Shortly after the US pet food producer Nutro Choice announced that it was pulling out of the UK in 2009, several employees of their British distributor got together to create Barking Heads. With their shared experience and a ready-made distribution network left over from their time distributing Nutro, the Barking Heads team were able to quickly put together a good range of natural foods under a very unique brand which has quickly expanded to take up where Nutro left off.
Like all of the Barking Heads range, the Adult varieties contain a relatively high proportion of good quality, fresh and dry meat. They were amongst the first British companies to incorporate large quantities of fresh meats into their dry foods, making the range highly palatable. Unfortunately, only the total amount of meat is given rather than the individual amounts of dry and fresh meat. Dry meat (which usually means meat meal) only contains about 5% water while fresh meat is around 70% water, almost all of which is lost during the production of dry foods. This means that 3 grams of fresh meat are necessary to create 1 gram of dry meat content in the finished product. The fact that the percentages of dry and fresh meat are not given makes it impossible to work out how much the real meat content is. A total of 50% fresh and dry chicken as listed on the Barking Heads Adult foods could theoretically provide a final dry meat content of anywhere between 19% to 35% which isn't very helpful.
Barking Heads have three standard adult varieties, all of which are suitable for all adult dogs but with a different meat source in each one and slightly tweaked ingredients, each food also has a more specific target market: 'Tender Loving Care' for dogs with sensitive digestion, 'Good Hair Day' for dogs that are prone to skin and coat problems and 'Fusspot' for fussier dogs (now listed separately).
Both Tender Loving Care and Good Hair Day are based on highly nutritious brown rice and include a range of highly nutritious ingredients like salmon oil, lucerne, tomato and seaweed and several joint supplements. Barking Heads tell us that their 'natural flavours' are "based on taking some of the freshly prepared boneless/deboned element and mixing it with a natural preservative and then spray coating it along with all the specific oils on to the kibble using a vacuum method".
It is worth noting that the Barking Heads adult foods contain considerably more fat and protein than most similar British foods. This can be a double edged sword as although it helps to make the food highly palatable and is great for well-exercised dogs, it may not be ideal for all dogs. Dogs that tend to put on weight easily, for example, should avoid high fat foods and too much protein is not advisable if your dog has a history of urinary problems.
Conclusion: A very good, natural, British food but with a slightly confusing meat content.