Sinead the Boston terrier has developed some picky-eating tendencies as she turns the corner from puppy to adult. Where she would once eat every single thing I put down in front of her, she's started to walk away from all sorts of things, including dry food, wet food made with beef, any treat that doesn't contain meat.... You get the idea.
So I was a little nervous when the nice people at Addiction Foods asked me to review their Salmon Bleu food for dogs. Would Sinead eat it? And if she wouldn't, how could I do the review justice?
I'm happy to say that I both accepted the review and have successfully given it to Sinead on multiple occasions. So I can do that review after all. Yay!
First, let's talk about size. I find that many dog food manufacturers out there are not mindful of the size of a small dog's mouth. Sinead, at just 8 pounds, has a very small head. She simply cannot eat kibble that is made for a dog like a Great Dane. She either cannot break the bits apart with her tiny teeth, or she tries to swallow bites that are too big, and she chokes.
I was relieved to see that this food from Addiction has very small bites that are thin. These are bits Sinead can easily fit into her very small mouth. And they are bits she can break apart with no problem at all with her small jaws.
This is food that also passes the taste test. Sinead needed to sniff the bites before she would eat them (of course), but she happily eats entire bowls of this food now without doing any kind of prescreening at all. That surprises me a little, as this food comes with no noticeable scent. Typically, this is a dog that likes stinky food. But she will eat this food even without the smell.
Why should this food smell like something, you ask? Because the first ingredient in this food is salmon meal. That stuff is usually pretty smelly.
And this is the one thing that gives me pause about this food. Pacific salmon is, as many of us know, on the decline. This type of fish cannot survive in warmer waters, and droughts and high summer heat has been causing streams and rivers to grow warmer with each passing year. I try not to eat a lot of salmon myself, as I know these things are considered endangered. I'm just a tiny bit leery of feeding my dogs this food for the same reason.
(20160713 edit: The company reached out to me with a response to this concern, and I think it's good enough to put in here verbatim: We noticed your concern around the fishing practices of Pacific salmon, and want you to know that we are right there with you. In fact, sustainability of our oceans is such a priority for our company, that our Salmon Bleu dog and cat food is the only dry pet food that uses Salmon certified as sustainable by the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch Program, which monitors the farming practices of our oceans and ensures sustainability for the future of all marine life. We wanted to lighten any concern around our product and assure you that we only use the best practices when sourcing our ingredients. You are obviously more than welcome to share this information with your readers, but we just wanted to make sure you knew that Addiction is on your side in this fight against harmful fishing practices.)
But, this is a food made for dogs with pretty severe allergies. If your dog cannot handle common ingredients like turkey or beef or chicken, this might be an excellent option. And you might be willing to overlook the salmon thing to keep your dog comfortable. But I wish the manufacturer would use a slightly different species of fish. Maybe that will come in later versions.
I should mention that Addiction has all sorts of foods that do not contain salmon, including foods that are based on venison, kangaroo and even eel. If Sinead likes this food so much, she might enjoy those foods just as well. And I appreciate knowing about a company that works so hard to find novel protein sources for pets. It's not common, and it's something I wish more companies would do.
So we give this food a 3.5 paw score (and that's pretty darn good). And we give the company 4 paws.
Want to try it yourself? Salem residents might have a bit of a trek to make, but you can get free samples at the end of your trip. Head to Nature's Pet in Sherwood, and the manufacturer tells me you can get free samples for your dogs to try. And cat people: Never fear. They make cat formulas, too!
Would you be interested in trying a food like this? Lemme know in the comments!
Disclaimer: I was sent samples of this food to try in return for my honest opinion. No money changed hands. All opinions are my own.