While Kiera may only be a dog (and a very silly one at that), she is an integral part of this little family. True, she spends large amounts of time attempting to consume guinea pig poop, cat poop, and kitchen scraps we might accidentally drop. But today I realized that as much time as we’ve been spending analyzing our own food and diet, we haven’t thought once about hers!
Now, I didn’t come to this brilliant realization all by my lonesome. A friend of mine (thanks Nikki!) liked this link on facebook (http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/) and I became mildly curious to see how Kiera’s current dog food fared. This all came about at the perfect moment, because I was supposed to be looking for dog food coupons online anyway (Kiera is down to her last day of dog food). Perfect, I thought. I’ll check up on her food, see that we’re doing an awesome job, and then search for coupons and go buy her some more.
WRONG! I’ve been doing research for about an hour now.
This website uses a scale of 1-5 to rate dog foods based on their ingredients, and on their fat:meat:carbohydrate ratio. Also, he highlights any potentially controversial ingredients in bright red so they’re impossible to miss.
So first I looked up her current food: Beneful – a very generic, well-known dog food brand. ONE STAR! WHAT?! I mean, sure, there are sometimes days when she doesn’t particularly want to eat, but maybe she’s just not hungry? She’s the only dog that has access to the food, so she isn’t a competitive eater… but what if she instinctively knew the food wasn’t very good for her? Maybe that’s why she wasn’t a big eater.
Alarmed, I read the entire article he had written about all of the different red flag ingredients, and why this wasn’t a good choice for our little Kiera-Bear.
Well now I know I won’t be feeding her that crap any time soon. But what is a better choice? I searched for all 5-star rated dog foods. Most of this stuff I’ve never even heard of! And a quick search of Petco and Petsmart websites, and they apparently haven’t heard of many of them either. Petco had 6 of the 45+ recommended brands, and Petsmart had 7. Petco let me “compare” them, and I found that 2 of the 6 we recommended for senior dogs. At 2 years old, Kiera is HARDLY a senior citizen. So that left me with 4. Because we don’t have a particular preference for which type of meat she’s eating (turkey, chicken, or fish), we decided to look at prices.
These 5-star brands are certainly a little pricier than the generic 1-star stuff. The cheapest one I found on Petco was the Solid Gold “Barking at the Moon” in the LARGE BAG (when comparing the small bags, the cheapest was the Castor & Pollux Organix: Adult). It is made with fish as the meat protein, has chelated minerals (minerals are attached to protein so it’s easier for the dog to absorb them), prebiotics (make for a better environment in the digestive tract for probiotics to live), and probiotics (healthy, good-for-you bactieria).
So, we’re going to try it out. We’re going today to go get her some of this new stuff, and we’ll let you know how it goes! And now for some obligatory cute photos of Kiera:
**UPDATE: Went to Petco. They didn’t have the Barking at the Moon kind in stock, so we started looking around for the other brands I’d found online. All of the other kinds were there, and they even had some mid-sized bag options that hadn’t showed up in my online search. Because we couldn’t get our “preferred” brand, we started doing some price comparisons in the store (Kiera was there for “moral support”). We ended up leaving with a 25.3lb bag of Nature’s Variety INSTINCT Grain-Free – Chicken Meal Formula (it was on sale with the Pals card). We just gave filled up her first bowl of it (1/2 new stuff, 1/2 old stuff), and she hasn’t touched it yet. Though we also took her on a long walk before coming home, and she usually isn’t very hungry right after a walk. Plus, like I said before, she’s not a competitive eater at all. She’s a grazer, and only eats when she’s hungry. So, I’ll update you all when she actually eats it, and let you know how she likes it! 🙂