“ Manufacturer: Pets at Home / Type: Dog Food „
Pets at home adult complete dog food- beef in gravy flavour, is part of the own brand range available from Pets at Home. This range, in the silver bags, is a more expensive and better quality range than their other range available.
Within this range there are different flavours (chicken, lamb) a puppy version, a small breed version, a light version, and large breed and senior versions.
Those of you that have read my other reviews may well know that my dog, Bella, is fussy! In all truth I think she would choose to live on tennis balls alone given the choice! When we were first trying to wean her off the tinned food she was on when we got her we had a very difficult time. She was at one point eating hardly anything and began to loose weight. In desperation I decided to give this a go when I spotted it in Pets at Home as I thought it might be a good way to get her used to eating dry food.
This food comes in silver coloured bags , with a cute picture of "Melody, lady of leisure" on the front. There is also a picture of the kibble which I find useful as Bella can be quite fussy over the size of the kibble pieces. It is worth noting though that the photo shows the kibble looking moist and juicy, and I assume that this a picture of the soaked kibble(although I never did manage to get the kibble to look quite as tasty as it appeared on the packet!)
The line that persuaded me to try it was "The benefits of a dry food with a rich meaty gravy that your dog will love."
I bought the 2.5Kg bag,(having bought larger sacks of other foods before that miss fussy had then refused to eat, I wasn't making that mistake again!) It suggests that soaking the food in a little warm water which will give a lovely rich meaty gravy.
The front of the packet tells you it is suitable for dogs aged 1-7,is wheat and gluten free and contains prebiotics. There is further information telling you it will help ensure strong teeth and bones, a healthy heart and good digestion.
The back of the packet goes on to tell you that as well it will give your dog a shiny coat, sustained energy levels (not sure that sounded a good idea for my non-stop dog!),a good immune system and healthy urinary tract.
There is also a "quality ingredients promise" which states that the food only uses quality ingredients including: High meat content, balanced food (meaning a consistent recipe every time), added vitamins and minerals, no added colourants, flavourings, or preservatives.
So...sounded good so far...what about the actual ingredients (yes , I am one of those people that scrutinises the ingredient list on the back of dog food bags!)
Fresh Beef and chicken (min 23%)(beef min 14%,chicken min 9%),
Chicken meat meal
Whole grain barley
Sugar beet pulp
Gravy (poultry digest min 2%,guar gum min 1.25%)
With antioxidant EC additives (vitamin E and vitamin C)
So ...how good are the ingredients?
Firstly I liked the fact that the first listed ingredients were meat. Always a good sign, and a min of 23% is a reasonable amount. The ingredients are, on the whole fairly natural and it isn't packed full of artificial flavourings or colourings.
It does contain rice, maize and barley, which some would argue isn't strictly needed in a dogs diet, but you would be hard pushed to find an off the shelf food that doesn't contain at least one of these. The sugar beet pulp is a slightly unwelcome addition as this is a cheap filler used in many dog foods but which provides no benefit to the dog, and is only used to bulk out the food.
Then of course there is the gravy. I remain unsure as to the exact ingredients of the gravy, and suspect they are not really all that healthy -but this was my concession for a food that Bella might actually eat ! The yucca, marigold and rosemary extracts have all been shown to aid doggy digestion (and reduce unpleasant windy smells-which has got to be good hasn't it!) The sodium chloride however is salt, and really not a healthy addition, but, I suspect, again is there to enhance the flavour.
On the whole, this was not the best ingredient list I had ever read, BUT it did contain a reasonable amount of meat, and mostly natural ingredients. I figured that it was worth a try, despite some of the downfalls of the ingredients.
The kibble pieces are a medium sized cube shaped kibble. They are a fairly dark colour, with a sort of crumbly powdery coating visible. The have a fairly crunchy, airy sort of texture (this is based on chopping one and watching Bella eat them - I draw the line on personally tasting dog food- even for the greater good of Dooyoo!)
There is instantly a nice meaty smell, more than some other dry complete foods.
Bella was immediately impressed! I tried the kibble dry first, as I was trying to get Bella used to dry food. I put her bowl down, and once I actually persuaded her to come and at least sniff it, she was hooked! She ate the whole bowl down straight away, unheard of for her, and even went back a couple of minutes later to lick the bowl!
She continued to enjoy the kibble until about ¾ the way through the bag, so after about 10 days. At this point her enthusiasm began to wane, in true Bella style and she started leaving more and more of the kibble in her bowl. It was at this point I decided to try it soaked in warm water. I have to say I was disappointed with the results. The "gravy" formed with water didn't look any meatier or richer than what you might get soaking any kibble. The kibble pieces themselves, rather than turning in tasty moist looking chunks as on the packet, just sort of developed what I can only describe as a sort of slimy layer over them. It did rouse Bella's interest again though, and she did eat a couple of bowls of it like this, but then started refusing it all together.
Initially Bella did clearly enjoy this more than the other dry foods we had tried at this point. It did look as if it had more flavour, and I actually think she really liked the size and texture of the kibble. I was really pleased to have found a dry food she would eat enthusiastically and there was no denying that she MUCH preferred this to any other food we had tried at that time.(although we have since found better quality foods she likes!)
Now down to the all important subject of poo! I did find Bella was pooing more on this food. Her poos were larger, softer, and yes I'm sorry to say smellier! This suggests there was a lot of not so useful ingredients in the food that Bella couldn't digest.
Her coat was not scruffy looking, but it certainly didn't have the same level of shine that I have noticed on some better quality foods subsequently (orijen and fish4dogs in particular)
I am often hesitant to attribute behavioural issues to diet, but I have to say that , despite the same levels of exercise and mental stimulation Bella seemed more restless when on this food .In particular she was very unsettled in the evenings, pacing and leaping around rather than lying up on the sofa next to me (while I type Dooyoo reviews!) as usual. I cannot categorically say that this behaviour was down to the food, but it did seem linked in my opinion.
Bella was also definitely drinking a lot more water than usual whilst on this food. I can't quantify exactly how much more but I know I was refilling her water bowl much more frequently. This, I suppose, is down to the gravy and the salt, and is somewhat worrying.
Priced at £29 for a 12KG sack this is a premium priced food. I must say, however that I do not think the ingredients justify the price tag. Especially considering that the recommended amount for Bella was about twice as much as the amount of Orijen she would need, with Orijen being priced currently around £50 per 13.5 KG and containing, in my opinion, far superior ingredients.
Whilst this food contains better ingredients and more meat than many dog foods currently available I think it is over priced for what you get. It does still contain unnecessary fillers, and the levels of salt in particular are a concern. It clearly had a more appealing flavour than some foods, but it is not one I would use long term. In my opinion there are better quality foods available, which can actually work out cheaper to feed