I cannot stress enough just how important good food is to the health of a pet. I’ll admit, I used to provide average-quality food to my dogs when I was in vet school and for a year or so afterwards. But then my dog Lily decided she wasn’t going to eat it anymore while I was visiting family in New York. I ended up stopping in a pet store that carried natural foods. When I asked for something like my current brand they were quick to inform me that I didn’t want that kind of food and they gave me a bag of Wellness. This new food didn’t contain artificial colors, preservatives like BHT/BHA, or animal by-products; but it did contain some ingredients that were very different for me like blueberries and flax seeds AND my dogs loved it!
After I arrived back home in my small southern New Jersey town, I began to worry that I wouldn’t be able to find my dogs’ new favorite healthy food. You can imagine my surprise when the store locator from Wellness’s website sent me only 3 miles down the road to Daminger’s
Daminger’s is the quintessential country store with it’s wooden floors, painted shelves, and old-fashioned charm. It is currently owned by Ken Daminger and Tom Mariner, two of the friendliest and most helpful guys you’ll ever meet. Daminger’s was started back in 1929 by Ken’s grandfather and they have been providing love through nutrition even since.
There are so many wonderful foods there; I won’t be able to cover them all but I’ll give you some of my favorite categories.
For the fussy eater: ZiWi Peak is a food in it’s own category as it is a jerky style food. I have a lot of success with small breed dogs accepting this food. Health Extension Little Bites, an organic chicken based food, is also an excellent choice for the little guys that don’t like big kibbles. Merrick, Nature’s Variety (Homestyle), and Tiki Dog/Tiki Cat are canned foods that look like real food. These are good choices for pets that will only eat table food. Nature’s Variety also makes a freeze dried powder called Raw Boost that can be used to make a delicious gravy to help get Fido back to his bowl.
Grain-free foods are a good option for dogs that have allergies, as many times grains (especially corn, wheat, and soy) can contribute to creating inflammation. NutriSource is unique in that they use pea fiber (instead of potatoes). Petcurean makes Now which is their grain free formula and they use only the freshest human grade quality ingredients. And for completely starch free, Wysong makes Epigen.
Daminger’s also carries frozen raw food which is one of the things that I personally feed to my pack. They have Primal, Nature’s Variety, and Rad Cat stocked in their freezer. For those not ready to take the raw plunge, there are options between raw and kibble like dehydrated foods (NRG), freeze dried foods (Stella & Chewys and Nature’s Variety Raw Boost), and refrigerated food (DeliFresh).
Let’s face it, economic times are tough right now, and Daminger’s carries something for every budget. The chicken formula for both Canidae and Verus are less than $30 for a 30 pound bag. And for those that want to go organic, ProNature’s wild caught Atlantic salmon formula is less than $50 for a 30 pound bag.
Post Script (AKA Dr. Forsyth’s philosophies) – We personally create the type of community that we want to live in. Our neighborhoods are their own web of life. When we shop at a small family owned business, instead of a big box store, we are investing in our community and ourselves.