I’ve had some questions about what dog foods are best on a boat and what do we feed Paz. I feel wholly unqualified to say what’s best, but I will say what we do for Paz and why we like it.
For the first ten years of Paz’s life, she ate the mass market dog foods.
That ended last summer, for a variety of reasons:
- Several brands had recalls after dogs died due to contaminated food.
- A friend – Jody of Where the Coconuts Grow – posted about their decision to switch their dogs’ food, and
- Jody’s post made me do more reading about dog food
The more I read, the more I realized that maybe we hadn’t been doing well in what we were feeding Paz. I decided to find something better for her. Several brands showed up as being good options. I knew Jody was happy with The Honest Kitchen and I got a sample pack of it, and another of Sojo’s.
Both of these – and several other top brands of dehydrated dog food – are human-grade food. I like that I can look at the ingredients and not see the word “byproduct!”
Both are dehydrated raw food, including freeze-dried meat. The formulations are somewhat different (and each brand has several different flavors), but basically you mix them with water, let sit a certain amount of time, then feed. You can mix a couple days supply at a time if you keep the unused portion in the refrigerator. One important note: any food that remains in the dish for several hours should be thrown out, as it is raw meat.
Both brands appear pricey at first glance – but per serving they’re not a lot more than the mass-market brands that we were using before (Purina, Iams, Beneful, etc.). You can’t just compare 1 pound of dehydrated food to one pound of kibble, since you use about 1/5 as much dehydrated food per serving (by weight) as you use traditional kibble.
Both take up a lot less space than her old kibble. Admittedly, at 7 pounds, Paz doesn’t eat huge amounts – but when buying provisions ahead for several months, every bit of space counts.
Paz flat refused to eat the food from The Honest Kitchen. Her parents were street dogs in Mexico and I have to admit that she has always preferred flavorful or even spicy food. The Honest Kitchen Food smelled very bland, even to me. The good news: she liked the Sojos!
But even better (and what makes me ashamed that it took nearly 11 years of her life to figure out) is that over the first several weeks of eating the Sojo’s, she regained a lot of energy. This was totally unexpected.
Even prior to her injuries last spring, she had slowed down quite a bit. Naps were a big part of every day. Walks got shorter and shorter, and sometimes she didn’t even jump up to greet visitors. We chalked it up to getting older, and her vet concurred.
Now, I don’t want to make it sound like she suddenly was acting like a puppy again. But maybe more like she’d been 3 or 4 years ago. More playful. Mile-long walks, not carries. More interest in everything going on around her. Not only did we notice the difference, so did neighbors. At the risk of too much information, her poop also returned to dark, firm little logs (the first few days on the new food, she pooped far more than normal, too, but that went away quickly).
At the same time we changed her primary food, we also changed her treats to dehydrated beef and liver tidbits (and she still gets an occasional Denta-Stix or Milk Bone). She loves both of these and we discovered that some of the treats we’d been feeding her in the past were manufactured by companies whose other products had recalls.
Getting ready to head to the Bahamas, I’m happy that we’ve switched her food to Sojo’s as several people have told me to take as much food for her as we’ll need, as it’s both expensive in the Bahamas AND the selection isn’t great.
- Sojo’s is dehydrated and takes up much less space than the kibble she used to eat.
- I LOVE the tough zippered bags it comes in – it stays fresh and keeps bugs out (bugs LOVE kibble and if a bag was ever not totally sealed up – even for a day – we’d find bugs in it, then in the rest of the boat)
- It comes in several size bags, including small ones. It can be hard to find small bags of food that will last about a month for her, and I while she might eventually eat a big bag, I worry about it getting stale or even moldy in the high humidity on the boat.
The top dog food brands aren’t sold in supermarkets or big box stores, and the chain pet store that I know that carries them are Pet Supermarkets (and even they don’t carry full lines in the stores I’ve been in).
I just buy it for Paz on Amazon:
- Sojo’s dog food and treats
- Search for Honest Kitchen and other dehydrated dog food on Amazon
- Paz’s favorite dehydrated liver treats
I don’t have any connection to Sojo’s or any of the other dog food companies. Yes, The Boat Galley does earn a small bit when you buy from Amazon through the links here. But believe me, I’d never use that to recommend something that I didn’t like – whether for you or your dog. Your dog’s health is way too important for me to recommend something that we don’t use and love!