The Best Food for Your Yorkie: Part 5

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This is the fifth in our multi-part series on the best food for your Yorkie. We hope to give you enough information to make an informed choice for yourself, and we hope that the information we provide will lead you to look carefully at the choice you make when it comes to your Yorkie’s food.

As with our last review, we will be looking at 5 quality foods for your Yorkie. We will be reviewing each food in terms of kibble size, ingredients and nutrition, cost, recall information, ownership, and, of course, a taste test. In this review we are looking at (in alphabetical order):

Kibble Size

None of these 5 foods is “traditional” kibble. The ZiwiPeak is the closest to traditional, as it is flat square pieces. The Honest Kitchen food is dehydrated food, so it’s in a variety of small pieces. The Stella & Chwey’s is a freeze-dried patty, so it needs to be broken up. All of these foods are appropriately sized, as far as ability to eat goes, for a Yorkshire terrier. I have taken photos of the pieces next to or on a quarter for your reference.

The Honest Kitchen Embark

The Honest Kitchen Force

The Honest Kitchen Keen

Stella & Chewy’s Duck, Duck, Goose

ZiwiPeak Venison Recipe

Ingredients & Nutrition

The best way to compare the ingredients and nutrition is with the chart provided below.

Here are a few highlights for you that we found the most interesting.

None of these foods include a meat meal.

The Stella & Chewy’s and ZiwiPeak contain no grains, artificial preservatives, or fillers – not even salt and sugar. The Honest Kitchen foods contain no corn, wheat, soy, rice, or artificial preservatives.

The Honest Kitchen’s food is made with all human-grade ingredients in a human-grade facility. Now that is impressive. Their website also lists where all their ingredients come from, including that their beef is from the Midwest U.S. and is hormone and antibiotic free.

Stella & Chewy’s only uses raw, farm-raised, cage-free poultry and only organic fruits and vegetables.

The ZiwiPeak food is air-dried and made from 100% natural, fresh, raw meat sourced in New Zealand from farms that don’t use antibiotics, growth promotants or hormones.

The Stella & Chewy’s has the highest protein at 40% and the Force and Keen have the lowest at 21%. The Force also has the lowest fat content at 15% and the Stella & Chewy’s has the highest at 28%.

Honest Kitchen Embark
(before hydration)
Honest Kitchen Force
(before hydration)
Honest Kitchen Keen
(before hydration)
Stella & Chewy’s
(before hydration)
ZiwiPeak
First Ingredient Dehydrated cage-free USDA turkey
Dehydrated free-range chicken Dehydrated cage-free turkey Duck with Ground Bone Venison meat
Second Ingredient Organic flaxseed
Organic flaxseed Organic oats Turkey Venison Liver, Lung,
Tripe, Heart and Kidney
Crude Protein (Min) 29% 21% 21% 40% 34%
Crude Fat (Min) 18% 15% 15.5% 28% 26%
Calories kcal/kg 4616 4215 4525 4155 4744
Serving size per day for smallest weight category 1/4 – 1/2 cup
1/4 – 1/2 cup 1/4 – 1/2 cup 3 patties daily
1/8 – 1/4 cup

Cost

Cost is always a consideration, especially if you have more than one Yorkie. For these foods, the prices per pound have a huge range – the cheapest being the Honest Kitchen Keen at $2.29 per pound when hydrated and the most expensive being the ZiwiPeak at $14.67 per pound. We used prices at K9cuisine.com for prices. We divided the price into the pounds of the smallest bag available to get a cost per pound. Here are the per pound prices from lowest to highest for our current 5 foods.

  • The Honest Kitchen Keen – $2.29/lb when hydrated
  • The Honest Kitchen Force – $3.12/lb  when hydrated
  • The Honest Kitchen Embark – $3.24/pound when hydrated
  • Stella & Chewy’s Duck, Duck, Goose – $6.98/lb when hydrated
  • ZiwiPeak Venison Recipe– $14.67/lb

I would like to note that this is a per pound cost, and in this review, this isn’t a great metric to go by. Since the feeding guidelines for these foods is so varied and the costs range so widely, this time, I’d like to add an additional metric, a cost per day. For this comparison, I will be using what Catherine would eat in a day. She is just shy of 5 pounds.

  • ZiwiPeak Venison – $0.67 / day approximate
  • Honest Kitchen Keen – $0.93 / day approximate
  • Honest Kitchen Force – $1.34 / day approximate
  • Honest Kitchen Embark – $1.41 / day approximate
  • Stella & Chewy’s – $2.82 / day approximate

As you can see, the cost per day really changes things. The most expensive looking food becomes much more attractive because you only need to feed half as much food. Each of these foods has the water taken out, raw food is about 70% water. The Honest Kitchen food is dehydrated, the Stella and Chewy’s is freeze-dried, and the ZiwiPeak is air-dried. These are three very different ways of turning “raw” food into a shelf-stable product.

Taste Test

Catherine’s rankings:

1. The Honest Kitchen Keen
1. Stella & Chewy’s Duck, Duck, Goose
1. ZiwiPeak Venison Recipe
2. The Honest Kitchen Force
2. The Honest Kitchen Embark

This was by FAR the most difficult taste test to date. Catherine loved all of the food so it was nearly impossible to get any kind of read which one she liked best. The first test, she just started at the closest sample to her and then worked her way down the line, so we rearranged the foods and the same thing happened on the second test. For the third and fourth tests, I held her back, giving her only 2 options of food at a time and making her smell both of them before allowing her to eat either of them, effectively forcing her to make an actual decision. After multiple tests attempting to determine a favorite, the best we have is a three way tie for first and a two way tie for second. Essentially, the results of this test are that every single one of these foods taste great!

Ownership

  • The Honest Kitchen is a family owned company who processes their food at a human-grade food facility.
  • Stella & Chewy’s is a priavetly owned Wisconsin-based company who have their own manufacturing plant.
  • ZiwiPeak is a priavetly owned company in New Zealand with their own facilities.

Recalls

The recall information I have reviewed goes back to 2009.

  • Honest Kitchen – no recalls, ever.
  • Stella & Chewy’s – no recalls, ever.
  • ZiwiPeak – no recalls, ever.

Our Choice

Based on everything, this time we have multiple favorites. It’s a three way tie between the Honest Kitchen Keen, Stella & Chewy’s and the ZiwiPeak. The Ziwi Peak is expensive, but the daily cost is actually lower than any of the other foods. Our three favorite foods are all wonderfully delicious and amazingly healthy and balanced. All three are also great companies who take pride in their ingredients, never add any fillers or artificial preservatives, and source only the best ingredients. None of these companies has ever had foods recalled, and they are all privately owned. If you add in the x-factor of cleanliness, our top pick would be the ZiwiPeak (the other foods when rehydrated get messy in the long facial hair of a Yorkie).


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