Posts Tagged ‘dog food diary’
If you’ve been following us for any length of time, you know that we feed Nature’s Variety food. The company has just issued a recall for the Prairie Beef and Barley Medley Kibble. I just bought a bag of this stuff yesterday! Good thing I didn’t open it.
The following press release is reproduced with permission from Nature’s Logic. The story isn’t so much about the store in Virginia or about the food, so much as it is about the idea that even dog foods made in the USA from premium ingredients can sometimes include nutrients that come from shady sources. Interesting reading — and check the store’s website. Is your food on the “import-free” list?
Store Removes All Products Containing ANY Raw Materials from China, Including Nutrients
Lincoln, NE – Nature’s Logic, the maker of 100% natural pet food, has made the “China-import Free” cut by independent pet retailer, Midas Touch Naturally Healthy Pets in Berryville, VA, owned by Jo Bighouse. Not only does Nature’s Logic have no ingredients from China, the company makes the first and only full-line of dry kibble, canned, and raw-frozen pet food with NO chemically-synthesized nutrients of any kind, including vitamins, minerals, or amino acids. Such man-made nutrients are commonly manufactured in China, can be toxic and even lethal at certain levels, and can contain unwanted ingredients such as MSG, sucrose, soy and other fillers that don’t appear on pet food labels because they all are contained within the “added vitamins and minerals.” Nature’s Logic chose from its inception to supply all essential nutrients from whole foods and 100% natural ingredients only.
“We applaud the tough position on behalf of pet safety that Midas Touch is taking,” says Scott Freeman, founder of Nature’s Logic and the developer of the company’s products. “Pet parents benefit from knowledgeable industry experts like Jo Bighouse who diligently research every aspect of the products they carry, digging deeper that the marketing claims made by companies to help consumers make informed choices for their animal companions.”
“I have found that ‘made in the USA’ does not tell the entire story,” says Jo Bighouse, owner of Midas Touch Naturally Healthy Pets. “Each of the manufacturers we represent are being contacted and asked if any raw materials in their products are imported from China, and we are not stopping there,” she continues. “If I am told the vitamins are from a country other than China, including the US, I am contacting that vitamin source to find out if their raw material is from China. If I can confirm that a pet product manufacturer includes raw materials sourced from China, I will not sell the product.”
Nature’s Logic of Lincoln, NE is committed to providing the highest quality and safest nutrition for dogs and cats. The company has created the first and only full-line kibble, canned, and raw frozen pet food in the world with no chemically-synthesized ingredients. Nature’s Logic is the pioneer in developing truly 100% natural pet foods derived from nature…not chemistry. For more information about Nature’s Logic, visit www.natureslogic.com.
Midas Touch Naturally Healthy Pets in Berryville, VA provides pet owners healthy nutrition choices and natural alternatives to chemical-based products. The independent pet retailer will not sell any products with ingredients of any kind from China. Midas Touch Naturally Healthy Pets focuses on education, offering seminars by pet health experts in addition to their healthy treats, food, supplements, USA-made toys, natural grooming supplies, homeopathic remedies, essential oils and flower essences. The retailer specializes in and recommends raw pet foods. For more information about Midas Touch, visit www.midastouchhealth.com or call 540-955-9690.
Disclaimer: I don’t work for this company or have any financial stake in it. However, I do feed the food to my four Beardies every day, and the company was very generous to the 2011 BCCA National Specialty. Let’s just say that I recommend them highly based on my own experience (which you can read in my Dog Food Diary entries). I asked my contact at NV for permission to share these coupons. If you want coupons of your very own, sign up for the Nature’s Variety email list.
Nature’s Variety has two new products on the market that will help you offer some of the benefits of raw food to your dogs even if you feed a cooked or otherwise pre-prepared diet. If (like me) you barely have the time to feed yourself and the dogs, let alone buy/store/prepare raw food, you’ll find the Instinct Raw line of food, treats, and supplements massively helpful — and the dogs just snarf it down!
The Instinct Raw Boost Bites are freeze-dried, minimally-processed treats that contain raw chicken, beef, lamb, or venison as well as nutritious ingredients such as finely ground bone, apples, broccoli, butternut squash, pumpkin, apple cider vinegar, kelp, blueberries, and salmon oil. Nature’s Variety recommends one or two Bites per day per 20 pounds of body weight — but adjust your dog’s caloric intake accordingly to avoid overfeeding.
The Instinct Raw Boost Powder contains the same raw ingredients, but in a powdered form. Mix the Raw Boost Powder into your dog’s food to give your dog the benefits of raw meat, fruits, and vegetables. Recommended amount for a 50-pound dog is 2 tablespoons per meal.
Want to Try Them?
Nature’s Variety has two new coupons available so you can try the Raw Boost Bites and Raw Daily Boost for yourself. Click the facsimiles below for printable coupons you can take to the store…
I stumbled onto the Nature’s Variety Homestyle canned foods quite by accident. Charlie and I happened to be early for a vet appointment, so I stopped by a local boutique pet supply store nearby and found some Homestyle cans on their shelves. Of course I knew this formula existed online, but the local shop where I buy my Prairie kibble and Instinct raw doesn’t carry everything. Since these were the days following Charlie’s bout with vestibular disease. He needed plenty of palatable, easy-to-eat food in order to put some weight back on his old bones, I was tickled to find another Nature’s Variety formula that we could add to his diet, in whatever quantity he’d eat.
None of the Gang of Four are exactly picky eaters, so I’m not exactly giving away the punchline by mentioning that he loved it. With its chunks of meat and vegetables, it looked better to me than your standard can of Dinty Moore.
You already know how this story turns out: the Gang of Four loves this stuff, old Chuckles is beginning to put some weight back on, and this formula fits in perfectly with the rest of our rotation diet. And they lived happily ever after.
But That’s Not All!
Since we’re already on the subject of Nature’s Variety here, I just wanted to give a big shout-out and many thanks to Nature’s Variety (and especially to Kelly) for their kind and generous donation of samples of various kibble formulas for the Bearded Collie Club of America’s 2011 National Specialty. We were able to stuff the exhibitors’ welcome bags with L.I.D. (Limited Ingredient Diet) samples, and we had the salmon and chicken formulas at the hospitality table. People loved them — all of them were snapped right up! I hope this results in more devoted fans for the company; in any case, thanks to them for their generosity.
It just seems to be getting harder and harder to figure out what to feed your dogs these days. Raw? Grain Free? Fruits and vegetables? Prebiotics? Probiotics? Ancestral diet? Whole dead moose carcass? Pepperoni with extra cheese? The available options just seem to get more and more confusing all the time. Having experts from the various schools of thought screaming at one another across your head is enough to ruin your own appetite, let alone your dog’s.
If you have the time and inclination to serve up fresh food to your dog but are worried about feeding raw, you can always cook your dog’s food. Even if you don’t have the time or the extra fridge space to make the food yourself, you now have options for getting fresh, cooked food to your dog.
Freshpet Dog Foods offers a number of different fresh, refrigerated formulas and treats for both dogs and cats. The food is cooked, so if you have concerns about storing or feeding raw food, no worries. Freshpet’s aim is to make feeding fresh as convenient as possible by offering their foods in grocery stores and pet specialty shops. We haven’t spotted their green-trimmed fridges in our supermarkets yet, but a couple of the pet supply shops carry at least one fresh formula and one treat formula. Freshpet also offers a line of veterinary formula foods, available only through veterinarians.
It Came, We Saw, They Devoured
Our trial packages came packed in this freakin’ awesome cooler…
Sorry that I didn’t have the presence of mind to shoot photos of all the food and treats in the cooler or with the dogs nearby, but our package arrived on a warm day. My primary task was to get everything out from under curious noses and into the fridge as soon as possible. Our cooler contained a week’s worth of the following formulas:
- Vital Dog Complete Meals
- Vital Slice & Serve recipes
- Dog Joy sweet potato treats
- Dog Joy Fresh Bones
Quick disclaimer here: The Gang of Four is on a rotation diet, but we try to keep some continuity in the daily meals while testing in order to avoid digestive upset. My dogs ate their regular kibble in addition to the Freshpet foods. We didn’t experience any digestive disasters or more than the usual methane as a result.
The Family Favorite
We started our trial with the Vital complete meal with chicken, beef, salmon, cranberries, and spinach. The dogs pretty much act enthused no matter what I’m opening up on the counter, but when I opened this package, all four spontaneously broke into the Happy Dance. I half expected to see cartwheels and baton-twirling. The delicious aroma escaping from the bag had me on the verge of running for a fork to try some myself!
Freshpet recommends that opened bags be used within a week, but with four dogs, it’s highly unlikely that a bag of this food would make it to the end of a week. (Freshpet foods can be frozen, just in case you need a little more time.) I could not find a retail price for this product.
We also tried a few of the Vital Slice & Serve formulas…
Again, the Gang of Four had no problem making these disappear. The rolls did have actual bits of cranberries, blueberries, and green vegetables (spinach and broccoli) peeking out of the meat. I didn’t catch as much of the scent of the product, but that didn’t appear to bother the pups at all.
The Vital rolls are available online from PetSmart.com starting at $5.99. The related Deli Select rolls go for $4.41 apiece at Walmart.com. Prices at other merchants vary. At prices like those, it’s possible to conveniently introduce fresh cooked food into your dog’s diet.
Our cooler contained a bag of Dog Joy sweet potato treats. Of course, the kids adored them — they get sweet potato from time to time. I might have tried a piece myself!
Quite frankly, I am hard pressed to figure out the difference between the Dog Joy sweet potato treats and the Dognation sweet potato chews, except to say that there’s just a touch more in the Dog Joy bag. If you have only one small dog and you actually face the possibility of having leftover treats by the end of the week, then you might opt for the smaller bag. I think ours lasted two days.
The Fresh Bones were more of a problem for us. Freshpet had sent us only two bones for the four dogs, and hacksawing those suckers into pieces just wouldn’t have been a good idea. I sneaked the bones to the two younger dogs when the two older ones weren’t looking. They liked them well enough, but I wasn’t thrilled about the crumbs left behind.
Not that your dog wouldn’t love Fresh Bones — they’re basically brown rice with chicken, so they’re nutritious and digestible enough. I would worry about the bones breaking into choke-worthy chunks in the jaws of more aggressive chewers, but a dog who is relatively gentle with a chewie should do fine. (I still advocate raw real bones from the butcher to keep teeth clean. These make a fine adjunct, but I wouldn’t call them a substitute.) In any case, don’t leave your dog alone with any bone or chewie, and take the bone/chewie away if it appears to be breaking into potentially harmful pieces.
Is Freshpet for You?
If you’re already cooking your dog’s food, feeding raw, or feeding exclusively organic, then FreshPet foods probably aren’t for you — but they weren’t intended for you, either. Freshpet foods and treats are designed for folks who would like to introduce more fresh food, fruits, and vegetables into their dogs’ diets without mess, fuss, or fear of salmonella. They’re reasonably priced and convenient to serve — always a boon to busy people. It takes just as long to pour out a bag of Vital as it does a bag of grocery-store kibble — and just think of how happy your dog will be!
Thanks to the good folks over at Nature’s Variety, here’s a new coupon for Prairie kibble (a household favorite here). This coupon is good for either dog or cat food varieties. It expires at the end of August, so download your copy soon!
(I do have authorization to share this coupon, and downloaded and printed copies will be honored by Nature’s Variety.)
While you’re here downloading the coupon, don’t forget to enter our fabulous Kong Squiggles toy giveaway! Today is the last day!
You probably thought that since making the switch to Nature’s Variety food that our Dog Food Diary days were complete, yes? Well, as it turns out… no. We actually got to discover something else about our new doggie diet.
We’ve been feeding a combination of the kibble, canned, and frozen raw components for a while. We do rotate formulas, though the Gang of Four has indicated a slight preference for the chicken variety. Our local supply store has an ever-changing and not-always-complete supply of Nature’s Variety foods, so I usually end up with whatever happens to be in stock on the day I go. The beef and chicken formulas are almost always available (plus beef, chicken, and lamb raw). They no longer seem to carry the large cans, however. If I’m feeding canned for any reason, I have to drive to another store to get it, or order it and wait for the next week’s delivery. In any case, you rarely find any of the “fancier” varieties, such as venison, duck, and rabbit.
I had been noticing a bit of dry skin on Badger and Charlie. At the time, we were still heating the house, and it’s not uncommon for the dogs to need a little extra oil in the colder months to combat the drying effects of central heating. I added some unscented salmon oil to their food and didn’t think much about it after that. I did notice that the dry skin tended to linger after we’d shut off the furnace for the spring/summer.
The next time I went to the local store to replenish our stock of kibble, I noticed that the only adult Prairie formula available at the time was salmon. We’d never tried that particular formula before, but it was the only large bag in the store, and the cupboard was looking mighty bare at home. I bought the food, brought it home, and offered it up to the horde.
Not unexpectedly, they dove in with the same enthusiasm they used to greet any of the other formulas. If they thought that salmon kibble made for an odd pairing with raw or canned chicken or beef, they didn’t complain.
A large-sized bag of kibble generally lasts us about 3 weeks. As we neared the bottom of the bag of salmon kibble, I noticed something: neither of the older boys had dry skin any more. I hadn’t been adding salmon oil to the salmon food, but the older boys’ coats looked wonderful. The younger two seemed as healthy and shiny as ever. It’s very likely that the Nature’s Variety Prairie salmon kibble has made the difference.
Our latest bag is beef (the only formula available on the day I went shopping), but salmon is definitely getting added to the regular rotation. I’ve asked ahead of time to have at least one bag of salmon added to the store’s next delivery. I might even feed it frequently in the wintertime, just to see if the older dogs can pass the winter without dry skin.
If you’re feeding Nature’s Variety, consider adding the occasional bag of the salmon variety to the rotation. At least for our older two, it has made quite a difference.
Whenever our friends at Nature’s Logic offer a guest post on a topic related to dog food, we see a spike in the number of related comments and discussions on the subject — not just on this blog, which receives relatively few comments, but also on Facebook and occasionally via email. If your level of awareness about what’s going into your dog’s mouth has been raised over the past few years, that’s a good thing.
One great side benefit of offering a rotation diet is that you don’t risk gastric upset (or worse) by offering different formulas to your dogs. If you’ve fed nothing but chicken and the only formula left on the shelf is beef, you might worry whether you’ll need to get out the dog shampoo and the floor cleaner after mealtime. In addition, different meats, types of poultry, and fish each have different compositions of amino acids as well as different levels of fats, vitamins, and minerals. By mixing or interchanging different protein sources, pets receive the nutritional benefits of all these essential nutrients. I like to think that our Dog Food Diary adventures have helped my dogs get a better nutritional deal out of dinnertime.
Nature’s Logic, keeping the benefits of rotation in mind, now offers a Sardine-based canned formula in response to requests by customers for foods with more fish. Sardines are high in Omega-3 fatty acids, which promote healthy skin and coat (among other benefits). In addition, sardine is a very palatable flavor for dogs and a helpful alternative for dogs sensitive to beef or chicken.
Nature’s Logic foods are nutrient dense, high in animal protein, and free of gluten and other common allergens, including corn, wheat, rice, soy, tapioca, or potato. All the company’s diets are made with whole foods and 100% natural ingredients. They contain no chemically-synthesized added vitamins and minerals that are found in other pet foods. All nutrients in Nature’s Logic foods come from whole foods and 100% natural ingredients, with nothing man-made.
Would you like to try Nature’s Logic food with your dog? How about if we offer a giveaway? The winner gets a choice of a 4-pound dry food, a 3-pound raw food, or 5 cans (retail value: $17.99+).
All you have to do is visit the Nature’s Logic website, take a good look at all of the fantastic foods and treats that the company has to offer your dog, and then leave us a reply below. Here’s what we’d like to know:
- Which one of the six different Nature’s Logic flavors would you like to try?
- Would you like dry, raw, or canned formula as a prize? Remember that some formulas only appear in certain types; for example, Sardine is canned-only.
Please leave your comments here on the blog. Replies on Facebook are treasured — honest! — but they just don’t count.
The deadline for entry is Friday, April 1. April Fool’s Day is an easy enough date to remember. Now go visit Nature’s Logic and see all the different foods and different protein formulas available! Who knows? If you haven’t tried rotation before, your visit to the website might just persuade you.
I envy my fellows who are full-time professional bloggers, especially the corporate types. Their blogs get updated daily or frequently, since it’s their job to make sure that the content — like the food — remains fresh.
My recent absence from Blog-Land (and Twitter) comes as a result of my having changed day jobs. My new commute is hellish, but the rest of the job will be great. Unfortunately, long commutes mean less time for blogging. I’ll catch up on the weekends once the next set of trials is done.
Barbara over at Nature’s Logic gave the Dog Food Diary a shout-out on her blog a while ago, and I’m just getting around to saying thanks. Go visit Nature’s Logic to see the company’s line of natural foods and supplements for dogs, cats, horses, and humans.
The Story So Far
We’ve been feeding Nature’s Variety Prairie/Instinct foods for a good long while now and, as with many other things in life, we improve the more we practice. The first time I switched from Lamb and Oatmeal kibble to Chicken and Brown Rice kibble, we had to administer a few remedial butt-baths — but changing the meat portions of the diets (canned for the old dog, frozen raw for the younger ones) caused nary a digestive stir. The younger dogs appear to prefer the chicken medallions to beef or lamb. I haven’t tried the venison or rabbit, but only need to choose the exotic meats for variety. None of my dogs suffer from food allergies.
With time and a few repetitions, the digestive “surprises” have decreased. I can now switch between the lamb and chicken kibbles with little or no need for additional cleanup. It appears that the resident gas problems have also decreased — not to nothing, but to a level where outbursts are relatively uncommon. This has happened without our needing to add pre- or probiotics to the food.
Speaking of digestive issues, it’s probably time to approach the delicate subject of other products of the digestive process (namely, poo). I haven’t really noted a large change in the volume of what the dogs produce, but that’s because I wasn’t feeding them acres of filler before the big switch. The old dog tends to deliver stools on the softer side anyway, but the other three produce firm, small outputs that are easy enough to take care of. If you switch to this food from a food with more filler, you’ll probably notice a marked difference.
So What’s Next?
I’m eager to try the freeze-dried raw food, though I haven’t been able to find it anywhere just yet — k9cuisine.com stocks just about all of the other formulas, and my local shop is a tad touch-and-go when it comes to available stock. Next time Dinah and I have to travel to a dog event, it would be nice if we could bring something healthy and yet convenient along with us. If I can find some before our next road trip, I’ll report the results.
So… we’ve finally made it to a dry food ratio of 100% Nature’s Variety to 0% Cal Natural. The dogs are all eating voraciously again. Charlie, the old man, even shows the faintest signs of putting some meat on his ribs. Dinah, the porky little princess, is likewise losing minuscule amounts of weight, as slowly as Charlie is putting it on. Seamus doesn’t appear to have as much of a flatulence problem as he did, whereas Badger is pretty much as smelly as ever. I find myself stopping in to the Kennel Shop a little more often than before, but at least I can buy the food locally.
(Remember the Fart Breakers treats I ordered from k9cuisine.com a while back? Well, the dogs loved them, but they didn’t have much effect on the — er — atmosphere. When we reached the bottom of the bag, we found the little bag of digestive enzymes that should have been sprinkled over the treats in the first place. This is what is known as a “Packaging FAIL,” since it would have been nice to have known that the treats came in a some-assembly-required state. All the same, the dogs liked the treats, and the packaging, while not as useful as it could have been, is still pretty funny.)
I do have to prepare some different meals, but not wildly different. For breakfast, Charlie gets half a can of Instinct canned food (beef, lamb, or chicken). The three younger dogs get Instinct frozen raw medallions. I’ve been giving them the lamb to match the kibble, but tried a sample pack of the frozen chicken without any difference in results. In the evening (mainly because I’m not the one feeding them), they get just the kibble.
Nature’s Variety also offers “chubs” of their frozen raw chicken formula. I tried one of these last week, thawing it in the fridge and then cutting it into patties for the dogs. They loved it, but I didn’t love the idea of having to resort to sterile technique just to get food in front of them, and the rest in the fridge. I’ll probably stick to the medallions, even if they cost a little bit more.
With the results looking encouraging so far, I thought I’d try a little experiment in rotation. I picked up a small bag of the Prairie chicken formula kibble, brought it home, and placed it on the kitchen counter. Dinah and Badger both jumped up to sniff the bag, as if to ask when they could have THAT food. I actually intended to introduce it slowly and try moving them all gently to the chicken formula after a few weeks on the lamb.
This all sounds really good in theory, doesn’t it? Apparently the dogs thought so, too. While we were out this afternoon at a craft fair, Badger jumped up onto the counter, grabbed the small bag of chicken formula kibble, brought it onto the kitchen floor, and put several holes in it so he and his buddies could share the spoils. I guess the chicken formula got their vote! That’s what they received for their evening meal tonight, and they all seem happy without any digestive disturbances.
Our little dog food experiment could be considered complete now that everyone has been switched to the new formula and the old man is already on a rotation diet of sorts with the canned food. Once we’ve tried all of the different formulas in succession and decided how often we want to change them around in the future, we can declare victory. One thing is for sure: we all think Nature’s Variety is a winner! Thanks again to k9cuisine.com for giving us a chance to change, and all of the information we needed to select the food that works for us.