Posted on May 21 2021
ByBenji Biltong - Blog
We love our pets, so it’s only natural that we care about what goes into their bodies. With training being a central part of a dog’s day-to-day life, choosing treats that are high-value yet healthy is vital. That being said, with so much choice out there, it can be hard to wade through all the options and find the right balance between taste, making sure your dog is still eating well and finding what works for you.
Over at Luna’s Loft HQ, the goal is to source handmade treats, full of natural goodness that your dogs will love. And, as an added bonus, it’s supporting fellow small businesses in the process! Fairly new to the site are a selection of natural and handmade treats from Life of Riley Bakery and By Benji Biltong. We spoke to the team over at ByBenji to get the lowdown on their products and learn a bit more about what goes into making their tasty treats.
What inspired you to start up ByBenji?
Biltong in the human world is an unrivalled super food, naturally preserved. Traditionally as South African meat snack that actually has many survival properties... it’s pure protein and a has a taste that is hard to resist!
We saw a gap in the dog treat market for a high value, one ingredient meat treat collection that would conform to raw and have all the intensity and character to become the ultimate reward and recall solution.
We knew that Biltong for humans was produced with a variety of spices and often chillies, and importantly cured in salt, all 100% not pet friendly, so, how to make biltong dog-friendly, how to adapt this appropriately for the dog treat world was the project!
The solution was to create a herb based marinating process, we tested and found we had produced a range of powerful treats that were sending dogs noses and their tastebuds into a spin!!!
Why do my dogs go absolutely crazy for your treats?
The secret of the attraction is with the intense flavour and aroma in the marinating process and the results are because of the highest quality ingredients – nothing but pure silverside of beef!
Each slice of muscle meat is infused with our herb marinade and then hung to naturally air cure, which intensifies the taste and smell. (Obviously our recipe is a well-kept secret, but the process takes days to complete)
Think of it this way: imagine a piece of meat, then imagine a piece of marinated meat...no guesses which piece would have more flavour!
ByBenji is all about a full-on sensory experience. Dogs can hear and see the bag, and noses can sense it even before the sealed bags are open!
Where are your treats made?
Biltong is traditionally made in an enormous hanging room for the meat, not so surprisingly called a “Biltong Box”. We have recently moved our boxes to our brand-new production unit on the beautiful Battlers Green Farm Estate in Radlett, Hertfordshire. We’ve beaten all the odds but now have the capacity to increase production for bigger and even more exciting future plans!
Is your Biltong gluten free?
Absolutely! All our products are gluten free, grain free, no artificial colourings, additives or sugars, no MSG, no sinew or gristle – just 100% muscle meat Silverside of Beef!
How old does my dog need to be before they can try these amazing treats?
Hailed by industry professionals as a jackpot training treat collection, our treats are suitable for keen Biltongeers of all ages and stages. We generally recommend introducing from 4 months onwards.
Are there any rules and regulations you have to abide by as a treat company?
Yes – thankfully, the legislation for all dog treat manufacturing is strictly regulated. After all, pets rely on us to ensure their food is appropriate and consistently safe for their diet and we wouldn’t have it any other way. We are DEFRA registered and our products are tested regularly as our licence requires.
Do you have any recommendations for fussy eaters?
Absolutely! Having already mentioned the intense aroma, we have had some wonderful and moving feedback that all our Biltong range (that’s the treats, sticks and sausage) have been successfully used to socialise anxious or traumatised dogs in stressful situations. They can smell the biltong and their senses are so aroused that they’re encouraged to move towards it.
When it comes to mealtime, we would recommend our Food Topper which is especially ideal for fussy eaters.
This blend of mix of herbs and ground Biltong is collected from the hanging air-curing Biltong. Using just a pinch of the topper sprinkled over a bowl of food will jazz up even the most ordinary of mealtimes for the fussiest of eaters, plus it’s the perfect way to give any pill or medication too! You can also use our range in combination with stuffed treat toys, snuffle mats and boredom buster games and puzzles, which will keep them occupied - fussy dogs or not!
So, there you have it – simple, natural ingredients don’t have to come at the expense of taste. We picked up a few bags of ByBenji training treats for the first time at Dogstival last year and the dogs went nuts for them! They’ve been a staple in our treat cupboard ever since. With two very different dogs that have very different attitudes towards food, it’s not often I find treats that works for them both. On the one hand, I have a high energy collie cross who isn’t very food motivated, particularly when outside. On the other hand, I have a chihuahua who is extremely enthusiastic about food but has a sensitive stomach and whose weight I have to watch. Both of them love ByBenji products: they are one of the few treats Luna will actually show an interest in when outdoors, and I can give them to Teddy knowing that he isn’t getting any unnecessary extras. For me, a clear sign of a good quality treat is one where I can recognise all the ingredients, and by ByBenji certainly hits the mark on that front! You know exactly what your dog is getting – in fact, I’d even be willing to eat these treats myself (and, trust me, they smell so good you’ll definitely be tempted!)
Training Treats - The ready to go, bite sized option, the ideal training treat, total reward and recall.
Super Sticks – The most versatile of our products. A longer chew, but can also be cut to treat size or used as the perfect natural “tug toy”, supporting a healthy dental regime.
Biltong Sausage – The soft and crumblier way to enjoy your biltong. Each sausage snaps easily into small pieces and can be enjoyed by both pensioner pooches and puppy dogs alike.
Biltong Food Topper – If you have a fussy eater, or your dog is simply off their feed, a little Biltong Topper sprinkled over their bowl will encourage even the choosiest! Made from our blended biltong and marinated herb infusion, no dog can resist!
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Written by Emily Heathcote @boonzandbean