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 Amazon.com. 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 Amazon.com 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. http://www.bigwag.com.
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!