Natural Health Corner : Innova and California Natural Dog Food by Natura
Dog food has become a very confusing industry. The quality of the ingredients is so variable no wonder our dogs end up at the vet so frequently with ear problems, eye problems, skin problems, intermittent diarrhea, etc. The quality of the meat used in the food varies greatly and can be anything from diseased or decayed meat, to beaks, feet and entrails; that is what is meant by meat by products.
We've searched high and low for the best food to feed our dogs since good nutrition and good health go hand in hand. We've tried several different brands over the last few years and we were not impressed with any of them, until now. We've been feeding Innova dog food since August of 1998 and are so impressed with it that we've decided to carry it at the training center. By far the most impressive thing about this food besides good health, is the ingredient list. Turkey, chicken, chicken meal, whole ground barley, whole ground rice, steamed potatoes, white rice, chicken fat, (preserved with vitamin e and vitamin c) herring, raw apples, steamed carrots, cottage cheese, sunflower oil......... The most important point here is that these are high quality ingredients without any chemical preservatives or fillers, just real food ! The first three ingredients of the food indicate that the source of protein used to make this food come from good quality sources, not ground up parts of whatever's left over from the people food industry. The crude protein is 24.0 % and the crude fat content 14%, this is a diet that can be fed to dogs of all ages puppy through adult. Innova even comes in a senior formula that contains supplements that help with arthritis and other problems associated with the aging dog.
The company that makes this product also makes a product called California Natural which only has three high quality ingredients, lamb, brown rice and sunflower oil, for dogs that are allergic to other protein sources or for people who prefer to feed a lamb based diet. If you've read about dog food at all you'll realize how exceptional it is to find a dog food with only three ingredients and no extra fillers.
Here's what I notice about Natura dog foods. They don't have a weird odor, the dogs love the taste, their coats are shiny and in good condition, they don't have junk in their ears, runny eyes or skin irritations. Their stools are fully formed and regular, not smelly or loose. I also notice that the Innova food in particular is very palatable. My fussy German Shepherd eats just about every meal, and dogs in training classes take it as a treat as though it's steak or liver. I've even given it accidentally to fussy dogs in classes and was amazed when they took it right out of my hand.
The more research I do the more I realize that no one food is for every dog, you have to decide what is best for your dog and stick with it. With any food you feed, give it 6-8wks and see if you notice a difference. Both Innova and California Natural are comparable price wise to other high quality pet foods. Though if you compare the ingredient lists, I think you'll find that Natura diets use a higher quality protein source and no fillers. I was shocked to learn in my research that supposed high quality foods use meat by products as their source of protein, and cheap fillers like beet pulp and chemical preservatives like BHA, BHT and ethoxyquin.
We've had good luck with Innova, the dogs seem to be doing great on it. We've decided to carry it at the training center along with California Natural (the lamb and rice version). The manufacturer is a very small company that insists on making the product fresh, because of that they do not store their product in warehouses and do not sell their products to large pet store chains. The company operates on a supply and demand basis insuring that each bag of food is of the highest quality. Innova comes in 3 sizes 33lb, 16.5lb and 6.6 lb and California Natural comes in 36lb, 20lb, and 5lb bags. We plan on carrying a good supply at the training center and special orders can be placed for any versions of the product we do not currently have in stock (California Natural comes in a puppy food and also makes a biscuit, Innova comes in a senior version and also makes a cat food). Training center hours revolve around classes and daycare hours, Monday eves 7-8:30 pm, Tuesday 7am- 8 pm, Wednesdays 6:00 -8:00 pm, and Thursdays 7am- 6 pm. Special arrangements can be made to pick up food or to place a special order by calling 781-324-3722.