Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Scruffy Dog Kudos: Organix Grain-free Dog Food from Castor & Pollux

Ages since I've posted. Broken record, right? Well, I thought this was worth mentioning...

A friend sent me a link today to yet another frightening story about toxic pet foods imported from China that are resulting in much suffering and death of dogs around the country. It's frightening. And it underscores how the great power of global trade also comes with a great responsibility to ensure the quality and safety of items we import from other countries. For me it drives home how important it is to know where ALL of our food comes from. Or at least to have a pretty good idea of it.

"Buy organic and local whenever possible" has been a practice I've tried to stick to for human food for a long time. But unless I cook my own dog food, it's much harder to know what Baxter and Kirby are getting. I barely have time to cook my own people food (note how infrequently I blog these days...no coincidence...), so cooking separate, highly meat-oriented dog food for the canines isn't likely to happen any time soon.

So the next best thing, for us, is purchasing high-quality pet food and treats. Also, because of Baxter's issues with grain, we need to be very careful that none of the dog food that we buy has any grain in it at all (not even rice). Some might think this is excessive, but Baxter had recurrent ear infections and horrible skin allergies for seven years, even when we were feeding him lamb and rice and special allergy formula foods from the veterinarian.

On the advice of a different, holistic, veterinarian, we took him off ALL grain six years ago (see this post from 2006) and I'm happy to report that Baxter has not had one skin allergy problem or ear infection since. NOT ONE. And we've had him on several different grain-free foods. It really does make a difference. 

So I was excited when one of our favorite local pet product companies, Castor & Pollux, began offering grain-free versions of their Organix pet food. I've been waiting for them to offer organic, grain-free food for years. When our local New Seasons market, where we do most of our people-food shopping, started carrying it a few months ago we decided to give it a try.

First, I have to say this food passed the Baxter and Kirby taste test with flying colors. Kirby is always enthusiastic about dinner, but Baxter usually takes his time and hasn't been very enthused with mealtime for a few years now. Since switching to the Organix grain-free kibble and canned food (we mix a small amount in) he has been right there with Kirby at meal time, waiting for the "go" signal so he can plow into it immediately. He hasn't been this excited about food in years. Even with other canned food mixed in.

Health-wise, the food seems to be good for both of them. Both dogs have shiny coats, no skin issues and excellent bills of health from the vet. Baxter's digestion, which faced a few challenges after a dozen years on the planet, is now in perfect working order. That alone was worth the switch.

And I've been happy to purchase from a local, Oregon company. It's the first time I've ever purchased dog food at our local food market (I have to say, though, New Seasons is no ordinary market). Anyway, it's HANDY.

So, the last question for me about the Castor & Pollux food was origin. Today I sent them an email asking about where they source their ingredients and linking to the article on Chinese imported pet foods. I was impressed that I got a very nice and thorough reply within a few hours:

Over 95% of our ingredients are from the US and Canada, but sometimes the highest quality is from other countries.  Our chicken is from here in the United States and our lamb is from New Zealand, but none of [our] meats or veggies are from China.  All our ingredients are tested upon arrival, samples are tested throughout production, and all finished product is tested for toxins and contaminants before we release it for sale.  The quality and safety of our food is our #1 priority and we would never compromise our commitment to the wellbeing of our four-legged family members by using anything less than the best available ingredients in their food.
I'm taking their word for it. Why? Because they have earned my trust. We've always had great experiences with their other pet products and now with their Organix grain-free foods. They responded to me quickly and thoroughly. And I know where they are. I can drive there and look them in the eye if I want to. And that's close enough for me.


Anonymous said...

please help ! we got a dog who need to lose weight. we put her on bb she is doing well but after 3 months she gain weight which harms her knees,the things is we only gave her small quanitity , much less than what her actual weight requires. her feet sliding, when we feed her diet food as the vet recommend it becomes worse. obviousely she is not taking enough, but reach the weight. we now want to go oppisite direction and let her try orgainx grain-free formula. but people told me my dog is 6 already, this food is not good for her liver index. i come online check, and i want to hear someone who actully tried this food, and someone who really loves dog, not just some competitive comments.is it suitable for seniors? and is it good food for maintain proper weight or even loss weight ??? please help. as keep switching food just make dogs suffer, she is in pain, and so do us.all the vets can say, is go on a diet food, they don't care if she does good on it or not. please if you know better than me for this food, tell me the for and pro about it, will you? please help , we really need a little help here. please. we are really sorry to write and disturb, but please tell me what you found on this food. thanks a lot.

ScruffyDog said...

am not a veterinarian, so I cannot give you medical advice. I can only speak from our experience that our large, senior dog maintained a healthy weight until he passed at the ripe old age of 13 (his breed usually lives 10-12 years) with no allergies for the 5 years we had him off grain. And our little dog who tends to gain weight has successfully lost weight on this food. It is lower in carbs than some foods, but it still has enough carbs (from veggies) to keep him healthy. You may want to write to the nice people at Castor & Pollux with your question. pawmade@castorpolluxpet.com

Anonymous said...

thank you very much for sharing your experience with us.i think we really shold put her on grain free food now.we still stick to what she is having (what makes her fat)now,she had trouble switching.she loves this organix grain free one,but gets over-excited,running around like new born kid,we were all happy seeing it but followed with leg trembles with quick heartbeat.really thanksful for your info.we wrote to castor&pollux before,they were nice,but they can't tell me any actual experience dog owners have. thank you very much for your helping. used to think grain free food might be too much for seniors.but now, i m trying to find something good for her now. thanks very much. you got really lucky dogs.