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The Great Pet Food Debate

There is so much information out there about pet food these days that it’s difficult what to believe and what not to believe. Similar to human food, terms like “all natural,” “made from real ingredients,” “no artificial preservatives” and others are constantly being thrown around.

But, what does it all really mean?

In February, I had the amazing opportunity to attend a dog food nutritional summit at Pedigree to learn about how they make their dog food and some of their initiatives. (In the interest of full disclosure, it was a sponsored trip of about 10 bloggers, that including myself, were invited to)

Not only did I learn a lot about pet nutrition, I also got even more confused about the whole subject (in a good way), which is probably why I didn’t write about it immediately afterward.

A month later at the Global Pet Expo and then at the Backer Show, there was clear evidence the pet food debate is not going away, and there are even more choices out there than ever before — freeze dried raw food, fresh foods made in a human-grade kitchen, kibble specifically designed to clean your dog’s teeth. I could go on and on. And, everyone you ask (regular people, not PR reps) has an opinion, and it’s usually a very staunch one.

So, who do you believe even after reading and doing your own research? As a journalist, that’s a hard question for me to answer. I understand many of the arguments for and against a lot of the issues.

You may wonder why I picked this weekend — one when many people will not be around to join the conversation — to finally pose the question. Toby ran out of his regular food the other day while I was at a conference. I knew it was getting low, but thought there was enough left. My Dad, who was watching Toby called me up, and because it was pretty late and he wasn’t going to the store to get him his regular food, I told him to use one of the dog food samples I was given during a recent pet event.

Toby devoured it. I decided to keep him on it until the sample was finished to see if I noticed any immediate changes, and the most noticeable was that he pooped more often and it seemed like it was easier for him to go. Is it because the food is richer and more wholesome? Or, is it just passing through him, because it doesn’t have the same nutrients as his old food? He does, however seem a little more lethargic on the new food, but it’s also been very hot here, too.

So, I’m at a little bit of a crossroads in determining what to feed Toby. Someone suggested I should buy a variety of different foods and rotate them so he is getting a variety of nutrients. I’d love to hear what other people feed their dogs and why. I know this is a sensitive subject, so please be respectful to other people’s comments.

(For the record, Toby’s vet, who I absolutely trust, says Toby’s regular food is fine for him)

Thanks, and have a great weekend 🙂

This post is part of the Saturday Pet Blogger Hop.

8 thoughts on “The Great Pet Food Debate

  1. Check out http://www.dogfoodanalysis.com and click "reviews." they explain exactly what is in all of the food and rate 1-6 stars. For my pups we choose food between 4-6 stars. We really trust this site as the reviews are third party and very detailed. Hope that helps!

  2. Oh I struggle with this one too! I keep saying I am going to change my puppy's food, but then I get so overwhelmed I end up just buying the same food. I actually use to work for a pet food company, but I am still always confused! I found your website through the Lady Blogger Social Tea Party, I am so happy to be here!!

  3. Personally, I think it's important to check out the ingredients. Claire and I are fans of zero preservatives, zero by-products, zero allergens. It's easier on her stomach, for one thing, and it has a good proportion of protein for such an active girl. Her treats are organic, too, and I often supplement her diet with fresh fruits/veggies (she loves apples, bananas, peas, and carrots). The dog food debate is a tough one, you are correct in that!

  4. Hi! Found you at the Lady Bloggers Tea Party. My parents have a dog but I have to admit I'm not a big dog person. Anyway, why I chose to click on your name at the list: You honestly have the cutest blog name ever! And it made me think of our dog at home. His name is Felix and he's a Golden Retriever.
    – Katie

  5. There is no doubt that choosing our pets' food is a very personal and subjective choice. We each set our own unique priorities. I've been writing about ours at All Things Dog Blog and I invite you to read about our journey. Hope you find time to enter the Organix Dog Food Giveaway at http://www.allthingsdogblog.com/2011/05/organix-dog-food-giveaway-12-bags-of.html It's always good to try something new. Best wishes in your own decisions.

  6. First of all I have to say that what the "expert world" is doing to us in inconsiderate, unfair. There is no clear answer to anything any more.

    "Feed this." "Whatever you do don't feed this." "It's ok to feed this". So which is it?

    Choose your expert–choose your answer. Whatever you want to believe, you'll find a group of experts supporting the idea.

    How can one make any sense of all that? No idea.

    For me, I just have to do what makes sense to me. What makes sense to me? Home-cooked balanced diet with minimal or no grains. Raw diet makes sense to me also, but given Jasmine's health status I'm not brave enough to go down that route.

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