Posts Tagged ‘dog food’

Probiotics for Dogs and Cats

Probiotics: The One Supplement Every Pet Should Be Taking

October 26, 2010

The use of probiotics in mainstream veterinary practices is on the upswing.

Veterinarians are starting to use beneficial bacteria not only to treat their patients with gastrointestinal disorders, but also as immune system support for puppies, kittens and aging pets.

According to Amy Dicke, technical services veterinarian for P&G Pet Care:

“Sixty to 80 percent of the body’s immune system lies in the digestive tract. This means the GI function has influence on the immune system and how it reacts. A healthy GI tract will help an animal fight disease, so keeping this balance of healthy bacteria alive is an important part of overall wellness.”

“Research isn’t readily available to support every potential use of probiotics in animals, but veterinarians should remain open to benefits outside of a diarrhea remedy,” says Susan Wynn, DVM, of Georgia Veterinary Specialists. “Clients will continue to demand probiotics and the industry will continue to find ways to use them.”

Dr. Becker’s Comments:

As you’re aware if you read the full article at the link, mainstream veterinarians and major pet food manufacturers are getting into the probiotics business in a big way.

That’s both good and bad news, from my perspective.

Probiotic Profiteers

I’m happy to see more attention paid to the enormous benefits probiotics can provide to the health and well-being of companion animals.

However, I’m concerned pet food companies will use the growing interest in probiotics by pet owners and veterinarians to create food formulas containing substandard, essentially useless probiotic additives. Then, of course, their marketing people will get busy positioning these ‘new-and-improved’ formulas in such a way that consumers will believe they are providing high quality probiotics conveniently contained in the food they serve their dog or cat.

It’s troubling to know that some of the very pet food giants responsible for the poorest quality diets available – formulas that have largely contributed to the compromised health of millions of companion animals — are the same ones now leading the industry’s charge to get probiotics-related pet products to market.

A Short Primer on Probiotics

Probiotics are ‘friendly’ strains of bacteria that maintain healthy levels of good bacteria in your pet’s GI tract, and also defend against opportunistic, potentially pathogenic (bad) bacteria.

The digestive tract is the largest immune organ in your pet’s body, and yours. Believe it or not, your dog or cat has even more intestinal bacteria than you do, despite her much smaller size. The GI tracts of companion animals are designed to handle a tremendous bacterial load – bacteria that would quite likely develop into a life-threatening infection if found elsewhere in your dog’s or cat’s body.

A healthy population of friendly bacteria keeps your pet’s immune system in good working order. If the balance of bad-to-good intestinal bugs gets out of whack, your dog or cat will eventually develop GI symptoms and an increased susceptibility to illness.

Studies demonstrate animals raised without friendly bacteria in the gut, or with a poor balance of good-to-bad gut bacteria, are at dramatically increased risk of developing disease.

Why a Healthy Balance of Gut Bacteria is Important

When your dog’s or cat’s gastrointestinal bacteria are in balance with the right amount and type of healthy bugs on board, there is symbiosis. Good things happen inside your pet’s body. For example:

  • Vitamins are made
  • Vegetable fiber is processed as it should be
  • Unfriendly bacteria are kept in check
  • Toxins are well-managed

When unfriendly, pathogenic bacteria take over your pet’s digestive system, it creates dysbiosis, which is more or less the opposite of symbiosis.

Dysbiosis results in increased permeability – leakiness — of the intestinal wall, which means your pet’s GI tract will be less able to allow healthy bacteria and nutrients in and keep disease-causing bacteria out.

A healthy GI tract is selective about what is absorbed. Nutrients are taken in and non-nutritive substances, including toxins, are filtered out.

Exciting Recent Study Results

Back to the good news-bad news department — up until major pet food manufacturers took an interest in probiotics, there was very little research into the ways in which supplementation could improve the health of dogs and cats.

Now that pet food companies have discovered a lucrative market in probiotic products, it’s a very safe bet much more funding for research will be made available.

Study results will benefit pet food producers, of course, but they will also help veterinarians, pet owners and others concerned with the health of dogs and cats learn more about the uses and promise of probiotic supplementation.

A few examples of recent research:

They also maintained their vaccination titers longer and had higher levels of fecal secretory IgA, an important antibody produced in the lining of the intestine that protects against bacteria and viruses. The higher fecal IgA result was also seen in elderly dogs fed E. faecium, as well as kittens. Kittens and adult cats showed decreased incidence and duration of naturally occurring diarrhea and improved good-to-bad gut bacteria ratios.

  • In another study of the benefits of E. faecium involving 11 healthy dogs, not only was their fecal microflora improved, but so were serum lipids. Eight of the 11 dogs given the probiotic supplement showed a decrease in total lipids and normalized cholesterol levels.
  • In a study of the effects of strain L. acidophilus on healthy adult cats, the probiotic altered the balance of GI microflora and in addition, resulted in beneficial systemic and immunomodulatory effects.
  • In this study, conducted by a veterinarian to test a pet probiotic manufacturer’s claims of help for cats with renal failure, results showed the supplement decreased creatinine levels in six of seven cats and improved their health and vitality. This probiotic contained a mixture of three strains: Streptococus thermophilus, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Bifidobacterium longum.

The Pet Probiotic I Use and Recommend

Two things I don’t recommend are 1) using human probiotics on dogs and cats, and 2) using processed pet foods with probiotic additives.

Probiotic formulas used by humans were developed specifically to fortify the bacterial species found in the human GI tract. Pets have specific strains of bacteria unique to them, so they need a unique probiotic. Your dog or cat must have organisms derived from its own species for best results. You probably won’t harm your pet by offering human probiotics, but you aren’t providing as much benefit as you would be by offering a species-appropriate product.

The bacteria in a probiotic must be live and able to reproduce in order for it to be beneficial. Tests on dog foods claiming to contain probiotic micro-organisms showed the manufacturing process kills too many of the live bacteria, rendering the probiotic effect useless by the time the food is packaged and shipped.

A pet probiotic should have the following qualities:

  • It must not cause disease (despite the fact it contains bacteria)
  • It must survive the acidic environment of your pet’s stomach
  • It must contain enough live organisms to colonize the intestines
  • It must contain the correct strains of bacteria beneficial for pets, not people
  • It should remain stable under normal storage conditions
  • It should be easy to give to your dog or cat

A Great Article by Mercola.com.  Please go to http://www.healthypets.com to order your probiotic specially formulated for dogs and puppies.  Giving your puppy or dog yogurt is not enough probiotic to be of benefit for your pets.  We introduce a probiotic to our puppies at 3 weeks of age when they start to eat.  It has helped our puppies immune system from the start and has cut down greatly on loose stools and diarrhea.

White Oak Golden Retrievers

http://www.whiteoakgoldenretrievers.com

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Error Found in University Pet Food Study

Oops! Big Error Found in University Pet Food Study

You might recall a study released by UC Davis last year claiming most home prepared diets fail to provide all the nutrients a dog needs. Warnings were all over the news advising consumers to ONLY feed their pet a meal balanced by a board certified nutritionist (otherwise known as commercial pet food) – based on this ‘study’. Well…as it turns out, the study appears to have a significant error (…I believe more than one).

The UC Davis press release on the study that bashed home cooking for pets stated:

“Some owners prefer to prepare their dogs’ food at home because they feel they have better control over the animals’ diet, want to provide a more natural food or simply don’t trust pet food companies,” said Jennifer Larsen, an assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at UC Davis and lead author on the study.

“The results of this study, however, indicate that most available recipes for healthy dogs, even those published in books by veterinarians, do not provide essential nutrients in the quantities required by the dog,” Larsen said. “It is extremely difficult for the average pet owner – or even veterinarians – to come up with balanced recipes to create appropriate meals that are safe for long-term use,” she said.”

The UC Davis study analyzed 200 recipes from 34 different sources including veterinary textbooks, pet care books and web sites. They evaluated the recipes using a computer-based program to “quantify the nutritional content” of each recipe. And found only nine recipes of the 200 met “the minimum standards established for adult dogs by the Association of American Feed Control Officials” (AAFCO).

Sounds concerning doesn’t it? And the results from the UC Davis study almost seems like it’s impossible to properly feed our pets from home.

But…

The computer based program used to analyze the nutritional content of pet food recipes was from a company co-owned by none other than Dr. Larsen (of UC Davis – one of the authors of the study).

Further, it needs to be noted that the UC Davis/Dr. Larsen study was comparing apples to oranges…times ten. As was stated in the press release, the UC Davis study was comparing the nutritional standards for dogs to the nutrition dogs consume when eating real food (from home prepared recipes). The problem (and a significant problem it is) is that the nutritional standards for dogs (and cats) are based on the nutrition provided by common commercial pet food ingredients such as chicken meal, or by-product meal or added supplements. Nutritional standards are not based on the nutrition provided by whole foods – actual human grade chicken and vegetables purchased from your local grocery store. So this study tried to compare apples (real food) to oranges (commercial pet food ingredients like powdered chicken meal with added supplements). It can’t be done. There is no comparison to a roasted chicken you cook in your oven to the powdered chicken meal used in many pet foods. They are both ‘chicken’ but the comparison stops there. The scientists that performed this study should have known better than to try to compare the two.

However, to explain the biggest ‘but’ to this UC Davis study, we need one more quote from the press release (bold added):

“Some of the deficiencies, particularly those related to choline, vitamin D, zinc and vitamin E, could result in significant health problems such as immune dysfunction, accumulation of fat in the liver and musculoskeletal abnormalities,” Larsen said.”

The UC Davis study stated the National Research Council recommends “339 IU” of Vitamin D (per 1,000 kcal) for adult dogs. This is incorrect. The 2006 National Research Council publication actually recommends “136 IU” of Vitamin D (per 1,000 kcal) for adult dogs.

UC Davis study:    339.0 IU of Vitamin D per 1,000 kcal
NRC recommendation:        136.0 IU of Vitamin D per 1,000 kcal

The UC Davis study bashed home prepared meals for pets…compared recipes to a hugely escalated nutrient (vitamin D)…and they made it sound like these recipes were so deficient, harm could be caused to the pets that ate these foods. The study intentionally swayed consumers away from home prepared pet foods. When actually, should any of the recipes examined in the study have met the escalated, falsely quoted NRC recommendation of 339 IU of Vitamin D…that’s when the pet could have actually been harmed. The real “significant health problem” is that a university published, peer reviewed study made a 250% error in nutrient comparison.

(The UC Davis study was published in the June 2013 Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. Copies of that study can be acquired here: http://avmajournals.avma.org/doi/full/10.2460/javma.242.11.1500.  The 2006 National Research Council nutrient requirements of Cats and Dogs can be acquired here: http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=10668).

Now why would a major university disparage home prepared pet food? Why would a major university disparage the work of over 120 other veterinarians (formulators of the recipes the study bashed)?

DrLarsonThis is a picture taken from the UC Davis website – of Dr. Larsen.

Those cans of pet food in the dispenser next to Dr. Larsen…they are Science Diet. In the video of this Fox News story about the UC Davis/Dr. Larsen study you also notice canisters of kibble. If you look quickly you’ll see the names Purina and Royal Canin on the canisters.

 

Three guesses – first two don’t count – as to why a study published by veterinary nutritionists from a major university told consumers NOT to feed their pets real food. We all know why don’t we?

The following questions were sent to Dr. Larsen (a response email stated she would be out of the office until June 30, 2014)…

 

Hi Dr. Larsen,
I’m writing asking for a statement from you regarding the peer reviewed study you published last year finding home prepared diets provided insufficient nutrition to dogs.

I understand your study was published using incorrect variables for Vitamin D; significantly incorrect. I am publishing a story on this significant error in your study – that was not caught by the peer review. If you would like to provide a statement regarding the error, please provide this right away.

Also, if you would like to address a few other questions that I will mention in my story, I will be glad to provide your side of the story. Those questions are…

Will you/UC Davis be issuing an apology to all pet food consumers and veterinarians regarding this error?
Will you/UC Davis be providing the names of those that reviewed the study (those that also missed the significant Vitamin D error)?
Will you/UC Davis be releasing your raw data to this study to verify that other variables used to compare nutrient information of home prepared recipes were as insufficient as your study claimed? (You must realize that this significant error with Vitamin D does bring doubt to everything else in the study and all involved.)
Was funding for this now flawed study provided by any of Big Pet Food or their trade associations? Will you be providing full disclosure of who funded this study?

Because you compared whole food recipes – recipes using meats and vegetables sourced from USDA inspected and approved for human consumption foods – to the nutritional requirements of dogs eating mostly kibble (highly processed) made from meats and vegetables sourced from ‘feed grade’ ingredients (including 4D meats, pesticide or chemical laden rejected for use in human food vegetables) – wasn’t your study trying to compare organic apples to 3rd generation genetically engineered oranges? The 2006 NRC Nutrient requirements of cats and dogs was funded in part by The Pet Food Institute (PFI) – the trade organization for Big Pet Food. This funding provided the PFI significant perks to influence the outcome of the NRC research (source: http://www.nationalacademies.org/xpedio/groups/nasite/documents/webpage/na_069619.pdf). As well, the 2006 NRC research was determined based on “utilization of nutrients in ingredients commonly produced and commercially available”.

Common ingredients such as genetically modified grains and rendered meat meals including those sourced from 4D animals (dead, diseased, dying, and disabled). Again – and your response to this question is requested – wasn’t your study trying to compare whole food nutrition using certified human grade ingredients in lightly processed recipes to nutrients from ingredients that are commonly produced and commercially available found in highly processed foods such as kibble? Comparing organic apples to 3rd generation genetically modified oranges?

Your timely response to these questions will be appreciated.

Susan Thixton

 

Should Dr. Larsen or UC Davis respond to these questions, they will be published.

For decades, commercial pet food came only in two forms – kibble and canned – and was sourced from feed grade (waste) ingredients. As pet food has changed – mostly due to consumer demand – regulatory authorities and mainstream academia has held onto the past. Most stubbornly refusing to accept the fact that real food is healthier for our pets than feed grade waste processed into kibble or can pet food.

What a shame.

I’m not going back to feeding my pets waste ingredient pet food…are any of you?

UC Davis, Dr. Larsen, and all involved in this study (including the peers who reviewed the study) owe pet food consumers an apology. While we wait for that apology, I hope all that were involved in this study (and all those that were behind this study) open your minds to the fact that pet food has changed. Not all pet food comes from waste ingredients and in the form of a kibble or can. While there might always be some that feel waste ingredient pet foods are sufficient to feed their pets, a growing majority of pet food consumers have witnessed first hand the health benefits real food has been to our pets. They will never go back to waste ‘feed’ pet food.

 

Addition (added 6/29/14): The following message was received from Dr. Michael Fox (holistic veterinarian known probably all over the world from his syndicated newspaper column and books) – Honor Roll Member of the AVMA…

Hi Susan, FYI: I immediately wrote to Dr. Larsen at UVC Davis after I read the JAVMA article bashing home-prepared recipes for dogs & cats, since she referenced mine from my website www.drfoxvet.com. I said that I would very much appreciate a copy of her analyses of my formulations and if there were any deficiencies or imbalances from her perspective.

I never received a reply.

 

 

Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,

Susan Thixton
Pet Food Safety Advocate
Author Buyer Beware, Co-Author Dinner PAWsible
TruthaboutPetFood.com
Association for Truth in Pet Food

What’s in Your Pet’s Food?
Is your dog or cat eating risk ingredients?  Chinese imports?  Petsumer Report tells the ‘rest of the story’ on over 2500 cat foods, dog foods,  and pet treats.  30 Day Satisfaction Guarantee. www.PetsumerReport.com

Another very important article published in “Dog’s Naturally Magazine”.  This is the best magazine to subscribe to and to be informed.  They are committed to dog’s health. 

White Oak Golden Retrievers

http://www.whiteoakgoldenretrievers.com

The Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

The Health Benefits Of Coconut Oil

July 8, 2011 – Nutrition And Diet
 
 

Although supplements can be a confusing topic for many pet owners, most dog owners have heard of the benefits of feeding fish oils. There are however, a variety of oils that you can also use to your dog’s benefit, each with different actions and benefits.

Coconut oil consists of more than 90% saturated fats, with traces of few unsaturated fatty acids, such as monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Most of the saturated fats in coconut oil are Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs). The main component (more than 40%) of MCTs is lauric acid, followed by capric acid, caprylic acid, myristic acid and palmitic. Coconut oil also contains about 2% linoleic acid (polyunsaturated fatty acids) and about 6% oleic acid (monounsaturated fatty acids).

Most of the coconut oil benefits come from the MCTs. For example, the lauric acid in coconut oil has antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal properties. Capric and caprylic acid have similar properties and are best known for their anti-fungal effects.

In addition, MCTs are efficiently metabolized to provide an immediate source of fuel and energy, enhancing athletic performance and aiding weight loss. In dogs, the MCTs in coconut oil balance the thyroid, helping overweight dogs lose weight and helping sedentary dogs feel energetic.

According to Dr. Bruce Fife, certified nutritionist and naturopathic doctor, coconut oil gently elevates the metabolism, provides a higher level of energy and vitality, protects you from illness, and speeds healing. As a bonus, coconut oil improves any dog’s skin and coat, improves digestion, and reduces allergic reactions.

Fed regularly to pets, coconut oil may have multiple benefits:

Skin Conditions

  • Clears up skin conditions such as eczema, flea allergies, contact dermatitis,and itchy skin
  • Reduces allergic reactions and improves skin health
  • Makes coats become sleek and glossy, and deodorizes doggy odor
  • Prevents and treats yeast and fungal infections, including candida
  • Disinfects cuts and promotes wound healing
  • Applied topically, promotes the healing of cuts, wounds, hot spots, dry skin and hair, bites and stings

Digestion

  • Improves digestion and nutrient absorption
  • Aids healing of digestive disorders like inflammatory bowel syndrome and colitis
  • Reduces or eliminates bad breath in dogs
  • Aids in elimination of hairballs and coughing

Immune System, Metabolic Function, Bone Health

  • Contains powerful antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal agents that prevent infection and disease
  • Regulates and balance insulin and promotes normal thyroid function
  • Helps prevent or control diabetes
  • Helps reduce weight, increases energy
  • Aids in arthritis or ligament problems

Integrative Veterinarian and Naturopathic Doctor, Dr. Karen Becker, says “Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) have been shown to improve brain energy metabolism and decrease the amyloid protein buildup that results in brain lesions in older dogs. Coconut oil is a rich source of MCTs. I recommend 1/4 teaspoon for every 10 pounds of body weight twice daily for basic MCT support.”

Why not give coconut oil a try and introduce it to your dog?  It offers many benefits for your dog and is a more sustainable and less toxic source of oils than fish.

Published by; Dogs Naturally Magazine

Get your online copy today at; http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com

White Oak Golden Retrievers

www.whiteoakgoldenretrievers.com

Avoiding Pet Foods Made in China

Think You Can Avoid Pet Foods Made In China?  Think Again!

Written by Dogs Naturally Magazine on February 23, 2012. Posted in In The News, Nutrition And Diet 32 Comments

 
 

Hundreds of consumer complaints are aimed at dog food manufactures so far in 2012 and dozens – perhaps hundreds – of dogs are dead.  Does this sound like deja vu?  Could there be another massive recall like there was five years ago?  The answer is, it is likely happening now.

Fortunately, pet owners have become wiser since the melamine poisonings and massive recalls from 2007 and many are making decisions that will protect their pets.  They have learned that quality control and food safety standards are shabby at best in many overseas and Chinese manufacturing plants and that even in the US, manufacturers have few safety and testing requirements.  Pet owners are wisely avoiding treats and foods made in China and that’s good.  But despite avoiding these products, their dogs continue to die and become ill.  How can this happen when the food label says ‘made in the USA’?

The tip of the iceberg

The label on your pet food or treat may conceal a little lie – and this lie could cost your pet his health or even his life.  There is something inherently wrong with most processed foods that pet owners are unaware of.  The heating and processing that these foods undergo create a fundamental change that could have dangerous ramifications – it renders the food essentially dead.  What goes into the good is not what comes out once it is heated, sterilized, irradiated and extruded and nearly all dog foods will not meet AAFCO standards once they are heated.  As a consequence, the vitamins and minerals must be added back in for the food to pass AAFCO requirements.

Enter the premix

dog food labelBack in 2007, the melamine that was poisoning dogs and cats was not added directly to the pet foods – it was found in the premix.  The Chinese manufacturers added it to their premix to boost the protein content as cheaply as possible.  Only when dogs and cats started dying – and the FDA was forced to begin testing the foods – did anyone become aware of the fact.  What made the recall so large was that it wasn’t limited to a single food manufacturer.  Because they nearly all must rely on premixes, a large number of pet food manufacturers that purchased the same premix were affected.  What this means is that switching your pet from one food to another doesn’t necessarily mean you have made any difference at all if your new food purchases the same premix.

How do you know if your food contains premix?  Look at the label.  On the right is a label from what many people consider a high-end kibble.   See those vitamins, minerals and long chemical names that are listed at the bottom?  Those very likely came from a premix and that premix was very likely manufactured overseas.  If the premix is not added to the food, your dog would become ill and under-nourished from eating the nutritionally dead contents.  If the premix is added to the food, you are relying on foreign safety standards and are essentially playing roulette with your dog’s or your cat’s health.

Compare that label to the ingredients of a quality, commercial food:  Lamb meat, lamb bone, lamb blood, eggs, lamb green tripe, lamb liver, broccoli, cauliflower, carrot, silver beet (spinach), cabbage, apples, pears, lamb hearts, lamb kidneys and garlic.  Which food do you think is safer for your pet?

The premix danger is very real because nearly every premix is manufactured overseas where production costs are low and standards are even lower.  The frightening part is that pet owners can’t tell if the premix in their food comes from China because it does not have to be listed on the label.  The only way to know is to phone the manufacturer and ask if the premix is made in the US or overseas.

Made in the USA

If you have made the phone call and found out that your pet food’s premix has been manufactured in the US, don’t start feeling all warm and fuzzy just yet.  The individual synthetic vitamins and minerals that are in that made-in-the-US premix are almost all manufactured in India or China so it may or may not be a safe option after all.  In the end, some pet food manufacturers do their best to source out the safest premixes possible – but it is difficult for them to determine where the individual ingredients originated from and what quality control measures were put in place.

Who’s watching the hen house?

The million dollar question is, if pet food manufacturers can’t prove the origin of their premixes, why don’t they test every batch of food?  The answer might shock you:  it is so cost prohibitive that it is actually cheaper for them to pay the lawsuits from our dead pets than it is to test their product.

In January 2011, the FDA  finally stepped in with their Food Safety Modernization Act.  Some provisions took effect immediately but to date have had a minimal impact on most pet food manufacturers.

FSMA provisions already in effect include emergency FDA access to a company’s records and mandatory recall authority for the FDA if a company refuses to voluntarily recall a product. The agency also has to find “reasonable probability” the product is adulterated and that consumption of the food will cause serious adverse health consequences or death.

As part of the focus on preventive controls, FSMA is planning an FDA inspection schedule. High-risk facilities, which FDA has yet to define, will be inspected at least every three years, while any facility not deemed high risk will be inspected at least every five years. Any sort of complaint or safety problem will increase the likelihood of more frequent inspections or re-inspections, for which the company will probably have to cover the costs.

As part of FSMA’s Foreign Supplier Verification Program, every importer must establish a plan that verifies the foreign supplier complies with a hazard analysis and preventive controls program.

It remains to be seen how much influence the FSMA will have on pet food manufacturers but, as of today, nothing much has been done yet.  Because the FSMA also applies to human foods and food-animal feeds, it remains to be seen how much time and effort will be spent inspecting pet foods in the years to come.

What you can do

In the meantime, it is likely safe to assume that virtually nobody is actively protecting your pet from poisoned pet foods.  The safest thing you can do for you pet is to feed him a raw or home prepared diet – or a commercial diet that doesn’t contain premixes.  Maria Ringo, founder of Sojourner Farms, one of the first commercially available raw food mixture, and Carna4, a small, ethical kibble manufacturer that tests every batch recommends the following steps to minimize the risk of commercial foods and treats:

  • Seek out companies that are transparent about testing for toxins. Make sure they test both ingredients and finished batches for mycotoxins and bacteria before it is packaged. And if, for example, you are concerned about mercury levels in the salmon in your pet food, ask the company if they test for that, too.
  • Look for products free of synthetic ingredients of any kind. Vitamins from food are hardier than those made in test tubes.  Read the ingredients panel to spot the chemicals usually listed at the end, likely made in unregulated offshore facilities.
  • Feed products with only table-grade food ingredients, e.g. federally inspected for human consumption, to reduce the risk of bacterial and viral pathogens like salmonella. This applies to all products including frozen and dehydrated meats.

Food safety issues for both raw and processed foods will be discussed in the May 2012 issue of Dogs Naturally.

In the meantime, if you want to avoid the dangers of foods manufactured in China, you must look beyond the label.  Do your homework and ask the manufacturer the hard questions.  Be an active advocate for your pets.  And please pass this article on to as many dog and cat owners as possible so they can also protect their pets.  We are receiving dozens of emails from pet owners who have lost their pets to sudden kidney failure in the last month or two and there are several major manufacturers implicated.  We are compiling as much information on this as possible, but in the meantime, please help us to help pets by sharing this information.

 

 
 
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Granola Peanut-Butter Crunchies | The Bark

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Dog Food: Ten Scary Truths

Dog Food:  Ten Scary Truths

Written by Jan Rasmusen on December 13, 2010. Posted in Nutrition And Diet 9 Comments

 
 
dog bowlBy:  Jan Rasmusen

40% of dogs are obese. 46% of dogs and 39% of cats now die of cancer.  Heart, kidney and liver disease are epidemic. Like people, dogs are what  they eat. Save your dog a lot of suffering, and save yourself a fortune  in vet bills, by learning the truth about your dog’s diet. Here are 10 important things you may not know about what your dog is eating:

1)      Commercial dog food is “fast food.

Heavily-processed fast foods (burgers, fries, tacos, etc.) as a big  diet component can cause major health problems in people. How can fast  foods be good for dogs? Only dog food manufacturers think this nonsense  makes sense. Dogs and people share roughly 75% the same genetic makeup,  and we have similar nutritional needs. What we’re doing to our own  health with processed foods, we’re also doing to our dogs. And it’s  happening faster.

2)      People food is good for dogs.

Despite what you’ve heard from friends, vets and pet food manufacturers, wholesome ”people food” is good for dogs.  People food is only bad for dog food makers. The same fresh, nutritious foods people eat can offer your dog the  nutrition he needs and save you a mountain of vet bills.  It just takes a  little education to learn the small differences between human and  canine nutritional needs. (Hint: no onions, grapes or raisins. Rinse off  rich spices and sauces. Go easy on carbs and avoid wheat and corn.)

3)      Don’t presume the food your vet sells is a superior product.

Veterinarians, like medical doctors, learn relatively little about  nutrition in school. Much of what they do learn comes directly from pet  food company vets, sales reps, articles, studies, and seminars. If  your vet hasn’t studied and experimented on his or her own with raw or  homemade diets, it’s unlikely that he or she  knows bad food from good,  and may be acting on outdated information or superstition. And if vets  profit from selling one brand, and not another, they have a conflict of  interest that may influence their opinions. (Some may even be prohibited  by a manufacturer from selling more than one brand.)

4)      The quality of processed commercial foods is suspect.

Dog food may legally contain “4-D” meat: meat from dead, dying,  diseased and disabled animals. Add a little road kill, mill floor  sweepings labeled as grain, and corn contaminated with high levels of  pesticide (yes, really) and you have a recipe for ill health. The  cheaper the food, the cheaper the ingredients, the worse the nutrition. Read the labels!

5)      Kibble does not clean teeth.

Almost all dogs age three and over have dental diseases. Most of  these dogs eat kibble. That should tell you something.  Although a small  study once suggested that kibble might clean teeth better than canned food, better doesn’t mean effectively. Hoping to avoid brushing our dog’s teeth, we too willingly grasp at  kibble’s unsubstantiated health benefits. But pretending that kibble or  hard treats will keep teeth clean will only lead to huge vet bills, lost  teeth and much canine suffering.

6) “Complete and balanced” does not mean “optimum.”

“Complete and balanced” means that a food meets minimal theoretical health requirements for the average dog.  Food boasting that it  conducted Feeding Trials often just test only the lead product in a line  of foods.  Trials, too, are for only a small number of dogs for a short  period of time. Over time, nutrient and enzyme deficiencies are  inevitable. Of course, complete and balanced is better than not complete and balanced, but again, better does not mean good.

7)      Feeding the same food day after day limits nutrition.

Imagine eating corn, rancid fat and chicken wings (without meat)  every meal of your life, with the same mix of cheap vitamins and  minerals added. Nutritionists urge people to eat a variety of foods,  both for improved nutrition and also to prevent allergies. Dogs need  variety, too. But variety can cause gastrointestinal upset in dogs,  right?  In the short run, yes. Nutritionally-deprived animals have sick  guts. In fact, intestinal upset when switching foods is a sign your dog needs more variety. Once good nutrition has healed a dog’s digestive system,  the dog can eat different foods every meal — just as people do. Just  switch foods gradually over several weeks while your dog’s gut heals.

8)      Kibble is not better than canned.

Whereas canned food is preserved by the process of canning, most  kibble is preserved artificially. (Ever contemplate how much  preservative must be required to retard spoilage of food left out all  day?) Kibble begins as a dry cooked meal whereas canned food is canned  fresh.  Kibble is exposed to more heat than canned  (destroying nutrients). Worse yet, kibble is linked to kidney and  bladder problems in cats, and to bloat, a deadly problem especially for  large, broad-chested dogs. It’s also dehydrating. Of course, canned  isn’t perfect either. Fresh is best, raw or cooked. Next best is frozen  prepared food and then dehydrated and freeze dried foods, all available  at better pet stores.

9)      Some common foods can be hazardous to canine health.

Cooked bones and rawhide chews can cause major health problems  requiring emergency surgery. Wheat-based treats can bring on allergies.  Onions, grapes, raisins, chocolate, the article sweetener Xylitol and  other common foods can be toxic for dogs and must be avoided.

10)   Corn kills.

Most kibble is loaded with corn, a cheap filler. Unfortunately, the  corn isn’t the luscious kind you and I eat. It’s feed corn (like cattle  eat), or cheap feed corn remnants. Even corn meal dust counts  as corn. The corn may even have been condemned for human consumption,  there being no upper level of pesticide contamination for pet foods. If  that weren’t bad enough, corn (which gives us both high fructose corn  syrup and corn oil) is fattening. Any wonder so many dogs are obese and  suffer from diabetes?

*****

Improving your dog’s diet can add years to your dog’s life and save  you a fortune. It doesn’t require a lot of work or expense. It just  requires a little knowledge and the desire to give your dog the healthy  body he or she deserves. Check out the two chapters in my book, Scared Poopless: The Straight Scoop on Dog Care. (Read an excerpt about dog food myths.) And check out Dog and Cat Food Labels: Marketing Tricks That Cost You Money and Dog Food: What to Feed and Why.

Beneful Dog Food-BEWARE!

Dog owners blame Beneful for their pets’ illness

Pet owners around the country report similar problems in their dogs

01/08/2013 |ConsumerAffairs| Pets

 

By James R. Hood

                                    ConsumerAffairs’ founder and editor, Jim Hood formerly headed Associated Press Broadcast News, directing coverage of major news events worldwide. He also served as Senior Vice President of United Press International and was the founder and editor of Zapnews, a newswire service for radio and television.                                 

 

PhotoNew federal food safety regulations may make food safer for humans in a few years but what about pet food? Well, in theory, it’s already regulated as tightly as food processed for human consumption, which may be part of the problem.

There is a long history of pet food recalls and reports of pet deaths attributed to salmonella, molds and other contaminants in pet food but most cases are never solved, in large part because the evidence — the sick animal and the suspect food — are long gone by the time investigators begin their work.

The latest pet food to enrage pet owners is Purina’s Beneful. A spurt of complaints over the last few months has been accompanied by a large increase in the number of people reading the Beneful reviews posted by ConsumerAffairs readers.

“I switched to Beneful about two months ago. Two weeks ago my maltipoo Buster stopped eating and started throwing up, followed by bloody diarrhea. He died within a week,” said one angry reader. “Then my maltese Layla had the same symptoms everytime she ate Beneful dog food. I started feeding her home-cooked food like boiled chicken and she is 100 percent better. Buster is dead because of beneful.”

Purina did not respond to a request for its response to the consumers’ reports.

It’s not just pet owners who are concerned. The Dog Food Advisor website gives dry Beneful its lowest rating and lists it as “not recommended.” Although the site’s editor, Mike Sagman, is not a veterinarian, he is a graduate of the Medical College of Virginia with a doctoral degree in dental surgery and an undergraduate degree in chemistry. Sagman says he has published more than 700 dog food reviews.

Action required

Photo
Judy of Suffern, NY, sent us this photo of her intubated Siberian Husky

But the problems pet owners are reporting are even more serious than Sagman’s review might indicate — and, in fact, are so serious that pet owners whose pets become ill after eating Beneful should see their veterinarian quickly.

LaShanda of Silver Spring, Md., did just that when her dog became ill in November and she credits reviews posted on ConsumerAffairs by other pet owners with spurring her to take action.

“I have been feeding my dog, a 4-year-old, 10-lb Havanese, Purina Beneful dog food for over the past year. I began noticing changes in my dog’s behavior after opening the new bag and feeding it to her. During the course of the week she was on the new bag of dog food, she was listless, barely eating her food and vomited twice,” LaShanda said. Things deteriorated from there, as she tells it:

“Her stomach was very upset and she refused to eat her dog food and attempted to eat grass when she was outside to induce vomiting. Her skin felt extremely hot to the touch and she was lethargic. On Tuesday, November 20th, I arrived home to find diarrhea in the bathroom and one of her eyes swollen shut. I rushed her to the emergency medical clinic where blood work was done. …

My veterinarian believes that there is a direct relationship between Purina’s Beneful dog food and my pet’s onset of health problems. Additionally, the symptoms that he originally believed to be as a reaction to seasonal allergies, is a result of this dog food. He notated the name of the dog food, lot number, and the place of purchase for future reference for his other patients.

Fortunately, due to my quick response in seeking medical attention, after receiving medication and being on a bland diet for approximately 6 days, my dog is in recovery and seems to be stable.In the past week, two of my friends that also feed their dogs Beneful, have had to rush their dogs to the emergency vet (one had a seizure and the other couldn’t stop vomiting…also they live on completely different sides of the country).

This site is what actually made me rush to the emergency vet myself and seek medical care (and could single-handly be responsible for why she is still alive). I STRONGLY urge everyone here to file a formal complaint with the FDA:

http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/SafetyHealth/ReportaProblem/ucm182403.htm

 

White Oak Golden Retrievers

www.whiteoakgoldenretrievers.com

The Best Thing to Add to Your Dog’s Food!

Again, recent research has proven that adding vegetables to your dog’s diet is essential to long life and helping to stave off cancer.

The best and easiest vegetable to add is 100% canned pumpkin.  NOT pumpkin pie filling.

This time of year it is on sale everywhere and all you have to do is open the can and mix with your dogs dry food.  Most dogs love the taste of pumpkin.

Another benefit of pumpkin and a reason to keep in the pantry all the time, is pumpkin will ease diarrhea.  It also works in the other direction and helps relieve constipation. It is also o.k. to give canned pumpkin to puppies.

It’s cheap, it’s easy, and your dog will love you for it.

White Oak Golden Retrievers

http://www.whiteoakgoldenretrievers.com