Friday, December 12, 2014

Food Friday: Evanger's Grain-Free Meat Lover's Medley

 I don't normally go through an entire bag of kibble in one week, but here we are with a brand new bag of Evanger's Grain-Free Meat-Lover's Medley. Last week I contacted Canidae about some funky-looking kibble in our bag of Grain-Free Pure Land and they advised me to toss the whole bag and promised to send a voucher for a new one. Always on the lookout for novel foods, I discovered that my local seed and feed has some really amazing selection.

I'm a fan of Evanger's almost entirely because they canned pheasant dog food, which is awesome for dogs with allergies. It has really helped me pinpoint Brisbane's bird allergies, and I get a kick out of listing all the ones that he can eat: ostrich, emu, pheasant, quail, and pigeon.

Evanger's Meat Lover's Medley is a grain-free, poultry-free, egg-free, potato-free kibble made from beef meal, peas, and sweet potato. It also contains rabbit, which contains mostly water that gets cooked out, and pork meal. I appreciate that they use beef fat in this food because I love it when fat and protein sources match. It bugs the crap out of me when an otherwise perfect food is ruined by chicken fat. Yes, properly clarified chicken fat should contain no protein and therefore cause no reaction, but I'm still not putting it in my chicken-allergic dog.

Questionable Claims
Every food company has a laundry list of claims on their packaging because it sells food. What does Evanger's have on the Meat Lover's Medley bag? There are the usual claims of optimal nutrition supporting optimal health, and touting the inclusion of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, which any good food should have. There's actually nothing super-annoying on the bag, though.

Following the Trail
Unlike a lot of dog food companies, Evanger's actually owns their own facilities. They even produce food for Party Animal and Wild Calling. What's not so good is this company's history with the FDA and the law. Back in 2009 the FDA prohibited Evanger's from transporting their products across state lines due to numerous code violations at their facility. The company's history includes canned food that contained metal poultry tags being pulled from store shelves without notifying consumers, along with ongoing complaints about rusty cans. The most recent Evanger's shenanigans involve wiring their facility to nearby power lines for free electricity. I'm not convinced that egregious utility theft means they can't also make good pet food, but the colorful history means I wouldn't choose this kibble as my dogs' staple diet for an extended period of time.

The Good Stuff
Evanger's Grain-Free kibbles are rated five stars on Dog Food Advisor. With zero poultry or grain ingredients, and no potatoes, this is a food that allows Brisbane to enjoy something other than fish. The kibbles in the Meat Lover's Medley are quite small, they even fit through the holes in our Petprojekt Football Tretball. Small kibbles also means more individual pieces per scoop, which means more treats per meal when I use them for training. These aren't terribly greasy kibbles either, so I'd be happy to walk around with a pocket full of them if I didn't think Brisbane would chew the pockets out of my pants given the opportunity. Overall I'm quite pleased with it, and of course the dogs love it. They're not terribly discerning, but they really only draw the line at questionably-edible items, like those biodegradable foam packing peanuts. Evanger's kibble proudly states that it is made in the USA, and though this one contains pork, many of their products are also certified kosher for all those Jewish dogs out there.

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