Product: The Original Salmon Ears
Quantity: 5 oz.
Price Paid: $8.95 (shipping included)
Ingredients: “100% natural de-hydrated salmon skin”
- Crude Protein Analysis: 33%
- Crude Fat Min: 54%
- Crude Fiber Max: 0.5%
- Moisture Max 4%
- Ash: 1.5%
Salmon what you ask?
Yup, salmon ears. Intrigued by one of the most surreal product names I’ve come across in a long time, I ordered a couple packs of these salmon skin treats direct from the company, on a recommendation from a Basenji person. Previous purchases have indicated that both Bows enjoy salmon skin treats. Other brands have been on the spendy side, whereas these prices, shipping included, seemed quite reasonable.
As I found out, it’s downright generous. Five ounces worth of salmon skin pieces really fills up a bag! Our two bags arrived flat in the package, vacuum-sealed pieces generously arrayed across the whole thing. The bag pictured next to Bowdu for reference is already more than half consumed, and it looks smaller once the chips have settled to the bottom.
The pre-cut pieces come in varied shapes and sizes (as you can see in the top picture), recommended for dogs 40 pounds and smaller. The site says they’re cut to about the size of 1/2 of a playing card, but I found many pieces to be significantly larger. Some even have gobs of jerkied meat still attached.
And some pieces look little and brittle and not as exciting. But even the little pieces required a bit of chomping from the Bows. Well, about two minutes worth of effort anyway, though that’s still longer than the 4 seconds for the average cookie treat..
The Bows had no trouble swallowing, even gulping their pieces after sufficiently softened, but I made sure to monitor their chewing. In the future, I think I’ll try an 8 ounce package of a whole sheet, cut into four jumbo pieces. This would allow me to cut it up in whatever size or shape I deem appropriate. Some have complained about the messiness of this procedure, but hey, we feed raw — no big deal here at the House of Two Bows.
My favorite quality about Salmon Ears is how they meet the claim of being “natural.” Every piece is as different as the fish it came from, slick with oil and rosy with meat (on some). Normally, I would expect a drier product to prevent against spoilage, but somehow, Salmon Ears managed to figure out a unique, patent-pending dehydration method that maintains freshness and the integrity of those precious fish oils.
We knew if we could get the oil flowing with a warming heat and let it flow out of the skins on its own, we could collect it and hopefully be left with some great end products. We were looking for a less oily skin that was preserved by a natural process. One that had its own naturally occurring content of anti-oxidant sea salt and vitamin E found in fish. These things combined with the drying/removal of the moisture that facilitates spoilage and vacuum packing would keep the skin in a naturally preserved state.
Patrick J. MacDonald, company owner, Salmon Ears “About” page
The skins retain just enough grease and smell to indicate that it actually came from a real animal. The company is also working on making a high quality salmon oil supplement for the pet market, as well as “Cod Ears.” In the meantime, they’ve been traveling around to public zoos, where bears in particular really enjoy the product.
As for those of the canine (and feline!) persuasion, retail access is currently limited to a few states only, so it’s best to check out the company website for ordering information. BONUS: They’re currently running a special on two packages of jumbo skins! If we weren’t already overloaded with treats for the month, we’d be all over that.
FINAL GRADE: A
UPDATE 7.26.2012: Patrick, the company owner, informs me that they’re currently only offering the jumbo cut pieces at this time, as they need to cut down on the cost of making different kinds of packaging as they figure out how to grow within the needs of their small company. Also, pro tip: To make the oil less messy, especially before cutting up the pieces, a good idea is to keep the skins in a refrigerator or a cooler.
The House of Two Bows was not compensated in any way for this review — we were just reviewing a product that we enjoy.