Category Archives: Dog Food Comparisons By Brand & Reviews

How to Get Those Meds Down Your Dog without Trouble

Greenies Pill Pockets The only thing worse than watching your pet suffer from an illness or injury is trying to force the pills down his throat that will aid in recovery.  I can’t count the number of times I have struggled with that chore.  You force open the dog’s mouth, throw in the pill into the back of his throat, force the mouth closed and hold it while you massage his throat and pray he will swallow the medicine down.  We tried hiding the pill or capsule in a glob of peanut butter but the dog would often work it around in his mouth until the pill was exposed and then spit that out. It’s a miserable process for both owner and pet!   We found that Greenies™ Pill Pockets are the solution to the problem!

I first discovered the Pill Pockets when my Weimaraner was a puppy suffering from unknown ear and stomach infections.  Each bout required a round of antibiotics and my growing pup wasn’t having any part of those huge pills. The Greenies™ Pill Pockets changed the routine.  I pushed the pill into the Pill Pocket and pinched the open edge together. Gator gobbled it down, certain he had been given the ultimate treat.

Dog treats to hide pills

In reviewing this product, let me begin by saying that although the company advertises the product as treats, Greenies™ Pill Pockets serve a special purpose: To ease the process of administering medication to pets.  The flavor of the product hides the smell and taste of the medication and encourages the animal to eat it.  That is enough to make me less judgmental and worried about the ingredients. Chicken is the first ingredient and therefore, the weightiest. It’s a good beginning.  The second ingredient is glycerin, something I would not recommend in pet treats but am ok with it for administering medicine that won’t be forever. Wheat flour and wheat gluten are also ingredients that I would not include on a regular basis but they won’t hurt the animal as long as it isn’t allergic to this grain.  I don’t like the corn syrup because dogs do not need sugar in any form added to what they eat.

The natural flavors listed is another name for MSG, used as a flavor enhancer.  It’s a questionable ingredient but again, on a short term basis to help get healing medicine down the dog, you do what’s necessary.

Xanthan gum is used as an emulsifier in pet foods and is generally considered safe for dogs and cats.  Personally, I would use it only in small amounts as it is another form of sugar.

The rest of the ingredients are not a problem.  Overall, the Greenies™ Pill Pockets contain some ingredients that would concern me if a dog consumed them frequently.  But if you dog is ill and meds are required, try the Pill Pockets and rest easier, knowing your pet will be taking the required drugs prescribed by your veterinarian.

Review: Beneful® Healthy Weight Dog Food

With all the negative press about Beneful® pet foods, I think it’s time to review another Beneful® variety.  One of our readers has been feeding the Beneful® Healthy Weight food to his dog and is searching for a new dog food.  With so many recalls and complaints about various pet foods these days, it isn’t easy to know where to turn.  I am always a bit uncomfortable recommending a certain brand of pet food because what works for one animal doesn’t necessarily work for another.  First, let’s talk about about the problems with Beneful® Healthy Weight Dog Food.

Beneful Dog Food Ingredients

Beneful Healthy Weight Dog Food

 

The first ingredient is chicken – a great beginning! Then they spoil it with chicken by-product meal. By-products of any kind are a result of the rendering process and could contain horrible things, like euthanized dogs and cats or road kill, or spoiled meat from the grocery store. Corn is the next ingredient. You’ll find my opinion of corn as a pet food ingredient here.  Suffice to say, corn holds far too much weight in this food in the third position on the list. This is followed by more grain. This Beneful® dog food contains soybean hulls as the fourth ingredient.  That means a lot of waste from the soy bean is in this food.  There won’t be much if any nutritional value in that.  Many dogs are sensitive to soy, just as they can be to corn.  Another reason to avoid anything soy is that virtually all soy grown in the United States is genetically modified.  GMO plants are treated with chemical pesticides as they grow, and who knows what the build-up of those chemicals will do when a dog consumes them every meal.

There’s more corn, more by-products, more ingredients Fido and Fluffy shouldn’t be eating. Yes, there are some good ingredients in this food but the bad outweighs the good in my eyes. I just don’t see what’s healthy about this product.

Animal fat is a rendered ingredient.  Enough said.  The fats or oils used in pet food should be named, such as chicken fat or salmon oil. That’s the only way to be sure it doesn’t come from that generic rendering vat.

Further down the list, are the colors.  Red 40, Yellow 6, and Blue 2 have all been linked to cancer.  Why take the chance?  Dog food doesn’t need the color.  Dogs do not care what it looks like.  This is just a marketing ploy to make pet owners buy the food.

All in all, this is a very poor excuse for dog food.  I would not want my pets to touch this one.

So what are the alternatives?  There are numerous lower priced dog foods on the market that are much better than this one.  When you shop, examine the ingredients list.  Read this and even  print it out and take it with you when you shop to help you avoid the bad ingredients and choose the good ones.

 

 

Review: Maggie’s Morsels: A Newbie to the Dog Treat Market

 

MAGGIES.MORSELF

When you buy treats for your dog, what do you look for? Something palatable? A healthy treat? Those are important qualities in any food you give to your pet. A new player on the retail market fits the bill on both of those qualities. Maggie’s Morsels, said newcomer to the world of commercial dog treats, is produced in Sarasota, Florida, and sold in retail outlets in Southwest Florida.

The ingredients are top-notch and contain no sugar and no meat, no grains or preservatives. In fact, it is unlikely that any of the ingredients would be an allergy problem for any animal.

MAGGIES.MORSELS.INGR

 

There are very few ingredients and because there are no preservatives, be sure to keep these treats refrigerated or expect a short shelf life.

Dogs love pumpkin and being second on the list, you know the treat will be full of the rich flavor of this vegetable. Garbanzo bean flour is not considered a grain and is a healthy choice. The ingredient list is simple but contains what is necessary.

If you live in Southwest Florida, stop by one of the retail locations that carry Maggie’s Morsels and see what your dog thinks. Our own Maggie loved the treats!  You’ll find them at the following retailers:

Earth Origins Market:

    1279 Beneva Rd., Sarasota

    1930 Stickney Point Rd., Sarasota

    30555 US Hwy 19N, Palm Harbor

    2000 Tamiami Trail #220, Port Charlotte

    15121 S. Tamiami Trail, Fort Meyers

    6651 Central Ave. St. Petersburg

• Bark & Bath – 2061 Siesta Dr., Sarasota

• Metro Pet Salon – 418 Central Ave., Sarasota

• Palm Avenue Express – 43 S Palm Ave., Sarasota

• Pet Supply Center – 2558 Webber St., Sarasota

• Wet Noses – 1465 Main St., Beautiful Downtown Sarasota

You may also order from the company website:  http://maggiesmorsels.wix.com/pet-supplies#!purchase-treats-/cjg9.

Review: Rachel Ray’s Nutrish Zero Grain Beef, Potato, & Bison Dog Food

We just discovered a new variety (new to us anyway) of Rachel Ray’s Nutrish® dog food.  The Zero Grain™ Beef with Bison Recipe does not contain fillers or gluten.  It does not contain any artificial preservatives, colors or flavors, no by-products and most ingredients look good.  I like that this food contains natural ingredients.  It’s a great beginning.

This food comes in 3.5 and 11 lb. bags and is definitely not the cheapest of the Nutrish® foods.

RACH.RAY.NUTRISH.BEEF.BISON.DOG.INGRED.

I like the addition of bison to this food because this protein is less likely to trigger our dog’s food allergies.  Notice that the first 3 ingredients are strong protein sources.  This is always a good sign to me that I’m looking at a healthy pet food. And the meat is raised on farms in the United States.

There are plenty of healthy vegetables, along with vitamins and minerals, and I can’t think of any reason this wouldn’t be an excellent dog food.  If your pet has allergy problems from food, you may want to look at this one.

Review: 2 Purina Dog Foods

In light of last year’s class-action lawsuit filed against Purina’s Beneful Pet Food, I think it’s time to review some other Purina products.  A friend commented that Purina has dozens of other good pet food options, so I set out to find some of them.  Let’s begin with one that was new to me.

SMARTBLEND® True Instinct Formula with Real Salmon and Tuna for Active Adult Dogs

SMARTBLEND.SALM.TUNA.DOGS.INGRED.

The food begins with a good protein.  But that is followed by corn gluten meal, a poor option probably used as protein in this product.  Corn does contain protein but it is high in carbohydrates and many dogs are allergic to corn. A real meat in this second position on the ingredients list would have been a better choice.

I don’t like to see soy in any form in pet food.  Most of the soy grown today is genetically modified, and heavy chemical fertilizers and pesticides are used in production.  This Purina product contains 2 sources of soy.

Brewer’s rice is a waste product of the beer-brewing industry and holds few nutrients, if any.  Animal fat is one of those generic fats that come from the rendering process and who knows what may be in it.  Not good options.  Poultry by-product meal is another poor ingredient.  Again, you don’t know what went into that rendering vat from supermarket wastes to euthanized dogs and cats or farm animals, including the drugs used to euthanize them.  By-products in any form are not what I’d want my pets to eat.

Fish meal is another unknown product. Who knows what fish or parts of fish are included.  Fish meal can contain ethoxyquin, a deadly chemical preservative.  A better choice would have been a named fish meal, like salmon fish meal. Then we see more corn, followed by tuna, a good choice, but its location so far down the list makes it a small amount.

The bad news continues with glycerin, a very controversial ingredient and more corn.  Further on, we see animal digest, which is just as nasty as it sounds. It’s used for flavor but comes from digested parts of animals.

Caramel color contains methylimidazole, a known animal carcinogen.  Why risk it, even in small amounts?

The main ingredients end with fish oil, another fishy substance that may well have been preserved with ethoxyquin.  The remaining ingredients listed are vitamins and minerals that are much needed by dogs.

All-in-all, I don’t consider this even an acceptable dog food.

 

Purina ProPlan® Adult Duck & Rice Dog Food

PURINA.PROPLAN.ADULT.DUCK.RICE

Duck is a good beginning!  But following that with Brewer’s rice and canola meal doesn’t make good sense.  Dogs need meat in those first few ingredients, not a waste product from the beer industry and canola meal, which is a by-product of canola oil production.  According to dogfoodadvisor.com, canola meal is usually used in animal feed and biodiesel production.  Why would we want our dogs to eat it? Besides, most canola in production today is genetically modified.

Further down the list we see animal fat.  Brewer’s dried yeast has been linked to liver toxicity and can cause allergies in dogs.  And we see fish oil again, which can contain ethoxyquin.  While there are plenty of vitamins in the remaining ingredients, is that enough for an active dog? I don’t think so.  This food is lacking in real protein and healthy grains.

Are either of these Purina products acceptable for your dog?  You decide.

 

Review: Two Pedigree Dog Foods

Someone recently reminded me that I had promised to review Pedigree dog foods. Here it is and you aren’t going to like it.

Let’s begin with Pedigree® Little Champions Chunks in Gravy with Chicken. The Pedigree® website describes this canned dog food as “a delicious recipe made with high-quality ingredients.”  Sounds ok, right?

Pedigree Dog Food

The first – and weightiest ingredient is water instead of a protein. That is followed by chicken, a good thing. Then they add meat by-products which, in my opinion based on years of research, is not a good idea. Remember that dead dogs and cats or road kill or just about anything can be in by-products. And when it says “meat” instead of a specific meat, that could be worse.  Liver is good and then they add wheat flour and gluten – never a good idea because dogs don’t need all the carbohydrates and some dogs are allergic to wheat. Then we see more starch. Salt is not needed in a dog’s diet. Further down the list we come to “added color.” Wonder what that means?  Is it artificial colors, meaning chemicals? This is not my idea of a healthy dog diet.

Next up, let’s look at Pedigree® Adult Complete Nutrition Chicken Flavor. This dry food doesn’t contain any meat.

Pedigree Dry Dog Food

Where’s the meat? This product begins with corn and that is followed by meat and bone meal and more corn.  Many dogs are sensitive to corn in any form and meat and bone meal is a rendered product that comes from who knows what.  Animal fat is the worst kind of fat because it is the result of rendering and again, it could contain road kill, supermarket waste, or euthanized pets. The package states that it contains BHA – another bad ingredient for dogs.  If you have read my articles on the use of soy in pet foods, you know how bad this is for our dogs. Plus, most soy grown in the United States is genetically modified.  On down the list is chicken by-product meal – another rendered item that could contain anything. There is added salt and Brewer’s rice, a waste product from the beer-brewing industry, and artificial colors. No chemicals in my dog’s food!

I would not recommend either of these foods.

Review: Wild Calling Rocky Mountain Medley for Dogs

Wild Calling is a family-owned business launched in 2013. Jeremy Peterson, executive vice president, was quoted in a magazine article explaining the concept of their Rocky Mountain Medley products:  “…we developed a concept of land, air and sea because red meats are deficient in arginine and histidine, two of the 10 essential amino acids that a pet requires to thrive. By adding the air and sea proteins, we get all 10 essential amino acids in the pet’s diet.”

Mr. Peterson adds that their foods are all grain-free and they use a combination of sweet potatoes, lentils and tapioca to help regulate the dog’s glucose and insulin levels.

The company’s Western Plain Stampede diets are designed for pets with food allergies or food sensitivities.  Their new Zoic line, which should have launched by now, will sell for a “nice price point.”  I will definitely look at that. Wild Calling also makes a line of cat food for our feline friends which will be reviewed at a later date.

Ingredients

Rocky Mountain Medley Duck, Salmon Meal & Lamb Meal Recipe

Duck, Salmon Meal, Lamb Meal, Sweet Potato, Lentils, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), Tapioca, Dried Egg Product, Dried Peas, Natural Flavor, Flaxseed Meal, Yeast Culture, Potassium Chloride, Dried Seaweed Meal, Dried Cranberries, Dried Blueberries, Whole Mussel, Dried Carrots, Dried Spinach, Dried Apples, Dried Pumpkin, Dried Broccoli, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), Calcium Carbonate, Choline Chloride, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Proteinate, Salt, Manganese Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Niacin, Copper Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Dried Bacillus subtilis Fermentation Product, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Calcium Iodate, Folic Acid.

I don’t see anything wrong with this dog food and would happily feed it to my own pet.  The proteins included at the beginning of the ingredients list are just fine.  The vegetables are good. The fat choice of chicken fat is also a healthy option.  There is really nothing to complain about.

I have no idea of the retail price of this product but I assume it would be a premium food.  But it would certainly be worth the extra money if you can afford it.  I would definitely buy this dog food.  Check out the company’s website and see if you agree.

Review of 2 Dog Foods: Luvsome Original & Luvsome Natural

Dog food

I ran across a dog food brand recently that was totally new to me.  Luvsome™ is manufactured by the Kroger Company, which accounts for my lack of familiarity with the brand.  We don’t have Kroger stores where I live.  Luvsome™ offers both dry and wet dog foods, as well as a line of cat food.

My first concern was where the food is actually made.  Many pet foods that are exclusive to particular retail stores are actually manufactured by a large group like Diamond that creates the product and then packages it for another company.  I spoke to “Fonda” in Kroger’s customer service department, and she assured me that Kroger makes Luvsome™ in one of its own manufacturing facilities.  That said, let’s look at two of their dry dog foods.

Luvsome™ Original Recipe Dog Food Ingfedients

  • CHICKEN MEAL, GROUND YELLOW CORN, GROUND WHOLE WHEAT, BREWERS RICE, CORN GLUTEN MEAL, ANIMAL FAT (PRESERVED WITH MIXED TOCOPHEROLS), NATURAL FLAVOR, DICALCIUM PHOSPHATE, SALT, POTASSIUM CHLORIDE, BREWERS DRIED YEAST, DRIED WHEY, PROPIONIC ACID (A PRESERVATIVE), DRIED PEAS, DRIED CARROTS, TITANIUM DIOXIDE COLOR, CHOLINE CHLORIDE, YELLOW 5, FERROUS SULFATE, ZINC OXIDE, RED 40, VITAMIN E SUPPLEMENT, IRON OXIDE COLOR, BLUE 2, VITAMIN A SUPPLEMENT, MANGANOUS OXIDE, COPPER SULFATE, NIACIN SUPPLEMENT, CALCIUM PANTOTHENATE, MENADIONE SODIUM BISULFITE COMPLEX (SOURCE OF VITAMIN K ACTIVITY), VITAMIN D3 SUPPLEMENT, ETHYLENEDIAMINE DIHYDRIODIDE, RIBOFLAVIN SUPPLEMENT, THIAMINE MONONITRATE, COBALT CARBONATE, PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE, FOLIC ACID, BIOTIN, VITAMIN B12 SUPPLEMENT, SODIUM SELENITE

The first ingredient is chicken meal, a decent beginning and high in protein.  However, this is followed by several really poor ingredients.  Many dogs are allergic to corn.  Corn does contain protein, but it is still a plant-based grain and full of unnecessary carbohydrates.  Ground whole wheat doesn’t sound bad but at 3rd place on the ingredients list, it carries a lot of weight in this food. Brewer’s rice is a waste product from the beer-brewing industry and serves no purpose in pet food. Corn gluten meal is yet another grain, and more corn, more carbs.  Dogs are better off with real meat proteins in their diets. Animal fat is a result from the rendering process and could contain anything from restaurant grease to euthanized zoo animals to road kill.

Salt is shown fairly high on the ingredients list, which means there is entirely too much salt in this food.  Pet food does not need to be salted.

Further down the list, we see artificial colors, all considered potential carcinogens.  Imagine the buildup in a dog’s system if he eats the same food every day!

This is not a pet food I would feed to my dogs!

Now let’s look at another Luvsome™ product.  The company advertises this food as high in quality, protein and complemented with wholesome whole grains like wheat and rice and packed with essential vitamins and minerals.

A natural dog food

Luvsome™ Natural Dog Food Ingredients

WHOLE GRAIN CORN, BEEF MEAL, CHICKEN MEAL, WHOLE WHEAT, CORN GLUTEN MEAL, ANIMAL FAT (PRESERVED WITH MIXED TOCOPHEROLS), SOYBEAN MEAL, NATURAL FLAVOR, BREWERS RICE, POWDERED CELLULOSE, OAT MEAL, PEARLED BARLEY, DICALCIUM PHOSPHATE, CALCIUM CARBONATE, SALT, POTASSIUM CHLORIDE, BREWERS DRIED YEAST, DRIED WHEY, PROPIONIC ACID (A PRESERVATIVE), IRON OXIDE COLOR, CHOLINE CHLORIDE, FERROUS SULFATE, ZINC OXIDE, L-ASCORBYL-2-POLYPHOSPHATE (SOURCE OF VITAMIN C), VITAMIN E SUPPLEMENT, VITAMIN A SUPPLEMENT, MANGANOUS OXIDE, COPPER SULFATE, NIACIN SUPPLEMENT, CALCIUM PANTOTHENATE, MENADIONE SODIUM BISULFITE COMPLEX (SOURCE OF VITAMIN K ACTIVITY), VITAMIN D3 SUPPLEMENT, ETHYLENEDIAMINE DIHYDRIODIDE, RIBOFLAVIN SUPPLEMENT, THIAMINE MONONITRATE, COBALT CARBONATE, PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE, FOLIC ACID, BIOTIN, VITAMIN B12 SUPPLEMENT, SODIUM SELENITE

This supposedly “natural” pet food begins with corn as its main protein and most weighty ingredient.  Dogs need meat!  The beef and chicken meals that follow are ok, but then we see more grains.  This food also uses animal fat instead of a named meat fat.

In today’s world, I question the inclusion of soy in any form.  Most of the soy grown in this country is genetically modified.  That kind of eliminates any claim of “natural” in this pet food. I also worry about the pesticides used on GMO plants.

Brewer’s rice could have been eliminated, since it is a waste product with no nutritional benefits, The remaining ingredients are ok but certainly nothing exceptional.  A ton of vitamins appear at the bottom of the list but does that make up for the bad ingredients? I don’t think so.

All in all, this is not my idea of a natural dog food.  If your dog doesn’t have a weight problem and isn’t allergic to corn, perhaps he will do ok on a diet of this food, but I think I would keep on searching.

Plato Pet Treats: Premium Pet Treats that Focus on Health & Nutrition

Founded in 2006, Plato Pet Treats created healthy treats that are extremely palatable to dogs. The company went through the usual growing pains and now is able to “give back” with sales helping to support organizations that feed and support homeless dogs.  Every bag of treats sold helps wounded veterans with disabilities by pairing them with service dogs.  After reading such a glowing description, I already like this company!

Plato Treats are 90% pure meat with no by-products, no artificial preservatives and no sugar. There are no artificial colors, no soy, wheat or corn, and  they use only gluten-free brown rice as the grain in their products. The products are manufactured in California and never outsourced!  The treats are slow-baked in their organic certified facility.

Ingredients in one variety include Organic chicken, organic brown rice, salt, zinc propionate, mixed tocopherols (preservative), citric acid, rosemary extract, vitamin E supplement, L-ascorbyl-2phosphate (a source of vitamin C).

The company offers several varieties, including duck, turkey with pumpkin, turkey with sweet potato and salmon.  If you are interested in purchasing this product go to the company’s website, platopettreats.com, for more information.

Canagan: A New Entry in the U.S. Petfood Market

New Dog Food

Anytime I run across a new pet food – or at least new to me – I get excited. In this case, Canagan isn’t new but it is new to the United States market. This dog food is described in their marketing materials as “one of the UK’s top-selling grain-free brands” and it’s sold now in 27 countries.

Canagan bills its dog food as biologically-appropriate and less likely than other foods to cause an allergic reaction.

There are no artificial additives, no chemical preservatives, food colors or flavorings, and no growth hormones. Canagan does not  participate in any invasive animal testing or research. All recipes are tested on the pets owned by the company family members, friends and selected breeders.

Let’s look at the ingredients of their Midwestern Plains Chicken Recipe:

INGREDIENTS

Chicken, Chicken Meal, Field Peas, Chickpeas, Russet Potatoes, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Sweet Potato, Sun Cured Alfalfa, Salmon Oil, Natural Flavor, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Vitamins [Vitamin E Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid], Minerals [Zinc Proteinate, Calcium Carbonate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate], Apples, Spinach, Dried Kelp, Peppermint, Marigold, Cranberries, Rosemary Extract.

Everything in this food fits my idea of a perfect dog food.  It begins with 2 quality meat proteins, contains healthy options for fat/oil, and is full of vitamins.  The inclusion of natural flavor probably means there is MSG in the food but overall, this is an excellent dog food!

They used free-range chicken and Scottish salmon with herring and trout in their recipes. Their Country Game variety contains duck, venison, and rabbit for protein.  I believe any canine would be delighted with a Canagan diet.

Check their website to determine where to buy this pet food that is fairly new to the U.S. You can also purchase it online.