FEEDING & NUTRITION
What do we feed our dogs and what dog food we recommend? We have struggled in finding good answers for people, so I am just going to go through our feeding journey. Hopefully you will come away with some new ideas for yourself and your loved pets.
We have tried many foods for our dogs over the years; Nutro Max, Diamond, Purina, Eukanuba, Blue Buffalo and several others. Some worked for a while and then the dog's poop would turn loose. Some worked and then the company changed ingredients and they no longer worked. So we find ourselves always looking into different foods and here are some of the things we have learned.
I have been told that many commercial dog foods are 6 months to two years old before you get them. They have an expiration date on the package but do not normally show a date their food was made or it is very difficult (to impossible) to find it on the package. It seems they treat dog food as if it were a Twinkie. You know, something that never gets too old to eat. Imagine how many vitamins and nutrients will have leeched out of that food in that amount of time. If you would like an eye opener as to how dog food is made, go to Netflix and watch "Dog Fooled".
I have been told that not every ingredient needs to be listed on the packaging. Anything done to the food before it is mixed together, does not have to be stated. A package can state that it has 26% protein but if it is synthetic protein, it is not usable by the dog. That does not need to be disclosed. If ingredients are changed by the company to something less expensive, but similar, it is not always reflected on the packaging, but you will start to see a change in your dog's stool that will let you know that something is different.
Also you need to be aware of dog food companies and how many recalls they have had. I used to recommend Taste of the Wild but it is made by Diamond and there have been many recalls for them...too many for me to trust what is being produced.
I have come to the realization that it is very difficult for a lay person to weed through all the hype and misinformation and actually come away with a great dog food, one that sits well for this breed and gives your dogs what they need to be their healthy and beautiful best. So I am adding a little more information on what to look for.
You are told to check what is the first ingredient and that it should be a protein. The ingredients are listed by weight, NOT amount, so this can be tricky and an amount of meat that is really much less in your dog food can be made to look like it is more.
Many dog food manufacturers do what is called ingredient splitting? which is breaking down one lower quality item into its various components, with each listed separately on the pet food label. The result is that a smaller quantity of ?meat? now appears higher on the list even though there is actually less of it in the dog food. If you put all the smaller quantities of peas together, they would actually weigh more than the ?meat?. Sneaky, right?
The practice of ?ingredient splitting? is supposed to keep consumers from noticing how much of the food, especially protein, comes from peas and not meat. Don?t be fooled by this dirty little trick.
Are Pea Protein, Fiber, Flour and Starch Just a Filler?
Pea protein is a starchy filler. It is high in insoluble fiber. Pea fiber is a vegetable protein, not animal protein that your pet?s body requires. Is it a filler to artificially ?inflate? the protein count in grain-free foods? That means that your dog won?t be able to use all of the protein within the peas. Neither fillers or high fiber ingredients are part of a balanced, species appropriate diet for dogs. Dogs have no biological requirement for grains. (The above 2 paragraphs are taken from Eli & Jojo's information.
Grain free dog foods which have been highly touted in the past 5 years have now been found to cause heart problems in some dogs. It seems some dogs are unable to absorb taurine. Dogs make their own taurine, but grain free foods somehow block or can block the absorption of the taurine So, we no longer choose grain free dog food.
It seems many dogs are starting to get allergies to chicken. Not exactly sure why but I suspect it may be due to how so much of our chicken is raised. They can be fed back their own poop as a way to plump them up and they get many injections. Many chickens are kept confined in long buildings and never walk on grass or do anything a natural chicken would do. It can be no surprise that this affects the quality of their meat, as a food. The chicken used for many dog foods are going to be the scraps, leftovers, etc. of these poor birds. While many dogs may not be affected by this, it seems more dogs are becoming affected. They can get skin rashes and discolorations as well as possible diarrhea.
So, what is the answer? Do research on your food. Feeding RAW is another alternative and a great one, IF you know what you are doing. They need a certain percentage of organ meat, a certain percentage of bone, of protein and muscle meat. You need to research how to do this. Other foods are added for vitamins and antioxidants. If you have the time and freezer space and are willing to do your research, this can be a great way to go.
Freeze dried dog food also seems to be a good alternative.
We currently feed our dogs Wholesomes Sports Mix, fish and rice. It is 23% protein It has no bi-products. We also add toppings to the food such as canned pumpkin, plain yogurt, probiotic or a bit of canned food along with our other kibble. We have noticed a nice improvement with this food as far as the stool goes. We add DE (diatomaceous earth) at times, also. We also give our dogs NuVet supplements daily!
I researched the NuVet company and found that they have one of the only human grade labs in the country for making dog supplements. I still had to try the NuVet wafers out on two dogs before deciding to choose this for my dogs. I did and I noticed an improvement in Toffee and how she jumped right up to play. Previously she was just starting to struggle a little when she got up. I also noticed the other girl's coat seemed to thicken. So I was pleased with the positive results.
I was somewhat reluctant to go with the program because there are people who use this program in an unethical way and tell you that if you don't get these vitamins then your puppy contract with them is null and void. Pretty tricky way of getting out of living up to your contract. We offer NuVet because I like this product and have seen the benefits, but it has nothing to do with our guarantees. So check it out and if you feel it may benefit your dog, give it a try. It is totally your choice. For me, I have seen positive results and it gives me a little more peace of mind in that I can feel that if the kibble we are using is missing something, the supplement will help fill in that gap.
We offer a health guarantee, which is designed to act as major medical for anything genetic or congenital that would prevent your dog from being what you purchased them to be, a loving family pet and companion. We do not tie any gimmicks or specific products to our guarantee, but an honest and upfront health guarantee for you and your puppy.
We proudly use and recommend NuVet plus as the best nutritional supplement on the market. It is is NOT a vitamin, but an immune system builder. It helps strengthen the immune, cardiovascular, skeletal & nervous system. It also helps protect your puppy from the side effects of vaccinations and the stress of new and different environments. It helps to protect your dogs from the ravages of free radicals that are the leading cause of disease and premature death. This amazing supplement is not available in stores but is available from the manufacturer with a referral from a breeder. Click here to learn more. CALL NOW TO ORDER! 1- 800-474-7044 - Order Code: 40813
As far as dog foods go, besides what we use, I recommend Merrick, Victor Performance and Origen. Evo is also good. Farmina Ancestral Grain is also an excellent choice. Purina Pro Plan Salmon and Rice is another one we like.We have one dog that is on Earthbound and it has worked very well.
Good luck in finding the best food you can for your dog. Hopefully this arms you with a little more information in making that important choice.