May 14, 2006 at 8:10 am #61475
Feeding the Dogs:
A suitable diet encompasses all of the essential and non essential amino acids, balanced with carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and water; thus providing the dog with a healthy intake of all the necessary nutrients. Although it is important that the diet is palatable to the dog it is important that it is easily digestible and adequate to meet the individual needs of the dog according to age, health and activities. Dog nutrition should be a concern to all dog managers/carers because ‘optimal nutrition underlies optimal health’ Barbara Fougere, BSCBVMS (hons).
A species appropriate diet – sometimes called ‘barf’ or ‘natural’ – is based on raw protein intake from uncooked meaty bones, vegetables and fruit; cooked/pulped only when necessary to break down cellulose in order to aid digestion, limited gluten rich grain, rice and 2nd class protein in the form of cheese, nuts etc. The ancestors of today’s dogs would naturally have consumed the whole body of their prey; bones, flesh, organs, gut contents; for fibre, skin and feathers, all of which provided the correct balance of nutrients to sustain them. In today’s society this is no longer an option for most of us and meaty bones are not an adequate substitution of a whole carcass, but by adding raw meat, vegetables, fruit, seed and suitable grain, we can offer a close equivalent of this form of natural diet. This type of diet, if monitored and adjusted accordingly, will provide all the nutrients a dog needs for a healthy, active life. It will ensure good levels of energy, easy digestion, healthy skin and coat, maintain teeth and gums, in fact all the things that commercial food manufactures promise. This type of diet is more cost effective than a commercial diet but it is more time consuming and does require management.
Commercial diets, whilst easy to use, requiring little or no management, are costly and poorly protected by legislation. Manufacturers are constantly on the look out for cheap ingredients and will alter recipes accordingly; this is the foremost reason why the wording on their packaging material is so vague; as these changes can be made to the contents without the expenses of reprinting. Commercial foods generally have a higher level of poor quality protein and chemically flavoured fats, these ingredient being more palatable to the dog, with colourings added in order for the food to look more palatable to humans. The title of such foods can be misleading and the use of words like ‘premium’, ‘whole health’ and ‘meaty goodness’ are intended to install confidence.
Converting dry matter basis
This can be the hard part. All pet foods have different levels of moisture. Canned foods can have up to 80% moisture whereas; some dry foods can have as little as 6%. This is important for 2 reasons. The first is that the food is priced by the pound, and when you buy dog food that is 80% water you get 20% food and the rest is water. So the amount of food your pet consumes is small and expensive. The other reason for understanding percent moisture is to help you compare crude protein and fat between brands and between canned and dry. The listings on the label are for the food as it is, not as it would be on a dry matter basis. So without converting both brands of food to a dry matter basis you will not be able to compare them accurately.
If a dry dog food has 10% moisture we know that it has 90% dry matter. So we look at the label and check the protein level that reads 20%. Next, we divide the 20 percent protein by the 90% dry matter and we get 22%, which is the amount of protein on a dry matter basis. Does this make sense so far? Good. Now let us compare this to canned food that has 80% moisture. We know that with 80% moisture we have 20% dry matter. The label shows 5% protein. So we take the 5% and divide it by 20% and we get 25% protein on a dry matter basis. So the canned food has more protein per pound on a dry matter basis after all the water is taken out.
If we take a well known brand of complete food for example; which is quite expensive, the packaging reads ‘lamb and rice – gluten free’, upon reading the label there is only 4% lamb, 2% meaty extract (whatever that is) and 5% brown rice, the remainder seemed to be made up of soluble fats, soya, beet pulp (left over sugar beet from sugar manufacturers), syrup and yeast.
Plus all the ‘extra vitamin and minerals, some of which exceeded the r.d.a. and some which dont, assuming there is an even mix between bag and bowl. In the analysis it states 24% protein – well if the meat content is only 4% what is the source of the rest? The big bonus is the ‘extract of Yucca – widely acclaimed for its flatulence and faecal odour reducing properties’ well that’s ok then – no smelly dogs!! ::)
Most carers who feed their dogs on commercial food rely on the so called expertise of the manufacturers, who in reality take advantage of the complicated science of nutrition by limiting factual information whilst at the same time exposing a gullible public to marketing material designed to provide reassurance that the dogs’ needs are being catered for.
A good example of this is the following quote taken from the advertising literature for a major brand. ‘Very few pet foods are processed and cooked as thoroughly, as slowly and as ‘hot’ as the xxxxx line of dog foods. You can see how processing every bit as important as the ingredients is. You can also see why a label only tells part of the story’. Yeah – well actually I would like the label to tell the whole story!
A few years ago we rescued a clumber spaniel called Zak, a 4 year old male, with a very bad ulcerating skin condition which also affected his larynx and colon. Since leaving the breeder he had only been fed on the same, popular, dry complete food; on the basis that ‘anything else makes him really poorly and upsets his stomach’ he was allowed ‘half an apple or carrot once per day’, his carers genuinely believed that his skin and ulcerated internal tissue to be a genetic condition. They had spent a fortune on prescriptions and tests and as the condition started when he was still a very young puppy, the insurance companies would not cover the treatment cost. The food he was on was sold through the veterinary practice that had been treating him and was in fact recommended by their veterinary surgeon as a suitable diet. Tearfully leaving him, with strict instruction not to change his diet, along with 3 months supply of 2 types of antibiotic; one broad spectrum for ‘better days’ and one specific for ‘bad days’, 3 months supply of steroids and a homeopathic tea tree lotion, we didn’t know whether to weep for the dog or the people. It took us 3 months to gradually change his diet and reduce his antibiotic and steroidal intake. We increased his food to 70% home produced/raw and boosted his immune system with the extra minerals and vitamins, C, B2, Biotin and Zinc during the healing process. It took a further 4 months to clear his system of the antibiotics and steroids and to get him producing his own steroids for probably the first time in his life. He had a fine new layer of skin and a full coat in time for his 5th birthday. Unfortunately, as he had taken in insufficient water when on the dry food diet; his liver and kidneys never fully recovered and he only lived until he was 7 years old.
The responsibility of providing ‘optimal food for optimal health’ lies with all who decide to include dogs in their lives. As such, as the consumers by proxy of commercial animal feeds, in my honest opinion, I feel that it is time to put pressure on manufacturers and legislative bodies to provide factual information on the contents of their products. I also believe that the common practice by manufacturers of ‘buying’ veterinary surgeons to recommend their products should be outlawed by the veterinary medical council. Nutrition is a complicated and exact science but as dog carers we have the choice to make ourselves more aware of their needs – unfortunately our dogs don’t.May 14, 2006 at 9:26 am #91636
Brilliant post Bev, well said.May 14, 2006 at 11:02 am #91637
Excellent 😉May 14, 2006 at 11:32 am #91638
Brilliant article !
So how come the manufacturers can get away with it ?
I mean if humans eat junk food its their choice, but dogs are fed and have no choice but owners like myself believed the manufacturers were producign the correct food for dogs.
If you think about it, it is a form of false advertising, surely there must be some laws on producing food for animals.
Or is it a case of, tough they are only animals !
and for a vet to recommend that diet is really bad, maybe it was to keep the money coming in ?May 14, 2006 at 11:37 am #91639
because what legislation there is is so weak
because we are conditioned to the marketing industry – consumerism
it is about money – look at all the crap that is now sold in pet supermarkets – aimed at the inocent and the emotions – with very little training and low pay for the staff.
vets – ha! – one of the biggest manufacturers pay bursaries/grants for future vets and gives lots of money to the vet med schools on the basis that they will sell their products when qualified – then they offer big rewards – holidays etc – on sale commissions.May 14, 2006 at 12:07 pm #91640
great post kiz ;DMay 14, 2006 at 12:20 pm #91641
the reason i posted this is because yesterday i had a client ring me to say her boys had both been really poorly on and off for a couple of weeks – she had taken them to the vets and of course the vet said what you feeding them on – natural diet says she – she got the lecture and came out having been sold a bag of food at the most ridiculous price – cos they ‘allergic’ – both of them? – starting at the same time? no blood tests, no faecal samples – a therm up the bum a look in the mouth – double consultation fee £36, something to calm down their tummies (bless ::) an anti emetic jab each, a box diaralite solution sachets in cast they dehydrate, total bill £117 + vat – what did she find them doing 2 hours later – eating the well rotted farm compost off the garden! does she feel daft? – yep – is she going back to tackle the vet on monday? – you bet ::)May 14, 2006 at 12:25 pm #91642
oh dear ::) ::)May 14, 2006 at 12:28 pm #91643
whoops – mind the vet should of know better!! 😮 its like vets and malaseb shampoo at the first sign of skin trouble!!May 14, 2006 at 9:06 pm #91644
Don’t get me started on that one >:(
[quote author=Joly link=topic=3257.msg38359#msg38359 date=1147609716]
whoops – mind the vet should of know better!! 😮 its like vets and malaseb shampoo at the first sign of skin trouble!!
[/quote]May 14, 2006 at 9:18 pm #91645
i wanna cry everytime i hear any phrase involving malaseb!!
worse still the vet who said bath the dog in head and shoulders cos it had dandruff!! 😮May 15, 2006 at 5:39 am #91646
[quote author=Joly link=topic=3257.msg38359#msg38359 date=1147609716]
whoops – mind the vet should of know better!! 😮 its like vets and malaseb shampoo at the first sign of skin trouble!!
What is malaseb shampoo?May 15, 2006 at 10:14 am #91647
its a disgusting smelling shampoo the vets give out when dogs have skin trouble 0 regardless of whether they need it or not – its every groomers worst nightmare cos it doesnt lather well or clean the coats properly!January 4, 2007 at 8:49 pm #91648
courtesy of rough 🙂
I don’t remember where I got this from, but it was enough to make me think about feeding my girls ‘dog food’ some years ago. Yes, I usually have some in, just in case I forget to buy/thaw or need to travel, but I haven’t used it for their main feed for many years. Some maybe a little better than others but to me they’re all about the same. And when I read that people are happy about their dogs producing less waste after feeding a certain dog food ….. read on!
10 Secrets Pet Food Companies Don’t Want You to Know
1. Pet food is NEVER mostly meat.
Many ads suggest that it is… In order to list a meat source first on the bag label pet food companies resort to a variety of gimmicks. Here are a few to get you thinking. 1st Listing a “wet” ingredient in what ends up being an essentially dry finished product. Wet meat gets a lot lighter when the moisture is cooked out. This labeling loophole is blatantly deceptive to the general public. All ingredients should be weighed and listed in dry weight equivalents for you to know truly how much of each makes up the ration. If the label lists, “chicken” it means chicken weighed when wet. Drop 75% of the value. If, on the other hand, it says, “chicken meal” they play fairly. If it says, “meat (any type) by-product meal” or “meat (any type) by-products” it was never meat to begin with. Find another food. Another gimmick is to “split carbohydrates” (grains) into multiple parts to get the “meat” to list first. Label ingredients are listed in descending order by weight. So, if you have 10 lbs. of chicken meal and 25 lbs. of rice, which should appear first on the label? Chicken of course! (if you want people to buy the stuff).
Here’s how it’s done… 1st- CHICKEN MEAL, 2nd- GROUND RICE, 3rd- RICE BRAN, 4th- RICE GLUTEN. Pretty sneaky and obviously deceptive unless you know the trick. Rice Flour, Brewer’s Rice and Rice ala Ronny could also have been listed if they really wanted to be fancy. A related tactic is to use a variety of grains with different names to get meat listed first. This is slightly more valid since they have different amino acid profiles and are truly different ingredients. Grains cost a lot less than meat. Meat “by-products” cost a lot less than meat. Both also have considerably less food value. The last gimmick for now is the campaign to convince the public that meat by-products and meat are just about the same thing.
Hmm… “Honey, I’m having a ribeye steak tonight and you’re having a nice pile of by-products, ok?” “Would you like the chicken breast or the intestine-cartilage-beak medley with your rice, Bob?” “Well gee Dear, doesn’t really make any difference to me, they all sound equally delicious, nutritious and healthy!”
By definition, by-products may contain anything from the specified animal except, (in the case of chicken), feathers and faeces and, (in the case of beef), hoof, hide and faeces. Meat and fat are separated out first because they are costlier and are therefore not present in any appreciable quantity. What’s left is the bones, tendons, cartilage, beaks, feet and innards. Proudly displayed and masqueraded as meat. A pet food bag is not a place for dumping stuff of unknown nutritional value. Some foods even use the term, “SELECT by-products”.
All these contortions serve one purpose; to make you think that you’re getting more meat than you really are in your bag of pet food. After all, who’d pay $35 for a bushel of corn?! Well, keep reading!
2. The cooking process used in pet foods KILLS off a vital component: enzymes.
In order to eliminate bacteria and make cutesy shapes that pets care nothing about, processing temperatures in excess of 160 digress F are used to extrude or bake your pet’s food. So what? Well, glad you asked. This places the entire burden for digestion on your pet’s pancreas to supply the enzymes necessary for breaking down nutrients for absorption. In nature, this is far from the case. Animals naturally follow the path of “least digestive resistance” in the wild. Consider the fox who catches a rabbit. First item on the menu is the contents of the gut. Let the rabbit do the digesting and enjoy! The rabbit spent hours nibbling grasses and grains readying them for the fox’s easy absorption of carbohydrates. Quick and cheap fuel. Next the fox buries or hides the rest to stew a spell. What we call, “turning rancid” the fox calls, “just getting better”. In a couple days, the live enzymes in the rabbit meat have broken it down into easily digested protein. Notice how no fire was used in this process? For dessert, a little bone gnawing for the marrow, the calcium, and the teeth cleaning, and it’s naptime. Left for the lower animals in the hierarchy are most of the by-products and the hide. Let’s get back to your pet.
In puppies and kittens, the pancreas is usually robust and up to the task of supplying sufficient digestive enzymes to make dead food somewhat useable and fulfill it’s other vital functions. With age, however, pancreatic function is weakened and often can’t keep up with this undue burden. If the pet food fed day in and day out is of low nutritional value to begin with, the taxing effect on the system will be all the greater and the pancreas will most likely give up that much sooner. The consequences to your pet’s health are too broad in scope to cover here.
3. Giving “real food” aka “table scraps” is the RIGHT thing to do!
Stepping on a lot of toes here to smash the myth that you should only feed the stuff from the bag and nothing else ever, PERIOD. What is it they are afraid of anyway? That your pet will learn to beg? Unlearn that. That your pet won’t eat the chaff they call “food” after tasting the real deal? Probably. Or that it will throw the delicate balance of their finely tuned “nutrition” out of whack somehow? He He Hoo, hardly. Here’s the scoop… Providing real food (not potato chips or other junk food) in its raw form counteracts some of the deficit that can be caused by only feeding commercially prepared pet food. It can provide the living enzymes to make digestion an easy rather than burdensome process. But, don’t just go wild and throw everything in the feeding trough. Good bets for pets are raw carrots, broccoli, yogurt, cheese, garlic and meats. Cooked oatmeal, rice, corn, squash and the like are fine too. Don’t feed raw grains, legumes, potatoes, onions, celery or chocolate which are either unusable or unhealthy. If you aren’t comfortable with raw meat and fish, don’t do it. Keep in mind, they aren’t people and have an entirely different gastro-intestinal system than we do. Introduce new foods a little at a time about three times a week to start and give your pet’s pancreas a much needed break.
4. Most “vet recommended” foods pay mightily for the “honour”.
Does it matter that the majority of vets know very little about pet nutrition? The public is told to, “Ask your vet”. The vet is told by the pet food companies, “we’ll send you to Hawaii for a week of golf if you sell and endorse XYZ brand pet food”. In school, vets-to-be could
ELECT to take an overview course in animal nutrition or not. There have been changes of late to make this required study. AS IT WELL SHOULD BE! You are miles ahead if you understand the pet food label yourself and take the time to learn some basic nutritional concepts. It’s not that complicated! Find out for yourself, trust your own judgment and ignore what people say who are getting paid to say it.
5. The #1 vet recommended brand is probably the #1 worst pet food value.
Without mentioning any names, if it lists corn as the first ingredient on the label and gets blasted by the competition for it, you know the company. Read the label! Compare it to the cheapest stuff you can find. There isn’t a dimes worth of difference in most cases. How much does it cost them to make a 40 lb. bag of this stuff you may wonder? Right? Sit down.
How about less than $3 including the cost of the bag? How much does the duped public shell out for the bushel of corn and peanut shells most recommended by vets? About $35. “Have a nice flight to Maui, Dr. Cutter and thanks again for your support”.
6. Feeding “Soft-Moist” diets will cut your pet’s life expectancy in half.
Thankfully, these foods are on the steep decline but aren’t gone yet. Perhaps killing your customers isn’t a good way to develop long term brand loyalty. These toxic morsels are so loaded with chemicals to stay soft and prevent molding and so laden with sugar to cover the harsh chemical taste, they rip a pet’s insides out. The sweetness is addictive and you’ll hear owners say, “Fifi just won’t eat anything else”. Well, then better buy the small bag because who knows how long Fifi will be eating at all? Anybody feeding this garbage should stop at once and the manufacturers of it should be faced with a class action.
7. Many companies have “slithered” away from using ETHOXYQUIN.
The once popular and staunchly defended as safe, preservative (antioxidant) called “Ethoxyquin” has been mostly abandoned because of “hushed” litigation and settlements with professional breeders. It formerly was championed by pet food manufacturers (and others) as an advanced and healthy inclusion in pet food in an attempt to hide the fact that it was never intended to be eaten, much less on a daily basis. It was originally formulated as a rubber stabilizer and a color retention agent. Tyres stayed pliable and spices stayed red. Despite efforts to get it approved as a food stabilizing agent in people food, it is only allowed for extremely limited application with coloured spices. The people who know the devastating truth about this ingredient when eaten daily by pets have been paid off and forced to never
tell their stories. There are innumerable instances of stillbirth, sudden liver failure, kidney dysfunction, permanent pigment changes, tumors and death thought to be caused by the addition of this wonder substance to pet food starting in about 1987. Much of the talk about ethoxyquin has quieted since the major pet food companies jumped off the bandwagon and switched to safer (and less legally troublesome) preservatives like forms of vitamins E and C. If they want the trust of the public, they should own up to their mistakes and come clean. Fat chance. All you’ll get is denial.
8. Nature didn’t intend for pets to eat dry food devoid of enzymes.
Convenience is paid for in reduced pet health. Where is it written that your pet’s bowl has to be filled with chalk dry nuggets of quasi-nutritious ground up brown stuff? We’ve been sold on a bad idea. We bought it because it made life easier. Until the real bill comes, that is. But doesn’t kibbled food make their teeth shiny and their breath fresh? Won’t their teeth fall out if they eat soft stuff? Yeah, right. Ever watch your dog eat? Does it look like some kind of teeth cleaning exercise? How about the cat? Really getting the old gum line clean huh? The truth about teeth cleaning is this… sticks, rocks, yarn, bones, toys and saliva primarily accomplish this task, not food. Commercial pet food has to be flavour enhanced with digest and sprayed-on fat to be even remotely attractive to your pet. Without these palatability modifications, the old dry kibble would just sit there and get dusty. People get paid big money to invent coatings to make your pet dive headfirst into the food bowl. Because then you smile and feel like it must be healthy and that Fifi loves the food and you too so you’ll buy it again. Right? Remember, the fox didn’t go in search of a crunchy rabbit. It ate the soft one and it has a dazzling smile and a fully charged pancreas.
9. Some companies sneak sugar into pet food to hook your pet.
Watch out for these guys! They call it other things of course… (cane molasses, corn syrup) but it absolutely does not belong in your pet’s food bowl. Processed sugars are foreign to dogs and cats and over the long term can result in obesity, tooth decay and diabetes (along with other maladies). Until 2 years ago, propylene glycol was being used as a sweet tasting preservative by those who must have cared much more about shelf life than about pet health. Thankfully, it has finally been banned. Pet food companies will tell you that the industry is tightly regulated and that your pet’s health is being fastidiously protected. Do you buy that one? The FDA can’t even keep up with human food and didn’t lift a finger on
behalf of the pet owners during the ethoxyquin debate. The regulating body for pet food ingredients is AAFCO. The American Association of Feed Control Officials. The rules and definitions they adopt are made by those with vested interests and are enforced through
“voluntary compliance”. The fox guards the rabbit hutch here.
10. Almost all manufacturers use stool hardening agents in pet food.
Convenience again triumphs over pet health. Stool modifiers make clean up easier and mask the effects of nutrient malabsorption. Who’s going to buy a pet food if you’ve got to SCRAPE up after your dog? It’s easier to just stack those little bricks into a pile or kick them elsewhere. Consider however the strain on your pet’s innards. Would you put concrete mix in your pancake batter? How about sawdust? If you were dieting, would you mix ground peanut shells into your breakfast cereal? Well, they do all that and more for your beloved pet. See if any of these made it into your pet food bag: sodium bentonite, powdered cellulose, beet pulp, tomato (or any other) pomace, ground peanut shells? The explanation for
including these usually is that they are fiber sources for your pet’s well being. Maybe a little truth there but not the real reason they are added. Whole grains provide great fiber content. A bit of bran would do well too. The real goal is to make you buy the food again
because clean up time is so easy and enjoyable with brand XYZ’s designer stools. Before you do this to your pet, try it yourself for a few days.
One question to ask a company representative is this, “Aren’t there times when my pet needs to evacuate it’s system rapidly such as when a toxin is ingested or when the kitty or doggy
flu comes around? Is having a cork in there at all times really a good idea? You’ll then likely hear mumbling about “Our research…” and “regulating intestinal transit time for optimal nutrient absorption”. Do you buy that one? If the food is good and fed properly, stools will be fine without forcing your pet to work a brick through their digestive and excretory systems.
thanks rough :-*January 5, 2007 at 8:50 am #91649
proteins are a mix of amino acids – these are the building blocks that form hundrerds of different proteins each of which performs a specific task – each amino acid ‘pattern’ matches a different protein for use by the bodies enzymes, hormones, genes, red blood cells, hair, skin, bone, and muscle.
there are nine essential amino acids an adult dog must have to stay healthy, these are isoleucine, lysine, phenylalanine, threonine, valine, histidine, methionine, and tryptophan with puppies also needing an extra one – arginine.
the important bit is that it is these proteins that are contained in the food – these proteins are found in the more costly types of food – good quality meats and eggs etc
to put it bluntly a leather handbag is 100% protein – but it is of no use as a food – it has no biological value!
dry food contain high levels of cereal proteins – wheat, corn, barley – these have very low biological values – this combined with the poor meat proteins such as cocks combs and other garbage means that the correct amounts of the amino acids that are needed as above requires other crap/ingredients such as lycinic acids, to be added to up the quantity in the hope that the intake will cover the requirments
so what does this do to the dog:
a diet that consists of high quality protein is of greater value than a diet of second-class protein as the conversion of the amino acids as each matches it’s function to the applicable part of the body – (they are building blocks remember) such as muscle, coat etc produces toxic waste, i.e. nitrogen compounds, this needs getting ridding of – it is evacuated – it comes out the other end bringing with it other valuable nutrients – the ones that need a bit more time to work – ie most of the crap diet is in the crap! parts of the body are thus ‘starved’ of essential needs – for general health, fitness, repair etc etc
dried dog food is also a lottery – one day the dog may get over and above minimum requriements of the vits and minerals – another day nowhere near enough – this is because of the distribution of the foods in the bags
combine all this with the other crap that goes in and you can maybe begin to see where us ‘barf extremists’ are coming from
50 years ago the average lifespan of a normal well kept dog was 15 years – it is now 10 and the only real difference is the food they now get combined with over use of drugs – and now we find that latest research is proving what the likes of us has been saying for the last few years – that the increasing incidents of pano, hd, ed etc is not just about breeding but the genetics in the breeding is being aggravated by the type of feeding that has gone from a fad to the norm
as i have said before – i spend no more than 25p – 28p per dog per day – the dogs that i have raised from pup have had very long lives – it is the rescues that come to us that have been raised on dry that we lose early – hollie is the only rescue that we have had to old old age – she is 15 – she was raised on a natural diet
it aint rocket science – regardless of what the dog food companies try to tell us – they are in it for the money and only the money – the rest of the verbal garbage is as good as their food!
bevs 2nd rant on food
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