Parker has been eating Orijen for years and it has served him quite well up until recently. (They changed the formula so that there is more protein and less fruit / vegetables.) As soon as he started eating the new formula, his stool changed (smell and consistency) drastically and so did his breath. Suddenly when he opened his mouth, you could smell it from across the room. Not pleasant, I tell you.

I thought “time for a change” so I switched him over to Taste of the Wild as it has extremely high ratings and great feedback from colleagues, clients, and friends. The issues did not disappear and it’s been almost a month.

I’m a pretty patient person, but I like to see results sooner than that…so I made another decision. Keep him on Taste of the Wild (he seems to enjoy it more than the Orijen) but go back to mostly home-cooking for him.

When we first adopted Parker, we tried a few different foods and some were good, some were *really* bad (Science Diet which caused him to develop acute colitis where he passed blood instead of feces) and finally I gave up on kibble. I listened to my mother (we all should) and started home-cooking for him. Everything changed – his stool was consistent, his coat was shiny and smooth, his breath was neutral, he had great energy and slept soundly, his weight remained consistent, etc…

However, after a few months of that, I found it difficult to maintain with a full-time job so I put him on the highest quality kibble we could find – Orijen. Like I said, it served him well for years.

So here I am, home-cooking again and I am really looking forward to seeing how it turns out. Tonight I made a pretty stellar mash for him:

  • brown rice
  • lean ground beef
  • sweet potato
  • canned tuna
  • kidney beans
  • spinach
  • green beans
  • green peas
  • safflower oil
  • vitamins/minerals

He does really well with veggies and the rice really seems to settle his stomach quite a lot. I kept the protein level high but not as high as the commercial kibble he’s been eating.

Here are a few pictures of how it turned out:

I’m still supplementing each meal with some Taste of the Wild kibble and he also gets the occasional dollop of cottage cheese or plain yogurt plus healthy snacks like banana, blueberries, carrots, etc… and he will continue to get his raw or smoked bones in order to keep his teeth clean (plus regular brushings).

I’ll keep regular updates as we go along and we’ll see how things turn out. I’ll also post recipes as I move through the different options. This mash was pretty exciting and I may tone it down going forward, but it feels nice and balanced for now as long as he’s got some fruit in his snacks.

Stay tuned!


About Caryn Charlie Liles
Caryn is a Toronto-based “people-trainer for dogs” and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT). She is the founder of Whatta Pup!, a pet dog training company established in 2008. Seeing a growing need for specialized training due to an increase in aggression in Toronto, Caryn co-founded The Toronto Centre for Canine Education, specializing in “the socially-challenged dog”.

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