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Review: Zuke’s Mini Naturals

As our regular readers know, Irie and Tiki love to stay active. Whether on their twice-daily walks, a hilly hike on our land, a trip to the beach, or a day trip to an area lake, these girls like to be on the move.

But, as you also know, on August 23, Irie tore her ACL. A sudden sprint after a squirrel resulted in TPLO surgery days later — and 12 weeks of limited activity this fall. Just like a football player with a torn ACL, Irie found herself on the injured reserve list, and her usual workout routine was greatly curtailed.

After a few days of post-surgical rest, it was time to get Irie up on her feet and back in the game–but at a much slower speed. Like an injured football player, the first few weeks were spent going back to the surgeon for check-ups and to physical therapy. Irie had never used a ramp (and wasn’t excited at the prospect of returning to the hospital for follow-ups) so we used Zuke’s Genuine Jerky to help motivate her:


We started with extremely restricted activity of just five-minute walks taken on leash at the pace of a wedding march. Every week, we added five minutes to that walk but she remained on leash for three months, even for potty breaks. All running and jumping were off limits.

With this sudden drop in her activity level, we worked to keep Irie from becoming bored (and from becoming jealous when Tiki went out on walks without her.) To keep Irie active, we turned to mental exercises instead of physical.

Zuke’s Mini Naturals

Irie is extremely food motivated so that was in our favor. On the other hand, it was important to Irie’s recuperation that she not gain weight–and harder than ever to help her lose weight due to her diminished activity.

Fortunately Zuke’s Mini Naturals provided a moist treat that was flavorful and tempting to Irie — while, at the same time, being low calorie.

Just 3.5 calories per treat, the small Zuke’s Mini Naturals were an easy fit into Irie’s interactive toys. The challenge of uncovering treats from her toy kept Irie focused and busy, a substitute for walking and exploring during that time of recuperation.

One of Irie’s favorite games during recuperation was the Shell Game. We started with two opaque plastic cups and let Irie see which one we placed a Zuke’s Mini Naturals treat beneath.

As she watched, the cups were rotated then Irie was asked to choose which cup hid the treat. When she was right, she received the treat. When wrong, we showed her the treat beneath the other cup but continued play instead of stopping to eat the treat.

Not only did Irie love the game but Tiki was a big fan, too; it helped keep her busy as well while her playmate recuperated:


As Irie’s skill grew, we advanced from two cups to three, placing a Mini Naturals under just one of the three cups.

The exercise kept Irie active mentally, watching carefully and working to see just where the treat went–all while adding very few calories to her day.

Sometimes, Irie became a little too enthusiastic!


Zuke’s Hip Action treats

Now that Irie is back at almost full speed (we still see limping when she’s been inactive for a few hours), we’re working to help build her mobility. We’ve been giving her Zuke’s Hip Action treats (two a day for her size).

These treats contain 300mg of Glucosamine, 50mg of Chondroitin, and natural eggshell membrane. Made in the USA, the treats are designed to aid mobility without pills and powders–and they’re even safe if Irie should sneak in and eat a whole bag.

We love that the treats are made from wholefood goodness to help Irie regain the mobility that she has lost the past few months. All Irie knows is that the treats taste great!

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