I enjoy preparing the majority of Kirby's meals using wholesome ingredients purchased at my local grocery store. It's not only fun to be creative, it's reassuring to know his body is absorbing the healthy stuff it needs to flourish as opposed to the many dangerous commercial brands I truly believe have such toxins and unsavory ingredients that can cause untimely death and disease.
There are times I'm in a hurry and have forgotten to take a prepared meal out of the freezer in time to thaw, or I know Kirby is craving some crunchy kibble (something I hope to one day figure out how to make). Those are the times I reach for the convenience of commercially prepared dog food.
Having said that, I want to clarify I am extremely particular about the commercial dog foods I feed him. There are many brands that don't meet my criteria and I usually have to order online to get the ones that do. I probably pay more for his food overall but the veterinary savings more than make up for it.
Kirby, at four years old, is always full of energy, has a keen sense of smell, and his expressive eyes are always bright. His coat is shiny, soft and doesn't shed, the itchy, flaky skin he had as a puppy is long gone, and even though he could stand to lose a pound or two, he always passes his yearly checkups with flying colors. Other than scheduled visits to his veterinarian for vaccines and nail clippings, the only illnesses he has suffered thus far are:
- His first Thanksgiving when he was given some turkey and dressing loaded with onions which was before I knew better.
- The time he was bitten by a large dog.
- The time he showed signs of illness from some treats made in China.
- The time we took precautions to have him tested when we discovered he may have been eating a Taste of The Wild product that was recalled (I didn't have the original bag to verify the recall info). The test results were enough to prompt his veterinarian to place him on a good antibiotic.
- The time he ate several vienna sausages.
- The time he ate some Hershey Kisses.
I firmly believe Kirby has a strong immune system, no skin or food allergies of any kind, and bounces back quickly from food induced illnesses because, along with a daily multi-vitamin, he eats a good rotation of healthy ingredients which keep his body in prime condition.
When choosing a good commercial brand, I always read the ingredients list and if I see something I don't like, I immediately pass. Next I like to run the product by Dog Food Advisor for their rating after an intense breakdown of the ingredients. Recently I've also begun using the Slim Doggy App which can be downloaded on the iphone and hopefully soon on the android phones. This app even gives the number of daily calories required depending on your dog's current weight. (I really must add the calorie and nutrition content to my recipes).
Once the product has passed these criteria, the final step is passing Kirby's gourmand taste buds which is not easy as there have been quite a few where he sniffed and walked away or took a bite only to drop it back out of his mouth. Let me tell you once a dog has acquired a taste for truly good food he will not settle for anything less!
You can check my list of the commercial brands I do, or will, feed Kirby HERE. Do you have any faves I haven't listed that I really must consider? Do you take your dog's food choices as seriously as I do?