Dog nutrition: what do you feed your pooch?

Discussion in 'Chez Ziggy' started by pete, Jul 2, 2019.

  1. pete

    pete not peace but 2 Beers! Skier

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    So my kid emails all worried about the recent news articles on Grain Free dog foods and larger breed heart disease ...

    I noted that I've always rotated food brands, types and amend with human leftovers (well, beef, chicken, eggs, soup, etc .. not human remains but heck, when I die I don't care if they did, toss my carcass out to the wolves and bears) which she does rotate too, but never the less she expressed concern.

    You folks worry greatly, rotate brands or make your own? I generally go by ingredients and their order .. don't really avoid much but lean towards beef, venison, lamb, some fish but not greatly into the chicken. With Basenjis I understand they eat in there old habitat a good amount of plants, so carrots and such thrill them to no end.

    I can note too, I actually turn my back on how it may be mass produced, highly processed food processors get everything out of ingredients. Some years back ABC tanked a processor of human food with their "pink slime" story .. and while l didn't agree with how they hyped the story .. still have a hard time believing that retrieving every shred of meat using chemical/mechanical blast and cook (can't recall exact method but thought it involved a form of ammonia) to kill bacteria, know the company ended up nearly going bankrupt and resorted selling lost sales product to dog food producers. (I think they closed 2 of 3 plants)

    This a whole other thread but my general comment is ... understanding and accepting what processed dog food is .. do you do anything different for your pooches or worry greatly?

    As noted, I don't greatly worry as long as I rotate brands, types and supplement with other food sources I know (eg: foods I'd eat - not chips and dip though) to try and ensure my pooches get a wide variety.

    here's the story my kid was concerned about, below it a follow up story I read last year out of Tufts that may of precipitated the current stories .. they appear to have a good group that I like to follow:

    https://www.nbcnews.com/news/amp/ncna1025466

    https://vetnutrition.tufts.edu/2018/11/dcm-update/
     
  2. Monique

    Monique bounceswoosh Skier

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    Yeah, I think this should be in its own thread - @Mendieta ?

    I've given a lot of thought to it. I've fed my dogs Orijen for years. It's expensive. I like it because it lists a lot of real meat products (and not by products) first. I did my research on http://www.dogfoodproject.com/ , which is also how I learned about this possible issue. The grain free thing was never a draw for me, but it's usually the case with these high end dog foods. Also worth noting that Orijen was sold to another company a few years ago, sigh. Orijen was listed in 10 of the cases, meaning it squeaked into the list cited.

    There are a lot of complicating factors here. The number of cases is minuscule compared to the number of dogs in the US (which does not mean it should be ignored). I suspect that the foods listed are HIGHLY correlated with dogs whose owners can afford to go to vet more regularly, and who can afford expensive tests to prove cardiomyopathy, or even have autopsies done. It's not implausible that there's something going on more generally, but that the people who feed their dogs high end dog foods are also the people going to great lengths to find out what's wrong with their dog. My parent's attitudes toward vet care when I was a child were vastly different to how I approach vet care with my dogs today, and I suspect that attitudes vary greatly across regions (rural vs urban vs suburban), income ranges, class (blue collar, white collar, etc) ...

    And then there's the whole "is it the prevalence of legumes, or is it the absence of grains?" question.

    One of my friends says that she's always tried to hedge against this sort of issue by switching foods regularly. Thing is, most of the foods I've considered have been on the list. I've considered feeding my dogs primarily "real" food, but I did that when I first got Cooper - it's effort, and part of the point of dog food is that it's supposed to have the nutrients they need. My dogs do get the occasional bite of chicken, steak, etc, and regularly get chunks of red bell pepper and cucumber. Cooper loves mango and banana. But that's all supplemental, and hasn't been grains.

    I've also always fed dried food (feed wet food to two 60 pound dogs? I can't afford that!), and that has its own issues. My vet has me put some water into their food to make it a little easier to digest, but it seems a little like eating beef jerky as a staple, rather than an occasional snack.

    I do not think there's actionable information yet. I'm pondering taking action anyway (switching brands or making our own). Pretty much all the high end brands (meaning, lots of high quality protein sources listed first) are on this list (if anyone knows of a high quality food that isn't on the list, please speak up!). Now that I cook more regularly anyway, maybe I'll look at making them food. We're going to be getting a half a steer of meat in a couple of months - some of that could go to the dogs (especially the heart, yum for them!).
     
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  3. Monique

    Monique bounceswoosh Skier

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    Okay, fine. I AM looking at maybe doing a mix of roll-our-own and a grain-inclusive dog food.

    Here's an interesting list (note: several grain-free formulations are in the list, including Orijen, which was identified in 12 (not 10 as I said above) cases). For now, it's probably a safer bet to avoid the grain-free formulations): https://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/best-dog-foods/best-dry-dog-foods/ ... several of these are cheaper than the Orijen food I've been buying, too, with higher protein content, although they largely list <meat> meal as the first ingredient, which can be a crapshoot.

    I note that the dog food project suggests against dry dog food, but, like, yeah, oof.
     
  4. Monique

    Monique bounceswoosh Skier

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    As I enjoy having a conversation with myself:

    Talked to my vet, though she didn't have a lot of time available at the moment. She's a big proponent of long-lived companies like Purina and Hill's. Says they've done their research and have a good track record. I look at their prices and wonder about the quality of their ingredients ... plus general suspicion of big companies. But I dunno, maybe that's like being suspicious of Trek or something.

    I asked my vet about mixing half dry food, half home made - she thought that sounded fine. (It's worth noting that all the home made dog food resources I've seen so far strongly advocate including supplements, while cautioning that different meals will require different supplements. Dog nutrition is not the same as human nutrition. There's a reason most of us buy bags of dog food. OTOH, my aunt's dogs have all lived ridiculously long lives for their size on a diet of real food - plus supplements. I've asked her for more info.)

    Talked to the people at my locally owned store, which btw does not carry Purina or Hill's, etc. In this case, I wasn't asking for advice, just saying that while I wasn't freaking out, out of an abundance of caution, and because my dogs have never been bothered (that I know of) by grains, I wanted to switch to something with grain. The owner commented that mixing up foods occasionally was good, but had to go help someone. The cashier said more - that they believed that Purina was behind an attempt to discredit these grain free formulations. That there had been an issue with Taurine a few years ago, but these foods are now required to add Taurine to their formulas. This person ... while no doubt good at heart, did have a few signifiers that suggested to me that she was more enthusiastic than she was deeply informed about canine nutrition.

    Ended up buying a bag of Wellness Complete Health plus a powdered multivitamin in case I go the homemade route.

    Again, I really don't think there's enough info yet to be sure of anything. I am skeptical of the theory that Purina is behind this (more than a little skeptical), but if it did turn out to be true, I wouldn't faint or anything. At the same time, I'm skeptical of my vet's endorsement of Purina and Hill's, while also knowing that she loves animals and is not tied to old school Western medicine for everything.
     
  5. bbinder

    bbinder Out on the slopes Skier

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    Hoo boy. I’m gonna have to take some ibuprofen before I would be able to type my opinion on this subject.
     
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  6. scott43

    scott43 Making fresh tracks Skier

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    Intruders...
     
  7. scott43

    scott43 Making fresh tracks Skier

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    You should see how much taurine is in red bull...
     
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  8. crgildart

    crgildart Gravity Slave Skier

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    Last dog every vet recommended high dollar specialty food for severe allergies. Nothing ever worked long term. Dog did make it to about age 13 before we had to say goodbye. Current dog, 9+ years of Gravy Train with ZERO issues. She is the healthiest dog I've ever owned. Rescue pit bull. In that time I've seen at least three high end, supposedly much better specialty products be recalled for sickening and killing poor animals. I'm convinced now that the cheap assed mass marketed options actually have better quality control and obviously tested on millions more animals in the market.

    Noted exception would be special kidney diet for very old animals.
     
  9. scott43

    scott43 Making fresh tracks Skier

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    Had a friend in the pet food business and it was actually surprisingly stringent. Pet owners sue apparently...
    I see a big divide between city folks and country folks on this.. Kinda the shoot the dog versus pay $2k to fix the dog divide...
    If you can afford expensive food, go for it..probably cheaper than Starbucks every day. If you can't, get whatever and have fun with Rex while you can..
     
  10. CalG

    CalG Out on the slopes Skier

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    kibble, dry

    store bought, or home made if you have a commercial kitchen ;-) nothing special, corn and soy beans plus some grease. feed 'em once a day, all they will eat in 15 min. no more, no less (unless they show change in weight otherwise unaccounted for.

    Never change brands if you don't have to, your dog will have bad gas for a week if you do.

    A hungry dog is a happy dog. And will always be glad to see you.

    They are made to run empty.
     
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  11. coskigirl

    coskigirl Making fresh tracks Skier

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    Only ibuprofen? My other vet friends would want something stronger.
     
  12. scott43

    scott43 Making fresh tracks Skier

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    Nothing makes people go 0 to 100 real quick like a good dog argument.. :roflmao::wag:
     
  13. Monique

    Monique bounceswoosh Skier

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    All they will eat in 15 minutes???? Fine for Loki, but Cooper would look like this -

    1A3EE7E8-F118-C653-2251E5986EDB1080.jpg
     
  14. Monique

    Monique bounceswoosh Skier

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    What, not bourbon? :rocks:

    Hope you do find the strength to type. My only opinion in all of this is that dog food companies have even fewer incentives than human food companies to provide high quality nutrition. And frankly, I'm not impressed by the human food companies, either.
     
  15. Monique

    Monique bounceswoosh Skier

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    Ah! That's the solution. But ... I'm not sure how to get my dogs to drink Red Bull? Maybe mix it in with disgusting creek water to make it more appealing?

    I have personally noted an inverse correlation between the cost of the dog food and the fartiness of the dog. Should not be overlooked!

    There are also people who live to a robust 90 smoking cigs and eating nothing but meat and potatoes ...

    Sometimes, shooting the dog would be the more humane option. My family goes to the opposite extreme - I had a hell of a time convincing them that my cat was FINE and in remission and did NOT need to be euthanized, because they're so concerned about owners keeping pets alive when it would be a kindness to let them go. (When it was time for her to be euthanized, it was obvious.)

    There are plenty of people who can't afford adequate health care for themselves and their children. I wouldn't expect them to pony up big bucks for their pets, but that doesn't mean they don't love their pets just as much.

    And then there's this - https://slate.com/human-interest/20...f-youre-having-a-baby-do-not-get-a-puppy.html
     
  16. Drahtguy Kevin

    Drahtguy Kevin Après aficionado Pugski Ski Tester

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    My dogs are athletes and work nearly every day. I don’t mess with trendy feel-good diets. They get what is proven to meet the needs of dogs paying the mortgage and equipment of their trainers/handlers. Dogs are animals and have different dietary needs than humans. Too many people want to humanize animals.
     
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  17. CalG

    CalG Out on the slopes Skier

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    You read what you wanted to read. 15 min????? but ignored the part about weight.
    I hear "Chicken of the Sea" is the perfect food for your dog. The cans are sized just right for controlling the over eater.
     
  18. VickieH

    VickieH Out on the slopes Skier

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    Throughout my dogs' lives, I bought "natural" dry dog foods. I think the general rules to be labeled as "natural" included 1) no meat by-products and 2) tocopherol as the preservative. When I lived in Maryland, I found a store ("Crunchies") that carried only those types of products.

    I never put my dogs on grain-free diets, though, on a friend's recommendation, I did try Blue Buffalo with Toby. Within a few meals of that, he was showing signs of illness so I threw it away and went back to other dry foods.

    I was always concerned about my dogs getting bored with their food, even though they scarfed it down. I changed their food frequently, like every couple of bags, but did it over the course of a few days to avoid digestive problems. So yes, I changed their food but it was mostly related to my perception of quality of life.
     
  19. Sibhusky

    Sibhusky Making fresh tracks Skier

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    We've had Siberians for 27 years. Started out with some specialty brands, one whose name I can't remember, then Annamaet for a while, but finally switched to ProPlan maybe 20-ish years back. There have been very few recalls on it, never anything serious I've read about and none with what they were eating at the time anyway. I switched because we had frantic enough lives already without having to drive 20 miles out of our way to get the other brands. Some of our dogs died youngish, but they weren't on the same brand of food as each other. Several have lived quite a long time. I've been irritated with the increasing difficulty of NOT getting "grain free" when I've arrived to shelves missing our normal chicken and rice. We give the dogs vegetables of some kind as snacks most evenings, and occasionally it's been green beans. One dog gets zinc supplements, because of a skin issue, but that hasn't helped him (but tests on his blood show it is really really low, so we keep supplementing anyway.) No vet had ever said anything against what we feed and usually they say "good". They also get a couple different biscuits a day.
     
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  20. Andy Mink

    Andy Mink I am a half fast skier. Moderator Pugski Ski Tester

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    Kirkland (Costco) dry. Puppy-adult-senior. Our last lab made it to 15 or 16. Our current one just turned 13. Puppies are now two and doing fine.
     

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