I’m a lucky participant of Chewy.com‘s Blogger Outreach Program, meaning I get to try out a lot of different pet products in exchange for my honest reviews. The following review are the thoughts and opinions of yours truly, and no way am I paid to endorse the following product.

This month I got to try Nature’s Variety Instinct Grain-Free Biscuits with Duck Meal & Sweet Potatoes Dog Treats. If you’re not familiar with the brand already, Nature’s Variety is an independent food company located in St. Louis, Missouri. Their focus is on creating premium, natural foods to keep pets healthy and happy.  The company produces two brands of pet food – Instinct®, the leader in raw pet food; and Prairie®, a balanced holistic line of food.

Health and nutrition are important to me, and it’s no different when it comes to my furbabies. I only want them to have the best. I’ve done some research and have had experience with the Nature’s Variety in the past. I actually used to feed Achilles and Shoko the Instinct Raw diet and had great results, but the maintenance and worries of possible salmonella illness eventually led me to consider other alternatives. Either way though, Nature’s Variety is still a great brand, so I was excited to test out their dog treats.

I go through A LOT of treats during my session to get those pets to cheese up for me (and to some, I become their new best friend, and they try to follow me home, haha). Some treats work really well, others don’t, so I am always on the lookout for the magic cure all. !! A couple of things that are important to me when I’m buying treats is that they are 1) Made in the USA. With all the contaminants and food scares these past years, I only want to buy from reputable companies. Not to mention I think I would just die, if I ever hurt or was responsible for the illness of pet, even unintentionally. 2) High Quality Ingredients. Usually 100% meat if possible. Pets will really work for those!

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So what’s in the ingredients list of the Duck Meal and Sweet Potatoes Dog Treats?
Duck Meal, Tapioca, Garbanzo Bean Flour, Sweet Potatoes, Pork Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid), Pumpkinseeds, Natural Vegetable Flavor, Dried Egg Whites, Montmorillonite Clay, Cinnamon, Guar Gum, Inulin, Dried Bacillus coagulans Fermentation Products

Short list, and the ingredients look to be pretty healthy with very little filler. They’re also made in the USA, so it passes both of those checks. Now the real test is, how do they perform during the photo session?

Our volunteer today is Dozer, an 11-year old shepherd-lab mix. She’s so excited to be spoiled with treats!

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Summary: The treats passed the Dozer test, and my credentials, but as for would I buy them to use in my sessions? Probably not. I don’t like giving whole treats to pets because once they’re happily filled up with them, they’re less inclined to cheese it up. As a result, I tend to break treats into small pieces. With these treats, it was REALLY hard to do so. (Probably similar to the level of pressure one would have to bend the iPhone 6, or at least I’d imagine, ha). Also, I think that dry treats have a tendency to make pets dehydrated. Not a good thing if they’re moving around a lot because that results in a lot of tongue hanging out shots–cute for a couple of images, but not all of them! So in conclusion, while I would recommend these for people who are looking for healthy treats to spoil their dogs with, I would not recommend them for use as a training tool or for pet photo sessions!