The Honest Kitchen Switch

August 26th, 2009 by Dan

A few months ago I started having problems with my dog’s diet. Both Reef and Lucian had been eating raw for the past 2.5 years and while I was thrilled with their condition – life was getting in the way. We were all traveling a lot and due to some unforeseen circumstances, sometimes these trips were unexpected. When we returned home there wasn’t always time to thaw out enough meat to keep 2 dogs that weigh in at a combined 200+ pounds happy and well fed. Not to mention the time took to acquire quality protein sources in bulk and then package them for the deep freezer. I needed an alternative and I wasn’t going to settle when it came to what my dogs ate. That’s why I turned to The Honest Kitchen.

THK Dog Foods

I’ve known about The Honest Kitchen for a few years and have talked about their products in the past on the blog. I’ll get to the nutritional details of their foods in a second, but first I want to touch on their customer service. I’ve directed a number of behavioral clients to this company in the past few months – each of them has written in with questions regarding their dog’s individual dietary needs. Within less than 24 hours they have received a personal, detailed response with helpful advice about the formulas that would best fit their dog and more importantly *why* these foods would benefit them. Their staff is helpful and has a wealth of knowledge about canine nutrition.

Now onto the details of the food. I’m a self-admitted pet food snob and I’ve done vast amounts of research into what goes into commercially produced pet foods (which is why I stay away from them!). Here are some of the reasons why I’ve chosen to feed The Honest Kitchen to my pooches:

* Superior Ingredients:
Despite different dogs needing different dietary requirements, THK has formulas that will probably fit your dog’s special needs. They make four completely gluten-free and grain-free diets. None of their foods contain wheat (a prime allergy trigger) and any grains that are used are organic and their Quinoa is fair-trade. The meats are hormone and antibiotic free and their fruits and veggies are guaranteed non-GMO. This all adds up to a food that is human-grade and is manufactured in an FDA inspected facility located in CA.

* Ease of Preparation:

When you prepare The Honest Kitchen you simply measure in the proper amount for your dog and then add approximately 1-1.5 cups of hot water for every cup of THK. Stir and let it sit for about 5-7 minutes to let it fully rehydrate. (This is a great time to brush up on some of your dog’s training commands each day!) You can add in cooked meat or RMBs (Raw Meaty Bones) if you wish.

* Ease of Storage:
Prepping enough bulk meat to feed 2 large dogs meat was a messy and time consuming process! I had to often devote an entire afternoon to packaging and filling the freezer. With time flying, I’d rather be spending quality time with my dogs then up to my elbows in meat!
Storing The Honest Kitchen is a breeze compared to prey model raw! The 10lb boxes are compact and when the food is hydrated they end up making the equivalent of 43lbs of food! I can stack 8 of them in my pantry in a very small space and they have a shelf life (when unopened) of 12 months.

Safe for Giant Breeds:
As the owner of a giant breed and as someone who has previously suffered the loss of a dog to GDV (bloat), I know how much of a role diet can play in keeping these big dogs healthy. Because The Honest Kitchen is a dehydrated diet it expands *outside* the bowl after you add hot water – not inside your dog’s stomach. What you see in the bowl is what ends up in your pooch as opposed to kibbles that can expand to many times their size during digestion. Remember, it is imperative you wait until the food is completely hydrated before you feed it to your dog.

Frenchie Puppy Eating THK

Photo by bullmarketfrogs

While these diets do not contain bone in the mixtures, as I said, they can be supplemented with RMBs (raw meaty bones). I’ve been adding fresh protein sources as time allows. The human grade vitamin mix used in THK that contains tri-calcium phosphate is set at a level that takes into account the addition of RMBs and won’t throw off the the calcium:phosphorous ratio. However, the addition of meat/bones is not needed (with the exception of “Preference” – a vegetarian formula where the addition of meat is mandatory to achieve a balanced diet).

I would say the only downfall, on a strictly personal level, is that the consistency of The Honest Kitchen formulas is much like a thick stew or oatmeal and when you have a Dogue De Bordeaux – that can be messy business! Here is a photo of Lucian eating his meal. (We do lots of face wiping after each meal!) Reef is a much neater eater and needs no after dinner napkin!

Lucian eats THK

Raw feeding is a fantastic option when it’s done correctly. Hopefully someday I will have the time to do it again for my dogs. However, right now I’m so thankful that there is a natural, high-quality (and apparently yummy) option available that I can feel confident feeding them and recommending to other dog owners as well.

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