If dog is man's best friend, why don't we care more about what their snacks taste like? Are those Beggin' Strips really worth beggin' for? Does a Snausage really taste like, uh, snausage? And are gourmet goods from puppy bakeries any different than the classic Milkbone? To find out, we've tasked one of our discerning food editors and his trusty puppy to sample seven classic dog treats, then give their educated, white-tablecloth takes on them... which is to say: here's an idiot and a cute puppy eating crap.
Andy's Reaction: An excellent choice for discerning dogs. There are subtle notes of poultry in each crunchy bite, with the cheese flavor offering a brief respite from the bacon aftertaste.
Kuma's Reaction: As is common practice in the canine world, Kuma took a bite of the bone, then hid the rest under the couch cushion. It will remain there with his other preferred treats until the next housecleaning.
Milk-Bone Flavor Snacks
A classic among dogs, mailmen, and Mel Gibson, these garden-variety treats come now come in a variety pack with flavors like bacon, chicken, beef, and turkey. We've opted for the sausage.
Andy's Reaction: An unexpected panoply of spices lurks behind each bite. Though slightly dry, it's no wonder these treats have saved countless mailmen from mauling.
Kuma's Reaction: The pup took two licks, then left the Milk-Bone on the ground, where it remained for an hour before disappearing.
A new "twist" on the classic sausage-shaped snack, the Snawsomes! consist of a braid of meat and cheese with the consistency of Play-Doh.
Andy's Reaction: This doesn't taste nearly as good as Play-Doh! Ugh... Oh god! Get it out of my mouth!
Kuma's Reaction: Upon tasting a Snausage for the first time in his eight months on Earth, Kuma copped this bitter-beer face... and didn't open his left eye for five minutes. The Snawsome! remains uneaten.
Basically the dog-treat equivalent of a Slim Jim, matching the gas station favorite in scent, appearance, and texture.
Andy's Reaction: Despite a few off notes on the nose, these taste remarkably like the Slim Jims I grew up loving. Maybe a Slim Jim that was lost under the car seat and rediscovered a year later, but hey... a Slim Jim's a Slim Jim.
Kuma's Reaction: Perhaps in tribute to his favorite wrestler, the late "Macho Man" Randy Savage, Kuma consumed the Pup-Peroni in three swift bites, then seemed to flex approvingly.
"Because Dogs Love the Taste of Steak" reads the obvious and inexplicably capitalized label. So do humans. This is going to be amazing.
Andy's Reaction: Sweet mother of god... it turned to paste when I ate it. Like a steak-flavored Gusher, if the Gushers braintrust thought steak tasted like anus. Maybe some steak sauce will help... ACK! Now A-1'll taste like this to me forever.
Kuma's Reaction: Fact: Dogs actually love the taste of both Gushers and anus. Kuma enjoyed this one so much, he took it out to the yard to eat -- slowly and meticulously -- in private.
Smoked Rib Bones with Meat (available at most butcher shops and groceries)
A classic treat meant to be chewed on for hours.
Andy's Reaction: The meat's a little tough, but it actually tastes like human food. Thank god! It's like a super-salty beef jerky. I could seriously eat this whole thing. (Editor's note: He finished the meat.)
Kuma's Reaction: The dog licked the bone for 45mins, then preceded to chew on it for another hour. It currently resides in his dog bed, where he will chew on it for days.
The popular bacon-flavored treats that are advertised as turning your dog into the equivalent of a withdrawing crack addict.
Andy's Reaction: There's a slight hint of bacon on the back of the tongue, but the most disappointing thing about this is its total lack of flavor... It should be either way tastier, or way disgusting-er. It's neither.
Kuma's Reaction: He got the beggin' part down, immediately taking to his hind legs in order to get to the bacon-scented goodness (note: Kuma has never had bacon... This is every species' reaction to that smell.). He then preceded to take a bite, then take the strip outside and forget about it.
Smoked Pig's Ear
A popular chew treat consisting of exactly what it says above.
Andy & Kuma's Reactions: These things actually do taste like bacon... and both man and beast spent a good amount of time fighting over it. Man gave up after a while, then went and cooked real bacon and ate it vindictively as the stupid son of a bitch gnawed at the ear.