Healthy, ethical, sustainable dog food?
August 7, 2012 5:52 PM   Subscribe

We're looking for healthy, environmentally-friendly, non-factory-farm-supporting dog food -- any brands or ideas?

My partner and I are thinking of adopting a dog sometime this year, and are concerned about what to feed him/her.

We are both vegetarians, but of course our dog will be eating a carnivorous diet. Our main objections to meat for ourselves are both environmental (carbon footprint, land use, pollution) and ethical (factory farms). So we're hoping for free-range organic meat (ideally chicken, not beef) to be the main ingredient, and of course we're willing to pay extra.

I'd be interested to hear opinions about any options out there -- we have a Whole Foods, Harris Teeter, farmer's market, and many specialty dog/pet stores nearby.

I'm not interested in making my own dog food (time is scarce!). I'd like only suggestions for readily available foods.
posted by RedMapleWhiteOak to Pets & Animals (13 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
The brand we found most helpful when trying to improve our diabetic cat's diet was EVO, which is pretty commonly available at least in the New York area. Big box stores here generally have one or two flavors while the higher-end pet stores will carry more varieties. They have grain-free lines for both cats and dogs, and are pretty clear about their sourcing and organic-ingredient content.
posted by bcwinters at 6:19 PM on August 7, 2012

Fromm Gold is pretty swank.
posted by phunniemee at 6:41 PM on August 7, 2012

Some pet stores here carry locally made frozen pet food; that might be worth looking into. How much extra would you be willing to pay? Sounds like you're in a city; if it's big enough, there's somebody out there making dog food like this, who would be happy to double their batches if paid to do so...

I would hit the better pet stores and have a chin-wag with the staff, being wary of course of sales pitches for [whatever brand] -- but the really good, really nice places will have somebody happy to steer you to whatever's closest to what you want, or where to get it if they don't have it.
posted by kmennie at 6:52 PM on August 7, 2012

We love Orijen, which uses [as quoted from their website] "fresh, never-frozen meats that are sustainably farmed, fished or ranched within our region by people we know and trust...From free-run poultry, to wild-caught fish to free-range red meats, our regional ingredients are approved 'fit for human consumption' by the Government of Canada and arrive at our door fresh each day"

The downside of Orijen is it can be a PITA to find a local retailer. There's locations listed on their website.
posted by jamaro at 6:59 PM on August 7, 2012 [3 favorites]

Orijen. Not only is it (IMO) the best commercial dog food on the market, all ingredients are sustainably farmed, fished, free-ranged, etc.
posted by biscotti at 7:01 PM on August 7, 2012

Make your own dog food with Vegedog.
It involves actual work, but it really is the best thing in the world you can do, in terms of pet food.
We have been doing this in out house for over 20 years. dogs dig it.
posted by Abinadab at 3:28 AM on August 8, 2012

3rding Orijen. My dog loves it. And if you're having trouble finding it locally, amazon to the rescue!
posted by Grither at 4:44 AM on August 8, 2012

Yes to Orijen.
posted by HotToddy at 5:46 AM on August 8, 2012

Orijen from Amazon it is - thanks everyone!
posted by RedMapleWhiteOak at 6:59 AM on August 8, 2012

If you like to rotate or if your (future) pet does better with slightly lower levels of protein Acana is another option. It is made by the same company that makes Orijen.

I rotate between Acana, Orijen, and a third brand that doesn't quite meet your criteria (Nature's Variety).
posted by ephemerista at 7:29 AM on August 8, 2012

Another vote for Orijen. Regional Red for my pup.
posted by spec80 at 10:47 AM on August 8, 2012

My dog suddenly stopped eating the Taste of the Wild he had happily been scarfing down for four years about three months ago. Just refused to eat any of it. I tried switching him to Orijen, which he seemed to like well enough, but I think it was too rich for him, because it made for very soft stools. He's now on Acana and we're both happy.
posted by trip and a half at 1:04 PM on August 8, 2012

Also, save the receipts and cut the UPC codes off your Orijen bags. Orijen has a frequent buyer program that is offered through their retailers: buy 12 bags (any flavor) and get the 13th bag free. I don't know if Amazon offers this program but the local speciality pet foods store where I buy Orijen does.
posted by jamaro at 1:16 PM on August 8, 2012

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