If your name is Scooby the elderpin, today’s morning meal looks like this:
The hand mixed contents of your dish include a heaping scoop of Natural Planet Organics turkey dinner canned food, a teaspoon of pumpkin, a tablespoon of kale and broccoli pulp and a 1/4 cup of Acana dry kibble (equal parts Ranchland and the duck/Bartlett pear varieties).
If your name is Scooby the elderpin, however, you aren’t much interested in this dish today.
Nor is your buddy Luke the emo dog hungry for his bowl of just the Acana.
Maybe you are both holding out for some more buffalo and elk scraps from your people’s past two evening meals.
Maybe breakfast will just have to become lunch today at the Wayward House. Maybe it will stop raining eventually.
What did you serve your dogs for breakfast today? Did they eat it?
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Thinking about switching your dog’s regular food?
Give your beloved a choice in the matter. Hold a dog food taste test.
The lack of enthusiasm both of our dogs (but especially suddenly snobby Scooby) have recently shown for their Innova Prime inspired us to let them choose their own new food.
Step 1: Get dog food samples
Many pet food purveyors stock sample sizes of their products. If you’re considering a change, ask about these before commiting to a big, possibly expensive quantity of food your dog might not even like.
I brought home four sample bags of USA- or Canada-made high quality grain-free dog food from neighborhood pet stuff store Brookside Barkery.
On our menu:
- Petcurean Go! (Fit + Free chicken and salmon recipe)
- Lotus (oven-baked duck flavor)
- Precise Holistic Complete (pork meal formula)
- Precise Holistic Complete (lamb meal and turkey formula)
Step 2: Wait until your dog is already full
A hungry dog is apt to eat anything you put in front of him. In order to get a sense for what truly appeals to him, hold a taste test after he’s already eaten a regular meal. Ideally, in this setting, he will be more motivated by the food that smells and tastes the best.
Step 3: Line up the samples
When it’s time for the test, put out a similar amount of each variety of food in close proximity. Be sure to make note of which brand is where. Especially if you’re not sure you want to change foods, include the old food in your line-up. In our test, the little pile of Innova Prime is the only one without a sample bag directly behind it.
Step 4: Test!
When you’re ready, set your dog loose on the little buffet. Watch how he responds to each sample. Which food does he go to first? Does he just vacuum up the kibble, or does he sniff and move on to the next? Does he spit some of the food out? Does he totally refrain from eating any varieties?
Step 5: Repeat
For any kind of experiment, it’s always a good idea to try a couple of times to see if your results are the same. Once you are relatively sure which food your dog prefers, you will likely feel more comfortable springing for a big bag.
Of course, as with any dietary change, you’ll want to transition gradually from the old food to the new in order to minimize digestive problems.
In our case, we submitted both Scooby and Luke to the taste test twice. While Scooby seemed to like the Petcurean Go! food quite a bit more than Luke did, they both seemed to agree that the Precise Holistic Complete pork formula was extra savory.
The Lotus bites were just too big and hard for tender-mouthed Scooby to manage at all.
Big thanks to the in-store expert at Brookside Barkery for giving me guidance on setting up a successful dog food taste test!
Have you ever given your pets a kibble taste test? How did it go?
Oh, did you miss the memo?
Well, let me just spell it out for you.
Eggs for breakfast AND dinner? Only if they’re over easy.
Buttermilk-soaked kibbles? Just the buttermilk, please.
Canned dog food? If I must — but don’t try to feed me the same brand two days in a row.
Blue Buffalo banana and yogurt Mini Blue Bars? Break them up into crumb-size pieces.
A bit of brisket? I’ll take my own slice, thanks.
A few weeks ago, Scooby, a typically voracious dog known around our house as a blaccum — a little black kitchen vaccum — turned into a snob.
His disinterest in dry food coincided with a change from EVO to Innova Prime, a stay at Resort de Mom and a prescription for antibiotics to treat a urinary tract infection.
Also, this 10,000-year-old dog doesn’t have many teeth to begin with and is due for a dental.
So maybe the demands for softer food are warranted.
But now he seems to have us trained — tasty meats or a hunger strike!
The vet is aware of the situation, and we are headed back to see her in a couple days.
In the meantime, tell me how you get your finicky eaters to clean their bowls.