Hi, everyone ... MP here! Yes, we're alive and well ... and rather abashed at having neglected both our own blog and those of our friends so thoroughly over the last couple of weeks. But enough of that ... it's confessional time!
Are you ready? Ok, here goes ...
I'm a snob. Yes, you heard me right. But, in my defense, let me qualify this. I'm not impressed by expensive cars or pricey real estate. I'm not wowed by labels. I judge people by who they are and what they stand for, not for what they have, or can buy. And yet ... I'm still a snob. A dog/cat food snob, that is.
I don't know quite how it happened ... but one thing I do know is that it was a process, an evolution. I didn't just wake up one day and decide I was going to be obsessed with dog/cat food, though I'm far from the only such "foodie" I know. (We nut jobs tend to travel in packs, so be warned!)
One contributing factor was that my first-ever-dog-as-an-adult, (a Malamute mix named Dakotah) had persistent GI issues on kibble, and twenty years ago, there were far fewer kibbles to choose from than there are now. That led me, through the auspices of my former vet (now unfortunately retired), to some people who were feeding a raw diet to their group of huskies. They mentored me, and I started feeding Dakotah this way. By the time Tucker came along nine years ago, frozen raw diets were becoming available. I was intrigued, and for reasons I really can't pinpoint even now, found myself reluctant to put Tucker on a 100% raw diet, so after eleven years of hardly ever looking at a bag or can of dog food, I suddenly found myself spending a great deal of time researching various brands, and seeking opinions from other dog owners on mailing lists and message boards devoted to dog food/nutrition . A year later, Olivia came into my life, the first cat I had lived with in many a year, and my research compulsion went into overdrive. There again, it never even really occurred to me to feed Olivia a raw diet - she received grain-free canned food, which, according to all the reading and research I did online was what she should be eating. I knew about ethoxyquin, BHA, BHT, etc. so I knew enough to label read and make sure the brands of food I chose were free of these scary preservatives, as well as unnamed byproducts, potentially allergenic ingredients such as corn, wheat, soy, etc. and I thought as long as I steered clear of those things, all would be well.
I was wrong.
Because then the mass pet food recalls of 2007 occurred ... and a lot of dogs and cats suffered and died needlessly as a result, including two cats belonging to a former co-worker of mine, who were eating a very well-known, much-advertised, and respected brand of commercial food. None of the foods I was feeding at that time were affected, at least not the specific flavor or variety, but one of the brands I was using was on the recall list. To say it scared me would be the understatement of the last several centuries. My mini-obsession bloomed and became a full-blown compulsion. I read dog and cat food labels non-stop, researched brands and parent companies, and learned, to my horror, what co-packers were, and why they can be super scary. I started trying to convert the cats (Tanner by this point had joined the family) to a raw diet. It didn't go well. I kept trying. Finally ... eventually ... I succeeded. By this time, Dakotah had passed away, Phoebe had joined the family, and I also switched Tucker & Phoebe from partial raw to full prey model raw. I breathed a little easier.
But wait ...
I said I was a food snob. Not a raw food snob. Research, reading, study, and my own experiences, have absolutely convinced me that a raw diet is the best thing I can do for my dogs and cats. However, I fully accept that not everyone feels this way, and that just because this method of feeding makes sense to me doesn't mean it resonates with everyone, and I respect this. Also, for various reasons, raw feeding is not always practical for every person's individual situation.
So then what?
The good news is that there are better, safer, higher-quality, more species-appropriate commercial food choices available for our dogs and cats than ever before. Which is why I sometimes cringe when I'm in the grocery store, pet supply store, or, gasp, the vet's office, and see some of the food choices people (with, I feel sure, all the best of intentions) are making for their pets.
Sometimes, let's be honest, especially these days, these decisions are either in part or in whole motivated by finances, and this is completely understandable. I sincerely make NO judgments when this is the case. What kills me is when I see people spending a great deal of money on foods that contain species inappropriate ingredients, harmful preservatives, unnamed byproducts, etc. when I know that they could be getting a far better quality food for the same money, a little bit more, or even a little bit less!
THIS, I will confess to you, my friends, in hopes that you don't wind up judging ME too harshly, awakens what I refer to as my Inner Judgey Judgerson. It makes me want to walk up to perfect strangers and tell them why what they are feeding is wrong and how they could do better. For obvious reasons, not the least of which is fear of being thought a complete lunatic, (or a judgmental snob, take your pick), I don't do this. But there's another, even more compelling, reason than my fear of coming across to perfect strangers as either a freak or some kind of pet food elitist, and this is that I have to operate on the assumption that the person studiously reading labels in the pet food aisle of the grocery store, or tossing that big bag of nationally advertised brand of dog food in their cart at the pet supply store is buying that food for one of two reasons: because they honestly believe that they're doing the best for their dog (or cat) or because the food that they're buying is what they can afford to feed and still meet all their other financial obligations.
So I stay quiet. I try not to judge. But sometimes I just can't help it. Especially when I see someone loading a bag of food containing potentially carcinogenic preservatives, known allergens, and unnamed byproducts into the back of a $60,000 SUV. (For the record, yes, this has actually happened to me ... more than once, in fact.)
So there it is. You know my dirty little secret. I hope you don't think any less of me now that you know. Either way, I feel better. I guess it's true - confession IS good for the soul!
AND NOW ... the good part! Awhile back, I had written a review for an online pet supply store - MrChewy.com and just recently I was asked to do a second review, this time not for Mr. Chewy himself, but for one of the products carried on the site, specifically Orijen kibble.
For those who are unaware, Orijen is one of the best, if not the best, in this writer's humble opinion anyway, kibbles on the market today, and thanks to Mr. Chewy, one of you (or actually your dogs) will get to try a bag of Orijen absolutely free! You can choose any of the formulas, including Adult, Regional Red, or 6 Fish.
All you have to do is:
Leave a comment below (winner will be randomly drawn, and then announced here, on March 31st). If you're the winner, email me your name and address, and Mr. Chewy will ship the food directly to you, and then all you need to do after that is email me your opinions about/experience with the food trial within six weeks of receiving it.
|Tanner says: All this talk about food and I STILL don't see my dinner!|