Carbs, additives, and headaches, oh my! #FridgeChallenge

Hi there. Checking in on day five of my one week Freshpet Fridge Challenge. If you haven’t already, make sure you read my post on how this all got started, I’ll wait.

Ok, welcome back. So…let’s just say Freshpet didn’t call it a “challenge” for nothing!

 Carbs, additives, and headaches, oh my! #FridgeChallenge

As someone who tries to eat healthier (most of the time), I really didn’t realize how much I depended on my refrigerator. Here are just a few of the things I’ve noticed this week:

Inconvenience. These days when I shop, as much as possible, I like to load up on fresh veggies, fruits, meats, frozen items, etc. And I’m a big fan of cooking in batches for less effort later in the week. Well, without a fridge the above scenario isn’t that possible. I did try shopping right before cooking a meal, but that is inconvenient and buying in small quantities is hard as I’m only cooking for two people. Throwing away ingredients or leftovers because they can’t be chilled seems so wasteful. After all, I was brought up being told by my mama that there were starving children in Ethiopia!

Carbs! Oh holy jeez, a lot of carbs! A lot of the shelf-stable ingredients are carbohydrates, such as pasta, rice, oatmeal, etc. Don’t get me wrong, carbs are tasty! But eating a lot of carbs for meals this week has left me feeling not so great. An average day has been oatmeal for breakfast, soups (with more carbs than protein) for lunch, pasta with jarred sauce for dinner, etc. As a result of all the extra carbs, and quite possibly the additional salt in these products, I’ve noticed headaches a few days in a row now.

Making items shelf stable involves some nasty additives. For example, I’m used to having eggs in the morning. Is there a shelf stable alternative? Yep. Powdered eggs. They have a shelf life of about three years (ewww!) and include an “anti-caking” agent (who is anti-cake!?). Milk for my coffee? Yep, a powdered version exists. It has four times the ingredients of fresh milk and has been fortified (meaning the original nutritional properties were lost in processing, and re-added afterwards). Again, it has a shelf life of a bazillion years, which is pretty scary. And we won’t even talk about most proteins. With the exception of tuna fish, not many shelf-stable proteins seem that appetizing, and even tuna needs refrigerated mayo to make it palatable. And any protein that becomes shelf stable involves a lot of sodium in the process.

So what does this mean for my dogs?

I’ve realized quite a few things this week about my dog’s nutrition, the convenience factor, and how I’d like their diet to be a bit more fresh. At the conclusion of my seven day challenge, I will be posting my insights on pet nutrition that have resulted from my personal fridge-less experiment. Come back and join me on Tuesday, October 1st!

Remember, it’s not too late to join in – click the image below for details!

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Petbrosia custom pet food – as unique as your dog (or cat)

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.

Petbrosia Maddie Example 231x300 Petbrosia custom pet food   as unique as your dog (or cat)

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

Our experience

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.

 Petbrosia custom pet food   as unique as your dog (or cat)

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!

 Petbrosia custom pet food   as unique as your dog (or cat)

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.

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Debunking 4 dog nutrition myths

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.

Dog Food Waiting Debunking 4 dog nutrition myths

Some dogs are just happy for any food…really, any food.

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.

dog food measure Debunking 4 dog nutrition myths

photo credit: StarsApart via photopin cc

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.

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Guest Post: Making sure your dog gets proper nutrition

Like you, your dog needs proper nutrition to stay healthy, and proper nutrition comes from eating the right foods. To help you make sure that your dog is getting the right kind of foods, here’s some expert scientific advice. The information in this article is based on a report by the Committee on Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats of the National Academies. It details the nutritional requirements for your dog, how much it should get, and what happens if it doesn’t.

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For a proper diet, your dog needs a regular intake of proteins and amino acids; fats and fatty acids; carbohydrates; vitamins and minerals. You should also be familiar with the different varieties of dog foods, and pet food additives such as antioxidants, herbs and botanicals, flavors, extracts and colors.

Proteins and Amino Acids

In order to survive, dogs need protein with 10 essential amino acids in their diet. Dogs have been known to avoid a meal that does not contain a single amino acid, and to choose foods that are high in protein. They can live on a vegetarian diet provided it contains enough protein with the addition of Vitamin D.

Fats and Fatty Acids

Essential fatty acids are needed to keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy. Fatty acids, which come mostly from animal fats and the seed oil of plants, are the most important source of energy in your dog’s diet. They also improve the taste and texture of dog food. Without enough dietary fats, your dog can develop dry hair as well as skin lesions and be vulnerable to infections. The absence of the omega-3 group of fatty acids may result in problems with your dog’s vision and impaired learning ability.


In addition to proteins and fats, your dog’s energy requirements are supplied by carbohydrates. In commercial dog food, carbohydrates come from cereals, legumes and other foodstuffs from plants. Dietary fibers in fermentable carbohydrates help enhance your dog’s immune function. Non-fermentable fibers, like cellulose and wheat bran, are used mostly to bring down the number of calories in an overweight dog. Your dog’s daily energy needs depends upon its age (puppy, young adult, older) and its condition (pregnant, lactating, active, inactive).


Your dog needs low concentrations of vitamins in its diet, especially Vitamins A, D and E. Vitamin deficiencies in your dog’s diet can cause various kinds of ailments such as motor and vision impairment, skin lesions, respiratory ailments, reproductive failure, brain lesions and heart damage. A chronic deficiency of Vitamin B1 can even lead to death.


There are 12 minerals that your dog’s diet must contain. A dog needs calcium and phosphorus for strong bones and teeth; magnesium, potassium and sodium for an acid-base balance, nerve impulse transmission and energy metabolism. The right amount of minerals in a diet is important. Calcium deficiency, for instance, results in skeletal abnormalities while an excess of it can result in the same thing.

When buying dog food, carefully read the percentage of fat, protein, fiber and water in the product. Being aware of your dog’s nutritional requirements will help make sure it always has a healthy diet.

As with any dietary or nutritional advice pertaining to dogs, consult with your own veterinarian or pet health provider to determine the proper nutrition for your specific dog(s). – 

This article was provided by where people planning a trip away can easily go to find animal lovers to live in and take care of their pets and homes. House sitting makes it possible for pets to stay in the familiar surroundings of their own homes when their owners need to be away, while pet owners can relax and enjoy their trip comfortable in the knowledge their pets are happy and their homes are secure. To find out more please visit

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What does “holistic” mean to you in terms of pet food?

holistic pet day What does holistic mean to you in terms of pet food?

In honor of National Holistic Pet Day being celebrated today, August 30th, Halo Purely for Pets released information on a survey they did about what the term “holistic” means to pet owners.

Halo surveyed over 850 dog and cat owners (I was one of them) about what factors consumers considered to be “holistic” when it came to what they were feeding their pet(s). The top results included:

                • No artificial preservatives or colorings – 84.8%
                • All natural – 83.6%
                • No inferior by-products – 82.3%
                • No “4D” meats (diseased, dying, disabled or dead before butchering) – 80.3%
                • No corn or fillers – 79.1%
                • No rendered animal parts, such as chicken meal – 78%
                • Only fresh meat or fish – 58.5%
                • Zero recalls – 50.4%
                • Lots of fruits and vegetables – 50.3%
                • The use of ingredients you can find in your own kitchen – 45.2%

The survey results also indicated that nearly half of respondents believe they’ve seen the term “holistic” used deceptively by pet food brands in their marketing or packaging. Most likely as a result, participants believed that it was up to the consumer to read the list of a food’s ingredients instead of relying on claims of “holistic” or “all-natural.”

“High quality natural nutrition will not ‘fix’ everything, but it is a critical part of a holistic approach to pet healthcare and often has a profound effect on the way a pet feels,” says Dr. Donna Spector, consulting veterinarian to Halo.

Remember it is important that you do your research in figuring out what is right for your specific dog’s needs.

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