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PRODUCT: Salmon Paws 100% Pure Alaskan Wild Salmon Omega Stix
Quantity: 1.4 oz. (2 sticks)
Price paid: $4.99
Ingredients: “Salmon & Salt… That’s it. Really!!” (as listed on the package)
Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude protein (min.): 68%
Crude fat (min.): 14%
Crude fiber (min.): 1%
Moisture (max.): 15%
Ash (max.): 4%

Country of origin/manufacture: Made in USA
Website: http://www.salmonpaws.com

When I tell the folks who work at Pet Store A that Bowdu is not to have any processed chicken, beef, or grain, they are totally understanding and bust out the “fancy” treats. Once, they broke apart some Salmon Paws jerky for my dogs. Bowpi, who can barely stay focused for more than two seconds when around strangers or in new environments, immediately had her butt planted on the carpet. All eyes were on the clerk as he handed out the treats, and seconds were just as happily consumed. They were so persistent, they even got offered a third bite that particular day. Tearing Bowpi away from her new best friend at the pet store was a bit of a challenge.

Impressed by their fixation and hoping to win back my own dogs, I grabbed a two-pack of “OMEGA STIX” sitting next to the cash register. The simplicity of the packaging and the promise of natural, skin-boosting vitamins was attractive to me. Then she rang up this tiny little packet at practically five dollars for about eight inches of dried fish, and I immediately experienced pricetag whiplash. I can buy a whole bag of large dried anchovies for less than that, or better yet, a slab of fresh salmon to dehydrate and work into jerky on my own! However, my credit card was already on the other side of the counter and the order was processed before I had a chance to react. I collected my purchases with my tail tucked between my legs and scurried home to hit up the Salmon Paws website, hoping i wouldn’t feel even more punished by questionable company ethics or something.

Luckily, they seem to be a conscientious and small, family-run operation. They’ve been around since 2008 and rely on more small-scale pet boutiques, pet magazines, and internet sales to distribute and advertise their products. The size of the company probably accounts for the high price, but at least I don’t feel like they’re trying to pull anything over on me. Aside from jerky and sticks, they also offer meal supplements with salmon, sweet potato, broccoli and carrots that look pretty good, as well as feline treats.

The website states that the treats are all made with “human grade” ingredients (a statement which is legally ambiguous and might be more cynically considered a marketing tactic rather than an accurate indication of quality). According to the interview linked above, they can make this claim because their treats are manufactured at a Washington-based plant that is licensed to make food for human consumption. So I felt comfortable taking a couple bites of these Omega Stix for myself before offering Bowdu and Bowpi their respective pieces.

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Yes, you can call me weird for regularly sampling my pets’ treats (though I’ve never tried their kibble or raw food). Of course, I keep in mind that tastiness is probably relative to species. After all, they both lick their own buttholes and I’ve seen Bowpi take a bite out of cow poop before, much to my horror — obviously, certain lines must be drawn. But if I had any fear that the treats I sample are going to kill or disgust me, why would I feed it to them?

As a human, I also understand how to savor food. In the time it took me to linger over my soft, chewy, flavorful inch of salmon stick and grab my camera, both dogs had already gobbled up their share and commenced with much lip-licking. Their contentment was apparent. The value of the treat? Not so much.

If price was no obstacle, Salmon Paws Omega Stix would get an A grade! I bet they would work wonders broken up into little nibbles as training treats for dogs that need a strong motivational incentive.

However, here at the House of Two Bows, price is a significant factor for consideration. In this case, it’s a major deterrent. I think both Bowdu and Bowpi would be just as happy with salmon sashimi or a whole fried fish from Ranch 99, which would cost just as much and provide a longer duration of eating pleasure.

Final Grade: B+

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