Speaking of Food… More Adventures in Canine Cuisine

Around the same time I started angsting over Shiva’s body weight I was approached by a representative from Global Pet Foods. She asked if I’d be interested in reviewing a new line of pet food called Nature’s Harvest Fresh. Not one to turn down something free, especially from my favourite pet supply store, I returned the email with enthusiasm without even looking at the ingredients. I seem to make a habit of that, saying yes and asking questions later.

Luckily, the oversight did not cause me any grief this time. After breaking off my happy dance about getting free food, I checked out the website and was impressed by the line-up. All major ingredients were things I would happily chow down on myself. There was no mention of suspicious-sounding meat products nor were there any made-up sciencey words for things that essentially mean filler.

What a relief!

As the food is frozen, I had to pick up my generously sized samples in person at the Global Pet Foods in Halifax. No big deal, right? I didn’t think so anyway until I walked into the store and realized I didn’t know how to introduce myself. “Where’s my free food?” didn’t sound very polite.

The thing is, I’ve never publicly come out as a blogger before. Sure, more and more of the people I know in real life are aware of this space, but I’ve never been the one to bring it up. I’ve never actually said the words aloud. Not once have I ever introduced myself and my website in the same breath. Doing so felt artificial. Silly. Almost an out of body experience. In truth, I couldn’t even get the words out.

“Uh, hi! My name is Kristine and I am, uh, here to pick up some food?”

Yes, I am thirty years old and I am intimidated by pet store clerks who are ten years younger than me. Is there a support group for this?

Awkward tangent aside, a kind staff member and I eventually worked out the reason I was there and she sent me on my way with four boxes of fresh dog food. Four very large boxes. So large they take up our entire freezer.

Shiva never had it so good
It’s only been a few days since we’ve started using the food but I’ve found it to be quite different. According to the information I was given Nature’s Harvest Fresh is gently cooked so it isn’t completely raw. The ingredients are molded into individual patties. For a dog Shiva’s size the box recommends two and a half patties a day. Since we’ve only ever given Shiva dry kibble as her primary food source, we thought it best to start slowly. I have been using the Nature’s Harvest as more of a supplement for now, thawing one pattie at a time in the microwave and crumbling half over her ration of kibble twice a day.

Shiva is the world’s least picky eater so it’s hard to tell but I think she is enjoying the new addition. Her tail typically wags slowly as she eats. With this new treat in her bowl, it moves in triple-time.

The salmon just might be her favourite.

We shall see how it goes. So far I am really enjoying the experimentation process and I think Shiva is too. Contrary to what a lot of people say, I think dogs do appreciate a little variety in their diets. While Shiva is more than willing to eat anything and everything I put in her bowl, she does seem to perk up ever so slightly when there is a different smell in the air. I might be anthropomorphizing here but I also thinks she gets a kick out of having her food nuked in the microwave first. Food that comes out of the little black box is not food she is usually allowed to eat.

Am I alone here? Do you think dogs can get bored with the same old kibble every single day?

30 thoughts on “Speaking of Food… More Adventures in Canine Cuisine

  1. I think they absolutely appreciate it. I often mix in some yogurt (really good for their digestion!) and/or some carrots (vitamines, and you can’t really feed to many of them) to Mufaasa’s food and he certainly seems to appreciate it. But he’s a pig and gets pretty excited for meal time no matter what.

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    • Hahaha. That’s okay, so is Shiva. I could fill her dish with lettuce and she’d still let nothing get in her way on the race to the food bowl. It makes them easier to train, right?

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  2. Hi Kristine, we think you’re just fine the way you are but I don’t think that I’d like to eat the same dry stuff every day. Something different would be nice and maybe Nature’s Harvest is it. Yum, yum.

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    • Maybe. I am definitely happy to have the chance to try! It sounds like your humans understand your needs perfectly.

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  3. I wholeheartedly agree that dogs enjoy variety. The myth that dogs don’t handle variety well and should stick to the same kibble their entire lives was first promoted by big dog food companies to encourage brand loyalty. There is no science and no truth to the claim that variety is bad for dogs. In fact, that myth is one of the top reasons we see so many allergy and food intolerance issues in dogs today. I could go on and on and on…

    My dogs love the variety I give them in their diet! In fact, if I get lazy and stick to kibble for a couple days in a row, I swear Sadie starts giving me dirty looks.

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    • You’re probably right on that. Oddly, no matter how much I learn, the information I got from when I was a kid is what still sticks with me the most. Even if said information is illogical. I guess humans and dogs aren’t that different, are they?

      Haha! Shiva isn’t so picky but she definitely notices when there is something new available. It probably helps that I get a little excited too. 🙂

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      • I agree wholeheartedly with Married with Dawgs!

        When we fed kibble, I chose several brands/flavours I liked and rotated them, so that the diet was constantly changing. Felix (the spoiled brat) would actually skip a meal if I dared serve them the same thing a few days in a row. He still does that now that we feed raw.

        Sure, kibble can be made “balanced and complete” by spraying the kibbles with a synthetic viatamin supplement, but I prefer the idea of whole food nutrition and that variety keeps the body working properly.

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  4. Our dogs like the same food every day. They like the food they are on and eat eagerly. It took a while to find a food that works for both of them. We tried for a while to make slight changes in their food to give them variety, but that just gave them digestive issues (ie gas). Kitty however is worse than the dogs. Do not attempt to change her food or she just won’t eat.

    The new food sounds interesting. Let us know if you stick with it.

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    • When you have allergies or intolerances to deal with, that makes it tricky. In those cases it’s definitely best to play it safe. Shiva has issues with red meat, which is why I am not sure how much of the lamb/beef patties we will give her. I may find a friend who might be willing to test those ones out for us!

      Cats can definitely be pickier than dogs. Like people, our pets have their own personalities and idiosyncrises. I guess we can’t blame them too much. 😉

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  5. I think dogs can absolutely get bored eating the same food all the time. It is part of what I love about raw, that I get to change up what my dogs are eating and give them a variety of flavors and textures.

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  6. I’ve observed too that Honey perks up when we shift her food. I’ve been alternating between her regular kibble and the FreshPet food from the supermarket fridge that I reviewed. And I’ve found supplements like yogurt and cod liver oil (good fat for a high metabolism dog) are good too.

    Unfortunately, splattering yogurt on the walls from a Kong Wobbler is probably not a good idea.

    BTW, we really need to get you to come out of the closet as a blogger. At BlogPaws, last year I met all kinds of powerful people blogging in their spare time–lawyers, heads of PR for major lobby groups etc. Pet bloggers aren’t just crazy cat and dog ladies. 🙂

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    • Cod liver oil… That’s an interesting idea. I’ve never tried that but I will look for it now and see if adding that makes any difference. Thanks for the suggestion!

      Heh. I’ve tried using yogurt in Shiva’s Kong but had similar problems. It’s just so goopy! Nothing beats plain old peanut butter for its perfect stuffing abilities. 🙂

      My PH made fun of me for feeling so uncomfortable too. I don’t know why I felt that way. Maybe I need to practice in front of a mirror?

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  7. I’ve experimented with giving different flavors of canned food with their kibble. That seems to go overwell. However, I have to be careful. Oreo’s acupuncturist noticed his coat changed completely when I was feeding him a “turkey” variety. Oreo needs to stick to beef and fish, not for allergies, but for overall well being.

    That food you got for free looks amazing! I like the gently cooked idea. I know many who feed raw, but the thought of it makes me ill (I was a vegetarian for decades) and squeemish.

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  8. I guess I might have been anthropomorphizing my animals but I always felt if they ate the same thing day after day it would be boring. Now that they are on raw they get a variety of chicken, beef and turkey. They love it all. I like giving them a variety and even when they were fed kibble I switched between chicken and lamb. 🙂

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  9. I definitely think my dogs enjoy some variety. As a way of getting them some fish oil in whole food form I add a container of sardines to their dish once or twice a week and that always gets them drooling! I was also reading something interesting the other day, discussing how the nutritional value of different food ingredients can vary depending on the growing conditions. Their suggestion was to rotate foods (if your dog’s digestive system doesn’t object) to ensure they’re getting everything they need. It was something I’d not considered before and I thought it was pretty interesting.

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  10. I think that dogs appreciate the variety. Sometimes the dogs get kibble, sometimes they get canned tripe. For the past few months, I’ve been feeding the venison off-cuts from deer hunting season. They *always* love that!

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  11. Poor Cali doesn’t get much variety because of her allergies (allergic to beef, chicken, turkey and fish!) but I do give her frozen strawberries and blueberries when I’m making shakes, she loves bananas and apples too 🙂 Right now she is happily getting the peanut butter out of a kong! It’s so fun that you were asked to review food . . .that’s because you are such a popular blogger!!

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  12. I agree that dogs like variety. Leroy stopped eating his food a few months ago, I thought he was sick, but here he was just sick of the food he was eating. I changed his food from fish to venison and he loves it! I’ll eventually go back to the fish, but I really think he liked the change, and so did Sherman who has eaten fish his whole life!

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  13. I definitely think our dogs like getting something different on occasion. Why else would they watch us like vultures when we eat pizza? Those pizza bones are like manna from Heaven! We try to throw in a little something different and extra for the dogs once in a while, too!

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  14. Wow, they gave you a lot! Awesome!

    For quite awhile now, we’ve been adding olive oil to Elka’s food. Recently, I got a jar of coconut oil, and have been using that instead. She’s kind of…um.. a coconut oil junkie now. If I put food in her bowl, sans oil, she’ll nose it around and then stare at me accusingly. Since I’ll only do it once a day, at most, that kibble sometimes sits there for quite awhile!

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  15. that food looks pretty sweet! nice score!

    i am 100% of the belief that my dog gets bored with his food–and it consistently happens about halfway through a 30-pound bag (though i still can’t justify buying smaller bags), which is when we either switch him to something new or start supplementing with yogurt, yogurt & pb mixed, a sprinkle of shredded cheese, or canned veggies. all of my non-dog-people friends & family think i am insane.

    by the way, i am totally intimidated by, like, everyone and everything in public when i don’t know what i’m doing. if i know, i’m fine and confident and probably obnoxiously forward. i won’t, however, go to a new cafe/deli for lunch if i am alone–because i’m scared of not knowing how it works and looking stupid (where do you get on line? where do you pay? how do you order? can you personalize the menu? Manhattan lunch places are very weird with this stuff and the people are all in A HUGE FRIGGIN RUSH. i mean, sheesh, who wants to hurry up and get back to work??)

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  16. I’m so late to this party, I’m virtually standing at your door with a six-pack on the wrong day. :-/

    So here’s the six-pack and my 2 cents. I don’t think they get bored so much as they appreciate the variety. My two never complain, but like Shiva, they get a glint in their eyes whenever I crack open the yogurt, or pumpkin 🙂 or Krave chocolate cereal (they wish) or whatever.

    I’m hesitant to change up their diets completely, though, because the one they’re on is SO agreeable (with their bodies).

    Interestingly, I worry more about my cats not getting enough variety.

    Anyway, the Nature Harvest Fresh looks like something I’d supplement with. I hope you find (have found) something that makes everyone happy!

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  17. Pingback: Adventures in Canine Cuisine, The Sequel | Rescued Insanity

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