Monday, January 30, 2012

Confessions of a dog food geek

I didn't start out to be overly analytical of dog food. It just kind of happened.

When I got Missy, I first fed her Ol' Roy from Wal-Mart ( a thought which makes me shudder now...). Our family GSD mutt, Frisky, ate Ol' Roy or something similar and seemed to do just fine on it for her 15 or so years. It worked and was quite cost effective. Occasionally I splurged and got something like Pedigree or Purina Dog chow (yes, I'm shuddering again...)

Then I discovered the world of internet dog forums and through those the many food available and opinions on said foods - a rather mind boggling revelation to someone whose only experience with dog food was to pick up a bag at wally world every 5-6 weeks. The arguments made sense. Dog food should have a decent amount of meat and higher quality ingredients would keep a dog healthier. And cheap ingredients could get downright disgusting.

So I decided to start researching dog food. It was the beginning of a slippery slope, a slope that I'm still trying to master.

As of now I've fed everything from Ol' Roy to Raw to Canidae to The Honest Kitchen - the quality of the food seemed to go up as I did more research.

Currently I'm feeding The Honest Kitchen and raw for the main part of my dog's diet. For training treats and an occasional meal they get Orijen or Acana. I'm extremely happy with the results I've seen and Kenzi's digestive issues have cleared up nicely. My dogs are happy, healthy with great energy and lovely coats. The foods I'm currently feeding are pretty much the cream of the crop according to any review (and the results I've seen with my dogs seem to concur)

But I still can't seem to put the now ingrained habit of over-analyzing dog food to rest. Why do I keep analyzing the ingredients vs. the price vs. the online reviews that I read? Why do I keep thinking about trying a new food with my dogs? I mean I think I have this down to a science. I know a commercial dog food in every price bracket that I'd feed my dog. I know which foods are manufactured in which plants. I know who gets ingredients from overseas and who uses ingredients from the US or Canada. I know how to spot cheap filler ingredients and overpriced foods.

In short I probably know more than any normal person should.

Sheesh, I could easily write a 10 page research paper on the subject.

Please, tell me that I'm not alone...


  1. You are so totally not alone! From one dog food geek to another... Even though I can't always afford to feed my dogs what I'd prefer to (like now) I still agonize and crunch numbers and compare and make lists and research and and and... you get the idea. :)

  2. Yay!! It's not just me :D The number crunching - oh my... First it's what's the difference in price per # between foods, then it's "What size bag should I get? how fast will the dogs go through it, what's the price per # difference between bag sizes...

    Yes, I really do get the idea :D

  3. OMG! You are sooooo not alone. When Jeff and I first got Ty I became a world expert. Now at the risk of you coming back and telling me that it's terrible, I finally decided on for quality/price ration versus our budget to go with Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance. Ty loves it, we love it and Ty is now 13.5. As the average lifespan of Canaan Dogs is 13, it must be fairly ok. My big thing when I was looking for food for him (and we did try some really high quality/expensive ones and they were too rich for him ironically enough...or at least didn't agree wtih his system!) was no BHA/BHT, no corn, soy, wheat, fillers, etc. Natural Balance met that criteria and worked for our price range.

    So no, you are soooooo NOT alone! :) Heidi aka canaandogknits on Ravelry

  4. Hey, if you've done your research and your dog is doing great on it, far be it from me to tell you that you should be feeding him something else!
    The only thing that I've become 100% convinced of with this dog food geekiness is that there is no one size-fits-all answer when it come to which food to feed! I think my only hard and fast rule is stay away from anything with ties to China!

    And it's very reassuring to hear that I'm not alone :D