Friday, December 26, 2008

My Favorite Things - Dog Food

I've been sharing with you all of my favorite things from my travel list. I've told you about my leash and my collar and even my dog tags. But the most important thing, in my opinion, that Mom packs when we travel, is my food. Mom says she buys only the best food for me because she wants to make sure I get the proper nutrition. I eat a combination of dry food and canned food, along with some treats and biscuits. She says all of them are made from the best ingredients and don't contain anything I shouldn't eat. Mom rotates my food each month. She said she read that this is the best way to feed me because I get a range of different foods that way, which helps make sure I get all the nutrients I need. So, since I don't eat one particular food all the time, Mom said I could share what I'm eating right now.

For dry food Mom feeds me a mixture of two different brands. She said that's one more way she makes sure I get my nutrients from a variety of sources.

The brand I am eating right now is called Innova EVO. She said there just isn't a better dog food available. It has lots of meat and potatoes, just like Dad eats. She heard about it from a breeder friend of hers. It took her a while to locate it but she bought it on It's a little expensive she says, about $24 for a bag, but since it's too rich for Austin since he's still a puppy, it will last all month.

The other dry food I am eating is actually named after one of Mom's favorite books. That's actually one of the reasons she tried it. It's called Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul. She found it on when she was going to order the Innova. She said it was nutritionally sound and she liked the name so she ordered some of it too. It's cheaper than the Innova too - about $19.00 for a bag. That's good because I share this with Austin. Mom mixes it with his puppy food. It's got chicken, turkey, chicken meal, turkey meal, and brown rice and there are no chemical preservatives.

My canned food is readily available just about anywhere. Mom is feeding me Pedigree right now. She says most store-brand canned food is not good for me, but Pedigree does contain lots of meat and poultry. It DOES contain some lesser quality by-products, but it has more meat than most other store-brand foods. She says it costs approx 85 cents a can at WalMart.

You all know where Mom buys my treats - BigWag Dog Bakery! I love the honey bears and the beefie boots. And Mom bought me something new for Christmas - Ginger Bread Chew Chews. They were okay, but to be honest - I still like the beefie boots better! Order some for yourself and see.

When we travel, Mom takes some of my dry food with her in resealable containers and some cans. She says travel is hard enough and we don't need to upset my tummy eating the local food. So even though I get the occasional treat if she stops to eat somewhere - like the meatballs in Orlando! - I still mostly get my own familiar food. I like it that way. I know Mom has had some bad meals because there wasn't anyplace to eat where we were. At least I know that will never happen to me. I always know what I'm going to have for breakfast or dinner!

What should you look for when shopping for dog food and treats?

Look for certification by the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials). According to the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine, "An AAFCO nutritional adequacy statement is one of the most important aspects of a dog or cat food label. A 'complete and balanced' pet food must be substantiated for nutritional adequacy by one of two means. The first method is for the pet food to contain ingredients formulated to provide levels of nutrients that meet an established profile. The alternative means of substantiating nutritional adequacy is for the product to be tested following the AAFCO Feeding Trial Protocols."

Choose a food that has whole meat or whole meat meal (lamb meal, chicken meal, etc.) as its top ingredients. Grain sources should also be whole grains, as opposed to glutens or other processed products. Rice and barley is better than corn or wheat.

Avoid BHT, BHA and ethoxyquin as preservatives.

Pet food safety is a growing concern. Recent recalls of dog foods because of wheat and rice glutens contaminated with melamine have spotlighted some major issues regarding pet foods and their ingredients. While the majority of foods have been deemed to be safe, this is an ongoing issue. It is a good idea to keep a watchful eye on things for the foreseeable future.

Next week - you've been introduced to Northwest Arkansas. Now we'll take you to Hot Springs!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

There's no place like home for the holidays

I want to tell you a story about a little dog. This dog was a good little dog. Yes, he chewed on shoes and piddled on the floor. But he didn't mean it. He was just a puppy after all. He wanted to be good. But the man and the woman who lived with him and his 4-legged mom said they had too many dogs already and that the little dog was too much trouble. So they took him to the animal shelter. The little dog was put in a small cage with no friends to play with and no one to pet him. He had food and water and sometimes he got to go outside and walk around, but most of the time he was in the cage - alone. It was very scary! Sometimes the people who worked at the shelter would come and get a dog for a walk - and the dog would never come back. The little dog heard that they were put to sleep. Sleep was good, but somehow sleeping and never coming back didn't seem right. The little dog worried that might happen to him and he was afraid. Sometimes, people would come in to the shelter and take a dog from the cage. These dogs also never came back. But the little dog heard that this was different. These dogs were going to new homes where they would be loved and be part of a family. The little dog wished every night that someone would take him home.

One day a man and woman came in to the shelter. They stopped at the little dog's cage and talked to him. The little dog sniffed at the woman's fingers as she reached through the cage. She asked if she could hold the little dog. When she picked him up, the little dog reached up and kissed her on the chin to say thank you for taking him out of the cage. The woman cuddled the little dog, looked at the man, and said, "I want him." That's was all it took! The little dog couldn't believe it. Someone was going to take him home.

In case you haven't figured it out, the little dog was me and the story is how my Mom and Dad found me at the shelter. I was lucky. I have lived here for 11 years and I am loved and cared for every day. I have food, and a bed, and toys, and playmates - I even have a cat. Mom helps me write this blog and holds me and takes me for walks and plays with me. I have a great life. But there are thousands of dogs and cats who aren't so lucky. So this Christmas, I am asking you to think about adding a furry friend to your home. I'm not suggesting you give a pet for a gift unless you are certain it will be a good idea. That's how many of us ended up in shelters to begin with. But if you have room in your house and your heart for one more thing to love, please visit your local animal shelter and adopt a pet in time for the holidays! They would love to share Christmas with you.

To help with this, each month I am going to take one post and devote it to featuring some of the pets from different shelters across the country. Since I introduced you to NWA last time, I'm going to introduce you to some great NWA pets that need homes today.

The following pets are available from the City of Rogers - Animal Services. They are a city-run shelter that handles animals within the city limits of Rogers, Arkansas. They strive to provide caring, competent, and professional assistance to the animals and community. Their adoption procedure is very simple. Find the perfect pet that you can give a "forever home". Their staff will help match your personality and needs to the pet that best suits you and your family. Adoption costs $61.00 per animal. This fee covers a Bordatella vaccine, worming, microchipping and $40.00 towards the spaying or neutering of the animal. ALL ANIMALS ADOPTED FROM SHELTER MUST BE SPAYED or NEUTERED! A few things to remember about the adoption application.... **If you rent, you will have to have letter from your landlord stating that you can have pets. This letter needs to include limitations if there are any. **If you have other animals, regardless of where you live, you will have to provide proof of rabies vaccinations for each pet. You may now access their application online at! You can find all of the pets featured here - plus others - at

Baby, female, Black and white, terrier mix

D06 1853

D39 2010
Labrador Retriever, Shepherd [Mix]
Large Adult Male

D20 2049
Australian Cattle Dog/Blue Heeler [Mix]
Medium Adult Female

D09 2126
Shepherd [Mix]
Large Baby Female

C05 2191
Small Adult Female

I would like a couple of favors, please. First, if you adopt a pet featured here, please let me know so I can put another needy pet in their place. Plus I have a goal of helping 1000 dogs and cats across the country find homes. I need to be able to track my success. Second, tell the shelter you found your pet on my blog. I am trying to encourage them to link to my blog and if they see it's successful, that might encourage them.

I also want to help a wonderful organization in their efforts to find homes for pets - So - starting today - for every purchase from my CafePress store ( Mom will make a donation to the Foundation so that every little dog like me can find a happy home.