How To Buy The Best Dog Food
Here are some important questions you can ask the dog food companies in your search for a quality commercial kibble. This information is not on the bag so you must communicate directly with the dog food company or check their website and ask very specific questions.
Search Lesson: to do a search on a dog food company, type in www.google.com then run a search on the dog food company name.
I want to share with you a horrifying excerpt from a 1992 article by staff writer John Eckhouse, San Francisco Chronicle, who was involved in a two-part expose entitled "Pet-food labels baffle consumers" and "How dogs and cats get recycled into pet foods." He writes:
"Each year millions of dead American dogs and cats are processed along with billions of pounds of other animal materials and road kill by companies known as renderers. The finished products - tallow and meat meals - serve as raw materials of thousands of items including cosmetics and pet foods". The article goes on to state "There were the usual denials by pet food executives. Yet federal and state agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration and medical groups such as the American Veterinary Medical Association and the California Veterinary Medical Association confirm that pets, on a routine basis, are rendered after they die in animal shelters or are disposed of by health authorities and the end products find their way into commercial pet foods."
Once I got over the initial emotional shock and disgust of the idea of pets consuming other dead pets, I tried to be objective. After all, protein is protein. So why should this matter? But the fact is, it DOES matter. Barring the whole idea is "pretty darn disgusting to most people",the real problem is the fact that the toxic chemicals used to euthanize animals" survives the rendering process without undergoing degradation". In other words, they don't break down and remain in the meat meal! It is the cumulative effects of these intact toxins that are going into dog foods and they have a lasting effect on our living pets in terms of disease, longevity, reproduction, etc. I have never been convinced all these so called "food" allergies are due to actual foods. I believe they are due to the "toxins" in the foods themselves. This is why, in most cases, when we switch to a better kibble, homemade diet or a natural diet the animals problems clear up. There are only a few commercial products I recommend and they are listed in the Blackwatch Feed Programs.
Questions to ask:
Carbohydrates: What kinds and grade of grains - you want whole grains and they should not be listed as the first ingredient on the bag. NO fractionated grains, they must be intact, whole grains for the best nutritional benefits.
Vitamins: Are they ingredient borne (from the actual ingredient) and do they use additional vitamins put on after processing. Are they natural vitamins from whole food concentrates or synthetic vitamins. Yes, recent studies indicate there is a major difference between synthetics versus natural. (An example: beta carotene (Vitamin A) will convert to vitamin A if the body needs it. Beta carotene is a natural source of vitamin A. Most vitamin labels state vitamin A is synthetic unless stated as beta carotene. It is easy to overdose on vitamin A whereas beta carotene is only converted to vitamin A by the body if needed.)
Minerals : They MUST be chelated or sequestered or proteinated to insure good growth and immune function - if not do not use the food. There MUST be kelp in the food, if not then your dog is not getting trace minerals which are critical to wellness. No KELP run the other way.
Preservatives : Do they use ethoxyquin, BHA, BHT preservatives? Ask them this " even though they may not be listed on the bag, are any synthetic preservatives still in the food if I run a lab test?" Watch them side step this one!If the fats are purchased from another source other than the dog food company, they do not have to list ethoxyquin, BHA, BHT on the dog food bag. How do they preserve their foods ?
Vitamin C: What is their stand on vitamin C as a nutrient. Is it in the food in ample amounts? If so, how much per cup of food?
Probiotics: Probiotics are "friendly", living organisms - good bacteria. Yogurt has "friendly living" organisms in it but for dogs prone to bloat, it is not enough so it is important to add some concentrated forms of a combination probiotic & digestive enzyme product such as 4 in 1 Probiotic or Filling N The Wholes
Beneficial bacteria, also known as intestinal flora or probiotics is needed for major bodily functions
Digestive Enzymes - if they use digestive enzymes on their foods then they usually have digestive enzymes present.
Other Enhancers - Ask them if there is any additional sugars, food coloring or synthetic flavor enhancers in the food
Soy - Is
soy used as a protein source in the food is bad?
Digestibility - Ask them for the percent of digestibility in the diets.
And don't fall for that "small" stools or "infrequent stool" line either. Animals, like humans are supposed to have frequent, formed stools through out the day (2-4 to be on the healthy side). Small stools are NOT an indication of a highly digestible diet and quality nutrition. The whole idea and sales pitch of a small stool is a marketing tool and definitely in the best interest of the animals digestive health.
what sets their dog food apart from all the other dog foods.Go with
your gut reaction
you can tell if they are doing a sales pitch
or if the company is really dedicated to your animals health and well
being. These questions are simply a starting place in your own personal
investigation. Remember, just because you read it on the internet,
does not make it necessarily true.
What is needed to feed my Great Dane Puppy and Adult -
PUPPY NEEDS : Ideal is 23%protein 12% fat in a holistic food - dry kibble.
ADULT NEEDS - the ideal protein/fat range for adults is 23% - 28% protein of course the more working the higher the protein. Fat content should be 12% - 18% again depending on energy level expended in the course of a day.
SENIOR NEEDS - the ideal level for seniors is 23%-26% protein and 10%-14% fat - seniors need protein to hold muscle mass so their rear does not break down but lower fat so as not to gain weight.
For a list of better foods Criteria: List of Better Foods
For a complete feed program for puppies and adults plus puppy guidelines go to my Blackwatch Feed Program All Breeds