Archive for the ‘Dog Food’ Category

So,What Are The Options?

April 26, 2011

Since we opened our new store in 2006 and began selling pet food, we decided to only carry grain free diets. At first there were only a limited number of foods that were on the market that were totally grain-free. In the past year or so it seems like more and more pet food companies are jumping on the band wagon. I, for one, am very glad that they are seeing the light. Dogs do not eat corn on the cob, rice or wheat as a natural part of their diet.

I love those pet food commercials where the corn and grains come cascading down making it seem like a good thing to put in the food. Cats, especially, don’t eat grains. They are true carnivores. If they had their choice…it would be MEAT.MEAT.and MEAT.

If you have read our philosophy on grain-free feeding on our web site then you know how I feel about it. If not, please read it and you’ll see why.

In this blog I don’t just want to sell someone food, but give the options on diet and what to look for.

First there is price. Pet food that is mainly meat sourced is going to be more expensive. This is one of the reasons that many pet food companies pump their foods full of things not so good for your pet. It costs them less and they can sell it at a lower price than premium food. Sometimes, though, a food will have a higher price but is really low quality. Most foods sold at vet offices are very expensive, but offer little nutritional benefit. They just have a vet label on them and people assume that they must be good. Price , though can be paid in different ways. If you buy a better quality of food, chances are you’ll be spending less in vet bills later. Skin problems, ear infections, weight gain, diabetes are all usually direct problems from feeding a lower quality of food.

Ingredients: They first ingredient of any pet food should be a named meat protein. Look for beef or chicken or whatever protein is the main source. Just the word meat is not good enough. It can be beef or chicken meal….not meat meal. That could mean just about anything. Usually if a food just says meat, it means it is rendered and can be things such as skin and connective tissue.  There should be several sources of protein at the top of the ingredient list. Ingredients go by weight, so the more protein base the better.

Be sure that you are not feeding a food that has meat grown in China. Even though some companies will say that the chicken or beef is completely safe. You can never be too sure about what is really being fed to the animal that is used in your pet’s food. More and more pet food companies are getting their ingredients from China. They will tell you it is very safe to feed it to your pet…but do you really want to feed your pet something that has not been grown in the United States or Canada where there are guidelines as to what can be called meat?

Whole vegetables and fruits: These are important and  should also be included in the diet. They add a good source of vitamins and minerals as well as fiber. I would even go as far as to say that some whole grains can be of benefit to some pets who can not handle a completely protein based diet, but the grain should be very far down the list of ingredients. Oatmeal and quinoa  can both be descent additions without adding too much sugar in the form of carbohydrate to the diet.

A best by date: that should be at least 3 months away from the date you purchase. Pet foods with synthetic preservatives may have a date two years away!

Things to watch for: Meat by-products. These can be in the form of any meat or poultry. Some foods only have “meat flavoring”. You can find this on some of the so called veterinary pet foods. What the heck is meat flavoring, anyway? Many of these by-products are over processed and can be rancid by the time it is added to the food. Many companies will spray on a flavor enhancer to hide the smell and taste.

Added sweeteners. Dogs, like humans have a sweet tooth and many pet food manufactures add sweeteners to enhance flavor or to hide rancidity. Look carefully. some companies come right out and say on the label…corn syrup, but do some research and look for other names that are used as well. There are lots of corn glutens and other corn derivatives that are added to make the food palatable.

Artificial colors: These are those little green and orange things found in some foods that make it look like carrots and peas. They are just dyed to look that way to you…the dog doesn’t know what peas and carrots look like. These are chemicals that your pet does not need to ingest!

Artificial preservatives: BHT,BHA and Ethoxyquin are the three main culprits. All of these are known carcinogens with ethoxyquin being the worst. It is used mainly in fish and have been outlawed for human consumption. You truly do not want your beloved pet to ingest these things. Some pet food companies, years back, went as far as to say that BHA and BHT can prevent cancer in pets. Nothing can be further from the truth.

I hope this post is helpful and you do some checking up on the food that your pet is eating. Don’t just listen to the person at some big box retailer. They are there to sell food!  No matter what the ad on T.V. says…these people are not experts on pet food! Again…don’t be fooled by a food that you can buy at the vet’s office. They make a huge profit on food from those companies to push their brand of pet food. Go online and research the product. Get feed back from other consumers and from breeders. There are some good websites that are not owned by pet food companies that have good info on what is in your pet’s food and what isn’t. dogfoodanalysis.com is a good one that I happen to like. There are many others…good luck and good feeding. Your pet will love you all the more for it!

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What is that “offal”smell? Or….the benefits of Green Tripe

December 29, 2010

Green tripe is the unbleached stomach of ruminants such as cows and sheep. The tripe reserved for human consumption is bleached and carries none of the health benefits of unbleached, green tripe.

The green color comes from the undigested grass and hay that the animals eat. The color can even be almost black or gray in some cases. The word green is used to distinguish it from the bleached tripe.

The health benefits are many, including better digestion and healthier teeth and jaw muscles. The tripe contains many amino acids that few dog foods have. It has a calcium to phosphorous  ratio of 1:1 , magnesium and potassium. Complex B-vitamins, vitamins A,E,C and D, as well as Omega-3’s. It also contains Lactobacillus Acidophilus. The good stuff found in yogurt.

When combined with a raw diet or with kibble of good quality, tripe can aid in better and smaller bowel movements, healthier skin and coat and more vitality in older dogs.

Sick and elderly animals can greatly benefit by having a small portion added to a daily diet. Especially those with kidney and liver issues.The enzymes in the tripe help with kidney and liver function.  Some breeders swear that the moment they added tripe to an elderly dogs diet they had more energy.

Breeders in Europe have been feeding tripe for years and years. It has just recently caught on here in the U.S. along with the raw diets. Just as a personal note, I have been feeding a raw diet combined with tripe for quite some time. My dogs have great coats, healthy teeth and don’t need bathing as often as when I fed strictly a kibble diet.

The gastric in the tripe are wonderful for cleaning teeth and the rubbery, stringy texture works a little like dental floss, getting in between those back teeth that are so hard to take care of.

Picky eating dogs will all come running the minute you take off the lid! Just be warned…the stuff smells bad, I mean really bad! This is only for the fresh or frozen tripe. You can get it freeze dried or canned, although a little of the nutrients get lost in processing. It is all still a wonderful addition to your pets diet. Please take some time and research the benefits of tripe and I believe that you will all agree that your pet should have this tasty…but smelly…addition to their diets.

You Bowl Me Over

September 7, 2010

It may seem a little silly to post about pet food bowls, but in fact, there are some very important things to consider about your pet’s bowls.

First, you should never use plastic bowls unless there is no other choice. Plastic is very porous and is hard to sanitize. Bacteria can live in the small pits and chips that can occur with regular use. These bacteria can cause everything from salmonella to coxydia. Both dogs and cats can develop infections on their chins from unclean plastic pet food bowls. They can also develop a form of acne that is directly related to plastic pet food bowls.

Most plastic bowls are made with the chemical BPA-Bisphenol A, which can be an endocrine disruptor. Dogs and cats with certain illnesses can really be at risk of developing impaired immune systems from the disruption. This chemical is also suspected of causing cancer.

Stainless steel and ceramic are much safer choices to make. These can easily be sanitized in the dishwasher. The chance of chin infections is basically nonexistent. If you decide to use ceramic bowls, just make sure they are lead-free. Ceramic bowls should also be checked often for cracks or chips in which bacteria can easily grow.

Next we’ll discuss raised bowls.  If your pet is a large breed — or even a small breed that just happens to have long legs — a raised bowl is a must. Your pet has to crouch down to reach its bowl, putting strain on the shoulders and neck. Just raising the bowl a few inches can really relieve the pressure, especially on the pet’s shoulders. It’s better for their digestion as well.

Some pets “wolf” down their food eating too fast — which can cause stomach problems, such as gas in the stomach caused by swallowing too much air. Some pets may vomit or have severe gas pains.  To avoid this problem you can purchase special bowls that have “fingers” or a raised area in the middle that means the dog will have to eat his food more slowly.

So while pet bowls, may seem simple, pay attention to details. A good bowl will save your pet many problems down the road.