Castor & Pollux Natural Ultramix Grain-Free Duck

I’ve become quite the fan of this brand. Recently we decided to give the Natural Ultramix kibble a try after the dogs took well to the canned food by the same name. Ellie and Argos have been on Evanger’s Grain Free for a very long time and it was time for a change. Can you imagine eating the same stuff day in and day out, twice a day? Yeah. And if I know anything about my dogs is that they love Duck and Fish anything.

The kibble comes in the shape of hearts and there are bits and pieces of dry vegetables. It’s being wolfed-down so fast I actually need to start putting obstacles in their bowls to keep the dogs from hurting themselves. At approximate $1.80 per pound of kibble I think it’s worth a try. Might I remind you that Argos used to be the worst picky eater. I mean, to the point where he would starve himself rather than eat something he didn’t want. This kibble has two things that have worked for us. For one, it’s grain free (I don’t think I’ll ever go back to anything other than such) and it has duck meat, one of his favorite proteins. So, if you find yourself in the same boat, give it a go. I contacted Castor & Pollux about returning product in case the dogs didn’t like it and they reassured me that the product is 100% guaranteed or your money back.

So there you have it.

Bad Experiences

There was a rebate from Nutro for a free bag of Natural Choice dog food. So I got a bag of their puppy food for Ellie. I consulted Dog Food Advisor to determine the quality of the food and I didn’t think that a 3.5 star rating would be so bad. I have determined, and I have no way of scientifically proving this except for my own observations, this food made my Ellie sick.

She is fine now, I’ve switched her over to something else but while she was on Natural Choice for puppies, her stool was watery and she would constantly throw up. At first I thought that the runny stool was due to the new food but then up-chuck started. She would vomit about once a day. After a week of this type of behavior, I decided against running to the Vet to hear what he had to say and decided to stop feeding her kibble and observe her symptoms.

I cooked some brown rice and added chopped up pieces of chicken breasts to feed her at meal times. Her symptoms cleared fairly quickly and I put her back on the Nutro. Guess what happened next? She began vomiting again. All her treats remained the same, and they haven’t been anywhere else. I don’t know what else to think except that Nutro Natural Choice is not good for Ellie. If it’s not good for one of my dogs, it certainly isn’t good for the other.

I’ve explored different forums and it seems other people have experienced these reactions to this brand of dog food. So new users, as with anything, be careful. Since Ellie is a month away from her first birthday I decided to switch her to the same kibble Argos is eating. Earthborn Holistic is for all life stages so I figured it would be ok to switch her a month earlier than I planned.

Review: Castor & Pollux Canned Foods

I took advantage of the PetSmart $5 for $25 coupon a couple of weeks ago. For those of you who haven’t used it yet, you have until the end of February to do so. You can print it twice and couple it with some sale items for a really good deal.

I used my coupons to purchase some Castor & Pollux that is on sale at PetSmart until March. Chris printed two coupons as well and used it with his PetSmart pet perks card. I top Argos and Ellie’s food with wet dog food for variety and to keep them interested. It helps me keep them on an eating schedule, specially since I don’t like leaving food out in the bowls. I find that both Ellie and Argos lose interest in their food the deeper we get into a 15 lb of dog food. This is one of the reasons I don’t sign up to repeat deliveries from places like www.petflow.com or www.amazon.com, because I change up the dry food every time I have to purchase a new bag and I never know which brand or recipe I’ll  be trying next. I also liked purchasing from PetSmart in person because they have the single cans, so you can mix and match flavors and recipes and that is definitely not possible when you order from the web. If you want packs of canned dog food from online suppliers, you are limited to one recipe/flavor per pack.

With the PetSmart coupons I bought 19 cans of of 13.2 oz Castor & Pollux Ultramix Indulgent Mix and 20 cans of 12.7 oz of Castor & Pollux Organix Butcher & Busshel.

Natural Ultramix Indulgent Mix

Natural Ultramix Indulgent Mix

Because these are cans of dog food and not just dog food toppers, they actually have big chunks of meat in them. My tricky little fur balls started to pick out the big chunks of meat and only eat that, leaving the kibble behind. Now, when I open a can of food, I put it in the blender to make it one homogenize mixture. Ha! A can lasts about 6 days, so my supply should last me a good 7 months.

The Organix Butcher & Bushel has a 4.5 stars and the Natural Ultramix Indulgent Mix has 5 stars on www.dogfoodadvisor.com so I felt pretty confident it was gonna go over well with the dogs.  And it sure did! Dinner time is done in 5 minutes. They haven’t tried all the flavors yet but I know I won’t have a problem with that.

Now I am searching deal sites and online stores for good deals on kibble. I got a coupon for a free 1/2 lb trial size bag of Now Fresh dry kibble so we’ll give that a try to see how well it goes over.

Ellie on Wellness CORE Puppy Grain Free Formula

Argos's food on the left, Ellie on the right. Primitive set up, definitely not user friendly but it works and these plastic organizers were on hand. I use the plastic cups that cup with the jugs of detergent because they measure out exactly a 1/2 cup of kibble.

Argos’s food on the left, Ellie’s on the right. Primitive set up, definitely not user friendly but it works and these plastic organizers were on hand. I use the plastic cups (unused) that come with the bottles of detergent because they measure out exactly a 1/2 cup of kibble.

Ellie is on  her last of Wellness  CORE Puppy Formula and I don’t think I’ll be re-ordering this one again. She would only consume her kibble if it was heavily covered in Evanger’s ground chicken or duck. This Summer, when she first came home, I fed her Earthborn Puppy Vantage because I had a positive experience with this brand and she certainly liked it very much with or without Evanger’s.

Her adoption was a bit sudden. During the Summer on a Friday morning, I had only one dog and by Sunday I had two.  Although Chris and I had been searching for the second dog, we weren’t really prepared with puppy food, an extra bed or a collar and leash. I quickly had to make a choice because the new dog had to eat and I didn’t have any puppy food to feed her. I figured if Earthborn was good enough for Argos it must be good enough for Ellie.

Then I discovered Dog Food Advisor and I loved the way they broke down the ingredients for what must be all the brands of dog food in the market. As I learned quite a great deal about controversial ingredients such as tomato pomace, canola oil and garlic, I found out that Puppy Vantage was only rated 4 stars out of 5 based on its ingredients, their percentages of each and meat content. I was very happy to find out that Earthborn Primitive Natural, what Argos eats, was rated 5 stars and was “Enthusiastically Recommended”. I understand Dog Food Advisor is simply a guide to dog food out there but I didn’t like the 4 star rating, knowing that there are a lot more brands/recipes out there that might be better options.

So many options! I am trying to decided between trying Merrick’s Classic Puppy or something else from their grain free line. Merrick has always been a brand I liked but when Argos was a puppy he refused to eat it and back then, they didn’t have the grain free recipes they have now. The last time Ellie visited the vet, he just asked that I slowly introduce whatever new kibble I decide to try so as not to upset her stomach. We’ll see what she thinks of my next choice. I plan on contacting Merrick first to see if they have samples.

Ellie’s Very Busy Day

EVERYONE says their dog is the BEST dog. I say that sometimes. Dogs get into trouble and sometimes its right under your nose the second you look away. Take today for example, I usually have the dogs with me wherever I am in the apartment. When I shower, they come in the bathroom with me so that any trouble they can get into is minimized. Ellie, however, has been getting into the habit of eating toilet paper. Yep, used toilet paper. I’ve been trying to correct the behavior by saying no and showing her to her toy box. Instead she proceeds to sitting in the toy box. I really don’t know what I was thinking when I bought the darn thing. It’s too big and they only have three toys…

I know that this interest in chewing things is most likely boredom so I am also addressing that by walking her a minimum of 2.5 miles. I’ve also scheduled a 30 minute training session every night before bed. I am still working on teaching her basic commands like sit, down, jump, and twirl. Unlike Argos, she finds the Kong incredibly diverting so I stuff it with goodies every now and then and toss in her crate at night. This has been working but unfortunately today she only got to walk around the block and the day before their feeding schedule was off by two hours because I got caught up doing something else.

And this is what happened.

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Ellie Dines on TP

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Ellie pooted

They are not the best dogs in the world (the assumption being that “Best Dogs” are superbly behaved, wash their own bowls and open doors for you) but they are my dogs and I love that they are imperfect.

Picky Eater Dog

I had been deboning a chicken, NEVER thought Argos would jump that high to try to score some food. Poor fella was hungry.

I had been deboning a chicken, NEVER thought Argos would jump that high to try to score some food. Poor fella was hungry.

Argos always finds a way to let me know how he feels about his dinner options. When I first adopted him, he simply didn’t want to eat. As a clueless newbie and working stiff, I went to my local pet store chain and I asked them to help me out. We went from Science Diet to Wellness Complete Health Puppy Formula and he approached both of these with equal apathetic enthusiasm. A close friend recommended I try Merrick Puppy Plate and Argos just didn’t care. I’ve mentioned this before but I really think that Wellness Core Grainfree line and Merrick’s Grainfree Recipes are fairly new revamps to their dog food lines. They certainly weren’t available in 2010 when I went through this whole ordeal.

In my clueless attempts to both get my dog to eat and not spend my savings on dog food trial and error, I tried cooking food for him, I tried adding homemade chicken broth to kibble, adding tuna juice and my attempts would be rewarded with exactly 1.5 days of curious nibbling.

I got a list of premium dog food brands and I started doing my own research on these. All I knew back then, courtesy of my vet, was that I shouldn’t feed supermarket brands to Argos. I didn’t know why and I didn’t know what made other brands ‘premium’. I learned quite a bit about dog food and I began to understand the difference between them. The other problem still persisted, how can I try some of these brands without spending the 10-15 bucks on 5 lb bags that Argos is most likely not going to eat?

So I began emailing all of the brands on my list with my particular dilemma and asking them if they could supply me with sample packs for Argos to try. To my very happy surprise, most of them did, others sent me coupons for sample packs, others said just buy our 3-5lb bag and if he doesn’t like it, return it, while other companies said nothing. I’ve placed some of the responses I got from my emails below.

Fromm, Natural Balance, Earthborn, Avoderm, and Halo were the only ones to send me free samples and these were the ones that I tried first. For Argos, Earthborn was the winner. They sent me the Earthborn Holistic Primitive Natural recipe which is grainfree and he loved it. Fromm came in second with their grainfree recipes as well. I noticed that Argos’s enthusiasm started to wane after a couple of weeks on Earthborn so I decided to redeem a couple of coupons for free cans of Evangers Grain Free Game Meats. I mixed his grainfree kibble with Evangers grainfree chicken and he hasn’t had a problem with his food yet.

It has been about two and half years since I did this, I’ve switched Argos’s kibble to other brands and for some reason he prefers the grainfree recipes. Recently I walked over to my local pet feed store and they gave me some free samples of other grainfree recipes for him to try. I imagine for those of you out there with picky eaters you may be able to explore other brands and recipes this way.

I’ve also recently discovered dogfoodadvisor.com and boy has that been handy in determining what brands I want to try next and what kinds of puppy formulas I want to give my puppy Ellie. It’s a very informative site.

Having a picky eater is difficult and worrisome but I was able to help my dog find something he actually wanted to eat. I never truly realized how stressful it had been until I adopted my second dog Ellie and I gave such a huge sigh of relief when she ate her food without any fuss.

Til next time.

EMAILS

From Merrick:

Hello Norma,

Thank you for taking the time to email us. Unfortunately we do not have samples available.  We do have trial size bags available through retail stores.  Check with your retailer for the availability of these.

If for some reason your local retail stores does not carry the trial size bags.  You can purchase a small bag of food risk free.  All of our products are 100% guaranteed, so if for some reason your pet does not like the product hang on to your receipt and you are welcome to exchange for another flavor or a refund.

If there is anything else I can do for you, please let me know.

Thank you,

Lesa

Merrick Pet Care

 

From Castor & Pollux:

Hi Norma,

Thank you for your interest in our products. Although we do not have samples, we do sell our food in 5.5 pound bags, which is a very cost effective way to try our product. In addition, we offer a satisfaction guarantee. If you aren’t satisfied with our food, you can call our customer service and they will issue you a full refund. We think that Argos will love it!

Best,

Jaime

 

From Evangers Dog Food:

Norma,

We are in business because of picky eaters.  I am sending you some coupons for free cans and for our dry food.  You can go to a local independent store and redeem the coupons and try our fine foods.

 Sincerely,

 Brett

Evanger’s Pet Food

From Halo Pets:

Dear Pet Lover,

 Thanks for visiting our website and caring for the ones we love naturally! If you have not already signed up to receive our FREE Newsletter, please feel free to do so at www.Halopets.com, to receive the most current coupons and promotions we are offering. You can also search for stores in your area using this link, www.halopets.com/locator/. It’s always recommended to call the store prior to visiting to ensure they have the product you are looking for in stock.

Thank you for your sample request. They should arrive within a week.

Please feel free to e-mail or call us at 800-426-4256 anytime with questions. Wishing you and your pets GREAT health!

Halo, Purely for Pets

800.426.4256