Intake: Puppy Uppers

May 2, 2004
Outside Magazine
Bodywork, April 1997

Intake: Puppy Uppers
By Brad Wetzler

Mocha-flavored Powerbars, orangeburst Gu, Thunder Bars--and don't forget Super Mega Mass 4000. Clearly, real food isn't in among endurance athletes these days. And if carbo-visionary Pat Meiering has his way, your dog will soon be snarfing packets of processed insta-energy with the best of them. Introducing the PowerBone ($1.79 for two; 505-822-8432), a high-performance energy bar for your pooch. Seriously.

It's not an idea completely without merit. A dog will typically cover two to three times the distance that its master does on a hike or trail run, faithfully patrolling the woods for frisky rabbits and enemy rottweilers. So he needs his quick energy, too. Textured like a Tootsie Roll and smelling vaguely of barbecued baby back ribs, PowerBones are pressed from nutritional ingredients, including beef, durum flour, and apple fiber--tasty enough for even finicky canines. I tested them on my two Australian cattle dog mixes on a recent run. Cuba, a sleek obsessive-compulsive, sniffed the leathery strip with mild interest, gently mouthed it, and then spat it out and blithely trotted after a lizard. Meanwhile, Cosmo--chubby, lethargic, and always hungry--simply inhaled, and his treat disappeared. He then ambled over to Cuba's dusty, abandoned PowerBone and wolfed it down as well--dessert. Tangible results were harder to gauge--no bursts of zippiness ensued--and at hike's end I gave it one more go. Predictably, Cosmo scarfed another and then snatched the PowerBone from his sister's mouth and swallowed it whole. Full, but clearly not full of energy, Cosmo lay down on the back porch, feet splayed in the air, and fell asleep. Cuba followed suit.

Photograph by Chip Simons

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