Trader Joe’s dog and cat food
We’ve been doing a lot of shopping at Trader Joe’s lately. We started doing it with the mindset of “quality over quantity”, but quickly found out they’ve got pretty good prices on many things. They’ve also got the variety that we crave so much, and since we started to shop there fairly regularly a couple of months ago, we’ve been almost entirely vegetarian, eating meat perhaps once a month when we have a craving for something specific (check Flippy’s blog for some of our favourite TJ’s stuff). I guess I was bound to end up in their pet food aisle one day, reading labels and checking prices, and I was pretty impressed by what I found. Their canned dog food contains meat, lots of identifiable meat (from chicken to lamb to beef) and none of those nasty “wheat middlings” or “corn gluten”. It’s not human grade food, and it still looks/smells like dog food, but the label is better than anything you’ll read from Alpo or Pedigree or Iams, and the food is less expensive. A 20 oz. can is 99 cents, whereas that’s often the regular price of a 13 oz. can of crappier food. If you used canned dog food for anything, even snacks or pilling, I think this food is a good buy.
I also checked out the dry dog food, and if you just consider the cost (approx. $1/lb.) it’s good food. Nothing fancy, and it won’t hold up if you’re comparing it to Solid Gold or Wellness or something more in the $3/lb. range. However, it again contains a small number of ingredients, and is primarily made of chicken and chicken meal. The senior food contains small amounts of glucosamine, chondroitin, and omega 3 & 6 fatty acids… not enough to truly count as a sole source of those things, but at least they’re making an effort. In contrast, I picked up a cheap bag of store brand dog food at Target and the ingredient list is horrifying: beet pulp, animal fat, corn, soy, wheat, bone meal, and just about anything and everything that isn’t edible by humans. If you’re on a budget and feeding a dry dog food, I think you can feed the TJ’s brand without guilt. Our two large dogs have always eaten dry food as their main diet (simply because of the expense of feeding raw/homemade to 200 lbs. of dog), but I always supplement the food with something like eggs, cheese, tofu, sweet potato, raw chicken wings, or whatever leftovers we don’t feel like eating (the dogs enjoy both spaghetti and chili). While I’d prefer to be feeding them Wellness Super 5 Mix or something similar, I feel okay about the TJ’s food.
Probably the best of TJ’s pet foods is their canned cat food. All meat, no by-products, no carbs, and only 59 cents per 5.5. oz. can. It might be the best hidden cat food bargain available, although again, it’s not anything like Merrick or Spot’s Stew or homemade (where the ingredients are human grade and identifiable). TJ’s also has canned tuna made just for cats, and the only ingredients are tuna and water. It’s terribly stinky stuff, and so dark that it must be made with unimaginable parts of the fish, but it is tuna! The label claims it’s a complete diet, although I can’t find any references to added taurine or other vitamins, so I think I’d just feed it as an occasional treat and not as a sole food.
Sadly, there seems to be a stinker in the TJ’s pet food family: the dry cat kibble. It doesn’t have a perfect list of ingredients (there are some corn products), but it starts with chicken and chicken meal, so that makes it better than any of the staple cat foods you find on grocery store shelves (stuff like Fancy Feast, Meow Mix, Cat Chow, etc.). I bought a bag to use for the “kibble hunts” we do a couple of times a week, and it was a disaster: almost every cat got diarrhea from eating about a tablespoon of this food, and Chelsea refused to eat it completely (smart cat). Our cats seem to have pretty strong stomachs because they eat both homemade and whatever we’ve had donated, so eating a new kibble isn’t an unusual thing, but we’ve never seen this kind of stomach upset before. The only cat it didn’t seem to bother was our foster cat, Kevin, but after a couple more small servings of it even he started to have the runs. I thought of using up the rest of the bag by feeding our porch cats with it but couldn’t bring myself to do it because of all the bad reactions we’d seen amongst our own cats, so the bag still sits in a cabinet, open and unused. I’m going to contact TJ’s about it in case there’s a problem with the case lot but I can’t find anyone else reporting problems about it… I think our cats just can’t eat it.
I’d really like to hear from anyone else who’s fed Trader Joe’s dry cat food (I bought the chicken flavour), to find out if you had the same experience. I don’t care if you find this entry two years from now, I still want to know!
The Buddy Biscuits from Trader Joe’s are also fabulous. My aussie cross is allergic to chicken and it is very difficult to find food and treats for her that don’t have chicken or eggs in them. On top of that, she is extremely picky about crunchy treats. The Buddy Biscuits are one of only two brands of cookie type treats that she will deign to eat. And, they are fun because she thinks she has to “kill” them first by throwing them up in the air and rolling around on them for a few minutes.Posted by Tammy on 06/04 at 12:58 PM