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What do you feed your dogs?


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Thanks for explaining - that makes sense :)

 

Personally, I am skeptical of the organic label - I think it's a marketing ploy in many cases and it doesn't really guarantee that the animals are treated that much better. I'd choose local product that I knew the background of over organic any day.

 

I gotta admit, my jaw dropped when I saw the prices on the raw advantage site :o . Around here I can get organic, grass fed beef for pets (ie, the old or odd ball stuff) for $2/# by buying it directly from the farm. I can also get locally raised chicken backs (naturally raised but not organic) for 79 cents/#.

 

I definitely would choose local grown over organic any day, too. Yes it sometimes is a marketing ploy (hence why all the major brands all of a sudden went organic). Plus getting certified is very expensive and it's hard for small farms to afford it. We do have a lot of farms around here, but most of the animals are used for products (milk, wool, eggs, etc.) rather than to eat. It might be wise to check into them as I've heard that sometimes an older animal will be available for meat.

 

Raw advantage is crazy expensive. I give it at random to my pups for a treat. Their meats are really nice, but the prices not so much. Since they cut, prepare, package, add, etc., they can charge the consumer an arm and a leg. I'm not willing to be a sucker and have that be my dog's complete diet.

 

The unfortunate thing about food corporations is that there are really only very few of them, and they own several brands/farms. If you get mad at the Purina brand because of a food recall and want to stop supporting it, you also have to boycott all products made by Nestle because they're both owned and operated by the same corporation. The same goes for many meat and egg brands. The companies that provide "organic" or "grass fed" are often producing regular meat from animals pumped up on hormones and antibiotics, just under a different brand or label. And they're probably all slaughtered under the same roof anyway.

 

Better to buy locally grown if you're concerned about how the animals were treated previously.

 

I agree. I shop at the co-op and always try to buy local. A lot of my friends run/own the farms around here, so I know how amazing the food is... it's good to support local anyway. ;)

 

We have an egg lady in town with some great eggs. We also have some amazing duck eggs!

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Just out of curiosity, how would I go about starting a puppy on a raw supplemented diet? We are too financially challenged to feed strictly raw... and no meat is safe in this house (my husband is the biggest carnivore I know. :rolleyes: Anyway, we are planning on feeding our little guy Canidae All Life Stages and supplementing 3 or 4 days a week with raw meaty bones and crushed eggs, problem is I just don't know where to start. I've found a few places online to get the meat, always have deer meat in the freezer (hunters) and I have an amazing butcher just a few blocks away so it's not necessarily the getting it that confuses me, it's the transitioning a puppy coming from a breeder that feeds puppy chow to our house where he will eat a raw supplemented diet.

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Just out of curiosity, how would I go about starting a puppy on a raw supplemented diet? We are too financially challenged to feed strictly raw... and no meat is safe in this house (my husband is the biggest carnivore I know. :rolleyes: Anyway, we are planning on feeding our little guy Canidae All Life Stages and supplementing 3 or 4 days a week with raw meaty bones and crushed eggs, problem is I just don't know where to start. I've found a few places online to get the meat, always have deer meat in the freezer (hunters) and I have an amazing butcher just a few blocks away so it's not necessarily the getting it that confuses me, it's the transitioning a puppy coming from a breeder that feeds puppy chow to our house where he will eat a raw supplemented diet.

 

 

It's really simple. Just start giving the raw. Start out small at first so your pup's stomach can get used to it. Chicken is the easiest to start out with. If you want to feed a whole meal of raw, use the raw calculator to figure out how much to give. For instance, my 40lb dog would eat about 1 pound a day of raw meat.

http://www.raw4dogs.com/calculate.htm

 

There is a Yahoo group about raw feeding. You can ask for advice there and lots of people will respond.

http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/rawfeeding/

 

Unless you are going to be giving a complete raw diet to your dog I would not worry too much about how to start. Good luck!

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Thank you! I will begin transitioning him a week or so after he arrives I'm thinkin. We're planning on stocking our freezer before he gets here so was calling around looking for the best deals on meat. I thought for sure my vet would know of someone that also feeds raw that I could get in contact with... I never did get through to her. Her receptionist answered and as soon as the word "raw" left my mouth she started chewing me out. She actually said that dogs are not meant to eat meat! Needless to say I got online shortly after and found a holistic vet that supports raw and is wayyyyy closer to us. I just couldn't believe it though, really, not meant to eat meat?! What does she think they did before dog food was invented?

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Thank you! I will begin transitioning him a week or so after he arrives I'm thinkin. We're planning on stocking our freezer before he gets here so was calling around looking for the best deals on meat. I thought for sure my vet would know of someone that also feeds raw that I could get in contact with... I never did get through to her. Her receptionist answered and as soon as the word "raw" left my mouth she started chewing me out. She actually said that dogs are not meant to eat meat! Needless to say I got online shortly after and found a holistic vet that supports raw and is wayyyyy closer to us. I just couldn't believe it though, really, not meant to eat meat?! What does she think they did before dog food was invented?

 

Thank Dog you changed vets! I bet her dogs are on a vegan diet. Yikes!

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Thank Dog you changed vets! I bet her dogs are on a vegan diet. Yikes!

 

Vets tend to be a bit cagey about raw diets because of the lack of sound evidence.

http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/raw-meat-and-bone-diets-for-dogs-its-enough-to-make-you-barf/

 

A good vegan diet isn't the worst thing in the world to feed your dog, although obviously it takes effort and knowledge to do, and it definitely isn't something I'd do. One of the contenders for the world's oldest dog was vegan (a lean and well-exercised collie mix, surprise surprise).

 

Weird to say that dogs aren't meant to eat meat, though. I have heard that dogs aren't meant to eat solely lean meat, that they need organ meats and fibrous bits.

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In my experience, vets in general know little about what dogs need to eat, or how fat/ thin a dog should be. Nearly every one I've talked to said feeding Purina Dog Chow was just dandy, and that there was little or no difference between kibbles except price. They tell you to follow the package directions for what amount to feed. If I did that my dog would be three feet wide! And they have all seemed to think my dogs are on the thin side - whereas I suspect most people who work their dogs on stock would think she's a bit of a tub. ;)

 

Every vet I've talked to pitched a fit if I said I fed raw, whole chicken backs once a week. But they sure like the way their teeth look!

 

For that matter, most vets I've had were in the stone age re training - except veterinary behaviorists, of course. I'm sure there must be vets out there that are up on this stuff, but I've not met them yet.

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Yes, most vets I have used (and because of moving several times, I have used more than my share) do not know much more about nutrition beyond what the Purina or Science Diet dog food rep has 'educated' them about. There is a woeful lack of nutrition training in vet schools. I am not sure if that is changing, but it should. I have found that the best vets to use if you want nutritional guidance are the ones that have gone above and beyond normal vet school training to learn about nutrition - holistic vets and/or vets that are trained in alternative therapies (acupuncture, chiropractic, etc.)

 

I find the generalization above to be true in human medicine too.

 

Jovi

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....If you want to feed a whole meal of raw, use the raw calculator to figure out how much to give. For instance, my 40lb dog would eat about 1 pound a day of raw meat.

http://www.raw4dogs.com/calculate.htm

 

Dang. I used that calculator and if we fed all 5 of our dogs raw, on a maintenance-weight percentage, we'd be feeding almost 6 pounds of meat a day. Unless I did my math wrong, that's @ 41 pounds a week! 164 pounds a month! People must be very lucky indeed to find that much meat products at affordable prices. :)

 

~ Gloria

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Just finished the article (link posted by simba earlier today) about how the raw food movement for dogs is scientifically unsound.

 

He makes a few good points, and some of his reasoning is sound, however, I can see some largish holes in some of his claims, in particular, his defense of synthetic preservatives and the usefulness of grain as a food source for dogs.

 

Let's see. I know! We'll cook the food even though we know it reduces some of the nutrients in it and replace them with synthetic ones...

Yes it makes them easier and cheaper to package and ship, and increases their shelf-life, plus you can package it in pretty bags emblazoned with bright colors and pictures of vibrantly healthy dogs.

 

He claims that the pet-food industry is so carefully regulated that that can't get away with "bad stuff" (my words) and willy-nilly must produce a food that is nutritious and healthful.

 

How then do we account for the huge disparity in quality between your average generic kibble and something that costs $50.00 for a 20# bag? I am reminded of one of Science Diet's marketing campaigns in which we saw a picture of a pair of old, worn out boots, a beaker of motor oil and a few other fairly unsavory objects. The ad copy claimed that the breakdown of these items came out to X% protein, X% fats, etc. and asked whether you would rather feed the pictured items or the kibble they produced, which was made of yummy cuts of delicious meats, healthful grains, etc.

 

And how do we account for what happens when small-label companies which produce a high-quality kibble get bought by huge conglomerates that swear there will be NO DIFFERENCE in the kibble as a result of their acquiring the brand from its previous maker. But when you pull the bag off the shelf after a few months has gone by - what's this? - the recipe is completely different!

 

I don't buy the notion that the companies the of animal feed industry are successfully regulated into producing a quality product. The human food companies can't even make that claim. An industry that feeds shed-grown hogs on cardboard and chicken crap is not carefully making sure your bacon is good for you. And I don't think that the big (or even many of the small) companies that produce pet food care about anything but the bottom line.

 

I think that there are good kibbles out there. Some of them don't even cost a mint. But I think that the maxims "you get what you pay for," and "buyer beware" apply. And I've seen for myself that some dogs just do better on raw foods - even when fed in combination with a quality kibble.

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He claims that the pet-food industry is so carefully regulated that that can't get away with "bad stuff" (my words) and willy-nilly must produce a food that is nutritious and healthful.

 

I don't buy the notion that the companies the of animal feed industry are successfully regulated into producing a quality product. The human food companies can't even make that claim. An industry that feeds shed-grown hogs on cardboard and chicken crap is not carefully making sure your bacon is good for you. And I don't think that the big (or even many of the small) companies that produce pet food care about anything but the bottom line.

 

I don't think most people would disagree with that. Changing a popular recipe when the company changes happens with human food too, and there are big differences between different foods. But the point he's making isn't that dog food companies are saintly or all of them are working towards shiny coats etc, but that they have to not cause nutritional deficiencies or excesses- they have to be reliably adequate. That's mostly why rickets isn't such a big problem any more in dogs, for example. You don't have that with raw food diets, because of the nature of the beast, and some of them are undoubtedly deficient.

 

On a side note- I'd love to see some large-scale research on different raw food diets, see what the outcomes are, just so that there is some reliable information out there.Some of them are undoubtedly better, others have been shown to be deficient or dangerous- again, they're diverse, so you'd expect to see that. I'm a bit wary of anectdotal evidence or 'in my experience' from experts, since I've been given lots of anectdotal evidence that English bulldogs usually live for 15 years ('in my experience'), border collies routinely eat children for breakfast, mange can be cured with motor-oil etc.

 

My vet is very strongly against grocery-store kibble.

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Every vet I've talked to pitched a fit if I said I fed raw, whole chicken backs once a week. But they sure like the way their teeth look!

 

 

lol I took Rusty to a differnt vet a few months ago(my usual vet sells raw) well Rusty is hardly a case of hybrid vigor..he has nearly every genetic issue in the book..this was why he was at this vet, trying to figer out whaat the problem was NOW, this vet through a fit when we said he ate partial raw, then commented on how great his teeth looked..and said "must be those good genetics" :lol:

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I'm a bit wary of anectdotal evidence or 'in my experience' from experts, since I've been given lots of anectdotal evidence that English bulldogs usually live for 15 years ('in my experience'), border collies routinely eat children for breakfast, mange can be cured with motor-oil etc.

 

I'm sorry but this made me giggle. In the 1960's we had a dog with mange and it was suggested we use motor oil on her. Ugh. Luckily, she recovered in spite of our ignorance.

 

Things have really progressed a long way. When I went shopping for puppy food for Maggie, I was overwhelmed by all of the choices. "In the olden days", my family raised quite a few dogs on Puppy Chow and Dog Chow and they all had long, healthy lives. Kind of like people of my generation were raised without bike helmets and seat belts and we ate a lot of things that I certainly don't eat now.

 

Knowledge and progress are good things.

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I am not trying to start an argument here. I really am trying to figure this all out. Since I am not a nutritionist or are chemist I can't look at a bag of dog food and tell if it will be good for my dog or not. And I am guessing that unless you are a nutritionist or are chemist you can't either.

 

I know for a fact I do not believe the dog food manufactures advertisements, so this leaves us with peer review studies, which mostly i can't understand.

 

science based medicine.org has an article on the raw diets debate.

 

Here it is if you want to read it.

 

http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/raw-meat-and-bone-diets-for-dogs-its-enough-to-make-you-barf/

 

Here is a excerpt:

 

The average life expectancy of wolves in the wild is considerably lower than that of captive wolves, and disease, parasitism, and malnutrition are important factors in the mortality of wild populations.7-9 Captive wolves live longest and are healthiest when fed — guess what? — commercial dog food! This is the recommendation of the leading specialists in captive wolf husbandry and medicine, and it is largely the result of evidence that the previous practice of feeding raw meat based diets to captive wolves led to poorer quality nutrition and health than the current practices. Certainly, raw meat and bones are often used as enrichment items or bait for husbandry purposes, but always with an awareness of the risks they pose, and never as the primary diet.

 

Has anyone read a peer review study that proves the benefits of feeding your dog a raw diet, or you all committed to this diet because it seems to makes sense. I am all ready to jump on the raw diet bandwagon, but before I do i just want to make sure it's the right one to jump on to.

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that sounds about right. But once you get meat sources figured out it is possible to average $1-$1.25/# in many parts of the country. I feed my two for less than $2.50 a day. Not as cheap as kibble but still doable for me right now - and Kenzi eats less on raw than kibble

 

Thanks for the info. :) It's way out of reach for my pack, though, even if we had a place to store all that meat. All we have are grocery stores and their prices aren't cheap. Our dogs get bones and appropriate meat scraps, but we'll stick with a good kibble. It's interesting to read about the raw diet, though. :)

 

~ Gloria

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That article kind of makes me balk, especially the bit about how grains don't contribute to food allergies.

 

 

Why, then, is it that when we take a dog that has itchy skin and a distinct odor and put them on a non-grain based dog food that they seem to get better? I don't quite buy his argument about the grain stuff--but that's just my personal opinion on the matter.

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Since allergies have their roots in genetics, why would you think the use of certain foods is increasing the prevalence of a genetically induced malady?

Do you believe that foods are causing this genetic mutation which is then passed onto the next generation?

It is more likely that breeding practices are producing more dogs with this genetically induced malady.

 

 

Dogs can be allergic to any ingredient in dog food. I personally know one that is allergic to lamb. I don't believe that feeding lamb caused this dog to get this allergy; I believe this dog was born with the genetics to become sensitized to lamb and feeding it lamb exposed this.

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Why, then, is it that when we take a dog that has itchy skin and a distinct odor and put them on a non-grain based dog food that they seem to get better? I don't quite buy his argument about the grain stuff--but that's just my personal opinion on the matter.

 

Not all dogs. My Shoshone did very poorly on an all meat, carefully balanced (Volhard) diet. She lost weight, even when I fed her 2x/the amount recommended for her ideal weight. Her coat was dull and sticky and her eyes were dull. Her energy was way down. I tried Volhard for 3 months, and she looked/acted worse and worse.

She had allergic sebhorrea, and the all meat/no grains diet didn't help the greasy feel of her coat or her strong odor.

 

I put her back on a good kibble and in a month or so her weight was back, and her coat felt better. Her energy level came back up even more quickly.

 

Having spent tons of money on many alternative therapies, including raw diets, only to discover that none of them helped Shoshone's skin/allergies/arthritis, I much more skeptical of anecdotal claims.

 

Ruth

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The family dog has allergies, does very well on a grain-based food. We had to try a load of them before we got the right one, but she's miles better on 2 or 3 particular types (which are usually cheaper than some of the ones she was worse on, as well). It just depends on the dog and what they're allergic to.

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The family dog has allergies, does very well on a grain-based food. We had to try a load of them before we got the right one, but she's miles better on 2 or 3 particular types (which are usually cheaper than some of the ones she was worse on, as well). It just depends on the dog and what they're allergic to.

 

My last dog was allergic to protein which according to the article is more prevalent then grain-based food allergies. All i am saying is that we should not just assume we know what best for your dog health. we should look at scientific evidence to weed out the anecdotal evidence from fact.

 

According to this article there is no evidence that suggest that a raw diet is better for your dog then a good quality dry food. If there is pro-raw-diet research that contradict this information please pass it along. I would love to read it.

 

At this point I have no idea what to feed my dog.

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At this point I have no idea what to feed my dog.

 

You feed what works for you, your budget, and your dog. My family has had field-bred Labs forever, dogs my mom actually worked when she still hunted. We had one that ate (gasp!) Science Diet her whole, long life because that's all the dog would eat! Yes, a picky Lab... They do exist.

 

Decide what works for your budget, morals, time, family, etc and start there. Of course, your dog is the final, and most important, factor. If they don't do well on one feeding plan, switch. Give a new program time, though, so you can really tell if it works (obviously, discontinue if your dog is sick, super allergic, etc). If raw doesn't fit with your lifestyle, and high-end kibble is out of your budget, then a middle-of-the-road kibble will be fine. Your dog is the best gauge. If he/she is healthy, active, at good weight, etc, then what you're feeding is fine.

 

I've tried about a zillion different kibbles, and raw. I had a dog who was allergy tested. She had a "no" list FOUR pages long! She would have happily lived on fish. Guess what made my other dog have explosive diarrhea? Yep, fish. I now have one, middle-aged, eats anything and gets fat on air dog and one, young, super active, picky eater who is perpetually extra-lean because the more he eats, the more he moves. I'm also on a budget, and have to keep things simple for my partner when he feeds when I'm at work. My boys get a good-quality kibble (Blue Buffalo right now, but I switch around sometimes), plus sheep and poultry organs, bones, etc when I have them from my own livestock. I supplement the older dog with joint stuff, and the younger one with fish oil and extra fat. It works best for me to have a base diet for both of them, then to add on as needed.

 

Dog diets can make your head spin. Just as with anything, there are people who will be vehemently certain that their way is the only way, on all sides. Just do what you are comfortable with, use your dog as a gauge, and change as needed.

 

Mark, is it possible that there seem to be more dogs with food allergies because 1) we're aware that dogs have food allergies, and 2) the wider availability of kibble and other diets with no grain, exotic proteins, etc have made it possible for people to maintain a sensitive dog in better health. Perhaps before, a dog that had allergies would not have been healthy, so it's genes were not passed on. Now however, food allergies would not be a concern in breeding decisions, thus potentially increasing the genetic prevalence for such an allergy. So many othe contributing factors related to dog health in general (s/n prevalence, containing pets, etc), but just a thought.

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Now however, food allergies would not be a concern in breeding decisions, thus potentially increasing the genetic prevalence for such an allergy. So many othe contributing factors related to dog health in general (s/n prevalence, containing pets, etc), but just a thought.

 

Sorry to be off-topic a bit, but IMHO, I would not breed a dog with known food allergies. (Note: I do not, and never have, bred a litter of dogs.) I can not imagine why anyone would want to do down that path.

 

Jovi

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Ben,

Those are all very good thoughts on why we are seeing more dogs with allergies. As awareness is raised about a health issue there will be an increase in dogs identified with that issue. Your second though falls in line with producing more dogs with allergies; breeding dogs with allergies that are managed will likely produce more pups with allergies.

Mark

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