Monday, October 29, 2007

Food For Thought

So last week I said that once a week I would blog about something educational...Well, last week was a bust so I intend to make up for it by doing two educational posts this week. Here goes the first one....
oh, and of course this is all in my opinion....

Before I worked at the doggie daycare, and the boarding kennel I worked in Pet Supply Store. (actually two)And no, we didn't sell puppies...(that's a whole other post) But we did sell dog food- lots and lots of dog food. In the four years I worked at the pet stores I learned alot about food, nutrition and just a whole lot about how important it is what we put into our pet. I am a confessed dog food snob....

There are lots of great dog foods out there- I don't intend on naming names, but I will give you some ideas as what to look for in a food.
Basic Rules to Dog Food-
Rule #1 - NO BYPRODUCTS....By-Products generally consist of "leftovers" and have little or no nutritional benefits.
Rule #2- NO GLUTEN...Gluten is bad....This too has little or no nutritional benefit and usually is included as a filler. This too was the type of ingredient that had all the trouble recently
Rule #3- Grain is not all that great- when in your first six ingredients three of them are
blank rice, blank corn, and wheat's bad..(grain is mostly used as a filler= more poop)


Ingredient Label Examples

#1 -Well known, well advertised, Grocery Store Brand average $25 for a big bag
So, you have the first ingredient- which is not meat of any form, Bone meal...wonder what kind...gluten...yummy...and then the all time favorite of Animal Fat (again a mystery) preserved with BHT/BHA- which have both been linked to cancer.

#2- Middle of the road- good quality, Pet Store Brand average $35 big bag
Chicken meal (low ash), steamed oatmeal, ground whole rice, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols, citric acid and rosemary), rice bran, ground flaxseed (source of Omega 3), beet pulp, herring oil (natural source of DHA and EPA), chicken broth, yeast extract (Saccharomyces cerevisiae fermentation solubles), chicory root (FOS), steamed sweet potato, dried whole egg, yucca shidigera, glucosamine HCl (powdered lobster shell), chondroitin sulfate (shark cartilage), marigold extract (source of lutein), L-carnitine supplement, Atlantic kelp, carrots, tomatoes (natural source of lycopene), apples, whole garlic, parsley, rosemary extract, cranberry, sea salt, potassium chloride, choline chloride, lysine, vitamin A supplement, dl alpha-tocopherol acetate (vitamin E), methionine, vitamin D3 supplement, *iron Bioplex™, *zinc Bioplex™, *manganese Bioplex™, biotin, *copper Bioplex™, niacin, riboflavin, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride (source of vitamin B6), vitamin B12, folic acid. *chelated mineral
A good all around dog food- no gluten, no by products, and offers extras like glucosamine (for joint health) and cranberry (unrinary health). This food costs more than the grocery store kind but is much better quality so you will feed less and the dog will waste less aswell. So you really are getting a better deal.

#3- High End, Holistic, Pet Store Brand average $48 big bag
Deboned chicken, chicken meal, turkey meal, russet potato, lake whitefish, chicken fat, sweet potato, whole eggs, turkey, salmon meal, salmon and anchovy oils, salmon, natural chicken flavour, sunflower oil, sun-cured alfalfa, dried brown kelp, carrots, spinach, peas, tomatoes, apples, psyllium, dulse, glucosamine Hcl, cranberries, black currants, rosemary extract, chondroitin sulfate, sea salt.
A very good quality food with great protein sources, minimal grains and lots of extras. This type of food you will feed even less and you will be picking up less in the yard aswell becuase the digestion is so good.

So- what are the benefits of feeding a good quality food???

#1- Feed Less
#2- Less poop to pick up
#3-Less Shedding- Yes! A good food will make your dog shed less- it improves the quality of the coat overall
#4- Overall Well-being. You are what you eat- the better you feed your dog- the better they will feel and act. It is amazing what a difference it can make.

For those of you who are interested in Healthy Living/Feeding for your pet check out The Whole Dog Journal- a must have subscription!