21 September, 2009

One for the Dogs: Alpo Chop House Originals

In a bit of a departure today, I'm going to review a dog food: Alpo Chop House Originals. Now, my dog Zim has been raised on Pedigree dry kibble with a dollop of Pedigree canned food mixed in and I rarely buy any other brand. I made an exception this time because of the interesting flavors - filet mignon, New York strip, and ribeye no less - and the fact that displayed prominently on the front of the can is a badge that says "WITH ANGUS BEEF" thereby officially signaling that this whole "Angus beef" thing has totally jumped the shark and needs to die right now.

Believe me, the parts of an Angus-breed cow that wind up in a can of dog food are not going to be significantly better than any other cow chunks. And as far as the fancy flavors go, the ingredient list tells a different story: Water, chicken and beef "by-products," soy, and cornmeal make up most of the composition. Way down the label, they list something called "filet mignon flavor," or "ribeye flavor," and so on. It's hard for me to believe that anything other than the label design is "premium" here. Alpo's website is of little help, by the way. I guess pet food companies aren't required to offer actual ingredient lists for their offerings the way human foods are.

By the way, I did taste the filet mignon variety. It wasn't anything special. It didn't taste all that "filet mignony" to me - more liver-like than anything, with lots of mealy grit mixed in. I couldn't get enthusiastic about it, but Zim got really excited by the smell; seems Alpo knows how to get a dog drooling.

Something in the mix didn't agree with the poor boy, though. The day after I started mixing Alpo with his kibble he started scratching all the time - a kind of ridiculous "stop in the middle of everything you're doing, stand there on three legs with a dumbass expression on your face, and scratch everything you can reach with that fourth leg" kind of scratch that was cramping his usual routine of chasing squirrels, barking at passing cats from the second floor windows, and sleeping on the couch. A couple days after going back to his usual rations, he was his old self again - we donated the leftover cans to the local food bank.

Alas, no more Alpo Chop House Originals for Zim, no matter how much he likes them. While I can't recommend them as a "premium" dog food (Alpo seems to be relying a lot on weasel words and hype to sell this line) I know the pooch really loved the flavor and his seeming allergic reaction to them is probably unique to him; so, if you can find it on sale, you might want to give it a try. I mean, your dog might want to give it a try.

Alpo's website.



TomW said...

I was happy to read that you actually tasted the stuff because I know I would have.

I'm not sure if I would have told anyone, though...


Anonymous said...

Interesting... I had a related experience with my dog. Like your dog, my Elkhound really went nuts over the flavor but it didn't agree with him. I bought a few cans of this food on sale to mix a dollop at a time with his dry food, and the next thing I knew the dog had extreme itching plus vomiting (both very unusual for this dog). Oh well - back to putting a little chicken broth on his kibble instead of this. Thanks for sharing your experience on this.