Monday, May 2, 2011

Purina Pro Plan Selects Review: Scout is part of the family

Enter to Win a $100 Visa Gift Card!

This is a sponsored review by BlogHer and Purina.

Scout as a puppy

This past week, during our daughter’s horse-themed birthday party, we served oatmeal cookies. We like theme parties and we always make sure our food fits the theme. Oatmeal cookies were a natural fit as the “oats” to accompany the carrots and apples that horses would also eat (and that humans do, too).

Well, a little toddler at the party was holding one of those oatmeal cookies and, apparently, at her height, our dog Scout must’ve thought, “Clearly, she is offering me this tasty treat,” because Scout jumped up, grabbed the cookie, and ran to hide under the coffee table to eat it before anyone could stop her. She’s quirky that way. She loves her doggie cookie treats and does the same thing when we give her one of those, even though we’ve never, ever, ever tried to take one away from her.

Scout and me

Well, there was one massive problem with this incident. The cookies had raisins, and raisins are very toxic to dogs. I had just read that little bit of information the previous week in an article on keeping dogs healthy and safe. To say I was freaked out was an understatement. We called the vet immediately and she confirmed the danger and instructed us on how to cause Scout to vomit what she had eaten so that the toxins wouldn’t reach her kidneys and cause renal failure or death. I. Was. Terrified.

Scout is all of 10 pounds, so I was worried that it wouldn’t take much bad stuff to make her very sick. I tried desperately to hold it together and keep the party upbeat (thankfully, our kids had no idea any of this was going on). But after much pacing with a really bad stomachache from worry, I stole away to a quiet room of the house while the kids watched “Secretariat” and texted my husband to tell him I was FREAKING out and crying in another room. He came to find me and reassure me and together we went back to the backyard where Scout was looking none too pleased with the whole “inducing vomiting” thing.

I love this picture – it shows the joy of having a puppy.

I spent the next several hours wracked with worry. Remember how I had never had a dog growing up? Remember how I didn’t want a dog? Remember how when we first got her, I thought, “What on earth have we done?” Remember how I swore I wouldn’t become one of those people whose dog is like part of the family?

A close-up of her cute, little face

Well, somewhere along the line, I became totally enamored of this sweet puppy. I’m so glad we have her. I often look at her and exclaim, “You are so cute! I’m so glad we brought you home!” Yes, I talk to her. Did I ask you? I’m Portuguese. I say things with passion and I’ve been known to show love with food.

During that afternoon of worry, it was even more abundantly clear to me that I had, despite all the things I’d thought and said when we first reluctantly decided to get a dog, fallen for this “furball of happiness” as we call her. Despite my saying that I wouldn’t become “one of those” pet owners, I so have. I love Scout and she most definitely is part of the family.

Scout, in need of a haircut

Thankfully, we were able to get Scout to, um, give up the contents of her stomach. All the raisins were out and she was, thankfully, healthy and fine. I was over-the-moon with relief.

Just as I would never intentionally let Scout eat anything bad for her, I want to make sure that whatever she does eat is good for her. Like I said, she is part of the family. We try to eat healthily and, therefore, we try to make sure that Scout does, too.

Me and Scout in our backyard

Since this past summer, our family has been geeking out on nutrition – you know, generally trying to eat healthy foods and avoiding nasty things like preservatives and high fructose corn syrup.

We’ve watched great films including “Food, Inc.” and “Super Size Me.” We’ve signed up with a local farm cooperative to get fresh, organic fruits and vegetables on a weekly basis. We’ve really taken to reading labels and ingredient lists. We generally don’t eat processed foods. We garden. We’re trying to eat more vegetarian meals. We’re working on, for the most part, staying away from artificial colors and flavors. We’re making sure we get good proteins from good sources.

Gardening with Scout

I have given a lot of thought as to how to incorporate healthy eating in Scout’s life, too. I’ve read many, many articles researching what foods are healthiest for dogs. Is it okay to feed her table scraps? What dog foods are best? How do I make sure it’s healthy dog food?

Thing 2 and our sweet Scout

I’ll admit that we do give her table scraps now and then (toast and meat being her favorites) but of course I feel good that when we do, she’s getting unprocessed, natural, preservative-free foods, since that’s what we eat, too.

Now, for her main nutrition, we mostly want Scout eating her “kibble,” since the man from whom we got her explained to us novice dog owners that crunching on kibble is how dogs clean their teeth (who knew?).

Well, our little Scout has a will, and from the beginning, she has resisted eating kibble. We have tried every trick in the book – we’ve spooned broth over the kibble (but just enough to keep it crunchy), we’ve mixed crumbs of toast in with the kibble, we’ve put all-natural peanut butter all over the kibble. Most of the time, those tricks work. But, by and large, though we’ve tried various kinds of dog food, she hasn’t ever loved kibble enough to go out of her way to eat it on a regular basis, not without any of our tricks anyway.

Scout sitting behind Mark while he works

So when BlogHer asked me if I was interested in reviewing Purina Pro Plan Selects dry dog food, I jumped at the chance to try a new (and healthy!) kind of dog food and get to write about it, too!

And this dog food is seriously healthy!! The reason Purina calls this dog food “Selects” is because they actually choose what they put in it as well and what they don’t put in it. This dog food does not contain corn, soy, wheat, artificial colors, artificial flavors, or preservatives. I wish I could say the same about more human food!

This product is a natural product. The #1 ingredient is real, natural protein - your choice of chicken, turkey, beef, or salmon.

Pro Plan Selects is sold exclusively at pet specialty retailers (we got ours at PetSmart – we love to go there because we can take Scout inside!). Check out the Pro Plan Selects website for lots more information. Or you can call them toll free at 1-800-PRO-PLAN.


Clearly, trying out this dog food was a no-brainer for me. My only worry was, “OMG, what if Scout won’t eat it without trickery? How will I be able to write an honest, glowing review??”

Well, I’m happy to report that absolutely NO trickery has been necessary. We have never seen Scout take to any dog food like she has to this one. The day we brought it home, we set it down in the mudroom near her other dog food. When we sat down to dinner, Scout, who usually is begging food off of all of us the whole time (seriously, we’re new to this dog thing and have no clue what we’re doing) wasn’t at our feet. She was whimpering and scratching at something in the mudroom.

Kids and Scout in the mudroom on a snowy day

“What is she doing?” I asked out loud.

Sweet Scout

And then, as the unspoken answer dawned on me, I could tell by the look on everyone’s faces at the table that it was dawning on all of us. Could it be? Was she seriously scratching at and asking for kibble?? The kibble that I would get to review for BlogHer and Purina??

We held our breath and walked around the corner. Yes, indeed! Not only was she whimpering and standing on her hind legs sniffing at the bag, she was also trying to tear into it by jumping up and biting the top of the bag with her teeth!

Never, I repeat, never has Scout voluntarily chosen to walk away from the family dinner table at meal time to show any kind of preference at all for any kind of dog food. Dog food has never trumped human food. That is, until this dog food.

Celebrating Scout’s 1st birthday with a toast and peanut butter “cake.”

I’m so happy to be able to report that Scout LOVES it. She eats it daily. Without trickery. She asks for it when her bowl is empty (okay, by “asks,” I mean “demands”). She eats it even when we’re right there eating toast. And, funniest of all, we’ve recently discovered that she is getting up in the night and sneaking into the kitchen to eat it, cleaning her bowl handily every day by morning. Yeah, we know, it’s our own fault. We shouldn’t leave it out like that.

But, you see, it’s never been a problem in the past. We used to leave her dog food out constantly in the hopes that she would, you know, eat it. It would often take her days to eat one bowl of kibble. Now, every morning we’re greeted with a newly empty bowl that we gladly fill with healthy dog food that she happily and willingly eats.

Couch Cuddles with Scout –
I love this picture.

We’re amazed. We may actually have to do what we’ve often heard you should do – feed them once or twice a day and then put the bowl away so that they’re not eating all day long. We’ve never had to worry before! But, thankfully, now we do, because she’s actually eating her food. And that’s a good thing. Amazing. Amazing!

We’re thrilled. But really, we shouldn’t be surprised.

Our family on vacation at the beach

We sit on the couch. Scout sits on the couch. We like to snuggle with blankets. Scout likes to snuggle with blankets. We like toast. She likes toast. We like all-natural popcorn. She likes all-natural popcorn. We play in the backyard. She plays in the backyard. We like cookies. She likes cookies (but without raisins or chocolate). We like late night snacks. She likes late night snacks. We love her. She loves us.

Our family – all 5 of us. :)

We try to eat good and healthy foods, so it should come as no surprise that she wants to, too. After all, Scout is very much a beloved part of our family.

Interested in trying for yourself? Click here for a $3.00 Pro Plan Selects Coupon.


As part of this review program, you can enter to win a $100 Visa gift card provided by BlogHer to a Sushi and Pizza reader! See? Aren’t you glad you read my blog?

To enter, just post a comment below and tell us about a beloved pet that is part of your family. It can be a childhood pet, a pet you now have, or even a story about someone else’s pet that you love. C’mon, I want to know to know that I’m not the only sucker out there that has been totally whooped by this adorable dog that sits curled up in my lap as I type this.

**You must include your e-mail address in your comment in order to win.** It won't be used for anything except as a way to contact the winner. To avoid spam bots, you can leave it like this: boquinha AT gmail DOT com.


1. No duplicate comments. Your comment MUST include your email address (see above).
2. You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post.
b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post.
c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post.
d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
e) Giveaway runs from May 2nd through May 31st, 2011.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older.

Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail.

You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

But wait, there's more! Several other bloggers are also giving away $100 Visa gift cards! Check out the BlogHer Purina round up page to learn more.