This past week I’ve been sharing insights from my participation in the Freshpet Fridge Challenge. The challenge was established to bring attention to the importance of fresh foods in your dog’s diet. And while my dogs didn’t go without fresh food for the length of this challenge, I did, and let me just say, it really drove home the importance of fresh for all! Take a look.
DogSplendor.com was given the personalized stainless steel “not so fast” dog bowl from dogIDs.com – as always, all opinions and experiences are uniquely our own.
Let me preface this by saying my dog Izzie has never starved. She has never wanted for food a day in her life. Nobody has ever taken her dog bowl away mid-meal. Yet Izzie eats her food as if someone were going to steal it at any moment, or as if it might be her last meal ever.
At times I thought Izzie eating her food like an over-caffeinated wildebeest was sort of cute. Awww, she loves her food. But in actuality, a dog eating its food very fast can cause life-threatening maladies like bloat to occur. Additionally, when a dog gobbles its food, it gulps an excess of air, which leads to gassiness (and pet parents know what a joy this can be).
I’d heard about slow-feeding type bowls (a bowl which includes a built in obstacle to help slow down the dog’s eating time), but had never gotten around to trying one with Izzie. So when dogIDs.com approached me about their products, including their gorgeous personalized collars and dog ID tags, the product that caught my eye immediately was their “not so fast” bowl. They were gracious enough to send me a personalized bowl laser engraved with Izzie’s name.
I had Izzie’s new bowl on my door step in no time at all. Spiffy! I’ve ordered personalized products before and they often take an extra long time to ship. That was definitely not the case here. The bowl itself is a heavy satin finish stainless steel, and the laser engraving was nice and deep, not a shallow scratch that passes as engraving with some products online these days.
After washing the bowl, I showed Izzie her new present. I’d like to think she knew it was especially for her, but I think it was me that was more excited, she was just generally curious that it appeared to have to do something with food.
I contemplated taking video of Izzie’s elapsed eating time from her regular bowl, versus her new slow-feed bowl. But you know what? Watching a close up of a dog eating sloppy wet food is not so cute, folks.
However, the result of the extra obstacle in Izzie’s bowl meant a much slower meal for her. This was awesome! At first she looked at me like she was being punished. Food is her thing. She tried to nudge the middle part of the bowl, like she could push it aside. Once she realized that wasn’t happening, she went about the business of eating her food. But at a much more reasonable pace. Which is exactly what I hoped would happen. And now she has a special dog bowl – with both form AND function – from which to enjoy her meals a bit more slowly and safely.
As I mentioned in a previous post, sometimes finding the perfect nutrition for your dog is a matter of eliminating what doesn’t work before settling in on what does work. So, imagine if that process could be sped up by having a custom pet food designed specifically with your dog’s needs in mind? That is exactly what Petbrosia aims to do, and has established the first-ever pet food individually designed for your pet’s unique nutritional needs.
Petbrosia launched this Spring and provides quality custom pet food delivered right to your door for your dog or cat. Because I don’t have cats, I’ll be discussing only the dog food and our experience with the product.
How does Petbrosia work?
The first step is to establish a profile for your dog. You will be asked to enter the breed, age, gender, energy level, weight, allergy information, and then any other information you deem pertinent to your dog’s nutrition or health patterns. Based on the information entered for your dog, a unique blend of food is formulated for your dog’s needs. The blend of food is not created until the order comes in, so you are assured a fresh product.
As you continue to re-order product in the future, Petbrosia keeps an eye on your pet’s age and/or changing health information and can reformulate the nutrition to meet your dog’s changing needs.
Below is an example of the profile for Maddie. The completed profile is printed and sent to you with feeding instructions and caloric information for your order. Click the image to enlarge.
The pricing structure for Petbrosia is simple. A ten pound box is $39.99, including delivery, and a twenty pound box is $79.99. The size of your dog and the target feeding amount will determine how long the order will last. Make sure you check out the special DogSplendor discount at the bottom of this post!
What’s in Petbrosia foods?
Because this is a custom product, depending on the blend for your pet, ingredients may vary. Petbrosia lists all the ingredients is uses in their formulations on this page, and all ingredients are sourced in the US. For each formulation, the following is true:
- The first ingredient is fresh meat – antibiotic and hormone free
- No chicken or poultry by-product meal
- No corn, wheat, soy, or gluten
- No artificial colors or flavors
Petbrosia invited us to order a custom blend for both Maddie and Izzie. Because their age, weight, and energy levels are not the same, we got two custom blends.
As expected, the blend for Izzie (who is older with a normal-ish energy level) was higher in protein, and lower in fat. For Maddie (who is younger and high energy), her formulation was slightly lower in protein content than Izzies, but a bit higher in fat content. You can see that their formulations appeared quite similar, but the nutritional data provided showed the composition was different.
Prior to trying Petbrosia, both my dogs were each receiving one half cup of dry food twice per day. In the morning their food has raw goat’s milk added to it, and in the evening, their food is supplemented with additional protein and/or canned high protein dog food. The feeding instructions that came with the Petbrosia product suggested Maddie should receive a total of 2.25 cups of food per day and Izzie should receive 2.75 cups of food per day. Because we add additional food (calories) to their dry food, I started off each dog with a little less than one cup of Petbrosia twice per day. While they appeared to really like the product, I think they were not used to the volume of food and didn’t finish their meal. I picked up whatever was not eaten after ten minutes at both feeding times. This continued for a week, indicating to me that my dogs must be used to a smaller amount of food, or that they would have finished it had I not removed it. Let me clarify that the Petbrosia formula could have been left down for the dogs, but the additional ingredients I added were refrigerated and it would not have been safe to let them sit out at room temperature for an extended amount of time.
Poop. Yep, nobody likes to talk about dog poop, but truthfully, this is a measurement of your dog’s diet and nutritional absorption. I’m not a dog nutritionist, but I assumed more volume of food would equal more volume of poop. Turns out I was wrong. Even with the increased volume of food I was giving Maddie and Izzie, their poop volume did not increase, and in fact decreased a bit. This indicates a higher quality of food, and more nutrients being absorbed.
Overall, I think the Petbrosia product is an awesome concept that has not been done before. The idea of getting a unique blend that changes over time with your dog’s changing nutritional needs is brilliant. As a pet parent it can be confusing at times to know if you are giving your pet what it needs nutritionally.
If you would like to try Petbrosia’s unique formulations for your dog (or cat), the cool folks at Petbrosia have given me the following discount to share with DogSplendor readers. Click the link below to go to the Petbrosia website and give it a try!
This post has a Disclosure Level of 2. DogSplendor was provided with two ten pound boxes of Petbrosia dog food that were specially formulated for Maddie and Izzie. Any reviews are based on our experience and honest opinion.
Last Fall I worked for a dog food manufacturer for a few months as an event and demo person. My goal was to earn a little change while hanging around dogs. I accomplished both. I also got many interesting insights into how some dog parents pick the brand of food they feed their pup. Below are four of the most common myths I found out there regarding dog nutrition.
1. “If it costs more, it must be good”
Yes, while you often will pay more for higher quality, just because it is expensive, isn’t reason in and of itself that the product is good – or the right choice for your dog. Not all forms of dog nutrion, even if expensive, are created equal.
Because the product I was working with was a higher-end pet food, I had the luxury of working only in higher-end, small, boutique type stores. Originally I made the assumption that if people were buying their dog food at a higher-end store, they must know a ton about pet nutrition. Nope. While this was the case in maybe 1 out of 10 shoppers I came across, the remaining 9 out of 10 people I met were of the mindset “if it costs more, it must be good.” These folks just knew they didn’t want any brand that was considered “cheap” because they associated those brands with recalls.
2. “Why is there so little protein?”
If the consumer bothered to look at the ingredients, they often stopped after the protein content. Everyone wants high protein, which is good, but I’d come to find out many owners didn’t know what that meant. I often heard people say “why isn’t the protein percentage higher?” or “is there one with 100% protein?”
In fact, according to the FDA, most meat is only about 25% protein, by weight, when you factor in water and fat content. Of course protein sources can vary; steak is about 26% protein, by weight, an egg is about 12% protein by weight. If you see a label with greater than about 25% protein, the product most likely contains a “meal” such as chicken meal or bone meal; and those protein sources have had the water and most of the fat removed, so the protein is more concentrated.
3. “My vet said to only use…”
Often you’d see pet parents in the store buying their dogs some treats or toys. If you engaged them in a conversation about what they feed their pet, you’d hear “my veterinarian said only to feed my dog ________.” I won’t mention the brands, because most of you know which brands I’m speaking of; the ones highly visible at your vet’s office, the ones that are highly marketed to your vet. These are also the brands you won’t find at a higher-end pet store. You know why? Because for the most part they aren’t healthy for your dog, and are filled with cheap fillers that provide little or no nutritional value. A general statement about veterinarians is that they get very little nutrition training. This is not true of all vets (many pursue nutrition training on their own), but the vets that tell you to only feed your dog the common brands that are heavily marketed to vet’s offices, that vet is not doing your dog any favors. If you only feed your dog those brands, chances are you are going to be seeing more of your vet for your dog’s health ailments that might otherwise be avoided.
4. “The store can tell me anything I need to know”
I can’t tell you how many times I saw a consumer enter a pet store and not be sure what kind of dog food they were looking for. They made a bee-line to the largest display, the cutest packaging, the bags with the most key words, the heart-shaped kibble, etc. In other words, marketing works, folks.
Often, a clerk at a small store that is well-educated in dog nutrition can help answer a bunch of your questions, but often you will be steered towards their preferences, or what the store has been encouraged/rewarded to sell that month.
What do I think you should think about or research before you enter the pet store?
- If you are changing foods, why? What more or less are you looking for? What do you want and/or not want?
- Does your pet have food allergies? Maybe these haven’t been confirmed, but are there are certain ingredients your dog does better without.
- Do you know other people that use a certain brand? Is their dog similar to yours? In other words, what your neighbor feeds their Great Dane might not be as appropriate for your Chihuahua.
- What brands have had recent recalls? What was the recall for? The Dog Food Advisor site is a good site to search for recalls.
- Find a brand that interests you? Check them out online. See what people are saying about them. Look at their Facebook page, their Twitter feed, etc. Pet food companies have a LOT of media out there on dog nutrition. Often you can get free samples or great coupons from the manufacturer site, as well.
- Is this a feeding method you can maintain? I can’t tell you how many people I saw try the raw diet for their dog only to learn that they practically dry heave having to watch their dog consume raw meat. Or, they just didn’t have the time to keep fresh meat at home all the time. Pick what you can stick with.
Obviously, these questions are just a starting point, and depending on how finicky your dog is, or any health issues they may have, there may be many, many more questions to ask yourself.
Another item to note about doing your research is that a pet food company can change ingredients in its formulation, and as long as they have the correct ingredients for a product listed on their website, by law they have up to six months to use their stock of pre-printed bags. If your dog has concerns with a specific ingredient, check the food label on the website!
I hope these tips and insights helped. As all dogs are different, so to are their nutritional requirements, preferences, and tolerances. Sometimes finding the perfect food for your dog is an experiment in weeding out what doesn’t work before narrowing in on what works well.
As a nation, for some reason we gravitate towards starting a new diet on January 1st. It may have something to do with the roughly 6 weeks of the prior year being spent cramming every goodie we could lay our hands on into our mouths, but that is just a guess.
But what about your dog?
Does your dog have a one-track mind, with that track being food? Perhaps they need to lose a few pounds? Get a bit more exercise? Now there’s a fun and social iPhone app, PetMobi, that lets you track health and fitness stats for your dog. Sort of like a Weight Watchers tracker for dogs, minus the meetings and public weigh-ins.
The PetMobi application for iPhone lets you track your dog’s food intake (from a database of thousands of pet foods), exercise, weight and establish goals. It also lets you connect with friends to make it a little bit competitive, if you like that sort of thing or it helps motivate you. And I say “you” because let’s face it, the well-being of your dog pretty much relies on you. Dogs don’t pick out their own food (usually), and dogs don’t decide when they go for walks (usually). Your dog getting healthier depends on you making the right choices for him or her on a consistent basis.
Here are a few screen shots of the PetMobi app for iPhone in action. Go check out the PetMobi app in the Apple App store for more info. Did I mention the app is free?
Here’s to a happy and healthy 2013 for you and your pup!