Friday, September 28, 2012

The Merrick Pet Care Revolution

If you're like me, you're still reeling from the debacle over pet food ingredients sourced in China, and you're still second guessing everything you put into your pet's mouth. It's nice to see some companies have taken notice of what's going on in a pretty big way, responding by simply making better food for our furry friends.

One such company is Merrick.

Before being approached to do a review of Merrick's new line of food, the most I knew about them was that they make some adorable flavors of wet, canned dog food. I bet you didn't know dog food could be adorable, but with flavors that mimic human meals, like Cowboy Cookout and Thanksgiving Day Dinner, how can you disagree?

Now, before I get into the review part of this post, I feel that it's important to share this:

All foods are made in the USA using only the freshest ingredients grown by local farmers. 

That's an official Merrick statement. It's one that I really like.

Want to hear more awesome news directly from Merrick? They recently announced that Merrick has...

earned organic certification under the USDA National Organic Program (NOP), for all of its Texas based manufacturing facilities.


They sent us a semi-incredible package for this review. It included a variety of samples from their new line, both dry kibble and wet canned food. Not to mention some bonus goodies.

Take a look at our photos from the grand unveiling:

The torture begins...

Classic chicken, brown rice, and peas recipe in three formulas (adult, puppy, small adult--not necessarily in that order)

Three of the grain free flavors

Our happy model


Two of the items in the package were a wooden spoon and a little ceramic container meant to look like a stew pot. So cute. I love the pot. I put it out in my kitchen and use it to hold Desmond's Anxitane.

Did you notice the bags of food on the ground? Would you like to know what that's about? We thought we would be awesome doggie parents and let Desmond have at the bags. Seemed like it might be fun.

But we're working with a Desmond as opposed to a regular dog. Let's go to the tape and see what happened:

Oh, Desmond.

In any case, we gave him the duck & sweet potato recipe to try first. And let me just say that I was very jealous. I can't remember the last time one of the humans in this household got to have a meal so nice as duck and sweet potato. I'm starting to think something ain't right here.

We definitely had a hit on our hands. In fact, there was not one single flavor, dry or wet, that Desmond turned his nose up at, including the chicken.

The only thing that I was less than pleased about was the size of the kibble. As you may know, that's something that matters around here. Take a look at this comparison:

Merrick kibble on the top (tombstone shaped, actually. I wonder if they realize that. Or if I'm just weird.) and Nature's Logic kibble on the bottom.

One of their formulas did have smaller kibble, although I cannot recall if it was the puppy formula or the small adult. I have a feeling I will be picking up some of the Merrick kibble in the future, because I would like to supplement Desmond's new Honest Kitchen diet with something crunchy (and also I'd like to not spend all of my disposable income on dog food. THK is great but $$$$). That being said, I will likely go rogue and get the "wrong" formula so I can feed him the smaller kibble. Since it's just a supplement really, I think it should be OK.

Another reason why I'd be willing to pick up some Merrick is because I can do exactly that. Just pick it up. On a whim. Because it is sold at PETCO! Wooooo!

I know not everyone is a PETCO fan, but I have no personal beef with them. They are local and cheaper than our local independent retailer. They also have a bigger variety than the indie pet supply store. We have to choose our battles. I cannot be an advocate of every single animal cause in existence. Sorry folks!

[sidebar:] OK, can we briefly discuss the hassle of ordering small packages of food online? free shipping only comes with expensive orders. plus, you can't seem to get single cans of wet food online. what is up with that? i like variety. i like to use canned food as a fun bonus to a meal sometimes. i don't want a freakin 12-pack of the same flavor. sheesh. moving on... [end sidebar]

So, yes, bottom line is that I would 100% buy pretty much any of the Merrick products for my dog. Well, not the grain-free food. I'm way too cheap for that. Let's be honest.

Now then, here are some fun things regarding Merrick.

They're running a contest/giveaway on Facebook until 10/1. That's this Sunday. You can win a year's worth of free food, so if I were you, I'd hightail it on over to FB and get on that.

Also, if you're local to NYC, they're running a pretty cool event at Union Square in a few weeks.

I actually work pretty close to Union Square now (in fact, my job switch is a big big part of the reason why this is my first blog post in two weeks), so I'm contemplating heading down.

Here's more info (also direct from Merrick):

What: Doggupy (#Doggupy) is an organized protest in New York City uniting dogs and their owners in the cause to bring dogs everywhere better food.  Dog lovers (with or without their furry friends) can join the pet food revolution by signing a pawtition to raise donations of wholesome food for local shelter dogs through the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals. Attendees will rally, learn about nutrition for their pet, receive free samples and take pictures while "liberating the bowl." The event in Union Square is just the beginning of the movement. Consumers can also sign a pawtition on Facebook help Merrick donate real, wholesome food to dogs in need.

Tuesday, October 2
11:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. 
*This space is Doggupied — arrive between 11:30 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. and enter to win a year's supply of food. Ten prizes will be awarded.
Where: Union Square, New York City – NW Corner (Union Square W and E 17th Street)
Why: United we sit. Together we stay. Because dogs deserve real food and should eat what people eat, for those that join the revolution by attending Doggupy —  furry or not — Merrick Pet  Care will donate food to local shelter animals in partnership with the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals.
Who: Merrick Pet Care Inc., a leader in the super-premium pet food category, is declaring a pet food revolution — a revolution in a dog bowl — with its announcement of a new line of dog food entrees that brings pet food to an entirely new level. With a mission to create the most nutritious and wholesome food it can to help families take better care of their pets. Made in the USA with only the freshest, locally grown ingredients, the entrees provide balanced nutrition, with health you can see in your dog’s bowl, and more importantly, in your dog.

FTC disclaimer: We were sent a free kit of various dog food samples for Desmond in exchange for our honest opinion of the products. No payment was received.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Our 2nd Annual Dog Party

About a month ago, Desmond, the husband, and I hosted our 2nd annual doggie party. You may recall our 1st dog party and its epic love story (looking back at those pix, I kind of can't believe what our yard/driveway used to look like). 

This year's party was a bit more low-key and involved fewer organized activities (due only to lack of preparation time), but we did have a somewhat different mix of dogs. This time, Darius brought his baby sister Lucy, Jackie's sister stayed home to lounge with her pops, Shea decided big dogs were just too gross for her to deal with, and three little pups (two of which are Canadian) joined in on the fun: Winston, Tank, and Bruiser. 

Low-key or not, we all had a blast and the dogs were all snoozing away for many many hours afterwards. 

Here's a fun fact from this year's party: I made doggie snacks using one of Jodi's recipes from Kol's Notes. The Cheesyburger Pupcakes we had were a huge hit. Thank you very much, Jodi, for your assistance in helping me choose what to make. I still actually have a bunch in my freezer, which Desmond doesn't realize, thank goodness. I assume he would have found a way to open the freezer by now if he were aware of their presence.

Here are some pix of the action. All the photos below are from friends. The only pictures I took are the ones of the pupcakes and the very last one. 

Jackie & Des

Agility playthings
Jackie & Des

More doggie toys

Des & Jackie running around


Des & Jax

Secret frolicking

Water break

Standing break


Desmond whispering sweet nothings into Jackie's ear, as per usual

Dogs in love

A Yankees dog drinking from a Mets bowl

Jackie wades into the tall grasses that Desmond avoids like the plague

Resting in the dirt, of course



Jackie testing out the waters with another man, Winston

About to enjoy a nice nap

Desmond not caring about how dirty dirt is

Jackie and her mom; Demsmond giving Jackie's new boyfriend dirty looks; Desmond's poppa

Lucy checking out some toys while Jackie checks her out

What a face!

What a mouth!

Winston on his way to the party

Kona & Des with their daddies

One of our Canadian DBFFs, Tank

an Instagram pic
Pupcakes pre-freezing
Not bad. I'd consider eating it myself.
The aftermath of Desmond's injury

Oh, yes, that's right. Desmond sustained an injury. Of course. Is this dog going to be like a human male toddler forever? He's all over the place and constantly hurting himself, seemingly without even noticing.

This time, he managed to slice off a big chunk of his paw pad--the main one, not one under a toe. It was sufficiently gross and apparently sufficiently painful, because Des was limping. We made him rest as much as possible. The next day, he still had to go outside for potty, and when we went back to work he still needed his walks.

The best we could come up with was to clean it and use our doggie liquid bandage stuff and then cover it up with a sock, which we then duct taped around his leg tight enough so that it couldn't just fall off or be easily pulled off. The tape wasn't on his fur/skin at all, so don't worry. And anyway, I totally saw this in a Clara Barton biography once.

I'm still amazed he allowed any of this to happen and was willing to walk with it on. He continued to limp with it on, and then it kind of fell down as far as it could go (due to the tape) and he would wind up with this long, dirty, wet sock flopping around on his paw. It was semi-hilarious but mostly just sad.

After a few days of this, he seemed to stop limping; so we stopped using the sock method. It took a while to really heal though, and we didn't take him to the park or play fetch with him for a while after that. He was not pleased about this.

Other than that, everything was a success. I look forward to doing another dog party again next year and may even look into doing a party over the winter at an indoor dog park nearby.
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