Currently, we feed her Taste of the Wild Wetlands formula. It's grain free, has wholesome-for-dogs ingredients in it, and Elka really really likes it. Before we got Elka, I didn't really know much about pet food. I didn't buy what we fed the cats, nor did I research animal nutrition at all.
That isn't to say I've become a nutrition expert, mind you. Per agreement with the breeder, I use the Whole Dog Journal approved list for my choices, and then head over to Dog Food Analysis to have a further look. Then I see what's actually available in my area.
The primary thing I like about Taste of the Wild is that the first ingredient is duck (don't worry, the entire blog won't be duck themed from now on or anything. This is probably the last one). The second ingredient is duck meal. Seeing a trend? It's also grain-free. There isn't corn, sugar, corn husks, malt, etc. Sometimes when I'm feeling morbidly curious, I look at the ingredients of the cheapest "dog food" on the shelf in the store, and I cringe. At least one doesn't even actually have meat in it. If you're going to go that cheap, you might as well just buy giant bags of store-brand cheerios. Of course, there is a contradictory element in feeding one's dog grain-free and still giving her pizza crusts. But that isn't the point.
There are other things I like about Taste of the Wild, though. For instance, Elka likes it. It isn't good enough to use as training treats, but as her primary means of nutrition, she just chows down. It doesn't smell strongly like dog food, either; I guess due to it's mild fruit content (cranberries, blueberries) it just smells a little bit sweet. Elka's skin tends to get a little dry, be it summer or winter, so she frequently gets either a dollop of yogurt or some olive oil on top of the kibble, after it's in her bowl.
It amuses me that every Taste of the Wild bag has wolves on it, chasing the prey animal that makes up the main ingredient. It's a little Calvin and Hobbes-esque, suggesting that this food will make your dog have a rich inner fantasy world in which she spent the day stalking a worthy meal, and now that she's brought it down, and you've de-feathered and de-boned it, and made it into cereal, she's ready to chow down. The mighty hunter!
It is interesting to note that Elka does sometimes seem to "pretend". She'll throw a toy, and then run and pounce on it as though it was a small animal fleeing her, finishing it off with a vigorous shaking.
She'll get your attention and look up at the ceiling past you, pretending to look at something important. If you don't look, she'll try again. When you do look, she'll grab a toy and run away, as though she had designs on it all along, and essentially yelled "look at that!" so you wouldn't be able to keep it.
Before I had Elka, it never occurred to me that dogs could "play pretend". Now, it seems as though they do, because as much as I want my dog to be unique and the best, I know there must be others like her. Maybe they pretend that one day they'll have superpowers.