Monday, April 4, 2016

What's on our menu?

I am frequently asked, "What do you feed your dogs?".  I'm always impressed that anyone would be interested.  I suspect it's because they know that due to my past history, I've invested a significant amount of time and effort into choosing the foods our dogs eat.  Those of you who knew Echo were aware that he developed an inability to digest most proteins.  We battled his condition for over two years but in the end, we lost the war.  His condition developed almost overnight and although I have my theories (another blog post for another day), we were never really able to find out exactly what went wrong despite numerous tests.  His condition and the chance that we could extend his quality of life for as long as possible forced me to learn what was in every morsel of food that landed in his dish.  I immediately discovered that all dog foods are NOT created equal despite price or manufacturer.  Brands that were historically thought to be healthy had quietly changed their formulations over time.  It was alarmingly complicated and so important to learn how to decode an ingredient label.  Armed with information obtained from numerous visits to our local pet food specialty store, various published articles, conversations with premium specialty dog food reps, and accounts from other dog owners who were dealing with similar sudden issues, I was eventually able to understand how it all worked.  Many pet owners who know me will tell you I'm constantly reminding them to learn how to decipher their pet food ingredient labels.  It makes a huge difference in your pet's life.  I also watch recalls carefully and it's often a deal breaker for me.  There are many however, my policy is to keep it all in perspective.  I consider how many recalls a company has had and for what reasons.  Some recalls are far more serious than others.  A salmonella outbreak is in a different category than a manufacturer being caught importing substandard ingredients from other countries in an effort to save money.  So with that said we are currently feeding Solid Gold Sunday Sunrise  kibble for all three of our dogs.

This might be supplemented with fresh fruit (bananas and blueberries are favorites), hard boiled egg, scrambled eggs, green beans, carrots, or pureed pumpkin.  We also add a probiotic at dinner time.  Solid Gold products are excellent however there are other less expensive dog food products that are just as good and might also be found in our pantry.  The 4Health line (available at Tractor Supply Stores) is an excellent choice at a price point that's hard to beat.  Along with kibble, it has become necessary to supplement Shyla's meals with canned food.  Due to the numerous medications she is on it's critical that she eat every meal.  Her appetite isn't always there and we've found that she's less likely to refuse a meal if it's mixed with canned food.  We're not quite as fussy about the canned foods since we're only adding a couple spoonfuls per feeding.  To keep it interesting we vary the options.  Our go-to choices are Merrick, Canidae Pure, Wellness, and 4Health.

Our choices may not be suitable for everyone but it's working for us.  I hope this post has inspired everyone to READ YOUR LABEL!  Learn what you should see and what you shouldn't.  Research possible better options.  With a higher quality food you often feed less which would add to the value.  Look for frequent buyer programs and register on the manufacturer's websites.  They'll often send you money saving coupons.  I'm also a fan of raw diets however they're not for everyone.  Done properly they require significant research, prep time, and planning.  It's a great way to keep your pet healthy while avoiding many of the additives found in manufactured foods.

Check out the sites below to  help make your quest for information a bit easier.
Bon Appetit!

Helpful sites:

Dog Food Advisor - A great resource that compares numerous pet foods

The Dog Food Project - learn how to read the label

FDA - The FDA's protocol regarding pet foods


♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥ said...

We have had Solid Gold both as kibble and canned and we love it. Phantom did well on Solid Gold. Ciara has a sensitive tummy so we both eat Zignature limited ingredient grain free turkey kibble. It tastes good and she does well on it.

There are so many good foods out there now, wish we could try them all:)

Woos - Ciara and Lightning

The Daily Echo said...

Zignature is another food that's always been on our short list! One of the few low glycemic foods available. Their reps are very well informed and always willing to help. Excellent choice!

Mitch and Molly said...

Our mom agonizes over which kibble for us too. We both eat Fromm. They have never had a recall and their foods are top shelf. Great post! Thanks, guys☺

The Daily Echo said...

Another excellent choice.