The DOG FOOD TEST & General Dog Food Info

  
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Tessa

You may- approach.
 
 
Barked: Wed Feb 2, '11 8:06am PST 
I guess we all know to be leary of companies jumping on the "healthy" dog food band wagon.

From the February 2011 issue of 'The Whole Dog Journal'

Quote
"Foods That Missed The Mark of Quality
By Nancy Kerns

Holistic Dry Dog Foods That Missed The Mark
Aiming for the “Holistic” Dog Food Market, But Missing the Mark

The eight products listed in our chart which you will find under Resources for this article (to the right) are intended to appeal to dog owners who are interested in a “holistic” and/or “healthy” food for their dogs. None contains artificial colors or artificial preservatives. But none can hold a candle to the products on our “approved foods list". Each misses that mark – some miss by just a bit, and some miss by a country mile.

Procter & Gamble Pet Care, owner of Eukanuba and Iams, seems to be making a genuine effort to formulate decent products as their entries in the “natural” or “holistic” category. Their products, the first two products in the chart below, come the closest to meeting WDJ’s selection criteria. If either one had a quality animal protein as the second (or even third) item on the ingredients list – boom, they’d be on our “approved foods” list. They wouldn’t be the best products on our list, but they’d be on the list.

Each of the next two products on the chart has something going for it but not quite enough for us to be enthused about. The Rachel Ray product starts out nicely: a fresh, named animal protein at the top of the list, and a nice, named animal protein meal to bolster the total amount of animal protein in the food. Why, oh why, then did the company dump a really crummy fat (“animal fat”) into the food? “Animal fat” could be anything (and everything), from used fat collected from fast-food restaurants to road kill. The Nature’s Best product also bolsters its fresh animal protein (chicken) with a nice animal protein meal (chicken meal) – but why is that ingredient so far down the ingredients list (sixth)? That product clearly contains a lot more grain than the Rachel Ray food. At least it has a nice (named) fat source.

The next pair of foods, both made by Purina, are more than just one step below the previous products in terms of quality. We suspect that each has a different target buyer; the Chef Michaels packages make the products resemble home-cooked meals; the ONE packages and marketing have a more professional look, as if only experienced dog owners should purchase them. But neither offers anything of value past the good first ingredient.

The Whole Foods store brand (365) dog food surprised us. People who are accustomed to buying healthy (and expensive) foods there might take it for granted that the Whole Foods 365 dog food is also high-quality, and fail to look at the ingredients list. Never fail to look at the ingredients list! Because there is almost nothing good in this food. (And the “lean” formula is even worse; “powdered cellulose” is sixth on its ingredients list!)

What’s the worst food we know that might be mistaken for something healthful? Ah, but that honor always seems to fall to a Beneful product, with its beautiful bags adorned with photos of fresh whole vegetables and glistening chunks of marbled meats. The Healthy Harvest variety is missing the meat, however; its protein comes from corn, corn gluten meal, and soy protein. There is so little fresh food in the product that water is added to the dry food (7th ingredient!). And how about the appearance of sugar in the 10th spot? Wow! Nothing healthy in that harvest."
Tessa

You may- approach.
 
 
Barked: Sat Mar 19, '11 10:05am PST 
We looked at the ingredients for the new Purina One beyOnd so-called natural dog kibble... same crap, different name! big laugh

Still contains unidentified animal fat, soy meal, and the potentially harmful form of lab-produced menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin K activity), plus these controversial ingredients: garlic oil, beet pulp (hard to get away from!) and caramel color.

Edited by author Sat Mar 19, '11 10:06am PST

Fitzcairn

Where's the- Ball?! Throw- the ball!!!
 
 
Barked: Thu Apr 7, '11 12:36pm PST 
This is just so sad!frownUpsuspecting pet parents could be feeding senior dogs foods that are not good for a senior pet, the label could be misleading.

From the online newsletter TheTruthAboutPetFood

QUOTE
Senior Dog Food Study Proves Lax Regulations
Written By: Susan Thixton4-7-2011

A recent study published by Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University proves just how lax pet food regulations are. This recent pet food study, the second from this university in two years, found a "wide variety in nutritional content" with senior dog foods.

The Senior Dog Food study, as reported by ScienceDaily.com, found that calorie content in senior dog foods varied from 246 calories per cup to 408 calories per cup. Protein content varied from 4.8 to 13.1 gram per 100 kcal; fat content varied from 2.4 to 6.3 gram per 100 kcal, and sodium content varied from 33 to 412 mg per 100 kcal. "If an owner, for example, had a senior dog with heart disease, they might be inclined to feed them a senior food, thinking that it had less sodium," says Lisa M. Freeman DVM, PhD contributing author of the study.

This wide variety of nutritional content in senior foods is not due to little knowledge of the nutritional needs of senior dogs. ScienceDaily.com says "Although it is commonly accepted that nutritional needs - both for humans and pets - change with aging, the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) and National Research Council have not set official dietary requirements for aging dogs. As such, foods marketed for "longevity" and "maturity" or "senior," "old" or "mature" dogs do not have to adhere to a standard nutrition profile beyond the AAFCO nutrient profile minimums for adult dogs."

In other words, Senior Pet Foods can be nothing more than marketing. Hype. Sales pitch.

Last year, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University published another study which "examined nearly 100 commercially available diets with weight management claims".
A ScienceDaily.com report on this study said "Among their findings is that dry dog foods range in calorie density from 217 to 440 kilocalories per cup (kcal/cup) and a recommended intake that ranged from 0.73 to 1.47 times the dog's resting energy requirement. The diets also varied wildly in price -- from 4 cents to more than $1.10 per kilocalorie."
"Similar findings were made in wet dog food (189-398 kcal/can) and cat food (235-480 kcal/cup) marketed for weight control. The results may be significant for owners whose cats or dogs are overweight or obese, according to Lisa M. Freeman, DVM, PhD, DACVN, the study's co-author along with 2010 Cummings School graduate Deborah E. Linder, DVM. Nearly 50% of domesticated animals are overweight or obese."
This 'diet pet food' study also found "high variability in feeding recommendations for weight loss based on the labels that were evaluated. In fact, for most of the diets, pets would not lose weight or would actually gain weight if owners adhered to the labels' feeding directions".

I believe these studies are trying to point out - politely and scientifically - the huge gaps in pet food regulations.

Imagine an unknowing pet parent, with a senior or overweight pet, walking into a pet store (excluding the independent pet stores who know better!) and trying to find a dog food or cat food for their senior or overweight pet. This unknowing pet parent finds a food that says its 'specifically formulated to meet the needs of your senior pet'. Trying to do the best thing for their dog or cat, wanting to provide the best possible nutrition to keep their senior pet around for years longer, they purchase this food. But the thing is, this 'specifically formulated' pet food doesn't have to meet any specific formulation requirements at all. This unknowing pet parent just paid money for a marketing claim, not specific nutritional requirements that will extend the life of their senior dog or cat.

Here's what the lobby organization for Big Pet Food had to say about the senior dog food study...
"The study highlights the diversity among dogs and, consequently, dog food products. Each dog is unique and has distinct needs," said Kurt Gallagher, a spokesman for the Pet Food Institute." Attaining senior status depends on several factors, including the breed and weight of the dog. The differing nutritional needs of dogs are exemplified by the variance in the amount of protein senior dogs should consume." http://www.petfoodindustry.com/6954.html

I had hoped to hear a response from the pet food lobby organization something like 'we are concerned with the variance of protein, fat, and salt content in senior dog foods' and 'our organization plans to address the lack of regulatory control in senior pet foods with AAFCO and FDA'. Instead they seemed to feel this study proved the variety of nutritional content in senior dog food was a good thing. What a shame.

Many, many thanks to Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University for both of these very significant studies.

If you have an overweight pet or senior pet, learn from the pet food manufacturer what the fine print on the pet food label doesn't tell you. Ask calorie content per cup, ask salt content, ask the maximum protein and fat content (labels only state minimum protein and fat content); as well, ask country of origin of ingredients including vitamins and minerals, grade of ingredients, shelf life, and if BPA (Bisphenol A; component in plastic linked to serious illness) is in the canned food lining.

Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
Susan Thixton
Pet Food Safety Advocate
Author, Buyer Beware
TruthaboutPetFood.com
PetsumerReport.com

Fitzcairn

Where's the- Ball?! Throw- the ball!!!
 
 
Barked: Mon Jun 20, '11 3:31am PST 
big laughYet another pet food company presenting a song and dance to convince you that their crappy product is healthy and more natural like the higher quality pet foods:

Quote
"Science Diet's "The Truth About Pet Food Ingredients"
Written By: Susan Thixton6-14-2011

The Science Diet website now has a page titled "The Truth About Pet Food Ingredients Pet Food Myths Answered with Facts". Here's what Science Diets says and of course I have some follow up...

The Science Diet webpage starts off like this...

"The TRUTH about pet nutrition." They go on to say "It's important to understand what is myth or fact when making choices about what you feed your pet." I agree Science Diet, it IS important for pet parents to understand what is myth or fact when making choices about pet food. So, let's see what Science Diet's myths and truths are...

"Myth 1: Corn is just filler."
"Fact: A filler is an ingredient providing no nutritional purpose. Corn is NOT a filler. Corn is a nutritionally superior grain compared with others used in pet food. It contains nutrients not found in other grains and includes:
• Essential fatty acids for healthy skin and coat
• Beta-carotene, vitamin E and lutein - nature's antioxidants
• Highly digestible carbohydrates for energy
• Quality proteins for muscle and tissue growth
You'll be interested to know that protein in corn is more digestible than rice, wheat, barley or sorghum."

Ok...I agree...with the sentence "a filler is an ingredient providing no nutritional purpose". Corn isn't a filler. BUT, corn is a cheaper protein source as compared to high quality (Grade A) meat. BUT, corn is highly prone to deadly mycotoxins which even in small amounts can cause tremendous health risks over time. BUT 70% of U.S. corn is genetically modified (GM) AND studies have linked GM corn to kidney and liver damage in animals.

"Myth 2 By-products are low-quality ingredients.
Fact: A by-product is something produced when making something else. For example, a by-product of soybean processing is vitamin E. Other food by-products include vegetable oils, beef bouillon and gelatin. Also, Hill's:
• Selects those by-products that allow it to add nutrient-rich organ meats
• Avoids excess minerals from bones found in less expensive meats"

Ok...I agree with part of this too...by-products are produced when making something else. For example a by-product of the processing of human meat are cut away cancerous tissues and injection sites, diseased organs, downer animals and other waste that FDA Compliance Policies allow pet food to utilize without petsumer knowledge. Science Diet's response to Myth 2 does say it selects nutrient-rich organ meats but it does not state if these organ meat by-products are USDA Grade A or if their organ meat by-products are rejected for use in human food.

Bullet-point two from Science Diet doesn't make sense..."avoids excess minerals from bones found in less expensive meats". The factual definition of meat - from the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) is "the clean flesh derived from slaughtered mammals and is limited to that part of the striate muscle which is skeletal or that which is found in the tongue, in the diaphragm, in the heart, or in the esophagus; with or without the accompanying and overlying fat and the portions of the skin, sinew, nerve, and blood vessels which normally accompany the flesh." No mention of bone.

Next...
"Myth 3: High temperatures destroy nutrients during the pet food-making process.
Fact: At Hill's, we prepare our pet food through a "quick cooking" process. Important nutrients are actually more digestible after cooking than before. Also:
• It is true that cooking can lead to the loss of some vitamins. However, we formulate our products so that we meet our precise nutrient targets after cooking
• Our Guaranteed Analysis statement on each bag reflects these post-cooking levels"

When TruthaboutPetFood.com surveyed various pet food manufacturers regarding cooking time and temperature, Science Diet told us their dry pet foods are heated to about 194ºF during the cook-extrusion process, however they would not reveal cooking time. This Science Diet "Myth" isn't completely resolved; in the first bullet point they agree that cooking "can lead to the loss of some vitamins".

And...(so many of you out there are going to love Myth #4)...

"Myth 4: Raw foods help pets live longer.
Fact: Feeding raw meat, eggs and bones pose dangers for your pet because of excessive levels of nutrients like protein, calcium and phosphorus. These foods also increase the risk of broken teeth, gastrointestinal issues and exposure to bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella."

Now where do I begin...I don't feed raw, but I know many that do...including veterinarians. I've never met a raw feeder that haphazardly tosses their dog or cat raw meat, eggs and bones. Many feed commercial raw (which by the way meet AAFCO nutrient requirements) or they follow raw feeding recipes which meet proper nutrient profiles. Yes, it is important for a pets' diet to have a proper nutrient ratio, but wow...hasn't there been recalls in the past for pet foods (kibble and can) that did not meet the proper nutrient ratio? I'm not aware of Science Diet having this particular recall concern, but they did recall numerous products during the 2007 recall.

Risk of E. coli and Salmonella? Well...Dr. Ron DeHaven, Chief Executive Officer at the American Veterinary Medical Association provided a video of safe pet food handling (NOT specific to raw pet food - this video was to guide pet parents in regards to ALL pet food handling) to prevent Salmonella and E. coli contamination. His advise included preparing your pets food away from the area you prepare human food, and feed your pet "as far away from the human food preparation area as you can". So it seems that the real fact, at least according to the AVMA, is that all pet foods - raw, kibble, canned - pose a risk of exposure to bacteria.

Science Diet, if you wish to use corn in your dog foods and cat foods, fine. Not every pet parent or veterinarian will agree, but if you believe in the benefit of corn provide consumers with mycotoxin testing results and proof of non-GM. If you wish to use by-products in your dog foods and cat foods, fine; provide consumers with USDA grade information of these by-products. If you don't use rejected meat tissues or organs, wonderful news. Show us that you don't with evidence AND help pet parents put an end to FDA Compliance Policies that allow any pet food to utilize dead, dying, diseased and disabled animals and animal tissues.

Talk the talk or walk the walk? Which is it?

Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
Susan Thixton
Pet Food Safety Advocate
Author, Buyer Beware
TruthaboutPetFood.com
PetsumerReport.com
Tessa

You may- approach.
 
 
Barked: Sat Dec 3, '11 4:34pm PST 
Good things to consider no matter what kind of home-prepared diet you might feed.

From the December 2011 The Whole Dog Journal
QUOTE

"A Home-Prepared Dog Food Diet Recipe Critique.
Sometimes a diet looks complete at first glance, but nutrient calculators reveal deficiencies.

This is the debut of what we intend to be a regular feature in Whole Dog Journal: a detailed critique of a home-prepared diet. I will analyze diets that people feed their dogs and offer feedback and suggestions that might improve the nutritional value of the diet.


Tara (far right), a Staffordshire Terrier-mix, and Pepi, a Podenco-mix, are fed a raw, boneless diet. The diet needs just a little tweaking to provide complete and balanced nutrition.

Raw, Boneless Diet for an Active 37-lb dog
Fiona McNair lives in Glasgow, Scotland. McNair feeds a raw, boneless diet to her two dogs: Tara, a lean and very active six-year-old Staffordshire Terrier-cross who weighs 16.9 kg (37 lbs), and Pepi, a moderately active and slightly overweight four-year-old Podenco-cross who weighs 15.5 kg (34 lbs).

Both dogs are healthy, but McNair has noticed a few problems, including clicking in the joints, that started after she began feeding a homemade diet a year ago. I took a particularly close look at McNair’s diet to try to determine what nutrients might be missing or excessive in hopes of resolving this issue.

Here is the diet McNair currently feeds her larger dog (the smaller dog gets the same foods in slightly reduced quantities). These amounts are daily totals, split between two meals:

-250 grams (8.8 ounces) raw meat, including 1 day of lamb and 2 days each of beef, chicken, and turkey per week. Both lamb and beef are 20 percent fat; chicken is skinless breast and turkey is skinless dark meat.

-125 grams (4.4 ounces) vegetables, including raw grated carrot, courgette (zucchini), and celery, and steamed broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and turnips.

-85 grams (3 ounces) plain low-fat yogurt.

-20 grams (1.4 ounces) each raw lamb liver and kidney.

-Daily supplements: 1,000 mg Animal Essentials Seaweed Calcium, 500 mg vitamin C, 100 IUs vitamin E, vitamin B-50 complex, and 1,000 mg fish oil.

-Both dogs also get a few small treats plus a small rawhide daily.

At first glance, this diet looked pretty good, with appropriate proportions of meat, organs, and vegetables, and good variety. It is a little high in fat, but that’s okay for a very active dog (feeding less of the beef and lamb might help the smaller dog to lose weight).

Some other initial thoughts: Eggs and fish are missing. Adding starchy foods would help to reduce the fat content. Vegetables would be better digested if pureed in a food processor, blender, or juicer rather than just grated, and the Brussels sprouts and turnips may need more cooking to be digestible (raw vegetables aren’t harmful but don’t provide as much nutritional value as cooked vegetables).

Surprise!
When I entered the diet into a recipe at NutritionData.com and compared it to National Research Council (NRC) recommendations, I was a little surprised to find that it did not provide their recommended daily amounts (RDA) of several nutrients:

-Zinc (diet provides 9.2 mg; the RDA is 17 mg)

-Manganese (0.3 mg; RDA 1.3 mg)

-Choline (137 mg; RDA 465 mg)

-Vitamin D (7 IU; RDA 149 IU)

If McNair failed to add the supplement, the diet would also be very low in vitamin E (1 mg; RDA 8 mg). It would also be low in magnesium if she were using plain calcium or ground eggshell instead of the seaweed calcium (the diet supplies 96 mg, RDA is 164 mg; the Animal Essentials calcium supplement adds 90 mg).

The dietary iron (7.1 mg; RDA 8 mg) and phosphorus (732 mg; RDA 830 mg) are also below recommended amounts. It’s possible that this diet is low in iodine (264 mcg RDA), but I could not confirm this, as iodine is not tracked by the USDA’s nutrient database (which is where NutritionData.com gets its information). There is iodine in yogurt and in the Animal Essentials calcium supplement (60 mcg), and this may be adequate.

Vitamin K is also short, but since this vitamin can be synthesized in the intestines, it may not need to be supplied through diet.

Calcium is a little high (1,230 mg; RDA 1,080 mg), due to the amount provided by yogurt.

Also, the number of calories provided by this diet is inadequate for a dog of Tara’s size. When I mentioned this to McNair and inquired about Tara’s weight, McNair acknowledged that Tara has been losing weight. McNair had calculated the amount to feed based on a percentage of Tara’s ideal body weight, but had included the vegetables in the calculations.

Greens and other non-starchy vegetables are low in calories and should not be included when calculating how much to feed your dog. They can be added in whatever quantities are preferred.

Both omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids (EFAs) were high enough to meet NRC recommendations. The diet is a little short in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a plant-based form of omega-3, but since dogs don’t utilize this fatty acid very well, I don’t consider that a problem. EPA and DHA, omega-3 EFAs that are found in fish, fish oil, and certain forms of algae, such as spirulina and chorella, are better sources for dogs.

Recommended Changes
Here’s my recommended modified diet for Tara (changes are in bold). Pepi would get 90 percent of these amounts:

-200 grams (7 ounces) meat, including 1 day each of lamb, turkey, and pink salmon (or other fish) and 2 days each of beef and chicken per week. Switch to dark meat chicken.

-1 large egg.

-100 grams (3.5 ounces) sweet potato (or other starchy foods).

-20 grams (1.4 ounces) each beef liver (lamb liver may also be acceptable) and lamb kidney.

-125 grams (4.4 ounces) vegetables.

-85 grams (3 ounces) plain low-fat yogurt.

-600 mg Animal Essentials Seaweed Calcium (reduced 200 mg from yogurt, 200 mg from multivitamin).

-1 Centrum or comparable multivitamin and mineral (replaces separate vitamin B, C, and E supplements).

-1,000 mg fish oil, once daily.

-Do not give calcium or fish oil on days when canned fish with bones are fed.

-Add a glucosamine-type supplement for joint support. (It’s unclear what might cause joint clicking in both dogs. Adding a glucosamine-type supplement may help protect the joints.)

-Eliminate the daily rawhide if needed to account for added calories in diet (rawhides may provide as many as 80 calories per ounce).

The new diet has about 100 more calories than the original diet, which should be more appropriate for a dog of Tara’s size. It meets all NRC nutritional recommendations except choline (158 mg short) and vitamin K (0.3 mg short, 0.4 mg RDA). Choline is considered a member of the vitamin B family and is found in most B-complex supplements, but even those don’t provide enough to meet NRC recommendations. Eggs, liver, beef, salmon, and cauliflower are all considered good sources of choline (choline values in lamb liver are unknown; beef liver has almost twice the choline of chicken liver). The nutritional supplement Nupro could be used to provide choline, but it is low in zinc and contains almost no vitamin E. These should be added separately if you replace the multi-vitamin and mineral supplement with Nupro.

With the multivitamin and mineral supplement, the addition of eggs, sweet potato, and fish are not necessary, but I believe they provide a more well-rounded diet. Eggs add iron, phosphorus, zinc, and choline, though not enough to meet the RDAs. Feeding fish one day per week provides enough vitamin D to meet NRC recommendations, and also increases choline. Sweet potato and other starchy foods help to reduce fat levels, and increase magnesium and manganese. Fruits, such as bananas, apples, and blueberries, would provide similar benefits with fewer calories.

If the multivitamin is omitted, the revised diet would still be significantly short on magnesium (46 mg, supplied by Animal Essentials calcium), manganese (0.4 mg), zinc (8 mg), vitamin E (5.4 mg), and possibly iodine. If fish is not added to the diet, cod liver oil could be used instead to provide vitamin D.

Mary Straus is the owner of DogAware.com. Contact her via her website if you would like to submit a diet to be critiqued."
Fitzcairn

Where's the- Ball?! Throw- the ball!!!
 
 
Barked: Wed Dec 5, '12 6:21am PST 
An article from the Honest Kitchen company.
QUOTE:

3 Myths About Your Pet’s Prescription Diet
December 2nd, 2012 by admin
The following article was provided to The Honest Kitchen by our friend, Susan Blake Davis, CCN

www.AskAriel.com
Copr. © 2011 eNewsChannels™ and Susan Blake Davis


When your veterinarian recommends a prescription diet for your pet, it is because your pet has a health condition that requires dietary modification. Your veterinarian has your pet’s best interest in mind and is trying to help you take better care of your pet.

What is a pet prescription diet? A prescription diet is a commercially prepared food scientifically formulated to address a specific health condition. For example, a kidney diet has reduced protein and phosphorous. When pets are diagnosed with various health conditions, dietary modification can make a significant impact on their health and well-being. The adage “you are what you eat” holds true.

There is an important point of clarification however. Yes– your pet needs to follow a diet based on a scientific formulary prescribing specific nutritional requirements (e.g. low fat, high fiber, low sodium). But, what is often misunderstood however, is that the only option for achieving this dietary formulary is by using commercially prepared prescription food. In other words, just because your pet needs a low fat, high fiber diet doesn’t mean that there is only one way to serve it using a canned or dry commercially prepared “prescription food”. There are homemade and combined homemade/commercial alternatives and it is important for you to know your options so that you can make an informed decision about what is best for your pet.

Myth #1—The Commercially Prepared Prescription Diet Is the Only Food OPTION My Pet Can Eat

Yes and No—The reason your pet needs to be on a prescription diet is because it is a “prescription” regarding various food groups such as fats, protein and carbohydrates as well as the vitamin and mineral content. For example, pets with kidney disease need a diet low in phosphorous. So—yes, if your veterinarian has diagnosed a disease, you should follow the vet’s prescription regarding your pet’s nutritional needs . However, this doesn’t mean that the only food choice is the dry and canned food commercial options available at your veterinarian’s office. You can prepare a homemade option or use a combination of homemade with raw frozen food or other commercial foods, but the point is that whatever you feed, it needs to meet the nutritional needs set forth in the prescription!

It would be difficult for the average pet owner to figure out the appropriate dietary alternatives for their pet within the confines of the “prescribed guidelines” In fact, there is a risk that if you are doing a lot of food combining on your own, you may end up doing more harm than good. It is quite common for pet owners to use the prescription commercial food all the while adding in miscellaneous treats and table scraps, thereby defeating the whole purpose. The point here is that there are natural, homemade and alternative ways to give your pet a “prescription” diet beyond the commercial prescription foods but it is highly recommended that you seek out the advice of a pet nutritionist or holistic veterinarian to ensure the diet meets the nutritional needs of your pet.

MYTH #2—It’s Okay to Feed My Pet’s Prescription Diet to All of My Pets

Not necessarily—Not unless all of your pets have the same health problems and require the same prescription diet. In multiple pet households, it is quite common for pet owners to feed the same food to all of their pets. Would you give the same medication to all of your pets too? Prescription diets are a dietary formulary that restrict certain ingredients—this might be advantageous for the pet for whom the diet is prescribed, but not for other pets. For example, a pet owner may have a senior cat and a 2 year old cat. A young cat needs a high protein, high fat diet. If a young cat is fed a prescription kidney diet, the cat may experience muscle atrophy and other health problems associated with a low protein diet. This is again, why it is so important to either consult with a pet nutritionist or holistic veterinarian or ensure that each pet is only eating the food that is designated for them.

MYTH #3 –If My Pet Has Multiple Health Problems, a Commercially Prepared Prescription Diet Will Address All of my Pet’s Nutritional Needs

Not necessarily—When pets have multiple health issues occurring, commercial pet food options are not nearly as successful. For example, a dog may have severe allergies and liver disease. There is no one “magic” formula a vet can prescribe to address multiple health problems. The commercially prescribed liver diets may be lower in fat and liver-friendly, but will most likely contain grains which the pet could be allergic to. And even when a pet is using a commercially prepared prescription diet for one health condition, another one may develop in the process. For example, pets that are prone to bladder stones may use a prescription diet to prevent the bladder stones but then develop hot spots and itching. if your pet has multiple health conditions, using a custom-tailored diet specifically designed for your pet by a holistic veterinarian or pet nutritionist is a more beneficial approach.

When your pet is diagnosed with a particular health condition, you want to do what’s best to help. Diet clearly has an impact but there are many ways to approach your pet’s health problem. The important point is to know that there are options.

Susan says, “The Honest Kitchen pet food can be combined with homemade ingredients in varying proportions (depending upon your pet’s health concerns) as a wholesome, nutritious alternative to ”prescription diets”. Please work with a veterinary professional to ensure your pet’s specific dietary requirements are carefully managed.”

Learn more about how a pet nutritionist can help your pet by visiting www.AskAriel.com
Tessa

You may- approach.
 
 
Barked: Tue Feb 12, '13 3:18am PST 
Quoted from the online B-Naturals newsletter by Dr. Lew Olson, a beginners guide to:

"Benefits of Enzymes and Probiotics

I often get requests from people wanting digestive aids for their dogs. By the questions I receive, it seems either folks do not understand the differences between enzymes and probiotics, or they get the two confused. This newsletter explains the differences and benefits of both so you can make the right choices for your dogs.

Enzymes and Probiotics are two different supplements that both support digestion, but each of them works differently to support the digestive system.

Enzymes
Enzymes help break down proteins, fats and carbohydrates into smaller units so they can be more easily absorbed in the small intestine. There are certain health conditions and diseases hinder the body's ability to do this on its own, so adding enzymes to the diet helps assimilate the nutrients and aids in better digestion.

In humans, carbohydrate digestion starts in the mouth because humans have amylase in their saliva. However, dogs are carnivores and they do not produce amylase in their saliva, so the digestion of carbohydrates begins in their stomachs, as well as some protein digestion. Hydrochloric Acid is released in the stomach, which in turn, stimulates the production of pepsin. This starts protein digestion. Hydrochloric Acid (HCI) has a pH of one, which helps kill microorganisms.

Fats are only broken down (into lipids) in the small intestine. Bile releases and emulsifies the fats. The enzymes released from the pancreas contain pancreatin, which breaks down the fats in lipids. The enzymes released from the pancreas also include amylase, which reduces the carbohydrates to sugars or glucose. Protease helps break down proteins into amino acids. Lastly, the pancreas secretes bicarbonate to raise the pH 1 from the HCI in the stomach to a more neutral pH number.

When looking for a digestion aid, it is important to find an enzyme product that covers all stages of digestion. For dogs, this includes Ox Bile extract, which helps stimulate HCI production, and pepsin, which aids protein digestion for the stomach. For the small intestine, pancreatin and pancrealipase are important for fat digestion. Amylase is important for carbohydrate digestion. Trypsin is important for protein digestion.

Papain (made from papayas) and Bromelain (made from pineapples) are plant enzymes. These two enzymes are helpful for digestion as they help control gas and indigestion. Bromelain not only assists with proper digestion, it also helps inflammation, if not given with food. Both Papain and Bromelain enzymes enhance the enzymes already in produced in the body by the pancreas.

Some health issues can be helped by adding additional enzymes to the diet.
If your dog suffers from allergies, adding in enzymes to their diet can help break down the proteins that may be causing the allergic reactions.

Liver issues can be helped as well! Adding in enzymes to the diet can help with the digestion of fats. This helps relieve some of the stress that is on the liver.

Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) is another common health issue with dogs and adding extra enzymes to the diet can help digest fats, proteins and starches for better digestion and absorption of nutrients.

Dogs suffering from autoimmune diseases and cancer can also benefit from extra enzymes because their bodies and organs are compromised. Adding additional enzymes to your dog's diet can assist with the breakdown of proteins, fats and carbohydrates so the nutrients can be more easily absorbed.
If you are looking to change your dog's diet, from a commercial food to a raw or cooked diet, adding extra enzymes to the meals helps ease the transition from one diet to another.
Lastly, if your dog suffers from inflammation issues, many enzymes help lower inflammation response.

Depending on the health condition of the dog, I recommend two supplements. For dogs needing an extra enzyme boost, there is Berte's Zymes, which is a blend of digestive enzymes from both plant and animal based enzymes. For dogs with more serious digestive health issues, there is Berte's Digestion Blend. This product contains pancreatic enzymes and amino acids, medicinal herbs and beneficial bacteria (probiotics). It also contains 500 mg of the amino acid l-Glutamine helps heal the intestinal lining due to inflammation, assists in metabolizing proteins and sugars and supports immune system function. This product was developed to help dogs with irritable bowel syndrome, colitis and ulcers.

Probiotics
The term Probiotics refers to the beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract. These bacteria help to keep the 'bad' or unfriendly bacteria in check. Common beneficial bacteria include lactobacilli and bifidobacteria, which are often called acidophilus and bifidus. These bacteria are thought to produce antimicrobial metabolites, which help support the immune system and aid in mucosal conditioning. When certain factors reduce the friendly bacteria, an overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria can result which can cause digestive upsets and yeast infections. Some things that can cause a reduction in the friendly bacteria include antibiotics, stress, illness, and diarrhea.

Using probiotics helps help keep the friendly bacteria in the digestive tract balanced and it can replenish the friendly bacteria lost through antibiotic use, illness and diarrhea. It helps maintain a healthier digestive tract and helps keep stools firmer. Probiotics are often a recommended supplement if your dog has Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) or Irritable Bowel Syndrome as these conditions can be associated with bacteria overgrowths in the digestive tract. It is very beneficial to add probiotics to your dogs' diet after any antibiotic treatment or during stressful times such as changing diets, boarding, traveling, training, or after surgery. Berte's Ultra Probiotics contains a mix of beneficial bacteria and is an excellent supplement to support the digestive system.

Immediacare GI is another recommended product that helps firm up loose stools, supports rapid gastrointestinal balance associated with microflora imbalances, garbage gut, food sensitivities, stress, age, and traveling. It is also great for whelping moms, puppies and dogs that will take a paste form better during illness than a powder. This is a great supplement to consider for your first aid kit if you are traveling with your pet this summer.

It is very safe to use both Probiotics and Enzymes together if needed. While both support digestive function, they each address different digestive issues. I hope that this information clarifies any confusion you might have had about the purpose for and benefit of these two supplements and how they support the digestive system."
Fitzcairn

Where's the- Ball?! Throw- the ball!!!
 
 
Barked: Sat Jul 20, '13 1:43pm PST 
shock Another good thing to keep in mind when reading your pet food label!
If those "healthy" fruits and vegetables, yogurt, etc., are listed below the salt, bol, forget it!

QUOTED from the online magazine 'Dogs Naturally':

"The Salt Divider

We’ve heard it for centuries, from our mother or father, and they have heard it from their parents, and them from their parents, while sitting at the dinner table:

“Eat your vegetables!”

Vegetables are a symbol of health worldwide; an essential food group that must be added to our plates in order to give us the perception that we are making healthy choices. For most of us, it works. We feel good knowing that somewhere in our breakfast, lunch, or dinner that there is some kind of fruit or vegetable, and, for the rest of the day we will have peace of mind knowing that we did something right.

Advertising Tactics
To a pet food marketer, it’s important to give us that confirmation and reassurance when we purchase their food, that same feeling that we are doing something right. Their goal is for us, the pet owner, to look at their packaging and make us crave it. They actually try to make us think: “I would eat that!” The term in the industry is called humanization.

The pet food industry is constantly trying to humanize pet food by adding exotic fruits, vegetables, and even superfoods, to the ingredient panels, thinking that this will raise the ante over the competition. It would only make sense for manufacturers to splash pictures of real, whole, fresh foods all over the packages. If it’s splattered all over the package, then surely there must be tons of it in the food, right?

Flashback
I can recall a point in my life, many years back when I thought I was ahead of the game when it came to pet food ingredient labels. I knew that I wanted to avoid “by-products”, “corn”, “BHA & BHT’s”, etc. My White Shepherd, Sammie, had developed serious kidney issues at a young age. The obvious thing to do was to find a bag of kibble that contained cranberries. Remember, I was ahead of the game and knew that cranberries + kidney problems = positive results. So I got in my car and drove to the nearest pet store in search of the bag with the largest picture of a cranberry I could find. When I found it, it was like I was in a movie. Everything around me froze, I could hear angels singing in the background, and there it was: a giant, pure white bag with the reddest and most delicious-looking cranberries displayed proudly on the front, starring right at me!

I rushed over and grabbed it, flipped the bag over and found what I was looking for in the ingredient list: cranberries. Perfect!!

As some of you may already know, an ingredient panel on a package of pet food goes from greatest to least (before it is cooked). Seeing cranberries in this list, along with the giant photo on the front of the bag, lead me to believe that this was the miracle food my dog needed for her kidneys until…

One day, months later, I started researching in more depth the complexity of ingredient labels. I stumbled across something that changed my life and my pet’s life forever.

Although the pet food manufacturer’s recipe is a trade secret, through research I discovered ingredients that can act as markers to help give us an idea of the quantities being used. There is one ingredient in particular that can help us shed some light on the mirage marketers may be trying to create.

Salt
The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) recommends that dry dog food contains at least 0.3% sodium, and that dry cat food contains at least 0.2% sodium, for both maintenance and to support normal growth and development. These are minimum recommended levels.

Quoting Dr. Marion Nestlé, Professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University and Malden Nesheim, Professor of Nutrition Emeritus and Provost Emeritus at Cornell University, in their book “Feed Your Pet Right”:

“Because most pet foods use similar formulas, our rule of thumb is that any ingredient that follows salt on the list must make up less than 1 percent of the diet. This has to be true for ingredients like vitamins and trace minerals because only tiny amounts are needed […]. Salt is a convenient marker of quantity.”
They called it the Salt Divider
So anything that follows salt is basically found in tiny, minuscule amounts in the product.

After reading that, I rushed to my bag of kibble and frantically searched the ingredient panel. Organic chicken… potatoes… eggs… there it is: salt! Here is an example of how my ingredient list looked:

“Organic chicken, potato, arctic char, chicken fat naturally preserved with mixed tocopherols, sweet potatoes, dried egg product, peas, natural chicken flavor, dried tomato pomace, whole flaxseed, lecithin, potassium chloride, “salt”, choline chloride, yeast extract, calcium carbonate, dried chicory root (a source of inulin), ferrous sulfate, taurine, zinc oxide, organic duck, alpha tocopherol acetate (a source of vitamin E), apples, “organic cranberries”, yucca schidigera extract, crab and shrimp meal, New Zealand green mussels, sea cucumber, organic dried blueberries, organic dried pineapple, honey, organic dried rosemary, organic dried parsley, organic dried spearmint, organic carob, organic dried seaweed meal, organic dehydrated alfalfa meal, organic asparagus, organic green tea extract, organic dried spinach, organic dried broccoli, organic dried carrot, organic dried cauliflower, zinc …”
Ten ingredients past salt, after all of these vitamins and minerals, was organic cranberries.

salt dog food

This can’t be right, I said to myself. The 30lb bag of food I had bought had a cranberry the size of a football on it! The food just HAD to contain a decent amount of the ingredient. However, the ingredient panel had it listed ten ingredients past salt, meaning less than a sprinkle of a cranberry was actually in that bag; no more than a pinch in almost 120 cups, or a 40 day supply, of food!

Misleading
It was like everything I thought I knew about pet food and ingredients labels, all of which formed a perfect bubble, popped.

The promise of cranberries, along with images of blueberries, apples and duck, which took up more than half the front of the bag, was deliberately misleading. The reality was that the amount of those four ingredients together would most likely equal the size of a single blueberry.

I really want to stress on this ABSURD reality.

This is the part in the movie where one should turn up the volume. I, as the manufacturer, can take a single teeny tiny apple seed and drop it into a massive 30lb bag of pet food, and then actually list it on my ingredient panel. To add salt to the wound (pun intended) I can then splash apples all over the front of my bag. That is right, I just sold you the illusion, that you are going home with a bag full of food containing healthy, delicious apples to feed your pet and I haven’t broken any rules.

This is the flaw in the rulebook that is being highly exploited by manufacturer and their marketers.

With pets in need of certain vegetables, herbs, nutraceuticals and other nutrients in their diets, owners must realize the importance of paying attention to detail.

Expensive ingredients, organic ingredients, GMO free ingredients; these are plastered all over the packages with full-blown visuals, yet they fall almost 5 to 25 ingredients past our salt divider.

Read Your Labels
The moral of the story is: read your labels and do some research. Do not allow the visual on the package or the perception of certain ingredients determine your overall purchasing decision. If you want to give your pet cranberries, then go buy some that are fresh and locally grown and personally add them to their dish."
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