By Kyle Wintersteen
Both my 6-year-old springer spaniels had eaten a certain 30/20 performance formula their entire lives — the same one eaten by their father and their father’s father. It had served me well through 25 years of hunting and field trials, so I was hesitant to try anything else. Yet six months ago, for the purpose of this review, I replaced my dogs’ food with Eukanuba Premium Performance 30/20. And I’m thoroughly impressed.
When I opened the bag, I noted that Eukanuba — the Official Dog Food Conservation Partner of Delta Waterfowl — uses a much larger kibble size than key competitors. I appreciate that, because many sporting dogs including my springers are aggressive eaters, and Eukanuba’s kibble forces them to slow down and actually chew. That alone reduces plaque buildup (an issue for my pups by age 3), plus all of Eukanuba’s performance-based formulas contain a natural anti-tartar agent.
Within weeks of feeding Eukanuba, I made a compelling observation: a drastic improvement to my dogs’ skin and coat health. Both were chronically itchy dogs, which my veterinarian treated with prescription-strength medication. Now? No more pills. No more itching. Happier dogs. I can’t point to any variables except an ingredient that’s in — or isn’t in — Eukanuba.
As the name suggests, Eukanuba Premium Performance 30/20 contains high protein (30 percent) and fat (20 percent), along with a blend of carbohydrates and nutrients tailored to the needs of hard-working dogs. Most consider the 30/20 ratio ideal, as duck dogs need added protein to build, maintain and repair lean muscle, and generous fat and carbohydrates for energy. The formula additionally contains calcium for strong bones, along with glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy joints. The No. 1 ingredient is chicken, as is my preference. It just seems to me a bird dog ought to eat bird.
Now for the fun stuff: Did Eukanuba Premium Performance 30/20 meet my dogs’ energy needs? It takes three months for a dog’s metabolism to fully adjust to new food, so I began my evaluation shortly after duck season closed. Neither Cash (my duck dog) nor Junior (a pheasant specialist) missed a beat during our fairly intense weekly training sessions. Most compelling, however, has been Junior’s performance in AKC springer trials, which are upland affairs, but completing one requires immense energy — a strain comparable to a high-volume duck hunt. Since switching to Eukanuba, Junior has competed in four trials, finished three with plenty of gas left in the tank, and in spite of my handling, placed in two. That tells me all I need to know about the energy provided by Eukanuba Premium Performance 30/20.