Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Honest Kitchen - ZEAL Review

Since Nola was a puppy, I've struggled with what food is the best for her.  As a child, we fed our dogs Purina Dog Chow and Alpo.  I quickly established that she would NEVER eat that.  It's junk really.  I read an amazing book, Food Pets Die For, about the pet food industry.  It was amazing.  I recommend it to everyone who claims to love their pet.  I realize that not everyone can afford the premium foods, but I also feel that we have a responsibility to properly care for our animal companions and part of that responsibility is taking control of what we know is best.  For example, did you know that pet food is unregulated?  Because of that, companies can more or less put whatever they want to in that food.  It's disgusting what actually goes into some foods.  Ground up feathers, beaks, nails... and people feed that to their 'best friends' every single day.  I'm sorry, but no.  That is not okay.  It's not for me or ANY of my animals.

After doing some research, I found The Honest Kitchen.  <Cue the angels singing.>  I'm not kidding.  I was SO excited!  They are a small company that grew their business out of the love they have for their animals and the need for good, nutritious pet food.  The best part?  They really are honest.  I've fallen for them.  You can read about when we discovered them here.  

Nola has been eating Force and I alternate with Wellness dry kibble to keep it interesting.  Recently, The Honest Kitchen sent us a box of Zeal to try.  They posted on Facebook asking for reviews and we jumped at the opportunity.  When the box arrived, WHOA.  It was huge!  I don't even order Force in such big boxes.  I was SO excited!!  

Sadly, Nola wasn't as excited.  She turned her nose up the first time I offered it to her.  I decided to try again a few days later.  Same response.  I don't know if it's the fish or something else in this formula, but she never even tasted it.  Instead of keeping at it, I decided to send it to my sister who has five large dogs. She also did the trial/review and her dogs LOVED it.  I'm really disappointed Nola didn't like Zeal.  I was really excited about the new fish formula and thought it would be wonderful for her sensitive skin and sometimes patchy fur spots.  She does okay with fish oil in her food, so I'm not really sure what it was that she didn't care for with the Zeal.  I'm just glad that it was still enjoyed by Sandy, Titan, Roxy, Piper and Sawyer (three of whom are great danes!).

THANK YOU Honest Kitchen for allowing us to review Zeal.  

We LOVE Honest Kitchen and I think that everyone should try it... find them on Facebook and learn about their philosophies.  They are by far the best pet food company that I've found.  
I'm proud to feed THK and hope you will try one of their formulas.  

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Allergies, vaccines...

We went to the doctor last Friday for Nola's annual check up. I've put this off since July trying to decide what to do about her vaccines. North Carolina law requires canines to have a rabies vaccine every three years, ok not a big deal. She wasn't due for that though... she was due for her recommended vaccine combo: distemper, hepatitis, lepto, parvo, and parainfluenza. I really did not want to do this... our vet has been telling us for almost a year now that the doctors are planning to meet and discuss a three-year vaccine schedule that would mean instead of annual vaccines, she would get them once every three years, same as the rabies schedule.

I thought about requesting a titer but that would mean labwork (blood draw) and all fees associated. Ultimately, I chose to give her the vaccine. Next year, we'll re-evaluate and decide what to do. According to research, we are over vaccinating. I do NOT want to give her vaccines if she has immunity. However if she does not have immunity then by all means, let's fix it.

While we had the doctor in our room we asked about her feet. Nola licks her feet almost obsessively and it's difficult to determine if it's a complusion or if they are truly bothering her. Dr. E did a cytology and said that there was a little bit of yeast - great. We're not sure if the yeast has been there from previous licking and that is causing itchiness or if she is truly allergic to something that is persistent and yeast has accumulated that way... she's on ketoconazole for a month and hopefully that will clear it up.

If she continues to have trouble, we'll start to look at common allergens and try to identify the problem. I am really hoping it doesn't come to that... especially food allergies. We LOVE Honest Kitchen and I think she and I would both be devastated if we had to find another food. She's eating Wellness Chicken for breakfast and either Force (chicken) or Embark (turkey) for dinner. We alternate the two, both are grain free. I ordered a box of Verve (beef) not even thinking that it had alfalfa... she refuses it. Sister will get that box. Such is life.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Lucky Fi... Nola!

Wondering why her neck is naked? Well, a few weeks ago, we won a custom collar and leash from Lucky Fiona ... but we asked if we could change it up. We chose a Choco Bloom martingale because it happens to look GREAT on Nola's coat and it matches perfectly with her Ruffwear leash.

Shannon was SO sweet and even made it extra wide because she knows how much we adore this print. Bells was THRILLED to get her package in the mail!

THANK YOU SHANNON AND FIONA... and all!! We LOVE our new collar!

Be sure to stop by Lucky Fiona's site!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Food: Settled!

We have a winner! I called Honest Kitchen last week to ask for some samples since you have to pay $1 for them online then pay MORE to have them shipped to you. It was three times the cost of product to have it shipped! Bleh. The rep I spoke with was SUPER nice and very helpful.
Today, our samples arrived. I was SO excited! Nola was too! We'd previously tried Preference and Thrive but she didn't like either of them so I was hesitant to spend any money whatsoever until I knew we had something she'd eat.
It's expensive but I think it will be worth it. My plan is to mix Honest Kitchen with Wellness so it's a little less each month, I think it should work. I also don't think the company gave me my 10% off for my first order so I might call and ask if I can have that next time and if they agree then I'll buy the combo pack, 4lbs each of Embark and Force -- to give her a little variety. :)
I'm finally satisfied with her food and no longer feel like she's eating crap. I hate that pet food isn't regulated. I hope that one day it will be... I also hope that there is more education on dog food. Why people still continue to feed certain foods is beyond me. Even a tiny amount of research yields awful things about ingredients. Sigh.
For the record, I'd love to cook for Nola because then I'd know for sure that she's getting the best, but I don't even cook for ME so I'm not even going to kid myself into trying to cook...
Happy snacking! And thanks again for all the comments and emails!!!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Food Debate

Nola has been eating Nutro Ultra for quite a while now... however recently, Consumer Reports published an article citing that the company was under investigation by the FDA. Two days later, another report was released saying that there was no investigation. Regardless of this, I have heard many negative things about Nutro and am not terribly excited about using their products.

My first choice food, The Honest Kitchen, is difficult to get since no where around here carries it, however, I'm still going to try it. In the meantime, we've tried Natural Balance and Wellness. The Natrual Balance (sweet potato and fish) is okay, but in the four days Nola has eaten it, I've noticed a difference in her stool and I don't think this is the best option for her. We just got Wellness today -- I like that they seem pretty open about their product and the sites where they make and package it.

What do you feed and why? I'm open to suggestions -- thanks!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Had to share this

My plan is to post pictures and stories from Nola's life here. (Silly? Perhaps. But she's my "child" and that's what moms do...) I'm quite behind since I didn't think to even start this blog until only recently and she'll be 2 next month (next month?! already?!), but I couldn't help but share this post with you.

"My friend Jennifer is one of those people that you can't help but adore. She's smart, she's beautiful, she's silly to the point of absurdity and she's fiercely loyal to her family and core group of friends. She can tell you the top notes in any perfume by taking a brief whiff and she can recite quotes from Will Ferrell movies with deft accuracy and coordinating facial ticks. She leads a stylish life in Manhattan with a great career and her gorgeous husband Dave who has a British accent that makes girls like me swoon. Yet, something was missing in this charmed life.

Then came Ted. Yes, life changed last August when Teddy the Rhodesian Ridgeback came onto the scene and I realized my dear friend was hopelessly in love with four freckled puppy paws. A visit to her apartment on the Upper West side last week confirmed what I was long suspecting...she is an official Dogmom. She's in deep. She's one of us now.Her classically decorated apartment with wood floors, wide original moldings and leather furniture is now strewn with dog toys with names such as "Camo Beau-Beau" and "Hedgey the Hedgehog" Dogmoms world round give the most ridiculous names to toys and act like the dog themselves named them such. It's one of the first symptoms of Dogmomminess.

Teddy is Jen's first dog, she waited years for the right time in her life to have a dog and researched the breed and all things dog with the zeal of a woman on a mission. I don't think Jen ever studied so arduously for anything in life. I say this with much confidence as we once took a 7:30a.m. Science class together in college and we would be at the bar at 3:30 a.m. wondering how to get sleep and our homework done in the upcoming 4 hours. (sleep often prevailed - but to be honest she did get a full letter grade above me in that course so who am I to question her study methods?)So when Teddy came into Jen and Dave's life she was ready. But I guess I wasn't ready for what a Dogmom she has become.

It sounds patronizing, but I'm really proud of her. She's no rookie, she's the real deal. Lord knows I had no idea what I was doing with my first dog a Labrador named Fergus. I mean for God sakes I fed him Puppy Chow from the Grocery store! (I know, I know...I was young and stupid though)Jen has all the signs of a Dogmom in love. She murmurs sweet nothings into Teddy's ears and when she calls him silly nicknames he looks at her like she is speaking their own secret language. She gets up at dawn in the dead of winter to give Teddy a dog park romp before she goes to work. She knows how many whiskers he small task as their are over a 150 of them. Ted eats holistic food and has a closet full of gourmet treats and Jen knows all their ingredients. Is she protective like any Dogmom worth her beans is?

Well, Jen was ready to take a swing at the lady she met in her dog park Rhodesian group who said Teddy's head was too small for a Ridgeback. Us real Dogmoms know hell hath no fury like a Dogmom who's four pawed child has been talked negatively about. Don't go there.Sure Teddy has a personal dog walker three times a day, has been to a top notch day care facility, has embroidered dog coats and a bed that cost more than my first car. But these things aren't where the love is held. What really showed me the love his Dogmom has for him was a simple exchange I witnessed last Tuesday night. Jen and I sat on the couch at the end of the day with Ted curled up between us and Jen enthusiastically showed me the "B" marking on his tummy, where the crowns were on his ridge and where his hair zippers on his legs. She pointed all this out without looking away from him with a smile on her face and in her heart. You can't fake this stuff. She's a Dogmom."

ht: Shannon

I thought this was too sweet, too funny, and oh so true! Dog lovers and dog "moms," this is, if nothing else, just so you know, you're not the only one!!!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Where the ridge would be...

She doesn't have a ridge but she does have a darker stripe down her back... see below: