Shih Tzu Review Board: True Chews Dog Jerky

Shih Tzu Review Board

We have recently made a decision that we want to be famous dog food/treat reviewers, and we are going to call ourselves the Shih Tzu Review Board (unless we think of something more clever)! We want to do that because we think we know a lot about dog food/treats! Also, we like to get packages in the mail with our names on them. What are we reviewing today?

True Chews Premium Jerky Cuts

We have a very good friend at He writes us whenever he needs expert reviewers to honestly judge dog food and treats that Chewy carries. I have to admit, though, that our Human doesn’t let us review just any food. First off, she says we can only review dog food and treats that say Made in U.S.A. or Made in America on the package. As for us shih tzus, we really, really like to try different types of jerky the most. Our Human says as long as we don’t find some we like as well as her homemade dog jerky she’ll let us keep testing others!

We got a package in the mail the other day that contained a bag of True Chews Premium Jerky Cuts. They are made with real chicken, and, of course, made in the U.S.A. We were really anxious to try them, but our Human thought she would be clever. She put the bag up in the Baby Russian Sage Garden and sat us up there one at a time. Each time one of us got up there, she pulled a piece of jerky halfway out of the bag to see what we would do. Well, I can tell you that not one of us walked away from that bag! We all loved True Chews chicken jerky! Our Humans say that these pictures should prove it!

A shih tzu taking dog jerky from a True Chews bag.

“I wonder if I could take the whole bag of chicken jerky and run!

Flower shih tzu with a True Chews dog jerky bag

“Hey, Dottie, Nigel, Candy! This chicken jerky is really great!

Dottie shih tzu eating chicken jerky from True Chews bag.

“I am so glad that Nigel and Flower left me some chicken jerky!”


a shih tzu taking dog jerky from a True Chews bag.

Finally my turn!




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Shih Tzu Day 367: One Year Anniversary at Forever Home!

Dottie, Candy and Flower head off to Unleashed by Petco.This is Shih Tzu Day 367, the one-year anniversary of when Dottie, Candy, and Flower came to live with us (this year happened to have 29 days in February), on June 30, 2011.

Candy gets fitted with a harness at Unleashed by Petco.

I know I have to catch up on the last month, but I don’t want to miss the opportunity to write about today. Since we have gotten all of the dogs at least semi used to walking on a leash, I decided it would be fun to take them out in public, particularly since there was an event that sounded fun.

I accidentally ran across an Unleashed by Petco a few weeks ago. If you don’t know what that is, it’s a “mini” Petco. I was further surprised to find out that one had opened up just a couple of miles from our home. As it turned out, it was having a grand opening this weekend.

Dottie enjoys a celebration treat.Candy waits her turn as Flower licks ice cream off John's hand.Why I thought it would be fun to take the shih tzus to it was because I got an email (because I have a PALS card) talking about the giveaways and discounts for the weekend, as well as an ice cream social, from 11 to 3 today. I had been trying to decide what to do for our anniversary, and I thought that sounded very celebratory. I didn’t know if they would be too nervous to eat ice cream there, but it sounded worth trying. Also, I like the harness I had fitted for Flower at Petco last week, so I wanted to get one for her shih tzu sisters.

It wasn’t too difficult to get them all in the back seat of the car, especially since we went through the same drill earlier in the week to take Flower, Candy and Dottie in for shots, with Nigel tagging along. Dottie was shaking, but the other shih tzus were pretty calm.

Candy and an anniversary treat.We got to Unleashed at 1, and I immediately asked someone if they could help us fit Dottie and Candy with harnesses. The woman I asked sent Patrice over to help us, and I told her that Flower had a medium, but she was a couple pounds smaller and might need a small. Patrice was going to try both sizes on Candy, but she was puzzled at how to get it on her. I have to admit that it took me a

Nigel investigates the doggy ice cream.

while to figure it out too, and I had been putting one on Flower for days. I was holding onto Flower and Nigel, so I couldn’t show her. With John’s help, we eventually decided she needed a medium too, and, even though Dottie is five pounds heavier, she took the same size.

That process was a little hectic. Dottie sat by Patrice throughout the fittings, but there were lots of people and dogs there, and Nigel kept trying to go make friends with other dogs. I had to keep pulling him back, until Ted, another Petco associate, came up and played with him.

I had intended on taking pictures, but my plan went awry. I didn’t know my battery was nearly dead on my Nikon and my iPhone battery was nearly dead from listening to Pandora on a bike ride earlier with John. I still managed to get several pictures taken before the batteries died.

Once we had accomplished the harness fitting, I asked where the ice cream was. It was disappointing to learn that although we had arrived at 1, they had already run out of ice cream. My mind was set on it, so I ended up buying some (SweetSpots peanut butter and honey) to take home.

I also talked to a Natural Balance representative about trying yet another kibble type, since the shih tzus don’t seem too jazzed about any of the kinds I’ve been given them. I ended up buying Alpha Dog, with lamb, chicken meal and rabbit. They also gave me some other samples to try.

Flower was the biggest problem child. She was pretty good when we were working on the harnesses, but later, when I went by the front door, she tried to exit. She didn’t care if it was with or without me. I think she’s going into her rebellious shih tzu teen years!

Although there was no free ice cream, we did get two pounds of free dog treats from the treat bar on the way out (Nigel is our only shih tzu that really likes biscuit-type dog treats). We also got two $5 coupons to spend when we came in, and there were two more in the bags we got. I’ll use one to get Nigel a harness later.

Our outing was a little nerve-wracking, but we got through it. When we got home, I had John slice up some chicken for me so I could make them chicken and apple and chicken and sweet potato treats. Once I had everything in the dehydrator, we put a variety of treats on a tray, including the doggie ice cream, and took them outside for their own exclusive ice cream social. Flower and Nigel loved the ice cream, although Dottie didn’t seem to care for it, and Candy would only eat it if I put it on my finger and had her lick it off. Candy preferred the chicken jerky I put out and Dottie the rawhide that I wrap fresh chicken around and dehydrate. It wasn’t the party I planned, but I don’t think they have any complaints.

I know Flower, Candy, and Dottie don’t understand what this anniversary means, but it has been a time for us to look back and reflect. We had some main goals this past year, including getting them used to me, getting them used to John, getting them used to guests, getting them to ride in a car without fear, getting them to walk on a leash, getting them to like going for walks, and getting them house trained.

We aren’t completely there, but I think we have made leaps and bounds. Flower can’t wait to go on walks. Candy and Dottie will go, but they don’t love it yet. Dottie still shakes in the car, but Flower and Candy don’t. Flower, in fact, jumped in the front to ride with me the last two times she went for a car ride. She also got through a vet visit without pooping on me or the vet. They all wag their tails when I or John comes home, and they will take treats from guests, although visitors aren’t their favorite pastime.

Yes, we are very happy with the progress we’ve made, and we can’t wait to see what progress we make in the coming year. Happy anniversary, Dottie, Candy, and Flower! We love you!

Oh, and we want to thank everyone who is cheering us on and sharing the journey with us!





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Shih Tzu Week 43: April 19 (Day 295) – 25 (Day 301), 2012

Shih Tzu Day 295: April 19 (Thursday)


Candy shih tzu in peace sign outfit.Candy’s birthday is April 30, and I stumbled across a very cute peace sign “outfit” for her at Ross Dress For Less, my favorite place to find inexpensive dog clothes. I think it was only about $5. It’s a little top and Velcro skirt. I couldn’t wait, so I tried it on her. She is so small, that the skirt kept falling off her. I think she is going to have to pass it on to Flower, who will be able to fill it out a little better!

Dog walking

I made a step towards my goal of getting the female shih tzus walking this summer by taking Nigel out today. I hope they will see how excited he gets and be interested. He seemed a little tired when we came back. He stopped on the sidewalk a few houses away and lay down for a little rest. I guess I took him a little too far, or his toe nails need clipping!

Shih Tzu Day 296: April 20 (Friday)

Candy’s rub down

Candy seems to be getting more and more comfortable with John. She sat on his lap for a while this evening while he gave her a rub down, which she seemed to enjoy. While that was going on, Dottie slept beside me, snoring peacefully. I am so happy she and the others have a good home and humans who love them.

Shih Tzu Day 297: April 21 (Saturday)

Training pad holder success

The shih tzus are getting used to the training pad holder. Someone recently asked me if a training pad holder would help with my problem of the dogs moving the training pads all around. I mentioned that I had unsuccessfully tried one before, but the shih tzus wouldn’t step over the edge to use the pad. But, I decided to try again. I bought one at Walmart by Simple Solutions. It cost $14.98 and holds pads that are 21”x 21”. It has worked much better this time.

Usually, I put three pads down, since Candy and Nigel like to sit on the pads when they are clean, and that gives them a little cushion. There is at least one spot on it every morning, so one of the dogs (probably Candy) is using it regularly. Nigel can wait until we bring him downstairs and he goes out, and I think Dottie waits too. Flower is a different subject. She doesn’t always wait, but I don’t think she regularly uses the pad either, either out of rebellion or for some other reason.

Shih Tzu Day 298: April 22 (Sunday)


Penny with her gift bag goodies, courtesy Royal Canin.Our Royal Canin sweepstakes contest ended on April 21. The winner was Michelle and Penny! Michelle sent a picture of Penny with her goodies and told us a little bit about her. Penny is an American Lo-Sze pug. She is 6 years old and was diagnosed with canine liver disease in September 2009.  Michelle says, “Penny has come a long way and is doing great today!  She is my best friend and inspiration.” Penny is the muse for Michelle’s pet product line, Sophisticated Pup.  She is the lead model and featured in most of the photos for the products.  Michelle says, “She loves to get dressed up and knows when the spotlight is on her!”

We are so happy to have gotten to know a little bit about the people who entered their dogs. We hope we can host more giveaways in the future. Congratulations, Michelle and Penny!

Shih Tzu Day 299: April 23 (Monday)

Hard-boiled eggs

I treated the shih tzus to some small pieces of hard-boiled eggs today. They all like them.

kiss me, kate, um, flower

Flower continues to sit on “her” couch more these days. It makes me said, because I love it when she sits with us. But she doesn’t like to share me with Dottie, and Dottie is possessive too.  She did come over this afternoon and let me pet her for a while. For some reason, when I look at her with those long eye lashes, I think of the musical, “Kiss Me, Kate,” so that’s what I always say to her.

Shih Tzu Day 300: April 24 (Tuesday)

Homemade chicken jerky and other treats not made in china!!

I mentioned earlier that one of our readers, Jessica, brought up the problem about treats made in China. Sadie Shih Tzu’s Human, Liz, wrote and suggested I make my own treats, and she sent me a recipe for dog biscuits. Although Nigel likes them and Flower will eat them when nothing else is around, Dottie and Candy don’t like dog biscuits. They absolutely love chicken jerky and next to that, they love sweet potato and chicken and sweet potato and apple treats. Since I experimented making chicken jerky in the oven, it got me thinking about taking it one step further and try a food dehydrator.

I initially bought a typical round dehydrator, but then I saw some good ratings for a square one by Nesco, and ordered it from I looked at a couple of jerky recipes, but settled with this one from Coco the Blogging Dog.

Basic Chicken Jerky

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, 1/4 cup olive oil, juice of 1 lemon (optional – add ingredients to the marinade, like Dogswell treats. Such as dried cane molasses, flaxseed, peppermint, parsley, etc.)

First, you cut the chicken into strips, according to this recipe, 5 inches long, 1 inch wide, and 1/4 inch thick. I’m not sure how close I got, but I tried. Then, in a bag, combine the oil, lemon juice, and optional ingredients. I added dried mint and parsley. The recipe says to squeeze out the air in the plastic bag, making sure all the chicken surfaces are covered with marinade, seal the bag, and refrigerate for 24 hours. However, I have an old vacuum sealer machine and a container that allows you to marinade for only an hour, so I did that.

You can do this in the oven, but I used the dehydrator. Sorry to say, I didn’t keep track of the time, but I think the jerky was done in about 8 hours. Basically, they have to be leathery. I really love the fact that I can taste test their food. I didn’t think it was bad, and the shih tzus seemed to love it.

Sweet potato and chicken treats

The shih tzus loved the homemade chicken and sweet potato treats.I couldn’t find a recipe for homemade sweet potato and chicken treats, so I improvised. I took some of the chicken strips and cut them into very thin pieces. Then, I cut sweet potatoes like I was going to make french fries. I wrapped the chicken strips around the sweet potato and dehydrated until chicken was leathery. The sweet potato were slightly spongy.

I’m not sure how they compare to store bought, but the shih tzus liked them! I know they cost less then store bought, and best of all, they come from my kitchen and not from China! Next time, I plan to make chicken and apple treats.

By the way, the dehydrator also came with a sample package for Nesco Spice Works beef jerky, so I made some for John. He thought it was the best jerky he’d ever had, and so did I. I have a feeling that dehydrator is going to be a great investment!

Shih Tzu Day 301: April 25 (Wednesday)

Welcome home

John and I have started riding our bikes in the morning before he leaves for work. The shih tzus aren’t quite sure what to think about me leaving the house that early. When we get back a half hour later, they are as excited as if I had been gone for hours. They were also excited later when I gave them a homemade sweet potato and chicken treat. I am so happy that they like them.

Now that I am making my own dog food treats and people treats, I am investing in some food preparation items. I bought an OXO Good Grips V-Blade mandoline from Bed, Bath and Beyond. One thing I am going to probably use it for is slicing sweet potatoes, if it will work, for the dog treats. I know sweet potatoes are harder than potatoes, so I am not sure if it will work.


PetArmor makes an inexpensive flea and tick treatment.As a family, we seem to be lucky in one area where a lot of dog owners have problems. I don’t think any of our shih tzus have ever had fleas, ticks, or lice! I did some research and read that Colorado is home to approximately 80 different species of fleas. Colorado dogs and their owners seem a little luckier than others because fleas need moisture to develop, and Colorado mainly has a dry climate. Still, there are some cases, as evidenced by the medications available anywhere that sells pet supplies in Colorado. One reason is that pets that come to Colorado from other states can carry these pests along with them! Wild animals also can share problems with your dogs. Both reasons are why I am not crazy about the occasional squirrel or cat that enters the yard without permission.

Beyond that, I think our shih tzus are probably relatively safe, mainly because they are presently “antisocial.” They don’t go to dog parks and they don’t go to groomers. We still haven’t gotten them to the point where they want to go on walks (but that is my biggest goal for this summer). Still, one of the reasons for flea and tick treatments is prevention, and since I do plan on taking the dogs out of the yard more, I began investigating flea and tick treatments recently.

The first thing I did was a Google search. I saw some good information on the PetArmor website other the heading of “Flea and Tick 101.” Fleas cause several problems, including anemia, and they can transmit tapeworms and cause allergy dermatitis. The site also goes over the four major species of ticks, and health problems caused by them, including transmission of Rocky Mountain spotted fever, canine tick paralysis, and the spreading of Lyme disease.

How can you tell if your dog (or cat) is scratching if he has fleas or for some other reason? You will need a fine-toothed metal “flea comb” and a white towel or sheet. You will also need to prepare a bowl of soapy water. Run the comb along your pet’s back or underbelly, making sure the comb touches the skin. If the comb pulls out any fleas, drown them immediately in the soapy water. Then, have your pet stand on a white towel or sheet, and brush or rub its coat. If you see any small black specks, they might be fleas or flea dirt (which can look like sand).

If you see no evidence of fleas but your pet has symptoms that could indicate other health problems, see your vet. If you do find fleas, don’t worry. You can easily treat your dog. I’m not going to go into how you check for ticks, but the site covers that too.

You can find flea and tick treatments online or at local stores that carry pet supplies. PetArmor’s site said the main ingredient was an insecticide called Fipronil. That is also the main ingredient in Front Line Plus, with the same concentration (9.7%). With that in mind, I checked into prices for PetArmor and Frontline Top Spot, first at I usually go there initially because it will tell me if something is carried at my local store, and, if not, if they will ship it to the store, eliminating a shipping charge, which is often the case. I also usually check Amazon to compare prices. In this case, Walmart disappointed me. A three-month supply of PetArmor for dogs under 22 pounds was $25, but it was only $15.97 at Amazon (I’m not sure what the shipping charge would be). Frontline Top Spot was $36.50 at Amazon and Walmart didn’t carry it, from what I could tell. From the reviews I read, Frontline usually gets a slightly higher rating, but PetArmor wasn’t very far behind.  That made my decision, after doing the math. Even going with Walmart’s higher price, for four dogs I would pay $100. That’s bad enough. Through Amazon, Top Spot was $146, without shipping. With that savings, I could buy ingredients for a couple of months of Sadie Shih Tzu homemade dog food!

I did decide to experiment at first with two dogs, and I chose Nigel and Dottie. John followed the instructions to apply the product. You open the applicator and apply it to the dog’s hair between the shoulder blades. Then, you have to make sure you don’t touch it until it dries. I was a little nervous, because I don’t like the idea of putting insecticides on dogs. I had read that dogs can have reactions to these products, but we did it a few days ago, and Nigel and Dottie haven’t shown any problematic signs.

What I read was that if Nigel or Dottie had fleas, the little nuisances would get active as they began to die and move to the top of the pet’s coat, where they would be more visible. Good news! I haven’t seen any! However, if we had, we would know the product was working.

By the way, if your dog does have fleas, you will also need to treat your house and possibly your yard. This includes thoroughly vacuuming carpets, especially upholstery, if your pet goes on your furniture. You will either need to throw away the vacuum cleaner bag or clean the dust cup with soap and water. It is also recommended that you wash your pet’s bedding in hot water or replace it. You might also need to cut down tall brush and grasses near the house or pet runs.

I know I haven’t covered how to check for ticks, but you can find that information at the site mentioned above.

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Shih Tzu Week 42: April 12 (Day 288) – 18 (Day 294)

Shih Tzu Day 288: April 12 (Thursday)

Release the Kraken!

Flower has been spending more time on “her” couch again, instead of with us. So far so good; as long as she doesn’t pee on it, she can have her space. I assume she has been spending more time there because Dottie growls and tries to hiss her away when she comes to our couch. When she does that, John says, “Release the Kraken!” Nobody seems very afraid of her, so I don’t think her acting ferocious is working.

Come out and play

The shih tzus loved the homemade chicken jerky.Around 4 o’clock, Candy decided it was time for something other than napping and started prancing around the living room. I think she’s a little disappointed these days with her playmate choices. Nigel used to go play with her instantly, but lately he’s been as lazy as Dottie, and lies on the couch next to Mom a lot of the time. Flower finally joined her for a tap dance across the floor. And Nigel eventually got up and romped around with both of them. When they took it outside, he grabbed Candy’s tail in his mouth and wouldn’t let go, so she couldn’t get very far. He finally turned his attention to Flower to play the bitey face game.

Shih Tzu Day 289: April 13 (Friday)

Happy Birthday, Flower!

Flower shih tzu wearing a birthday crown. Today is Flower’s birthday! She is now 3 years old. I made up a batch of chicken jerky for her treat. One of my friends suggested Frosty Paws and I couldn’t find any at the closest Wal-Mart, so I found a homemade Frosty Paws recipe:


  1. Blend all ingredients together and freeze in 3-ounce paper cupsShih tzus eating homemade Frosty Paws. .
  2. Microwave just a few seconds before serving.

The dogs loved the treats, once they found a way to get their tongues in the cups. When I make it again, I think I’ll use shorter containers. One of the fun parts of making dog treats is you can try them without feeling you are eating dog food! I actually thought the Frosty Paws  treat was good! I had a few bites myself.

Candy shih tzu wears a birthday crown in Flower's honor.I dressed the girls up, with Flower in a new dress that says Girly Girls. And I bought them Happy Birthday crows from the Dollar Tree. I gave her a stuffed animal and rubber chicken from the Dollar Tree, too, but she ignored them. She was far more fascinated with the cardboard insert I took out of the wine box. She carried it to Shih Tzu Central and spent probably 20 minutes seeing how much of it she could tear apart.

The shih tzus investigate the homemade chicken jerky.Dottie didn’t care if it was Flower’s special day. She was sitting beside me, with Mom to herself, when her shih tzu half-sister came up to the couch this morning, Dottie didn’t want to give up her Mom time and did her growly fixation thing.  I think she particularly doesn’t like it because Flower wants to be petted when she jumps up.

Indoor mess

This shih tzu loves cardboard!Someone pooped on the floor near the training pad and on the mat I have under the pad. It was the runny kind, and I hope it’s not from my homemade treats. They shouldn’t have anything in them that would cause that.

Shih Tzu Day 290 – 292: April 14 – 16 (Saturday – Monday)

I didn’t realize it, but I neglected to record any information in my journal for three days! I guess that means nothing exciting happened.

 Shih Tzu Day 293: April 17 (Tuesday)

Celery treats

I passed out celery today. Candy doesn’t normally take it, but she did this time and chewed on it for a while. Dottie is the only one that wouldn’t take any.

Not so close

The shih tzus wait for the party to begin.Dottie was scratching the sofa arm this afternoon, so to stop her, I reached over and picked her up and sat her on my chest facing me. She wasn’t sure what to do, but she stayed there for several minutes staring at me. She finally moved off, but stayed next to me instead of retreating to her corner.

Shih Tzu Day 294: April 18 (Wednesday)

I was gone most of the day, so I didn’t have very much shih tzu time. Someone seems to be having tummy problems, because I found more poop on the floor.

Back it up

Dottie was peacefully sitting in her corner this afternoon when Flower jumped up, right next to her. Instead of sitting down, she started backing her butt up into Dottie. I’m not sure what the purpose was, but Dottie started making her Kraken sound. Flower seemed oblivious to it. I guess she knows Dottie’s growl is worse than her bite.

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Shih Tzu Day 114: Favorite Dog Treats: Whole Lotta Chewin’ Going On

two very cute shih tzus on a couch waiting for dog treats.

dog treats – yum

four shih tzus waiting for dog treats. Today was one of those days that revolved around dog treats. In the morning, to keep the girls occupied, I gave out pig ears, one of the shih tzus’ favorite dog treats. In the early afternoon, they got a sweet potato and chicken treat and a small apple and chicken treat, other favorites. When John got home, they got a small piece of chicken jerky, probably at the top of dog treats.

shih tzu gnawing on an apple and chicken treat.Pig ears just seem to be pig ears, but I’ve experimented with different brands of sweet potato and chicken dog treats, apple and chicken treats and chicken jerky. I tried plain sweet potato treats, but they weren’t that popular. After that, I bought Canyon Creek Ranch Chicken Yam Good sweet potato treats, and the girls liked them. However, I discovered Costco carried Kingdom Pets sweet potato and chicken treats in a large value pack, so I have been buying them. I personally think Canyon Creek Ranch smells better, but the girls don’t seem to notice.

shih tzu chewing on a chicken and apple treat. As for chicken jerky, there are a lot of brands on the market. I tend to buy Milo’s Kitchen for a few reasons. First, I guess it’s relatively new, and I find a lot of dollar and two-dollar coupons for it. I also think Milo’s Kitchen dog treats smell really good. When I can find the value pack at Wal-mart, that’s what I buy. I will buy Waggin’ Train chicken jerky though. What I won’t buy is whatever chicken jerky Costco carries, although it comes in a value pack and is cheaper. The girls didn’t like it when I first bought it, and it looks dry to me.

a shih tzu with a sweet potato and chicken treat in his mouth.I buy Canyon Creek Ranch apple and chicken dog treats from PetSmart because although Wal-Mart is always cheaper on most dog treats, they don’t have a value pack. PetSmart’s value pack has been on sale for a while too. Having four dogs is like having four children: you have to find the bargains!


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