When we adopted Charlie (my very large and sweet Lab x Dane) almost six years ago, sustainability wasn’t on the radar.
As soon as we picked her up from the RSPCA, we popped down to the local pet store and brought a tonne of plastic disposable toys, beds and coats she grew out of in a few months (we had no idea she would grow so big) and a bunch of stuff she really didn’t need.
Since then I’ve become a bit more mindful when we need to buy things for her. I’ve started a pet poop compost, we upcycle, invested in a forever bed and generally make things last. And most recently I’ve been starting to research sustainable pet food options.
We trialled (and by we I mean Charlie) Frontier Pets, an Aussie dog food brand who want to help end factory farming.
Frontier Pets source their ingredients from higher welfare farms who use pastured and organic practices. Their goal, to help educate Australian pet owners about where their pet’s food is sourced and to show there’s a kinder way to feed them.
The food is interesting and not your typical dry biscuits. The food is freeze-dried, so all the water is removed, resulting in these large lightweight pellets. The reason behind the freeze-drying is so the colours, flavours, smells and nutritional content remain intact.
The range includes beef, chicken and pork options, each protein mixed together with free-range, pasteurised eggs and organic fruit & vegetables sourced from Food Connect, plus turmeric, linseed & almond meal and kelp. Frontier has worked with a holistic animal nutritionist and veterinarian with over 30 years of experience to ensure your dog’s nutritional needs are met.
“Frontier Pet food is made using only 100% ethically sourced produce including free-range meat and offal, organic fruit & veg and free-range eggs. This has a significant effect on pet’s health in the same way as humans who eat well are healthier I tell you, our pets eat better than we do!” – Diana Scott – Founder
What Charlie thought
Using the feeding calculator on the site I worked out how much food Charlie needed. She’s six years old and weighs 50kg (no she’s not overweight, she just a big dog) and active daily. We split her meals over breakfast and dinner so based on the calculator, she needs six cups a day, half each meal.
You scoop the dried pellets into the bowl and for every cup, you add one cup of warm water. The idea is that the pellets will absorb the water. The instructions do say that there will be a little water leftover and the dog will just drink that up.
Charlie loved the food, but Charlie is also a Lab who will eat almost anything. She was salivating at mealtimes but she also drools over an apple. Frontier Pets do pride themselves in creating food even the fussiest dog will love, and I must admit, those dry pellets smelled very appealing when I opened the bag.
What I thought
Overall I really like the concept, when we do eat meat I buy pastured for us where I can, so it makes sense to look at the welfare of the food I feed Charlie.
If you’re used to dry biscuits, this is an extra step but it takes only a minute to add the water and another minute to let the food absorb some of the water. I found the water did not absorb well even after being left for five minutes. We tried warm water and cold water, crushing the pellets while they were dry and when they were wet. I’d say about 40% of the water is absorbed. Charlie did not mind and happily lapped up her meal.
As far as her health goes, we’ve had her on this food for six weeks and her coat is shiny, her weight stable and her poops healthy. Her poops have actually reduced to half the size which has been nice for picking up!
We’ve gone through almost two of the wholesale size bags, 5kg makes 20kg of food and at $255 a bag is on the pricier side. As much as I like this food, I feel the price is just too high for having a large dog. If your pup is smaller it’s definitely worth a try. Frontier Pets do offer sample sizes and trial packs so you can test them out before committing.
Kira Simpson is an environmentalist and sustainability expert. She started The Green Hub as a blog in 2015, which has since grown to become one of Australia’s largest education sites dedicated to helping people live a more sustainable lifestyle.