It’s no secret I’m a huge geek when it comes to canine nutrition. In fact, if I could find a great school for it, I’d look into becoming a certified canine nutritionist; I really love it that much!
I almost never purchase my dog food from a ‘big box’ retail store (think PetSmart, Petco, etc.). Grocery stores (and stores like Target and Walmart) should be avoided like the plague for dog food (it’s questionable whether people food should be purchased at certain grocery chains as well). That leaves the question on exactly where should you purchase your dog food?
I’m a huge proponent of smaller, independent owned stores or feed stores. The reason is that these stores are going to carry better brands, offer a good variety of highly nutritious food and depending on store will offer staff who are extremely knowledgeable and can help you pick the right food for your dog. I live in the metro Detroit area and places like K9 Specialty (although K9 does sell some of those ‘grocery’ brands) or Val’s have been good places to go). However, neither of these really fed my need for a true specialty/alternative pet food store that focuses on nutrition.
At the Michigan Winter Classic dog show there was a vendor there selling dried salmon treats and it immediately caught my attention. You see, Blizzard loves salmon. He would do anything for a salmon treat and being able to purchase small freeze dried salmon bites for training was a great find! When we started looking through the other various things they were selling I was blown away. All natural, organically grown, no crazy preservatives products in treats and food. It was like Christmas when I found out all these products could be found in a specialty pet food store within walking distance of my house. Even if you don’t live in the metro-Detroit area it’s worth checking to see if you have a store like this near you. If you don’t you can also order product online from them. Since finding this store, I can’t stop raving about it. I took my husband the next day and have since been bugging my mom to go (you hear that mom…you need to go!). I love this place!
Introducing: The Pet Beastro
Now, before you run over there to start buying all your dog (or cat) food, you want to be aware of a few things.
- This is not your typical pet food store.
- This is an alternative pet food store.
- They carry fantastic products but most of them are things you’ve probably never seen at your normal pet store.
- This is a higher end store designed for those pet owners who are truly into their pet’s nutrition.
- Purchasing from here may not be cheap.
So, with that said, you may be asking yourself why in the world would I recommend this place? I actually have a number of good reasons:
- Buying higher quality dog food often means feeding less which could mean saving money in the long run. (See my earlier post from 2011 about Dog Nutrition).
- You can purchase things here that you absolutely cannot purchase anywhere else. They sell treats, dry food, canned food, milk, meat, supplements, oils and other natural remedies.
- The staff that works there are passionate and knowledgeable, ready to help with all your pets nutritional needs. When I say knowledgeable I mean not only do they know about what you should feed for a wide variety of situations with your pets but they also know about the company you are purchasing from.
- You can purchase a wide variety of raw including fresh, frozen and dehydrated.
You don’t have to think of The Pet Beastro as a place where you are going to go in, completely change your dog’s diet and start paying hundreds of bucks a month in dog food. You could. Don’t get me wrong. They sell some amazing items and if I had a small dog I would completely change my diet to 100% raw. The options they have for raw feeding blew me away. I fed my dogs raw years ago and that meant going to the butcher and purchasing a ton of raw chicken, beef, goat, rabbit and fish (it also included going out and getting a stand alone freezer). Today though, raw isn’t anywhere near as intimidating as it was back then. You can now purchase pre-ground foods including mixes of various fish and meats as well as veggie and fruit mixes. If you want to feed raw but don’t want to worry about getting the right nutritional content you can buy dehydrated raw mixes that contain the main vitamins, minerals and other good things for your dogs. The only thing you need to do is re-hydrate and add your own meat and oil. If that’s still too intimidating you can also buy bags of dehydrated all in one raw meals that just require you add water.
You might have noticed that the Oracle bag of dog food clearly says that it will last a little under 2 weeks for a 12-15lb dog. The price of this type of food is around $61. If you have a small dog you could do this. However, Blizzard is close to 80lbs. Let me do the math for you:
For around 2 weeks of food, I would roughly need to purchase 5 bags of this food. That is $305 for a little under two weeks of food. Feeding this for a month would set me back $610…and that’s each and every month. Let me let that set in. $610 each and every month to feed my dog. That’s over $7,000 per year ($7,320 to be exact).
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love my dog. I really do. However, I just can’t justify spending that much money each month. I’d gladly spend between $100 – $200 per month but $600? Sorry… I love you Blizzard, but when you start eating better than me I am going to have problems.
Like I said, unless you own a small dog or are a self made millionaire don’t go into this type of store expecting to completely overhaul your dog to a raw diet. However, they do sell a good variety of dry dog food that serves as an all-in-one as well. The ingredients are all high end, the companies are not big box and the quality control is out of this world. I would hazard to say that none of the dry dog food sold here has ever experienced a recall; yes, it’s that top notch.
In fact, I found a food that blows the Core Wellness I’ve fed in the past out of the water. Acana dog food is made in Canada using locally sourced farmers and ingredients. It is considered a biologically appropriate food for your dog. From their site:
Biologically Appropriate™ ACANA represents a new class of foods that mirror the high and various inclusions of fresh, whole meats that dogs and cats would encounter in their natural environment – meats they are naturally evolved to eat.
Worlds away from conventional pet foods, Biologically Appropriate™ ACANA is rich in protein and low in carbohydrates and features an unmatched variety of poultry, meat and fish that are fresh, preservative-free and bursting with goodness that nourishes completely.
You just need to look at the ingredients to know it’s a great food, even without trademarked names. This brand has a variety of dry dog foods that feature ingredients like fish, chicken, turkey, eggs, lamb, duck, beef or bison. They sell ‘trial’ or ‘tester’ sizes and I ended up purchasing two to try for Blizzard; Pacifica (salmon, flounder, herring with fruit and veggies) and another sister brand (Orijen) called Six Fish (salmon, flounder, walleye, pike, whitefish, herring and fruit plus veggies). I will review this food once Blizzard is transitioned over so expect more in the future.
If you’re not ready to take the plunge into purchasing a different dry dog food The Pet Beastro is fantastic for you to supplement your current food of choice. As I mentioned earlier they sell a ton of frozen meats including single ground, meat with bones, patties and mixed types of meat. You could easily start adding in a bit to just boost up the protein they are getting daily.
If raw frozen foods aren’t your thing you can always do a veggies supplement mix as well. I started using one with Blizzard and he goes absolutely nutty over it. The minute I put it in his bowl to re-hydrate he starts twirling circles in the kitchen. The product is meant to be the base of a raw food diet (you would need to add meat and oil) but I find it a great addition to the food he already eats (This won’t be the case when I switch him to Acana fully as that is an all-in-one that won’t require additional supplement).
They also carry a very large variety of canned foods as well. I’ve always used a little bit of canned in his food but love the variety they have here. I can give Salmon, various types of tripe, coconut mixes and other things I haven’t even explored yet.
One of the other things they sell that I absolutely love is goat’s milk. You can buy it by the pint and give to your dog and cat with their dry food. You don’t need a ton, just a bit and it’s a great supplement for them. You can also purchase goat’s milk in dry packets so if you’re traveling you can take it with you.
You can also purchase peanut butter made especially for your dog. And let’s face it, what dog doesn’t like peanut butter?
If you’re not ready to change your dog’s diet, this is still a store for you to pick up a great variety of treats for your dog! With all the recalls lately, purchasing from a high caliber store like this would be worth the few extra bucks for the treats.
Overall, this place is fantastic. You can walk in and talk with a pet specialist about any supplements or food changes you would like to make and they won’t steer you wrong. As I pointed out there is a wide variety of ways for you to get great food, nutritionally packed and balance for your pet (they sell both dog and cat foods). You can get everything from an all-in-one dehydrated raw food to an all-in-one dry dog food. If you don’t want to take the plunge into raw you could use any of the raw mixes intended for a full food to supplement your dog’s diet by mixing it in with their current food.
I honestly can’t recommend this place enough. I felt like a kid in a candy store the first time I went in.
The Pet Beastro is located on John R. Road between 12 and 11 mile roads in Madison Heights, MI. If you aren’t close or want to learn more about them before going in, check out their website here: The Pet Beastro.
If you go after reading this I’d love to hear what you thought!