Merrick Classic Dog Food Review – #BestDogEver Easily Digestible Dog Food

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Merrick. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Choosing the right dog food is a constant battle for many families. If you have dog with allergies its even harder to achieve a blissful home. Merrick Classic Dog Food is a potato, wheat, corn, and soy free kibble with limited ingredients so you know what your dog is consuming and you can recognize what the ingredients are on the list. I can attest to having an allergy dog, as I am constantly on the search for easily digestible dog food that won’t break the budget. It’s been a hard year of trying to figure out what my dogs are allergic to. Is it fleas or is it food? If it’s food is it an allergy to a protein, a grain, potato or is sugar the culprit? Raising dogs with allergies is not for the faint of heart. It comes with frequent stomach upset which ends in a mess all over the carpet. It results in high vet bills from chronic ear, bladder, and skin infections. You might see burping, gas that will clear even the men from the room. At one point one of my dogs could have easily beaten my son in a farting contest!

merrick classic lamb

One common thing in all of the previous dog kibble we had tried was potato. What I found was that when we went grain free it usually would contain potato as a substitute. Merrick Classic Dog Food is not grain free but it is potato free, and the grains are not the typical grains you usually find in dog kibble. These are ancient grains, green peas, brown rice, and barley. Merrick is an easily digestible dog food that researches the importance of proper nutrition in our beloved dogs.

Merrick Classic Dry Dog Food is made with whole health in mind. The flavor I chose is the Classic Real Lamb + Green Peas Recipe with Ancient Grains. This flavor has real lamb as the first ingredient, lamb meal as the second. Wholesome vegetables, a unique blend of grains, Omega 6+ Omega 3 fatty acids, contains leading levels of glucosamine + chondroitin, contains no potatoes, corn, wheat or soy. Merrick Food is a leading brand revolutionizing the dog food industry by ensuring dogs have access to dog food that does not contains common allergens or low quality protein sources. Each classic flavor contains wholesome vegetables and fruits, quality protein sources, and wholesome grains like the new ancient grains that the lam comes with.

merrick classic dog food

So far my dogs seem to enjoy the food. I gave them a probiotic with the food as a way to aid in converting dog food brands, since my gus have such horrible allergies. I do recommend that you do that as it aids in digesting the food, and soothes the stomach. Merick has 5 classic flavors, they do not manufacture their food in China, are a US company, contain not potato, corn, wheat or soy.

The 5 Merrick Classic Dry Dog Food varieties are

Classic Real Beef + Green Peas Recipe with Ancient Grains
Classic Real Chicken + Green Peas Recipe with Ancient Grains
Classic Real Lamb + Green Peas Recipe with Ancient Grains
Classic Puppy Recipe
Classic Small Breed Recipe
I like that there is a small breed recipe since sometimes kibble size can be problematic for small dogs to chew, and if they don’t chew but swallow instead they can sometimes choke if kibble is too large. I like that the food does not stink, is not too costly, and appears to keep my dogs satisfied. With other brands I have found that there was not enough protein or too many fillers which tend to digest slower but does nothing to keep my dogs healthy and fit. Merrick’s dry dog food is a brand that I feel safe feeding to my dogs. However, my Bichon Frise (pictured in this blog post), is able to eat the regular sized kibble Merrick sent to me. He has had no problems eating it.

Brothers Complete – Allergy Free Dog Food Review

Disclaimer: This post is a product review of Brothers Complete Dog Food, and may contain affiliated links. All opinions are my own. For more information about Emily’s Frugal Tips product review guidelines please visit our disclosure policy here and Amazon policies here

Allergy free dog food has been something I have struggled with for almost 1.5 years but we’re finally destroying these darn allergies. Learn how I did it, and why Brothers Complete Dog Food is a good recommendation for allergy free living. Here’s a personal Brothers Complete Dog Food Review for you to decide if this food is for your pooch.

skin allergies dogs

I am always on the look out for quality kibble that won’t cause allergy problems for my German Shepherd/Australian Shepherd mix who has suffered from severe food allergies since he was a puppy. Skin allergies in dogs can become a serious issue if not realized soon enough, and skin allergies dogs can get vary widely but are not always food related. Brothers Complete Dog Food was created for people that have dogs with allergies to food. When you have a dog that is suffering from food borne allergies it can get VERY expensive. I bet if I tailed how much I have spend over the course of my dog’s first year it would amount to thousands of dollars. So it’s important to rule food out right away both to eliminate suffering and to stop your bank account from running dry. Dog food allergy symptoms in dogs can be very obvious or not so much, it really just depends on the dog. The most common dog food allergy symptoms in dogs are ear infections, continuously itching, rashes on the spine and joint areas. The itching will be different then a flea allergy, so for example, where in flea allergies you will see your guy chewing the legs, the back near the base of the tail, and the sides of the body. In food allergies it’s going to be rashes that can span the entire base of the spine, in the joints, ear and bladder infections. A potato allergy will result in frequent yeast build up in the years. Allergy free dog food is very important to solving food allergies in dogs.

The most common dog food allergies are poultry, grain, and potato allergies. You have to be very careful that any dog food you purchase does not have the allergen in it. This has been an on going issue for us. In fact, shortly after the photo was taken he got his 3rd ear infection. He was only 6 months in this photograph above. I think that right there tells you how bad it was. By the time he turned a year old he was on his 8th ear infection, 3rd bladder infection, and 1st skin infection. Needless to say, it has been a rough road with this guy. Brothers Complete Dog Food came into the picture, and literally changed my dogs life. It took a few bags before we saw a lot of change, but once the old kibbles wore out of his system I could see a big difference all around, and even though we ultimately decided not to continue feeding this brand which I will explain farther down in this post, I do highly recommend Brothers Complete Dog Food.

skin allergies dogs

We started with Brothers Complete Chicken Meal & Egg Formula pictured above. At the time we did suspect a chicken allergy, but Brothers Complete claims on their website that often when a chicken allergy is present it is because the kibble company uses chicken by products and low quality chicken. So to disclose, we did start out knowing that our guy probably would not tolerate the chicken and egg formula but wanted to try anyway. In the end we did find that he did not do well on the Chicken and Egg formula, and we moved onto a different flavor. We did see some relief, but not as much as I would have liked. However, the company had sent us several packages of dried sweet potato, and we had been feeding the sweet potato as treats. Once we discovered that it could be the sweet potato we took it away, and did see some instant relief which got better over time. Today he is free of ear infection, and his itching has minimized dramatically. I would say the food did help a lot, but we did not receive enough of each flavor to really test which flavor would be better based on his allergy symptoms.

In the photograph the food on the tray is only Brothers Complete brand, but when you switch a dog’s food you have to do it slowly over a period of time. So actually the photo was taken before mixing in the old kibble. Also note, it’s on a tray and not in a bowl because my dog is a gulper. When you have a dog that is a gulper they end up getting a lot of air into their tummies, which results in gastro, burping, and lots of farting.  Certain dog food dishes slow down eating, and in our case we found a dog food tray worked much better for us. So to prevent it, you feed on a dog food tray (this one is only $8 shipped) and scatter the food around so that they aren’t able to just gulp lots of food quickly. I typically throw in toys on the tray, and really scatter the kibble around to make him work for it. We also have 2 dogs, and the other dog, a Bichon Frise, does not have food allergies or gulping issues.

As the date of this post, and to my knowledge and research Brothers Complete Dog Food has never had a recall. I noticed in my research the keyword coming up brothers dog food recall, so this is a hot topic for many. For good reason no doubt. I purposely look for recalls before trying a food because I am not willing to feed my babies a food that has had a lot of recalls. So to reiterate brothers complete recall has NEVER happened as of the date of this blog posting. The company works very hard to ensure that they sell a quality product, and know that their consumers want a quality food for their dogs. Brothers Complete has a questions and answers section on their website to answer frequent questions surrounding conversion, allergies, and ingredient questions. Brothers is effective in eliminating common dog food allergies because it is grain and potato free. You will find that when a food is grain free it supplements the grain with potato, which many dogs are also allergic to. So For this reason its one of the best dry dog food for allergies. They also use human grade proteins, and sources their ingredients in the United States. The food is made in small batches, and is vacuum sealed so that you are not receiving a product that has been sitting in a warehouse for 6 months.

scotchy the bichon frise

Brothers Complete Dog Food has some of the best dry dog food reviews on dogfoodadviser.com, the leading website for unbiased dog food ratings. The food is made with quality proteins, appropriate levels of omega 3’s, and over 90% of the protein in Brothers Complete is derived from animal proteins. The nutrients not only meet AAFCO standards but are slow cooked for ultimate nutrition and taste. Brothers also adds in a digestive enzymes and prebiotics to help with digestion for maximum nutrition. You can learn more about the efforts Brothers Complete goes to to ensure your pets are healthy here

How to Transition Your Dog from Old Kibble to Brothers Complete

Transitioning is very important in making sure your dog does not suffer gastro issues. If you simply take out the old food, and replace with the new food you might run into loose stools, throwing up, and even a resistance to the new food. So for the safety of your dog I recommend that you talk with your vet about which way they prefer or do what I do and slowly introduce the new kibble over a 2 week period. As you do this you increase the new kibble and decrease the old. You will start with 3/4 old and 1/4th brothers, and then increase to 1/2 old and 1/2 brothers, and so on until by week 2 you are feeding only brothers complete.

Healing “crisis” and Detox Warning

This is a high quality protein diet, and if your dog is not used to eating a high quality kibble they might go through a period called a healing crisis in which you might see loose stools or throwing up. This should pass within a couple days, and is a result of detoxing from the poor quality kibble being fed previously. Your dog might also develop a rash or allergy symptoms might come back for short period, and then disappear permanently. This is also a part of detox, and is explained at the link above.  During this phase it is important to keep feeding the kibble, but of course see your vet if you have any concerns and follow their directions. At the detox point you should have stopped mixing in the old kibble. Continuing to feed the old kibble while the dog is detoxing from it only prolongs this phase.

allergy free dog food

 

To recap, Brother’s Complete Dog Food is a great allergy free dog food, it is made right here in the US and has sourced ingredients from the United States as well. The kibble is made from high quality proteins without grains or potato which are common allergy inducing ingredients in dog food. There is no fillers which you often do see in lower end kibble, and even in some higher end brands. The price point of this kibble can be steep for some people, and the product is not available locally in most states. You can however purchase on the brand’s website and on Amazon (lower prices). Brothers Complete does carry 4 kibble flavors: chicken & egg, turkey & egg, lamb & egg allergy, and venison & egg allergy. There are also biscuits in the 4 flavors, dried meats (beef liver, chicken breast, ect), dried sweet potato (not for dogs with potato allergies), and bully sticks.

Ultimately we did love this brand of dog food, but because I could not purchase it locally I was not willing to continue feeding it. I am an extremely busy person, and I could see myself forgetting to order the food on time or not being able to pick it up in time. Plus the food is pretty expensive. You can expect to pay around $95 + shipping for a 25 pound bag. With an 80 pound and 18 pound dogs I knew I could not realistically afford that. Jasper eats about 40 pounds of food a month! For $200+ a month I can feed raw or purchase food locally, and not have to worry about shipping.

Update From Brother’s Complete

Brother’s Complete marketing department responded via a comment on my blog with this information:

I wanted to let you know that shipping of Brothers is free in the contiguous 48 states. If Jasper is 80 lbs he would only need 3 cups of Brothers a day because it’s more nutritious and perfectly balanced which means a 25 lb bag would last him about a month as there are about 90 cups in a 25 lb bag. Your 18 pounder would only require about ⅔ a cup a day or 20 cups a month. The Turkey and Egg is $81.79 for a 25 lb bag so based on that, if you lived in the states, you could feed your two dogs for about $100 a month. However, I’m not sure what cost is added to get the food into Canada.

Five Reasons Why a Dog Will Change Your Life Forever

No matter who you are, owning a dog is an equal employment opportunity. Dogs are blind to color, ignore religious and sexual preferences and don’t care about age, intelligence or socio-economic levels. Let a dog into your life and it will change your life forever.

5 reasons

Kennel clubs recognize more than 400 different dog breeds and organize types of dogs by breeds and categories such as hunters and working dogs. Most people, however, just know three types of dogs: large dogs, medium dogs and small dogs.

Examples of large dogs consist of German shepherds, Australian shepherd, golden retrievers and rottweilers. These intelligent dogs are often trained as work dogs. They are outside dogs and require room to exercise.

Small dogs include the “toy” dog breeds, aka “lap dogs”. Some breeds in this category are beagles, terriers, Bichon Frise, Pomeranians and Chihuahuas. These dogs stay mostly indoors and like a lot of attention.

bichon frise

Before you make the big change in your life-that is, get a dog-be sure to consider your life style and the dog’s needs. Without thought and planning, those life changes may not be for the better! That’s why you should know five reasons why a dog will change your life forever.

scotchy and jasper

1. A dog forces you to go outside yourself. Like a young child, your dog will depend entirely on you to meet all his needs. To do this you must include him in your thoughts and plans and take responsibility for him. Once you do this, you can never go back to complete self-absorption.

2. Dog ownership creates a lot of changes in your schedules and priorities. You want to sleep in, but your dog wants/needs to go outside. Guess who wins? Owning a dog will add to your budget and might affect relationships.

3. Since dogs need exercise, that means you get it also. Dog owners often lose weight and stay fitter.

4. Dogs create changes in their owner’s personality. They reduce stress and anxiety. They lift depression, increase self-confidence and self-esteem. Those are life-long changes.

5. You will experience unconditional love and loyalty. No human can ever match what dogs give in this category. It’s guaranteed, once you have experienced this kind of love, you will never be the same.

Still want a dog? Go for it. Before you spend big bucks on pedigrees, however, check your local animal rescue shelter. You’ll be glad you did.

Special thanks to my daughter, Mahaylah, for these lovely photos of our dogs. To read more about Mahaylah’s photography skills see our about us section

Pad Train Your Puppy in Just 7 Days Using Positive Reinforcement Techniques

Puppies can be a pain to potty train but with the right techniques and tools you can have success in just 7 days! I successfully pad trained my Bichon Frise/Miniture Poodle puppy as soon as he arrived to our home using this positive reinforcement technique and it was very successful. Now that we have a brand new 7 week old Australian Shepherd/GSD puppy I will be using this technique on him as well. Read on to learn how to pad train your puppy in just 7 days. That’s it, just 7 days and you are home free!

pad train me

The reason this takes 7 days to fully train is because your puppy needs to form a habit for it to work properly. If you are not consistently following these steps for 7 WHOLE days it will not work and your puppy will go back to wetting on the carpet.

You will need

Training pads
** you are going to need a lot of them so I recommend All-Absorb 100 Count Training Pads, 22-Inch by 23-Inch, they are only $20 shipped and that is a really good price for puppy pads. Continue reading “Pad Train Your Puppy in Just 7 Days Using Positive Reinforcement Techniques”

Review of Bil-Jack Dog Treats

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Bil-Jac makes dog food and dog treats. They are a family owned business that was first established in 1947, after coming home from serving out country. Bil-Jac’s food is uniquely made to increase your pets coat. You will see a difference in its thickness and shine.

Bil-Jac’s food is loved by even the pickiest dogs. The food is made with real chicken, there’s no fat added to the food and it’s grain gluten free. Bil Jac’s use of carbohydrates is to add extra energy and nutritional value.
Bil Jac makes small and large breed dog food, snacks and special dietary foods in several difference flavors.

My review

We received a package of the PB Nannas Soft Treats for Dogs and Original Dog Treats. Since I do not own a dog we allowed my grandparents to have their dog Baily try the treats. Baily is a purebred miniature male poodle. He is very hyper as he’s a young dog and he’s not very disciplined like the toy poodles they are used to.  Grandma said that Baily devoured the treats in one sitting when she wasn’t looking, so I would say he definitely liked them!

Gluten Free Dog Treats

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups gluten free  flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup gluten free peanut butter
1 egg
1/2 cup cheddar cheese

Directions:

If you don’t have a dog with gluten intolerance you can just use what’s on hand. Otherwise pick up gluten free products at any organic grocery store isle
Throw everything into a mixing bowl. Mix everything until it  comes out thick so you can roll it and use a cookie cutter
bake at 375 for about 45 min turning every 10-15 min so they do not get too dark

*Thanks to admin Crystal Sherman for this awesome recipe! Below, Crystal’s dog Jax.