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Saturday, January 7, 2012

I imagine most people are much like we are and that is you stay busy doing various things and assume in the process that certain things are a given. One of those givens is that premium dog food you feed your beloved pooch. Or in our case our pooches. For many years I have fed our dogs a highly rated well known domestic commercial brand of dog food. It is available in most if not all grocery stores. It proclaims that it is high in nutrition for dogs and has all the supplements to support their digestive, skeletal, skin and general health.

It wasn't until our vet told us that one of our dogs had allergies which could be environmental or food borne allergies that we started to really read labels. Those labels can be difficult to read and understand but patience will get you on the right path - usually. Instead of putting him through the expensive tests to determine what his specific allergies were and then having to give him shots ourselves to hopefully over come those allergies we decided to do a little experimentation first. We started to look at dog food labels a little closer. What he had been eating (premium dog food), we discovered had as fillers, corn, oats, wheat, soy, animal fat, crude fat, poultry by-products and required 5 cups per day.

What we found was the more expensive food did not have any grain fillers, crude animal fat, chicken (ground up bones beak and all) and looked to be far more healthy. It required 3 1/4 cups a day as opposed to the 5 he was getting or roughly 3/5 of the volume per day. It had ingredients such as roasted lamb, sweet potatoes, peas and other natural products. The price was higher but when we finished the arithmetic it came out about the same. By checking ingredients carefully we discovered that he was allergic to corn, wheat, chicken and tree pollen. All done through the process of elimination. Since he has been on a grain free food his allergies have improved greatly. We left the other two dogs on the premium food as they did not suffer allergies. We later decided that it cost about the same irrespective of the fact the premium food was 44 pound bags and the new food was only a 30 pound bag. One was .95 a pound and the better food was $1.80 a pound but less was required. It pretty much balanced out even though the cost was different the volume they received was also different.

Dogs when they get over weight tend to put fat on under the rib cage too so that effects their organ function. I do not like to see over or under weight dogs but apparently our vet gets to see a lot of both as when we take our dogs in he always comments on how their weight is just perfect.
Our senior dog eats Chicken Lovers for the Soul senior food which is balanced for a less active dog. She seems to thrive on it and she is well onto the up side of her life expectancy and has an active and productive life. It appears that she is 2-3 years beyond what her charts say is a normal life and at her last check the vet told us she should have another couple years easily due to her nutrition and care. Our dogs now eat Taste of Wild as pictured above. Some people advocate feeding raw and prepare their own food. That may be okay if you live close to a grocery store and it may work for them but when we considered doing that it clearly did not work for us. In reading all the pro and cons (and there are cons) of feeding raw we determined there was just to much risk involved and when you live remote as we do it was not practical. We therefore feed our dogs perhaps one of the most expensive foods available but also one of the best foods for their general health.

If you have not considered what you are feeding your best friend maybe it is time to do some research in that area. If you put your thumbs on your dogs spine and run your hands down their back you should be able to feel their ribs with your fingers. If not, maybe they are getting fat. Our dogs get plenty of exercise but lately with our road being an icy mess they have gotten less but still have maintained their correct weight. Soon, (maybe today) we will get more snow to make the road less hazardous and we can get them back on their long walk routine again.
I did check with the manufacturer of the premium food that they were getting to see how much came from China and found out 99.4% was made in the USA but that .06, which was the supplements, came from China. I believe now all the food they eat comes from the USA or Countries with known quality control that can be relied upon. I believe that feeding the dogs a proper food lengthens their life and gives them a much healthier condition. Just something for you to think about when you proceed through your busy day.


Raylene said...

Most informative and totally applies to humans as well....all the kiddoes with food allergies and behavioral issues did not exist to a noticable extent when we were kids--before our food would out last us in shelf life. As the Peds nurse, I get to see a lot of kiddoes and notice that most all are at a correct size and shape. But, Lordy, Lordy, those that aren't are , sorry about the verbage, but HUGELY over weight and usually sullen. Please explain to me how that does not qualify as child neglelct/abuse---- However--I will now more closely check the pussy cats food for contents.

Pat said...

I forwarded this to Wendy – I’ve hammered this “China” thing until her eyes glaze over, but she has at least stopped feeding him the treats from China. I don’t know about the food…

Bruce said...

Half of a percent of toxic material is potentially fatal if it is the right kind. Purina wrote me back and I guess my question is why not 1005 made in the USA and not just 99.4%?
The last dog food recall though was made in Canada so you just have to be alert. China sends lead paint toys, formaldehyde in tooth paste and who knows what else. They have to show that they can do the job right and safe. Even .06%.

Amy said...

That's the brand of cat food we feed our kitties!

It's funny because now our entire family - human and feline - basically eat the same Paleo diet :)

Bruce said...

I should have said that the supplements that come from China are only 6/10th a percent of the entire product. It doesn't take much if it could be the right toxin though. I think of the guy who poisoned the neighbors dogs in Denver. It was so toxic that the dogs still had the poison in their throat when they died. He claims proudly to have been poisoning dogs for 26 years. You just never know who your neighbors could be. These people just moved in and had Jack the serial poisoner for a neighbor. He does it for the enjoyment - what a low life person. I was pleased that Purina was honest enough to tell me what portion of their product came from China.