Saturday, March 26, 2011

Puppy Chow

Our first Lab was an 80 pound black male named Duke. He lived to the ripe old age of 15 but never was able to adapt to the old lobster boat we had at the time. As a puppy Duke ate Purina Puppy Chow. Since then all of our dogs have learned that "puppy chow" meant mealtime.

You don't ever, and I mean never ever, say "puppy chow" unless you mean it. There is no more sacred word to a Siegel dog.

Since then we have learned much about nutrition in dog foods - or rather the lack thereof in the vast majority of dog foods. The morsels that pass through Dyna and Dylan's lips are hand formed by virgins on a remote tropical island. At least we think it must be, given the cost and difficulty involved in obtaining it.

After many, many hours of research, literally, our two babies receive Innova brand dry food, adult for Dylan and senior for Dyna.

Innova is not available at Walmart or Publix or Pet Smart. In fact, we know of only two places on the east coast where we can readily get it from the boat, Solomons, MD and Miami Beach, FL. So we must have 30 lb. bags shipped to us along the way.

This means we need to be somewhere long enough to receive ground shipping. Trust us you don't want to be paying overnight shipping for this stuff. We have calculated that 60 lbs. of dog food will last for 3 months. That's per dog. So we generally stock 120 lbs. of dog food, ordering more when we open the second bag.

Then there's the issue of storing it. This is accomplished in 3 phases. There are two 2.5 gallon containers that take half a shelf in our pantry, one for each dog. These last about 5 days. Two bags (one of each), along with treats, travel bowls, etc. are stored inside the larger of the two side tables we have in the saloon. The other two bags are stored in the hatch underneath the guest bunk.

Today the last two bags came out from under the bunk. We'll be in Charleston for another month but we have a little over 2 months left on the boat before we'll be back home in Maine. After ten minutes online, two more precious bags will arrive next week. So the best part of the day will continue to be when we say, “Dyna, Dylan, do you want some puppy chow?” and we watch the tails wag.


Dave Gibson said...

Interesting. I've been feeding our dogs Purina, but maybe I'll try Innovo. I went to this website- and put in Stamford CT and came up with a lot of places around here that sell it. You're right though, no Pet Smart or Walmart, just the specialty shops.

MV Red Head said...

There are a lot of things we learned about dog food. The contents and ingredients of many have things that you would not believe. The bulk of most of the common foods is made up of things that dogs have difficulty digesting. Many have chemicals included to prolong fat oxidation - and some of those chemicals are known carcinogens, illegal to add to human food. Some additives are outlawed completely by certain countries. And yet, many dogs are eating them in their food every day.

One good way to find out quickly about the quality of a dog food is to look for an expiration date on the package. If the date is more than a year out, it's not something you should feed your dog. Now imagine the quality of the food if there is no expiration date at all, something that is quite common.

A great place to get more information on specific dog foods is:

Remember that people eat different things every day so having a cheeseburger every now and then isn't that bad. Your dog will eat the same thing every day for years at a time. Something dangerous in the food is particularly dangerous because they're getting a continual exposure to it.

Unknown said...

I completely support Jeff's words on dog nutrition in part from observing my own dogs, dachshunds over the age of 13, in wonderful good health without doubt a result of changing them to a good quality food, in their case also Innova.

And Jeff an Karen I like that home and Maine still goes together.

MV Red Head said...

Home is where the heart is...

and where we pay taxes and get our driver's license, etc., etc.

We'll be home before you know it!

Summer Wind said...

I am still amazed, to this day that 'most pet food' has little nutritional value. I was shocked to learn that the pet food I was at one time feeding my dog was hazardous to her health and pulled from the market. This food was recommended by a Vet and unfortunately it was too late for my dog, it had taken its toll on her kidneys. She was only 12.

MV Red Head said...


You are so right! We were sick to find out what we had been feeding our babies. It was only after we lost Tucker at age 5 that we began looking into it. Dyna is almost 13 and we are often asked if she and Dylan are littermates. I know good food is part of it. We hope we'll see you guys soon!

Ron said...

Innova will be available at PetSmart in June. May be easier for you to get while cruising.

MV Red Head said...


That is good news. The more places I can find it the better. Thanks for letting us know.