Because the have their own feed Mills. Not to mention that they have been in business for over 100 years, have established relationships with raw material suppliers and have their own nutrition labs. While I’m not thrilled with what has been going on with the Chicken Jerky situation, Purina dry foods have NEVER had a recall. Can’t say that for a lot of other dog food companies.
While people argue the benefits or draw backs of various dog food ingredients, the simple fact is there is no scientific evidence that any food is better than the next. Using words like human grade, holistic or premium are just license to charge more for a dog food that will yield the same results as less expensive brands. Adding all kinds of fancy supplements and exotic ingredients are more for the benefit of the owner than the dog.
So What Do I Feed My Dogs?
Dexter and Jersey get Purina One kibble in the morning and in the evening I feed them Sojos Original Mix (rolled oats, rye flakes, barley flakes and pecans) with cooked meat. Right now they are eating venison off-cuts that came from our fall deer hunt, but usually they get chicken gizzards, chicken hearts, beef livers, fish or what ever is on sale when I go shopping. I used to feed the Sojos Grain Free Mix, but I noticed that the veggies looked the same on the way out as they did on the way in. The veggie mix is expensive at about $70 an 8lb bag and since it looked like none of it was being properly digested, I stopped feeding it. Sojos original mix is about $22 for a 10lb bag and lasts about a month. When I buy my meat, I end up paying about $120 to feed two dogs for a month, kibble included.
So why do I make my own food? Well, for starters, the dogs love it! Sure they eat their kibble but they do the happy dinner dance when I bring out the homemade stuff. Jersey is almost 10 years old and the high moisture content of the Sojos food is easier for her to eat. I started making food because Jersey was a very picky puppy and I had problems getting her to stick to any one food for long. Making her food was a bit of a pain in the ass because adding carbs or veggies that she would eat was difficult to do. I jumped for joy when I discovered the Honest Kitchen veggie mix! I got the proper balance of vitamins and minerals, got carbs, got the veggies and I could add the meat Jersey loved. When Honest Kitchen had distribution problems with Canada, I switched to Sojos.
Honest Kitchen is available in Canada again, but I never switched back. A 7 lb box of Preference is $60 and since the Sojos Original is working so well and is cheaper, I’m staying with Sojos. I’m also quite annoyed with Honest Kitchen. While there is no excuse for ignorance, I was under the impression that they did everything in-house with US ingredients. If a company has the word “kitchen” in their name it seems logical that they would manufacture their own products in their own kitchen. Apparently that is not so. Their food manufactured in a factory in Illinois and they refuse to name it for so-called reasons of Homeland Security. Homeland Security? The US government has no problems telling anyone who wants to know where rations for the troops are made. While Honest Kitchen clearly states that NONE of their ingredients come from China, they do come from other parts of the world. Parsley from Egypt? Spinach from Hungary? Pumpkins from Ecuador? Don’t those vegetables grow in the US?
Happily, Sojos does have their own facilities and as far as I know, the Original Mix is made with US ingredients only. I did try to email them a few questions, but they never got back to me. The information about the US food sources was gathered from various websites and forums from around the internet where people did get email responses from the company.
What’s The Big Deal About In-House Manufacturing?
Remember the 2007 melamine pet food scandal? Over 150 different brands of pet food were tainted with melamine that had been added to wheat gluten. All these foods were made by private label manufacturers on behalf of pet food companies that do not have their own mills. Menu Foods, now Simmons Pet Foods, manufactured 90 brands of pet foods affected by the recall.
Pet food companies that have their own mills are directly involved in the manufacturing process and do their own quality control tests. Pet food companies that have their own mills have invested in their brand for the long-term, have confidence in their products and will do their utmost to keep their reputation spotless. The older the better, too. Purina has been in business for over 100 years. Bil Jac has been in business for over 60 and has had only one recall for mould contamination in a very small batch of food. These companies have long-established relationships with suppliers that are proven successful. Mistakes will happen, but they don’t happen very often.
So Why Did I Choose Purina?
Owning Dexter made me change my feeding regimen by adding a morning feeding. At 50 pounds, he eats an obscene amount of food for a dog his size (4-5 cups daily) and still looks like a skeleton. Kibble was a cost effective way to put food in the bowl and Purina was my choice of food. Price and availability were the driving factors in my decision. I can buy Purina One at any supermarket, the price is fair (a 6 lb bag is $13) and the first ingredient on the label is meat. Supermarkets have a high product turn over, so the food you buy is always fresh.
There are Other Brands That Have Their Own Mills, Right?
Yes there are, but they are a little more spendy. I have compiled a list of pet food companies that make their food for anyone that is interested. This list is not meant to endorse any companies or their products.
Ainsworth Pets have the brands Dads, Nutrish and Kibble Select. The have been in business for 75 years, have their own nutrition labs and an environmentally conscious business model. A 14 lb bag of Nutrish is $25
Bil Jac has been in business since 1947. Average 6 lb bag is $20
Champion Pet Foods have the brands Orijen and Acana. A Canadian company in business since 1975. An average 6 lb bag is $21. I have fed this food to my dogs before and they like it.
Dr. Harvey’s has been in business for 30 years. Their products are dehydrated veggie mixes to which you add meat. A 3 lb bag is $40.
Eagle Pack has been in business for 25 years. Their kibbles are manufactured in-house, but their canned foods are NOT. Average cost of a 15 lb bag is $25
Evangers has been in business for 75 years. A 4.4 lb bag of food is $9
First Mate is a Canadian company operating since 1989. A 5 pound bag of the ocean fish kibble is $25
Flint River Ranch has been in business since 1993. An average 10 lb bag of kibble is $30
Fresh Pet has been in business since 2006 and make refrigerated ready to serve loaf-style foods. They do have a limited line of kibble products. A 3lb bag of kibble is $18
Fromm Family Foods have been in business since 1904. Their kibbles are made in-house but their canned foods are NOT. An average 5 lb bag of food is $20
Grandma Lucy’s has been in business since 1999 and makes dehydrated complete food mixes. A 3 lb bag of food is $27
Happy Dog Food has been in business since 1998 and makes dehydrated food mixes to which you add meat. A 3.5 lb bag is $18.
Hills Pet Nutrition has been in business since 1939 and was acquired by Colgate Palmolive in 1976. The have their own nutrition labs. They manufacture Science Diet, Prescription Diet and Healthy Advantage brands. An average 7 lb bag of food costs $17.
Holistic Blend is a Canadian company that has been in business for 20 years. An Average 7 lb bag of food is $25
Iams/Eukanuba- Iams was bought by Procter & Gamble in 1999. Their kibbles are manufactured in-house, but their canned foods are NOT. An average 5 lb bag of Iams is $14.
Merrick Pet Care has been in business since 1988 and makes the brands Before Grain, Whole Earth farms, Merrick 5 Star and recently acquired Castor & Pollux. ALL kibbles and canned products are manufactured in-house. An average 8 lb bag of Before Grain Kibble is $25 which I have fed to my dogs and they liked it.
Muenster Milling Company has been in business since 1932 and manufacture a variety of animal feeds. They also private label manufacture for other companies. An 8 lb bag of adult dog food is $13.
Natura pet Products has been in business since 2002 and was acquired by Procter & Gamble in 2010. They manufacture the Innova, EVO, California Natural, Healthwise, Mother Nature and Karma brands. Their kibbles are manufactured in-house, but their canned foods are NOT. An average 7 lb bag of EVO food is $20.
Nutrience is manufactured by Hagen products which as been in business since 1955. An average 6 lb bag of food is $19
Nutram is a Canadian company that has been in business for over 25 years. Their plant was acquired by Elmira Pet Products in 2009. In addition to Nutram products (Nutram, Pet Time, K-9 and Happy Paws), they manufacture the Royal Canin, Dr. Tim’s, Medical, Vetdiet and Petcurean brands. An average 6.6 lb bag of Nutram food is $30.
Purina has been in business since 1894 and traded hands many times. It is now owned by Nestlé S.A. Purina has their own nutrition labs. They manufacture all kibbles in-house. A 6.6 lb bag of Purina One costs $13 and I currently feed this to my dogs.
Sojos has been in business since 1985 and manufacture dehydrated complete dog food and add meat dog food. Sojo’s Original Add Meat Mix 10 lb bag is $22. I currently feed my dogs this food.
Stella & Chewy’s has been in business since 2003 and offers freeze-dried and frozen raw pet foods. An average 16oz. bag of dehydrated food is $30
Timber Wolf Organics has been in business in 1995. An average 3 lb bag of food is $10.
Wysong has been in business since 1979. They make all products in-house EXCEPT the canned foods. An average 8 lb bag of kibble is $15