to pick Candy up sometimes, but she always jumps right down.

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Shih Tzu Day 221: Extreme Shih Tzu

shih tzu slam dance

a shih tzu with a rawhide stick.After I sent the female shih tzus outside this morning to eat their breakfast, I started my normal routine. First, I replace the soiled training pad with a new one, but this morning, the training pad wasn’t soiled. I didn’t see evidence that anyone had peed elsewhere. They really are all doing so much better in that area, although I expect at least one of the shih tzus to use the pad.

Next, I fill up their water bowls and if I have any extra time, I make my coffee. This morning, when I was setting down the water bowls, I heard a frantic banging on the door. I knew it was Flower. Nigel kind of claws at the door, and so does Dottie, although she usually waits for someone else to announce that they want in. Candy will sit there for hours, and then if you haven’t noticed she’s missing, bark once or twice. Flower, however, runs at the door like she’s slam dancing, and then claws on it, looking like a hamster running in a wheel.

extreme shih tzu

That made me think of how extreme Flower is. Maybe a little high strung. Flower was the one that showed fear in the most extreme way when they came, usually by her eyes being so big, and the fact that she pooped if you tried to get near her.

One of the new morning rituals is the passing out of the Dentley’s wrapped rawhide sticks, which is one of the few rawhide products they all like. Dottie trots up, takes it and walks away, usually back to Shih Tzu Central to enjoy hers. Nigel grabs his a little more quickly, and, since I corrected him several times, goes somewhere to enjoy his, instead of trying to grab everyone else’s too. Candy walks up timidly, acts like she is going to take hers, steps back in case a bully wants it, and then comes back, takes it between her teeth and backs away with it. When Extreme Flower has a lot of energy, she runs at my hand, quickly grabs the stick, and then runs off like a herd of elephants are chasing her.

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