The Best $7 I Ever Spent On My Dog

It wasn’t until I became a (helicopter) pet parent that I learned just how deceptive the dog food industry can be. 

Between misleading food labels and disturbing ingredients disguised as good ones, I was astonished to learn what was actually in my dog’s food. And while I found it hard to trust any food I didn’t cook myself, preparing bulk meals that stayed fresh became incredibly time consuming. Plus, I was never sure if I was including all the necessary nutrients my dogs needed to stay healthy. (After all, I am not a certified nutritionist.)


So in my quest to find a nutritious dog food that met my standards and got my pups excited, I learned some important lessons about what to look out for, what to strive for and what to avoid completely.

Here’s what the dog food industry doesn’t want you to know.

Not All Dog Food Is Created Equal 

While kibble can be good, even vet-recommended and award-winning dog foods can be deceptive.

Some brands, for example, claim to be American made, but that’s not necessarily true.

Oftentimes, key ingredients come from countries that have lower standards of quality like China or New Zealand, which have been linked to health issues and product recalls. 

The term American made, then, does not reflect the quality or origin of the ingredients, it simply means they were put into the food here. (How clever.) Luckily though, you can find out where the ingredients were actually sourced and manufactured by checking the label. 

Another key thing to look out for is rendered meat in disguise. Typically labeled as by-product, meal, tallow, animal fat or grease, rendered meat is often sourced from animals who are sick or overworked. (Gross.)

So while dry dog food delivers a lot of what your pup needs to maintain a balanced diet, it does come with some added suspicion.

Fresh foods and supplements like the meal toppers by Portland Pet Food, however, are a great way to ensure your dog is eating top-quality food every single meal. 

Here’s just a few reasons why I supplement with fresh food – and why my dogs will never eat kibble alone again. 

1. Made With Human-Grade, All-Natural Ingredients 

I used to poke fun at pet parents who gave their dogs that boujee, gourmet fresh food. 

And then I did my research. 

Disturbingly enough, your average bag of kibble is 1. overly processed, which means it’s stripped of a lot of its nutrients and 2. filled with fishy ingredients – and not the shiny-coat kind.  

In addition to additives and preservatives, some brands that pride themselves on making “the best human-grade foods” actually fill their products with mystery meat left over from animals that we, as human beings, would never eat in a million years. (Again, gross.)

Portland Pet Food, however, cuts out alllll the crap, only using ingredients that are actually good enough for people. 

Their all-natural meats are sourced from animals raised without antibiotics and hormones, right here in the U.S. Vegetables and grains come from local farmers they know and trust. And they don’t do hidden surprises. Ever.

That means no preservatives. No growth hormones. No BHA. No BHT. And no artificial anything. Which, for your dog, means no diet-related medical conditions. 

2. More Protein Overall 

If you’ve ever taken a peek at the back of your dog’s food, you’re probably used to seeing a breakdown of crude protein, fat, fiber and moisture. But unlike the numbers that appear on human food labels, those percentages aren’t as clear cut as you may think. 

Dog food brands use a (complicated) calculation based on moisture to determine the overall nutritive value of their products. So, to figure out how much protein your dog will actually be consuming you have to divide the percentage of protein by the percentage of dry matter then multiply by 100. (This is news to me, too. But stick with me.) 

To save you some math, I determined that one pouch of Portland Pet Food contains 38.5% protein, which comes from real, human-grade ingredients. Dry dog food, on the other hand, only contains 23.88%. Despite the confusing calculations and dog food jargon, the winner here is clear. 

3. Gives a Nutrient Boost 

When my dogs turned their noses up at their food bowls before, I used to throw in a dollop of peanut butter or sprinkle on some shredded cheese. But of course, both of those are very fatty and can contribute to excess weight gain over time. 

Now, I can add a little extra fresh food in and take pride knowing my “secret trick” is packed with protein, fat and fiber plus naturally occurring vitamins and minerals that will keep them healthy.

4. Allergy-Friendly 

If your poor pup can’t handle gluten or grains, they can still enjoy a fresh, nutritious and delicious treat from Portland Pet Food. 

In addition to offering two jowl-licking flavors of meal pouches, they also bake up some tasty (and adorable!) gluten- and grain-free dog treats to save your pup from skin irritation and tummy troubles.  

5. Perfect For Traveling 

As an active family, we like to bring our dogs along on all our adventures. But lugging around containers of kibble or coolers packed with ice to keep fresh dog food cold can take up a lot of space.  

Luckily, the Portland Pet Food meal pouches are pre-portioned, shelf-stable and conveniently packaged so I can stuff a few in our backpacks and serve a healthy meal mid-hike, at our campsite or even at a rest stop. 

6. A Godsend For Senior Dogs

When the effects of aging start to take a toll on senior dogs, it can be hard to rev up their appetites. 

Luckily, Portland Pet Food meal pouches were made specifically for Rosie, the owners’ senior poodle, who stopped eating shortly after her 14th birthday. 

Whether it’s the texture, the flavor or the variety, these nutrient-packed pouches get old pups amped up for meal time again, helping them to regain lost weight and revive their vitality.

7. Pleases Picky Eaters

If you’ve tried all the tricks in the book (adding “seasoning,” using fun feeders, mixing in some of your dinner, or trying out toppers with less-than-stellar nutritional content), you’ll know disguising kibble only works until your pooch gets bored again.  

But with flavors ranging from savory Pork N’ Potato to seasonal Turkey & Yam, you’ll find a healthy option to please (and excite!) even the pickiest of eaters. 

8. Lasts Up to 10 Servings

Because the pouches are made for supplemental feeding, you can make them stretch well beyond a single meal. (And you definitely should!) 

In fact, I divide each pouch into 10 mouthwatering meal toppers that my dogs can’t get enough of! I put just one heaping tablespoon in their food bowl and they gobble it up immediately. 

9. Better For the Planet 

Feeding your pup can do pretty big damage to the planet over time – especially if you have multiple pets like I do. 

That’s why Portland Pet Food is committed to making sure its entire process is sustainable – and that starts with where the food comes from. 

By sourcing all of their ingredients locally, the company reduces fuel emissions and intensive refrigeration required for shipping. They’re also proud to upcycle spent grain from nearby breweries to make their delicious and nutritious dog biscuits. 

And better yet, all meal pouches are eco-friendly, BPA-free, and can be returned through their recycling program. (What other dog food company does that?)

Ready to feed your dog like you’d feed yourself? 

Treat your pups to something paw-sitively delicious and nutritious from Portland Pet Food today. 

Read Wag-Worthy Reviews

“Thaddeus loves it!!! He’s super picky about his food, and sometimes doesn’t really eat much of his kibble and we’ve already tried lots of different brands. We add a little bit from this Beef & Rice pouch as a mixer and his bowl is always been empty now! I’m so glad I found something he enjoys.” –Jessica Q. 


“My ole gal LOVES this stuff and she is super picky, as in walks right by the food and treats samples at pet stores. She hasn’t met a treat she likes in the past 12 years out of her 16 years that she’s been in this earth!” –Claudia M. 

“My maltipoo with a sensitive stomach is thriving. Loves the food and feeling great!  Highly recommended, and beats making food for the pup!” Isabella