When choosing Lily’s diet I consider quite a few factors. The most important is what my vet thinks. I follow the guidelines to avoid falling into a trap of pseudo-science. I mainly cook for her, it’s easy, gives me much more control over the things that go into her meal, she loves it and it helps with the ethical side of things. I’m a vegetarian (or, mainly vegan but I would eat something with eggs or dairy on a night out if vegan options weren’t available) so buying meat is a big thing for me. I mainly (though not entirely) rely on my local butcher, plenty of meat would be grass-fed/ organic but as I often buy ‘odd cuts’ it’s not as expensive as people think. And I use it all, I hate the thought an animal lost its life not to fed another life, but to end up in the bin. Lily’s sources of carbs and fibre are almost entirely vegetables, though I don’t demonise grains in dogs’ diet. I think she looks and feels better eating mainly meat and veg.
But, for various reasons, she always has a bit of dry dog food in her bowl. The last few of my dogs were seriously malnourished when I got them, so having small amount of kibble many times during the day helped with their health and behavioural issues. None of my dogs has ever been overweight and I don’t advocate overfeeding anyone (dogs or humans). Anyway, I always have a problem with commercially produced dog food as I’m never fully convinced how good it really is. I have used Hills in the past (the prescription type for Ardbeg and science plan for another dog) simply because it seemed to be the best compromise between the vet, the dogs and me. But when Ardbeg was healthy he used to get Eden Pet Food and he was thriving on it. I was happy with it, too, as it’s not a big brand (locally produced is better in my world), the ingredients seem more than acceptable and it might be tastier than most ‘healthy’ food as my junk-food loving Ardbeg didn’t seem to mind. Ah, it’s grain-free if you’re obsessive ;). So, I’ve decided to check if Lily likes it, too. They do samples, so I’ve ordered all 3 varieties they offer and had some fun testing which one is the tastiest 🙂
She seemed to like it more than most kibble we’ve tried (Hills, Waiwright’s, Acana, Orijen and Lily’s Kitchen. The last one she just didn’t eat at all. Not even one tiny bit!) And there was a clear winner:
She’s decided the ‘Original’ is best. Ardbeg liked ‘Country Cuisine’, which came second in Lily’s test. The ‘Catch of the Day’ doesn’t seem to be popular with my dogs, but…
Charlie, one of my cats (who generally seems to think he’s a dog) really liked it. Well, they do cats’ food, too (only one variety, precisely this one: ‘Catch of the Day’).
Letting her decide was fun. Dogs are generally rather restricted in what they can do, where they can go, what they can eat. I like our small compromises. I know it’s still mainly me who decides on most things, but letting her pick up the type of dry food she likes (from my ‘approved’ list) seems to be enjoyable for Lily and teaches me more about her. And the more I learn about Lily, the easier it is for me to make her trust me.