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Animal Health and Healing for discussion of all aspects of animal care - diet, veterinary options, complementary and alternative medicine, all species and all methods.

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Old 05-08-10   #11
Ravenbear
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Default Re: Pet food

We do, Mrs. Bear is looking into a membership cost now.. thanks for the info
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Old 03-27-17   #12
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Default Re: Pet food

Quote:
Originally Posted by feranaja View Post
Did you find anything yet? Here's a little bit on what to look for, from one of my seminars. not comprehensive, because seminars I do are on home feeding, usually. but maybe a help?

Commercial Diets

To begin with, I am going to assume that most people here are well aware of the myriad problems with old style commercial dog foods, and are either feeding home made food or using premium brands, or some combination of both. For anyone not familiar with the many problems related to old style dog foods, I can do no better than refer you to Ann Martin's seminal expose of the dog food industry - Food Pets Die For - and also to the link below, which features a lengthy article newcomers to natural feeding will find both instructive and very disturbing.

http://www.api4animals.org/facts.php?p=359&more=1

http://www.amazon.com/Food-Pets-Die-Shocking-Facts/dp/0939165317

In response to books like Ms. Martin's, and others such as Martin Goldstein's Nature of Animal Healing, growing public awareness and consumer pressure has resulted in a wide array of premium foods now available in specialty stores like the one kindly sponsoring this seminar. And while some holistically oriented dog lovers insist that NO commercial food is ever a good idea, I would have to disagree for many reasons. To start with - not everyone has the time, energy, money of other means to feed a properly formulated home prepared diet. Not many have the know- how and many are also intimidated by the notion they may "do something wrong" and harm their dog. So one great advantage of the new foods are that they are made from much higher quality ingredients than was common in past (and still used by the giant companies) and of course, the nutritional balancing has already been done for you. Some of the new foods are truly excellent and I personally have seen dozens of cases where a dog's health improved dramatically simply after switching from a lower quality product to a better one - no supplements, no home made food, just a move from a corn and by-product based food with dubious ingredients (often hugely overpriced) to one based on human grade meats, appropriate fats and whole grains and healthier, less toxic ingredients.

That said, there are still widely differing philosophies within the premium manufacturers and this is reflected in everything from the choice of foods, the amounts of nutrients, the length of the ingredient list and many other characteristics. So choosing a dry or canned food from within the new premiums can still be a bit daunting. I will outline some key ideas to bear in mind as you consider foods.

For starters,and for anyone new to natural feeding, I have included a separate sheet listing ingredients you don't want to see on a label. Now since the premium brands won't be using these ingredients, who do you decide which one will work best for your individual dog?

Here is how I start looking at a food, and I would encourage you to try these methods too.

1. Check through the list for any of the really undesirables - corn gluten meal, brewer's rice, BHA/BHT, anything unidentified eg "animal fat" or "meat". The presence of one or more of these should rule that food right out, right away.

2. Evaluate the main ingredients, which are anything listed before the first fat source (not the first five, as is commonly thought). You need to evaluate the quality of these ingredients and this can take some time to learn how this works. Briefly put, you want to look for;

- whole meat sources, specifically identified - lamb, duck, salmon, turkey, not by products
or digest, or generic things like "poultry"
- specifically identified meat meal is fine, it simply means that the meat has had water removed
and does not speak to meat quality per se, only weight of this ingredient - foods that list for
example, "lamb meal" as a first ingredient may
actually contain more meat protein than one that simply says "lamb" since meal is more
concentrated with water removed
- specifically named fats and oil sources - chicken fat, sunflower oil as opposed to "animal fat" or
"vegetable oil"
- an Omega 6:3 ratio of anywhere from 7:1 to 5:1 - but you can always add more fish oils if the ratio
is the only thing you don't like about a food
- carbohydrates are not all evil as some suspect, but the type, amount and quality will all be
important considerations in choosing a food. Look for lower or non gluten grains like rice and
seeds such as quinoa and amaranth, also white and sweet potato as healthier alternatives to
wheat, oats, barley and sorghum. You want whole unprocessed grain as much as possible since
processing removes a lot of nutrient value. Grain should not be a main protein source as amino
acids from grain are of a much lower biological value for the carnivore..and this will mean that the
amount of crude protein stated on the label may well be much lower in the dog's system, resulting
in less than optimal nutrition.
-appropriate nutrient content for your individual dog - is your dog arthritic? Best to avoid white
potato. Do you have a Giant breed puppy? There are excellent new foods that are formulated with
what we currently know about minerals, fats and energy for these unique dogs. And so on.

- Avoid corn, corn gluten, middlings, or any type thereof or wheat, soy or sorghum as main
ingredient - ditto for soy

These are a few important guidelines, to help you choose a diet or several types to use as staple foods, not intended to be comprehensive here, but a list of basic ideas.


3. Next -watch your dog's reaction! This is common sense, but monitoring the subjective signs of a food's impact on your individual is crucial. Your dog should enjoy the food, stools should be normal in size and frequency and there should be no signs of gastric upset such as flatulence or gurgling. Of course it's important to introduce new foods slowly but after a few weeks you should see postive changes in your dog when shifting from a medium or poor quality food to a truly healthy premium. Since there are pros and cons with every food out there, if you aren't dealing with specific issues (sensitive dogs for example, or the increased protein needs of a senior, or allergy etc) then rotating can be a way to minimize the things you might not view as ideal in the diet and maximize nutreint sources.


4. Monitor objective signs by having your vet thoroughly examine your dog. Although good coat,
muscle tone, energy etc are all valuable indicators of health, a dog can look good on the outside
and be in the early stages of a problem internally. We see this a lot with dogs switched from poor
quality diet to a home made unbalanced one; initially they do look much better, but down the road
the usual problems appear; poor coat due to fatty acid imbalance, colitis/IBD, renal issues from
high phosphorus, gastric problems with dogs who don't digest bone well. The right answer for any
dog always starts with balanced formulas and wholesome foods, geared to his particular needs.
Always.

In conclusion, we can utilize these guidelines to assess whether a given food has fresh quality ingredients - how much processing it's been subjected to, how high the biological value of the protein is and whether there are undesirable fillers, preservatives and flavourings present. When it comes to issues like actual amount of protein, fiber and so on, this is where we need to think about the individual dog - and keep on conducting our own feeding trials. Seniors generally require more protein, healthy ones with good kidney function and normal liver values - but many senior foods are actually using lowered amounts of protein.Which is best for your dog? Then there is the issue of rotating brands - a practise I heartily endorse as long as your dog isn't the type who has great difficult adjusting to new products, in which case the dietary strategy should be to find a food that works and add fresh or canned foods in for variety and added nutrition.

The main advantage of a commerical food over a home made diet is that the number crunching has all been done for you; these diets have been formulated to ensure nutritional adequacy.The new foods, while still problematic in some ways as are all processed foods, are generally highly palatable, of much higher quality than the "old guard" and offer as close to optimal nutrition as you can achieve without going to home made. And home made diets that are not properly balanced can be a real disaster. you can also use a premium food half the time or part of the time and home cook or do raw when time allows.


This talk has really just scratched the surface in looking at commercial diet, it's beyond the scope of this day to go over every ingredient in detail and evaluate the pros and cons. Some excellent foods may not work for your dog and it can take a while to figure out what does. I hope to hold more intensive seminars throughout the year and do exactly this. Meantime, I hope the resources and information here are of some use.

I've been reading your post regarding pet food feranaja and I found it very informative. I'm always wondering if it's best to give homemade food to my dogs or those famous brands that claim their product is full-packed of vitamins and nutrients needed by the dogs.What do you think?
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Old 03-30-17   #13
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Default Re: Pet food

Hi Ms. Welch,

Since I do this for a living I am pretty opinionated! There are pros and cons to both methods of feeding - obviously fresh foods are better than dehydrated, but if the fresh food diet, which may be cooked or raw, fails to meet the core nutrient requirements of the dog, over time we may see repercussions, which range from poor coat and skin inflammation to more serious issues, related to calcium deficiency, and I have seen a couple of dogs die from prolonged home feeding without proper formulation of the diet.
If you are interested in this topic, here is my business site. There should be 9 pages of articles there - I have a number of problems with this site, so they don't always show up, but there really is a LOT of info if you search for it. http://www.thepossiblecanine.com/

Welcome to ESF, too.
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Old 03-30-17   #14
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Default Re: Pet food

Quote:
Originally Posted by feranaja View Post
Hi Ms. Welch,

Since I do this for a living I am pretty opinionated! There are pros and cons to both methods of feeding - obviously fresh foods are better than dehydrated, but if the fresh food diet, which may be cooked or raw, fails to meet the core nutrient requirements of the dog, over time we may see repercussions, which range from poor coat and skin inflammation to more serious issues, related to calcium deficiency, and I have seen a couple of dogs die from prolonged home feeding without proper formulation of the diet.
If you are interested in this topic, here is my business site. There should be 9 pages of articles there - I have a number of problems with this site, so they don't always show up, but there really is a LOT of info if you search for it. http://www.thepossiblecanine.com/

Welcome to ESF, too.

Thank you feranaja for sharing me that info. I will definitely check that site. If I'm going to opt for home feeding, can you suggest me a menu that would contain the core nutrients that dogs need? I appreciate your help
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Old 04-01-17   #15
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Default Re: Pet food

Hi Ms.Welch

While recipe books and sites online abound, most that I have seen end up unsuitable for long term use, unbalanced or simply not optimal for an individual dog.
Home cooked recipes need to consider many factors regarding the individual dog. Raw diets are more guesswork oriented,based on percentages of bodyweight and inclusion of bone and organ meat - not exactly nutritional science -but can still work. I prefer to guide owners through the essentials for a given dog, starting with macronutrients and moving through vitamins and minerals, using foods that are accessible, affordable and digestible! I know this might sound more complex than necessary, but I have seen the consequences of ad hoc type home feeding and it can be unpleasant.

Let me know if you want more input, I am happy to chat with you here.
fera
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Old 04-12-17   #16
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Default Re: Pet food

Agree with ferenaja, DIY is great but only if you know what you're doing.

If not, you can look up commercially prepared dog foods at this site. If you don't feed anything rated less than four stars (five is better, of course!), you're doing great. And you can sign up for email alerts - they'll tell you about recalls.

https://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/
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Old 04-12-17   #17
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Default Re: Pet food

I think they're ok, dfa. Their criteria is pretty sound, although we can't take out the reality that no matter how nice a food is, an individual dog may not do so well on it. I make my own food, incredible expense and labour that it is for three large dogs, but when I can't I use Acana or some of the Fromm FOurstar line. Some of my guys can't do oatmeal, some can't do beef, two can't do legumes - there's always individuality. Canine Caviar is a 5star food and all three of mine we re gassy fruit loops on it.
if your dog does best on a 4star food, bear in mind, dfa is run by a dentist.
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Old 04-12-17   #18
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Default Re: Pet food

I'd totally make my own if mine really needed that - he seems to have an iron stomach, though. It is, as you say, expensive and time-consuming.

He seems to be doing great on Acana kibble with a bit of Evanger's or Wellness canned food. My thing is just avoiding those nightmare brands from the supermarket.

A dentist, eh? Looks like somebody missed their calling. Or barking.
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Old 04-12-17   #19
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Default Re: Pet food

Doesn't mean he can't be knowledgable, but for someone like myself there are holes.
Susan Thixton has great info at here site: http://truthaboutpetfood.com/
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Old 04-12-17   #20
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Default Re: Pet food

Evanger's had a nasty recall recently. I think it was well handled, but still.

http://truthaboutpetfood.com/additio...g-food-recall/
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