Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Interesting facts about what we feed our dogs


So I frequent a online forum that has something like 2 million users. There are forums dedicated to anything and everything under the sun. I like to go to a place called "Pet Island." They have topics about dogs, cats, hamsters, fish and anything related to our much loved animals.

As I mentioned in my "About Me", I have two 9 month old Dobermans Pinschers. Their stomach are very temperamental. I was reading up on dog food and which brands were good and which were not so good. If anything else you get from this information just remember this: Corn, any by-product are bad for your dog. Read the label. It's a lot of information but I think it's worth sharing. I didn't even have a clue about this and now I know!
Just read below:

First the basics - It doesn't get much more basic than ingredients. This is the make-up of foods, and more often than not, the root of many allergies and health problems in lower-quality diets. When it comes to shopping for pet foods, the first thing you should do is flip the bag over and find the nutritional information. If you see 'Corn' or 'By-Product' as one of the first ingredients, then you're off to a bad start.

Here's a list of ingredients to AVOID

-Corn - It's undigestable! This is used as a cheap filler for almost all dog and cat foods! This has almost no nutritional value, and passes straight through your pet, coming out as additional waste. Ontop of that, it's a very common allergen in dogs and cats!

-By-Product- Some by-products are worse than others, but all by-products are an inconsistent source of meat protein. You never really know what's in by-product meal, but it can range from diseased livestock, horse remains, roadkill (!), euthanized animals from local shelters (!!!) and 4-d meats (all seen in meat by-product meal) to unfiltered intestinal tracts, feathers, brains, feet and waste (poultry by-product meal). Some say that by-products aren't all bad. Why? Well because an animal would eat all that in the wild, right?! Nope, not necessarily. By-products can contain high traces of chemicals used in euthanasia, as well as meat rendered but still tainted with poisons and deadly bacteria. In the wild, most animals would never encounter these things, and would probably die if they did. The 'filler' that the animals would gain in the wild from eating other animals can be replaced with much, MUCH cleaner, healthier, and safer ingredients (seen in the second list).

-Peanut Hulls, Mill Run - This is essentially what they sweep off the floor from the processing plants. It's literally the hulls of peanuts, scraps from trees (including bark), and whatever else employees happened to drop on the floor that day. Science Diet will tell you it's fibre! Unfortunately, we really don't have the slightest idea what's in the 'mill run' that day.(this list will be edited as other ingredients are suggested, I started with the three basics)

And here's a list of ingredients look for

- Whole meats (i.e Chicken, Turkey, Bison, Venison) - You're getting exactly what it says you're getting. Whole meats, usually quality cuts of whatever is listed. This is meat alone, contains no internal organs, no mystery chemicals. Generally the best quality meat you can get in pet food.

-Fruits and Vegetables - Such as fresh blueberries (a natural antitoxidant!), fresh apples (yummy, and healthy!), sweet potatoes (reliable source of fibre, though doesn't agree with all dog's tummies). Again, you're getting what it says, these are fruits and vegetables ground up in the food. This is the source of fibre and plant material that a dog or cat would normally be getting from eating the stomach of prey in the wild. It's carefully balanced in premium foods, and is generally not a main ingredient.

Here are the foods:

Here's a list of DOG foods, in order from best to worst, and why

Ultra Premium
Merrick
Timber Wolf
Solid Gold
Wellness
Prarie
Innova
All these foods contain whole meats, fruits, vegetables, and often cater to sensitive stomachs and unusual allergies. These foods all have a wide range of flavours including bison, venison, salmon and trout, as well as chicken and turkey for the less fancy :) There's NO by-product, corn, wheat or mill runs in any of these foods. Of these three, Timber Wolf is the most expensive, with Solid Gold being the least expensive. They are available at Petco (for Solid Gold), Canine Commissary (all three), or Pet Supplies Plus (all three).

Premium
Chicken Soup
Natural Balance
Nutro

Admittedly, I'm hesitant to put Nutro on this list, as it DOES contain Corn and Corn-Meal. However, it's also a lovely in between from the 'Acceptable' to the 'Premium' foods, and is great for picky-eaters. Chicken Soup and Natural Balance have the same no by-product, no-corn policy and are excellent foods as well. They don't have the lavish flavour choices of Ultra Premium foods, but cater to some very picky critters. Natural Balance even has a nice Potato and Duck for dogs allergic to chicken. These are all easily available at your local Petco, and Nutro can be found at Petsmart.

Acceptable
Iams
Purina
Diamond
Eagle Pack
Eukanuba

I hate to have to put Eagle Pack on here, but with the recent increase in corn on their ingredient list, they're falling fast. These are foods they're... well, they're okay. I guess. They contain corn and/or by-products, are generally cheaper and are available at grocery stores. This stuff wont necessarily KILL your dog (despite the Diamond death thing earlier this year), but it's certainly not the best. If your vet tells you to buy this stuff, punch him.

Horrid
Alpo
Pedigree
Regular Science Diet (non-prescription)
Mainstay
Kibbles and Bits
Good Day Chunks

This is the worst of the worst. Usually no whole meats, or in the case of 'Good Day' no meat AT ALL. 90% of these foods are composed of corn, wheat, mill runs, followed by steamed bone-meal and by-product meal. Unfortunately, a majority of the foods you'll see available to the public are this grade, and can lead to many health problems. Also, these foods are GREASY, they make your dog's coat oil and often smelly, and make waste large, frequent, and often nasty-smelling. Science Diet I'm probably opening a can of worms with. But seriously, next time you have a bag at your finger tips, especially Adult Maintenance, just look at it.

3 comments:

marina said...

Great post! I totally agree with all of this too. I already made the switch from Science Diet to AvoDerm for my pups. I haven't seen anything with corn in it on the ingredients list, so I hope it is okay! They don't really love it much, so that must mean it is healthy for them. haha.

Erin said...

Hi Kristina! I found your blog through Marina's...I'm very curious, how did you come up with the name? -- Erin Griffin

Kristina said...

Erin!!!

When are you going to start a blog?

I actually got my blog name from a website that generated band names. My favorite color is Purple so I thought it would work!

My header is still a work in progress.