Surfing the web I came across this new dog treat called Marsh Dog which is made from the nutria rat. What? Wait a minute! Seriously, a rat? Squeamishly I read more. Intrigued I contacted the company for a sample. I just heard you gasp but please don't stop reading because you still might want to check out these dog treats.
According to their website,
While Nutria share the same taxonomic order “Rodentia” (as do about 40% of all mammals, including squirrels, rabbits, beaver, and guinea pigs) they are not rats. Because of the shape of their tail, some people call Nutria “swamp rats” but they are most closely related to porcupines or South American capybaras.
Nutria, an invasive species, are one of the biggest culprits of wetland loss in Louisiana and other US wetlands. These semi-aquatic, otter-like mammals are responsible for the destruction of approximately 100,000 acres of critical marsh habitat between 1993 to 2001. Like most invasive species, Nutria not only destroy habitat but they impact multiple native species such as otter, muskrat, beaver, birds, crustaceans, and fish—all of whom rely on a healthy wetland habitat.
Unfortunately, only a small percentage of harvested Nutria are utilized in any manner—leaving this otherwise high-quality protein resource to go to waste. In response, Marsh Dog developed a dog biscuit made with wild Nutria. Utilizing an invasive species that is already being harvested to control its impact on wetlands is about as sustainable as it gets. Marsh Dog is proud to be a grant recipient of the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program, one of only 28 national estuaries in the country.
Who is Marsh Dog?
Marsh Dog, a small family company, is located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and are the very first pet food company to offer all-natural dog treats made with wild Nutria. "They believe in producing responsible foods that are healthy and nutritious for dogs as well as environmentally responsible. Creating a market for the invasive species Nutria is not only smart, it adheres to an eco-sustainability ethic that promotes good stewardship of natural resources".
The Product Line
The Barataria Bites, all-natural wild nutria biscuits, is $8.50 for a resealable 8 oz bag while the “Bark”, all-natural, dry-roasted wild nutria jerky, is $9.00 for a 4 oz resealable bag.
The company is working on “Bars,” freeze-dried wild Nutria and “Sticks” tube-shaped jerky treats which are expected to be available soon.
What are the ingredients?
Nutria, Whole Brown Rice, Oats, Sweet Potatoes, Eggs, Blackstrap Molasses, Garden Parsley, and Cayenne Pepper. (Nutria meat has less fat and cholesterol than chicken or turkey).
Even better is what’s not included - No soybeans. No corn. No wheat. No added animal fat. No added sugar. No artificial preservatives. No added salt. No artificial colorings. No added flavoring. No sunflower oil. No added hormones. No ingredients from outside the USA.
All ingredients are prepared in their Baton Rouge, Louisiana commercial kitchen which means they grind the sweet potatoes, blend the ingredients, and cut the biscuits by hand.
What did Kirby think?
Kirby is a voracious meat lover with kangaroo being the only meat so far he has turned down, so I did wonder how he would react to the nutria. I offered him a biscuit which is roughly 2 inches wide and about ½ inch thick. He took it into his mouth but then dropped it and looked at me. So next I broke it into four smaller pieces and laid them on the floor in front of him. He sniffed each piece, looked at me, and then picked one up. The loud crunching noise told me they are very hard. I’ve found that if I break them into smaller pieces he eats them. If I don’t, he simply waits for me to do so.
We shared one bag of the biscuits with other pet parents who have large dogs with great results. None turned one down and they all found eating the whole biscuit to be an easy task.
Most of the time Kirby is great about participating in videos, sometimes not so much. Today was one of those not so much times but I thought this was too cute not to share so here's Kirby's take on the Marsh Dog Nutria treats:
We give the Marsh Dog treats four paws for taste and healthy ingredients. For now they are only available in Louisiana. Check HERE for locations or if you live outside the state you can place an order using Paypal by emailing the company at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, shipping address, and phone number.
Did you know if you do a google search you can find several recipes for human consumption using nutria? I think I'm gonna have to leave the nutria consumption to the dogs for the moment. Now about that Bark...
Disclosure: We received this product to review and were not compensated in any other way. Our opinions are solely based on our experience with the product which we approve.