[Image courtesy of smallbatch.com pet food]
We recently got a new addition to the household and wanted to feed him raw food, like we did with a prior dog. So I did some research into the state of the pet food industry. It's pretty poor. Overall the biggest issues seem to be, in no particular order:
- a race to the bottom for price, which leads to cheap food sources;
- filler such as grains, veggies, and "meat meal";
- frequent recalls, sometimes annually for some well-known pet food brands;
Ultimately we decided to look at a number of great sources like Dog Food Advisor, Petsumer Reports, Teamdog.pet, and 8 other sources and compile a set of scores - a meta-score essentially. I have purposefully obfuscated (hidden) the source scores as some of them come from paid services and databases and annual reports.
I normalized all the scores down to a score from 0-5. We found the foods that had high overall average scores and where they appeared on at least 2 or more source reports or databases.
Note that this list contains vendors who have a variety of foods (raw frozen, freeze-dried, canned, and even kibble.)
Ultimately we cross-referenced this list with our awesome local pet store Pet People of Los Gatos, to see which of these good foods were available from them.
Note that quality is very high in this list, however price is all over the board. You've been warned! Feeding your horse sized Great Dane with air-dried food might cost you a small fortune! Find what works for you.
At least this might provide you with a starting point for good vendors and foods to take a look at. I hope this information was helpful.
Score of 5: Raw Bistro, Big Bear, Vibrant K9, Vital Essentials, BARF world, Greentripe
Score of 4.5-4.99: Open Farms, Rudy Greens, Smallbatch, My Perfect Pet, Primal, Just Food for Dogs, Lucky Dog, Oma's Pride, Steve's Dog Food, Ziwi, and Rawz.
Scores of <4.5. There are hundreds of brands out there, many of which have very poor recall histories.