Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Product Review: Starmark Petsmart Exclusive Treat Ringer

The Starmark Treat Ringer is a Petsmart Exclusive food toy. It features an inner rod that holds edible Treat Rings, surrounded by a tough plastic rim. It comes in three different shapes, a ring, a bone, and a horseshoe. The ring is supposed to be the easiest, and the horseshoe the most challenging. This is a toy designed for power chewers and dogs that destroy everything.
Photo by Erin Koski

I spotted the Starmark Ringer toys at Petsmart and then failed to find them on the Starmark website when I wanted to learn more about them. On a subsequent visit to the store, I learned that these toys are sold exclusively at Petsmart. I was familiar with this concept, but had only ever seen My Little Ponies and dinosaurs as store exclusives at Toys'R'Us and Target. Exclusive dog toys are a whole new thing.

I bought this toy on our trip to Idaho, where I was able to test it on a variety of different dogs. My cousin's weird little curly-tailed mix was happily tearing chunks off of our Everlasting Groovy Ball within moments of claiming it, so I even had a power chewer test drive it.
Border collie puggle
I'm guessing Molly is a border collie/beagle/pug cross. 

How Long Does It Take?

The Starmark Treat Ringer horseshoe comes with five treat rings pre-installed. They take quite a bit of manual dexterity and some force to put on the toy, and are quite difficult to remove. The dogs mostly have to lick and nibble with their front teeth in order to liberate the treats. 

The only treat rings available for the toy are chicken-flavored, and contain "natural chicken flavor". It's pretty far down the ingredient list though, and Brisbane had already inhaled a bowl of Molly's chicken-filled food the day I bought the Ringer, so I let him play with it. Brisbane spent just under five minutes removing a single ring from the toy. Molly took about two minutes to pull one ring off, and only left some minor tooth marks instead of demolishing the Ringer. Theoretically it would take Brisbane 20+ minutes to empty the ringer of its original complement of rings, while Molly might take only ten minutes.

I liked how focused all of the dogs were on this toy. Sisci and my cousin's pit bull puppy both worked for a while on it, and were engaged until the toy was emptied. My aunt's little chihuahua/rat terrier mix spent half an hour trying to free a ring before he needed a break.

Pros: Tougher than other Starmark toys. Challenging yet engaging. Suitable for dogs of any size.

Cons: Might be tough enough to break teeth. Treats only come in chicken flavor. Cannot hold hold any other sort of treats.

Bottom Line: I think that "Petsmart Exclusive" thing worked, since I've started going there specifically to look for toys only available there. 

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