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cockroach eater
Photo taken 10 June 2005, a shot of Bowdu’s puppy teeth

A recent post on Fully Vetted made me recount all the dog food I’ve ever sampled. I’ll now have it on record that I’ve tasted at least the following items of commercial dog food:

  • A Milk-bone. I had imagined that these would taste like the Taiwanese milk-flavored fried cookies that I grew up with. Even now, I’ll find myself craving that taste of childhood, though the Doggy Daddy has always found it revolting that I could enjoy such dry, flavorless cookies. Well, Taiwanese milk cookies are positively bursting with dairy richness in comparison to these logs of flour and filler.
  • Beggin’ Strips. Mimicking the look and smell of bacon long before bacon became Internet cool! Somehow, Purina, the makers of this garbage, always knew that most people just want to feast on the idea of bacon — because this sure as hell doesn’t taste like it. And if you look at the ingredients list, it’s a wonder that it tastes like anything at all…
  • Japanese cheese snacks. These individually-wrapped “fingers” of cheese were a popular pet treat in Taiwan, which was odd to me given the relative difficulty of finding good cheese except in import grocery stores… But these don’t count. Now, you can’t really blame a country with a mostly lactose intolerant population for NOT knowing what cheese is supposed to taste like. Why assume the dogs would know any better? Nevertheless, this was enough to inspire an episode of coprophagia when Bowdu once swallowed an entire wrapped tube and pooped it out intact. All the better to remind me that what tastes good to him does NOT always taste good to me.
  • Salmon Paws Omega Stix. Each stubby twin pack cost more than a single giant Slim Jim! Hell YEAH I’m taking a bite! Besides, the company promised that the ingredients were all human grade, so I doubt it’s any worse than the most preservative-laden jerkies I’ve ever consumed.
  • Fruitables pumpkin and cranberry cookies. My dogs love these, and I love the look of them. Each flowerette is so dainty and perfectly formed, I couldn’t help but pop one in my mouth for a taste. I guess they’d make a hearty, oaty ingredient for an extra “special” trail mix, but I’d want to shake it up with a LOT more salt and sugar before offering this to any two-legged hikers.
  • Bite o’ Blue Wild Blueberry treats. Okay, this one was hardly a risk because this treat contains just two, unscary ingredients: wild blueberries and dehydrated apples (for the chewy recipe). Though it’s labeled as a dog treat, these could easily be slipped into a lunchbox in place of your average fruit snacks, and nobody would notice the difference — except these taste better than any gelatin-based or corn syrupy commercial fare.
    Bite o' Blue
    Photo taken 25 May 2011
  • Vital refrigerated pet food, specifically the turkey recipe as I mentioned in my review. That’s how I confirmed that these recipes were oh so liver-licious… Unfortunately, I’m not as much of a fan of liver as most dogs, and it was hard to cleanse my palate of the taste. Bleghk.
  • Honest Kitchen embark. The company claims that “humans actually taste every ingredient that goes into our recipes” (their assurance of product integrity), so why should I be left out of the taste-testing party? Well, this isn’t exactly a party where people are clamoring for invites… And as highly palatable as this is for dogs, I don’t think anyone will be begging for the recipe if you tried to bring any of these as a dip to your next potluck.

That’s all I can remember off the top of my head. Now, considering I come from a culinary culture where family members will fight to finish off the fish head and where entrails and coagulated blood regularly appear on lists of ingredients, none of this seems horrific to me. Doesn’t mean I’ll eat anything, though. Obviously from this list, I have no interest in my dogs’ kibble, I’m not going to eat their raw (though I’ve seriously wondered what it would be like to stir-fry a nugget or two, just to taste), and I draw the line if any animal “byproducts” are listed. Our dogs also don’t get any meat that we ourselves would not be willing to eat… although, I gotta say, it seems strange that I have an easier time finding bison-based dog food than a bison burger in this town, but maybe that’s just the state of things around here.

What about you? What kinds of commercial dog food have you tried?

Or alternately, how much would someone have to pay you to subsist on commercial dog food for, say, a week? My going rate would be $5000, but only if I get to select the menu items and add spices and condiments of my own choosing.