Monday, March 29, 2010

small triumphs in dog food

you, the world of people who know about dogs more than i do, probably already discovered this sort of thing, but i was pretty proud of myself, so i thought i'd share.

since i raise chickens, i have grown accustomed to reading those dang product labels to figure out the differences between the different feeds.  i have read a LOT of product labels lately.  recently, i was able to apply my extremely limited experience to dog food.

as you might imagine, dog food gets expensive around here lately.  up until recently, we had NINE dogs.  you'd be surprised how much those cute little puppies can consume.

and we really do want to feed our puppies PUPPY food, but it's so dang much more expensive, that sometimes we just can't handle it, and we buy the cheapest looking morsel we can find.  

but then those darling little puppies look you in the eye, and you think you're doing them wrong or something.

so yesterday, i went to the store for dog food.


back to my recent experience with chicken food labels - i have learned that just because it's labeled for baby chickens or for turkeys or for game birds - doesn't necessarily mean the ingredients are particularly different - or sometimes it does.  you have to read the product label.

so i'm in the aisle at Brookshire Brothers (this is Coldspring, people; we have Brookshire Brothers, and we have Family Dollar; we do not have Wal-mart), staring at the 10 or so different dog foods, trying to make a wise decision.  and then...i remember....about chicken food.  and i start hauling these giant bags of food off of the shelf and onto my little shopping buggy there, and reading every single label.

i discovered a few things that surprised me.

one, as far as the dog food you buy at the grocery store - you know, not the gourmet stuff or anything - they're all mostly one thing............................corn.

no wonder my dogs like to eat the chickens' food.  it has better ingredients.

they all also have something they called "meat and bone meal" (which i assume is some kind of slaughter-house mystery meat) and animal fat preserved in something i can neither define, nor pronounce.

while, i am disappointed that i am mostly feeding my dogs corn, there's nothing to be done for it right now (since they're all like that), and i move on to the product labels.  or it's called some sort of "analysis."  i'm talking about the part, somewhere near the list of ingredients that says it has this percentage of this and that percentage of that, etc.

my goal is to discover what percentages of what, define puppy food as "balanced nutrition for growing puppies"  blah blah blah.

most of the amounts are pretty close ...... except the protein.  

the main difference (whether you buy "pedigree" or "cousin george's dog slop") seems to be the protein percentage.  "puppy food" has 27% crude protein.  "dog food" ..... has differing levels of ..... less.

the other thing about these foods is that the "special brands," you know the ones the commercials on t.v. have convinced us are better for our dogs, are (at this store) about a dollar a pound.  they package them in weird amounts like 14.5 pounds or 17.6 pounds, to throw you off, but they're all about a dollar per pound.  they want you to think you're comparing apples to apples, but you're not.

anyway, i started looking through the "cousin george" brands i've never heard of to see if anyone's percentages were better or worse than anyone else's.

most of them were exactly the same as any other "dog food."

but then i found a "Lone Star" brand, called Hi-pro PLUS, with the 27% protein.  and it didn't cost a dollar per pound.

i walked out of that store with a 40 pound bag of dog food for $19.something.  Just about half the per pound price of the brand name stuff.

and i feel like i really pulled something off.

for those of you that are screaming, "DON'T BUY THAT STUFF!" and want me to buy something from the vet that cost 6 times as much, i hear you.  and i am considering ways to feed my dogs more healthfully but also more affordably.  the wheels are definitely turning.  but for least i know (sort of) what i'm feeding them, and i can feel good that they're getting "pedigree" nutrition......and we're not going broke to feed our dogs.

thank you very much.

for inquiring minds, we are now officially down to our original Jelly, and two of her puppies, Belle and Bingo, whom we plan to keep around.  

dogs make good chicken security.

and these ones are really cute.

AND they will all participate in the appropriate medical procedures to ensure that we never again have 8 mutts to find homes for if i have to babysit for the next year to pay for it.

pictures later, folks (of the puppies, not the medical procedures).  

there are three tiny children sitting on my couch, sort of quietly absorbing Blue's Clues, but i'm sure the peacefulness won't last forever, so i better stop blathering on.

welcome me back to the world of blogging.  i missed you.


  1. You are doing such a good job, Beth! I'm really proud of you. =)

  2. thank you Mom.

    it really means a lot for you to say that.


  3. Love the e.e. cummings influence!

    Bet, your writing skills are terrific. You make me feel like I am at a verbal aamusement park! So much life, excitement and cheer!


  4. wow. this post makes me feel bad. i went to the store when we got home with jenny and thought...which food is a decent brand and cheap when i have to buy the really big bags instead of the puppy bags?? i went with purina puppy chow. and my gosh i forget how much dogs eat!

  5. kris, if i ever write a book, remind me to have you write one of those cute endorsements on the back.....verbal amusement park. i like that. and thank you. =D

    deanna, those little puppies seem to eat their weight in a day. ridiculous!

  6. welcome back Beth! Love to read abt your adventures - chicken, dog, or kids you go for it w/ all the gusto.

    God has indeed blessed you w/ a big heart!


What do you think about that?