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The Honest Kitchen, Honestly Good

The Honest Kitchen LogoIn January, I wrote a guest post for @DoggyBytes extolling the virtues of our switch from a high quality kibble to a dehydrated, close-to-raw dog food made by The Honest Kitchen. This week @ThisOneWildLife wrote about her decision to try, and ultimately switch to, dog food from THK. It reminded me that it might be time to talk about our six month continuing experience with the new food.

THE DOGS

The subjects of this experiment are:

  • Ty, our 40 lb, 5 1/2 year old Chinese Shar-Pei who prefers a sedentary life (too bad for him).
  • Buster, our 70 lb, 3 year old German Shepherd who is high-energy incarnate (too bad for us).

I list these characteristics only so you can see that we’re dealing with weight, age, breed, and activity differences – all of which have been satisfied by one product from THK.

WHAT WE WERE FEEDING OUR DOGS

Ty was 8 weeks old when we brought him home in October 2005. Buster, our rescue, found us in May 2008, and our vet guessed he was between 9 and 12 months old. Ever since they’ve been with us, we fed them Wellness Simple (rice and venison).  No problems – Ty and Buster woofed down the kibble.  Then, a shortage of farm-raised venison caused Wellness to discontinue that product.

Our decision to feed Ty and Buster dry food was a matter of (1) not thinking we were doing them any harm by feeding them high quality kibble, (2) not realizing there was any other alternative other than canned food, which we wanted to avoid, and (3) the convenience factor dictated by our travel schedule that puts us on the road for weeks at a time with the boys.

WHY WE SWITCHED

About 18 months ago, we made a conscious effort to eliminate most processed foods from our diet. So we figured why not do the same for Ty and Buster?  When we looked to make a fresh start, we faced a mind-boggling amount of information and opinions on the pros and cons of dog food choices.

We were drawn to THK’s products for these reasons: It’s a close-to-raw food diet … with minimal processing … using human grade ingredients … and every batch is tasted by humans as part of quality control.  The tipping point was the fact that the food is dehydrated, which makes it easy for us to store and serve at home and on the road.

WHAT’S IN THE FOOD

THK offers six types of dog food (along with one kind of cat food, treats, and supplements).  We chose to feed our boys Force.  It’s grain-, wheat-, and gluten free.  Force’s ingredients are free-range chicken, organic flaxseed, potatoes, celery, sweet potatoes, apples, alfalfa, organic kelp, honey, zucchini, green beans, cabbage, bananas, papayas, basil, garlic, rosemary, vitamins and minerals – not a single ingredient you can’t pronounce.

THK does not use by-products, fillers, artificial colorings, or preservatives.  Its USDA meats are hormone and antibiotic free.  Fruits and vegetables are certified non-GMO, and grains are certified organic and fair trade.

Here’s an analysis of the different dog and cat food products.

Honest Kitchen Product Chart

For those of you concerned about the muss and fuss of rehydrating the food – don’t be. We add a cup of warm water per cup of dry food, and it literally comes to life in about a minute.

PACKAGING AND COST

We get the food in a 10 pound box.  After being hydrated, one cup of food weighs one pound.  There are 43 cups in the box, so we’re getting 43 pounds of dog food from one box.

The cost is $76 per box. However, THK offers a bulk discount and free shipping on purchases over $600.  So when our first test box was running low we ordered eight boxes with a “street value” of $608 and paid about $485. At this pricing, the cost works out to a palatable $7 per day for both of our dogs.

BENEFITS WE HAVE WE SEEN

Mealtime is a wonderfully different experience for Ty and Buster. While our dogs never really suffered from a lack of appetite, they ate because they were hungry, not because they loved kibble. Now they eat because they are hungry and because they LOVE the food. If I were to show you a picture of the clean dog bowls before food is added and a picture of the bowls just after feeding, you would be hard pressed to see the difference (clean as a hound’s tooth?!).

We’ve also gotten compliments on Buster’s shiny coat, and both dogs’ teeth are so clean we don’t have to brush them.

Last, but not least – and we cannot prove this is a direct result of the new food – we’ve been able to cut back on Ty’s hypo-thyroid and Buster’s seizure medications. I mention this only because even our vet was impressed by the dogs’ blood panels that were done back in March.

WHAT WE LIKE ABOUT THE COMPANY

We like patronizing THK because it’s a small business, not a division of some conglomerate.  THK is committed to protecting and preserving the environment.  Food is packaged in a combination of USA-made, recyclable, biodegradable and recycled paper supplied by a member of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition.  Even the box is printed with vegetable-based inks.

HAVE YOU TRIED THE HONEST KITCHEN?

If so, what are your thoughts? Do your dogs like it? Do you?


Disclosure: The Honest Kitchen recently became a sponsor of GoPetFriendly, much to the droolight of Ty and Buster.

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  • Amanda says:

     Fine review, however I don’t understand why you left out half of the ingredients and said there isn’t one you “can’t pronounce” The tail end of that ingredient list is tricalcium phosphate, choline chloride, zinc amino acid chelate,
    vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, potassium iodide,
    potassium chloride, iron amino acid chelate, copper amino acid chelate.

  • Lcason says:

    We love THK Preference!! It saves me the time of cleaning, cooking & prep of vegetables, so all I do now is cook & add organic turkey, chicken or beef, oh, and pumpkin squash, then I package & freeze in 1 week portions. Lily loves it in equal portions with Taste of the Wild kibble, a little freeze dried kelp, some fish & flax oil & cottage cheese. She's extremely active so needs good nutrition for energy, her coat is beautiful and waterproof and she generates ohs & ahs everywhere we go. My goal is to stretch her life expectancy by at least 5 years!

  • Ashley says:

    I started feeding Prudence Honest Kitchen Keen a couple of months ago and she LOVES it! It's the exact same thing you talked about; she was eating her kibble because it was there, she was never excited about it. Now I say “are you hungry?” and she's nearly bouncing off the walls :D

  • I *love* the HK Preference veggie mix! All I have to do is add the meat. HK has had some import issues with Canada, so I tried out 2 other veggie mixes for dogs that I really wasn't very satisfied with. HK still isn't available in Canada, but they assure me that they are coming soon. For the time being I actually cross the border to get my HK!!

  • alexa says:

    I have not tried the honest kitchen before… But I think I will! I am looking for a new healthy food to switch my pups over too now that Nutura sold out. Thanks for sharing.

  • Dianne Houghtaling says:

    I have used HK products for over 3 years. I LOVE everything about the products and the company! We share our home with 3 dogs, all 50 lb mixes, all seniors. Two are pit mixes and one is a border collie mix. I credit the HK food and supplement Perfect Form for eliminating the chronic Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis suffered by both of the pit mixes, (one suffered from HGE more severly than the other). All 3 dogs love the food, rehydrating is not an issue. As my dogs are older, I also use the Invigor supplement for immune system support. I stopped (briefly) using the Sparkle supplement (for skin and coat) and quickly saw a difference in my dogs' coat/skin. So I am back to using that supplement also. HK Company stands firmly behind their products and ethics<-I like that!

  • michelechollow says:

    I am going to look for their cat food. As you said, a lot of this is not knowing and not being inconvenienced. I'm finding that many pet stores (like PetSmart) are carrying better quality food, which makes it easier for all of us when we go shopping.

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