Canned Food Review; Mixed-Breeds vs. Pure; Another Harness


Just read your “Canned Food Review” (WDJ October 2012) with interest and definitely learned some stuff. I’d like to get on your radar for next time a fairly-new-to-the-market canned food that was recommended to us by our locally owned pet food store, where the owners do a lot of research on pet foods. You won’t find Pedigree or Science Diet there.

The brand is called Hound & Gatos and is advertised to be 98% meat. I’ve used chicken, beef, salmon, and rabbit. There may be other flavors, as well.

The can says the food is free of soy, grain, artificial flavors, preservatives, and color. The can I’m looking at lists the ingredients as beef, water sufficient for processing, guar gum, liver, and vitamins, which are then listed. The analysis is min protein 8%, min fat 6%, max fiber 1.5%, max moisture 78%. More information is available at

Marilyn Evans
Monterey, CA

As a many-year subscriber, I look forward to WDJ’s review of both wet and dry food as the ultimate “last word” in healthy food for our dogs. After reading over your list of approved wet foods, I thought I would send along the label of my preferred wet dog food, Party Animal. It’s a USDA certified organic dog food made in the USA with the highest quality ingredients, starting with organic chicken, organic chicken broth, organic sweet potatoes, organic liver, organic blueberries, organic eggs, organic broccoli, organic peas, organic guar gum, organic olive oil, and a bunch of vitamins and minerals.

Please check out this company and this dog food and see if you agree that it should be on your “approved” list.

Jo Ruggles
Via email

I am a fairly longtime subscriber to the Whole Dog Journal. This October’s edition is especially interesting because of the article on lipomas (“Take Your Lumps”). Both of my longhaired Dachshunds have them, though none of their predecessors had.

I am also anxious to know if there was reason why Trader Joe’s canned dog food was not included amongst the recommended brands?

Mary Bradley
Via email

Thanks so much to all of you who sent comments and criticism of the canned food review, and those who introduced us to products we aren’t familiar with. We’ve never seen the products mentioned in the first two letters above – and there are surely more products out there we haven’t seen.

We always try to remind our readers that the foods on our “approved foods” lists are NOT the only good ones out there. If the product meets our selection criteria, and the company will disclose the product’s manufacturing location, the product should be considered just as worthy as anything on our list.

However, as far as the Trader Joe’s brand canned dog food goes – it doesn’t meet our selection criteria, as detailed in the article. The ingredients list of its beef flavor variety starts out, “Water, beef, chicken, textured soy protein product, animal liver . . .”

You can determine whether a food meets our approval or not, simply by comparing your favorite products, or one you are curious about, to the selection criteria in our article.

Regarding your “New or Used” editorial (WDJ October 2012): Over the years, we have had both purebred AKC registered dogs as well as rescued stray and feral dogs and we must tell you we have never had any behavior or health trouble with any of the rescue dogs, but often enough we’ve encountered health problems with the various purebreds.

Your terms “used,” “damaged,” and your ongoing negative descriptions of various problems with rescued dogs are extremely offensive and very biased. We were beginning to enjoy your periodical but have found this revelation of your short-sighted values (for every animal with a problem there are many who are fine but you do not acknowledge this) completely off-putting. The “purebred puppy of your dreams?” It screams bias.

We loved our Newfoundland, our Standard Poodle, our many Labs, our Bouviers, but the real “dogs of our dreams” are our two feral rescues. They are truly smarter, more alert, funnier, kinder, easier to train, loving and more protective than all the others beyond a doubt and they are beautiful and remarked upon frequently by strangers. So we pick the reality of Ireene and Julian (found as starving, not quite grown feral dogs who had to be trapped), over your misguided illusion of the superiority of breed dogs. Never one accident in the house. Never a bite. Nothing destroyed. Just love and complete loyalty.

Shame on you. You’re supposed to be the savvy editor of a decently reported dog newsletter.

Linda Bisaccia-Ammerman and Dr. Frederick Ammerman
Via email

I’m afraid you missed my point – as well as the fact that I included the fact that my dog is from a shelter. I wasn’t trying to disparage rescued dogs or mixed-breeds. My point was that I have spent some years now rehabilitating and placing damaged dogs (usually juveniles or adults), and sometimes I am jealous of friends who buy a well-bred, well-socialized, perfectly raised puppy. Because, once you know how to raise and train a dog who has fear and anxiety and “issues,” it must be soooo easy and fun to raise and train one who has a nice clean slate, confidence, and a lack of fear. That’s all.

Canned Food Review; Mixed-Breeds vs. Pure; Another Harness


As you’ll see from this month’s editorial, I wouldn’t trade my formerly messed-up shelter mutt for ANYTHING. Like your rescues, he’s the best dog I’ve ever had, too. And you’re right about the feeling of accomplishment that one gains from hanging in there with a challenging project dog, and seeing the dog transform to a healthy, confident, happy dog. But just once, MAYBE, I’d like to raise a puppy from sound stock who has had every opportunity in life, and no adversity quite yet. It’s not a guarantee that everything will go smoothly, but it might be nice to experience – once!

I do appreciate your concerns, but believe me: we’re huge fans of both mixed-breed dogs and rescues.

I own a small pet supply store (Pugnacious Pet Provisions) and I choose my products carefully, as I can’t carry everything. In the October issue, you rated no-pull harnesses but omitted a very good one, the only one I’ll carry after having tried a few others: Wonder Walker, made in Seattle by a small family business. I’ve sold quite a few and have had very positive feedback. These are the features that won me over:

– Reasonably priced (from $25-29)
– Only one buckle, making it easy to put on, eliminating some bulk
– Each has a colored back strap (comes in many colors), which identifies easily how it fits on the dog
– Two D-rings, one in the front to attach the leash to stop pulling, one in the back when you want to tether the dog either in the car (they also make great seatbelt car straps) or elsewhere
– Soft nylon
– 7 sizes (custom sizes available if the dog is hard to fit)
– Made in Seattle

I wish you had included it.
Doris Meier
Berkeley, CA

We wish we had known about it in time for the review! We’ll track it down for our next review, but your review will suffice in the meantime. Thanks for sharing your feedback.

It’s rare that I find myself compelled to write a letter to an editor, but I find myself today in just that position. I’m a long-time subscriber to WDJ, and I’m almost ashamed to admit how far behind in my reading I am, but I’d like to tell you why, as a cautionary tale. I’d also like to tell you why I continue to keep my subscription to WDJ, despite our last dog having passed across the Rainbow Bridge well over a year ago.

I find myself so far behind in reading because I have chronic Lyme Disease. It’s a very long story, and I’m getting close to being done with my treatment, after over 18 years of living with the disease. So I send this as a cautionary tale to other dog and pet owners: Please be aware of ticks, and please protect yourselves and your pets from ticks.

I also felt compelled to let you know that I just read your Editor’s Note from the June 2012 issue. And I must say that this is exactly why I continue my subscription, despite no longer having a dog: I am looking for a small dog at some point in the next year or so to be a service dog. I can’t find the valuable insight you provide anywhere else! I truly trust what you have to say, and your mission is exactly how I feel about caring for my pets. (Also, I find information that is helpful to my cats, too!) So I will be a lifelong subscriber, no matter when I become a dog owner again.

Jennifer Surdam
Sent via BlackBerry

Jennifer, thanks so much for your warm words. You’re right about ticks and Lyme – and I’d add other scary tick-borne diseases, too. Also, I’m going to assign one of my writers to your article idea: How to find a great candidate to be a service dog. Stay tuned!


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