Our little Oscar is almost one year old! His birthday is tomorrow. We'll be heading to the pet store today to buy him some special treats and a couple of new toys. Since he's now an adult, we've been switching him over from his puppy food.
We had him on Blue Buffalo Small Breed Puppy Chicken and Oatmeal formula. It was great and he loved it. I was looking at other Blue Buffalo formulas to switch him over to and decided on Blue Wilderness Salmon Recipe. I don't know a ton about dog food, but I do know that the general rule about determining dog food quality is to look at the first five ingredients. The first ingredient should be a meat ingredient, rather than corn or another grain. In fact, the more meat in the food, especially the first five ingredients, the better. By-product meals shouldn't be included in the food (not just in the first five ingredients, but optimally, at all) because by-product meals are about as good as they sound - they are parts of the animal like feet, necks, bones, etc. that are ground up into the food. Corn should be avoided, as it often causes allergies in dogs.
Blue Buffalo is free of by-product meals, which was a big factor in why I chose it for Oscar as his puppy food. The first five ingredients of Blue Wilderness Salmon Recipe are deboned salmon, menhaden fish meal, chicken meal, potato starch and peas. According to the packaging, Blue Wilderness is designed to be a convenient alternative to a raw diet, and is a high protein, grain-free food that is free of corn, wheat and soy. I've been intrigued by raw diets, but it has always sounded a bit too complex and time-consuming for me. I like the convenience of packaged foods, and I don't have to worry (as much) about contamination or food poisoning, since I'm not actually handling or feeding raw food to him. The price of this food is a bit higher than his puppy food, but if we buy the big bags, the unit price is the same.
It is one of the few foods that got six stars on the Dog Food Analysis site (see the entry here), which has some interesting and helpful information about dog food. The fact that it was one of the most highly rated foods didn't decide it for me, but it definitely made me feel better about the decision.
I did take a look at other brands while I was in the pet store, just to see if there was anything that I liked better. I didn't find anything that I thought was better quality for a similar price. In fact, I was pretty dissatisfied with a lot of other brands, especially the ones that are marketed (and priced!) as high quality foods, but still have corn as the first ingredient.
The kibbles are a bit bigger, so the saddest part of the switch is that we can't put his food in his Kong Genius toy anymore, but otherwise it has been a hit. We're almost done switching him over, and he's liked it just as much as the old food. He's had absolutely no digestion issues and his stool has been firm. I'm very pleased with the choice. It's nice to feel good about what I'm feeding my dog!