Editor’s Note: This is not a post I was ever intending on writing, preferring to stay out of the game of publicly recommending specific dog kibble brands. However, we have received so many emails and messages over time asking us which specific dog foods we have experience with and can recommend, that we have decided to write about them here.
Each Dog Is Different
Our cockapoo (Albion) is not the “norm”, in terms of his digestive process. In fact, he has a very sensitive stomach and has had HGE (Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis) in the past. He nearly died from that disorder, even though he had near-immediate medical care. It is estimated that 15% of dogs with HGE will have a recurrence, and we had a recent scare where it looked like it was flaring up again (possibly from stress, though HGE is tricky to pin to one cause), so we got him treated for it before it became a full-blown issue.
I am telling you this because it means we have to be particularly careful about what Albion eats, as well as his overall health and stress levels. Below, we are going to list high-quality foods he has done well on. However, no food is perfect for every dog, due to medical issues, allergies, sensitivities to certain grains or proteins, and much more. Study up on what makes a quality kibble. Consult with a pet nutritionist or veterinarian if you are unsure about a food switch.
Please note that we feed only one small meal per day (sort of our dog’s “breakfast cereal”) of dry food – the other two meals are home-cooked, customized versions of recipes in pet food advocate Susan Thixton’s book, Dinner PAWSible. We feel *some* of the home-cooked meals in her book, with slight customization to suit our dog, budget, and preferences, are actually better than any dry dog food available. He has never had trouble with one of these meals, and has far less doggy gas than he used to (an added bonus!). We really only use the dry food as a way to make absolutely certain he is getting every nutrient and mineral he needs. Additionally, if we run out of homemade food or are too busy to make it (perhaps while traveling), there is a readily available dry food he can rely on.
So, our cockapoo has only really eaten four foods regularly, at different times in his life. He is seven years old now, a full-grown adult. Currently he is eating Earthborn Holistic’s Coastal Catch. We like it because it is grain-free, contains a very easy to digest protein (fish), and has treated our dog’s stomach well. The company has been responsive to our questions through calls and emails, makes an effort to be environmentally responsible, and offers a good variety for dogs with different needs. The Coastal Catch kibble does smell a bit fishy, but Albion loves it. We recommend keeping it in a sealed canister after you open it (we recommend this for all dog foods, as it can spoil in the open air, or attract bugs).
In the past, Albion has done well on both Avoderm and Fromm Adult Gold, both of which are produced by quality companies with very few recalls throughout their histories (unlike most major brands). When he was a puppy, he did quite well on Natural Balance, but when our supplier raised prices, we balked and moved up to a higher-end brand that was similarly priced.
I know there are other great foods out there, highly recommended by our readers in the know, such as Blue Buffalo. However, I have not used this food personally, so I can’t say much about it. Not sure how helpful this information is to our readers, but you wanted to know, so there it is!
One last thing: before you buy, I recommend checking the food’s recent recalls and overall ratings on the Dog Food Advisor website. While not perfect, I think the site is very useful, especially for those unfamiliar with the industry and what makes one dog food better than another.