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Barking Heads dog food may look fun and frivolous with its colourful cartoon bags with Bailey the dog and his family featured on the front, but deep down its a pretty serious business.
First and foremost Barking Heads uses real meat. Now as we know the phrase ‘meat’ is open to interpretation – some people consider snouts, eyeballs and intestines to be ‘meat’ – but not Barking Heads. They use actual real meat such as boneless chicken that is A grade and fit for human consumption.
The best way of appreciating Barking Heads dog food is to get a bag of it and a bag of another dog food and take a scan through the ingredients. We reckon if a dog food is “chicken” then chicken should be the top ingredient, not maize.
The key to Barking Heads is that they don’t just add the bare minimum to get away with it. For example, if a dog food is “lamb flavoured” it doesn’t need to contain any actual lamb. If a dog food is “with lamb” it only needs to contain 4% lamb and if a dog food is “rich in lamb it only needs to contain 14% lamb. If two ingredients are mentioned in the name like “lamb and rice” it only needs to contain 26% lamb.
The difference between these minimal amounts and the Barking Heads range is the volume of meat. For example in Barking Heads Puppy Days, the first ingredient is boneless chicken, the second is dried chicken, followed by brown rice, dried potato, oats and boneless salmon. All together there is a total of 55% chicken and salmon.
Brown rice is an ideal slow release carbohydrate – it is preferable to maize which dogs have trouble digesting and slower release than white rice. Also on the list of ingredients are oats which aid digestion and trout which is high in Omega 3. Dried egg is used because it’s a good protein, tomato is added as an anti-oxidant as are carrots and Prebiotic FOS and MOS which is your dog’s equivalent of swigging a Yakult yoghurt.
When Barking Heads dog food lists meat, they mean actual yummy meat and they avoid at all costs the likes of “chicken digest” which some dog foods use. Chicken digest is everything from stomach to intestines to bowels, so yes, it includes a fair amount of poo.
Barking Heads meat however is tasty actual meat. All the Barking Heads dog food contains Hip and Joint Care which contains glucosamine and chondroitin and again, they use amounts that are actually beneficial not just the bare minimum to get away with putting it on the label.
Barking Heads is sure to win some friends with their cute packaging which, despite resembling plastic is actually more eco friendly and bio-degradable than those paper sacks that some dog foods come in. Each range has a great name (Good Hair Day, Fusspot and our personal favourite Fat Dog Slim) and each one also features a member of the Barking Heads family like cheeky chappie Bailey, Brambles the puppy, Gramps and Big Foot.
Barking Heads Fusspot is designed for the choosy diner. It has a single fish source (45%) which boneless Scottish salmon and has dried potato as the main carb. It also contains sweet potato which as we all know is a tasty slow release carb.
Some may look at Barking Heads dog food ingredients and think that the high protein is a bad thing, but this is not the case because it is the right kind of protein (meat protein) whereas many dog foods will use vegetable oil to bump up the protein count.
It may appeal to some that Barking Heads is a small British owned company (Pet Food UK Ltd based at the charmingly named Barking Mad Mansions in Hertfordshire) and it is not part of any huge multi-national empires like Mars, Proctor and Gamble, Nestle or Colgate.
The first food in the range is Barking Heads Puppy Days which is designed to give your dog the best start in life with 55% chicken and salmon. Next for the adult dog Barking Heads Tender Loving Care is a good choice for gentle digestion. It has a single meat source (chicken) at 50% and includes lots of other yummy ingredients like trout, tomato and carrot.
As an alternative to Tender Loving Care you could try Barking Heads Good Hair Day for health and shine. This food again uses a single meat source at 50% but this time it’s lamb, a hypoallergenic ingredient. The aptly named Fusspot is ideal for your choosy chum. It includes a single fish source which is 45% tasty Scottish salmon.
Large breed puppies get their own food too which is Little Big Foot which goes with the main large breed food Big Foot. For the overweight dog Fat Dog Slim contains lower fat and higher fibre but again with a single meat protein – chicken. The highest ingredient is brown rice and also includes oats and barley. It contains a delicious weight loss formula which includes a kibble size and density designed to allow you to feed less and the dog to feel full for longer. It also contains L’Carnitine to reduce fat mass, increase muscle mass and reduce fatigue.
Finally for dogs over seven years is Grandpa’s favourite Golden Years. It is made up of 35% chicken and trout and has higher quantities of glucosamine and chondroitin for joints as well as natural antioxidants like apple and cranberry to promote urinary health.
Barking Heads also has its feline equivalent which is Meowing Heads which includes Kitten’s Delight, Smitten Kitten, Hey Good Looking and the wonderfully titled food for fussy cats Purr-nickety.