Whole Dog Journal's Blog February 3, 2014

Can’t find a certain food on our “Approved Foods List”?

Posted at 01:51PM - Comments: (26)

It happens every year: In our February issue, we review dry dog foods, and list the companies that make the dry dog foods that meet our selection criteria in our “WDJ’s Approved Dry Dog Foods” list. We list the foods by company, because if we listed them by the name of the food, we’d have to repeat the company information for some companies many, many times. Companies like Diamond and WellPet, for example, have four lines of approved foods each. So instead, we put all the lines made by each company under the companies’ names, like thus:


- Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul
- Premium Edge
- Professional
- Taste of the Wild


- Holistic Select

- Wellness Complete Health

- Wellness Core

- Wellness Simple

We also say in the text: “The foods that we like and that meet our selection criteria appear on the chart under their maker’s name. These companies are listed alphabetically. So, for example, please don’t freak out when you don’t see Orijen under the O’s; it’s listed under the name of the company that owns it: Champion Pet Foods.”

I almost always use the example of Orijen and Champion because I get the most letters from people who are upset that Orijen wasn’t on our list and WHY? Orijen ALWAYS IS ON OUR LIST UNDER ITS MAKER, CHAMPION!

This year is no different, however. I have already received dozens of letters asking why Orijen is not on our list (it is) as well as Taste of the Wild (it’s listed under its maker, Diamond) and why have we de-listed Prairie (we haven’t; it’s listed under its maker, Nature’s Variety).

The list of approved foods already takes up 7 pages of the magazine; I am loathe to make it even longer by repeating some of the company information several times so that the list can be ordered alphabetically by product name rather than company name. But a needlessly long, repetitive list is not the only thing that keeps me from reordering the list in this way.

In order for someone to be concerned that they didn’t see a certain food on the chart that is actually there, two failures had to occur. 1.) The reader had to fail to read the article that accompanies the list – which spells out exactly why we have put some foods on our list but not others, and which explains that the foods are listed alphabetically by company. 2) They failed to either see or understand that the list is ordered by company, or to know the name of the company that makes the food they wondered about. And I worry terribly about those failures.

It’s far more important for me to educate people in the article about how their dogs’ food can be evaluated, and some of the critical factors they might want to consider when choosing a day-in, day-out diet for their dogs, than it is to list the ones that meet our selection criteria. I’d rather people know and understand why the foods that are on the list are on the list, than to give them the list itself. The worried inquiry about “Where is Orijen??” tells me that someone only cares that “it’s on our list” and no more. It shouldn’t be enough to be on our list; it should meet your own and your dog’s own criteria, too. 

Also, every dog owner should know the name of the company that makes their dog’s food! It’s simple when you feed Canidae; the name Canidae appears above the name of each of its foods. You’d have to read the fine print on a bag to know that Orijen is made by Champion . . . but you need to read the fine print on each bag of food you feed your dog!

Anyway, as my husband says, that’s my rant for the day. Let us know if you have any comments or suggestions that would solve our annual dilemma and forestall confusion. Should I just give up and list “what’s in” and “what’s out” and no more?

Comments (26)

I can't find any review of ZIWI Peak since 2014

Posted by: PhyllisB | August 4, 2018 12:29 PM    Report this comment

Wondering what kind of dog food motherofonyx found to give their schnauzer with the pancreatitis. My 11 year old mini schnauzer has pancreatitis. And I also feed her Science Diet ID formula. But it seems to have nothing good in it. Only good thing is it is low in fat. Any dog food suggestions?

Posted by: sunsetgrillronandlynn@gmail.com | April 27, 2014 12:30 PM    Report this comment

It is good that food chart appear with the makers name.
pets-warehouse sales the Eco friendly dog toys all over the UK with a wide variety of price ranges.

pets-warehouse.co.uk/dog /dog-toysg toys

Posted by: dog toys | April 22, 2014 4:11 AM    Report this comment

I find shopping for food for my dog (and cat) to be a frustrating business. I want the best for them. So, I'm writing to ask if anyone has used Costco's new ORGANIC/grain free/ dog food? Any opinions, etc.? I've been using grain-free for all of my dog's life but never could find organic too. This sounds like a perfect food but would like to know what others think.

Posted by: Mousse'smom | April 18, 2014 11:47 AM    Report this comment

I am at my witts end trying to calculate just what it is to feed my little guy, he is 15 lbs schnauzer mix, pancreaitis attack? had been on Hills id restore prescription diet, did very well and now an attack, far too many vet visits tests, prescribed md food that ingredients aren't even listed?? and prior to an attack he was going outside trying to eat dirt, grass to vomit? acts hungry something is missing in his diet, I am totally disqusted with the vets and food makers? just what should I feed him?? looks as though cottage cheese? rice boiled chicken is healthier than dog food?? Newmans organix Costco organix natures domain with chicken and peas?? Wellness?

Posted by: motherofonyx | April 13, 2014 10:42 AM    Report this comment

Kiah: I didn't single out or name you or anyone else -- nor did I mean to insult or demean anyone. The truth is, we get DOZENS of these inquiries. And I really am at a loss for how to improve the charts so that everyone can find what they are looking for (without making the charts even longer). For me, it's far more important to try to give dog owners information about the traits of good and low-quality foods, just to get them into the right ballpark of purchasing considerations when they are in their own local pet supply stores. If they know what to look for and to look out for, it doesn't matter what is or is not on our list. That's all.

To everyone: I would welcome your suggestions about how to make the food reviews more useful to YOU.

Sandra O: We like ZiwiPeak, and include it in our reviews of dehydrated and freeze-dried foods. the most recent review of that category was in the June 2013 issue; we'll cover these foods again this June.

-- Nancy Kerns, Editor

Posted by: WDJ Editor Nancy Kerns | February 6, 2014 1:21 PM    Report this comment

Betty's suggestion of adding a simple brand/manufacturer conversion chart is a great idea! I confess, I love to read everything over several times, as I discover a new ingredient or method of comparing brands. Thanks for the great work at WDJ - it helps me back up my suggestions to friends in helping them upgrade their dog's food.

Posted by: Robin Chaffey | February 5, 2014 1:11 PM    Report this comment

VERY useful publication!! Keep up the good work!

Posted by: 2dogsdad | February 5, 2014 1:03 PM    Report this comment

Could you do more reviews on commercial raw diet? I wish my cats would also eat this, but they are very picky.
Kramer,s Mom

Posted by: kim w | February 5, 2014 4:55 AM    Report this comment

Many thanks for the time and effort that you spend compiling the approved list of both dry and canned dog food. Maybe the folks that cannot find their food of choice is it is not good enough to make your list or they they did not read your entire article.I have been a subscriber to your publication for over 11 years (I have saved every copy) and have used and trusted the information you provide us to properly provide for 4 wonderful Shelties. They deserve the best care and the best food available and you source that for us. It would be like playing Russian roulette with my Shelties without the helpful information you provide. Thank you for the job you do for us and our fur babies.

Posted by: Ken C | February 4, 2014 6:40 PM    Report this comment

My comment was not directed at you or anyone else who posted a comment. I did not initially read the comments. I was simply reacting to the article itself.
I apologize and would edit my comment, if I knew how. (I get my WDJ the old fashion way, in the mail, and rarely visit the site.)
Don't be so quick to give up on the publication, as it really is a great resource.

Posted by: John I | February 4, 2014 3:10 PM    Report this comment

Thank you so much for the information you provide. It would take me eons to do
what you do so DON'T CHANGE ANYTHING. The Info. is great just the way it is. I
don't always look for the same things each time, so having the Info. in the style you have it in assures that whatever is needed is there.

People need to learn that you are not there to spoon feed them. If they want a chart; they can make it themselves. And,yes,they need to look at ALL your information.I'm very busy, too, but not so busy that I cannot take the time to independently think what's best for my precious canines - they are worth it...and reading your "Food Lists", are too.

Posted by: Dog lady | February 4, 2014 3:05 PM    Report this comment

too many people do not take time to read the WHOLE information packed article and just skip to the charts. Had they taken time, they would've found their brand. It's a shame folks miss out on so much good solid information by skimming or outright by-passing the aricle.
R. Oczarek

Posted by: 3grrrs | February 4, 2014 12:53 PM    Report this comment

I'm curious how Nature's Domain, the grain free product sold at Costco, stacks up next to Taste of The Wild. My understanding is that both of the foods are made by Diamond with only slight differences in ingredients. The Kirkland dog food line is pretty much ALL made by Diamond, but it's not included at all.

Posted by: curlyh2odogs | February 4, 2014 12:39 PM    Report this comment

And John, there is nothing wrong with my reading comprehension. I'm new to the site and if I happened to have missed a page or part of the article, there is no reason for this kind of response. It definitely doesn't encourage or foster learning.

Posted by: Kiah E | February 4, 2014 12:16 PM    Report this comment

My, what a hornet's nest you've roused! I like the new table format, especially the newer information on recalls and approximate price. I think the "varieties" column would be a bit clearer if you lose the number of products and grain-free info. I appreciate having you do the legwork on the manufacturers! There are so many foods these days that have acceptable ingredients, but are from unknown or dubious manufacturers.

Posted by: MadderScientist | February 4, 2014 12:14 PM    Report this comment

"It's far more important for me to educate people in the article about how their dogs' food can be evaluated, and some of the critical factors they might want to consider when choosing a day-in, day-out diet for their dogs, than it is to list the ones that meet our selection criteria."

This is spot on. Give me as many facts as you are able to learn about a company and its product, and I will use that information in deciding what to feed my dogs. As a 6 year subscriber to WDJ, I think you do a great job of helping readers be better companion people. You shouldn't also feel responsible for improving subscribers reading comprehension.

Posted by: John I | February 4, 2014 11:53 AM    Report this comment

I always find your food chart interesting even though I feed a raw meat diet. Maybe you could satisfy those who find the chart confusing by posting a brand chart on the web, that way you wouldn't be saddled with the cost of printing more pages.

Posted by: Candace Kurt B | February 4, 2014 11:50 AM    Report this comment

The nice thing about being able to download the pdf version of each issue is that I can do a search for key words in the issue. So, if I'm looking for one or more particular food, it becomes fairly simple to find. But I always enjoy looking over the entire list and evaluating my options for the best food I can afford to buy for my dog. BTW, I also use your information as basic guidelines for checking my cats' food bags -- keeping in mind the nutritional differences that cats require versus dogs.

Posted by: ANN S | February 4, 2014 11:47 AM    Report this comment

Thank you for doing what you do.....GREAT Job. Our dogs are fed mostly home made food but now we are mixing in a little kibble. We buy and feed a different bag of premium kibble every time .....including to our foster dogs who come from the local kill shelter and we have not had any issues with indigestion or food sensitivities.

Posted by: Olivia | February 4, 2014 11:43 AM    Report this comment

I would also suggest doing a one-page chart/list so people would be able to cross-reference if they are confused about where the dog food may be listed. There's no reason to treat your subscribers like they are idiots. They are subscribers because they are interested in being more educated about dog issues and you should work with that goal in mind.

Posted by: Teri H | February 4, 2014 10:35 AM    Report this comment

My inquiry about Orijen dog food was not a "worried" one. I was only interested in feedback. I'm not some idiot that doesn't know how to read or what "alphabetical order" is. Unlike some, I am very aware of the fact that there is always something to be learned, which is why I became a paid subscriber to this journal. Instead of offering an educated response about the food, you talked down about me like I'm an idiot for all to see. I'm a registered nurse. I spend most of my time taking care of everyone else. I don't need your validation or the brand of dog food to be on this list to know if it's good or not. I was interested in possibly learning something new about it. Thanks for the welcome as I joined less than a month ago. I will be canceling my subscription.

Posted by: Kiah E | February 4, 2014 9:52 AM    Report this comment

I like what you are doing--it gives me a starting point and is educational. I always look at every ingredient in a food or treat and where it was sourced before giving to my dogs. As you said, "It shouldn't be enough to be on our list; it should meet your own and your dog's own criteria, too".

Posted by: Carol A | February 4, 2014 9:47 AM    Report this comment

It takes awhile to read through the list, but it's worth it. You are right, we should know the MFG of our food. Keep doing the list, this way, it's great !!

Posted by: Diane S | February 4, 2014 9:46 AM    Report this comment

Keep doing what you do..it is great. Maybe you could experiment with adding 1 page which would be a cramped, Un-pretty chart/list where readers could find their "brand" - manufacturer conversion.

Posted by: Betty K | February 4, 2014 9:31 AM    Report this comment

what do you think about ZiwiPeak?

Posted by: Sandra O | February 4, 2014 9:16 AM    Report this comment

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