Friday, September 17, 2010

Pursuit of dog food - Part 1

Just in case you forgot
The dog food industry has sure changed a lot since I brought Sunny home as a puppy 25 years ago. Purina dog chow was the defacto standard.  Soon there was Iams and Science Diet clamoring for market share. This market space is jam packed with heroes and pretenders. Today, this is what I have found to be true:
- There are more high quality dog food options than ever in the history of barkdom.
- My single source of credible, detailed information about dog food is the "Whole Dog Journal".
- Any of our dogs could do very well on a number of different "premium" foods. All dogs are different.
- Availability and price are huge factors when deciding what premium food to feed. Not one local store (in Seattle or Phoenix) carries the complete line of every premium brand.
- Grain should not be a major part of Lady's diet.
- I would throw her a whole Salmon to eat every couple of days, but it's hell to get the guts off the carpet.

Lady has been with me for almost 2 and a half years. During that time I have fed her the following (all kibble).
- Orijen Adult (5 months)
- Natural Balance Duck and Potato - and - Natural Balance Venison and sweet potato (alternated these 2 NB foods for 18 months)
- currently, Castor Pollux (see the previous post) - she's been eating this for 4 months

There is a lot of misinformation about dog foods. Most perpetrated by over zealous advertising and some retailers (your dog doesn't care what color his kibbles and bits are). Do your own research, talk to your vet, find a retailer that you can trust. YOU are in control of what your dog eats. A clerk at a chain pet store is unlikely to be well informed. Beware, there are company reps that hang out in the pet food aisles and (even though they may be knowledgeable) will push you towards their brand. Occasionally there are specialists in some large stores you can lean on, but I have found that the most trustworthy are small business proprietors whose whole life revolves around the care of your dog. Seek these people out and create a relationship with them. They may or may not have any revolutionary new information or ideas, but you know every day they will inspire at least 1 dog owner to give up their Old Roy and feed their best friend a balanced food made from quality ingredients.

Links of interest - do some research, you and your dog will be glad you did

Whole Dog Journal - choosing the right dog food

Unbiased, detailed information about dog food ingredients

Next post: Part 2 - Lady's health, plus "the choices we all make".

And now, your moment of Zen......

8 comments:

Khyra And Sometimes Her Mom said...

Furry good post with the links!

I wonder if any rate the nutritional khwality of the Old Roy bag - we've heard it exceeds the food!

Hugz&Khysses,
Khyra

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

Hi KT! I missed your last post and am catching up...You've given some good information here. When our first Golden was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 5 it started me on the road to find a good diet for him, but at the time, there wasn't one available. Raw was just being introduced and slowly being accepted as an alternative; a good quality kibble without grains was unheard of. So I started cooking for my dogs and adding lots of steamed veggies and fruit, again, simply because there was no food available that had all of what I felt he and the other dogs needed. That was about 12 years ago. Since then it's all changed, good foods are available and stores selling these quality foods have popped up. I think the bigger retailers are taking notice of this and are selling some better kibbles, but still offer the "cheap stuff" to customers.

Like you, I've seen the difference that a good diet has made in the health of dogs that have come to us as fosters and those that have stayed and become permanent members of our household. They are without ear problems, skin problems and enjoy good overal health! The food does cost us more, but what we save in vet bills goes beyond what we spend in food!

Sorry to ramble, but dog-food is something I love to ramble about! :-)

Sam said...

Despite all the negative things you hear about Purina, I've been feeding the boys Purina Pro Plan. When Sam was diagnosed with his cancer, it was the only food he could hold down. At the time, he also had high bacteria in his system and had the runs all the time. What a difference it made when we switched to it! His digestive system balanced out, his coat (what was left of it at the time) came in glossy, and his energy level increased. I will agree, not every brand works with every dog, but I really credit Purina for helping save Sam.

Sam

Samantha said...

Super post & we agree totally (esp. about the salmon heheheh!). It's hard to settle on one good food, especially for both dogs - they're eating totally different foodables for different reasons - bah! But thanks for the info and advice!
Hugs xoxoxo
Sammie, Avalon and Mom

JackDaddy said...

Ah, a 3 baller!

I did a lot of research on Jack's food too - we use Royal Canin Labrador.

Tucker said...

That's funny... I was going to use that pic on my post. It's one of our favorites... mmmmmm 3 balls!
Just started using Natural Balance Fish & Sweet Potato. Hope it works out.

Anonymous said...

Great post, I am almost 100% in agreement with you

Anonymous said...

Il semble que vous soyez un expert dans ce domaine, vos remarques sont tres interessantes, merci.

- Daniel

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