Friday, September 25, 2015

Food Friday: Wysong Epigen Venison

After sending me a packet of food samples a while back, Wysong followed up with an email asking how we liked them. They also sent some coupons, including one for free shipping. I took the opportunity to order a bag of Archetype Rabbit freeze-dried food, and some Epigen Venison. Epigen is touted as a starch-free kibble.
dog food and dinosaurs
Starch-Free Kibble?
The process used to make kibble generally requires a starch ingredient, otherwise it would just be dried meat like Ziwi Peak. Traditional kibble uses corn, wheat, rice, oats, or grain byproducts like rice hulls and wheat middlings. Grain-free kibbles use alternative starches like potatoes, sweet potatoes, lentils, garbanzo beans, tapioca, and quinoa. So how does Wysong manage to make a non-jerky kibble with no starch?

The key is protein isolates. These are basically pure protein. Did you know that potatoes have protein? Apparently it is possible to extract just the protein, leaving behind the starch. Who knew? Wysong also uses "meat protein isolate" which is an industry-sanctioned term that means protein isolated from pork. This was a concerning ingredient for me originally. Tons of dog food companies use chicken fat in their otherwise poultry-free products and claim these are allergy-friendly because it is the protein that causes the reaction and there's no protein in fat. Knowing what I know about the dog food industry, I barely trust them to actually label things accurately. I definitely don't trust them to make sure there's not even a little bit of protein in that chicken fat. No thanks.

Meat Protein Isolate
But it's cool, because Wysong goes ahead and tells me on their website that their meat protein isolate is derived from pork. That means it's safe for Brisbane's chicken, turkey, duck, and egg allergies. They also claim that this protein is so pure and easily used by the body that it is unlikely to cause allergic reactions. This is kind of interesting, since I'm used to hearing that protein is totally what causes allergic reactions. I should probably research this further, but for now I'm pleased that this is something Briz can eat.

dog food and dinosaurs
What Else Is In There?
While this is a starch-free food with powdered protein bits taking the place of the carbohydrates, there are a couple of pulpy plant ingredients in there. Beet pulp and tomato pomace are both on the list. These provide fiber for optimal stool quality, as well as supplying various vitamins and antioxidants, and improving the gut flora environment.

Taste Test
Predictably, Brisbane loves Epigen Venison the same way he loves all food. Sisci was also a fan. Ru won't eat it reliably. I can sometimes convince him to have a few bites, but if this were his only option he'd probably starve. I would have thought he'd enjoy it, as the kibbles are tiny and dense a look just right for chihuahuas. Go figure.

Bottom Line
This is a very high-quality food with an unusually high protein content. It merits five out of five stars on the Dog Food Advisor website, and is very allergy-friendly. I would feel comfortable feeding this to my dogs for an extended period of time, except Ru who would likely starve to death. I truly appreciate that Wysong's product information repeatedly states that feeding a single food continuously with no variation is not ideal. Variety is what we should really be striving for, even if allergies make that difficult. What I don't appreciate is this company's willingness to shout about how carbohydrates are literally killing our dogs while selling dog food made out of rice. Like they somehow didn't think I'd be smart enough to read all of their information and notice the glaring inconsistencies. I should probably email them about this one of these days.

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