The sub-par regulations for pet food that lead to the melamine scare in 2007 and general pet health problems are a great concern of mine when it comes to our two dogs. They have always been fed a high quality vegetarian diet so when people noticed their pets getting sick and their food being recalled, thankfully it was never a concern of ours.
About 4 years ago, we would feed them one can of wet food in the morning every so often as a treat as well as their regular dry food at night. What started as a special treat has now grown into a daily routine. The first brand of canned dog food that they got was Nature’s Recipe Healthy Skin Vegetarian. At the time it was a little difficult to find and frankly, looked pretty gross, but they loved it, they’re dogs after all. When the Nature’s Recipe comes out of the can it was just a huge, unappetizing gelatinous lump. It can now usually be found at any Petco, but when that wasn’t available, we were turned on to AvoDerm’s Natural Vegetarian Adult Canned Dog Food. The quality and ingredients list certainly looks better than the Nature’s Recipe canned food, and is just a little more expensive. As far as our dogs were concerned, both were amazing. One thing I later found out was that both Nature’s Recipe and AvoDerm may have animal derived vitamin sources in their canned food, so we now try and steer clear of them.
About two years ago I stumbled across Evanger’s All Fresh Vegetarian Dinner for Dogs & Cats at the Pasadena Humane Society. The ingredient list for their vegetarian canned food starts off with fresh potatoes, carrots, peas, tomatoes, avocados, blueberries, and cranberries which trumps both AvoDerm and Nature’s Recipe whose primary ingredient is soybean meal. You can tell the difference in quality when it comes out of the can since you can actually see the vegetables and it’s not a liquefied/oily mess like the other two. Although Evanger’s food is not nearly as readily available as a brands like Nature’s Recipe and AvoDerm, they have been around for nearly 70 years and market themselves as “People Food For Pets.” There are quite a few places to get it online for a little under $2 per can including shipping.
What I find the most disturbing is that the pet food industry may include roadkill and the rendered remains of cats and dogs as their “hidden ingredients” in a can of commercial pet food, so it’s very important to do the research and be aware of what is going into your companion animals’ bowl. I would hate to think that animals euthanized at shelters would end up in our dog’s food bowls, or in our house at all for that matter.