Although I treat my dog like a prince, with lots of toys, an expensive crate and endless hugs, I tend to skimp by buying him whatever food is on sale. Which means it's not always healthy, even if Happy loves it. Still, it does concern me when the bag reads, "Now with as many nutritients as "'Lucky Charms!'"
Plus, this discount chow doesn't always give my dog the energy he needs. Last week, he fell asleep in the middle of the day. Okay, that's not unusual. But while he was running?
So I went to Petco in Hartsdale to see if I could improve on what my doggy eats for dinner.
One of the first brands to catch my eye was something called "Spot's Stew," made by the Halo company. I like that fact that it contains no preservatives, but that word "holistic" always makes me nervous. I feel it's always followed by turbans and clothes made from hemp. And once you get into Jack Johnson music, you won't even be worth shooting.
I decided to press on.
Another intriguing brand name that jumped out at me is something called "Solid Gold," along with its most popular variety, "Solid Gold Hund-N-Flocken." Which is not only a dog food, but the best Ingmar Bergman movie ever made!
"Hund-N-Flocken" is a dog food made with lamb, millet, barley and rice. It's also something you can yell out the car window at someone who cuts you off... with surprisingly effective results. Yet I just can't see saying to Happy, "Time for some 'Hund-N-Flocken!" He'll think I'm having a mini-stroke, and the paramedics will soon be a-swarming.
Actor Dick Van Patten from "Eight Is Enough" has entered the market, too. Van Patten's "Natural Balance Pet Foods" will make your dog want to be like its inventor in every way. The cheerful and well-balanced sides of Van Patten are great. But what happens if your dog eventually decides he also wants a comb-over? Sickness, as you know, comes in many forms. None of them pleasant.
I'd actually heard about "Blue" food for dogs. They make a big pitch on their website about how other dog food companies use meat and chicken by-products, but that they only use "wholesome grains" and "all-natural" foodstuffs. They really had me with this. But, then, they state that, "In space, no one can hear you scream." So you might want to give this brand a little more thought before you commit.
There's another entry in the dog food market known as "Holistic Select." In their spiel, this company states that you are not your dog's "owner," but their "parent." Of course, with more permissive parents, this leads to real trouble. If you've ever seen a bunch of dogs out joyriding, you know what I'm talking about.
Still, "Holistic Effect" has some mighty delicious-sounding varieties, especially something that combines chickenmeal and oatmeal for the Large Breed dog. This variety, apparently, will help your dog maintain his ideal body weight. This could be good for Happy, who will never see his ideal body weight ever again unless he suddenly grows 11 inches. So I marked this brand down as a possibility.
Later, I decided to check out Pet Pantry Warehouse in Rye. They're not as big as Petco, but then, neither is Beaver Stadium. I strolled around and looked at various other brands. Some that were "holistic" and some like "Beneful," which are basically like buying your dog a bag of "Bugles."
I finally settled on Hills Science Diet. No hippie slogans, no cute names, no homilies written on the back. Sounds pretty good.
Now, if I can just find a girl who fits that description. Then, I'll really be in business.