Dog food is regulated as “animal feed.” In many cases ingredients that are known ahead of time to be moldy, or rotten, or even diseased can go into the food, and cooking doesn’t remove all of the problems.
Check out Truth About Pet Food, an advocacy site that is 100% supported by pet food consumers who buy the yearly list of pet foods Susan Thixton (the author) would feed to her own pets, based upon her experience as a pet advocate working with the pet food industry. Here you can find support for the rule of thumb that “whole, real ingredients” like chicken, lamb, or beef are far better than their by-products. The more real meat ingredients you find listed in the first six or seven ingredients, the better. Don’t leave without reading the powerful anecdote, “Pet Food and Rendering Plants” by Jerry E., a former Certified Pest Control Operator who serviced pet food plants for years.
We bought a copy of the Susan’s 2016 preferred pet foods for $10 as research for this post. She depends upon this income in order to continue to be a consumer pet food advocate, so I will share only my reaction to it.
I was surprised. Most brand names I recognized easily are not represented. I found myself agreeing with Susan’s assessments, and realized that I’d missed some really good options in my early research for Kitto Katsu. It was $10 well spent for me, as I could easily rotate in a few of the recommended brands.
Choose the best dog food you can afford.
Dog Food Advisor and can help. They list all of the ingredients of dozens of different dog foods and comment on most, making it easier to know what’s in the bag. They have premium content options available as well.
What does Kitto Katsu eat?
We’re still researching. Raw foods tend to be expensive with shipping added, but the more I learn the more I’d like to feed raw. Allprovide seems like an excellent company, and they include shipping and taxes in their prices which I find refreshingly honest and up front. Their prices are high compared to a mix of high and mid-end kibble. My family is talking it through because it would increase the “dog budget,” not decrease spending in other areas.
Here’s my alternate kibble plan:
1/2 Orijen or Acana, it’s sister company.
1/2 from other brands, rotating in with each new 15 lb bag.
We’ll supplement with training bait (bits of human food like cooked chicken).
We learned as ferret owners that it is useful to train your pet to eat mixed-source diets. This way it’s not a problem if one food is temporarily unavailable, or even if it is taken off the market. In the event of a recall (such as a famous one where food was adulterated with melamine, poisoning many dogs), the chances for trouble are less if the dog hasn’t been eating from just the one recalled source.