Every dog has his or her favorite products. Baxter is Scruffy Dog's product tester, and he has just the right mix of enthusiasm and discernment to make him the perfect arbiter of taste. Here are a few of Baxter's favorites, in case there are other scruffy dogs out there who might like to give them a try:
Merrick Canned Dog Food, "Grammy's Pot Pie"
This is far and away Baxter's favorite food after seven years of experimentation. He sees me opening the can and begins his Pavlovian drool-fest (which, in a Griff, is a wet moustache...Bax never actually drools). This food looks and smells just like human stew (the lady at the pet store told me she actually tried it once and it wasn't too bad...I have not been so brave). It is made with "all natural" human-grade ingredients and has no grains and no preservatives, so it's perfect for allergy-prone dogs. Ingredients include: chicken, red jacket new potatoes, carrots, snow peas and red apples, among other things. I give Baxter a quarter can along with his dry food at each of his two meals a day. Merrick's "Thanksgiving Day Dinner" comes in a close second, and he also likes Wellness foods, but Grammy's Pot Pie is the IT food for Baxter. This one gets the top rating: Four Paws.
Innova EVO Dry Dog Food
Every dog needs his or her crunchies and this food is solidly above all the other premium dog foods Baxter has tried (including: Science Diet, Eukanuba, Canidae and California Natural). It is an all meat and vegetable food without any grains whatsoever. I should add that since Bax has been on his grain-free diet, his coat is shinier, he no longer has dandruff and his skin allergies are totally gone. While I can't attribute all of this to EVO, it is certainly playing a large role as his primary food. My only complaint is about the small size of the nuggets in the regular (and easier to find) variety. These would be perfect for a smaller or older dog. But if you can find it, the large bites are more suitable for a larger dog who loves to chew. We'll give it Three Paws.
Virbac's C.E.T. HEXtra Premium Chews
These are known in our house as "chewies" and Baxter flips when he sees me going for the bag. They are strips of rawhide coated with a veterinarian-approved substance that cleans dogs' teeth. Baxter got his first bag from my friend the veterinarian, who assured me they were safe and effective. These really work. Whenever Bax starts getting a bit of plaque build-up on his teeth, I give him one of these every week for a few weeks and the plaque is reduced considerably. But beyond that, Baxter absolutely LOVES them. He loves to chew and the beef flavoring on these drives him wild. At seven years of age, our vet says Baxter is still far from needing a professional cleaning (and I am not a regular dog tooth brusher). If there is anything about the chemicals that are harmful, I'm weighing that against the fact that Bax has thus far avoided needing to be knocked-out with anesthesia just for a tooth cleaning. Just on Baxter's enthusiasm about these chewies, we'll give them Four Paws.
Biscuit Tie: Nutro Natural Choice Chops and Innova EVO Dog Treats
Before he went on his no-grain diet, Baxter LOVED his Lamb and Rice biscuits and would do almost anything to get one. Ok I have to confess, Baxter loves ALL biscuits, but these were particularly good. Now that he's on his no-grain diet, we're giving him the EVO biscuits. Baxter seems to like these even better, and I'm sure they're very good for him, but I would only notch them down a tad because they have a rather pungent odor so I can't carry them in my pocket without having them in a ziplock bag. But what else can you expect from a biscuit made from baked poultry, fish, eggs and vegetables? We'll give these both Three Paws.
Four Paws = Outstanding, Three Paws = Excellent, Two Paws = Good, One Paw = Don't Bother, Zero Paws = Leave It
As noted, neither Scruffy Dog nor Baxter receive any sort of treats from the manufacturers. The opinions expressed above are just that: opinions. Take 'em or leave 'em (but we recommend you try 'em)!