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Product: Farmers Market Salmon & Vegetable Treats for Dogs
Quantity: 16 oz. (453 g), divided into approximately 50 bite-sized chunks
Price paid: $16.99
Ingredients: Salmon, carrot, celery, beet, parsley, lettuce, watercress, spinach, green pea, sweet potato, tomato, parsley [again?], salt, zinc propionate, vitamin E supplement, coated ascorbic acid (source of vitamin C)
Guaranteed analysis:

Crude protein: 27%
Crude fat: 15% min.
Crude Fiber: 4%
Moisture: 22% max.
Zinc (as zinc propionate): 100 mg/kg min.
Vitamin E: 100 IU/kg min
Ascorbic acid (vitamin C): 50 mg/kg min
Omega 3 Fatty Acids: 0.10% min.
Omega 6 Fatty Acids: 3% min.
Bacillus subtilis (probiotic): 100,000 CFU/Kg min.

Country of manufacture: USA (most ingredients from N. America, according to FAQ)
Company information: KDR Pet Treats, LLC; 81 Industrial Boulevard; Logansport, IN 46947; Contact: Plato Pet Treats; P.O. Box 10231; Fresno, CA 93745; (559) 485-4316
Website: Plato Pet Treats; also on Facebook

I’ve picked up on some disagreements over just how much fruit and veggies a dog needs (if at all?) in a balanced diet. I haven’t done enough research on this to make any blanket statements, nor am I interested in making any claims about the appropriateness of fruits and veggies for your dog. All I know is that at least one of the Bows is quite favorably predisposed to non-meat treats.

The Farmers Market line comes in a limited variety: chicken, salmon, or sweet potato. The primary selling points are the inclusion of “premium U.S. grown” vegetables and a “specifically formulated pro-biotic coating [to] promote[] a healthy gastrointestinal tract in support of your dog’s digestive system” (quotes from packaging).

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Photos taken 15 January 2011

We’re avoiding all processed chicken, and we can make our own sweet potato chips, so I went with salmon. Unfortunately, our protein selection is pretty slim when it comes to this company’s products. Their “Thinkers” meat sticks and strips also include duck, but since the Doggy Daddy regards ducks as pets (he grew up on a lake and their family made a seasonal ritual of watching over ducklings), we generally don’t feed this protein to our dogs. I saw that at one point, Plato Pet Foods also had kangaroo strips. Unfortunately, these have been discontinued, as confirmed by an e-mail to company representatives.

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… So the Farmers Market salmon treats it is!

Retail price on each bag is a bit spendy. However, the chunks are appropriately sized and I feel like we got a good amount for my money. I didn’t count them individually, but with an average of 3 pieces / ounce, I estimate that we’re getting about 48 pieces per bag.

Both dogs clamored eagerly for their share as I weighed them out on the new food scale.

The only thing I dislike? Whoo-EE, they STINK.

And the packaging is a little too WAZZOW! LOOK! SHINY! for my taste. The numerous GRAIN FREE / PRO-BIOTICS / AMERICAN FLAG stickers make me think the packaging doth insist on its benefits too loudly. When I’m given the hard sell like this, I actually become more suspicious about the quality of the food. Counter-intuitive perhaps, but I’m a bit of a marketing skeptic and packaging snob. I see them as merely symbolic tags aimed at eliciting a kneejerk response of approval from the omnivorous, human consumer, and not necessarily substantial proof of the product’s quality. For example, I can’t say I’ve noticed any benefits from the additional pro-biotics, as both dogs’ stools have been as lovely as ever. And as noted above, not everything herein is 100% USA-sourced.

I do also wish they came in smaller packages — perhaps half the weight for half the cost. Based on the information available on the website (which looks very nice, but is still a bit sparse on info), I’m not entirely convinced that they’re worth the premium cost, no matter how much my dogs dig it. For now, they pass with a higher than average grade, but I bet they could still do better.

Final Grade: B+

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