Why We Use Holistic Blend Healthy Dog Food

What do you feed your dog (or pets)?  Have you ever wondered why your dog seems to get sick or suffer from various ailments, some more serious than others?  Do you take your dog to the vet for issues other than regular check ups? Have you ever wondered why your dog poops so much or why the excrement is goop?  Have you ever taken a close look at what is in your dog’s diet?  Well, you should.

Ideally, a dog should eat as a wolf does – a raw diet of mainly meat with a side of roughage (fruits and vegetables, offal, meat, eggs, or dairy foods).   A raw diet however is not always practical for pet owners.  You need to freeze individual packages of the food and there are hours of work to prepare it monthly.

When we got our dog four years ago we initially went with cheap food from Costco.  My boss at the time had just gotten two puppies and he had a membership at the box store.  He told us about this cheap food and offered to pick us up supplies when we needed it.  Being frugal, and given Mrs. SPF’s family dogs growing up always ate low grade food (this is my first dog), we accepted my bosses offer.

The Results?  Not good!  Our dog ate a lot of the food (fed as per the bag instructions).  She also had very runny and overly frequent poops, which we did not expect.  We didn’t expect her to need a slow carb diet but she was burning through carbs like crazy! As we both work we had to crate her during the day and we were always fearful she may have an accident in her cage.  After a few bags of this food we went into a local non-chain pet store and started discussing the food (Kirkland).  The look on the owners face was enough for us to know we had erred, but then she started to tell us about the problems with the product (see below for the comparable food ingredients).  She pointed us to another type of food and explained why the ingredients were superior.  Her business monitors the ingredients in the foods they sell and she promised us that if a company changes their dietary composition of the food they would tell us.  We’ve had to switch to our now 3rd type of food from this store (due to the “small guy” getting bought out by the big players who reduce costs by reducing quality), but this is great value added as we wouldn’t think to monitor the changes in the food on our own.  She also pointed out that since this food had better ingredients we would be feeding less to our dog.  At the time we knew the food cost more and she’d eat less but until now we’d never crunched the numbers.

Before number crunching you really need to take a look at the ingredient differences between the higher priced food we buy our dog (Holistic Blend Healthy Dog) and the generic Dog Chow brand.

Holistic Blend Healthy Dog

Why We Use Holistic Blend Healthy Dog FoodCost: $46.99 – 35 lb bag.  100 lb dog requires about 3.5 cups per day.

Highlights

  • Free range Chicken (Human Grade/No By-Products or Rendered Meats)
  • Naturally Preserved (Rosemary)
  • Holistic & Conventional Vet. Recommended
  • Chelated minerals, whole grains, fruits, antioxidants and herbs
  • Promotes healthy skin and coat
  • Hypo-allergenic
  • Highly digestible and palatable
  • Balanced Omega 6 & 3 fatty acids (5-2 ratio)
  • Ingredients allow for smaller feeding portions

INGREDIENTS:

Chicken meal, whole ground brown rice, hulless barley, chicken meat, oatmeal, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols, a source of vitamin E), potato, natural chicken flavour, sunflower oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols, a source of vitamin E), wild salmon meal, dried whole eggs, flax meal, yeast culture, dried kelp, tomato, carrots, pumpkin, cranberries, spinach, broccoli, green apple, blueberries, pears, bananas, rosemary extract, cinnamon, turmeric, capsicum, chamomile, dandelion, paprika. Minerals: calcium carbonate, zinc proteinate, ferrous sulfate, iron proteinate, zinc oxide, copper proteinate, copper sulfate, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, calcium iodate, sodium selenite, choline chloride, l-lysine. Vitamins: vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, niacin, L-ascorbyl (source of vitamin C), inositol, d-calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, beta carotene, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement.

Does Not Have:

Animal By-Products (animal parts leftover after the meat has been stripped from the bone. Chicken byproducts include heads, feet, entrails, lungs, spleens, kidneys, brains, livers, stomachs, noses, blood, and intestines free of their contents. Very little nutritional value)
BHA/BHT (studies dating back to 1974 have shown that BHA and BHT increase the risk of cancer, accumulate in body tissue, cause liver enlargement, and can retard the rate of DNA synthesis and cell development.
Ethoxyquin (ethoxyquin is a pesticide, used in fruit scald control. It is also used as a rubber preservative!)
Antibiotics (can cause arthritis; ear infections; ‘doggy’ odor; dry, itchy skin; urinary tract infections; diabetes; environmental sensitivities; heart disease; cancer)
Growth Hormones (don’t really need to comment on this)
Corn (deprives your dog of the animal based protein that their bodies are better equipped to absorb and retain. Much of the corn protein will pass through your dog as poop.)
Wheat or Wheat Gluten (dogs can not digest it properly and it adds little nutritional value to your dog`s diet)
Sugar (can cause worms)
Salt (can lead to gulping of water, which leads to bloating, and the gas could lead to stomach twisting and a painful death)
Beet Pulp (slows down the transition of rancid animal fats and causing stress to kidney and liver in the process. Can cause allergies and ear infections)
Soya (soy proteins are digestible by dogs, the overwhelming problem is that many are allergic to it)

Now let’s look at Dog Chow

Why We Use Holistic Blend Healthy Dog FoodCost: |30 for 35 lbs.  100 lb dog needs about 6 2/3 cups per day.

Ingredients

Whole grain corn, poultry by-product meal, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of Vitamin E), corn gluten meal, meat and bone meal, brewers rice, soybean meal, barley, whole grain wheat, animal digest, calcium carbonate, salt, calcium phosphate, potassium chloride, L-Lysine monohydrochloride, choline chloride, zinc sulfate, Vitamin E supplement, zinc proteinate, ferrous sulfate, added color (Red 40, Yellow 5, Blue 2, Yellow 6), DL-Methionine, manganese sulfate, manganese proteinate, niacin, Vitamin A supplement, copper sulfate, calcium pantothenate, copper proteinate, garlic oil, pyridoxine hydrochloride, Vitamin B-12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate, Vitamin D-3 supplement, riboflavin supplement, calcium iodate, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), folic acid, biotin, sodium selenite.

Not so good!  Corn as the first ingredient – bad as it is filler.  By-product meal as the #2 ingredient – bad (see above).  Corn gluten meal at number 4 – bad – more filler.  Meat and BONE meal – bad (see above – and it is listing BONE as an ingredient!).  Brewers rice (bad as it is low grade rice – filler).  Soybean meal (see above – filler).  Barley (another grain – bad). Wheat (see above).  Animal digest?! (a quick wikipedia search returns “A cooked-down broth made from specified or unspecified parts of animals (depending on the type of digest used). If the source is unspecified (e.g. “Animal” or “Poultry”, the animals used can be obtained from any source, so there is no control over quality or contamination. Any kind of animal can be included: “4-D animals” (dead, diseased, disabled, or dying prior to slaughter), goats, pigs, horses, rats, misc. roadkill, animals euthanized at shelters, restaurant and supermarket refuse.” OK – GROSS) and after these “ingredients” a whole slew of chemical type sounds words.  Does your dog deserve this diet?

Now let’s take a look at the financial numbers behind your dog’s diet.

1 cup of food = 1/2 lb

There are 70 cups of food in each bag.

Dog Chow costs $0.43 per 1/2 lb of food.

Holistic Blend Healthy Dog costs $0.67 per 1/2 lb of food.

The thing to note however, is that the quantity of food your dog eats changes the real cost that you pay per day.

Dog Chow recommends 6.66 cups per day @ $0.43 which equals $2.86 per day for Fido.

Holistic Blend Healthy Dog recommends 3.5 cups per day @ $0.67 which equals $2.35 per day!  $0.51 less per day.  Over a year you have effectively saved $186.15.  Multiple this figure by your dog’s life expectancy (which should be longer with a good diet)  and the savings are significant.

The numbers don’t lie and the ingredient list certainly opens ones eyes about the good or the bad for we opt to we give to our dogs.  Given lower costs for higher priced food, the fact you will have to buy less bags (which become waste) of food and less trips to the pet store the choice seems simple.  On top of all of these great reasons to feed your dog well?  Vet bills!  A healthy canine won’t be getting as many allergies and infections, not to mention (sometimes incurable) diseases.  You won’t have to pay for pet insurance any longer or be forking out your hard earned money in very expensive pet bills.  Treat your dog as you treat your money, with care, and you’ll both live happy lives.

43 comments to Why We Use Holistic Blend Healthy Dog Food

  • Great job breaking it down! I don’t have a dog, but man! Additives everywhere

  • For certain. Some pretty gross stuff goes in that “cheap” food – and it will just end up costing you more (out of pocket, poop bags, lawn rejuvenation, vet bills).

  • Not to mention it definitely isnt’ good for your dog!

  • Thanks for the breakdown. It is very helpful. Some forget that their pets should eat as well as they do.

    • It makes sense on so many levels. Better food for your dog = less cost in food and unmeasurable other benefits. We like to prove things from a financial stand point to drive home that you can attend to your personal finance goals with sustainability / green / right thing to do at the same time.

  • I think it was this “cheap food” that might have contributed to my hyper-allergic dog! I got the “free bag” of puppy food from Purina (or that other crap) and he’s been terrible with his skin.

    He’s now on raw food (on top of that, it’s raw pasteurized food… and allergic to many types of meats). It costs about $100 a month.

    Lesson learned- don’t skimp out on dog food.

    • Thanks for the comments Y&T.
      I think raw was a bit cheaper for us but we ultimately decided against it – mostly due to the work aspect of it. Mrs. SPF was finishing university, I was working full time and raising a puppy (this is my first dog) was enough for us to handle! Our next dog we may go raw.

      • It’s never too late for raw! :)

        I heard of a cat who developed DIABETES and had to go on insulin, and then it went raw and hasn’t been diabetic since! (True story, not making it up!)

        It has been pretty easy for me here, I guess in Vancouver (where it’s doggy heaven) there are lots of raw dog food shops and they even deliver.

        I get a container that lasts me 6 days and it’s easy, no cutting up or separating into zip lock bags etc.

        high end dog food is good, too; as long as they don’t have grains or anything that a dog isn’t meant to digest.

        I tried to go to high end dog food, but my dog was at the point of no return with his allergies, and the only thing that I can get now is two ingredient raw food.

      • Hey Y&T

        We live in a much smaller city (tho it is a city, regardless of what Mrs. SPF thinks ;) ) (yes, she’ll read this! hehe)
        How much does 6 days of raw cost you? If it is less than what we pay, or marginally more, we may just consider it.
        The thing is, a local dog store told us that you really should start your dog on raw or not bother. I guess I need to read more on the subject. But do please tell us the costs if you get a chance.
        We’ve lucked out that our dog doesn’t have allergies.

  • Plus, a lot of the dog trainers I know will first ask about what clients are feeding their dogs when those clients describe behavioral problems their dogs have.

    I don’t go with raw, for convenience, but I do buy a high-end dry food.

    Some additional intangible benefits:
    1) better smelling breath
    2) easier-to-pick-up and less smelly poo

  • We also do the same crap to ourselves. Wish there were more alternatives, but I think it’s really up to us as consumers to demand that producers produce the products that we’re looking for. If too many people are willing to settle for cheap crap, cheap crap is what we’ll get. Any government subsidies to these big agri-corps certainly does not help, either. I don’t currently have any pets, but when I get one someday I will look for real, quality food, not cheap filler crap. This is a great post; thanks for sharing!

    • Couldn’t agree more IIW.
      Mrs. SPF and I increased our monthly food budget (max) by 40% this year in order to ensure we buy quality, preferably local and organic foods. They cost more – I haven’t seen otherwise, but the overall investment in our bodies and health, in our local community and eventually in our provincial / country systems that our tax money pay for is hard to measure but we’re confident that we’ll pay less taxes (on healthcare etc) long term by healthier living.

  • Wow! Very good point here! I have been operating under the assumption that feeding dogs the “fancy” food would cost an arm and a leg! Thanks for pointing out the truth of the economics of the situation

  • Great post! I plan on getting a pet in the next year or two, and this is very good to know. I would lean towards the holistic pet food anyway, but knowing that it has long term savings implications as well puts it straight into the win-win zone :)

  • You don’t have to pay extravagant prices for dog food that’s free of harmful garbage. Take a look at the list of ingredients on Trader Joe’s dog kibble.

    Better yet, though, is simply to feed your dog the same thing you eat, minus onion, garlic, chocolate, and sugar (that’s assuming you don’t subsist on a diet of junk food yourself). Proportions are one-quarter veggies, one-quarter starch (any starch: bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc.), and one-half meat. Just remember that all members of the onion family are toxic to dogs. Doesn’t cost any more than feeding an extra kid, and since most Americans are given to thinking of their pets as four-legged children…why not?

    Ask your vet about the BARF diet…you’ll find most vets don’t much like it, for hygienic reasons. It’s no less risky for your dog to eat raw meat than it is for you to eat raw meat, cockamamie theories that dogs are mystically immune to bacterial infections aside. Nor is it safe for your dog to ingest bones — wolves in the wild routinely die of perforated intestines.

    • This was the point I was making, FAM. Sort of …
      Dog Chow costs more than pricier bags of food but you’ll plow through it much more quickly.
      When we started our dog’s diet we were using a holistic place to get food. The woman their said “start her on RAW now or stick to good kibble”, indicating that switching later may not be great for our dog. Now, we haven’t looked into this and just took the statement as fact, but for just over $2 a day we’re OK w/ what our dog is eating.
      The diet you mention would likely cost a bit more than $2 per day i’d think (1/2 meat after all).

      Thanks for the post and info! I will show Mrs. SPF and we’ll look at our girls diet again!

    • Giselle

      Interesting, I shared a piece of chicken that I ended up getting food poisoning from with my dog. He ate it raw and was fine, I ate it cooked and was sick for 2 days. Dogs have different digestive systems than people, so it actually is less risky (not risky at all) for them to eat raw meat. If what you assert is true, how do dog eat dead animals and poop and survive?

      My dog has been eating RAW for 7 years, never had an incident with a bacterial infection or a perforated intestine. No one else I know that feeds raw has had either of those experiences either.

  • Dave

    Great article. We did this research a few years back for our cat after she had a urinary tract infection, which resulted in a difficult and expensive surgery. After much research, we learned a lot, specifically, the preferred type of food for cats is wet food, check the ingredients and don’t believe blindly that what food the Vet recommends is actually the best food for your pet. In many cases, it’s crap. As for ingredients, I think they differ a little between cats and dogs, but essentially you want to consider what they would eat in the wild and try your best to satisfy those needs. There are some good resources on the internet. Obviously preparing raw food is time consuming, but there are a lot of good options these days, but you usually have to go to pet stores, and even then, some are better than others.

  • Giselle

    Not sure how many dogs you are preparing raw food for that it takes “hours of preparation” but I have a 50 lb bull terrier that has been eating RAW for 7 out of his 8 years and I spend maybe an hour out of the month preparing his food.
    Looking at the cost breakdown above, it seems as if RAW may be cheaper (it certainly is in the long run) than both options you listed.
    Chicken leg quarters can routinely be found found for 0.59/lb and considering EVERYTHING I eat, my dog can eat too it probably comes out ahead. Got some veggies or fruit you “forgot” about? Great! Give em to the dog.
    Don’t have any meat for the dog? Yogurt and eggs with veggies!
    My dog is healthy and allergy free. I wouldn’t feed myself the same “complete” food from a bag every day, why would you feed it to your dog?

  • Kevin

    To each his own. I have a very healthy golden retriever who is fine on Kirkland brand food. Look at the ingredients of Kirkland:

    Ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, whole grain brown rice, cracked pearled barley, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and vitamin E), egg product, beet pulp, potatoes, fish meal, flaxseed, natural flavor, brewers dried yeast, millet, dried chicory root, carrots, peas, kelp, apples, cranberry powder, potassium chloride, salt, choline chloride, rosemary extract, parsley flake, taurine, yucca schidigera extract, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, L-carnitine, biotin, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin, vitamin D supplement, folic acid

    I’m sure you’ll notice that the top ingredients are very similar, at about 1/2 the price. I don’t work for Costco, but don’t knock it.

    • Perhaps they changed the recipe. Our Newf, as a pup, pooped liquid/mush 3-5 times a day on the puppy formula. After we switched she went down to 1-2 poops, always solid. But thanks for the info on the ingredients.

  • I’ve actually been thinking about switching the food we feed our dog. I want her to live a long healthy life. I love how you broke it all down. I’m going to have to check out the food you use. Thanks. :-)

  • Every time I hear someone say that they don’t think they can afford to feed the “fancy” pet foods, this is exactly the breakdown I want to provide for them — bravo to you for charting it!

    For our finances, I figured it actually costs about $5-$10 more a month per dog to feed a *significantly* upgraded diet. For us, it was Hill’s Science Diet vs. a rotating variety of grain-free kibble, dehydrated raw, grocery and butcher-bought raw, and some supplements. But that slight increase in food costs has made such a HUGE, noticeable difference, particularly in one dog who was suffering from severe allergies and other health issues.

  • Ashley

    Actually, the formula you suggested isn’t all that great for dogs. Note the first ingredient is chicken MEAL, not actual meat. High quality pet foods feature meats as their primary ingredients, not meal or rice. Chicken is the 4th ingredient in yours, and the previous ingredients are full of grains (not great for dogs either).

    • From what I understand you don’t want corn or wheat. Other grains (oats, brown rice and barely) aren’t bad for dogs. They’re certainly not bad for humans.
      From my understanding Holistic Blend Healthy Dog food uses a good form of meal – not the carcasses of egg laying hens for example. Ultimately this dog food does not contain a heckuvalot of nasty ingredients you will find in the majority of dog food sold in North America (see the does not have section). We are happy with this product.

  • Wow! Very good point here! I have been operating under the assumption that feeding dogs the “fancy” food would cost an arm and a leg! Thanks for pointing out the truth of the economics of the situation

  • Supplement Guy

    Or, you can just not get a dog.

    (One of the saddest thing I done in my life was giving away my dog in an animal shelter)

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