My dog is currently eating PureVita grain free turkey kibble but I want her to eat more naturally. I am eventually going to cook for her, but until then I was thinking of trying The Honest Kitchen- Embark. Has anyone ever heard of dogs having bad problems with The Honest Kitchen? My tiny dog has a very sensitive stomach.
I want to get her off PureVita also because I read that someone’s dog got tumors after switching to PureVita and they said that the company said 4 other dogs had the same thing happen. That very much worries me so now I am extremely careful with what I feed her. It is hard to find food for my dog because she can’t eat grains or chicken. So I would love opinions on The Honest Kitchen. Thank you! 🙂
I’ve been feeding The Honest Kitchen for 7-8 years. Every dog I’ve ever had has loved it. The only downfall is some dogs have more stool.
I think HK is an excellent company, with quality foods and high standards (including safety). The formulas are pretty gentle and I’ve never known dogs to have trouble with it, especially sensitive/touchy stomach dogs. I like the Zeal formula best (which many sensitive dogs do well on when they can’t on other foods), then the Embark. Zeal is HK’s highest protein and uses a very high quality source, though the fat is very, very low — which some dogs do best with and others need to add back.
The only negatives I encounter with HK are that some formulas are grain inclusive (when owners don’t want that), some dogs aren’t crazy about the soupy texture, and high cost . . . esp. grain free Zeal & Embark. I would like to see, at their higher price point, their base ingredients be organic (like Stella & Chewy’s) when it’s a known heavily pesticide contaminated ingredient or preference for less contaminated fruits/veggies/greens chosen when organic isn’t feasable/prohibitively expensive — kind of like how I shop at the grocery store. But they are still very clean, high quality foods and I would feed them + highly recommend the brand.
In Nutrisource/Pure Vita’s defense, I really don’t think that their food can be blamed for tumors. Something triggers cancer to start in the body and that can be many complex factors, usually involving toxins as insults to the body and the immune system + some genetics. From there, we do know from research that cancer feeds selectively off sugars/simple carbs and need an acidic environment to be active . . . but that’s after the cancer has taken hold. Certain breeds (and their mixes) currently have very high incidences of cancer, like Goldens or Bernese Mountain Dogs; or there is a breed specific cancer like hemangiosarcoma. Some stats show more than half of all dogs and cats now die of cancer.
Pure Vita does pretty clean sourcing, for example using more expensive wild caught fish exclusively (protecting against toxins like PCBs in farmed salmon) and imposes a good bit of safety testing and quality standards. Many dogs seem to do really well on the food, esp. those with allergies/sensitivities or needing a bland diet and limited ingredient diet.
At the same time, virtually all commercial pet foods have significant contamination with bacterial toxins (enterotoxins, endotoxins, cytotoxins, etc.), from the meat, processing and handling, sanitation issues, storage, heat or lack of heat processing, moisture spoilage (like aflatoxins, etc in grains), lack of freshness, rancidity of fats/oils, etc. (You can read more about this in texts like UC Davis Vet School’s/DVM Strombeck’s Home Prepared Dog & Cat Diets, chapter 3 on commercial pet foods/food safety & preparation.)
Nevertheless, I do think homemade diets (balanced) using a wide variety of fresh foods in rotation, cleanly sourced (wild fish, grass fed & free range, organic), are best. So I think you are on the right track. Good luck!
Thank you for the replies.
GSDsForever, do you feed home cooked meals? How do you know you put all the right nutrients in the food? Is there a book where you get recipes? Do those recipes meet AAFCO guidelines? I would like to start making food for my dog as soon as I can but I have no idea how to make food formulated for a dog.
“Real Food for Healthy Dogs and Cats” by Dr. Karen Becker is a great book to start with. Dogaware dot com is another good spot.
My pup, who recently recovered from abdominal surgery, is on HK Zeal. It’s good stuff, but like Marie said, lots more poop. It has worked out a little better adding steamed chicken–2/3 HK, 1/3 chicken. I have not tried Embark–as embark is higher in fat, and we need to be careful of pancreatitis.
Update: Just started the Preference (adding own meat) this week and I like it much better. The poops are back to the normal amount, and I like that I can alternate the type of meats used. I cooked the meat on day 1 and froze it in daily serving sizes, then put in zip lock bags back in the freezer. Super easy.
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