Archive for March, 2011

After my previous post about trying to choose a food for my dog, I had a Homer Simpson moment. I had described switching to Iams after Brownie developed an unpleasant body odor. But based on information from a website devoted to deconstructing dog food (http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com), I was thinking of switching again, to Costco’s in-house brand, Kirkland. Dog Food Advisor rated Kirkland as a higher quality food than Iams, and it’s less expensive. Then I remembered – Kirkland is the food I had been feeding Brownie when she developed that bad odor. Doh!

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Like every dog owner, I wrestle with conflicting and confusing information about canine nutrition and dog food ingredients. I want the best for Brownie but can’t afford the highest-priced dog foods. Recently, I obtained a sample of Burns Brown Rice and Chicken Meal dry dog food. It advertises its products as “holistic – working with Nature to promote pet health.” It has a warehouse and offices right in Valparaiso, which appealed to my go-local desire (although I don’t know where it’s actually made).

Before feeding any to Brownie, I looked up some of the ingredients and stumbled across the website Dog Food Advisor (http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/). It gives Burns three out of five stars for quality, concludes that it is “recommended” but raised questions about the relatively low amounts of protein and fats in the Burns formula. It’s also pricey, costing $45 for a 33-lb bag.

The same site gave Costco’s in-house brand, Kirkland, an above-average rating of four stars. A 40-lb bag of this goes for roughly $25. A higher rating and lower cost made this choice sound like a no-brainer until I read somewhere else that Kirkland buys its dog food from Diamond. The Dog Food Advisor gives Diamond only a below-average two-star rating.

To complicate matters further, I have been feeding Brownie Iams on the recommendation of another pet owner after I complained that Brownie had developed a persistent, unpleasant odor. The odor disappeared after she’d been eating Iams for a while. But Dog Food Advisor gives it only two stars, a below-average rating.

So now what? I’ve decided to give the Kirkland food a try. It costs less and has a higher rating than Iams or Burns, although there is some question about the rating based on whether it’s really the lower-rated Diamond dog food packaged under the Kirkland name. If Brownie’s body odor returns, I’ll be back in my usual pet-food quandry. Stay turned for updates.

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All three eggs have hatched in the eagle nest at Norfolk Botanical Gardens (http://www.wvec.com/marketplace/microsite-content/eagle-cam.html). The photo above shows one of the parents delivering food to the nest. The chicks seem to be fed at least once an hour. Whichever parent is sitting on the nest gets up and starts tearing bits of carcass off the dead fish or squirrel stashed nearby. Three little fuzzy chicks poke their heads up from the bowl in the middle of the nest where they hatched and vie for the pieces of flesh offered in the parent’s beak. After feeding, the parent carefully places both taloned feet on either side of the bowl and settles down on top of the three to keep them warm for their post-meal nap.

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Norfolk Botanical Gardens in Virginia has set up a camera in a loblolly pine tree for a birds-eye view of an eagle nest. http://www.wvec.com/marketplace/microsite-content/eagle-cam.html

Two of the three eggs in the nest have hatched, and the camera gives fabulous, real-time views of the two little fuzzy gray bobbleheads that have appeared in the past three days. Watch as mom and dad take turns feeding them delicious bits of squirrel or fish. This is a mesmerizing sight, so be prepared to leave this site up for hours so you can keep glancing at it while you tend to business.

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