Product: YumZies Natural Cheese Flavor Treats
Quantity: 6 oz (170 g) in a pouch
Price Paid: $0.00! But usually $8.99 directly from the company, or $6.99 via Mr. Chewy, who sponsored this review
Ingredients: Chicken, Potato Flour, Pea Powder, Tapioca Starch, Glycerin, Fish Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Natural Flavor, Pea Flour, Powdered Cheese, Salt, Lecithin, Garlic Powder, Brewer’s Dried Yeast, Phosphoric Acid, Ginger Powder, Ascorbic Acid, Sodium Bisulfate, Cultured Dextrose, Mixed Tocopherols (preservative), Citric Acid (preservative), Rosemary Extract
- Crude Protein, 8% (min)
- Crude Fat, 11% (min)
- Crude Fiber, 3% (max)
- Moisture, 30% (max)
- Omega 3, 1.3% (min)
- Omega 6, 4.2% (min)
As Bowdu’s immune system has returned to normalcy, I’ve been willing to reintegrate chicken into his diet. Both Bows have been doing just fine with raw chicken for many months now, but generally, I still refrain from giving them any processed chicken in kibble or treat form. Given the ongoing concerns with chicken jerky treats, I feel perfectly justified in maintaining caution.
So when Mr. Chewy contacted me to review a packet of YumZies, the first thing I did was make sure that the product passed some basic criteria. Though we’re always on the lookout for good, “natural” treats, we had never heard of YumZies. This is a new product offered by a Florida-based company, Nootie, that currently carries a handful of specially scented grooming products and grain-free treats.
Place of manufacture is the first thing I checked. All their edibles are manufactured in the USA.
The second thing I checked was the ingredients. Each of their four flavor varieties — BBQ Chicken, Hickory Bacon, Cheese, and Peanut Butter — basically start with the same eight ingredients: Chicken, Potato Flour, Pea Powder, Tapioca Starch, Glycerin, Fish Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Pea Flour, Natural Flavor… etc. There are a couple things there that I don’t like, but for the most part, it looked okay, and I like that the leading ingredient is a named meat (though it doesn’t specify what parts).
This is what Nootie has to say about their recipe:
With chicken as the number one ingredient, the treats provide an excellent source of protein for your active dog. Glycerin and lecithin provide a bit of sweetness and texture. Both are also great at maintaining moisture, which gives the treats their chewiness. In addition, YumZies are gluten-free. Although gluten is a protein, it is derived from grains, which dogs don’t need. Instead, YumZies uses pea powder to provide an extra boost of protein while helping with digestion.
YumZies rounds out the list of healthy ingredients with fish oil, garlic powder, and ginger powder. Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids that fight against arthritis, kidney disease, heart disease, and cancers. The garlic powder maintains the immune system and lowers blood pressure. Finally, ginger powder helps relieve cramping and all kinds of digestive issues, such as nausea, bloating, vomiting, and diarrhea. (press release)
We went ahead and requested the cheese-flavored variety to sample for this review.
Things I like: the cute packaging, the cleanliness and the size of the convenient, nibble-able chunks (also available in mini training sizes). Unlike our usual training treats, these don’t leave a stinky residue on my fingers.
Things the dogs like: It’s novel and edible!
Things I don’t like: Limited protein sources (I’d still prefer to avoid processed chicken), and the oversell of trendy marketing buzzwords. The idea of grain-free treats with supplements appeals to consumers, but I don’t intend to feed the Bows enough treats per day that the additional omegas or digestive aids will matter at all. It’s also hard to take the claim of “natural” at face value when the product itself reminds me of Fimo clay. Though they’re certainly not the only one to do this, I always feel weird about seeing “natural flavor” on the list of ingredients, because it’s such a vague entity. Is it plant, animal, or mineral? There’s no way of knowing!
Things the dogs don’t like: Whaddya mean we can’t eat the whole bag at once?!
In short, we’re glad that companies like Mr. Chewy and Nootie recognize that pet owners do want better diets for our dogs (even if the dogs themselves aren’t particularly picky). But for the suggested retail price, there are better options available. I’m relieved that the dogs showed no chicken sensitivities despite such a long hiatus from this protein, but we won’t be switching over to Nootie anytime soon.
FINAL GRADE: B-
[Edit: after some consideration, I bumped up the final grade. Real life grading was making me cranky, and I was forgetting to evaluate the product on its own merits, not necessarily in comparison to others. Truly, many methods of evaluation in this world are quite arbitrary. Such is life.]