About two years ago when our “fur son” Todd (see pics) was coming close to turning a year old, I decided to seek out a new dog food. He was on Purina Pro Plan for puppies… until I noticed that one of the main ingredients was corn! Naturally, as a label reader of almost everything, I became interested in finding a better alternative. When I went to the pet store, I began scouring various bags’ ingredients, hoping to find a winner. I was a bit skeptical about the ones I found when I finally caved and asked a sales associate for some help. She perked up when she realized that I was taking the time to find a superior product with legitimate ingredients. After all, my sweet puppy was my little baby (before my lovely daughters came along) and only deserved the best.
She began to tell me about Bil-Jac. I later realized that she was actually a representative from the company who was at the store to promote their products. So she was obviously biased. She had me convinced within about 5 minutes. She started by showing me the ingredients, as she knew this was my main concern. Turns out, chicken is the #1 ingredient. In fact, 12lbs of fresh chicken goes into every 15 lb bag (and 25lbs of fresh chicken to each 30lb bag). That’s a pretty high ratio if you ask me! One must consider water weight of course but this is already better than most commercial dog foods that contain corn and other grains above meat portions. Also, Todd is a Pomeranian (though my husband hesitates to admit it), albeit the best Pom ever, and smaller breeds tend to be a bit pickier with food. Bil-jac adds quite a variety of tasty additions to flavor it up in their Small Breed Puppy & Adult formulas.
This woman proceeded to tell me some other enticing Bil-jac tidbits. Because Bil-jac is more nutritiously dense, dogs require a physically smaller amount of food per feeding. This makes up a little for a slightly higher cost. She informed me that the darker, smaller, and firmer a dog’s stool, the healthier their diet is. She challenged me to observe my dog’s poops if I switched to Bil-jac… which they did eventually pass that test. Something else that appealed to me was that apparently the food did not need to be gradually introduced. It is generally recommended when switching to a new food to slowly add in the new, starting with a small proportion and increasing each day until the old is completely phased out, over about a week or so. She explained to me that switching to Bil-jac would ultimately be easier on the dog’s digestive systems and therefore there are typically no issues with new food sensitivity, thus, no need to do a gradual change.
In addition to being produced in small batches, the food is produced differently than common commercial pet foods. By the way, have you ever heard of the dog food brand “Beneful”? It’s very popular. I once perceived Beneful to be beneficial and a healthy choice. This is one dog food that really just fails to deliver though. Once I saw through the advertising technique and psychological ploy of this product, it became fairly laughable to me. For starters, the brand is a play on the word beneficial. That’s one big subconscious ploy. Also, the label on the bag of food is full of vibrantly colored vegetables: carrots, corn, wheat, peas, and raw meat cubes. I must confess, it is pretty appealing. However, upon second thought… do dogs really need or even want vegetables? Are those vegetables even contained within the dog food? Well surely corn and probably wheat… but carrots and peas? (Fail!) I have to laugh at this sad, yet effective sales technique.
Now where was I? Oh yes. The benefits of Bil-Jac. Here’s a big one, something I was previously unaware of until this one fateful day at Petsmart. Almost all store sold dry dog food is processed through a high heat and high pressure production process that compacts each food pellet into the all too familiar dog food bits. Unfortunately this status-quo process deprives the food of many nutrients it may have contained to begin with. Bil-jac uses a unique to the industry technique known as “Nutri-lock” that slow cooks each batch and vacuum dries the food to get it dehydrated. This, no doubt, is a superior process that help to maintain most starting nutrients. Because the food keeps the nutrients and flavor, Bil-jac contains no rendered (spray-on) fat… something that almost all other dog food has. These lesser quality brands burn all the flavor and nutrition out and then they have to turn around and spray fat on the pebbles, just to make it palatable to the dogs. This high heat/high pressure norm of commercial productions cause the food to be extremely hard, as well. And the sprayed fat often remains on dog’s teeth, causing dental issues over time. Some of my friends and family who have caught glimpse of Todd’s food have joked about how it looks like hamster food! It may look funny, but the texture of the food is very soft in comparison to the alternatives. At the store that day, there was a little table with two cups filled with water. In one was some other commercial brand food pellet and in another were some Bil-jac. They had been sitting out for hours. The difference? The Bil-jac had actually dissolved- the other had not. This shows a clear difference in the ease of digestibility. And, when we switched, we noticed Todd no longer made loud cracking sounds from trying to bite down on those Purina pellets.
So here’s the kicker. As you know, I went home with a bag of Bil-jac that day (and some Bil-Jac liver treats too). Excited to introduce the new food, I thoroughly mixed a small portion of the new Bil-Jac into my dog’s Purina-Pro Plan food and set it down for him. I will have you know that Todd picked out every single piece of Bil-jac and never touched the Purina again. SOLD!!
Bil-jac is clearly a company that tries, and successfully does it right, while providing a great option for conscious pet owners (without an extremely steep cost). I’m not claiming that Bil-jac is the BEST dry dog food on the market, but in my humble opinion, it’s a great option and it’s been our choice since puppy-hood. And I must add that Todd is the softest dog in the world! I’m definitely known to brag on my “fur son” but I don’t think I exaggerate when I say he is as soft as some cats. I suppose that part of that can be attributed to his breed but I am convinced the Bil-jac helps!
*Note: “Introducing Todd” post coming soon with more biographical content. It will be a good read, I promise.